Tag Archive | scrounginghistory

Trusting in History, a finale of Fae Apoc for the Jan. Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

Scrounging for History (LJ)
Digging through History (LJ)
Delving in History (LJ)
Bringing Home History (LJ)
Singing down History (LJ)
Learning of History (LJ
Getting over History (LJ)
Making New History (LJ)
Part 7.5 of 7.5

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

The Nightwalker led them through the ruins of the city, her tail swishing, her whole body leaned forward. “There’s a few,” she told them, “places that never got touched, places that are almost whole, even now. There’s a few that look whole, that are traps. And there’s gardens, still growing. My gardens, now.” She ducked, almost a bow, almost an apology. “Our gardens?”

“You called us correctly,” Dor replied. He was still angry, still distrusting her. Karida couldn’t blame her. “We are scroungers. We don’t plant gardens.”

“Then whose gardens will they be? If we go… you could stay here, you three and the girl, and teach me. You could stay here, and I could feed you. Show you everything I know of this place.”

She turned to look at them, a hungry look on her face, a smile that told Karida that something was seriously wrong. “And if the land betrays you, then, I have not betrayed nor hurt you, have I?”

That was all the warning they had. Karida felt the place the road below their feet would collapse as the witch said that, felt it and threw Amalie out of danger, into Dor so they both fell clear, even as under her the ground collapsed dropping her into a sinkhole, dropping her down, down, down. She twisted, trying to find up from down, trying to land on her feet, and caught her head on something hard and metal.

She lost consciousness still falling, and never felt the impact.


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Making new History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Jan. Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

Scrounging for History (LJ)
Digging through History (LJ)
Delving in History (LJ)
Bringing Home History (LJ)
Singing down History (LJ)
Learning of History (LJ
Getting over History (LJ)

Part 7 of 7.5

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

“That’s a harsh chance to ask us to take.”

Karida stared down into the pit at the witch, Amalie, Fiery, and Dor hovering nearby, Amalie’s song seeming to hang in the air. The witch stared back up at them, the hope leaving her face.

“So leave me here. Leave me in this pit,” she spat bitterly. “Leave me like everyone else has.”

“Talk like that and I will,” Karida snapped. She didn’t want to, though… but her company’s safety was at stake. “What do you know of what you are?”

“Freak. Monster.” She sat down hard on a pipe, her tail lashing. “I know I can purify water, purify food. I know this happened when I turned seventeen. And I know I don’t get older.”

“Have you ever made someone a promise?”

The witch thought about that one for a moment. “No. Yes. Yes, that I would keep their water clean if they didn’t attack me.” She hissed softly. “And then… then I could not stop. I couldn’t stop helping them, even when they took everything from me. Not until that kid threw a rock at me. I… I see.”

“You’re smart, good. Promise that you mean no harm to us or our company, that you will not betray us, and we will take you with us, and teach you.”

“That’s a lot to ask.”

“This is my family we’re talking about. And you’ve already attacked us once.”

The woman’s tail twitched, and she looked down at her fingers, at a broken claw, at her ragged clothing. “How did you get to learn what you were, to use it? How come you have clean clothes and family, when I have nothing?”

“Just lucky, I guess,” Dor answered, the spite out of his voice. “But you have a lot of life ahead of you. You can have all that, too.”

“Guys,” Amalie interrupted, “we still haven’t found anything to bring back to the company. Not enough, at least. We need to move on…” She hummed quietly. “We need to find the feast/to twist ‘way from the beast/to bring to large and least/to give to each, to each.”

The witch looked up at them. “I can help with that,” she said, with the faintest hint of a smile. “I can help you bring something to your company. If you let me out. And I can help you avoid the real monsters. The beast. I know this city. I’ve been living here for… for a long time.”

“Swear it,” Dor said sharply. “Swear that you mean us no harm.”

The witch sighed. “I, once-called-Sana, swear that I will do no harm to you four, to your company, to your family, unless you first harm me. I swear I will not betray you, if you let me out of this pit.”

“Good enough?” Dor asked.

Amalie frowned, humming. “I… Family and kin/under the skin/buyer beware/move forth with care?”

“Tricky,” Karida sighed. “We may have to try something else, but for now we can simply be careful. Once-called-Sana, what do we call you now?”

“They call me witch,” the woman answered, as Dor made stairs down to her. “I call myself Nightwalker.”

Next: Trusting in History (LJ)

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Getting Over History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Jan. Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

Scrounging for History (LJ)
Digging through History (LJ)
Delving in History (LJ)
Bringing Home History (LJ)
Singing down History (LJ)
Learning of History (LJ

Part 6 of 7
Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

The witch at the bottom of the pit, the monster-thing that was maybe not a monster at all, looked up at them uncertainly.

“Why would you care?” she repeated. “Why would anyone care?”

“Why care?” Fiery echoed, her bound hands going to smooth her own ragged hair uncertainly. “Families don’t.”

The witch nodded in agreement. “What she said. The people who knew me threw me out. The people who knew that one threw her out. Why would your people be any different?”

Karida sat down on the edge of the pit and dropped her Mask. Her extra-large feet and long, thick tail dangled over the edge. “We just fought you with Workings and magic. What made you think we weren’t the same as you?”

The woman blinked at her, the question obviously taking her completely by surprise. “How… What…?”

“How?” Fiery repeated. “HOW?” she demanded, urgently.

“We will teach you,” Amalie soothed the girl. “We will…” She hummed quietly, and then continued, “bring you, teach you, wash you, show you, sing you, reach you, wash you know you. Teach you, reach you, show you, know you; bring you, sing you, Bring you home too.”

The girl nodded uncertainly; Karida couldn’t blame her. That had been one of Amalie’s sillier ditties.

Down below her feet, the witch keened. “And me?” she groaned. “Would you leave me here, ignorant?”

“You know something,” Karida pointed out. “You could help Fiery’s people.”

“Not like you do. Not like,” she gestured at the stairs. “That sort of thing.”

“So suddenly scrounger trash has something you want?” Dor was, to put it mildly, cranky. Karida couldn’t really bring herself to blame him. “After you attacked us?”

“Humans have been using and hunting me for decades. They’ll do the same to your little captive there. It’s what they do, when their blood turns sour.”

“But you knew we weren’t from your village, if you knew we were ‘trash scroungers,” Dor grumbled.

“And? You with your girl there in ropes, do you think others of your kind haven’t done the same? Slavers, people-takers, food-stealers all of you. I don’t want to be stolen.”

“But you want to be rescued and taught?” Karida asked, caught up in the narrative.

“I don’t want to be left in a pit! If you’ll teach her, why not teach me, too?”

Amalie was frowning now, humming her tune slowly, as if she couldn’t quite get it to go properly. “Viper in the nest,” she murmured, “kitten at the breast, Wildfire in the hearth, candle burning bright thenceforth.”

Karida took that all in. “So she’ll either be fiercely loyal or betray us utterly.” She looked down at the witch. “That is a harsh chance to ask us to take, with our whole company at stake.”

Next: Making New History (LJ)

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/281124.html. You can comment here or there.

Learning of History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

Scrounging for History (LJ)
Digging through History (LJ)
Delving in History (LJ) and
Bringing Home History (LJ)
Singing down History (LJ)

Part 5 of ~7.5
Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

Karida let out a whoop as the creature they were fighting landed in a puff of dirt and dust, and then a quiet whimper as the sight of blood and, worse, bone caught her eye. “Shit,” she moaned, and stepped back. She didn’t want to faint into the pit. Dropping yourself on your enemy was a poor tactic.

“Got you,” Amalie murmured. “Here we go. Jasfe tlactl Karida,” she murmured, and sang the rest, “jasfe tlacatl Karida-my-kin, jafse tlacatl βραχίων.”

“Jasfe,” their captive murmured, and the air rang. “Jasfe tlactl?”

“That’s it,” Amalie hummed happily. “There you go, Karida, good as new. And seems our new sister is a healer.”

“Wonderful.” She flexed the healed arm and muttered a quick repair on the sleeve, as well; she wasn’t that good at those Words, but good enough to not have the cloth flapping around. “So we have something in the pit, do we? Dor?”

“I’m working on it. There’s some pretty impressive invisibility Workings going on. I didn’t know monsters could work.”

“Some monsters snarl/ and some monsters hiss,” Amalie hummed, “Some monsters know/the way the world is.”

“That’s one of Mom’s,” Dor complained, and then, with an oof, sat down on the edge of the pit. “Come look.”

“Coming.” The four of them looked over the edge of the pit together, at the image Dor was slowly forcing into existence. Foot-long claws. Tusks, like some sort of goblin in the old stories. A long tail like a dragon, lashing back and forth angrily. Hooves like a goat.

Fiery was the first to speak. “Witch,” she grunted. “Witch-woam.”

“Witch,” Amalie hummed, getting the feel of the song. “Tell me again, Fiery-sister?”

“Witch-woam,” the girl repeated. “Sundown.”

“Sundown,” Amalie repeated. “There we go. The witch, they said, lived in the dusk/ the witch they need but cannot trust./The witch who brought their water clear/ the witch who kept their lives so dear.”

“Nasty people,” Karida swore. The creature in the pit was, fangs and tail and hooves aside, a woman. A witch, perhaps, an Ellehemaei. But was she monster or foe? “They traded services with her?”

“That’s the tune that’s singing to me,” Amalie confirmed. “Sundown, you better beware/If I find you’ve been sneaking ’round my back stair… Mmm. I see.”

In the pit, the witch hissed and snarled.

“Some monsters hiss?” Dor offered. “If she was doing Workings for them, she can’t be feral.”

“And probably isn’t a monster.” Karida looked down into the pit. “If you don’t fight us, we won’t fight you. We aren’t looking for a war.”

“Nasty humans,” the witch-creature spat. “Let me out.”

“Human?” Dor laughed. “No more than you are.” He muttered the beginnings of a working, shaping stairs into the pit. “Did they kick you out, the way they kicked Fiery out?”

“What do you care, scrounger trash, trash-scrounger?”

He stopped the Working, stairs stepping down but ending above the woman’s reach. “If you don’t care, then I don’t either,” he answered tightly. “But it seems the sort of thing that our company might take note of… scrounger trash or no.”

Getting Over History (LJ)

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/266959.html. You can comment here or there.

Singing down History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

Scrounging for History (LJ)
Digging through History (LJ)
Delving in History (LJ) and
Bringing Home History (LJ)

Part 4 of ~7.5
Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

The rope seemed rather superfluous, but Karida didn’t want to risk their new… sister… wandering off, so she finished the ritual, giving the girl a little more water and then binding her wrists in front of her, leaving the end of the rope as a leash.

Fiery didn’t even fight the rope, looking at it with an expression Karida thought might be resignation. “Show us what you know of this place?” she asked, to take their minds off of that.

The girl nodded, and looked around for a moment, orienting herself, maybe. Or buying time. Amalie hummed softly, getting the thread of the song back. “This changes the tune. It adds…” she hummed for a moment more, and then sang a quick scale of nonsense sounds. “Ah. A minor note.”

“Sounds like there ought to be a thudding drumbeat,” Dor commented. “Maybe just the walking? Ba-bum, ba-bum.”

“Ba-bum,” Fiery smiled, thudding a beat on her thighs, da-da-da-DUM.

Let them sing the trip. Someone had to actually MAKE the trip for the song to finish. Smiling in exasperation, Karida started walking again.

The buildings nearby were in bad shape, fallen in, collapsed. She went past three without entering, because her sense told her they were death traps, empty of anything useful and full of rotting boards.

Behind her, her little party followed, humming and singing as if they were on parade, Amalia holding Fiery’s lead. They turned down what had to be a road, between the wrecks of two homes, and then down another road, while the music evolved and trailed behind them.

The song, as far as Karida could tell, had taken a detour into their captive’s life, or at least what little she was capable of telling them so far.

“‘Monster,’ they said, who had eyes but no sight,
“‘Monster!’ They threw their kin to the night.
“‘Monster,’ no beast, just a girl with a gift,
“‘Monster,’ their child, set loose and adrift.”

“Monster,” Karida snapped, as her sense told her something was coming, something that had gotten nearly up on her without her knowing. Too big to be a human, too silent to be a normal creature.

“Kar…” Amalie complained, but Karida didn’t have time for that.

“‘Ware danger,” she repeated, reaching out her sense. The damn thing was invisible, wasn’t it, and there it was, almost on top of them and she could smell its breath, like carrion rotting. “There’s a monster.” She swung with her stick and connected, landing on something tender, from the sounds of things. “Dor!”

“On it.” Dor muttered and then yelled, pressing his hands and his power towards the monster, guided by Karida’s swings and the solid thunking noises they made. Something caught her arm, raking a long cut through her sleeve and into her skin, burning and going numb all at once.

She shifted her grip to her other hand, cursing softly, and kept swinging. Any moment now…

“And thud,” Amalie sang with joy, and the ground under the monster opened up in a pit.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/262108.html. You can comment here or there.

Bringing Home History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

Scrounging for History (LJ)
Digging through History (LJ)
Delving in History (LJ)

Part 3 of ~7.5
Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

At least they knew what to do. Karida nodded to Dor, who began plundering the area quickly.

“My home,” the girl hissed. “Go ‘way.”

“No, it’s not,” Karida answered gently. “There’s not even a blanket. You may have been scrounging here, same as us, but you don’t live here.”

“My home,” she repeated stubbornly. Karida reached out again, but she could find nothing like a nest. Even the most feral of humans made nests.

“No,” she shook her head, and carefully took the girl’s wrists. They were thin and bony, with a bit of firm muscle under the skin. “Do you have a tribe? A village, a town, a family, a people?” She stopped, because with every word, the girl flinched.

“No,” she whimpered. “Did…”

“Aah.” A sole survivor, perhaps, a runaway? Karida lead her gently back into the basement, and from there up the stairs. “Where were your people?”

The girl’s words seemed to be coming more smoothly as she kept at it. “To south,” she gestured.

“In the towers?” Those were giant buildings. They could house a whole colony in one of those, and never need to split up again.

“No, no. No!” She almost shouted the last, pulling at Karida’s grip on her wrists. “No.” Her shoulders slumped. “Further.”

“Not the towers. Okay.” Those would need investigating, probably by the whole company. “Why… oh.”

The girl folded in on herself at they reached the sunlight, but nothing could hide the finely-pointed ears sticking out of her hair, or the faintly golden shimmer of her skin. “They threw you out?” she guessed.

“Guh,” the girl sobbed, pulling her knees to her chin. How long has she been on her own? Well, she wasn’t any longer. Dor had followed them out of the hole; he handed her a length of rope now, and a small bit of bread, and their canteen.

Karida knelt down. “It’s all right. What’s your name?”

“Fiery,” she managed, still flinching down as small as she could get.

“Okay, Fiery. You know this area pretty well?”

“Little.” She was talking into her knees, but it wasn’t the first time Karida had interpreted, and, behind them, Amalie was humming quietly, helping.

“Then here.” She pressed canteen and bread into the girl’s hands. “Eat. Drink. We will feed you and give you water. We will protect you.” And clean her up. “And you will guide us around this place.”

Fiery nodded, and nibbled at the food cautiously, washing it down with long gulps of water. “I can,” she agreed, her mouth full. “Protect?” Her pointed ears perked up at that.

“Protect you,” Dor agreed. He sat down to the other side of the girl, one hand on her shoulders. “Like you were our own.”

“And teach you,” Amalie offered, working it into her tune. “Like a little sister.”

“Like a sister,” Karida agreed. It would remain to see how many words the girl could learn, but that one, it was clear she knew.

“Sister.” She ducked her head to hide a smile. “Yes.”

Continued in Singing down History (LJ)

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Delving in History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

For The [personal profile] inventrix‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of Scrounging for History (LJ), and Digging through History (<a
href=”http://aldersprig.livejournal.com/391242.html”>LJ) Part 2 of… probably 7.5

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

The stairs seemed to go on forever. Karida hated places like this, going into the dark, not knowing quite what was there. She couldn’t imagine doing it “blind,” like a normal human, not knowing if the stair under you would crack or not, not knowing where the walls were. She couldn’t imagine doing it at all if she didn’t know if something lurked in the corners. Not knowing what was lurking was hard enough, nightmare enough.

She hit the bottom of the stairs, reaching for her senses to reassure her that Dor was right behind her, Amalie up at the top looking out, or at least there, if not actually watching. And the something was still there, hiding in the back corner. Waiting for them? Aware of their presence at all? She did not have the Words to know, and Amalie’s Workings were too unreliable (like everything about her, except her song). She kept walking, feeling her way, avoiding the detritus on the floor and sweeping what she could out of the way for Dor.

They were not silent. There was no point in silence, and much more point in being safe. They could trip and fall in stealth, and then both their quiet and their tactical position would be ruined. So instead, they moved forward, hoping it was a wild animal, hoping to spook it out instead of spooking it into attacking them.

Three more steps. Four. The something in the back corner hadn’t moved. “Light,” she murmured to Dor, and he lit the lamp with its small share of oil. A door hung half-off its hinges, a small room defined by broken walls, one hung with pegs. Anything that had hung on the pegs had long since been taken, except one tiny wrench hiding in a corner. Karida pocketed that, pocketed the three remaining pegs, and pushed aside the broken door.

It had been – she wasn’t sure. The ancients had rooms for things she, wagon-born and raised, could hardly imagine. Maybe a storage room? Half-broken crates lined the walls, a few of them, near the bottom, looking intact. They would deal with those later. Hiding, nearly in the crates, in the back corner….

The thing hissed and jumped out at them as Dor swung the light towards Karida’s gesture. Thing, no, not a thing, “flat, Dor, flat,” she called, and tried to take the small woman down with her staff. Two quick thumps to non-vital parts, a third and fourth from the flat of Dor’s wakizashi, and their attacker lay sprawled whimpering at their feet.

“Do you think she’s feral?” Dor murmured. If she was, there would be no reasoning with her, no bargaining. The kindness would be to leave her to her wildness.

“Lee-mee-lone,” the woman muttered. Girl, Karida realized, filthy but with some effort to tidy herself. No older than Amalie.

“No,” she answered slowly. “Or… at least not entirely.” It might have been better if she was.

Next: Bringing Home History (LJ)

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/251765.html. You can comment here or there.

Digging in the History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

For The [personal profile] inventrix‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of Scrounging for History (LJ), Part 1 of… probably 7.5

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

“Let’s explore a little before we get the whole company,” Dor urged. “Maybe not a lot, but let’s at least tell them what we’re looking at.”

“Besides,” Amalie added, then paused, hummed for a moment, and said again, her voice a half-octave lower and more reasonable sounding, “besides, Karida, maybe there are food supplies here, if it’s a settlement?”

Their logic was sound, and the older members of the company wouldn’t accuse Dor of being flighty, a dreamer, the way they liked to with Karida. “All right,” she agreed. “I think we can look a little bit further before we go back. But if we run into anything dangerous…”

“We know the drill, Kara.” Dor rolled his eyes, and followed her around the corner of the building. “Do you think anyone’s still living there? Or anything?”

“We’ve never seen a city this intact. It’s hard to tell.” That was the safe answer. Inside, she was trying not to bounce up and down: a city! We found a real city! And there’s a real sky-trapper, two of them! This will be The Story! This will be My Story! Reluctantly, as Amalie hummed behind her, she amended Our Story.

The next building had the bottom parts of its walls intact, as well as a full foundation, and part of a floor. Karida spent a moment staring at it, at the sheered-off nature of the structure, tracing the line down. “There really were dragons,” she murmured, “or something huge. They knocked off,” she drew a line in the air with her hand.

Amalie hummed again. “The monster’s claw was cutting still…”

“…through the years and through the houses?” Dor offered.

“Doesn’t scan right. The monster’s claw had cut through time, through… cut through years, through the city’s long-shed tears.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Dor complained. Karida, who did not sing, kept quiet. Amalie would get the song right.

It was up to her to get the now of it proper, so they had a song to sing and a throat to sing it with. She stepped into the basement, carefully dancing down the stairs. In smaller settlements, they had found food – but they had also found monsters, demons, feral humans, and sometimes just corpses. Lots of people, she thought, hadn’t made it out in time. Centuries later, they were still entombed, rotting slowly away in their homes.

“It must have been horrible,” Amalie whispered. “When the monsters flew.”

“They still fly,” Dor countered. “They just aren’t as many.”

“I’ve never seen one.”

“With luck,” Karida interrupted, “you never will. They’re not nice things.” She was stretching her senses ahead of her, feeling out the space. There were three rooms down here, some old metal things, a small puddle of water and… “Dor,” she warned.

He nodded, and gestured Amalie back to look-out position, before drawing his two wakizashi and following Karida down the stairs. “Do you know?” he asked tersely.

“Not yet.” Her senses told her life, and general size, but that was it. Something the size of a human could be a bear, or a monster, or a person. She stepped into the dark, holding her staff in front of her.

Continued in: Delving in History (LJ)

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Scrounging for History, a story of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@Inventrix)

For The [personal profile] inventrix‘s prompt

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

“I don’t know what we’re looking for,” Amalie complained, as they made their way over the rocky terrain. They’d left the wagons, with the rest of the company, on the last smooth place they’d found, the old road still standing, the encroached trees making it a deep, dark tunnel.

“Same thing as always,” Dor answered, as he always did. “Food. Livestock someone let wander. Plants we can eat. A lot of this area was settled and then abandoned, when the bandits moved in. Come on, Ama, you know this.”

“But why is it always us?”

“Okay,” Karida inserted tiredly, “that’s just a stupid question. Amalie, if you can’t come up with a new song, work on the tune to this one. It’s gone flat.” Turned to look at her cousins, she missed seeing the low outcropping until her shins barked against it. “Blasted returned gods!” She kicked the rock again angrily, then looked at it. Not rock, but a wall. “Like Dor was saying, settlements, see? Here’s a foundation.”

“That doens’t look like anything I’ve seen before.” Dor crouched down next to her feet, studying the remnant of a wall, tracing the lines with his fingers. “Is there anyone else around, Ama?”

With a swallowed grumble, their youngest cousin whispered the Working that would tell her if they were being observed. “Far away,” she answered after a moment. “Over that way,” she gestured out in front of them. “Ten, fifteen minutes’ walking, maybe longer. They’re faint. Maybe three of them, maybe five.”

“Should be safe.” He traced the wall while Karida walked along it, seeking a corner. She could hear him, as she found a stairway, murmuring “Idu eperu… hunh. This is some sort of formed rock, like the roads.”

Turning the corner brought Karida around the tall stand of trees that had grown up inside the foundation. She caught her breath, looking at the crumbled buildings, the trees and vines taking over, and, in the distance, the monoliths still standing. “It’s a lot more than that,” she murmured. “We’re going to need the whole company for this one.”

Next is: Digging through History (LJ)

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