Tag Archive | giraffecall: february2014

There Are Things You’re Not Noticing

[personal profile] librarygeek commissioned this continuation of By the Time Anyone Noticed and They Have to Notice Eventually, a story (in two parts) of a former-Addergoole-student mother from the February Giraffe Call.

The Addergoole setting has a landing page here, although Cleone is a new character.

This is placed somewhere after the apocalypse…

There were things in Cleoneville that people questioned internally but did not ask out loud. There were questions they had all learned not to ask, because asking led to… vanishing, in the worst cases, and things they didn’t want to think about, in better cases. It was Cleone’s town and Cleone’s settlement, and that’s the way it was.

But there were things that they never questioned at all. They knew them to be true, the way they knew the sky was “blue” that was often grey and white, the way they knew that gravity worked.

One of those things was: There are Fae who are monsters, and they will come and make war; if we are not prepared, they will kill us.

They didn’t need Cleone to tell them that. They didn’t need anyone to tell them that, because they lived in the world where it was a fact.

When the people from Addergoole came, they came Masked. They didn’t come in force, firstly because collecting a child was a relatively routine matter, and secondly because there were, after all, more than a couple children to collect for the school. But they did send Luke, and with him Shira Pelletier – their security and weapons expert, and the sweet, understanding Sciences professor who happened to be an expert hunter. Because Shira Pelletier, who was also their seer, had seen something she couldn’t explain.

They were Masked, every bit of fae-ness covered with impenetrable glamours, but it didn’t matter, because Cleone recognized them before they reached her town.

She sounded the alarm, and her people – all of her people, the former students of Addergoole, the wandering fae, the humans who thought this was a nice and safe place to settle – all of them fought.

Luke was ancient and Shira nearly as so; Luke was a soldier and a warrior and above all a fighter and Shira was a hunter and a survivor; but there were two of them and there were dozens upon dozens of their unexpected enemy, and the enemy was armed with deadly rowan and poisonous hawthorn.

Cleone’s fighters couldn’t win, of course – the humans had no chance at all and the Addergoole graduate had only a small hope – but they could certainly get the teachers’ attention.

“The oath will not let you keep your children from the school, Cleone.” Luke fended off three farmers with pitchforks and one angry former student.

Cleone, usually the sort to speak first, threw a fireball. While Luke was ducking, she retorted.

“I didn’t swear the oath.”

“Your great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers did.” Luke was too strong to be taken out by something as mundane as a fireball. He ducked, letting Shira take out the former student with a quick sleep spell.

“It shouldn’t bind me!”

“But it does. And it binds Dagmar.” Luke caught the farmers in a tangle of pitchforks. “Your people are going to get hurt, Cleone.”

“So will you.”

“I’m a lot more durable than they are.”

“Then concede. Walk away, and they’ll stop fighting you. Fly away, even, and we won’t give chase.” She motioned, and a winged boy dove in to attack. “Stay here and insist on taking my child, and they’ll keep attacking you forever.”

The Mara beat off the attacker with almost no effort – no physical effort; everyone there could see the pain on his face.

“He was one of yours, wasn’t he? Your student, a cy’Luca? This boy.” Cleone gestured at the unconscious would-be-attacker. “And now he’s mine. And he’ll keep attacking you until you concede.”

It was Shira Pelletier who spoke now, possibly because Luke did not look capable of speech. His face was turning an interesting shade of red, and his lips were turning white. “You know that it’s not his to decide. You know the promise was made.”

“I know the promise was made. And I know she can release it. Go back to Addergoole. Go back to your precious Director. Tell her to release me and my children from this oath.” She gestured imperiously, and the attacks stopped. Luke flared his wings, unimpressed.

“The oath will make you give in eventually.”

“And then I will order my people to lock me in a tower and defend me, and then there will be no calling them off. And then what will you do? Slaughter humans? Slaughter dozens of your former students? I don’t think you will.”

Now, Luke spoke, growled from between clenched teeth. “You didn’t have a bad time. I made sure of it.”

“Me?” She sounded innocent. “No. No, none of us did. It was a good four years, a good time. I liked the fathers of my children well enough. I liked the time I spent well enough. But you’re only… inhuman. You’re not infallible. And I’ve heard stories.”

“You’re doing this over a story?

“I’m doing this for my children.” She stood up a little straighter. “Because it comes in waves. And there’s no promising that this year will be better, that this year will be a good year. So we had four good years. What about the bad ones? What about the years the Nedetakaei attacked?”

“You blame me for that, too?” Luke’s wings flared. “When I nearly lost my own children to it?”

“Yes!” Her voice raised to a shout, and all around her, people who were Cleone’s, whether they knew it or not, took a step back, and another. “Because if your own children were there and you did not stop them, then why would you do anything for my children?”

Luke’s wings snapped open and closed tightly. “You will release these people, Cleone. Now.”

“I will do no such thing. They are my hostages against my children’s fates.”

“Cleone.” Shira spoke over the growing silence that was Luke. “The promise that was made, so many years ago, helped to save the world. And it helped to shape the world that survived.”

“It doesn’t look like much of a saving.” Cleone’s arm jerked out, taking in the town she had built. Once, before the collapse, there had been a city here.

“Then you should have seen what it would have looked like without Addergoole’s intervention.” Now even Pelletier was snappish. “The promise was made for a reason.”

“And the war is over. What reason do we have to continue with this farce? Why should I risk my children?”

“Instead, you would risk all these other mothers’ daughters and sons?” Shira gestured around at Cleone’s people, nearly frozen in place.

“They are not my children.” Cleone stood unmoved. “The war happened, Professor Pelletier. Generations ago. The world ended. The project should be over.”

“I was the one who saw the war ending.” Shira raised her chin and stared her former student down. “And I tell you now, the need for the Addergoole project is still strong.”

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This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/691993.html. You can comment here or there.

Wrong Door, a story of Facets of Dusk for the Giraffe Call

Written to slinkslowdown‘s prompt to the January Giraffe call; they prompted with their OC, Ashe.

Facets of Dusk has a landing page here; a team of explorers are searching out new worlds via inter-dimensional Doors that only one person seems to have the ability to open.

When they open their doors on the wrong world…

“What… what is that thing?”

Cole stared at the… thing. Creature. It looked a bit like a dog, a bit like a wolf, if you ignored the radioactive-yellow eyes and paw pads.

And mouth, you couldn’t forget the mouth. Because the thing was opening its mouth at them, and, oh, my, it was terrifyingly yellow.

“I believe.” Aerich coughed faintly, “that it is safe to assume that it is a demon-canine hybrid.”

“That’s your safe assumption?” Cole took two steps backwards and drew his gun.

“…and that it may be sentient. As such, it might recognize….”

It was too late; the beast was already leaping. Cole shoved Aerich behind him, made sure the mage was in front of their Door-opener, and drew a cudgel from it sheath, all in the second it took the thing to jump.

“Ashe!” Aerich coughed the word out as the beast landed, teeth almost making it to Cole’s throat. “Its – his – name is Ashe. And this is his territory.”

The demon-dog paused, one paw lifted, ready to slice Cole’s face open. It was entirely unclear whether he spoke or used telepathy, but mine came across clear as day.

“Yours,” Cole agreed. He holstered the fun. “We were just leaving.”

“Good.” Ashe grinned at them, or, at least, his mouth opened and he showed a bunch of teeth. “Stay gone.”

Alexa had gotten the Door open again. “Leaving?”

“Leaving,” Cole agreed. They backed slowly through the door. “Mark this one on the do-not-visit-if-we-can-help-it.”

“Good idea.” The demon-dog’s laugh followed them back through the dimensions.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/684666.html. You can comment here or there.

Fifty Years, a beginning of Reiassan/Rin for the Giraffe Call

This is to [personal profile] rix_scaedu‘s prompt here to my February Giraffe Call.

Arinyanka et al are characters in Reiassan. This is set before the Rin/Girey story.

Disclaimer: I wanted to write this and didn’t want to go back and check details, so, well, some details will probably be wrong.

“We’re so glad you could make it home for the holiday, Arinya.” Arinyanka’s mother, Inatalana, encompassed her in a hug that seemed to pull her all the way from University back to the palace and anchor her there. “Most of the rest of your siblings couldn’t make it, but Edietzhyavie is home, and so is Obezrezob. And the whole city is all decorated; it’s going to be a whole week of celebrations.”

“It’s not every day an Emperor manages to survive for fifty years on the throne.” Arinyanka’s father Egarengar was a little more reserved about the whole thing, although he did pat his youngest daughter’s shoulder. Then again, it would have been hard to be less reserved than Inatalana. “You can’t move around here without running into some sort of bunting.”

“Don’t be so dreary, Eren, you sound like a North-coaster. Come on, Arinya, it’s lovely to have you back in the Palace.” Inatalana punctuated her remark with another rib-bruising hug. “If only for a few days. You’d think the University could give you more time off.”

“It’s not-” A scream and a shout from the hallway cut them both off. Arinyanka found herself pushing her mother and father behind her and reaching for a weapon she didn’t carry within the Emperor’s Palace walls. “Is that becoming normal?”

“We are quite capable of protecting ourselves, Arinya, I do hope you realize.” Egarengar clucked, sounding mostly amused. “Especially from what sounds like one of your cousins having a problem with her festival tunic.”

Another scream cut through the hallways. Arinyanka shared a glance with her mother; both of them glared at her father.

“That’s not a tunic argument.” Inatalana’s tone booked no argument.

Egarengar shook his head. “No. It sounds like someone doesn’t want the Emperor to make it to the fifty-year mark.”

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They Have to Notice Eventually

[personal profile] anke commissioned this continuation of By the Time Anyone Noticed, a story of a former-Addergoole-student mother from the February Giraffe Call.

The Addergoole setting has a landing page here, although Cleone is a new character.
Short summary of the setting: there is magic and people who can use magic (modern fantasy, and then post-apoc fantasy after, well, the apoc) The school, Addergoole, has a long-standing contract by which students tend to graduate with two children who then go to Addergoole themselves in their late teens.

This is placed somewhere after the apocalypse… since I haven’t determined the year, the year notations are x’d out

By the time anyone noticed, it was far too late for them to stop her.

Or so she hoped.

The letter arrived via courier, the way they did these days.

Dagmar, child of Cleone, it is our pleasure to admit you to the [xxty-xth] year of the Addergoole school. Classes will begin on the [xth] of September [xxxx].

Should you require transportation…

Cleone burned the letter and locked Dagmar, along with her younger son, in the panic room in the center back of her house. She whispered words here and shouted words there and above all she kept things going on as normally as possible – except that her children were now locked in a tower. Which, because this was Cleone’s town and Cleone’s settlement, her tower and her children, nobody thought was that abnormal, and nobody asked a single question about.

It was, wholly and entirely, Cleone’s town and Cleone’s settlement. Her home and the surrounding buildings had tidy walls that kept out marauders. Her collection of humans who worked in the fields were drilled in weapons, so that they could fend off wild animals or fae-born monsters. The Addergoole students who had come and never left, they had continued to train in all those skills their alma mater was so good at instilling. It had all made so much sense when she explained it to her townspeople. Nobody had ever questioned it.

Another letter came for Dagmar. Cleone shredded this one and fed it to the pigs. She made sure the gates were sound; she made sure the ballistas were in good repair.

She made sure everything was as normal and innocent and benign as she could make it, that her routines were routine, even as she braced for the impact that was coming.

One of her Addergoole grads tried to leave, a week after the second letter’s arrival. They did try, from time to time; they snuck out at night or they slipped out while working or, sometimes, they just walked out the gate as if they were allowed to leave. Gilana had always been trouble, from the day she and her three children showed up at Cleone’s halfway house.

Cleone did what she had to. She locked those three children in the tower with her own two, locked Gilana in the hawthorn-and-rowan-lined basement dungeon, and kept on pretending nothing was wrong. When Dustin, the probably-human serving as de facto Mayor of Cleoneville, began to ask questions, she gave him the same line she always did.

“I do what is needful to keep us safe. Right now, this is what is needful to keep us safe.”

Dustin clearly considered asking more questions, and then just as clearly thought about the people who had, in the past, asked too many questions. Safe, in this day and age, was a motivator for most people, at least those still alive to be motivated.

Nobody else asked any questions. Knowing where Gilana was – and where her children were – made certain nobody else tried to leave, either. Everything was fine, everything was normal, and everyone was armed to the teeth.

They were waiting when the people from Addergoole came to take Dagmar off to school.

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A Sea Change, a story of Addergoole Yr43 for @Rix_Scaedu

This is a continuation of Planning and
Microbit One, set in Year 43 of the Addergoole School, for [personal profile] rix_scaedu‘s commission.

Regine had practice remaining calm in the face of volatile personalities. She had plenty of practice, in fact, with this particular volatile personality; she and Luca had been working together, alongside Michael, for centuries.

It did not, thus, particularly faze her when Luke glared at her with another wide flap of his wings, although she did note that he must be particularly upset, as he normally was more mindful of her paperwork.

“We are doing good here, Luca,” she repeated, “both for our students and for the world.”

“Tell that to the ones that we don’t catch in time.” It came out as a snarl; that was a little excessive even for Luca. Regine allowed her eyes to drift down to the papers for a brief moment. “No, wait, don’t. I don’t think I could stand to watch you preach that sanctimonious bullshit to someone who’s stuck in a bad Keeping.”

“Luca.” Regine coughed, an altogether unnecessary affectation, but, then, she was not a robot, no matter what some people would suggest. “When we started this project, you understood the difficulties, and you agreed with its necessity.” She pushed a pile of papers forward. “The statistics suggest that sixty-three percent of these students would not be alive if it were not for our school.”

“Try telling that to one of your children after they’ve been raped, why don’t you?” Luke’s snarl had gone to a growl. “Oh, wait.” He wasn’t flapping anymore. For some reason, Regine found that worrisome. “Your kids somehow never end up with that sort of problem.”


“Luca, just because a child is of our bloodline is no reason to let ourselves become distractible. It is important to remain unbiased…”

FUCK unbiased!”

And yet, his wings did not flare. His feet were spread a little bit apart, his hands were easy at his sides, and his wings were staying folded against his back.

That, Regine realized, with something of chill in her heart, was battle stance. And despite the shout of his profanity, his voice was otherwise quiet: conserving energy.

She didn’t think he would continue, but once again, he surprised her.

“It isn’t our job to remain unbiased, Regine. It isn’t our job to treat these children as subjects, separated by their Changes and genealogy and nothing else. If we’d wanted to do that – if you’d wanted to do that – you shouldn’t have sold it as a school.”

He took a step forward. It took every ounce of Regine’s not-inconsiderable self-control to not back up. “But we did. And we have been selling it as a school for generations now. As such.” He rolled his shoulders and his head before continuing. “As such, Regine, it is our responsibility to treat these students as people.

“As Students.” He continued, with another step forward. “Not just because they are our children – because you made damn sure each and every one of us contributed to the project so that we’d stay emotionally invested, didn’t you?”

“Yes.” There was no shame in that.

“Yes.” His mimic sounded angry, for all of that. “Not just because these children are our family, Regine, but because we are their teachers and Mentors.”

His voice dropped into something low and smokey. Regine could not, for a moment, remember where she had heard it before.

“This is what we’re going to do, Regine.” He’d taken another step forward. If he had a weapon, he could be skewering her with it about now. “You are going to take Students. A full cy’ree, every year. Starting now; I’m sure we can rearrange things.”

Ah, yes. That’s where she’d heard the voice. Regine swallowed.

“Students.” She tried not to sound nervous; she failed. That was interesting.

“And you are going to teach a class. A full rotation class, every day. Don’t give me shit about your responsibilities, Regine; the world is over. There’s a lot fewer people to manipulate than there used to be.”

Regine nodded. “As you wish it.” The last time she’d heard Luke talk like that, people had died.

A large number of people.

“If you feel that will help.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/676168.html. You can comment here or there.

Giraffe Call So Far: A Summary

The Call

And so far my villainous stories:

What, He’s Got Two Legs (no Verse)
Hard Choices
The Good Fight

Bully for You, Addergoole Yr 15
Dance the Dance, Addergoole Yr 15
Addergoole Microbits
Planning – Regine, and her plans
By the Time Anyone Noticed
Back Around Again

Pirates & Bad People – Space/Accountant

The Church in the Park – Fairy Town

Tangles and Knots – Stranded World
Stranded in Winter

Blame Game – Superheroes and villains.
Bad Dialogue and other Problems – Superheroes and villains.
Through Biology!

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/673050.html. You can comment here or there.

What, He’s Got Two Legs (probably), a story of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call

This is to [personal profile] librarygeek‘s prompt here to my February Giraffe Call.

Faerie Apocalypse has a landing page here, although these are new characters.

Short summary of the setting: there is magic and people who can use magic (modern fantasy, and then post-apoc fantasy after, well, the apoc). The apoc takes place when “returned gods,” powerful fae, come back from Elleheim, “elf-home.”

This is placed somewhere in the middle of the apocalypse.

“I don’t think we can, exactly, call him ‘Old Man Winter.'”

Giselle was feeling argumentative. Of course, Giselle was often feeling argumentative.

Ansel was less interested in the nits and picks of the situation. “I don’t give a fig what we call him – if it’s a him at all. What I want is for him to either cut it out or pick up a shovel.”

“…because he might be a more universal weather- what?” Giselle blinked.

Ansel pulled on his second pair of wool socks. “If he’s determined to layer our city in more snow than it normally sees in a decade, then he ought to come down here and shovel with us.”

“Our city is being besieged by what is very likely a returned god – although the term ‘god’ is, of course, problematic – a returned fae from Elleheim – who is burying the city and surrounding county in feet, feet of snow, and you want him to shovel?”

“Well.” Ansel pulled his boots on and laced them firmly. “I’m from Buffalo, remember? One, Buffalo is being attacked by Czernobog, who’s a bit more destructive than ‘Old Possibly-a-Man Winter’ up there. And two? Feet of snow are normal.”

“So what are you going to do? Walk up to a god and ask him to shovel?”

“He’s got two legs, doesn’t he?”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/669191.html. You can comment here or there.

Dance the Dance

This is to [personal profile] anke‘s prompt here to my February Giraffe Call.

Addergoole, Year 15 – directly after Bully for You.

Addergoole has a landing page here.

“He’s a bully, Kelse. And there’s no reason you should be putting up with bullies again.”


“A bully, what?” Lor looked back at the girl. “Nah, I don’t beat people up. But Kelsey here doesn’t mind bring my food, does he?”

A bully? Really? What were they, in elementary school?

“Cy, you can’t do this. You can’t keep fighting every time anyone is a jerk to me. Remember what happened back in Mayville?”

“You’re not doing your brother any favors, you know, Cy.” Lor leaned back in his chair and grinned. “I mean, who wants to know his little sister had to defend him?”

“I’m two years older than he is!”

“Oh, and that makes it better, hunh? Look, just run along and leave us alone; Kelsey and I are getting along fine.”

“I think there’s something wrong with your hearing, new boy. I said I challenge you.

“She’s well within her rights.” Suddenly the short guy – Luke, that was his name, security, wasn’t he? And the gym teacher. Lor hadn’t broken any rules; he didn’t, usually. “If the woman is going to challenge you, Lor, you can either accept or decline.”

“So I decline.” He shrugged. “I don’t fight girls.”

“Of course you don’t.” He was beginning to get the feeling the gym teacher didn’t like him. “But what did you say? Oh. You’re not going to do yourself any favors if you’re afraid to fight a girl.”

“Nobody’s going to look at me sideways for that. Look at her. She’s tiny.”

“Of course you could beat her. But if you don’t… well, what’s that look like?”

“Shit, you people really want me to fight a girl, don’t you? Okay, I’ve got this.” Lor stretched. “Where and when, little girl?”

“And don’t forget terms.” Luke was so helpful.

“And, sure, what are your terms?” Lor was amused. “This is a pretty silly dance for me to just knock her to the floor, you know.”

“I know. But this is the way we dance, here in Addergoole.”

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A selection of Addergoole microbits for the Giraffe Call

So, I was looking at [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith‘s prompt here, and I asked Twitter for some ideas and then um you ended up with four microficlets.

One is Canon, Two could be, Three Might be, and Four is a definite AU.

All are Addergoole.


Luke was flapping in Regine’s office. Again. She set aside her papers and regarded her crewmate.

“Have you seen the reports?”

“I’ve seen the films.”

“Not those.” She tilted her head at a small pile of mostly-hand-written notes. “Those are from Williamsburg; the stack under them is from the former Washington State. Places whose survival has been smoother because of the presence of Addergoole graduates.”

She gestured at another pile. “These are the fatality figures for one hundred selected areas. Ten of them have active Addergoole graduates.

“Not to mention,” of course, “the survival rates of our graduates vs. that of the general population.”

Luke flapped again, but Regine was unfazed. “We are doing good here, Luca. We continue to do good for the world and for our students.”


“You just have to learn to survive without him. It’s a one-day-at-a-time process, but you can do it.”

The matron was very kind. Keven appreciated her kindness, at the same time as he wanted to rip out her lying tongue. It was quite a contradiction, but, then again, this whole place was a contradiction.

“I’m bound to him.” He’d explained before. He’d explained every day he was in this place. “He’s my Keeper and he owns me. Without his say-so, I can’t just ‘let go.'”

“I know you think that, but it’s just a process of brainwashing that we can reverse. But you have to be willing.”

In the room next door, someone screamed. Keven felt like joining them.


“It’s always better to be honest.”

The Addergoole South project wasn’t an official branch of the school, yet, but there were students they could pull in, and they were hoping for official accreditation soon –

    “It’s always better to be honest” was one of their main tenants, and one they had built right into the walls and the wards of the school.

    “Teacher? I don’t think I should have to learn this. It’s boring and, besides, I’m only going to be a despot when I graduate.”

    “No, Morley. I’m not interested in wearing your collar. You smell like a dead bat.”

    “…and that’s how we’ve set up the breeding program for maximum efficacy and best results. We got the idea out of a science fiction novel…”

– soon. As soon as they had the wrinkles worked out.


Luke burst into the room, wings flaring and sword in his hand. “Put down the girl.”

Angus looked up at the Mara, then back down to his Kept. “…what?”

“Don’t act stupid, boy, you do well enough without acting. Giada, come here, be a good girl. Angus, you’re going to release her now.”

“…but I’m happy.”

“…but I didn’t do anything wrong to her.”

“That’s not what the tapes show. After what you did to her in the shower-“

“You were watching me in the shower?” The tiny girl shoved Luke and darted back to her Keeper. “Angus! Angus, he was watching me. In the shower.

“I’m always watching everyone.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/667301.html. You can comment here or there.

Pirates and Bad People

This is to kelkyag‘s and cluudle‘s prompt here to my February Giraffe Call.

It takes part in my Space Accountant ‘Verse.

Names from Fourteen Minutes’ name generator.

It was easy, when the ship wasn’t raiding, for Genique to forget that she worked for pirates.

It wasn’t even that hard when the ship was raiding, because support staff like Genique were locked into their rooms while the raids happened, for reasons that were entirely unclear but that, to be fair, Genique didn’t look too closely at that lack-of-clarity. Numbers were where she focused.

It was very easy to focus on those numbers. The ship had such a tangle of them, such a jury-rigged bureaucracy, as if they had just picked someone and given them an office and a budget any time a need came up – and, looking at this place, they very likely had done just that.

So, when Genique was meeting withCleonorayen Clyd and a strange man walked in, it did not faze her or strike her as strange – until Clyd was bowing and so Genique was too. Clyd was the First Mate; that meant this had to be-

“Captain Anson.” Clyd rose from her bow.

“Who’s the new girl?” The captain didn’t look like a pirate, although none of them really did. He was clean-shaven, snappily dressed…

“Genique, sir. She’s an accountant.”

“Everyone starts in the Pit. Or in my cabin.”

“Yes, sir, but she’s been helping with the books.”

Everyone starts in the Pit, Mate. Everyone. Send her to the Pit.”

Genique cleared her throat and risked a full glance at the Captain. Ten earrings in one ear, seven in the other; his skin was golden brown under black hair; his eyes were blue like the sky she could barely remember. Jayssey, then, and she was wearing no jewelry at all.

“If this one might be permitted to speak to the Captain?”

“Speak.” He was smiling, and his voice was amused. Good.

“This one has already done time in the Pit.” The Pit-Master had given what he called the short tour, but it had been twenty-four hours she would not forget.


“Yes, sir.”

“Then I guess you’re coming to my cabin.”

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