I was picturing Sprucewood Nature Center, by the by, even though it’s not quite… wood-y enough.
The twenty-acre forest had become thick and overgrown in the decade since the world had fallen apart.
Vic remembered it from elementary school field trips, middle school solo explorations, high school one-on-one adventures with just the right second person – or at least the person that had seemed right at the time. Several persons, several times.
Now, you couldn’t step between the trees except at the path, and the path had been blocked with a parked truck. It looked safe. It looked like a good place to hide out.Vic used the back wheel as a step-stool to look over the beast of a vehicle, only to end up looking at the tip of a rifle. Continue reading
If you are new to my Fae Apoc setting, Kai(lani) and Rozen are from my Addergoole series.
This story takes place 50 years past the original story, nearly 40 years after the apocalypse, after the Retirement stories.
Short summary: Rozen, a “big bad wolf” in school at Addergoole, managed to finally piss off Regine, the school’s Director, enough that she mind-controlled him into a Belonging (magical slavery; “Keeping”) and shipped him, literally, to Kailani, her protege, ignorant of or uncaring about the romantic/sexual/violent tension that had existed between those two in school.
Since Kai was growing too old to pretend to be human in her current locale, she chose to go on the road with her new, somewhat violent, companion.
Kailani and Rozen were being followed.
Not exactly followed — more like followed-in-front-of — and not by a person or people. Rozen would have been able to deal with people.
(If he was allowed to, of course. He had no physical collar, because in the places they were travelling, sometimes having a collared person with her would get Kai killed and sometimes it would get him killed and, either way, it was a dangerous luxury. He wondered sometimes if having a physical collar would have helped him get used to the uncomfortable feeling of being on a leash. )
They were being anticipated by rumor and legend, and Rozen didn’t like what they were saying.
He was Masked, of course, and Kai’s disguise was to go back to the way she’d looked at sixteen and seventeen, fresh-faced and not that much like the aging Dean Storm. So when people told them about the midnight-skinned man with white hair and red eyes, he was pretty sure they weren’t seeing his middling-brown skin, hair, and eyes and thinking they were talking about him.
“I swear, Kai, I’ve never been through that town before.” She was frowning, had been frowning since they left the town — in more of a hurry than they normally did, almost enough to bring attention to themselves. “Any of these towns we’ve been through. I—” He shifted. “I stuck to the northwest and, uh, the Lakes, you know that.” Continue reading
The would-be gods came and went, and Damkina gardened.
She had not known, when she was younger, how much damage fighting caused. The last time the gods had been here, she, too, had fought, to hold them off to banish them.
This time she did not fight. She stood by her apprentice’s side and, with the people of the city, she built a garden.
Her boss – her former boss, she supposed, but better to think “once and future” – directed salvage teams to things that ought to be saved. A CEO of a famous business was helping to rearrange housing so that all those refugees who asked for a place could be given it.
Today, as almost every day since they had first held off a would-be godling, a small crowd of people followed her, chanting as she had taught them. Today, as she did every day, she had taken an hour with the strongest voices to show them how to shape the trees and plants to their wishes and not her own.
“Tempero Huamu, Qorawiyay Huamu, Aistrigh Huamu, Quipia Huamu, as Dam-kina Wishes.” Continue reading
“The strands don’t work by logic, Edwin.” His mother gave him that slightly exasperated smile that she had given him so many times it must be automatic, like saying “bless you” when someone sneezed or “you too” when they wished you a good day. “They work by feelings and by intuition, and if you attempt to apply too much logic to them, like any emotion, they’re going to slide away from you.”
“There have to be rules,” he protested, although he knew it was a waste of time. “There has to be some pattern, some way that explains how things work.”
“They work by connections. How does your connection to your aunt work, or to you best buddy? They just work, Edwin. I’m sorry, but it’s the way it is.”
The way it is. He made his escape when she was done lecturing him and hid in his room. There had to be a way. He’d found a book buried in the back of the family library, the sort of thing that nobody ever read, and inside a very boring cover had found descriptions of magic. Continue reading
“Evangaline, what are you doing?”
Evangaline’s Aunt Ramona had a habit of inviting herself in that Eva had not yet broken her of. She blamed her late Aunt Asta, who had found it easier to allow the family to appear to walk all over her than to contradict the pile of aunts and great-aunts, grandmothers, mothers, and sisters (In their family, the men knew better, at least, than to contradict the capital-A Aunt). Aunt Asta had not been gone long enough, and Eva had not established herself well enough, that the family had managed to differentiate between Asta’s bad habits and Eva’s.
On the other hand, she had no interest in listening to that tone for the rest of her life – or at the very least, for the rest of Aunt Ramona’s life.
“I am making a greenhouse on the sunny side of the stable barn,” she answered calmly. Calmly was best. It irritated the older relatives.
“You are – yes, I can see that. The question, Evangaline Jane, is why you are making a greenhouse. Workers! On our property!” Continue reading
There was a cat in the park in the middle of the city.
There were always cats in the park – in all the parks, but in this one, crossed by two paths and so thick with spirits and ghosts, history and legend one could barely move for it, the cats congregated. Continue reading
This is of a series with N is for Nereid, O is for Octopi, R is for Rituals, Linguistic Tricks, and Finish It: Scheffenon but stands alone.
The summer was a hot one, a dry one, and, all over the land, fountains had dried up and every drop of water was hoarded.
The weather was as warm as it ever got on the Northern Sea, and the waters were full of bathers from all over the Empire. It was quite the place to go, Scheffenon, known for its rejuvenative waters, its quiet and attentive, yet non-inquisitive staff, and its beautiful fountains.
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