Tag Archive | yr19

Coming to School

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s prompt

Mike hadn’t done many of these new student pick-ups – Luke didn’t quite trust him to be adult about it, and he didn’t have the travelling resources that, say, Laurel did – but Tzivyah’s extended, adoptive family were friends of his from his wild days in the seventies and eighties, and the girl herself was a strange case. There hadn’t been a peep on Shira’s radar, to the point where they’d thought that she wouldn’t Change at all without serious prodding, not a whisper from either of the sensitives they employed in the Village, and then all three of them, at once, had come to Regine’s office. Yesterday. Pounding on the door. Insisting that right now, right now someone had to go get Tzivyah.

When your clairvoyant, your clairsensitive and your precognitive agree that urgently, someone goes, right then.

Mike had enlisted the help of a teleporter to drop him outside of town. It was a risk – everyone was very touchy about fae right now, and teleportation was very obviously fae – but Shira had been breathing down his neck so badly he’d thought she might end up getting carried along in the teleport.

Ten feet away from the drop spot, he understood why. Screams were echoing through the small farm community, screams and shouts and pleas. Mike broke into a run. He should have brought Luke. He should have brought Shira. He should have brought an army.

He had himself. The screaming was too far away, and yet it was too close. His skin crawled. Humans could be awful, awful people sometimes – people could be awful people. Mike had broken into a run before he knew it.

Too far, too far. He muttered one Working after another, making himself faster, tougher. He could get there. He had to get there. The screaming was only getting louder and more intense. Someone was panicking, someone was in pain. Not the same someone, probably.

He skidded into a clearing between three buildings. The noise was unbearably loud here, something like twenty people gathered together and all of them panicking. The last time he’d been here, there’d been a quiet fireside orgy going no. Now…

He pulled himself up to his current full height, muttered a Working to deepen his voice a bit, and borrowed Luke’s best teacher voice. “What is going on here?”

He was only a little surprised when it worked. Four people stood up, two worried and reaching for weapons, the other two looking for someone to fix things. He recognized one of them as Tzivyah’s adoptive father.

“Can you help? Someone has to help, please. Make them stop. Make it stop.”

Mike walked towards them with a brusque stride he’d borrowed from Luke. “What’s the problem?”

Tzivyah’s father – Donald, his name was Donald – and the other concerned-looking man began pushing and cajoling the crowd out of the way. “This is Mike Linden-Flower,” Donald explained. “He knows about this sort of thing. He can help.”

“‘Knows about this sort of thing.’” The weapon-wielder on the left was snarling and unimpressed. “You mean he’s one of them.”

Donald raised his chin in defiance. “No. I mean he’s always been one of us. And he knows about this sort of thing. She’s hurting. And they’re…”

Mike’s stomach twisted. Three women were holding down another woman, a young woman that had to be Tzivyah. A fourth was leaning over her with a saw. “What the hell?” he shouted.

The woman with the saw stood up. “They’re hurting her. And they’ll kill her. The horns, the protrusions, they’re causing her pain. And if we don’t cut them off, those people, people out there, they’ll kill her.”

Mike muttered under his breath, both swearing at the madness of people and making himself stronger. “So you’d maim her, torture her? No.” He scooped the girl up in his arms. “Hang in there, kiddo,” he murmured, just loud enough for her to hear. She had bony protrusions coming out everywhere, and the ones that had been cut were leaking ichor. “I’m going to get you somewhere safer, and help you deal with this, okay?”

He waited only long enough for a tiny nod before raising his voice for the crowd. “She is coming with me. And nobody is going to stop me.”

There were benefits in being able to sway the mood of an entire mob. If later they told themselves that the devil had taken Tzivyah, that was fine. Tzivyah would have been taken, and she would be safe.

Mike cuddled her as carefully as he could, muttering Working after Working to heal her ills as he strode out of the village.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1052378.html. You can comment here or there.

Don’t Stick Out

Written to [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt. Before Year 19 of the Addergoole School.

Shira Pelletier was having a bit of trouble.

“No, this is ridiculous.” The girl would not come out of her house, and had settled for talking to Shira through the tiniest crack in the door. “There is no way. I’m safe here. I’ve got food, water, the people don’t hate me… If you go away soon, that is. I don’t want to stick out.

“Maressa, I’m sorry, but if you don’t come with us, in a few months you are going to stick out far too much. Your parents -“

“My parents are dead. My parents are gone. They went off to fight the war. They left me, okay? So fuck whatever they wanted for me.”

“…I’m absolutely certain they wanted you safe.”

“Yeah, well, then they shouldn’t have left me here alone. They should have stayed.”

“Your parents…” Shira sighed. There were things she couldn’t say, not standing here on a formerly suburban street. “I’ll save that for another time. I know that you are safe here at the moment, but how long do you think that can last? Food, water – I don’t see many crops being planted, and you have no meat animals.”

“This is the burbs. Nobody knows how to plant crops.” Maressa threw up her hands, the gesture barely visible through the doorway opening. “Or, like, butcher animals, or anything. But they know how to store food okay. And everyone that ran off left something. We’ll be fine for another year.”

In another year, Maressa would have Changed. Shira swallowed, and dropped her voice even lower. “Maressa, do you remember your parents telling you stories about f—

“We don’t talk about those things here. We don’t talk about anything like that. We’re all normal. Human. Here.” She punctuated that with kicking the door. Shira sighed.

“Then come with me. I can’t promise everyone will be normal, but we can teach you how to plant crops, and how to husband animals – how to take care of them, that is, how to herd them and how to use them for food. And then, if you want, you can come back here and teach these people.”

Those that would have survived.

“Why me?” Maressa’s voice was still edgy, but she was about to give in. “Why not anyone else here?”

“Because your parents are the ones who set this up. And although you may hate them, they took some measures to provide for your future.”

“Why do you sound like that?” The door opened a bit further. “All fancy, like something out of a book?”

Shira allowed herself a small smile. “Because I am a teacher. And I would be honored to teach you.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1044971.html. You can comment here or there.

Turnabout, a fic-start

To [personal profile] kissofjudasprompt: Addergoole, maybe 2 years into the apocalypse.

It was a week into the Keeping that things went south.

If it had been on the first or second or third order, the second day or third, Vercingetorix might have freed her and tried to get a promise not to mess with him in retaliation. But no, it was a week in and even if he’d wanted to, she’d learned too much.

“Go do the dishes, and then work on your homework.” It’d been a long day, and they were both tired; her magic class was exhausting, which he might have remembered if he’d been thinking straight.

“No.” Glaucia looked at him as if challenging him to say something. “I need something to eat, I’m falling over, and I don’t have any homework. Why don’t you do the dishes?”

And, much to his surprise, Vercingetorix had found himself washing the dishes.

To his further surprise, he found his Kept sitting in the armchair, knees to her chest and hands over her face, delicate fins sticking up behind her thumbs.

He took her to Caitrin’s, of course, because he remembered Changing without the pain meds and would wish that on nobody. And in the cuddling and reassuring and watching her little fins and webs and scales come in, Vercingetorix pretty much forgot about the thing with the dishes and so did Glaucia.

The next time was a couple days later, when she started arguing with him about sleeping arrangements. “If you don’t like it,” he bellowed, “sleep on the floor!”

“No! I don’t see why I should. You sleep on the floor!”

And not only did Vercingetorix find himself curled up in the corner of the room with a spare pillow, not entirely sure what had happened, but he felt miserable, like he’d just yelled at his Keeper.

In Vercingetorix’s defense, this sort of thing rarely happened, and he’d never heard stories of it before, not even rumors or whispers. The Kept bond was a Law; you couldn’t break it. Thus, it took him a little while to figure out what was going on.

It took Glaucia a little less time, because she had far less preconceptions to work from. Her Keeper had been able to make her feel miserable and tell her what to do; now she could share that. One made as much sense as the other.

Once she’d figured it out, it was easy to figure out that she should subtle with it – not all his orders were annoying, not everything he did was unpleasant, so she pushed back only when she found what he was doing onerous or annoying (or when she was having a bad day).

If she’d stayed with being sneaky, it might have taken Vercingetorix even longer to figure out what was going on. But since she was a curious-minded individual, she started experimenting with the bonds of her new trick. And when she started pushing things, Vercingetorix finally went from “something is weird here” to understanding what was going on.

Of course, by then, it would prove almost impossible for him to release her.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1044159.html. You can comment here or there.

Walk the Fields, talk some more

First: The Reveal
Second: Find an Exit, Talk it Over

“Who still farms, anyway? I mean, gas, right? The pipelines stopped. Tractors gotta run somehow, don’t they?”

They were walking – ambling, really – down an almost-invisible path between two fields of something Urania was pretty sure was wheat. The demon pretending to be a gym teacher hadn’t said anything since they started walking, so Urania grabbed at the first topic she could find.

“Magic,” he answered mildly. “And horses. Mostly horses.”

Horses? What is this, the eighteen-hundreds?”

“Last time I checked, a couple years after the pipelines stopped running.” He looked, she thought, amused. He also looked human; with the wings gone, he didn’t look anything at all like a demon.

“…Touche, creepy demon man.” He still was a demon. It was important to remember that.

“You ran into some pretty bad fae out there, didn’t you?” He sounded sympathetic. She wasn’t sure she wanted to deal with that.

“I ran into ‘fae’,” she answered shortly, “if you want to call them that. They were bad. That’s because they were demons.”


“What?” She glanced at his face, wondering if she was seriously worrying about insulting a demon.

“Just thinking I’d heard that before.”

“Well, you’re a demon.” It was just logical that someone would have pointed out that demons were evil, right?

“Not because of the ‘demon’ thing.” He didn’t make air quotes, but he somehow twisted the word anyway. “No.” He stopped and looked at Urania straight on. “Something like ‘the Dakota attacked my people. You’re a Seneca, therefore I can’t trust you.”

“But… Seneca and Dakota are totally different tribes! That’s like saying all Italians are the same as all Irish!”

“Exactly.” He raised his eyebrows at her.

Urania wasn’t having any of that. “You saw what the demons did to the world! You have to have seen it!”

“I did.” His voice was quiet now, and his expression serious. “And I’m sure Alastair did as well. It was horrible. The aftermath is devastating. I’m not denying that.”

Urania snuck a look at Alastair. He was still following along, but seemed content to stay quiet, listening. That seemed to be his thing, so she didn’t push it.

“So you’re saying, what, some other tribe of demons did it?”

“Not all of it, no. Some of it was done by well-meaning idiots who never learned to watch out for their surroundings, even when they were taught better.” His voice took on a bit of heat. “Some of it was done by humans desperate for an answer, any answer.”

“And this other tribe? Who are they? Why aren’t you them?”

“Well,” he coughed, and a ghost of a smile crossed his lips. “There’s a whole school down there, and that’s on the curriculum.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1020014.html. You can comment here or there.

Find an Exit, Talk it Over

directly after The Reveal, from yesterday.

Urania ran straight into the demon’s wing membrane, dragging the skinny kid along with her. If she shoved through fast and hard enough, the door ought to push open. It might hurt a bit, but that was nothing compared to what would happen if a room full of demons got their hands on her.

She’d been hiding in the bleachers when they attacked her school. Urania had a very clear idea of what demons were capable of.

The demon made a surprised grunt, but they were going too fast for him to stop them. One sharp shove through with the heel of her hand, an awful bending and tearing noise, and they were through.

Forward and to the left, that was where they’d come in. Urania didn’t stop, didn’t slow down, just ran, catching the skinny kid as he stumbled, pulling him upright when he fell.

She’d be quicker without him.

She wasn’t going to leave anyone to the demons.

The warehouse-like room was right where they’d left it – Urania hadn’t ever seen a room move, but she’d heard about the possibility – and the stairs were still there, too. She darted up the stairs, stopping to help the skinny kid one more time, and shoved the door open.

There was a demon standing there, his tattered wing flapping about in the breeze. Urania stared at him. “How did you…?” It was enough to throw her off her stride.

“I guessed,” he admitted. He folded his wings against his back, and once again looked more or less like the gym teacher. “Take a walk with me? You have my word that I won’t attack you today.”

“Today.” She raised her eyebrows. “They say demon promises are binding.”

“It’s true.” He tilted his head at the wheatfield. “You’ll be able to see anyone else coming, if we walk out there.”

If he had beat her here, if he’d known where she was going, he could just stop her, couldn’t he? Maybe once they were in the field she could dart again, once he thought she’d relaxed. Then he couldn’t “attack” – probably.

“I could walk a little. But then we’re leaving.”

“Shouldn’t you let Alastair decide for himself?”

She glanced at the skinny kid. The name was nearly bigger than he was.

The kid, in turn, shrugged defensively. “Leaving sounds… I dunno. They may be demons, but there’s food.”

She pursed her lips, unwilling to admit he had a point. “I won’t make you. But I don’t want to leave you behind to be…” She trailed off, biting her lip. If he hadn’t seen what the demons could do, she didn’t want to be the one to tell him.

He raised his chin. “Talk to the man. He’s waiting patiently.”

“I don’t think he counts as a man.”

“Well, he killed three warcats who were trying to kill me. So. Call him what you will.” The kid who was too small for Alastair shrugged.

Urania turned slowly back to the demon, to find he was looking like a gym teacher again, wings nowhere in sight.

“I guess we talk?” she offered cautiously. “Since you promised. Just talk. And then I leave.” And she might just carry Alastair of with her, too.

“Just talk.” The demon nodded. “Let’s walk this way, the three of us.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1017255.html. You can comment here or there.

The Reveal

Set in Year 19 of the Addergoole School.

“As I told you all on your first day here, Addergoole is an experimental school.”

Urania had found herself a nice corner of the dining hall where she could see everyone. Today, she was sharing the table with a Sixteenth Cohort, Hroderich, an Seventeenth Cohort, Bracken, and two other nineteenth Cohorts, one of whom refused to give a name but was skinnier and hungrier than Urania and one of whom looked far too clean, far too smug, and far too well-fed and called himself Kameron. She hadn’t meant to share her table with any of them except the underfed feral one, but they just seemed to gravitate to her table.

She was trying to eat, without looking like she was stuffing her face – one of the advantages of having the feral one there was that he made her look tidy and well-fed by comparison – but the Director had decided it was a good day to start lecturing.

“…there will be a number of things that will seem very strange to you. Now that you’ve had a chance to settle in, things will be getting progressively stranger over the next week or two.”

Urania set down her drink and raised her eyebrows, not that she thought the director would actually notice.

“She means it,” Hroderich assured her.

“This is an underground facility in the middle of nowhere that just happens to have food and electricity.” Urania kept her voice low. Hroderich was sitting right next to her, way within her personal space, the way he seemed to like to. She barely needed to raise her voice at all. “It’s pretty freaking strange already.”

“It’s going to get stranger.”

“…don’t let anything you see or hear alarm you.”

“Hrod, I saw a demon from hell rip apart my jr. high. Do I really look like the sort of person who is going to be alarmed by…” She trailed off, shoving her chair back as far as it would go. “No. Oh, fuck, no.”

“Ninteenth Cohort, if you have any questions, please feel free to…”

Urania wasn’t listening anymore. She grabbed skinny kid’s shirt and pulled him backwards with him. She wasn’t sure if she was using him as a shield or getting him out of there, but both had merit.

Every single upperclassman, every teacher, even the freaking cafeteria lady. They were all monsters. Horns, tails, wings. She hadn’t seen this many of the creatures in one place since they burned down her school. Hell, even there there had only been twenty or thirty.

Someone’s hand landed on her shoulder. Urania pushed away. The door was right there, and it might be closed but closed doors hadn’t stopped her before. If it didn’t open, it could be made to open. She got a better grip on the skinny kid, who either didn’t feel inclined to argue or was just as intent on getting away as she was. “Ready?” she muttered. “On three. One, two…”

On three, there was a demon in the doorway, those wide, awful wings blocking the way. Urania ran straight for his left wing. Membranes, she had learned back in jr. high, tore quite easily.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1016636.html. You can comment here or there.

Filthy, a story(beginning)

I asked for fun Addergoole-related prompts here; this riffed off of [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon‘s prompt.

Year 19 of the Addergoole School

“Look at you, you’re filthy.”

Antonia flinched. She was filthy; she hadn’t had a shower since the gods attacked, unless you counted rainstorms, and hadn’t had a bath in over a year, unless you counted dipping in creeks.

Her clothes were so grimy they stood on their own, but they had held up against weather and road damage, enough that she thought the dirt might be a layer of protection all on its own. Her hair, she’d finally chopped short as the summer came – with a knife, because that’s what she’d had.

They had run when the gods attacked her hometown, ten of them on a school trip. There had only been three when the terrifying winged man had found her; she didn’t know what he’d done with Mella or Steve, and she was scared to ask.

He’d dropped her here, in the halls of what appeared to be the plushest underground bunker ever, and taken off with barely a word. She’d been fighting him the whole time, but now, sitting here with her duffle bag and nothing else, she didn’t have anything to fight.

“You’ve been out in it this whole time, haven’t you?”

She peeked up. That was still the same voice. “Out in… the war?” she offered. “Yeah. I mean, not in the combat. But out there. You haven’t?”

He was clean. Clean the way she hadn’t seen anyone since the gods attacked; his hair fell in perfect red-orange curls around his ears, his skin looked brown, not because of sunburn or dirt, but just because it was his skin tone, and his pants even looked pressed.

Some small part of her mind thought he was also rather handsome, but she ignored that part; she was checking for weapons.

He could be carrying something in the pocket of the khakis, or under the madras-plaid shirt, but his hands were open and empty in front of him.

“I got lucky.” He shrugged, as if to apologize. “I was in a safe place when it hit, and then it wasn’t long before I was supposed to come here. So I never got the worst of it – but over half the students who actually make it here come in looking like you or worse. I’m Raleigh, by the way.”

“Tony… Antonia.” She held out a hand, and then looked at it. “Sorry, I’m filthy.”

“I noticed. Look, come with me. I’m gonna get you a bath, a nice warm meal, and some clean clothes, okay?”

It’s a trap. Her skin itched, reminding her how long it had been since rain, even. “I’ll take it.”

He grabbed the hand she’d offered and pulled her to her feet. “Awesome. My room’s this way.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/712762.html. You can comment here or there.