Tag Archive | character: regine

The Mind

The problem with half-breeds, the document read, is that they are ill-equipped to the longevity of the fae. Humanity are meant to be short-lived, and their minds and their spirits thus best survive in a more natural lifespan — sixty to eighty years, perhaps a hundred at the outside. The half-breeds are similarly equipped, being closer to humanity than to the gods who are our ancestors. At a certain point, the half-breeds simply stop forming memories correctly; their brains are full and they can no longer process new information.

It had been hailed as a piece of scientific truth for over two centuries among the Grigori, but to Regine, it read no more accurately than any other piece of pseudo-science racism of its era. Why were human brains and half-breed brains ill-equipped to longevity? What, other than the same grasp of genetics that called a panda a bear because it was roly-poly and shared a certain similarity of shape with Ursus, suggested that half-breeds were further from the ancestor-fae? And for that matter, who had reference that told anyone what the ancestor-fae were, or how specific traits which came to be equated with each of the pure-blood breeds were related to those ancestor-fae? Continue reading

♪Glee Club♫

Addergoole, after year 9 but before year 13 (2004-2006), early in the school year.

I, uh, might have been watching a lot of Glee recently?


“Why would you ever want something like that?  Not you, Kairos.”  Director Aconmorea’s gesture was dismissive.  “I know that you’re interested in anything musical at all. But you… Rose… why ‘Glee’?”

“I want to be a Broadway star.” Rose, who had been named Rusiko but refused to be known by that, lifted her chin and stared evenly at the Director.  “I need extracurriculars to have a chance at a good arts school and, more than that, I need practice.”

“But there are so many more productive things you could be doing.  You are…” The Director trailed off, then caught herself.  “You are Ellehemaei, fae.  You have an amazing repertoire of possibilities at your disposal, and your Word selection could point you at any number of very useful and lucrative careers.  So why – singing?” She did not bother to hide the distaste in her voice.  Continue reading

Regine Dreams

This is a dream, and thus its relevance to canon is, as always, questionable. 🙂


Regine was having a lovely dream where the gathered Grigori scholars were praising her genetic studies of half-breeds.

“Fascinating,” one murmured, and

“Brilliant.  To get such done in such a short scope of time!” and

“How clever.  And to wrap it up in teaching them and bettering the world, so that these half-breeds can be useful, for once.”

Something was a little off about this dream.  Regine’s smile, of course, did not shift.  She would not be Grigori if she allowed a little discomfort to get to her.

“And look, you have some actual pure-breeds in there.  How did you manage that?  Yourself, of course, it’s easy to provide your own – oh, but I see you have very little of your own genetic material.  Well, wouldn’t want to improve the stock too much, now would we?”

“And do you know,” murmured a woman near her, “what happens when a particularly strong line of pure-bred mixes with a weak line?”

Regine didn’t recognize the woman.  That happened, from time to time.  People would come in for a forum, then leave for another decade or three or seven to pursue their work.  Regine herself had done that, before-


She looked at the woman again.  “I believe the stronger line takes hold, yes?  If the line is strong enough-”

“It is just like breeding with a human, indeed.  Sometimes you end up with a trait or two of the other line, but they are most often discarded as being something of ‘nurture’, as they say, rather than ‘nature.’  The very interesting cases are when, say, a Hunter breeds with a ‘Mara’.  Then what do you have?  A half-breed?  A Hunter?  Or a Mara?”

“It would depend on the strength of both bloodlines…” Regine answered slowly.  That had been, as far as she was aware, the case with Feu Drake.  Then again, with Drake everything was speculation.  He gave nothing away but genetic material.

“Indeed.  And if it is a Shepherd and a Grigori, where almost all of the Changes are mental, it becomes even harder to tell.  You end up with something that, as they say, ‘looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck…’ but has the sensible disregard for anything outside of itself and its crew of a falcon.  Ah, I miss your mother.”

“My-  I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.”

“That daughter of yours.  Liliandra. It’s a pity she’s slightly unstable.  Otherwise she’d be the splitting image of her grandmother.  And how very clever of you, to blame her violent tendencies on the father!”

Regine shook herself awake and stared, unseeing, at the ceiling above her.  It was said you never dreamed of someone you didn’t know. 

Of course, she reassured herself, it was also said that you should not eat right before bed.  She would have to remember to avoid those lovely cookies, nice as they were.  That had to be it.  The cookies. 

She lay back down, but found that she was unwilling to sleep more that night.

Now on Patreon: Like Queens, The Tale-Teller, and Why Addergoole?

Like Queens

In Firrset, as in many places, there are poets. The legend goes that even in the First Days, when there was no food to eat and no time to do anything but hunt, plant, gather, and store, there were poems they would tell each other across the field.
But the greatest poet of the time came quite some time after that, but in a time still mostly buried away from history’s records.

Free for Patreon Patrons!

The Tale-Teller

The thing was, she was both the tale-teller and the story. She was both the portrait and the model. She was the song and its subject.

There were theories about that, of course: theories and theses and stories and myths. Stories have a lot of power, after all.

And storytellers have a power, a mystery, all of their own.

Read On!

Why Addergoole?
I wrote this several years ago as an in-character explanation of why the school was named Addergoole.

“I’ve been wondering, Professor. Why Addergoole?”

It wasn’t the primary thing on her mind, of course. They were studying an array of Change descriptions and, of apparently more interest to her Mentor, “inherent non-Working abilities,” something that Kai hadn’t really been aware existed.

Read On!

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1273242.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Love Meme: Reid and Regine

The meme is here: Give me the names of two characters and I will tell you why character A loves character B.

Here is [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s third prompt. Reid and Regine are from Addergoole. This was a wee bit tricky~

Reid and Regine

For all of her noble quest to show the value of half-bloods, when Reid met Regine, she still had many of the prejudices of the pure-blooded.

Reid had been dealing with those prejudices for nearly as long as Regine had been having them. He found them irritating on a good day, angering on a bad day, and on his worst days, they tempted him into shouting.

She had a good project, a good plan, and a good point, so he set his jaw and joined her program, and that would have been it – a carefully polite working relationship, line drawn and never budged, colleagues and nothing more.

Except one of those bad days happened through no fault of Regine’s.

There was a phone call. It was a long-distance call, and such things were expensive. It was quiet, it was intense, and nobody but Reid heard it.

And that would’ve been it. He had long experience not blowing his lid, not showing his anger, but Regine chose that day, that exact time when he had just hung up, to ask/demand something in her particularly Grigori way.

And Reid exploded. He snarled and shouted and swore, all of it bloody with the rage that was his birthright and name-right, and informed Regine in no uncertain terms that if she had hired an expert in Mind Workings than she damn well ought to respect his expertise.

And Regine, in a move unprecedented for her, bowed her head and very humbly apologized. And then – and this might have been the kicker – she asked Reid if he would show her the Working she’d been asking about.

It wasn’t a Magic Moment. It didn’t change her forever. But it did allow Reid to talk to her as a colleague and, sometimes, as a friend, and that, in the end, helped more than anything else.

Want More?

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1258968.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Growth Spurt

Two-plus generations after the end of the world. Probably Canon.

“Very good. Now, let’s find Leia, daughter of Pavarti.”

“You’re stunting his growth, you know.” Cya strode into the conference room as if she belonged there. The three people around the conference table looked up at her with variations on surprise and annoyance.

“How do you keep getting past the wards?” Regine fussed. The Director looked as if she was half-curious, half-irritated.

Cya didn’t blame her, but she wasn’t going to explain, either. Not that I Found a teleporter who can sneak past your wards without a whisper would have been that helpful an explanation, either, since Cya had not intent of letting Regine anywhere near her teleporter.

“I Found a way,” she said, instead. “Luke.” She nodded respectfully at the smirking-and-trying-not-to Mara. “And you must be their pet Finder.”

The boy — man, he had a beard and everything — shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not anyone’s pet. And what was that crack about my height?”

He actually was stunted, Cya noted, or, at least, he’d barely made it past five foot. He was handsome, too, in a sort Cya tended to prefer. “You must have kept him behind some pretty intense wards when I came to visit, his graduation year,” she commented to Regine.

“You were busy with John-Wayne that year.” Luke’s answer did nothing to cover the small but telling reaction Regine’d had. “That boy actually needed you.”

“I know he did. But I might have made an exception to several rules for that one, and I’m fairly certain she,” she nodded at Regine, “knew it.”

“Hello,” the Finder complained. “Right here. Who the hell are you, anyway?”

“Find my closest relative on that list, why don’t you?”

“How do you know there will be one?” Regine asked, too calmly. There was one, then.

“Because my father sent at least 2 other children to this school and my mother sent at least one other. THe odds say that even if I don’t have a grandchild coming next year –” she didn’t, unless one of her sons had lied to her, and she was fairly certain neither son would send any child to Addergoole that they didn’t have to “—I probably have a grand-niece or grand-nephew. Or, knowing both of my parents, maybe a brother or sister.”

The Finder had a pinched look on his face. He was working hard at her challenge, but it was a new concept to him. “Who are you?”

Cya flopped down in a chair and grinned at him. “I’m Cya. The Finder. I knew they had to have one, you see; they’ve gotten much more targeted and they can’t rely on computerized records the way they could back in my day. But they really are stunting your growth.”

His finger landed triumphantly on a name. Cya glanced at it, considered it.

“Ah, that’s Orlaith’s son Hunter-Hale’s child. Good luck,” she shot to Luke. “Going to their Manor can’t be fun.”

“Like going to the Ranch?”

“We like you at the Ranch, remember?” She grinned at Luke, then just as quickly wiped the expression off her face to aim a solemn look at Regine. “He’s how old? If he’s John-Wayne’s age, you’ve had him here for a while. Doing this? ‘Find the kid on a map?’ That’s kindergarten stuff.”

“It’s a necessary task.”

“Thing is, kid — sorry — the man doesn’t look like an idiot. He doesn’t look like he needs remedial Finding or even needs your help finding a job. So… “ Cya steepled her fingers and looked over them at the Finder, who, by this point, was glowering at her. “Creche kid? She offered you a job, and it made sense, since you didn’t have a family to back you up. Not a bad choice, and if I hadn’t had Boom, I might’ve done the same. Problem is… you’re stagnating. It’s factory work, but with your power.”

“I Find people.” He’d moved on to puzzled now. Good. Puzzled meant he might listen.

“Good. You can Find an abstract — you found my grand-nephew there. So how about find the nearest Addergoole-descended person who could really use Addergoole’s help ASAP?”

Hie forehead pinched again. He stared at the map and, after a moment, his finger settled on a place about a hundred miles out.

Cya had already come to that conclusion, but she still nodded at him. “Good. See? You can stretch your power. Luke, I brought a teleporter who can site off of Finds. Give me three minutes and I’ll take you there.”

She turned to Regine. “Hoard the Finders if you want. The ‘Porters are harder to pin down, for you or for me. But if I find out you’re keeping them in kindergarten, I’m going to start offering them all better jobs at higher pay. You’re a school Director. Challenge them.” She stood up.

“Wait. Better job. Higher pay? Pay?”

“You swore an oath,” Regine hissed.

“Yeah, well, so did you. And the oath has an escape clause, remember?” The kid looked almost ready to leave with her.

“Come on, Luke.” Cya was grinning and not bothering to hide it. “Let’s help out that Addergoolian-in-distress.” If Regine still had a Finder by the end of the year, she’d eat her hat. “Kid… you know how to Find me.”

John-Wayne can be found at his own tag; he’s Pellinore’s son.

Orlaith (Cya’s half-sister) can be found here; her son Hunter-Hale can be found here.

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White Queen, an AU story of Cya, Regine, Mike, Luke, and an Army

After This Story from earlier today, which read first, because Au.

Regine, Again

She did not want to be here, sitting in Cya Red Doomsday’s office like a petitioner. But Luke was in danger, and Regine would not have it said that she did not value her crew.

Michael was with her. She didn’t know how Linden-Blossom felt about this, but she knew that the Daeva loved Luke, and she knew that she would not walk alone into the den of her enemy if she could avoid it.

“Lady of the Lake. Sa’Linden Blossom.” Cya bowed politely to both of them.

“Jae’Red Doomsday.” Regine was not in the mood for games. “I will meet with Luca before we discuss

“No. You won’t.” The woman leaned forward, hands on her desk. “We meet and sign an agreement first.”

“I don’t think you understand your position–“

“My position?” Cya raised her eyebrows. “I have Leo, Leo has an army, and we hold the northwest. I have twenty Addergoole grads, in addition to Boom, all of them 11th Cohort or older, who have plenty of reason to hate you and more reason to be fond of me. Possibly of more relevance to you, I have Luke in a hawthorn cell. What’s your position, Director?”

“You will let us meet with Luca before this meeting continues!”

“No. I won’t. And if you continue to push the issue, you’re going to be leaving here without discussing anything.”

“Regine.” Michael cut in with a quiet, diplomatic tone. “She has the cards here.”

Regine sighed. “Very well.”

“I will, however, allow you to speak to him.” She pulled an ancient phone out of her desk and dialed a number. “Put him on.” A moment later, she continued, “sa’Hunting Hawk? Please hold for the Lady of the Lake.”

She pushed a button, putting the phone on speaker. Regine glowered at the indignity of it, but Michael had a point. “Luca?”

“‘Gene?” Luca sounded tired and strained.

“Luca, we’re going to get you out of there. Is everything all right?”

“It’s not the Hilton. But they’re not treating me poorly. Regine… don’t goad her.”

“Too late,” Michael murmured. Regine ignored him.

“I… I won’t, Luca.”

“And don’t let her goad you.”

“Too late,” Michael repeated.

Luca sighed. “Regine… just be careful, all right.”

“So.” Cya leaned forward over her desk. “These are my terms. sa’Hunting Hawk serves the same as anyone else who attacks me and mine: one year under the collar. All three of you swear oaths never to attack my city or my people again.”

“Preposterous!” Regine sputtered.

“Or,” and here Cya smiled, a slow and humorless expression, “you release sa’Hunting Hawk from any and all oaths he has sworn to you, and he pays the fine for his attack on his own. That would be more than a year, of course, because I, Director Avonmorea, am not an idiot.”

Regine raised her eyebrows. “Out of the question.”

“Then I suppose you don’t want him back too badly, do you?” Cya looked amused. Regine wanted to banish that expression from her face. “There are other ways, of course, but here I thought you’d be open to reason.”

The nerve…! Regine quirked her eyebrows at Cya. “You ask for quite a bit when you have an army at our door.”

“Technically, it’s at my door, at least at the moment. And no. The point isn’t the army. The point is that your man attacked my man and, well, that can’t stand. So. Release him and let him pay the penalty, or sign off on the whole not-attacking-us thing and let him pay the penalty.”

Regine stared at her. “You don’t seriously think–“

“Regine,” Luca cut her off, “just do it.”

Next: White Knight

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“Not what I Expected” a story-like-thing of Addergoole

This fic is set a couple years into Yoshi’s attendance at Addergoole (Yoshi being Cynara’s oldest son; Ruki/Sigruko mentioned below is Leo’s older daughter, by Aelfgifu). I’m not 100% happy with Regine’s voice in this, but I wrote this for fun, so… here’s Regine losing an argument.

“I did not anticipate this.” Regine glared at the notes in front of her as if they were personally responsible for her current predicament.

“You should have.” Laurel Valerian was pulling no punches today. “It’s what you wanted, after all.”

“This – this violence is not what I wanted!” Regine frowned at the notes again. They’d had no fewer than four instances where students had come far too close to being expelled – and in one case, the only reason that nobody had been expelled had been that the boy hadn’t been trying to kill anyone. He’d left them hung upside-down in full view of a camera, but the story his victim was telling was that the boy had held a knife to their throat and whispered “If I wanted you dead, you’d be gone.”

The other instances, Luke, Agmund, or Shou had caught before it had turned into murder. That one, nobody had noticed until it was done – and that worried Regine.

Shira was laughing at her now, which was not helping Regine’s mood at all. “Certain violence is all right, but other violence isn’t, is that it?”

“This was nearly murder!”

“Good.” Shira’s eyes were cold, even though she was smiling. “It might teach the victims a lesson.”

“And what lesson would that be?” When had her staff stopped being frightened of her?

To add insult to injury, it was Agmund who answered this time. “There are people you do not mess with because their family will mess you up,” he offered cheerfully.

“It’s the logical outgrowth of what you were building here,” Laurel added. “You wanted strong students who could survive an apocalypse. The ones that could, did. And now their children are here.”

“This is not what I meant by strong. Beating up on those who get near their younger family, defending them against everyone who has any interest in them.”

“You didn’t have an concern when Adorlee was pimping out her cousin out a few years ago.” Shira leaned forward, as if going in for the kill. “So it’s only okay for them to be awful to their family, and not support their kin?”

“…What?” Mike sounded genuinely horrified.

“Sorry, Mike, but you never should have Mentored your own daughter.” Shira’s tone gentled. “Pimping out Eryk isn’t the worst of her sins, but it’s pretty high up there. If you wonder why Eryk tried to keep Kishmish locked in a bubble,” Shira added, mostly to Regine, “or why Yoshi is doing his best to protect Ruki and will probably do the same for Viðrou next year – start there. You let people get tortured, sold, abused, turned into human dolls, they are going to react. They might do so by being absolutely certain that the same doesn’t happen to the rest of their family.”

“Also…” Laurel was smiling. That was never a good sign. “These are kids raised in the apocalypse. Can you imagine how many times they were told ‘take care of your sister;’ ‘take care of your brother?’ I mean, I’ve heard that time and time again from the kids that came out of that. They were raised being miniature adults.”

“The whole concept of this school,” Regine complained, “is to give them a place to learn the dangers of being adult without actually having the long-term consequences of those dangers or the mistakes that can be made.”

“For instance,” Shira offered cheerfully, far too cheerfully, “making enemies with someone who has more deadly allies than you do?”

“Not taking on someone with a large support base unless your support base is willing to back you?” offered Reid in a treacherous moment.

“Don’t forget,” Luke rumbled, “‘know your enemy.’ Regine, it’s not as if these kids won’t have these support bases in the real world. You can’t tell me, for instance, facing Sigruko sh’Leofric out in the world would be a good idea? She wouldn’t just have Kishmish and Yoshi backing her up out there, she’d have the entirety of Boom. And I, for one, do not want to see what that group does if you threaten their children.”

“They bury you,” Valerian purred. “It’s quite impressive.”

“That’s beside the point.” Regine glared at all of them. “They are bypassing all of the traditions of Addergoole, and it is going to cause difficulties. You can’t tell me you haven’t heard the complaints from the upperclassmen already.”

“My kids don’t do Hell Night predation,” Luke pointed out. “If they want to Keep, say, a Boom kid, they’re going to negotiate it politely. And even Boom big siblings can’t argue too much with polite negotiations.”

“Mine often get signed contracts,” Drake agreed. “Again, this leaves less room for worried siblings.”

Agmund laughed. “I have heard complaints. I have also been asked how they can ensure that their children come to Addergoole at the same time, so they can protect each other.”

Regine resisted the urge to put her face in her hands. “The students like it,” she posited, “and so do all of you.”

“So, why don’t you, Director?” Shira’s tone was more placatory now. “Because clearly you don’t.”

Regine frowned. “They are solving things with threats and violence, and they are disrupting the way things run here. We have finally worked out a balance of predatory tactics vs. the safety of the students, and now they are throwing that into disarray again.”

“Regine,” Reid interjected, his voice kindly, “they’re teenagers. They inherently create disarray. And their lives – as Laurel pointed out – have been in disarray for years. They’re going to be more violent than their parents, in some cases; they’ve likely seen more violence than their parents had at their age.”

“And what about when they kill someone with this understandable, reasonable, laudable violence?” Regine did not snap. She had not snapped at anyone in years. But it was a close thing.

“I would suggest,” Agmund offered, “that we think about that now. What about when someone is killed? Do we stick to ‘expulsion?’ Do we punish more minor transgressions when we never have before?”

“Call an all-class assembly and tell them the rules are changing,” Shira offered. “Lay out what’s unacceptable and what the punishments are. And then stick to it. People will test you. People will test the rules.”

“So,” Regine studied their faces. “You’re suggesting that the answer to the potential of one student murdering another is to punish more minor crimes before it gets to murder? But only going forward, no ‘grandfathering in’ past infractions?”

“You can’t punish Yoshi,” Luke cut in. “Not for this one. And if you’re thinking of trapping him into a punishment, I wouldn’t recommend it.” His wings were still. Regine found that more concerning than when he flapped. “Think about it. Tethys Kept him pretty badly–“

“There was no abuse,” Regine cut in. “We have been watching for abuse.”

“We’ve been watching for physical abuse. If you think that’s the only sort that can happen, Regine, then I don’t know why you’re teaching Mind Workings.” Luke glared at her, daring her to argue with him.
Regine wanted to. She considered her options, and decided to allow, “We have been watching for physical abuse. We discussed matters ten years ago and agreed that we needed to be vigilant to starvation, torture, rape, and other violent abuses. And we have been. Yoshi was not physically abused.”

“Look at Boom. Do you think that would be enough to stop an attack? No. Boom is waiting. If Yoshi wants to protect his family, let him.” Luke’s glare was hard and unyielding. “Let that one be, Regine.”

“And, for the rest?”

“We draw up a list of things that we won’t tolerate it. We all agree on it. And then we make it clear, in assembly and privately to each of our cy’rees, that we are serious about it going forward.” Reid nodded politely at all of them, but there was no more yield in him than in Luke. “And we’re careful we don’t penalize people banding together. After all, that’s what will save their lives.”
Regine knew when she’d been beaten. “Then that’s what we’ll do,” she agreed. “Let’s start on a list.”

Other students mentioned:
Adorlee is Magnolia’s oldest, by Mike. Mags lives at the Ranch, with Boom (mostly with Howard), raising her children and Shiva’s (Shiva vanished in the war) (Shiva is also Magnolia’s half-sister, and her crew).

Eryk is Shiva’s oldest son (by Ty).

Kishmish is Shiva’s youngest daughter (by Nikita)

Viðrou is Cynara’s and Leo’s son, the second child for both of them.

cy’ree is “my students, those I Mentor.”

sh’ is “daughter of the mother.” Yes. Mother.

Think that’s everyone.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1190268.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

LadiesBingo: Enemies – Cynara and Regine

Written for my [community profile] ladiesbingo card.

2030, approximately 19 years after the end of the world.

Cya had maps.

She had a lot more than maps, actually, enough that she’d ended up building herself another room to store it all. She had reports and charts, headcounts and vulnerability assessments, crop yields and even religious and linguistic demographics, assessing everything she could of their ruined world.

But most of all, she had one big map, and on that map was a circle labelled Addergoole and a carefully-shaded area labelled as Addergoole influence. Outside of that was a rough 50-mile circle that she’d labelled DMZ.

That was where her information stopped. She would walk herself right up to that line — and did, both literally and figuratively — find every piece of information she could, and make sure that she left with a positive relationship whenever possible. She fought monsters — rarely — fed people — far more frequently — and cleaned up roads and fallen buildings right up to two inches shy of that line.

The other side of the line was Regine’s territory, and there she would not tread, not now.

Regine had agents.

Some were former students; some were people she or her crew had helped out in the past, who owed her favors, formal or informal. Some were those who didn’t know who or what they were working for, but liked the steady pay of food, shelter, and barter goods, all rare to find in the disaster of their crumbled world.

Her agents went out into the world, looking for people and things, bringing back information and goods. They brought reports of the ruins of civilization: some places had fallen into disarray and barbarism and even two decades later had not settled into peace. Some had formed tiny city-states, boarded up and unwilling to talk to outsiders, even outsiders bearing rare trade goods. Some had turned their city-states into trade hubs, or into despotic mini-empires, or into quiet imitations of Eden, some more successful than others.

And in Wyoming, the group called Boom and the woman called Cynara were doing a little bit of all of that.

Regine sent only her best agents in that direction — the cleverest, the most subtle, the ones with the best escape abilities. She assumed Cynara did the same. She was not ready to go to war with Boom nor with Cynara herself; if her agent was caught on Boom’s territory, the volatile, explosive group might take it in their heads to start that war prematurely. Thus she drew out a three-quarter circle where she was very nearly blatant, and towards Wyoming she stayed subtle, sneaky… surreptitious.


Regine had agents, Cya knew. Every time she found one of them, she marked their position on a map. Some of them were obvious, the sort of people you only sent into territory you were certain of. Some tried to be sneaky. Some… Some Cya found only because she already knew Regine had agents. She was known for her ability to find things and people, after all. Regine should have known better.

When she caught one a mile from the Ranch where her crew lived, Cya decided polite ignoring was no longer the order of the day. She sat down with the woman for a pleasant conversation over scrounged tea and did a series of long and complicated Workings on the woman’s mind, the sort that left nearly no trace and would not be noticed until a specific person — perhaps, the person who had taught Cya Mind magic in the first place — went looking.

Then she sent the woman back to Regine with a very polite note.

I found this. I thought you might want it back.


Regine stared at the woman. She stared at the note. She stared back at the woman. “How were you detected?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The woman could no more lie to Regine than she could fly — and flying was not her particular magic skill. “Nobody detected me. I got in, I got out, I came back to report.”

The paper note was proof enough. The fact that the agent was staring at the note with no realization that she had just handed it to Regine was, as the saying went, icing on the cake. Nevertheless, Regine engaged in an invasive search of her agent’s mind.

And there it was. The work was so tidy Regine doubted anyone else could have found it. The girl, she had to admit, was skilled. She’d written in dots and dashes of missing time and changed memories:

Stay off my lawn and I’ll stay off yours

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