Tag Archive | prompter: chanter_greenie

Falling Out Of The Noose

This story is part of the Addergoole: The Original Series backstory/Sidestory

It comes after Loose Ends and Tying Off; if you are following Addergoole: a Ghost Story, Shad and Meesh are Abednego’s older brothers, Eris and Joff’s former Keepers, and all around bad guys.

It is written to chanter_greenie‘s prompt.

🔒

Shadrach had last track of how many times they’d gone through this.  Keeper, Kept, Keeper, Kept.  They went through whole months where they were both as gentle as they knew how, hoping the next month would be kind back to them.  They went through seasons where they were rough, violent, nasty.  He’d almost died at least four times.  He’d almost killed Meshach at least twice.

Once, Professor VanderLinden, Professor Solomon, and Professor Pelletier had taken turns living with them for two months.  It had made those two months very tense, but it hadn’t fixed anything. Continue reading

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Love Meme: Pelletier and Luke

A long time ago

“Don’t mind them.”

The fur-taker looked up to see a man filling her doorway, wings spread, carrying something on a tray. Bowls, mugs – whatever it was, it smelled good.

“Come in,” she offered weakly. The threshold here was so much less than her swamp, so thin she was fairly certain it held only out of courtesy. Even in her little house in the Village, Regine’s magic weighed heavily. In here, in her office…

It was nice of him to pretend, anyway.

“You’re Luca, aren’t you? The Hunting Hawk.”

“And you’re the pelt-taker. Regine said you’re using the name ‘Shira’ here?” He stepped inside and closed the door with his foot.

“It’s close enough.” The Fur-taker wondered if she ought to be worried, but he was not giving off any sense of menace or danger, spread wings or no.

“The others…” He sat down and put the tray between them on a small table. Stew. And tea. “Don’t mind them.”

“You said that already.” Which meant he had more meaning in mind than the words themselves held.

“They’re…” He shrugged. “… Fancy.”

The fur-taker smirked. “And I am not.” She plucked at the hem of her sleeve, a loaned outfit – from Luca here, not from one of the women – and comfortable.

“I’m not, either. But it suits us. They’re not sure about seers. The pure-bloods, they don’t like what they don’t understand.”

The fur-taker smiled her sharp smile, the one that said life is hard. “And they understand so little. But you.” She looked at him, Looked at him, and nodded. “You understand too much. Be ware, Hawk, or it will cripple you.”

It would, she already saw it. But there were paths in which it would free him, too.

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] chanter_greenie‘s first prompt.

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Run Away

Fae Apoc, for my Hurt/Comfort card. After And Your Little Friends Too

Odile didn’t trust this whole set-up.

She’d been outvoted, and Callis and Candace had made very good points. They were hungry, they were dirty, and a couple of them had been sick for weeks. They weren’t in great shape. But it was their shape, the shape they’d picked and built and fought for, tooth and claw and knife and gun. There was nobody to tell them what to do, nobody to take out their anger on them. They might not be safe, but they were, well, safer.

But there was an adult with a van, which set off every alarm Odile had, and he wanted to take them somewhere, which set off even more alarms. She stayed near the back, with the little ones who didn’t trust him, either, and the older ones who were as cautious as she was. There was food, but she wanted to wait, to make sure it wasn’t drugged. There were blankets. Blankets could be a trap. There was a smiling adult, not even as tall as Callis, who looked over every one of the children as if he wanted to collect them all.

“Odie?” A toddler, Jenny, tugged on her sleeve. “Odie, hungry.”

Odile swallowed. Nobody was falling asleep; nobody was falling ill. She scooped Jenny up into her arms, noting that she didn’t weigh enough. Had she been this skinny last time Odile picked her up?
She carried Jenny over to the van. The thermoses were full of warm soup, and the man was dishing it out as if he had no fear for his own hunger.

“Just a little for this little one, please.” Odile made herself smile at the man. She didn’t use names. Most of them didn’t. That’s how strangers got you.

“Of course.” He didn’t question her, didn’t press food on her. He filled a small mug with soup and handed it to Odlie, along with a plastic spoon. “Careful, it’s hot.”

“You heard him, sweetie. Little sips, blow on it first.” She talked Jenny through eating the soup, an eye on the stranger the whole time. She didn’t want to trust him. She didn’t want to trust any of this. But she didn’t want to lose her people, either.

She caught his eye; he hadn’t missed her staring at him. “We can leave whenever we want?”

He hesitated, considering his answer. Odile found that interesting. “There will be a chance every day for you to leave when you want. This place, it’s a secure place, so you’d have to be walked out, but I give you my word, if you want to leave, you’ll be walked out within forty-eight hours.”

Odile’s ears popped. She wrinkled her nose at the sudden change in pressure and looked at the man. He seemed sincere. He seemed careful about his sincerity.

“You’re trying to make sure you don’t, uh, you don’t overpromise, aren’t you?”

“Trust is built slowly.” He looked as if he knew that from experience. “I don’t expect you kids to believe me right away. But if I lie to you, you won’t ever believe me again.”

“Smart man.” Odile sipped a little of the soup in Jenny’s bowl, just one spoonful. “Good cook.”
He smiled, like he recognized the challenge there. “A friend of mine made the food. She’s a very good cook, and I’ll pass along the compliment if you don’t come with us. She’ll be pleased to hear it.”

Odile found herself relaxing. She forced herself to stay strong, stay tense. “Good food, too.” She poked at it. “Fresh vegetables. Some sort of meat in the stock.” She gave Jenny back the bowl and got her settled, all while keeping an eye on the man.

He didn’t seem to mind all the scrutiny. “We have a farm, and a garden. We’re way off the beaten path.”

“And you came looking for us.”

There was a pause. The man was considering his answer very carefully. “I came looking for Callis. He is a, uh, well, we have a school, and it survived the, ah.” His voice twisted and turned bitter for a moment. “The ‘Collapse,’ I guess we’re calling it. The school survived mostly intact, and we have all our records. Callis was on our rolls since the day he was born, and so I, well, came looking for him.”

“You spend a lot of time combing the ruins for legacy students?” She’d heard the term in a movie. He looked impressed… and then he looked tired.

“I’ve spent all summer plucking students from the ruins. And… finding the ones that didn’t make it.” His whole body seemed to sag. “It’s not a fun job, but sometimes I get to save someone.”

“And that’s what this is? Saving us?” She was prickly again, looking for the trap.

He didn’t get defensive. That was interesting. “You’re starving, and many of you are ill. Your hide-out is safe as long as you don’t run into anyone as strong as, say, a grown man. What I can give you — what my place and my friends can give you — is a safe place free of predators, food, and a way to start a garden, clothing, and medical care. Callis bargained for an education, including a practical education, for all of you. I can teach you how to fight, or my son; he works well with women warriors. When Callis is done with school, you can stay, or we can help him and you find a new place, a safe place.”

Odile looked at his face, and at the way his shoulders were held, and at his hands. “You’re serious, aren’t you? Just because this school wants Callis, you’re going to give us all a place to live? I mean, nobody does that. Not without wanting something in return.”

He was still again. “You’re children,” he protested, then shook her head, like he knew that was bullshit. “Okay. Here.” He sat down on the back edge of the van, so he was on eye level with her. “When you’re grown and educated, healthy and fed… I’m going to ask you to help me help other people. Other kids, other people who need help. Lots of ways you can do that — be a doctor, be a soldier, be an arbitrator, someone who helps people figure out disputes. And you’ve got a while to figure that out.”

“Grown-ups don’t do this,” Odlie protested. “They don’t. They just, put you in poxes, put you in, you know, where they want you, what they want you.”

The man frowned at her. “Maybe,” he said carefully, “the world changed enough that some grown-ups do. You figure out what you want to do, all of you, and then you can figure out how you can help me. “

Odile took a breath. “You don’t sound like a grown-up.”

He snorted. “Wouldn’t be the first time I’d heard that. We have a deal?”

“You’re gonna make sure we’re safe fed and educated, all of us, until we’re, what, adults?”

“Call it twenty, as near as we can estimate, for the ones that don’t know.

“–and then help us set up again out, somewhere, in the world?”

“Yep.”

“And, in turn, you want us to help other… uh. other kids?”

“Other runaways,other refugees, other people who need it.”

She’d never said runaway. None of them did. Say that word and the grown-ups knew you didn’t have anyone. But even as she took a step back, he leaned forward, his voice soft.

“I know runaways. I’ve helped them before. Now, I don’t know if your parents survived this ‘Collapse.’ But if you don’t want to go looking for them, I’m not going to, either.”

She hadn’t seen her parents since something like a year before the world ended. Odile swallowed against something stuck in her throat and nodded. “You–” She coughed, clearing her throat. “You have a deal. I can help other kids, no problem.”

“And I can make sure you’re all fed and sheltered.” He stood and stretched, smirking a little bit at himself. “No problem.”

She still didn’t trust this whole set-up, but Odlie was willing to try.

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Grasp the Nettle – a ficlet of Addergoole Yr10 for the Summer Giraffe Call


Written to [personal profile] chanter_greenie‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2

The hallways had been loud and dark all morning. Circia had hidden in her room with her plants and her Biology homework and tried to ignore it. There’d been one time where someone pounded on her door, but she’d shouted “go away,” ignoring the pounding echoing in her head, and nobody else had bothered her.

Now it was nearly dinner time, and Circia found herself both hungry and craving sunlight. Sun was hard to get around here, but if she could make her way to the grotto… Tigg had enjoyed showing her the broad indoor garden, walking her around it, telling her all about the plants. He was a nice guy, if a little too intent on visiting her every day. She wondered if it had been him knocking on her door. Well, he was just going to have to learn about the word “no.”

She hardly noticed the thistles trailing like vines behind her, or the way they wrapped the outside of her door. Somehow, they seemed natural. And, once she had made it into the grotto, it seemed natural that they, like her, would reach up for the sky and the strange indoor sunlight.

When they found her in there, several hours later, Tigg was still complaining of the swelling in his hands. “Isn’t the saying ‘grasp the nettle?’”

Circia barely heard him. Her feet were deep in the dirt and her prickers had all settled into place. The fake sun was warm enough on her face, and she could feel the whole grotto through her vines.

She opened her eyes slowly, to find Professor Valerian, Professor Fridmar, and Tigg staring at her. “I think I’ll stay here for a while,” she informed them sleepily.

The professors, in turn, studied the prickly vines Circia had woven around the carnivorous trees and strange plants that made up the grotto. “Yes. I think you will,” Professor Valerian agreed. Tigg’s whining aside, she thought no-one here would want to grasp this nettle, let alone firmly.

“Poor Regine,” she murmured to Fridmar, as they left Circia to her sun and her dirt. “And poor your students. They do so hate it when they come with natural weaponry.”

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A Chance

Written to [personal profile] chanter_greenie‘s prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

It was not technically a prison. Even if it had been, Aodh did not think he’d mind. He had sunlight and fresh air, a stone house that did not catch fire, and copies of as many books as he wanted to read. He had teachers working with him patiently on his still-unreliable fire powers, and, more importantly, people helping him create Workings that protected his own body from the results of his flames.

He didn’t think he could leave, but Aodh did not mind all that much. He remembered too well what happened when his power got out of control.

Still, when Luke came walking up the lane, Aodh found himself tensing. He resisted the urge to run and hide; there was nowhere he could hide from Luke; there was nowhere he could really hide from anyone, if they really wanted to see him.

Luke was accompanied by three younger-looking men. As they came closer, Aodh saw that one of them was tall, over eight feet. One of them had gills and a green tint to his complexion. The third had a tail, tucked around into his front pocket. All three were carrying large bags and wearing plain black clothing.

“Hey, Aodh. These three would like to talk to you for a few minutes.” Luke stepped back. He wasn’t scowling; he’d been scowling for months. But he wasn’t smiling, either.

The one with the tail stepped forward and offered a seven-fingered hand to shake. “Hey, Aodh, I’m Conrad. I hear you can get pretty hot.”

Aodh shook the hand, a little surprised. Most people didn’t want to talk to him. “I can, uh. Yeah.” He winced. He could melt steel when he focused, but sometimes that meant his control of his protective Workings failed him. “Yeah.”

“We’ve got some monsters we need to kill, and it seems like extreme heat is a big weakness. Think you could help us?” His smile was self-disparaging, but Aodh noted he held himself much like Luke did, and he had a series of scars below his chin, running down under his shirt.

Aodh swallowed. “Is this the, uh.” He didn’t have a TV. Televisions didn’t survive around him. “The… war?”

“Yeah.” Conrad’s smile slipped away. “It is, and we could use all the help we could get.”

Aodh looked down at the ground for a minute. “I could help? Really help?”

“Man,” Conrad admitted, “you might be our only hope.”

It was going to hurt, a lot. But nothing would ever hurt as much as those first few months. “I’ll do it.”

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A Beautiful Friendship

This is written to [personal profile] chanter_greenie‘s commissioned request for more of Zita and Amantia. It comes after most of the events in Addergoole: Year Nine. Thanks to [personal profile] wyste, whose character Zita is, for helping with Zita’s lines.

The sun was bright. Amantia blinked up at it. She remembered what it felt like; she remembered what it looked like, but that had been years ago. She’d never thought she’d live to see a meadow again.

She flopped down into the grass, feeling the prickle of the stalks through her wetsuit. When she’d first gotten sent to the basement, she’d really believed that someone, anyone would come up with a cure for her problem soon – just a week, just a month, just a year. For the last year, she’d really expected to die any minute now. The beasts had been attacking, they were stuck.

Now, she didn’t know. She was out of the basement. She was in the sun. She could – well, she already knew she couldn’t run away, but getting out of the basement was the first step towards any kind of freedom at all. She could do this. Maybe she could even learn how to stop killing people.

A light breeze picked up, brushing over Amantia. She rolled up into a sitting position and smiled. With her arms outstretched, she could pretend she could feel the breeze all over her body.

“That should be enough.” A soft voice barely reached her ears. Amantia stiffened and dropped her arms. She’d been left alone, but she had known she was being supervised. They wouldn’t trust her to be alone here they wouldn’t trust her at all.

Professor Valerian was standing just at the top of a low rise, not looking at Amantia. She looked sad, Amantia thought, and perhaps tired. “Just stay to this side of her to be the safest.”

“And you can’t do anything for her?” She couldn’t see who was talking, but the voice sounded familiar.

“We’re trying.” Professor Valerian’s sigh was a full-body thing. “Please believe me, we are trying. But turning off someone’s innate power and Change is a complicated matter.”

Amantia propped herself up on an elbow. Somebody cared? Was it one of the other basement kids? She hadn’t seen any of them since she was brought out here. She’d heard the list of found survivors – people she knew, people she’d been living with for years – but that was it. If she’d been at all surprised by it, Amantia might have found it depressing. But she’d never been the safest friend to have.

“Not as easy as a glass of milk with breakfast, hrrm?” The second voice sounded amused. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to find out how her poison and mine mix. Although there’s a few people we could practice on…”

“No practicing. I know it’s hard, Zita, but try to be a good influence for once.”

Amantia sat up. Zita? She knew that name!

“No such thing,” Zita responded cheerfully. “But the food is okay?”

“Of course. I’m sure she’ll love your food. I’ll be just over the ridge, out of earshot.”

“Liar.” Zita’s tone didn’t change; she still sounded perky. “You’ll want to hear all of it. I understand.” She stepped up over the rise, carrying a picnic basket.

Amantia stood up. “Hello!” She waved, maybe too enthusiastically. “Hello, Zita!”

Zita’s razor-sharp grin settled into something more amiable. “Hi, you. Amanita, right? I guess you remember me from the mess?”

“It was a mess all right.” She wrinkled her nose. “Do you know, is everyone all right?”

“A lot of people are still in the infirmary.” Zita’s expression sobered. “This is the first time they let anyone come see you. I guess you’re poisonous?”

“Yeah, a little.” She touched the neckline of her wet-suit. “Some sort of poisonous gas. I can’t control it.”

“That’s all right.” Zita’s smile was broad yet somehow non-threatening. “I’m poisonous too. I brought a picnic.” With that apparent non-sequitur, she flopped out a blanket and began laying out foods. “They’ll let me come visit so long as I have a chaperone. And I figure, the more I visit, the more they have to think about The Amantia Problem.” She winked. “Which ought to motivate them nicely. They’re afraid of us, you know,” she added in a conspiratorial whisper. “They think my crew is insane.”

“Oou.” Amantia considered. “Are you?”

“Of course.” Zita popped a cracker-sausage-and-cheese pile into her mouth. After a moment, she explained. “It’s more fun that way. Especially when you’re poisonous.”

Amantia found herself grinning in response. “Sounds wonderful.” She took a few bites of food while she considered. “I could handle being insane and poisonous, especially if I had someone to show me how to do it.”

“That’s me. A good influence all the way.”
The sun was bright. Amantia blinked up at it. She remembered what it felt like; she remembered what it looked like, but that had been years ago. She’d never thought she’d live to see a meadow again.

She flopped down into the grass, feeling the prickle of the stalks through her wetsuit. When she’d first gotten sent to the basement, she’d really believed that someone, anyone would come up with a cure for her problem soon – just a week, just a month, just a year. For the last year, she’d really expected to die any minute now. The beasts had been attacking, they were stuck.

Now, she didn’t know. She was out of the basement. She was in the sun. She could – well, she already knew she couldn’t run away, but getting out of the basement was the first step towards any kind of freedom at all. She could do this. Maybe she could even learn how to stop killing people.

A light breeze picked up, brushing over Amantia. She rolled up into a sitting position and smiled. With her arms outstretched, she could pretend she could feel the breeze all over her body.

“That should be enough.” A soft voice barely reached her ears. Amantia stiffened and dropped her arms. She’d been left alone, but she had known she was being supervised. They wouldn’t trust her to be alone here they wouldn’t trust her at all.

Professor Valerian was standing just at the top of a low rise, not looking at Amantia. She looked sad, Amantia thought, and perhaps tired. “Just stay to this side of her to be the safest.”

“And you can’t do anything for her?” She couldn’t see who was talking, but the voice sounded familiar.

“We’re trying.” Professor Valerian’s sigh was a full-body thing. “Please believe me, we are trying. But turning off someone’s innate power and Change is a complicated matter.”

Amantia propped herself up on an elbow. Somebody cared? Was it one of the other basement kids? She hadn’t seen any of them since she was brought out here. She’d heard the list of found survivors – people she knew, people she’d been living with for years – but that was it. If she’d been at all surprised by it, Amantia might have found it depressing. But she’d never been the safest friend to have.

“Not as easy as a glass of milk with breakfast, hrrm?” The second voice sounded amused. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to find out how her poison and mine mix. Although there’s a few people we could practice on…”

“No practicing. I know it’s hard, Zita, but try to be a good influence for once.”

Amantia sat up. Zita? She knew that name!

“No such thing,” Zita responded cheerfully. “But the food is okay?”

“Of course. I’m sure she’ll love your food. I’ll be just over the ridge, out of earshot.”

“Liar.” Zita’s tone didn’t change; she still sounded perky. “You’ll want to hear all of it. I understand.” She stepped up over the rise, carrying a picnic basket.

Amantia stood up. “Hello!” She waved, maybe too enthusiastically. “Hello, Zita!”

Zita’s razor-sharp grin settled into something more amiable. “Hi, you. Amanita, right? I guess you remember me from the mess?”

“It was a mess all right.” She wrinkled her nose. “Do you know, is everyone all right?”

“A lot of people are still in the infirmary.” Zita’s expression sobered. “This is the first time they let anyone come see you. I guess you’re poisonous?”

“Yeah, a little.” She touched the neckline of her wet-suit. “Some sort of poisonous gas. I can’t control it.”

“That’s all right.” Zita’s smile was broad yet somehow non-threatening. “I’m poisonous too. I brought a picnic.” With that apparent non-sequitur, she flopped out a blanket and began laying out foods. “They’ll let me come visit so long as I have a chaperone. And I figure, the more I visit, the more they have to think about The Amantia Problem.” She winked. “Which ought to motivate them nicely. They’re afraid of us, you know,” she added in a conspiratorial whisper. “They think my crew is insane.”

“Oou.” Amantia considered. “Are you?”

“Of course.” Zita popped a cracker-sausage-and-cheese pile into her mouth. After a moment, she explained. “It’s more fun that way. Especially when you’re poisonous.”

Amantia found herself grinning in response. “Sounds wonderful.” She took a few bites of food while she considered. “I could handle being insane and poisonous, especially if I had someone to show me how to do it.”

“That’s me. A good influence all the way.”

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Linguistic Tricks, a story for the Giraffe Call

This is a sibling piece with N is for Nereid, O is for Octopi, and P is for Poinsettias, and follows after R is for Rituals.

It is set in the Things Unspoken ‘verse, and was written to [personal profile] chanter_greenie‘s prompt here to the current Giraffe Call.

Eliška Konvalinka had been in Scheffenon for less than a month, and already she found herself learning a new language.

One of the key skills looked for in potential Informers – next to a keen eye for detail and a flawless memory – was a good ear for languages and dialects. Eliška’s primary linguistic family was the West Torvaldic, of which Cornesc, the language spoken in Scheffenon, was a key example. That was one of the reasons the Informers had placed her here. In three days, she was speaking Cornesc, if not like a native, then like a long-time visitor.

And it was once that she had Cornesc firmly settled in her mind and on her tongue that Eliška began to hear another language.

A large portion of the Informers’ job was to mingle, to shop and to listen. Informers did not have servants run errands for them, although sometimes they dressed in the garb of the Informers’ Embassy to run those errands. Informers listened, and they learned.

And what Eliška was listening to was a small but notable minority of Scheffenon who were speaking in an utterly different language. Not a different dialect – this language was not even of the same family as Cornesc. The r’s were rolled in a way that only the far-Western languages did, and the s’s were soft and susserated, the consonants languid.

It took Eliška a week to place the speakers – not all of the speakers, but the ones who spoke it the most languidly, with the smoothest trilled r’s. The men wore elaborate head-scarves, while the women went bare-headed, their hair parted three times. The women wore small sheathed knives on necklaces; the man wore very loose pants. And they all averted their eyes from the mermaid fountains and octopus murals that were splashed all over Scheffenon.

Eliška was fascinated. She made notes in her logs; she added a paragraph to the teaching poem of Scheffenon. And she began to listen in earnest to this new language, so strange in the harsh-consonants lands of the West Torvaldic linguistic family.



If you want more, Eliška’s story has plenty more coming! Drop a tip in the tip pack below.

Giraffe Call rates apply: $1/100 words.

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