Tag Archive | prompter: rix

Outta the Woods Yet?

The big cat had been chasing Pren for heart-rending minutes when she managed to skid into a cave she’d never seen before.  She shimmied through a hole that was barely big enough for her and scooted up into a little ledge area. The cat might wait for hours for her, so she made herself comfortably before she pulled out the flint and steel and lit her torch.

The walls of the cave glittered and shone the way that sometimes a small piece of rock would.  The whole area was smooth, rounded, like she had scooted up from the cave into something even less natural than her tree-house.

On the far side of the room was a lever.  Pren looked at the lever. At least, it was a stick poking out of the wall at an angle.  Her mother had shown her how to use things like that to set traps for animals, when she had been small.  When her mother had been around. It might dump her into a net or drop something on her, although both the floor and ceiling looked sturdy enough in the torchlight.  It might drop something on the cat.

The cat was trying to get up the hole she had slipped through.  One clawed paw batted upwards, bigger than Pren’s foot.

She scooted backwards and pulled the lever.  Even a trap was better than being eaten by a cat.

She fell backwards as the wall opened up, into a brightly and smooth room full of strangers and shining lights.

Continue reading

Present

a story for my New Year’s Prompt Call, which you should go prompt at please, here.

Warning… a wee bit maudlin. 

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The snow had finally melted.  It had been a long winter – slow-starting but then dumping buckets of snow on us all of February and March and most of April.

It was May 5th, and I could finally see all of the grass, or at least the parts that had survived.  I could see, too, my poor bushes, which had not done well but which were, now, trying to put out the buds they normally would have put out in early March.  Continue reading

What’s in the Garden?

Written to Rix-Scaedu’s prompt to my new “WTF?” Prompt Call.  This is definitely a Science! story, complete with the Boss – Liam – and his plucky second-in-command. 

The raid had taken down three scientists working outside the bounds of the law, morality, or common sense, along with seven “assistants”, mostly grad students, who would probably not be charged, as having to find another research position might be punishment enough for anyone.

It had also found several references to “the farm office,” which, once the proper grad student was interrogated, appeared to be an old veterinary clinic sitting in a small farm town half an hour outside the city.

Liam, who had no official government or law-enforcement position, and Cara, who was, on paper, at least, his second-in-command, were along on both trips.  Liam had already recruited the most sensible of the scientists (along with hiring her a lawyer) and the three grad students Cara had hand-picked. Now – now they got to see what the farm office was. Continue reading

Beholden

To an anonymous Leopard (Rix’s) prompt during my Live Writing Wednesday.  I hope I got the prompt right, since I lost it in a chat delete. 

Fae Apoc, probably early post-apoc

🧚🏽

“I owe you one.”

If there were words Uršula less wanted to be saying, she couldn’t think of them.

“Yep, you do.” Continue reading

Turning Leaves

Written to rix_scaedus prompt.  

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The leaves were turning wrong.

When you lived in a wooded area for a while, you got so you could feel the rhythm of autumn. The leaves closest to the road, closest to the prevailing wind, closest to anything that chilled them down, turned first.  The biggest trees turned slower.  The middle of the woods turned slow and last.

But in the forest behind Erato’s house, there was an almost circular place where the leaves had starting turning quickly, almost before the little maple that faced the wind all alone to the west of her house.   Continue reading

Two snippets to Prompts

Otherwise known as: I had to make 444 words on #4thewords to keep up my streak, and I didn’t want to write anything else…

First to @dahob’s prompt here and second to Rix’s prompt here

On some level, it was a fascinating study in closed genetic populations. This little island had been cut off from everything else since the End Wars. The bridges had been blown, the waters had become impassible, and a series of bad explosions of magic meant that most people didn’t even remember that it existed.

If a Finder hadn’t targeted it as holding useful resources, it might have gone another seventy-five years before anyone noticed it was there.

As it was, the island had a small population that seemed entirely to consist of rabbit-Change fae. They were very rabbity, more so than any other rabbit-Changes the team had ever seen. And they were very definitely at war.

As far as the team could tell, the striped-looking rabbit people were fighting with the pointed-like-a-Siamese-cat rabbit people over territory rights on the ruins of the single large town in the center of the island. It had gotten quite violent, from the blood and the bodies and the missing limbs, and they hardly noticed the team’s arrival.

Since the team’s goal was at the side of the island, not the center, they were tempted to just let the rabbit gang war continue, but, seriously, there was too much interesting information to be garnered, so they grabbed one of each and hauled them off to get some information.

By the time they left, they’d identified five of each breed – turned out there were sub-breeds – to kidnap, and had even done a little bit of peace-making in the gang war. There was much more to be had from this tiny island, but they had their own war to fight first.


“Seriously, what are you doing?”

The Mara had purple-red wings and looked to be almost as short as Luke. Male, golden-skinned and golden-haired, they stooped into a dive and landed directly in front of Conrad. “You call this a battle plan?”

Conrad looked the Mara up and down. “I’m sorry, you are…?”

He was in no mood to put up with pureblood bullshit. His wife and kids were half a country away, where he couldn’t protect them, and he was fighting would-be gods with the weapons at hands, which might as well be sticks and stones.

“Piotr, called Catapult. You need better weapons.” The Mara bowed deeply. “Just so happens, I’m a weapon.”

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Stranded Cat

The cat was trailing strands behind itself, so thickly that at first Spring could not see the color of the cat or the shape of it, just a cat-size ball of Strands.

“Did you-”

Her partner snorted. “That’s Ginger Tom. Well, that’s what I call him.”

Spring squinted, and noticed a line from her partner to the cat, no, several, thin but intense.

“Ginger Tom?” she prompted. This was… interesting.

“Well, Anna down the street, she calls him Pumpkin.” He strolled up the hill of his neighborhood as if it were flat. “And then Geordi down there, he calls him Nightmare. And Candid-and-Cariadad, they call him Only Man, and the redhead who won’t tell me her name, she calls him brother.”

Now Spring could make out the cat, a big orange – no surprise – ginger tom. “They all know him?”

“Know him, love him, feed him. you can see it, can’t you?”

“The way he’s connected to the whole neighborhood?” Spring paused. “No, that’s not right. Not quite connected.” She found herself smiling. “Smart cat. I didn’t know they could do that. He’s made himself the neighborhood.”

“Not a mouse or vole in a mile radius.” Her partner was definitely proud. “And he brings the other cats around like a posse, too.” He gestured towards several other cats. “Shares the food. He’s a good cat.”

Watching the strands twisting around the hill, Spring had to agree.

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The Trouble With Chickens…

“The trouble with chickens,” Professor Feltenner had written in her journal, “is that they don’t scale very well. And when they scale up, their instincts do not. They have been domesticated for far too long. What I need is a wild chicken, a chicken who has never been bred for tameness and domesticity. That, then, should be clever enough for what I need.”

Professor Feltenner’s travels into the jungles were the stuff of academic legend. It had become the very morbid joke around the university that if you did not like a student, it was a clever idea to get them to take Feltenner’s classes, because there was a very good chance she would then take them with her on one of her summertime or winter-break expeditions – and then there was a very, very good chance that they would not return.

Professor Feltenner, on the other hand, always returned – even that last time, that fateful trip when she came back with one bedraggled grad student, two smallish cages, and a man named Gorvald she claimed to have found in the middle of the jungle. Since Gorvald’s accent spoke of the Rus and the far-Eastern mountain ranges, everyone at the university raised eyes at that – but Gorvald was good with the things in the cages, and someone needed to be. Gods above knew the poor grad student whimpered every time she saw so much as a feather.

“The trouble with chickens ought to be solved by working with a more pure specimen,” Professor Feltenner wrote in her journal. “Today, Gorvald and I begin the experiment on the junglefowl we have acquired. With luck, working from an enlarged junglefowl pair, we can begin breeding better and juicier meat with a much more sensible bird.”

The junglefowls’ thoughts on that were never properly recorded; once they had dealt with Professor Feltenner, they (with brains that scaled up, it seemed, much better than their domestic counterparts’) opened the doors to the lab and fled, taking several carriage-sized domestic fowl with them. You could hear their cries late at night in the forests near the University, and the professors had a new way to rid themselves of difficult students.

Next: http://www.lynthornealder.com/2017/04/30/the-trouble-with-theories/

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Worldbuilding Month Day 3: The Roots of the Aunt Tree

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it!
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This third one is from [personal profile] rix_scaedu:
If the Family in the Aunt Family occasionally splits off anew Family with a new Aunt, where was the original Family? Is it still there? Is there some Family version of “the old country”?

That’s complicated!

Because sometimes branches die out. It requires at least two sisters, after all (or sometimes in rare occasions, brothers, but that’s, as said, rare, and very frowned on, and such), one of which (again, in most cases), remained unmarried, childless, and near her sister’s family. It requires that unmarried sister to at least have the strength to carry the power, and the family branch to have enough power to invest in her.

Sometimes branches are actually wiped out, but that is a rare occurrence in the modern day.

Let’s see.

The original Family came out of England and Germany, and for a long time (legends notwithstanding) was not nearly as formalized an arrangement as it is in the modern day. When the family that believed itself to be the root family moved to the US, they left behind no other sibling groups, but there were several members of the family who were related, carried the spark, and eventually had children of their own.

Note: Not everyone who has power is related to the Family, but they are a broad and deep family-grove with many scions over, by the point, most of the world.

The “original” family at this point would be considered the one that can trace its ancestry back in an unbroken line of Aunts to the first Aunt in America. That actually is Evangaline’s line. It was an aunt of her line who came up with the ritual that collects the power of an already-psychically-skilled family and concentrates the larger portion of it into one person, allowing the family as a whole to have more power than they would otherwise, and allowing the power to be used and directed for bigger and bigger uses.

That happened prior to coming to the U.S., but it was believed, when they moved, that they had brought their entire family and thus their entire power structure with them.

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January by the Numbers 22: xerographing xanthiums (ficlet)

January by the numbers continues (now seven days off but I’ll get there).

From [personal profile] rix_scaedu‘s prompt “xerographing xenophobic, xanthophyllous xanthiums;” a fiction vignette of sorts.

Did you Know:So I grew up in Rochester, home of Xerox, and I always thought that xerography came from Xerox, and not the other way around… Nope!
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“So, tell me again why exactly we want to photocopy a noxious weed? It’s not exactly pleasant to handle, it’s no fun to look at, it doesn’t taste good, and it’s all over the place.”

“Well, one.” Xavier had his lecture-face on, which was not his most pleasant expression, but Xadrian found that he liked it. “It’s not exactly photocopying. Xerography is just making a reproduction of an image…”

“Right, right. I mean, we could just take pictures and copy that, and it would probably be less unpleasant.” It had fallen to Xadrian to gather the stuff, and even with gloves involved, his hands were not pleased with him. “Wouldn’t that be a lot better?”

“The problem is, as unpleasant as the xanthium is, it has an advantage nothing else on this blasted island does. It’s xanthophyllous.”

“It loves yellow?”

“It makes a yellow pigment. And that may not seem like such an important thing to you at the moment, but the thing is, we don’t have any yellow anywhere else here. Nothing but clothes we brought with us, and those are fading. Not to mention, they protect eyes from ionizing blue and ultraviolet light… anyway, this noxious mess is important.”

“So we’re photocopying it.” The thing was, Xadrian might have been a xenozoologist rather than a xenoherbologist, but he knew what he was talking about. He just loved teasing Xavier. It got him this lovely lecture-face reaction, and sometimes increasingly detailed explanations until Xavier figured out he was being put on. “This nasty thing.”

“We’re dupli – yes. And maybe you should be the one to pull it apart for the duplicator, too. And then you can make the yellow dye we’re going to use, and feed the rest to the chickens, and…”

“Next time I want to play dumb,” Xadrian muttered, “I’ll go bother Xena.”

“She’d have you xerograph the proto-xenops. And those things hate outsiders.” Xavier’s smile was far too pleased with himself. “Now, take your gloves off. You’re going to need your dexterity to get these thorns into the machine.”

Want More?

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