Tag Archive | prompt: allbingo

The Threat

A story for my Apocalypse Bingo card. 

👹

The monsters were getting closer.

The survivors had created three ragged perimeters around what had been, at one point, Main Street.  They had hung the outside with cold iron.  They’d put mines on the middle perimeter.  And on the inside they’d put up the biggest wooden spikes they could manage. Continue reading

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Find

A story for my Apocalypse Bingo card. 

💥

Therosa had been walking through nothingness for well over a week, and it was beginning to wear on her.

Certainly in a physical sense: unlike most of the places around, the rubble hadn’t been cleared, cars had been left where they stopped, and junk was scattered about.  It was as if the Thing had hit yesterday and not nearly fifteen years ago.

Except the bodies.  Scavengers had pulled out a lot of them, but there were cars with the windows closed and intact remains still inside; there were a few here and there, as if a giant had trampoline-jumped, throwing people up into the air so that they landed willy-nilly.  Some of the buildings had faces pressed against the windows, faces that made Therosa reach for her gun, until she realized they were mummified, gone.

And there was nobody, nobody alive.  There were hardly even animals visible, just the bleached bones of people and of society, crumbled bits of buildings and the long cracked main road she could sometimes see through the rubble.

She kept walking.  She had never gone longer than four days of walking without seeing someone.  Not necessarily friendly someones, but people, living people, and the evidence of their passing.  Where had everyone gone?  Nowhere she had been had everyone died, even if the death rate had been between horrendous and mind-blowing everywhere.

She scavenged a few things here and there, not deviating more than twenty feet from her path.  There had to be people here somewhere.  There had to be something that was going to jump out at her, or shoot her, or-

She was picking up a dropped backpack – a kid’s backpack, pink, with Minnie Mouse.  There, in front of her, mostly covered by an old rug and only visible from this particular angle, was a trapdoor.

She was so going to get shot.  Or worse.

She moved the rug aside and opened the trap door.

A ladder went down into a room she was pretty sure wasn’t supposed to be there, not in what had been labelled as a law office.

She made sure the door closed solidly above her but didn’t lock and put her flashlight on its dimmest setting.  There, the shelf was just out of whack. She moved it aside, wincing every time it made a noise.

And there was a giant vault door, hidden behind a pretty decent curtain.  Heart in her throat, Therosa began to open the door.  If nobody had survived, if nobody had made it down here, there would be viable supplies.  She could live down here.  She could settle down.

The door stuck and jammed in her hand over and over again.  Finally, she went back to the shelf and got a bottle of WD40, which she applied liberally to every possible surface that might need it.  Using a rag to protect her hands, she turned the handle again.  Nobody had opened this thing since the end and probably a few years before that.  Visions of cans and cans of food filled her mind’s ey.

The door swung open.  Therosa found herself face to face with as many people as could physically fit in the narrow corridor in front of her.  The one in the front was ancient-looking; just behind him was a slender teenaged girl and an infant.  They were all pallid; they were all dimly-lit and the light made them look almost green.

“Is it safe to come out?”  The old man’s voice was a croak.  “Is it safe now?  Is the war over?”

💥


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Apocalypse Bingo!

I’m hosting Apocalypse Bingo over on Dreamwidth!

I’m trying something new – this bingo card has ==challenges== to it!  You can be going straight ahead and suddenly turn left!

I will takes prompts/suggestions on any of these that aren’t ==challenges==.  Since I’m hosting, I’m going to try to get a bingo and I’m going to try to take a route that leads me few at least a few challenges.

Come play along!  AllBingo is very friendly and easy to play along to! Continue reading

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Own the Fate

After Fated, for my Fourth Finish It Bingo Card.

At the third adoption agency, Karen acknowledged that her family and the power were definitely getting in her way. Before she called the fourth – they lived near a big enough city, but there was still a limit – she visited her Aunt Becka.

She brought Aunt Becka’s favorite sweet rolls and a fresh box of her favorite tea.

And while they ate rolls and gossiped about the family, she swirled her mug and studied the leaves at the bottom.

Everyone had always told her she had no skill for it, no art. She looked at the leaves and saw a cradle.

“Here, dear.” Aunt Becka reached for the mug, and pulled her fingers back when sparks lit up between them.
“Oh!” She chuckled, sounding more pleased than the old woman had sounded in some time. “So you’ve decided to own it, have you?”

Karen thought about her answer for a moment. You had to be careful; words you said around family had a habit of coming back to bite you a decade later. “I think it’s decided to own me. But that being so, well.
I’m not going to be jerked around by it.”

“Good for you, girl. Good for you. Now, as for that pesky problem you’re having with the family, here, I can show you how to get around it. I do wish you’d come to me quite some time earlier, but they have their ideas, don’t they, and they push them and push them.” She pulled out a small silk bag full of bones and tossed them across the table. “So. You’ve been pushed a bit. Here, there, your mother’s the worst but there’s three other aunts involved and, bless her soul, your great-grandmother. Want to learn how to teach them to mind their own business?”

Karen sighed. “I’m no good at magic. I never have been.”

“Well.” Aunt Becka raised her eyebrows. “And who told you that, mmm?”

“My mother, my grandmother, and Aunt Zelda, Aunt Laurel…”

“Mmm-hrrm. And exactly what do they have to gain by you being good at magic? I know you never wanted this, Karen. I know, sweet child, that you dodged the least quickly. But I’m not dead yet. I have…” She tossed the bones again and contemplated that. “Something like three years, three weeks, and three days left, although that could be Fate messing with me, what with the threes. Anyway. There’s time and enough for us to get you ready.”

“But…” Karen put her face in her hands. “It will let me have a child?”

“It will let you adopt a child. Clever, that. Nobody’s really gone that way again, although there was one, now who was it…”

Aunt Becka liked to play at being senile. Her hair was all grey and wispy and her eyes were often clouded over, her face more wrinkle than skin, but when she looked up at Karen, remembering something in the far past, there was no doubt that she was still all there. “[-]. Now she was a fun one, if her diaries and her sisters’ diaries are to be believed. When her sister passed, she took in all her sisters’ children. And the husband. Now didn’t the grannies fret about that one!”

Karen couldn’t help but smile at her Aunt’s expression. And at the thought of making the grannies fret, if she was being honest. “So it can be done.”

“It can. But first, child, you are going to have to learn. We’re going to start with something simple, the cards. This set is a pretty gentle one.” The box was hand-made and the cards were clearly hand-painted. The family didn’t even play bridge with store-bought cards, much less do divination.

Karen slid the cards out of the box carefully and ran her fingers over the top card, a portrait of a woman who might have been an Aunt, a long time ago. She had that look.

“Now. You’ve done these before, right?”

“Just for play, with practice cards.”

“Then clear your mind, shuffle the deck, and think about – let’s say think about four years from now.”

She’d said she’d be dead in a little over three years. Karen closed her eyes and shuffled, thinking of The Near Future. She focused on amorphous time-coming-up and thought about the way the trees changed in the summer.

The cards seemed to spark under her fingers. She laid out a simple spread in a hurry, because it felt like her hands were on fire, and set the deck to the side. When she opened her eyes, Aunt Becka was staring at the cards.

The spread was sloppy, but that was secondary. The card in the center was a supernova. The card didn’t even exist, as far as Karen knew.

And Death and Luck flanked it, and below it was Growth.

“Well.” Aunt Becka coughed. “The cards like you. That’s going to make everything a little more interesting. Tell me, who exactly said you had no power?”

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Crayon Bingo: Black Coral

My first story for Crayon Bingo! In my Things Unspoken ‘Verse.

The necklace had traveled a very long way, over the course of what Hideria thought was probably nearly a century.

It was gorgeous, as a matter of course; it had been owned by the Dowager Queen of Kelanthia, who was renowned for having excellent taste, and it had been stolen by the Pirate Duchess of the Golden Sea, who had very expensive tastes, if not quite always so excellent.

And it shone from the inside out with a sort of magical glow that only some people – and presumably the Pirate Duchess had been one of them – could see.

It was made of black coral, the sort of thing you never found anywhere outside of the Northern Sea, and the sort of thing that was punishable by death in at least three cities on that sea to remove from its waters.

But not in Scheffenon. No, there was much that was not illegal in Scheffenon, and among those things was the theft – no, Hideria corrected herself, that was judgmental thinking and not what she needed right now – the taking of the corals out of the Northern sea.

She had acquired the piece because it sang to her, and it sang to her because she had the sort of ears that could hear, as her mother had once said. She would have made a very good agent of the empire, but her interests lay elsewhere, and she (and her mother and her mother’s mother) had gone to great lengths to convince the Empire’s service of that.

Getting the necklace had taken her three years. She had broken laws in many cities, bent several Imperial laws and regulations, and ended up on the wrong side of two police forces – but that, in her line of avocation, was nothing all that new. Now she had it; she’d managed to get out of the city she’d taken it from, and she was riding on horse-back because, in her experience, the relay stables were far more understanding about things like “I seem to have misplaced my paperwork” and “My name is Joanna Sea,” that is, “I don’t want to give you a proper name but I’m not going to make you pretend I’m giving you a real name, either.”

Stagecoaches liked their paperwork. The railways pretty much insisted on such things. The relays, however, did a brisk business in providing transportation for people who were, for one definition or another, like Hideria.

The horse under her was worth what she’d paid for it. It moved almost like a machine, smooth and well-oiled and without stopping.

She did her part, whispering the oldest songs in its ears when she stopped to water it, giving it the breaks it needed, patting it down and telling it how lovely it was. And in turn, when she told it she needed more running, right now, it obliged her willingly.

The running was because of some local polizia. She was probably still fine with the Emperor’s agents and sheriffs and soldiers. While she had bent some laws and broken some others – she always bent and broke laws, because the laws weren’t really made for people who did what she did – when it came down to it, she would walk up to the Emperor himself and tell him what she’d done, and have no fear nor shame.

But the polizia, they were a different matter, and so she – and the horse – ran.

When she had to trade the beast in at a way-stable, she thanked it, and patted it down herself, and paid the stable extra. She did not stay in the inn there – too many traceable elements – but in another one, off of her route and out of the jurisdiction of the specific polizia she was concerned with (or who were concerned with her).

While she slept, the necklace sang to her. It told her of the deep, dark sea, and the dark, sharp creatures one might find there. It told her of whole homes and castles under the waters, where one could be Queen, for a price. It told her of cast wealth hidden just under the edges of those underwater cliffs, where if one could hold one’s breath long enough, one could be wealthier than anyone had any right to be.

She woke in the wee hours with the urge to run into the water and fling herself into its depths, and wondered how the Dowager Queen of Kelanthia or the Pirate Duchess of the Golden Sea had managed to stay alive, wearing this thing, holding it.

She stroked its rough edges. “I’m taking you home of my own volition,” she told it softly. “I choose to return you. You needn’t take me under with you.”

The necklace quieted, and she could, for a little while, sleep.

And in the morning, she was on the run again.

The Empire was huge. It spanned the continent and then some, save a couple pockets of resistance that were allowed to continue, likely because they were too far away and too isolated to be properly subjugated. Hideria had a long way to go to get to Scheffenon.

And the necklace sang to her the entire time.

It told her of riches and power. It told her of owning the sun, of climbing to the moon. It sang to her until she muffled it in silk, in burlap, in the most magic-proof box she could find.

Still it sang.

Her riding became more frenzied. She slept only a few hours a night. She hurried, hurried, to bring the necklace to its home, to put it back in the Northern Sea.

Still the necklace sang to her. It told her of bloody death, of violence, of starvation. It told her of riding off of a cliff, of being eaten by a bear, of being captured by the polizia and never released, forgotten in some dank, dark cell somewhere. It told her of being helpless, of being lost, of being nothing.

After a week of riding, she stopped sleeping altogether.

After four days of that, she started seeing things out of the corners of her eyes, monsters and gods and piles of gold.

On the fifth day, she rode into Scheffenon.

She finally understood, but it would do no good for the necklace. She had finally realized what it wanted.

It sang to her of the end of every thing, and she rented a boat and rowed out into the sea. It told her she would drown out here, wanting for gold, wanting for riches. Still she rowed.

It screamed in her ears and she stoppered them with cotton, knowing it would do no good.

Deep, deep into the Northern sea the black coral dropped, and even then she could still hear the singing.

Hideria collapsed in her boat and slept until a fishing scow found her.

“It didn’t want to be returned,” she told the fisherman. “It liked being out in the world. It liked spreading its poison. But now it’s gone.”

The fisherman patted her shoulder, understanding all too well. After all, he’d come of age on the Northern sea. “For now,” he assured her. “It’s gone for now.”

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The FOURTH Finish-It Bingo Card, whee!

I’ll fill this in as time allows from the below list, but this is my [community profile] allbingo card for the “Finish It” challenge… number FOUR.

Arisse and Chress (II) Kidnappers in “Dragons Next Door.” (V) Skill and Dreams. (V) Robbie meets Radar (V) Discovery. (Reiassan)(V) Rin’s parents, and Rin’s father… (III)
Unicorn/Factory – Cleaning House/Observing (V) Tilden: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/525842.html (VI) Clarisse: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/565158.html (IV) The Cat’s Paw. (I) In the Attic. (III) Abrelle: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/480486.html (II)
34 (IV) 17 (V) 7 (I) 28 (IV) 22 (IV) 14 (II)
27 (III) 31 (I) 3 (III) 10 (IV) 33 (III) 36 (VI)
Own the Fate (II) 9 (III) 18 (VI) 16 (IV) 24 (VI) 19 (I)
30 (VI) 12 (VI) 2 (II) 1 (I) 25 (I) 20 (II)

At any point, I may sub out one of these for another suggested one or something else I need to finish.

The numbers (those that remain) correspond to the list below. This was arranged from the [community profile] allbingo public card, your suggestions, and Random.org’s list randomizer.

The Roman numerals are another way of getting a bingo – do, say, all of the (I) instead of a line or a square or such.

see links here – http://aldersprig.livejournal.com/1197753.html

1 Family and Cocoa and/or Warm Visions and Warm Family .
2 Bjorn: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/566245.html
3 Rodegard – and Esedora.
4 Willard: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/543285.html
4 Clarisse: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/565158.html
5 Unicorn/Factory – Cleaning House/Observing
6 Tilden: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/525842.html
7 Daxton and Esha
8 Arisse and Chress
9 Where Do Unicorns Come From?.
10 The Silver Road.
11 Kidnappers in “Dragons Next Door.” (2 votes!)
12 Jin and the hostage situation:
13 The Cat’s Paw.
14 Three Glass Beads, Peacock Blue.
15 In the Attic.
16 You’d Better Watch Out.
17 Road Map To….
18 More Unicorn/Factory:
19 Trash and Treasures.
20 How The Family Does things
21 Rin’s parents, and Rin’s father, and …
22 The Powers that Be.
23 One more From Aunt Family that’s more a vague suggestion than anything actually unfinished: Robbie meets Radar, discussed in comments.
24 Charming.
25 CUmhai : http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/453665.html
26 Abrelle: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/480486.html
27 We met Bianna, but we haven’t seen her since Jin talked to his friends about bringing her up with Jimmy.
28 Legacy Cat.
29 Discovery.
30 The Enemy’s City.
31 Over the Wall
32 Fated.- http://aldersprig.livejournal.com/400317.html
33 Carrying the Spirit.
34 Heroes (and earlier branches).
35 Space accountant
36 Take Me

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Flostam – A continuation of Genique for Finish It Bingo

After Taking Chances, Betting on it, Betting Time, Bunking Arrangements, and Accidental, for my Third Finish It Bingo Card. And this means I’ve finished another card!!.

“One year.” Marsey Wilswoodronny sat down on Genique’s bunk and looked up at her. “How did you win that hand? That was an impossible hand! I knew Darretchon had the Captain, and I knew I had the Red Spear, and you – and you -”

“Declined to be cheated out of a year?” Genique’s cabin had very few amenities; she sat down backwards on the sole chair, leaned on the back of it, and looked at him. “I knew you were cheating with Darretchon. You two both have very good poker faces, but your fingers twitch and his earlobes wiggle. And your signals were very nice, but they weren’t quite as subtle as you thought they were. I find patterns,” she added, to soothe his chagrined look a little. “I’m an accountant. That’s what they have me doing, digging out patterns, putting them back together.”

His look got speculative. “That’s going to ruffle some feathers and make some people worried.”

“I think that’s the idea. First Mate Clyd has been pleased with me so far.”

“And the Captain?” Now he looked worried.

“I don’t think he knows what to do with me quite yet,” she admitted. “Which is more than a little concerning, but it works out well enough. What about you?”

“I’ve been here for years. Volunteered, actually, not conscripted. I do good with this sort of work. But now – now you’ve got a year.”

“POor baby.” She patted his back companionably. “I’ll have to fill out a form, won’t I? This is the most beuracratic pirate ship I’ve ever been on.”

“How many pirate ships have you been on?” He eyed her sidelong.”

“…this one,” she admitted. “So. You were trying to cheat me, and-”

“-it backfired. So now you get a year of me. What are you going to do with me?”

“If we were home, I’d have you cleaning my house and cooking my food and, hrrm, doing my laundry, but-”

“BUt we’re on a pirate ship, and those things, someone already takes care of.” He looked more concerned. She couldn’t say she really blamed him for that.

“What were you going to do with me?”

“Well,” he blushed and looked away.

“Mm. That’s what I thought. So?”

“So?” He shifted backwards. “So, what?”

“So what exactly. What are you still wearing clothes?”

“Oh, no, nooo, that’s not fair.”

“Who said anything about fair, handsome boy? Come on, you agreed to a year. Clothes off.”

“but-” He sulked at her.

She reached over and tapped his forehead. For a Trenciscot boy, that was the equivalent of – he flinched and leaned backwards – slapping him on the face. “Clothes. Off. Come on, now, just think about what you were going to do to me.”

“You can’t…”

“Nope. But I could go out there and tell your friend you backed out of our deal.”

He held up both hands. “All right. You win. I agreed, yeah. Anything, for a year. Is this going to be like the Pit?”

“Oh, I hope not.” She let a small smile cross her lips. “No. Nothing like that. As a matter of fact, I think we’re going to enjoy it. But I’m going to see if I can get a bigger bed, first.”

~~

She looked at Marsey. He looked at her.

“You signed the form,” he shrugged uncomfortably.

“You did, too,” she pointed out.

“You told me to! Remember that part where I agreed to do whatever you said for a year?”

“… Right. So. New clause. If I am doing something you think I’m going to regret, tell me, immediately if possible, soon afterwards otherwise. Can you do that?”

“I can. but.” He looked at the wedding banns, frowned, looked at their new room – bigger bed, at least, and a nicer cabin in a nicer location – and looked back at her. “Do you regret it?”

“Regret what? Not getting caught in the trap you were setting? No. The rest…. well. Look. It appears we can’t have private finances when we’re married, so let me say very clearly – the money you bring in is yours to spend, the money I bring in is mine to spend, and never the twain shall meet. All right?”

“You’re…” He took a moment, staring at her. “You’re bringing money in? In your first year here? What did you do, have blackmail material on the First Mate?”

“No.” She couldn’t help the grim smile that crossed her lips. “I’m an accountant.”

All of that, however, wasn’t answering the actual question. She flopped down on the nicely bigger bed and looked up at the ceiling. Ceilings shipboard were so low. Marsey was not a short man, and his head nearly brushed the ceiling in many places. “No. You’re right. This is a new experience, and as long as it doesn’t delay the amount of time it takes me to get back home, to buy off my contract, no, I don’t really regret it.” She glanced over at him. “You’re a sweet boy… no. I’m sorry, Marsey, that wasn’t fair. You’re a nice person, so far, kind, sweet, and even if you were going to cheat me, you’ve been sticking to your word once it turned out you’d be, well, stuck with it. And you’re gorgeous, that helps.”

He stared at her. SHe wondered if nobody had told him he was gorgeous before.

Not, it seemed he’d gotten stuck before that. “You’re really planning on heading home?”

“I am. I was a kidnapee, you know.”

“Yeah, Basi brought you in. Felt horrible about it for weeks when nobody ransomed you.” He looked around at the things she’d brought over. “You’ve got stuff.”

“Not from spending my salary, though. The silk was from Basi. Some of the other things came from here and there. I’m a really good accountant,” she added, a little proudly. “

“And you’re really good at Flotsam. If we got you playing Flounder, too, you could probably decorate this place nicely.”

She looked at the four crates he’d brought over. “What about you?”

“Mostly stuff I’ve stolen, you know, pirate. Some of it I won in Flotsam and Flounder games.”

“Cheating?”

“Only sometimes, only when the stakes were high. Come _on_, I wasn’t going to…”

“Oh, you might as well not bother lying. It’s going to be a long year if you do.”

He slipped off the bed, and for a moment, she thought she’d offended him. But he was going through the smallest of his crates, the one with a lock on it. “So. We agreed. My things are mine and your things are yours, right?”

“Right. Separate finances.” it was the only way she was ever going to get out of here, especially if he liked to gamble.

“And one year, right? I’m yours – your bound husband – for a year, no matter what?”

“That’s what we agreed to.”

“Then here’s this, for your home fund.” He handed her a gaudy but clearly expensive necklace, the sort often worn by heiresses. “That ought to get you closer. And um. This is because you beat me at cheating at Floatsam.”

The second piece was much less gaudy – it was actually lovely, understated, and matched the red silk of her favorite camisole perfectly. “Marsey…”

“It’s still mine. Both of them. So they’re mine to give.” He smiled up at her. “You’re my first wife. It seems appropriate.”

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Finish It! ~Third~ Bingo Card

I’ll fill this in as time allows from the below list, but this is my [community profile] allbingo card for the “Finish It” challenge… number THREE (ah-ha-ha-ha)

Clarisse (II) B is for Beryl and her Boys (V) Floatsam (V) How The Family Does things (V) Over the Wall (V) Heroes (III)
Where Do Unicorns Come From? (V) Duty (VI) Rumors about the Family (IV) Bianna (I) The Enemy’s City (III) Take Me (II)
Exhaustion (IV) Carrying the Spirit (V) Road Map To…. (I) Bless the Cat (IV) In the Attic(IV) An Argument of Magic (II)
Cumhai & Begley (III) Change (I) Abrelle:
Shifting(III)
Linguistic Tricks (IV) Far Weston (III) You’d Better Watch Out (VI)
Packing (II) 9 (III) Charming (VI) Boy troubles (IV) 24 (VI) 19 (I)
30 (VI) 12 (VI) 2 (II) 1 (I) 25 (I) 20 (II)

working on completed next Partial Finish

At any point, I may sub out one of these for another suggested one or something else I need to finish.

The numbers (those that remain) correspond to the list below. This was arranged from the [community profile] allbingo public card, your suggestions, and Random.org’s list randomizer.

The Roman numerals are another way of getting a bingo – do, say, all of the (I) instead of a line or a square or such.

see links here – http://aldersprig.livejournal.com/1197753.html

The List
1 Mikary: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/507478.html

2 Aetheric Cleansing.
3 Abrelle: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/480486.html
4 Rumors about the Family.

5 Where Do Unicorns Come From?.
6 Duty.

7 Road Map To….
8 Clarisse http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/565158.html

9 The Cat’s Paw.

10 Linguistic Tricks.
11 B is for Beryl and her Boys.
12 Willard: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/543285.html
13 We met Bianna, since Jin talked to his friends about bringing her up with Jimmy.
14 An Argument of Magic.
15 The Enemy’s City.
16 Boy Trouble, which is rather skew from the previous.
17 Carrying the Spirit.

18 Charming.
19 Rin’s parents, and Rin’s father, and …

20 Shahin and Emrys
21 Heroes
22 In the Attic.
23 How The Family Does things.
24 Fifty Years.
25 Space Accountant: A Reason – and Accidental, and bunking arrangements, etc (Genique got Married?)
26 Take Me (which I realize was thwarting then, and I don’t know if it’d be less so now).
27 Cumhai & Begley

28 Bless the Cat.
29 Over the Wall
30 Trash and Treasures.
31 Change.
32 Packing: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/461258.html
33 Far Weston.
34 Exhaustion.
35 Shenanigans. (There are multiple snippets without immediate followups, but it’s mostly all one thread.)
36 You’d Better Watch Out.

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Taking Prompts: Crayon Bingo

Description from [community profile] allbingo:

[The List] is all of the Crayola’s colors past, current, and discontinued from their various products. There is a huge list with examples of the color here.

You may use the prompt however it speaks to you. If it inspires an emotion or the actual color that is up to you and your muse.

Prompt away! As always, prompts in Bingo lines with other prompts are more likely to be used. The ones that have been chosen are the appropriate crayon hex color – except Rainbow, which well…

Purple Pizzazz Sunny Winter Wizard Mummys Tomb Dandelion
Black Coral Dodger Blue Yellow Sunshine Meat Brown Brown
Plum Cherry RAINBOWS Goldenrod Prussian Blue
Smokey Topaz Fuzzy Wuzzy Peach Star Spangled Banner Pine Green
Blue Melon Pearly Purple Banana Mania Robin’s Egg Blue

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Paint Me Blue, a continuation for Finish It Bingo

After <a href=http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/565158.html
>Paint it Blue, for my Third Finish It Bingo Card.
.

For a while – a week, nearly two weeks – Clarisse thought that her Keeper had forgotten the incident.

She was both relieved and annoyed: relieved because it meant that he was not going to pursue some sort of punishment for her mouthiness. He was not, as a rule, the punishing sort, but she was normally not the defiant sort, at least not in a manner he’d recognize. Annoyed because it was important, very important, and he was unfortunately important to her. He should understand her better – or, at least, it would be pleasant if he did.

Two weeks later she came home from her magic class – Yaku, and nobody at all was surprised that she was good with water, were they? – to find him tinkering with a wheelchair. Not her wheelchair; she was in that. This one had wide wheels and a more supporting foot-plate, a smaller profile and a better place for her backpack where she could actually reach it.

“It’s not done yet,” he greeted her. “But I installed a grab bar in the kitchen, too. I know you can hold yourself up for a little while if you have something like that.” He tilted his head at the dorm’s tiny kitchenette where, indeed, he’d run a bar the length of the cabinets. “So.” He set down the wench and looked up at Clarisse. “Who are you?”

“I…” She backed her wheelchair up and looked at him cautiously. “I’m sorry?”

“You said I don’t get to decide who you are.”

So he had remembered. Clarisse nodded cautiously. His expression was giving nothing away.

“So, who are you, then, blue-haired girl?”

Clarisse ran her fingers over the grips of her wheelchair. This was not a direction she’d expected him to take. “I’m not sure yet,” she admitted. “I never expected the mermaid thing.”

“That adds on. It doesn’t change your core. Well…” He frowned. “Sometimes it messes with your brain, Changes. Are you feeling a need to go swimming?”

All the time,” she admitted, before she could stop herself. “Problem is, I can’t swim. No pools where I grew up.”

“That does put a damper in it.” He studied her. “Also, — oh, hrrm.” He shook his head. “Another day. Today is about who you are.”

“Why interested all of a sudden?” She narrowed her eyes at him. “You didn’t care when you jumped me in the hall. Or put a collar on me, or any of that.”

“Hey, I’d been watching you for a while. Problem is, I didn’t realize you were flying false flags. Or maybe I suck at semaphore.”

“Sema… oh.” She snorted. “You mean the blue hair?”

“Usually means ‘pay attention to me’.” He fiddled very pointedly with the wheelchair he was working on, not looking at her.

Clarisse smirked, although he couldn’t see it. “Ah. Mine means, ‘Don’t tell me how to look.’”

“Parents?” Now he looked at her.

“Parents, teachers at my old school, other relatives…” She shrugged. “Grown-ups in general.” A sudden suspicion overtook her. “Shit, you’re not gonna make me dye it back or magic it back, are you?”

He snorted. “I don’t think I’d dare…. But, seriously, no. I liked the blue hair on you when I tracked you down. I like it now. And this isn’t about me, remember? Except me reading you a little wrong.”

“Just a little.” For the first time in weeks, she found herself enjoying herself.

“You still haven’t told me anything about yourself, except by implication. Here, how about I start? Will that help?”

She knew his name and his dinner preferences, but she knew very little else about him, except that he had a temper and did not appear to be a rapist. “Yeah. Yeah, I’d like that.”

“Okay. So.” He sat down on the chair and looked at her. “I was Kept my first year here. Almost everyone is, I think you notice. And they did it the sneaky way, tricked me into it. I’m not great at sneaky, and I decided, well, if we’re all going to play monsters, then we ought to own it.”

“You talked me into it.” His voice had been far more melodic then than it normally was.

“But did I lie to you?”

“Well, you did that singing thing…”

“You got me. But it’s not mind control, it’s not even really emotion control. It’s just sort of a smooth-the-way. Makes you less likely to stab me.”

“Hhnh. That’s only a good power if you’re going to wander around irritating people who want to stab you.” Of course, she wanted to stab him quite frequently, but he’d actually given her an order against that.

“Well, that’s possible. And I can, well, I can do more with it, if I concentrate.” He shrugged. “I just didn’t want to cheat quite that badly.”

“There’s rules to this?” That was the first she’d heard of it.

“Yeah. Outright threat is fine, sneaky is fine, offering protection against bigger monsters is fine. And, to be fair, if that asshole had gotten you, he probably would’ve been a far less fun Keeper than I am.”

Clarisse considered that, trying to be fair. “I don’t think I’d want to see what that ended up looking like.”

“Well, for one.” He touched her hair. “He would probably have wanted you to be who he wanted, instead of who he wanted.”

“But -” she frowned. Something about the way he said it made her wonder. “Could he? Could you?

“That’s… well.” He put his hands on his lap and looked away for a moment. “Starting from the obvious. I can tell you what to wear. I could make you change your hair back. I have the Words for it; I could change your hair, grow it out long if I wanted, even change your skin color, although the teachers would probably get cranky about that. I can tell you what to say and what not to say. I can tell you who to talk to and who not to, when to talk, when to stay quiet. I can tell you what to think, but it’s a dangerous road and careful people don’t do that. Often.”

Clarisse spread her own hands on her lap and frowned at them. “That sounds awful,” she admitted. “But would it change who I was?”

“It didn’t change who I was, but it – well, it changes who people think you are. Sometimes that means the one follows the other, from what I’ve seen.”

“Hnn.” For a moment, she couldn’t look at him. “I don’t think I’d like that.” She hesitated. It didn’t change who I was. “Did you?”

“No. I hated a lot of it, except… well, sometimes she told me not to hate it, and when that was over, I hated that part even more.”

“She?”

“She’s gone now. As things go, she wasn’t bad. She didn’t tell me what to think. She didn’t hurt me. But — she wanted a dress-up doll, so I was a dress-up doll.”

“What do you want?”

“That’s a very good question, isn’t it? I mean, I thought I was getting a loudmouth punk who wanted attention and liked mystery.”

“I like mysteries.” That wasn’t what he meant. “I like people not making assumptions about me. So you… you know, you don’t show much, it gives them less to make up perceptions on.”

“Except the blue hair.”

She sneaked a look at him. He was looking thoughtful. She wasn’t sure what she felt about him being thoughtful.

“Except the blue hair.” She fluffed it. “Got to give them something, or they’ll pester until they find something.”

“They?” He reached out, touched her chair, tugged her closer to him, until their knees were touching. She didn’t like him moving her chair — but, then again, she’d never told him that.

She shrugged. “You know. Other people in school. Teachers, staff. Everyone who looks at you and tried to put you in a box.”

“So you decided you’d give them a box to put you in, and then not give them — me, really — anything else to go on.” His brow furrowed and he touched her knee. It was a light touch, like he was trying to make sure she was there.

“When you put it that way…” When he put it that way, she felt guilty. She shoved the feeling down and snarled. “When you put it that way it ignores that everyone was already trying to put me in their own little box. All I did was give them something to pretend they were working with.”

“And me.” He nodded slowly, not seeming at all offended by her snarl. That was new. So much of this calm, thoughtful thing he was doing were new. “So… if I want to get to know you?”

“I—” she frowned. “I don’t know. I guess you could ask questions. I won’t lie, if you do.”

“Even if it’s uncomfortable?” His hand was still on her knee. It felt like it was burning a hole through her. It felt like he was holding her in his arms and cuddling her.

“Even if it’s uncomfortable.” She snorted at him. “Everything here is, you know.”

“A lot of it is. But — even magic?” He put his other hand on her other knee. The sensation was like fire and ice all at once.

She didn’t back up. She didn’t move his hands. “Magic is a pretty decent consolation prize,” she admitted. “But there’s still this stupid Change and the fact we’re in a dungeon and being a slave and…” She gestured broadly with both hands.

“Yeah.” He nodded with what looked like sympathy. “Yeah, there’s a lot of that. So… something about you.” He considered, as if he was about to ask something major, and then smirked. “What’s your favorite color?”

She smirked right back at him. “Purple.”

To his credit, he didn’t ask about the blue hair. “Mine’s grey.”

“You’re serious? Grey? How goth is that?”

“Well, a little goth, sure, but no, I really like grey.”

“I guess I oughta be glad you’re not dressing me all in grey, then.”

“I try not to do that,” he admits. “Maybe for the dances, but… well.”

“Yeah, well.” She looked down at her legs and sighed. This was notwhat she’d been expecting out of boarding school, magical or not.

He cleared his throat. “Right, so, now that we’ve broken the ice, on to the hard questions. What do you like to do?”

“Do? That’s pretty broad, isn’t it?”

“Well, I’m not going to ask what you want to be when you grow up.” He smiled crookedly at her. “I always hated that question. Now, when I go home, they say ‘what are you going to do with your life?’ instead.”

“Joy.” She cleared her throat. “Well… believe it or not, I liked roller derby. I had to sneak out of the house, of course, but it was awesome when I could…” Her voice caught and she looked away. “Damnit. I didn’t ask for this stupid school or this stupid Change or — or you.

“Hey.” His voice as surprisingly gentle, and his hand on her shoulder was careful. “Hey, can I hug you?”

“You own me,” she pointed out bitterly. “That’s what you said.”

“Yeah, but I can still be polite, can’t I?”

“…sure. Yeah. You can hug me.”

She was expecting something awkward involving a grab of her shoulders. Instead, he scooped her up in his arms and put her on his lap, hugging her tight. “We’ll figure it out. I can’t get you out of here, I can’t make your Change go away, but we’ll… we’ll figure something out, okay?”

“Why are you being so nice to me?” She shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. She asked anyway.

“I guess.” He wrinkled his nose and sighed. “I guess I just needed to be reminded you were a person. Sorry about that.”

“It’s…” It really wasn’t okay, no matter what this place seemed to think was normal. “I forgive you.”

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