aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
See Also Plans
Let's see, Math.
Cya starts year 6, 2000 AD
Yoshi starts Year 24, 2018 AD
The White Stag grandson starts... year 41? We'll say 41, 2035
The next one is year 60, great-grandson, 2056
So call this 2064.

There were two people at Iasthai’s front door: a woman with a red streak through chocolate-brown hair and a very skinny man with hair so blonde it was nearly white. They weren’t part of the neighborhood, that much Iasthai knew; it was a small enough, isolated enough village that she knew all her neighbors — and they were clean and well-dressed like Addergoole people, but they weren’t anyone Iasthai recognized from there either.

The woman looked familiar, but Iasthai couldn’t quite place where or why.

“Iasthai?” She asked like it was a formality.

“That’s me,” she agreed carefully.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
This follows You'll never know the murderer sitting next to you.... in theme and character, but is several years later, very soon after the apocalypse.

This story involves threats of murder, rape, and other violence against women, children, and men. It involves actual murder and violence, mind control, and stone-cold bluffing.

Read more... )
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Speculative ficlet of Boom, pre-apocalypse. Not even the ficlet I meant to write.

"Hey, you. Are you still alive?"

Feccrick came to conciousness slowly. There was a redheaded woman leaning over him, seemingly unbothered by the raw gaping sword wound across his chest.

"Alive?" Better to feign fogginess. "Yeah, what...?"

"What's your name?"

"Fred. Fred Kirk."

"Good, good." She stood up, talking into her shoulder radio. He couldn't make out any of the words, but he thought he heard his name.

Shoulder radio... a cop. Jeans and a jacket - detective? Feccrick tried to shake himself awake while trying to look as vague and uncertain as possible.

"All right, Fred. What happened here?"

"Some guy. Some..." Mara type, hero complex, swinging his sword around... "Freak with a sword. Came in and started plowing through everyone."

"Why did he leave you alive?"

Alive? The rest were... Feccrick looked around: blood, and body parts, and a broken machete.

"Shit. shit, shit, they're all dead?" Panic seemed like a good idea. He didn't even have to fake it. "All of them?"

"Why'd he let you live?" she repeated.

"Shit, I don't know, I..." Some words came back. You're not to blame. You're not like them. The man had sounded sincere. "...I think he maybe thought I was a good guy. Which I am, I mean..." The guy had clearly been a nutjob.

"Thank you." This time, he heard the Words. They started with Abatu Intinn...

He didn't have time to panic before he was gone.
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Acquiring Students
When my tablet runs out of battery...
The Crew Continues
Crew, Continued
The Day

Doomsday Academy, a few years under a decade before Cya Keeps Leo.

"It's not that it's gross..." Aron spoke carefully, his eyes darting between his three crewmates. "It's just that it seems wrong when they're just..." His hands lifted as if ready to make a gesture, then flopped to the bed, and his cheeks colored.

Today they were in Sunny's cy'Red dorm, stacked on her bed, because one of Aron's cy'ra were... engaged... with a cy'Sweetflower. Loudly.

"And I mean, sure, they're having fun, but then there's going to be that loud mess like there was with the last one, with Silva, and with Kit before that. At this rate, he's not going to be able to talk to anyone in the school by the time he graduates."

"We're not going to do that. Right?" Sunny looked between the three of them, her crew. "We're best friends. We're crew. We're not going to get all... all sexy and start fighting with each other, right? Right?"

"No sex," Astarte agreed with a sharp nod.

"Sex is for outside the crew," Kerr agreed, very quietly.

"It's a deal." They put their hands together and shook, all for one, one for all.
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Acquiring Students
When my tablet runs out of battery...
The Crew Continues
Crew, Continued

Doomsday Academy, a few years under a decade before Cya Keeps Leo.

"We're a day, you know." They were on Aron's bed again, cy'Lightning having proven the best at dealing with the nascent crew. Sunny was laying over the foot of the bed, staring at the ceiling. "Sunshine and darnkess," she gestured at Kerr. "Stars," she flopped a hand at Astarte, "and if we bend your name we get Aroon, and that's a dawn."

Aron raised his eyebrows. "That's a day," he agreed slowly. "Is that what we are?"

Sunny propped herself up to look at Astarte. The smaller girl looked back, twitched an eyebrow. Sunny shrugged one shoulder.

"Yeah," Astarte answered. "I guess we are."

aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Acquiring Students
When my tablet runs out of battery...
The Crew Continues

Doomsday Academy, a little over a decade before Cya Keeps Leo.

"So what do we do about cy'rees?" The four of them were flopped in the fourth-year students' dorm all on Aron's bed. He, in turn, was studying the long tail Kerr had recently grown.

"Do?" Astarte peeked up at him through a fringe of hair. "We pick them, right?"

"But we're not all going to pick the same one, are we? I mean, we could... 'cause if we don't, they're going to split us up." One hand went protectively over Astarte and the other over Kerr, leaving Sunny to snuggle into his arm on her own.

"Well..." Sunny mused... "it's a small school. It's not like they can actually separate us."

aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
After/part of When my tablet runs out of battery..., which is after Acquiring Students

Doomsday Academy, a little over a decade before Cya Keeps Leo.

Kerr was not talkative. He communicated when Miss Ascha pushed him in class. He told the cook what he wanted, at lunch. With Aron and Sunny, he preferred gestures and a minimum of words.

When he brought Astarte over to Aron and Sunny, the day she arrived - the first day of their second year of school and her first year - he did so without words. He took her hand and gave a tug; she followed. He tugged again, and she walked with him, her white-pale hand in his dark one, until he tugged her one more time to pull her in front of him, presenting her very clearly to Sunny and Aron.

Aron understood. "Hi," he said, if for no other reason than to prove that one of them actually talked. "We're a crew, or we will be when we're old enough. Want to join?"

She was as small as they had been a year ago, her eyes wide. But she smiled. "You're funny," she told Kerr. "I like that." She tilted her head at Aron, looked down at her hand, still firmly held in Kerr's, and giggled. "I think I already did."

aldersprig: (BookGlasses)
...I write long-hand.

This comes after Acquiring Students and is the beginning of a series of character-establishing notes/stories/ficlets.

Click to enbiggen.

Read more... )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
This is set a little over a decade before Cya Keeps Leo. Well, the end bit is a decade-plus; the 'finding' parts are earlier.

There were things Cya looked for when doing student recruitment.

She looked for slaves she could justifiably rescue, children born into slavery that would Change if given the right environment and would thrive or at least survive at Doomsday. She looked for children that would need rescue, kids that were living in fae-unfriendly places that risked being slaughtered when - or if - they Changed.

She looked for post-Addergoole conceived children born to Addergoole students, "third kids", they called them.

She looked for children with unusual powers - her own power, which showed up immensely rarely; teleportation, which was uncommon and very useful in this post-collapse world; mind control, which was thankfully rare and required careful handling; telepathy, although she had only found one of those in all the years she'd been doing this.

She also looked for kids who were the right age, whose parents were fae or Faded, who could make it to Doomsday or who could accept her help moving to Doomsday.

And in all cases, she started looking for kids who were much younger than Doomsday age. She wanted to be sure that the parents knew about the school in time to make a decision.

Sometimes she found them early. Sometimes she didn't find them until it was almost too late. She hadn't figured out the patterns yet.

Sunny, she found when she was five, running around the family ranch doing child-sized errands while carting three kittens in the kangaroo-pouch of her jacket.

Kerr, she found three days before school, working in a landfill mine on a chain gang with twenty other children. She set her jaw and made a note to come back soon to deal with the slave-owner.

And Aron she had to keep finding; his family-group kept moving around. But she convinced his mother the same way she'd convinced Sunny's family - with shameless bribery.

There were others that year, children from as far as her teleporter could reach, and one she'd made him make three jumps to reach. It was a full year of twelve, and, considering the mix, Cya quietly gave Ascha a raise.

aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Part I -
Part II -
Part III -
Part IV -

Regine pulled up the computer program that kept all of her student data, glad once again that she had upgraded her machines just before the catastrophe. You could still buy computer parts in a few select enclaves, but their methods left something to be desired and they almost always included as much spyware as actual computer.

She performed a search on extant and incoming students into the school, and then performed the search two more times. “That…” She stared at the screen with a decidedly unpleasant feeling before finally raising her voice. “Hayley!”

“Yes, Director Regine?”

“Call in Luca Hunting Hawk and Michael VanderLinden. Now.”

~Read more... )
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Part I -
Part II -
Part III:

Cya was not smiling. It was very important for some reason that she was not smiling.

Regine had lived with Michael and Luke as her crew for quite some time, and she could predict with some accuracy what they might say in this situation.

“She’s not playing a game.” Luke had said that on more than one occasion. “Even when she is laughing, she is not playing, any more than you are. It’s important to remember that.”

Michael did not like to talk about Boom quite so much, although he seemed quite fond of Cloverleaf and several of their other projects. When he’d been advising Regine about this trip, he had said a few pertinent things, including “Remember you’re talking about her children and descendants. Remember how biased even you can be about your own blood.” and “If she smiles, she’s comfortable, confident. If she stops smiling, you might do well to be worried.”
Read more... )

Epilogue -
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Part I -
Part II -

Regine barely managed not to gape at Cya like a fish. But the fiend was still going. “In addition, I want access to all of the data you access in this manner.”

Regine could not help a supercilious eyebrow raise, no matter how many times Mike had told her Do not raise your eyebrows at her. Do not. “Do you think you can follow the genetic data?”

“Well, if I can’t, my house geneticist can.” Cya shrugged as if a lifetime of studying genetics was nothing.

Regine cleared her throat. “Well. Be that as it may, I’m not going to allow your descendants to skip out on the Addergoole school. That might be as much as half of my population by this point.”

“Skip out?” Cya laughed. “No, I can’t imagine you’d agree to that. No. Just an agreement that, while attending Addergoole, each and every one of Boom’s descendants gets a pass. One time, when they’re in over their heads — bad Keeper, bad promise, the current big-bad-wolf — you, the staff, will help them out of it. The Keepings aren’t real, the promises aren’t real, you’re not damaging the Law by doing so.”

“But what lesson do we teach them, if they can get out of trouble at the first drop of a hat?” Regine had conducted this argument several times over the decades. She didn’t flinch.

And neither did Cya. The smile grew, as a matter of fact, and got sharp. Her voice was edgy now. “You’d be teaching them that the adults who Mentor them are their backup, are there to protect and guide them. You’d be teaching them to have allies.”

“We teach them to have crews, to find help and allies in their cy’ree, to be friends with their former Keepers and Kept.”

“After their first year. You isolate them from other first-year students, do not push the idea of a Mentor until they are either already collared or soon to be, and sometimes allow the interference of the Keeper in Mentor choice. The staff generally frowns on the idea of first-year students finding crews, and, while you may pretend to like and encourage them, you discourage crews actively standing up for one another.” Cya was still lounging against her couch, but her words were anything but casual.

And they were accurate. “It’s proven beneficial to encouraging the Keeper-Kept relationship…”

“Which you encourage, I assume, to ‘encourage’ the production of more little babies for your project. A point which is pretty moot when you do not allow students to leave until they’ve provided you with those babies.”

“Students also need to understand the dangers of Keeping and the problems inherent in both sides of the relationship before they are out in the world,” Regine insisted. Now Cya was no longer smiling. Regine was not sure that was an improvement.

“I’m certain you’re aware that you and I will never agree on that point. Be that as it may, there are other ways to encourage Keeping, and by encouraging good Keepings and allowing the possibility that the ‘trapped’ Kept could ask for a reprieve, you allow students to understand what a healthy Keeping should look like, before they go out in the world and perpetuate bad habits.”

Regine opened her mouth and closed it again, her lips curling into a frown. “Surely you’re not insinuating that Addergoole is responsible for the actions of its students once they’ve graduated?”

“No. I’m saying that you and your choices are responsible for a great deal of misery in the world. However,” Cya plowed on blithely, “that doesn’t matter. You’ve done some awful things, and now you want a favor from me. Does that about sum it up?”

Regine bit her tongue and counted to ten. “I come asking a favor of you, yes,” she answered levelly.

“Therefore, your justifications really don’t matter. The question is: will you agree to my terms?”

Part IV:
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
This was supposed to be a blorp of description and then, well, this happened. This happens a couple years before the current Regine-visits-Cya story.

It was a nice time of year for a travel: early autumn, and a mild one at that, not too hot and not too cold. The roads were solid and smooth from Cloverleaf all the way to what had once been Denver; the first week went quickly. Not only were the roads smooth, but they were relatively safe; Cloverleaf had a long arm, and was known not to tolerate bandits.

Past Denver, that all changed. A week's travel was as far as Cloverleaf maintained the roads, and thus was as far as their protection was assumed to reach. The roads got bumpy - nothing a couple quick Workings couldn't smooth out, but that took time. And the bandits got brave - nothing the sight of Leo couldn't handle, in most cases, but that, too, took time. Sometimes they actually had to fight some thief or slaver whose ambition was greater than their sense.

Outside of what had once been Des Moines and now was a collective of small city-states around Crater Lake, they ran into a different sort of threat - bureaucracy. The toll-booth takers wanted a tithe to use the one paved, clear, safe road, and they wanted written statements of intent, and a tithe of any profits made while in the Crater Lake region. What's more, they didn't take Cloverleaf clovers for payment, muttering something about "fairy money."

It wasn't the first time they'd run into things like that, so they paid the toll in more acceptable currencies and made mental notes about the situation. They could probably conquer the Crater States, but there were easier, cleaner ways to turn people's opinions around. If trade didn't do it, culture might. If that didn't, maybe education. And failing that, well, they could always send a small team of their ambassadors.

It had been a few years - decades, really - since Cya had been running Cloverleaf actively, but it was still her baby, after all.

Just outside the mess that had been Chicago, they ran into a slaver ring. That took a day off of their time, but, while Cya could tolerate the existence of slavery, there were certain types of slavers that made her skin crawl.

Besides, it didn't hurt to leave a reminder. Cloverleaf might be nearly two weeks' travel away, but they would interfere where they wanted to, when people were doing awful things.

The Find Cya had done was sending them quite far afield indeed. They traveled through the night to get around once-Chicago, then settled for a day in a quiet little patch of forest to rest. Then it was on to Detroit.
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Part I -

Regine sat uncomfortably on Cya’s rather-comfortable couch. She had brought papers; she ignored them. Instead, she cleared her throat. “You two have had several children together over a large span of years. This makes you not quite unique but very rare, not only among Addergoole graduates but among Ellehemaei couples in general. There are some emerging genetic theories about children born to Ellehemai early in their life vs. after a century or more of life, and your children…” Luke had told her not to do it. Mike, on the other hand, had advised her. Do not say test subjects. “If I could study their DNA, I might be able to better pursue these theories.”

Cya coughed. “Most of our children are Adults. You’ll have to ask them yourself — which I’m sure you knew. So I imagine you’re coming to ask about Tama.”

“Ljótama, yes. Although,” Regine cleared her throat, “if you would be willing to put in a good word for me with Viðrou, and possibly with Kouveig, it might make them more willing to speak with me.”

It looked as if Cya was trying hard not to laugh. She coughed again instead and nodded, at least trying to look solemn. “If we can reach an accord, it can include me encouraging — those two in specific?”

“I don’t expect you’d be willing to encourage all your children to cooperate with me. I’ve met both Viðrou and Kouveig, and as your first and third of five, they make for convenient data points,” Regine explained. She noted that Cya had not at any point numbered her children. She wondered if she’d given away too much information by admitting she knew the number.

Or if she was wrong about the number. Cya might be another step ahead of her in this case. It seemed to happen when Regine least expected it, especially in the last fifty years.

Either way, Cya was smirking. “Those two specifically. It’s possible you’d find one of the others more cooperative, but we do not tend to raise compliant children.”

“I can’t imagine you would.” Regine ahem’ed. “Nor was that my experience when your children, or your grandchildren, were in school.”

“I can’t imagine it would have been,” Cya echoed back at her, smiling. “So. You want a genetic sample from — or a genetic study of — Ljótama, and help coordinating such from two of our sons, as well.”

Regine nodded slowly. “Yes. Having access to such would allow me to delve deeper into the study of Ellehemaei genetics..”

“Which, as we all know, is your great love. Of course.” Cya’s interruption was dismissive, but Regine did not allow herself to show any irritation or anger. This data would be more than a little bit useful to her. It was worth a bit of irritation. “All right.” Cya leaned forward. “I’m willing to agree to this, under a couple conditions.”

“Of course. What are your conditions?”

Cya leaned back in her seat. Regine noted that her hand settled on Leo’s back possessively. “I want a ‘get out of jail free’ card for every single one of our descendants to attend Addergoole, from now until the school closes its doors permanently.”

Part Three:
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
When Cya and Leofric’s fifth child together — their seventh in total — was a student at Doomsday, Regine finally swallowed her pride enough to visit and ask a favor.

The child — a daughter, Ljótama — was in her fourth year at Doomsday Academy, in a cy’ree Regine’s informant insisted on calling “cy’Goldie”, and proficient already in Hugr, Intinn, Jasfe, and Idu — her parents’ child, it seemed.

But weren’t they all? Regine had begun inserting informants in the school after Leo and Cya’s last child had graduated, when the pair left the academy in capable hands that were not their own, but she’d had informants in Cloverleaf for much longer, and everything said that their children were capable, a little bit wild, headstrong, and powerful: children of Boom all the way through.

Regine kept that in mind as she knocked on Cynara’s door. These were, as Luke had been pointing out to her for over half a century, not children anymore. Their children, the older ones, were powerful enough to be demigods in their own right — Viðrou in his forest, Yoshi and Sigruko wherever their travels took them.

As Mike liked to point out, both parents and children had been using their powers actively, in life-and-death situations, far more in recent decades than Regine had.

She did not want to anger these people.

She knocked politely.

Leofric answered the door, shirtless and apparently completely comfortable with it. His face did something interesting as he saw her, a twitch of the lips and a raised eyebrow, before he turned — partially, Regine noted, not turning his back on her. “Cya? Director Avonmorea is here.”

Regine did not miss the implied insult. She kept a polite smile on her face as Cya walked over. She might have caught them at a bad time — Cya was wearing what looked to be one of Leo’s kimono, casually belted, and apparently with no other clothing. And she was frowning.

“Lady of the Lake, if you mean me and mine no harm today and on this trip to Cloverleaf, please enter.”

Regine found her eyebrows going up, although she knew better. She stepped inside, not bothering with pleasantries. If Cya hadn’t wanted her to come in, she would have sent her away. “Red Doomsday. Lightning Blade… oro’Doomsday.” He was, after all, still wearing Cya’s collar. “I came…” Regine bowed carefully. “I came to ask a favor of you.”

Cya smirked. It was an unpleasant expression, but Regine did her best not to react to it. “You might as well come sit down, then. I imagine this will be interesting.”

Just as a general timeline: Mai (their 2nd child) was a child when Cloverleaf was built. Their next child, Kovi, was an adult by the time Cya Kept Leo. The next child came soonish after, and Tama about 30 years after that child.

Part II:
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
When Cya went to one of the downtown bars with Leo, she knew that she could expect a certain amount of flirtation in varying degrees of heavy-handedness. Today was no different - some smooth pick-up lines and some sad, some who wanted to sleep with power and some who thought she looked cute, some who thought Leo looked cute and some who thought they were dangerous in an interesting way.

And then one drunken guy told her he could help her out. "I'm good friends with the Mayor, you know. If you need a job, I can help you."

She looked him over for a minute while the gathered crowd around them fell silent. He was earnest and pleased with himself - and she'd never met him before.

"Would someone please tell him?" She raised her voice so it carried.

One of the off-duty city guards, sounding as if he was trying not to laugh, cleared his throat. "What would you like us to tell him, Madam Mayor?"

The man frowned, but he clearly hadn't gotten it yet. Cya sighed. "Well, my name would be a good start."

"Well, I hear," Apollo offered, "that the bandits to the west call you the Red Death."

Actually, they called her the Red-handed wielder of the Lightning Death, but since neither she nor Leo actually killed anyone, she supposed that was a moot point.

"Up north, they call you the Savior of Adamtown," a guard offered. Cya winced. That had been a bad one - but she had, technically, saved Adamtown.

"In school," offered a third, who had been a student of Doomsday until just a year ago, "mostly they call you Prince Red."

That one, she hadn't known. And now her would-be suitor was beginning to get the point. He was turning pale. "Madame Mayor?" He glared at her. "No, you're way too young. The mayor's been here for fifty years!"

"The mayor is fae, you idiot." The bartender looked far from impressed. "And you're bothering her."

"Well, how was I supposed to know?" he whined.

"Easy," Cya offered. "Don't claim friendships you don't have. Promise that, and we won't have a problem."

"I.. I promise," he stammered. From the way the air didn't twist and the way he was willing to make a promise that quickly, Cya could tell he wasn't fae. It didn't matter. She smiled so all her sharp mink teeth showed.

"Good boy. Now go leave the Mayor alone. I want to flirt with someone less unwise."

AS he hurried off, she began to wonder if it was time for a new city.
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
a good 30, 60 years after the last-written Doomsday story as of now.

Cya leaned over a list of names with her youngest school-aged descendant. He'd brought the list home home from his first year at Addergoole, every classmate in his year and the two years above him.

She let her finger pause over three names. "These three are not related to you at all, even remotely. And this one is also not related to any of the Boom brood. These two are pretty far distant, but sticking to the ones that aren't descended from Boom is better."

Her (great-great-so-many-greats)-grandson glanced over at her. "Why?"

"Oh," Red Doomsday smiled, "I'm working on a thing. It might not help you, but it'll help your kids."

Her grandson - one of Yoshi's line, with a disturbing resemblance to Yoshi's father - smiled cautiously. "I trust you. So, these three?"

Trust. Cya did another Find on the list. "This one's the best. The safest."
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
I have cleaned up and reposted "The Year Cya Didn't Keep Anyone" here on Patreon for all & sundry to read.

This story began the Cloverleaf saga. It was originally posted on Dec. 5, 2012.

In the aftermath, it was called The Year Cya Didn’t Keep Anyone.

She freed the lost boy named after a destroyed city — a boy her grandson had found forher, the way his father had brought her home boy after boy when he was in school — dropped her grands off at school, and walked out into the wilderness.

Read On...
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
The Cloverleaf Museum of History had dedicated half a floor of their four-story building to the history of Cloverleaf and the pre-Disaster city it had replaced, Helena. And in that area, they'd dedicated one room to the city's builder and founder, Cya Red Doomsday.

Tarben had stared at the official portrait for perhaps a little too long. She didn't look all that different than he remembered her. She'd let her hair go back to brown, except one streak in the distinctive "Cya Red." She was smiling, the sort of exasperated little smile he remembered well. And she was wearing academic robes, which made her look a little bit distinctive and maybe a few years older.

Few years. Tarben snorted, glad there was nobody else but an aging docent in the room - an aging docent that, if human, was young enough to be his daughter if not his granddaughter. Cya's kids had been almost ready for Addergoole when she'd Kept Tarben, and that had been quite a long time ago.

He recognized the wooden chest to one side of the portrait; the one she'd built for him had lasted over fifty years, but he'd lost it when he'd had to flee a town a little too quickly. He recognized the replica self-storage unit, too, and had to stifle a laugh. What a way to show Cya's history!

His eyes stopped on a rack of collars, and his smile vanished. Slowly, Tarben crossed the room, counting rows. Ten rows of ten. She'd gotten a bigger rack somewhere along the way. And...

"Excuse me?" He flagged down the docent. "There's some collars missing." His collar was missing.

"Oh, yes." The docent beamed at him. "When she donated the rack to the museum, Mayor Doomsday held on to some of her favorites."
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
This time, she didn't do it by herself.

When she'd built Cloverleaf, she hadn't been alone, not all the time. Her daughter Mai had "helped", but Mai had been five years old, and there was only so much help even the most enthusiastic five-year-old could be. She'd brought in specialists, she'd called in favors, and she'd had company.

This time, she started by having cy'Underground survey and archive the area, pulling out anything that might possibly be of use to future generations and documenting the rest. She called in a team of people to break down the remaining bits of buildings, and another team to sort all of the bits into usable pieces.

She levelled the ground and raised the hill herself.

"The Apiary", Leo had said, and a beehive it would be. But this was Cloverleaf's project, not Doomsday's, and that meant she wasn't working alone.
aldersprig: (luke)
An alternate-universe[AU] continuation of this
Cya had in her possession an uncomfortable and flappy Hunting-Hawk.

She'd considered the possibility of getting her hands on the Administration of Addergoole before, but in none of her situations had she ended up with a mostly-willing Luca Hunting-Hawk sitting at her kitchen table, cutting up fruit for a tart like a normal Kept.

Cya was in over her head and she knew it. He wasn't a kid. He didn't need...

Everyone needed something. She pushed aside her pastry - handy having a Kept who could steal all the heat out of her marble rolling surface for her - and sat down across from Luke.

"Tell me," she began, and quashed the surge of guilt she still got for forcing answers out, "what do you need?"

He mantled. She'd have laughed about it, except he clearly was trying to control it and failing, which was kind of nerve-wracking and a little sad. "I need a bigger knife."

He'd dismantled seventeen peaches into paper-thin slices. She was going to have to can peaches, or bake pies for the entire neighborhood. "I think you've cut enough peaches."

He pushed the knife over to her. "I don't need anything. I was just fine..."

"Tell you what." She made her voice gentle. He might have centuries on her, but she knew this particular dance far better than he did. "I'll ask you again in a week. For now..." She eyed the pile of peaches. "Why don't you get the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice, and I'll start on a few more pie crusts."

There was always something with the pie, every time.
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
This came out of Education and Collars and is entirely in an alternate universe(henceforth AU). For one, the bet made would not come out with Luke losing. For another... Meep. WWIV.

(The assumption here is that Regine, for some reason, skewed the data, probably by using a very specific subset of years, to show that Cya's former Kept had a slightly LOWER survival rate than their classmates. About the only way this could happen.)

Luke had vacation time coming, and Regine had no reason to deny him a sabbatical, unlike the last time he'd asked - times, every year from 2011 through 2025. He got one of his surviving former students to cover his classes for a year, worked with his current students to place them with new mentors, and elicited a promise from Mike to not come looking for him for at least a year.

Then he flew to Cloverleaf and presented himself to Cynara Red Doomsday, in possibly the most awkward situation he had found himself in since he was a teenager, centuries and worlds ago.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix's Let's Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
[personal profile] inventrix's Unexpected Visitor
Lessons in the Dojo
[personal profile] inventrix's from RP logs
Education and Collars
Much offscreen RP lies between that last post and this one. Summary: It's been a long time since Cya handled an unwilling Kept, and Apollo reminds her far too much of her crewmates when they were young and stupid reckless. Also, she didn't used to be running a school and a city. Leo can see how it's stressing her out and has offered to take Apollo off her hands.

Re. Olindo and Adeen; Olindo is a cy'Linden crewmate of Apollo's who, being as stupidly headstrong as Apollo, had managed to get himself caught by unsavory people of a handwavey sort. Adeen is their stabilizing force, but she's still in Addergoole.

Apollo looked both thoughtful and nervous as he walked back into Cya's house, a combination of expressions that made her nervous and told her he'd probably been talking to Leo.

She was mending a pair of pants - the hard way, because unutu had never been one of her good words - so she let him pace and hem and haw nervously for a few minutes before looking up. "Yes?"

"What do you want?" he demanded, and then winced and sat down with a thump on the floor. "I mean... I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I didn't know I was making you miserable -"

"Didn't care, you mean."

"Didn't know! But I didn't really care at first, either." He coughed and looked away. "Until we found Olindo. Then I started to get the point, I guess."

Nothing like a well-placed object lesson to hammer things into thick skulls. If only that had worked with Leo.

Leo had been insane. This kid was just young.

And very plaintive. "And I don't want to be Kept. I really... I still don't think I need a babysitter. But I don't want to be making you mad all year, either."

"That's the bond." Hell of a time for it to finally kick in.

"I mean, I've been Kept, I went to Addergoole. But if I've got to be Kept, I don't want to be a burden. And I don't know what you want!"

She studied him, hands up in frustration, tears unshed in his eyes. "I want..." Careful, careful. Phrasing was everything with a Kept. "What I'm hoping for is that you can take this opportunity to grow up a bit, and to look at life more carefully, so that when you leave here, you and Olindo and Adeen don't dive headlong into trouble." Which she would probably get them out of, if she noticed in time. But no need to let him know they had a safety net.

"But it's not like you can see me thinking! I.. You... You're just... unhappy with me all the time!"

Shit. Cya took a deep breath. She set down the pants she'd been mending and walked across the room so she could pet Apollo, carefully, mindful of his crown of horns. "I think it's time we go talk to Leo."
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix's Let's Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
[personal profile] inventrix's Unexpected Visitor
Lessons in the Dojo
[personal profile] inventrix's from RP logs

Dinner with Leo had been... Interesting. Educational, Luke decided, like every visit to the Ran- to Boom's place. Wherever Boom's places were.

For one thing, it had taught him that he needed to visit Howard, or maybe talk Shira into doing so.

For another, it had taught him he owed Apollo an apology. So, sitting in Cynara's living room while Cynara and Leo made small talk about their students, he looked Apollo in the eye. "I shouldn't have split your crew up. I'm sorry."

There was a pause while Apollo processed that. Then, "Yeah. No biggie, I guess." Apollo tugged on his collar and looked away.

Luke coughed. That. "I'm not going to apologize for asking jae'Red Doomsday to Keep you."

Apollo glanced at him sideways. "Why not?"

"Because you needed it. Because being here is good for you." He could see Apollo readying a scoff. He kept talking. "I failed you as a Mentor. But I've seen what Cyna- Cya can do as a Keeper."

"Yeah? Have you seen her collar collection?"

Luke snorted. "I've watched her pick her Kept for the last sixty years. If I were Regine I could tell you their survival percentages..."

"Please don't," Cynara murmured. When Luke glanced over, she was once again chatting to Leo about something one of their Students had done.

"...I can't. I'm not that good at numbers. But I'd bet you anything it's higher than that of the rest of the Addergoole grads."

"Anything?" Apollo leaned forward, a fierce twist of an expression on his face. "Would you bet a year under this collar yourself?"

more )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
after [personal profile] inventrix's Let's Pretend, which is after my A Change in Routine.

When Leo walked into Cya's front yard carrying her Kept over his shoulder, she found that she wasn't surprised, and that she was more than a little relieved.

It wouldn't be enough, of course. Apollo was the most stubborn, ridiculous, arrogant man she had had the misfortune to deal with...

...since Leo and Howard were that age, a thought she was doing her best to suppress, especially considering how Leo's fierce smile vanished when he caught her looking at him.

He set her Kept down on her porch as Cya opened her door and deftly avoided the angry punch Apollo attempted to throw.

"I see you've met Professor Inazuma. Come in." She made it an invitation for Leo and an order for Apollo. "Leo, I see you've met my new Kept. I hope he wasn't too difficult."

"He wasn't difficult at all!" Leo was having fun, a smile flashing onto his face before he remembered he was supposed to be feeling bad. "Ah, we got in a bit of a fight..."

"You kicked his ass, you mean." She watched Apollo's face; she didn't need to watch Leo's to know what was going across it. He'd be hang-dog for a moment, and then proud of himself again.

Apollo was warring with something simpler: pride and fear. He'd noticed, then, how much stronger, how much more skilled than him Leo was. Good. "Are you just going to let him manhandle your Kept like that?" He spat out the word Kept. He always did. But the end of the sentence was more like a plea. "Or--"

"We were playing a bit of Let's Pretend." The pride was clear in Leo's voice, and the anger and fear were sparking in Apollo's face again.

"You were playing! I was--"

"You were saying you could handle yourself." She could hear the sharp smile in Leo's voice. "If I'd been a slaver, you'd be in chains by now."

It was hardly a fair challenge. They had great-grandchildren older than this boy.

Slavers wouldn't be fair, either.

"Leo was cy'Luca, too, Apollo, back when we were kids. A lot of kids have been, through the years, if you do the math." She kept her eyes on him. "One or two in every Cohort... One or two cy'Fridmar, too, and they're just as vicious in a fight, more likely to cheat, and more likely to turn evil. Never mind the cy'Sakamoto; nobody knows which way they'll go. And most of the cy'Doug would rather kill you than look at you."

"I get it!" He flung his arms upward violently. "Yeah, sure, there's lots of assholes out there. But I'm good, okay? This jackass got the jump on me, that's all."

He didn't believe it, or Cya would have been more harsh with him. Instead, she raised her eyebrows and waited for the moment where he shifted from foot to foot and dropped his arms and his gaze.

She glanced back at Leo, wondering if he remembered when he was that young and stupid. Time enough for that conversation later.

"By the time I'm done with you, it will be a lot harder for anyone to get the drop on you. And step one is realizing that somebody can and will."

And, because he was her Kept and this one, damnit, she could protect, she kept going. "In the meantime, this is my city. If anyone other than Leo here attacks you, you tell them that you Belong to me. If that doesn't stop them, you can feel free to tell anyone who can hear you that you're mine. For this year, at least, that ought to keep you safe."
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
Started in [personal profile] inventrix's DW here (and the comments)

Then here.

Now, below.

Cya left Leo's house slowly. She walked out of the yard as if she was still, somehow, thinking he'd say "no, wait, come back." She walked down the road, ignoring people, ignoring animals, ignoring the little voice in the back of her head that was always suggesting improvements to the city.

He sticks around because he's crazy. THAT voice had always been there, even when it was pretty obvious Leo wasn't so much sticking around as being tethered by ill-thought-out promises and Cya's habit of Finding him whenever he got too far off. He sticks around because he's tethered.

If his insanity was changing, evolving, would there still be room for the Protagonist's Friends?

She walked to the wall around her city and climbed the ladder. It was her city; nobody was going to tell her not to be there.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
[personal profile] inventrix wrote a piece here around the beginning of Cloverleaf, and it's continued in the comments (and is still going on) as a story between Cya and Leo.
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
After the series of letters [here] and a visit to Cya's son Vidrou, Enion (Cya's father) attempts to make amends with his daughter via letter. Eventually he succeeds well enough that she decides to try talking to him one more time.

She packed a bag.

She didn't need to; she was teleporting to the area, and returning, she assumed, within a few hours.

But there was a certain feeling of parallel that she couldn't ignore, and so Cya packed a go-bag. Clothes, easy to hand-wash and line-dry. Medical supplies. Two days' food. A source of fire, an emergency blanket... pencils and a notepad.

On a day over a hundred years ago, she had packed a very similar bag. She'd done so countless times since, for herself, for children and grandchildren and great-great-great-great grandchildren, Kept and students and friends.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Written to [personal profile] inventrix's and Kuro-Neko's request/commission after I Should Visit, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V; 2500 words

“ might consider, in due time, why some people’s children seem to know so much more, coming to Addergoole, than others’.”

Regine watched the woman walk down the stairs, her mink tail bobbing. She watched her open the back door and head out into the back yard, where Feu Drake was telling the toddler some convoluted story.

It was a question she had not given too much thought, she was forced to admit, if only to herself. Some students came in with basic or no educational background; some came in nearly college-educated. Some knew what a Kept was, what a promise was, what hawthorn was. Some learned those things the hard was during the course of their time at Addergoole.

It did make it harder to shock them into Changing, but the tight, Ellehemaei-full environment did what surprise did not.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
(This one born out of a dream in a rather different way than the last dream-story)

They didn't hunt venison in or around Cloverleaf.

Oh, sure, sometimes someone snagged a buck for their table, but they did so on the sly, and they didn't hang trophies.

There wasn't a law against it — there were very few laws in Cloverleaf against what you could hunt, sell, or eat in terms of food, and they mostly said "don't hunt or eat sentient beings" and "don't sell poison or other non-foods as food." But early on in the city's life, someone had shown their founder-and-leader a prize trophy buck.

The proud hunter — and everyone around him — had noted the way Cya Red Doomsday went pale and a little green. And then someone took a long look at Leofric, one day in Autumn when his Mask was down.

Word got around, slowly but surely. And nobody hunted venison around Cloverleaf anymore.
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Written to [personal profile] inventrix's request/commission after I Should Visit, Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV; 1,425 words

Regine’s eyebrows went up. “You have an Addergoole student here?”

Cynara, curse her, smirked. “We have several. However, Deimos was conceived and born outside of Addergoole.”

Regine twisted her lips. Definitely a student of Feu Drake, this one. “He is on our rolls to attend Addergoole next year.”

“His mother didn’t contact you?” Cynara raised her eyebrows. “Perhaps she was waiting until her first two children graduated.”

Regine held Cynara’s gaze. “Why do you think she would do something like that?”
Read more... )

aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Written to [personal profile] inventrix's request/commission after I Should Visit, Part I, Part II and Part III; 1,676 words

Kurt bowed low, with an overdone flourish. “Welcome to Doomsday, lady and gentleman.” Never had those words been spoken so cheerfully. “I do hope you enjoy your stay.”

He sounded like a movie. Regine raised her eyebrows at him in the gesture that had quelled so many Addergoole students. This child, however, had no common sense, and was unconcerned. He winked at her playfully and turned back to the sidewalk, moving forward with a hop and a skip.

“First up is the dining hall and otherwise gathering-around place.” Kurt gestured negligently at the building.

“A church?” Regine was honestly shocked, enough that it showed in her voice. The building was tall, pale, and had a steeple -- every bit like an old country church.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
Luke was waiting for Cya at the fence around Lady Maureen's.

She was, she'd admit, predictable, but never in the sixty years that she'd been doing this had Luke stopped her. Talked to her, yes. Chatted, asked questions, sometimes even second-guessed her choices.

Something was different in his posture this time. There was something about the set of his feet and the spread of his wings that told her he wasn't going to wait patiently, and he wasn't here to chat.

Cya shifted her own posture, making sure she could feel the weight of every weapon she carried. She couldn't win a fight with Luca Hunting-Hawk, certainly not on his territory. But she could make sure she got away and survived long enough to call in Boom.

He stepped forward. "Cya."

"Sir." She noticed, then, that he had his body and wings angled oddly. Hiding something? "Nice weather this year."

"I have something for you."

That's what I'm worried about. "Sir?" He never had been great at small talk.

"I'm not something!" The complaint came from behind Luke; he shifted, folded his wings, and hauled a young man in front of him.

He was blonde, with a look Cynara recognized well - the chin, the nose, although the eyes were different. He looked more like Howard than like Leo, but they often did. And he looked not very close to either of them -- but that made sense, because it'd been generations, and not every child of Aelfgar could've managed to have children with a sibling.

Unlike any of her favorite Aelf-get, he had a crown of horns radiating out of his blonde curls like a sunburst. Like many of them, he was wearing a seemingly perpetual scowl.

"Cya Red Doomsday, this is Apollo the Sun-fire. Apollo, this is the woman I was telling you about."

Cya raised her eyebrows. "I don't really do unwilling, Luke." She couldn't miss the way the Hawk's fingers were pressing into the boy's forearm.

"You used to."

"I used to be a child. We were all children, once." This conversation was not going where she'd thought it would. "I grew up."

"That's the problem." He pushed Apollo forward; the boy tried to resist, but Luke was a force of nature. "This one didn't. He managed to sit through four years of Addergoole and I don't think he learned a damn thing, not the important stuff. He's going to get himself killed out there."

"He's right here." Apollo shifted as far away from Luke as the grip on his arm would allow. "And I'll be fine. Look, I know how to fight. I'll be able to take on anything I run into out there."

Cya sighed quietly. "I see what you're saying. But the thrill of the fight got old a long time ago, Luke, and I have my hands full."

Apollo leered at her. "I'll give you a fight, Lady."

"Red Doomsday." Luke's voice grew soft and formal. "I am fond of this idiot, and he was my student. I am asking you a favor, that perhaps you might succeed where I have failed. It is not a small favor, and I pay my debts."

Cya let that hang in the air. She looked the boy, pout, spikes, blonde hair, up and then down again.

"You." She nodded at the kid. "You Belong to me for the next year."
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
The call came while they were watching TV after dinner: Supernatural, which amused Cynara on one level and reminded her of school in a whole different way.

"Got it," she answered. The kids were listening, so she tried to make her voice sound reassuring. "I'll take care of it. Thanks."

On TV, the Brothers Winchester were fretting about how one couldn't be a monster hunter and have a family. Cynara pulled her Kept aside. He was new, but he was already proving himself to be reliable and reasonably level-headed.

"Look, I've got to take care of a thing." She saw Yoshi was watching her, but what could she do? The life sort of came up on you, regardless of if you had kids or not. "Everything should be okay here, but if anyone comes to the door, if anything strange happens -- look, this is not an order, I am trusting you to use your judgement. But if it gets scary, lock yourself and the kids in the bedroom - their bedroom, the windows are protected - and stay out of sight, okay?"

He was fresh out of Addergoole; things being weird really didn't faze him. He nodded. "Do what you have to do, boss."

Maybe she was getting better at picking them. "Thanks, hon." She gave him a kiss, hugged the kids and told them to behave, picked up Go Bag #3, and headed out.

Her first stop was a quick Find, looking for SWAT-worthy crime that hadn't been noticed by the cops yet. She slipped on her gloves, and, standing across the road and behind a tree, made a hurried 9-1-1 call.

"I think they're selling guns," she whispered worriedly. "And they have some woman tied up..."

It was a bad scene, but nothing the cops couldn't handle. And it would keep them busy.

She dropped the phone in a garbage can a few blocks away and made another call of a similar nature a few miles away. Once she'd gotten the third one down -- it was amazing how much crime went on unnoticed in this city -- she started making the other calls.

Her friend at 9-1-1 wasn't supposed to give away any information, but he could confirm three phone calls of a man with "some sort of sword." He could also deny that there had been any calls of anyone being attacked. Yet.

A quick web search told her the three most likely targets; the two that were most likely innocent got a call in from her second and third burner phones, a bomb threat and a weather warning. She dropped those phones in the river and a garbage can, respectively, and hopped back in the car.

The trick wasn't finding him. Cynara could find him anywhere on the planet. The trick was minimizing the possible damage.

She made one more call, this one from her own call. "I've got it in hand." The police were thoroughly distracted. The potential victims -- the ones that were probably not actually Nedetakaei -- were warned. Now all she had to do was either help Leo kill monsters or talk him down from killing innocent people.

She made another phone call, just in case, and kept driving.
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
I was listening to Keith Urban's Raise 'Em Up on the way to work today, and... this is what I got. A moment of Cynara as the world burns.

Lift your tear-filled eyes
Up to the sky
Comin' home you've been gone too long
Tonight we're gonna
Raise em' up

Boom Ranch, 2012

She hung up the phone and leaned back with a thump, glad there was no-one around to see her.

Tulsa was gone. Three more friends and 300 hundred thousand other people she'd failed to save.

She indulged herself in a moment of grief. Then she picked up the phone again.

"Catriona? This is Cynara -- ah, Máire the Red. I'm glad I caught you. I'm glad you're okay." She knew she sounded cheerful, upbeat, casual. She had a lot of experience sounding stable when she was shaking inside. "Look, I don't know what arrangements you've made, but some friends and I bought a ranch up in Wyoming, and there's a nice piece of land next door where I'm putting together a tent city of sorts. Running water, electricity..." Her voice caught for a moment. "It's as safe as we can make it, Cat, and that's pretty safe."

The rest was just details -- location, call sign, what to pack. Cya resisted the urge to tell her "pack everything. Pack it all; this isn't going to blow over." Instead she made herself sound calm, practical. Bring what you'd take for a three-week camping event. Bring stuff you like to work on, bring your crafting supplies. Bring friends, anyone you really trust. Bring yourself, fast. As fast as you can pack.

She hung up the phone and indulged herself in a moment of hope. Then she picked up the phone and dialed again.


aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (Default)

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