Tag Archive | prompter: thnidu

Back From Talen Hall

Written to Thnidu’s commissioned continuation of Down to Talen Hall


Do not go by the TalenHall
Where ruined Talen’s Holdings Lie

My sisters dance by Talen Hall
Where ruined Talen’s Holdings lie.
My aunts and cousins, once in thrall,
Sing taunting songs to pale moonlight. 

They were not my sisters, and yet they were.

My sister stood off to the side, an iron firepoker in her hand.  She’d grown while I was gone, and grown again in the time I’d been back.  She was a woman.

I’d been a woman, once.  To the touch of the fae lords and the beings under the hill, I had grown seven years and seven more, seven children and seven grooms.

Seven brides for Seven Brothers, Alicia liked to joke, but only if everyone was on a merry-go-round, playing musical brides.

Alicia’d had a habit of getting her metaphors mixed.  Now, she didn’t say anything at all, just stood at Talen’s Hall and stared.

Seven years and seven again I’d been there – and Alicia, who had gone down at the same time as I had – but my body was exactly as it had been when I’d left.  No sign of the babies.  No sign of two years, or five, or fourteen.  No sign I’d been gone at all.

No sign of my seven brothers, not even of the one I’d loved.  No sign of the rings he’d slipped on my fingers.

Kara stood to the side, grown hard and adult while I lingered in the moonlit lands.  Her iron poker was a guard against those who’d taken us, and against us, all forty-nine of us, who might want to go back.

“You cannot have the ones you took
They are not yours to claim”

That’s what they say she sang.  Some days I want to ask her on whose authority?

“This is our world and not your book.
Give back their pride and shame.”

And I wonder, more than anything, if she knew what she was giving me back.  My Pride.  My Shame: Then their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked.  All of that returned to me.

My children and my loves, gone sealed away in iron.

Do not go by the Talen Hill
Where Jana’s Kara holds the steel. 


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Desmond’s Climb – Professor Smiff

This is written to thnidu‘s donation and request for Desmond from Professor Smiff’s eyes, and comes concurrent with Force and Shields

Telanien Smiff walked around her classroom slowly, looking at all of the newest Blue students. She liked Blue the best, something all of her fellow teachers assumed and nobody would ever ask her about.

This year, Blue had the Last Person Up The Stairs, an honor that they were very quiet about – except in the upperclassmen dorms, where she was certain the Blues were crowing about it. And the student in question was not, to Telanien’s eyes, all that impressive – just another teenage child from one of the poor streets, well-fit into a uniform, presumably by a collar that cared about impressions, that was good, but still out of place here. If this Desmond knew how many of his fellow students were High Street, he’d probably be even more uncomfortable around them. Or around the teachers. Continue reading

Beekeeper – in which pennies are discussed

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which There are Second Thoughts – and Third.


Her eyes were closed. He liked that; it let him watch her face. Her hands were on him like she was trying to pin him down – who was he kidding? She could pin him down without any hands at all – and her expression was somewhere else, somewhere reaching for bliss.

He brushed his lips against hers, then kissed her properly. He was on his back, and she was on top of him and…

He closed his eyes and stopped thinking for a while. She was moving above him and that was, for the moment, all that mattered.

When he opened his eyes, it was to kiss her again. Like this, he could feel the press of her collar against his neck. Her collar. Would it be so bad…?

Not the time to think about such things. He ran his hands up and down her back. He wondered, in a way he hadn’t for a while, what her Change was. He hadn’t Un-Masked for her; wouldn’t have if she had demanded it, might have if she’d asked it. She’d done neither, and her Mask was up, too. He kissed her collarbones, wondering.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she murmured. He grinned at her.

“Pennies, really? Those are pretty valuable now, all that copper.”

For a second, he thought he’d flustered her. Then she stroked his hair – gently, he couldn’t remember anyone being that gentle with him – and smiled.

“So’re your thoughts. Valuable, that is.”

He kissed her, his hand low enough down on her back that it wasn’t holding her and high enough up that she knew what he wanted. And for a while, he didn’t have any thoughts to give, for a penny or for a whole hive of honey.

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Lady Taisiya and her First Husband Discuss – a continuation

after Lady Taisiya’s FIRST Husband – a ficlet, to [personal profile] thnidu’s commissioned continuation.

Taisiya couldn’t stay turned around for long, which was probably best for her pride and self-esteem. She turned back to face the horses before she’d come up with anything to say.

Her husband repeated, very politely, “what do you want, Lady Taisiya?”

The first thing that came to her mind this time was what should I want? That wasn’t, however, the sort of question one asked one’s husband.

She cleared her throat. “I want… to be comfortable in my own home.”

“Well then,” he answered, his voice gentle, “I shall attempt to provide you with that.”

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Didn’t Have it Too Bad – a ficlet of Fae Apoc

Set in Fae Apoc, in the midst of said apoc.

It had appeared as if their city had gotten off easy.

You heard rumors, scattered news reports, stories from refugees:

So-called gods fighting in the skies.

Those deities demanding sacrifices – or people, of land, of food, even of cash.

Whole cities burned to the ground, or locked off with walls that that nobody could enter or exit.

People forced to compete in games until they won or died.

Their city, their “god”, such as she was, sat on the monument in the middle of the town and listened to people.

She asked for leftovers, and people gave them willingly.

She asked for rumors, and there were more than enough people to whisper in her ear.

She asked for a couple buildings to be demolished, to give the park she had chosen more sun. They tore them down, found ways to move the people, and were just glad that she wasn’t fighting monsters in the sky to demolish them herself.

They thought they had it easy.

Well… the rich people, the well-off, the comfortable did.

Eddy stared at the rat. The rat stared back at her.

“Look, I really need that bagel.” It wasn’t the first time she’d had an argument with a rat. There was a reason she’d lost her job. There was a reason she was eating out of dumpsters.

“You might need it, but my Queen needs it more.” The rat was talking back. That was new.

“Are you – are you talking?” She squinted at the rat. “Are you wearing a tiny waistcoat? In need of tailoring, I might add.”

“It’s fine.” The rat straightened its misfitting vest. “I’m talking, of course I am. Are you?”

“I am. At least, I think I am.” She narrowed her eyes at the rat. “Look. I’ll make you a deal. Give me half that bagel, and I’ll fix that vest so it fits you properly. You’ll look nice and dapper when I’m done.”

The rat stared at her for a minute, its whiskers twitching. “You have a deal.”

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In Which the Kissing Continues

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which They Have Nerves.

The kiss was meant to be a promise, but it turned into an invitation. She liked the way he kissed, like he was taking he time with it, tasting her. She liked the way it felt when he put a hand on the center of her back to steady himself.

She twisted the rest of the way around, hands on his shoulders for support. His shoulders were tense; his brow was furrowed. His hands slid down her wet sides to her hips and held her there, delicately, like he was holding an egg, like he was afraid she might break.

She hadn’t lived this long in the end of the world to break easily. She ran her hand up the back of his neck, pulled him to her, and kissed him again. There was nothing delicate about her grip, and from the sound he made, he approved.
Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1267010.html

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Poise-oned, a commissioned continuation

After Poise, to [personal profile] thnidu‘s commissioned continuation.

The question of was I poisoned was not as easy to answer as one might assume.

I did not, say, keel over (that is, turn my bottom over top) and die. But as I said, sometimes someone can poison your mind as well as just your body.

I knew I had what it took. My displays were perfect. My speech sounded unrehearsed and off-the-cuff and covered exactly everything I needed it to with no stuttering or humming or hawing. And the core product was sound. More than sound, it was brilliant and necessary.

But as I walked into that building – chin up, laptop bag in hand, looking like a million bucks and walking like I owned that place – I was secretly terrified. Five people had turned it down. Six of my friends had told me it was a long shot. Seven relatives had laughed in my face. To sum it up: I had been poisoned in my mind. I was ready, or I wanted to be ready, to make this presentation.

But was I ready? The doubts crowded onto the bus with me, shoved for a place in the elevator with me. I looked prepared. I looked proper. I looked prosperous. (Three more words that had no root in common, much to my surprise).

I was terrified.

I made my posture perfect. I smiled sweetly. I swallowed as if to bring more of that potion of poise into my body, into my mind.

I ran over all of my lines. I debated pertinent points sub-vocally. I told myself, once again, that my product was predestined to win this contact.

And in the back of my head, the poison continued to war with the potion. I was poised — but I was tainted by doubt. Two different sorts of weight were pulling at me.

The situation was grave, and it deserved gravity. Yet I found myself giggling. Here I was, pulling in two directions by the same thing — by a potion. By a great weight.

And that, my friends, was the lift I needed. The giggle, the laugh — the joke. By the time I left the elevator I had cut the strings weighing me to the criticism and doubt — if only temporarily, for those strings are very persistent — and I was buoyed up, walking on air, poised but yet no longer poisoned.

But had it even been poison? For if it had not been for that pun, I may not have been smiling, they might not have smiled, and the day might not have been won.

Funny things, potions and words, both.


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Beekeeper bonus interlude: In Which there is a Kiss

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Amrit Explains Something..

She was doing it. She was really doing it. She was…

Her lips touched his and her hand went around his back to steady herself — when had he gotten so tall? Was that part of his power? Magical healing, grow an inch every time he broke a bone?

His lips were chapped, but after a moment, that didn’t matter. His hand found her back and splayed there, fingers leaving five warm places just below her neck.

He kissed like he was going to fuck her, rougher, more intent than anyone she’d kissed in a long time, maybe ever. He kissed like she was the only thing in the world, and, for a few moments, he was the only thing in hers.

She pulled back ruefully only when her toes complained. “You,” she murmured affectionately, “are far too tall.”

“I could be shorter,” he offered. “But I like being tall.”

She chuckled and, much to her surprise, hugged him, arms around his waist, pulling him in as tight as she could. He grunted once and then hugged her back, not loosening his hold until she released hers.

“I think,” she whispered, “I like having you here.”

“I think,” he admitted quietly, “I like being here.”
Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1248891.html

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January By the Numbers Seven: Silly Sausage Sellers (Fiction piece)

January by the numbers continues (just a day off~)!
From [personal profile] thnidu‘s prompt “Seven silly sausage sellers swilling snazzy sodas;” a story of… maybe Things Unspoken?

It had been a good day for Dayuved Yura’s sausage-vending franchise. The central square and the park that ran two blocks south of it had been packed with people; the road in between had been busy with people hurrying back and forth between the two places; the bicycle-taxi peddlers were hungry, too, and snatching sausages in their brief breaks between customers – sometimes, they even stopped with a cab full of people, often meaning the passengers all bought sausages, too.

(Bicycle-taxi peddlers always got a discount at Dayuved Yura’s places, and in these situations, his sellers were instructed to quietly refund the peddler the full price of their sausage under the cover of “giving change,” as long as the passengers bought at least two meals. It kept the peddlers coming to Dayuved’s cards, and not to someone else’s inferior meat-in-a-bun wagons.

Now that the sun had set and the nighttime shift had taken over, Dayuved and his six daytime workers gathered ad Amincob Kote’s soda stand to marvel over the day.

“That dancer-” Dayuved started. “Did you see those feathers?

“Those marchers, with the twirling sticks,” put in his second-in-command. They had the best places in the central square, but today, everyone had been in a good place.

“The heralds,” murmured the most junior seller. “They blew those horns, and it was like everyone was on strings.”

“The woman,” an old man on his fourth job whispered. “She was…”

“Yeah,” everyone murmured. There was little else that needed to be said. But someone, the quiet one, managed anyway.

“Her companions… so shiny. So tall.”

“Who was she?” breathed one of the young ones. But all the old ones shook their heads.

“She sold sausages for us. She made smiles on their faces. She went to the place on the hill. That’s all we know, that’s all we ask.”

“But that’s… that’s silly,” complained the young one again. And the old ones just smiled and sipped their sodas.

“Silly, son, keeps the gold in the cash-box and keeps our heads on our necks. Silly sells sausages.”

“Silly sells sausages,” they all agreed, leaving the young ones feeling that “silly” was some sort of cynical cipher for sensible.

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Pieced, a continuing ficlet of early pre-Arlend

After Shattered, written after [personal profile] thnidu‘s tip.

Having the ghost of a cat following you around was not something to be talked about, certainly not in the current climate.

Having a ghost-cat who could mend things, well, that was nearly worse. Certainly, it would be looked at almost like hoarding, if anyone ever found out that Hannah had been hiding an ability to repair broken goods.

They had so very few goods these days. It had taken almost twenty years to get any sort of manufacturing back online, and, once they had, it had all gone to the war effort. Certainly, those guys next door had something we wanted – as it turned out, they had minerals and metals that didn’t currently exist in the borders of their fractured city-state. Mugs, plates – if you couldn’t scrounge it or make your own from back-yard clay, you were Sure Outta Luck, as Hannah’s mother had liked to say, those times she’d noticed Hannah was listening.

Besides, what if nobody else could see Buster? If she really was going nuts, Hannah didn’t want anyone to know. Some people had, from the fumes, from disease, from – well, they called it Plague, back then, but the only symptom appeared to be closer to the screaming meemees than what was traditionally considered “plague”. Seeing things was enough for some of her neighbors to waste a bullet on her. It might be enough for other, more kindly or more parsimonious, to commit her.

Hannah had seen the inside of the sanitarium once, on a charity visit. She never wanted to see it again.

She went four weeks without anyone finding out. She learned that Buster would, if bribed with petting and sweet words, fix things that had been previously broken, but that he preferred new damage. She learned that the more “made” a thing was – plastic was great, plates made in a factory were wonderful – the better Buster could make it look. He couldn’t – or wouldn’t – fix the apple tree outside when a hailstorm damaged it, but he did fix a wooden spoon she’d left too close to the flame.

She’d just gotten used to the feeling of having the cat in bed with her – he might be twice as large as he had been, but she was a lot bigger than she’d been, too, and they still seemed to fit – when she learned that other people could see him, too. It was early morning, and she was weeding her garden, a hobby Buster liked to “help” with, mostly by batting around the weeds. Usually, nobody was out this early, but today, of course, Lacey from down the street was walking by, head in the clouds and not really paying much attention.

Until she saw Buster. Lacey froze in the middle of the sidewalk, staring. Buster stared back, tail high and proud as anything, never mind that you could still see the tomatoes through him.

Lacey shook her head and walked on, saying nothing. For a brief while, Hannah thought maybe she’d gotten away with it. Lacey hadn’t been right for a long time, but, like Hannah, she stayed just right enough to stay where she was. She wasn’t going to tell stories; any stones she threw could bounce back far too easily on her.

It was all going to be okay, Hannah told herself. You got away with it, she told Buster.

And then one night, after dark, after curfew, they came knocking on her door.

Lacey. Gerald the grocer. Tammy the hunter. Desi the Librarian. All of them, sneaking in, hiding in the shadows. All of them followed by the shadows of animals.

Lacey had a mastiff bigger than a pony. Tammy had a hawk whose wingspan filled the room. Gerald had a badger, which amused Hannah, although she tried to hide it. And Desi had a snake.

“We thought maybe you would,” Lacey admitted. “We thought you were the sort. But you never let on. You never showed anything.”

Gerald snorted. “Didn’t want us to think she was crazy, probably. Same as you. Same as us.”

“So…” Hannah looked around. “What does this mean?”

Gerald laughed. “Damned if I know. Damned if I know,” he repeated slowly. “But I don’t think it’s good.”

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