Tag Archive | prompter: alexseanchai

Mad Kings and Handmaidens

My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is open!

Written to alexseanchai‘s prompt.


The problem with mad kings wasn’t so much the madness part, Iounia thought, as it was the shifting of the madness.

The only sign she’d had that she’d fallen out of favor with the king was a slight shift in his giggle.  If she hadn’t watched Maia be dispensed with the month before after just such a slight shift – and before that Abri, and before that Martia – she might not have known it was time to leave.  

But Iounia was known for her sharp eyes and her attention to detail, which was what had brought her to the mad king’s attention in the first place, what had sat her at his feet as his adviser, and what had led her to stop by Nueva’s room and suggest quietly that she might want to get while the getting was good.

Nueva made long-term plans.  Nueva was really, really good at long-term plans. Dessie was really good at making do with almost nothing.  Between the three of them – because Nueva’s plan had led to grabbing Dessie on the way out – they had gotten out of the palace without a hitch.  They had gotten out of the city without a hitch.

And now, rather to Iounia’s surprise – although she should have seen it coming – they were planning a rebellion.

“Not exactly a rebellion,” Dessie demurred, as they sat in an abandoned barn, cooking rats over a fire.  “More of a housecleaning.  Let the Mad King keep his crown.  We’re just going to – ah.  Work around him.”

“Why let him keep his crown?” Nueva countered.  “Why not let the crown sit on an empty throne?”

“An empty throne invites someone to sit on it.  A madman on the throne invites people to stay away.”

“Let him give orders.”  Iounia understood the plan now.  “And let him believe his orders have been carried out.  Meanwhile, the rest of the country can get on with – well, with being a country.”

Safe in his underground chamber, surrounded by his crowns, the Mad King never did learn that he had fallen out of favor.

Want more?

Turn, Turn, turn

“Everything turns.”

Ce’rilla showed her daughter how to plant the acorn, carefully mounding the soil over it.

“The old world?” Sweetbriar had less patience for greenery than ‘Rilla’s older kids, but she was trying, anyway. “That cracked and turned.”

“The acorn does, too. So that an oak can be born.”

“Are we the oak?”

“That’s the idea. And from us…”

Sweetbriar patted the earth carefully. “Then there’s another acorn?”


This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/875895.html. You can comment here or there.

Butterfly Mind, for the random prompt call

There was a kitten in the road, no, three kittens. And Garnia had to get back to the farm before the sun set, or she’d be in trouble. But there was a wagon rolling down the road, clip-clop and the clouds had been really pretty today but the kittens rarely saw wagons and the thing was clippity-clopping awfully fast and focus, Garnia!

It didn’t work for long, it never worked for long; her mind was like a field of butterflies and there was still a tiny pile of kittens in the road and the wagon clippity-clopping ever closer and kittens she had to get them even if she wasn’t really allowed in the road and…

The wagon-driver slave-raider was never sure quite what happened. One moment he was reaching for the girl, maybe twelve, thirteen years old and the next moment there was a field of butterflies wooshing out of his hand, pushing three tiny kittens ahead of them in an impossible maelstrom.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/874534.html. You can comment here or there.

Seeking Roommate, a ficlet of Stranded World

Written to [personal profile] alexseanchai‘s prompt to my mini-prompt-call on Gender-Funkiness & also serving as an Iconflash for this icon!

“…and this is Add. She? He?” Bishop turned to the person standing next to him, seemingly oblivious to Summer’s embarrassed cringe. You couldn’t just… could you?

Add, who had black eyeliner, black hair, a black lace shirt, and black combat pants, looked thoughtful about the matter, hand on chin. “It’s a full moon, isn’t it?” Add glanced out the window at the sun. “Let’s go with they.”

“Right. They’re looking for a place to stay for the year, and, well, since we’re looking for another roommate or two…”

Summer studied Add. Add, in turn, studied Summer. They had perfect eyebrows, black lipstick, and a sardonic smile that said goth to Summer. “The pronouns aren’t going to be an issue, are they?”

Summer raised her own eyebrows right back. “Pronouns? Bishop hasn’t told you anything at all about us, has he? No. The pronouns aren’t going to be a problem.” She borrowed a smile from Basil, the “you poor dear” one. “We’re theater people, come on. We read Shakespeare.”

“Summm…” Bishop sighed. Summer cringed inwardly. She hadn’t meant to get her hackles up, but it was showing, wasn’t it? She peeked at Add.

Add was… grinning. Well, that was probably good. They really needed to fill that room. “I like her.”

Summer relaxed.

“I like her a lot.

“Not too much, please,” Bishop teased.

Summer had to agree: “the bed’s full enough already.”

Summer & Bishop, along with their girlfriend Melinda, are characters in Stranded World. Their relationship started with this story. Basil is Summer’s theatre friend, who shows up quite frequently.

I am on a quest to write a flash to every one of the icons djinni has drawn for me.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/813828.html. You can comment here or there.

Under the Sea, a story for the Giraffe Call

To [personal profile] alexseanchai‘s prompt

When the war came, she went, not to ground, as so many of her friends and cousins did, but to water, to the sea.

The bombs were falling all around, but she slipped on her seal skin and slid under the water, down where the Leviathan still remembered her, down where her other family, her seal family, still lived. She found the little place she had built, so long ago, where those like her – and those like dolphins and true seals, merfolk and otters – could breathe safe air, deep under the ocean and yet dry and homey. The humans were clever, but none smart enough to find this place.

It was not the first time she had gone to see, and it would likely not be her last. She was, if not eternal, near unto it, and she did not like war at all.

There she stayed, with otters and selkies, seals and merfolk, under the water, while above the rockets fell and the cities burned. They were clever folk, humans, clever at destruction, clever at building it all up to destroy it again. But she was more clever, and she had her refuge from all their brilliant ideas.

The years past, under the sea. Otters and seals, dolphins and merfolk kept her company. The true animals grew old, and died, no matter the magic she used, but the merfolk and the selkies, the naiads and the kelp-dryads, they stayed the same, as she did. Above the sea, the war raged on, and stopped, raged again, and stopped. The humans were clever, and eventually they found peace. Still she waited.

It was safe, under the sea, never too cold and never too warm. It was peaceful under the sea, no war and no armistice, no fighting and no treaties. But the humans were clever and the merfolk and selkies were eternal – but they were not, as things went, so clever.

The humans were clever. And no matter how long she was gone, there was always someone waiting, when she slipped onto the beach. There was always someone who remembered how to steal her skin.

As she pretended to fight against the farmer who had “captured” her, the selkie found herself smiling. It was safe, under the sea. But on the ground things were interesting.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/811835.html. You can comment here or there.

If You Want to Be A Samurai, a continuation of Doomsday for the Giraffe Call

2 continuations were anonymously paid for; this is [personal profile] alexseanchai‘s requested continuation of the “Samurai” thread
Gonna be a Samurai
Gonna Learn how to be a Samurai and
Being a Samurai Takes Work

First Year

“Dancing is a good idea, Austin, Sianna. It teaches balance, rhythm, and a sense of where your body is n relation to your partner.”

It turned out that almost everything was useful to learning how to be a samurai, at least to hear Miss Ascha tell it. But the weird thing was, everything was also useful to learning how to be a dancer, like Sianna – even swords-training – or a teacher, like Ethelwin wanted to be – even the meditation exercises – or even a bounty hunter, which is what Sweetbriar wanted to be this week.

Austin wasn’t sure if Miss Ascha was right; he wasn’t even sure if she was being honest or if she was just encouraging them to learn their math and dancing and meditation. But Professor Inazuma and Principal Doomsday agreed with Miss Ascha, yes. Dancing was useful for being a samurai. Addition and subtraction were useful for being a samurai. And science and history were very very useful.

They were his teachers, and Austin was going to have to listen to them if he wanted to be a samurai.

Second Year

“I don’t see why Sianna and Sweetbriar can’t run with you, Austin. You all need an escort, after all.”

“They’re going to run slow.

“Well, isn’t that the point?” Miss Ascha could sound so reasonable when she was being so stubborn and difficult. “To see the city and understand it?”

“And to run.

“Well, I’ll tell you what. You try it for two weeks, and if it leaves you miserable, then I will come up with another solution. But Ammon is willing to take the time to run with the three of you, and not many on the staff have that time or inclination.”

Austin had run all over his home town alone, before he came here. But he understood that he’d have to follow rules if he wanted to be a samurai. “Yes, Miss Ascha.”

Third Year

“And then the pre-collapse Americans… Yes, Austin?”

“Were they really shipping food all over the world?”

Professor Lily pulled another map down. This one had lines drawn all over it. “Many times they were shipping food to another country, like this, another continent,” she pointed at the map, “and then shipping a very similar food back from that continent. But most Americans in those days didn’t farm. Most people in affluent nations had never seen a farm, much less worked on one, as you have.”

“You’ve worked on a farm?” Sweetbriar had to know that already, didn’t she? But she turned around and stared at him.

“Yeah? Where’d you grow up?”

“Fishing boats.”

It explained a lot about his classmate, but Austin was more interested, right now, in what Professor Lily was talking about. “Didn’t anyone tell them how to do it more reasonably?”

“What sort of authority do you think would have done that, Austin? What sort does it now?”

“Well, whoever runs the town, right?”

From the look on Miss Lily’s face, Austin could tell that he was going to have to be a samurai farmer to make anything work out sensibly.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/799478.html. You can comment here or there.

Where the Stars Went Out, a ficlet of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call

Written to [personal profile] alexseanchai‘s musical prompt, and set in my Fae Apoc verse, round about the apoc.

There was a week where the stars went out, and that may have been the most terrifying week in any of our lives.

Except the Captain, of course, because nothing scares her.

But I’m starting in the wrong place. I do that. The Captain says it’ll be the death of me, though I can’t see how.

The place to start, if you ask me, would be back when the city flooded and they started the lynchings.

I can’t really say I blame them – I mean, the city was flooding, and it was the fault of monsters, if you look at it a certain way.

On the other hand, it wasn’t us that did it, and it was, or had been, our city too. And it’s hard to be sympathetic when there’s hemp around your neck, if you know what I mean.

There were five of us on that platform, all of us suddenly finding our Masks that hid us from humanity not as, well, mask-like as they used to be. Something about the returned gods – but what it meant to us wasn’t godly, unless hemp is sacred now.

Is hemp sacred now? That would suck.

And we were about to – well, probably die, maybe just be really, really uncomfortable. I’m not sure. There was the satyr and the fishie girl, the selkie and banshee and me, and only the gods know if it would’ve killed any of us – and they’re too busy making chaos to share any information.

And up the river comes this ship, this beautiful beautiful boat – I mean ship, it’s a ship – with Maidenhead painted on it, and at the helm was this beautiful kitsune lady.

Ever been rescued from a lynching by a fox girl? I have!

And when she had swashbuckled us all onto her boat, she gave us all an offer: Sail with me, because the land is no longer safe for our kind. Sail with me, and we’ll rule the seven seas.

Well, who can say no to that? (The banshee, that’s who. But that’s okay). We sailed with her (everyone but the banshee…) and it was beautiful and fun.

Until the week where the stars went out…

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/781057.html. You can comment here or there.

And on the next day… a short story of beginnings

I asked for prompts to the theme of genesis. This is [personal profile] alexseanchai‘s result.

“In the beginning of the gods’ creation of the heavens and the earth…” Heressa’s voice was quiet as she read, dropping lower with every word. The children fell quiet, too, until the soft slip of her voice and the crackling of the fire were the only sounds. “The world was ice and steel, empty of life.”

She made the globe with her hands, the shape of the ribs of the world. “And onto the ice and the steel, the gods brought earth, and from the earth, they brought plants, and from the plants, they brought animals.”

“And when the animals and plants had run all over the globe, the gods brought down humans made from the gods’ bone and the gods’ spit, and then they left. And here we have lived, humans on the world of steel, ever since.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/706123.html. You can comment here or there.