aldersprig: (Mermaid 2)
Her lungs were burning.  Her ears were popping.  Her face felt like it was going to explode.  Her throat felt like it was on fire.  She couldn’t take it any longer.

Audrey held on to the weight and counted to twenty.  She could do twenty more, maybe fifteen more, eleven-twelve-thirteen oh god. Four… teen, Fif-teen.

She popped up out of the water, trying not to scream.

It wasn’t working.

read on…
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
A bit later than:
Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again and Blind Dateand Catching Up and Getting to (re-)Know him
and Also Needs a Title
and More Cya Date and So, Tell me About your Day

See also: Red Thorns
For their fourth date, Manus brought her a town.

It was more of a settlement, really, a very small grouping of people who all looked at her with big, worried eyes and seemed to be very worried about their lot in life.

She’d known something was up when her normally-peaceful boyfriend was armed and suggested she do the same. “Should I bring a bodyguard?” she’d asked, mostly joking.

“no, that will spook them too much.,” his answer was a lot more serious. “You’ll be safe. you outpower all of them.”

“Them” was this settlement, twenty-three people in a burned-out town that probably hadn’t seen real inhabitance in decades. They looked up at her, and looked at Manus, and looked back at her.

“They want to fly the Cloverleaf flag,” he told her. “We caught them raiding, and stopped them pretty thoroughly, but they looked more hungry than fierce - sorry, guys - and, well..”
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aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
In Cloverleaf, they don't kill their attackers if they can avoid it; they make future assets out of them. Here's a flash of that.

“Look, it’s not like Cloverleaf actually kills anyone.” Hecherak had coaxed. “They’re weaklings. We’ll be in, out, steal a few sheep, maybe some… ha, cattle, and then we’ll be back. Good practice for a real raid, no trouble, and we won’t really be risking anything.”

At the moment, Tekliek was having trouble discerning the fine points of difference between death and his current situation: that was, impaled with three hawthorn stakes that had been sent into him with surgical precision, missing anything he actually needed to survive. Death hurt less, he was pretty sure.

Death might involve a beautiful redheaded halfbreed straddling him.

“Here’s the situation,” she began, and Tekliek passed out.

When he came to, his hands were chained above his head, his feet were chained to something, and he was in the sun. He was no longer pierced through with anything, but from the burning, he could tell he was cuffed with hawthorn.

The half-breed woman was there again. “Here’s the deal,” she began again. “You are going to swear to not attack Cloverleaf for five years or anyplace flying the cloverleaf circles for three years, to not enter Cloverleaf during that time without the freely-given signed permission of the gate guards, and to leave Cloverleaf trade caravans alone for ten years. Then I’m going to mark you with my thorn, and what that means is that the next time I see you, you will do one favor for me. It won’t kill you, your children, or any Students you might have and it will not bring harm to any children still in your care or students the same. Understood?”

Tekliek nodded slowly. “Under-ah!” She had pressed her fingers into his skin, just under his collarbone on his right side. When he looked down, there was a thorn marked in red ochre.

“Good. Someone will be along to take your oath in a moment.” She moved down the line, repeating her speech. To one side of Tekliek was Poesl, from their clan; to the other side was his friend Fijsk. Past Fijsk was Hecherak, and the red-headed halfbreed was straddling her now, ready to mark her.

“Oh, not your first time, is it? Third. And I see you still owe me for the last time.”

Tekliek shared a look with Fijsk. They looked over at Poesl, shook their heads, and looked back at each other.

With their new tattoos burning on their shoulders and their new oaths fitting like cages, they waited patiently at the gates of Cloverleaf for the guards to acknowledge them. There was never going to be a better time or a better reason to slip Hecherak’s leash.
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
Directly after Rocks

She took his hand, because she needed to reassure herself that he really was fine. “I don’t-” she started, and fell quiet. There were too many ways to end that sentence and she didn’t like any of them.

He glanced over at her, and she recognized the expression, even if he looked nothing like Cabal, nothing like Gaheris. “I got it.” He was quiet for a minute, as she led him out of Leo’s house and down the quiet neighborhood street. “You don’ like, uh. Being emotive.”

She snorted, laughing at herself, at his phrasing, at the whole mess. “Let’s be honest,” she said, dryly and more openly than she usually was with her Kept. “I don’t like having emotions. But Leo - thinks that’s a mess, and Dr. Rexinger agrees, and if I’m going to be entirely honest, if one of my Kept told me they didn’t like having emotions, I’d spend the whole year helping them work through that. So I try to have emotions. But I don’t -”
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
Cya and Carew, Carew’s POV - what happens when Cya starts feeling things she’s been repressing.

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aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
This is in Lady/Sword timeline, and is after everything posted to date. Leo needs some help… Cya Finds it.
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aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
For Cal: This comes after a number of things, including Jeska and Carew wandering around the city talking, Convincing each other to tell their Keepers that they were jealous of… (in Carew’s case, Leo, and Jeska’s case, the cat)… and Carew doing some thinking. Sword/Lady timeline

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aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
So, it turns out, when you get [personal profile] inventrix and I together, what you end up with is a whole lot of different timelines for the same characters.

This is as comprehensive as I can come up with a list of Cya-Leo-Boom timelines we might have posted stories for.

[personal profile] inventrix, if I’ve missed something, misrepresented something, or mislaid something, please let me know!

It appears that the turning points are:

1) When Leo (and thus Cya) gets sane. In canon, and in timelines that could be canon, that happens after Cya builds Cloverleaf, which itself is ~40 years after they attend Addergoole (see Ghost Story).
2) Whether Cya Keeps Leo or he swears an oath of obedience and service to her.
3) If/When they come to the realization that what Cya wants from Leo is not what Leo can provide
“Cya cried,” he says, a little too matter of fact, “because she’s accepted I’m not going to love her back.”
“…The fuck you say?”
“Not the way she wants, at least.”

“So, the basics are simple enough, you’ve got me,” he holds out one hand, “and Cya,” he holds out the other, “and we both care about each other way too much. The problem is, Cya has like a tragic romance thing going on because she wants me to be in love with her back, but like… whatever the hell I feel, it’s not that, and I don’t care what that stupid kid says,” he adds in an annoyed mutter, “I’m not going to go pretending to feel something I don’t when it’s just going to fuck everything up in the end and it’s none of his fucking business anyway.”
Leo pauses and clears his throat a little awkwardly. “…anyway, so. Her side, nice, fairly straightforward, normal romantic obsession. My side, some kind of weird martyr Kept knight thing. Which would be fine except like, the one thing Cya wants more than anything in pretty much the whole world is to be attached to just one guy who will actually, you know, love her back? You’d think after--” He stops himself from tangenting this time. “So since I’m obviously not that guy, I talked her into trying dating so she’s at least meeting people who aren’t fresh Addergoole grad Kept with issues.”
4) Whether they all flip the F out and kill everyone their first year.
timelines below )

I might add links later. I might bribe people to add tags to things later - I’m totally willing to do that! But for the nonce, this is what I’ve got.
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
In the Sword and Lady timeline, after
Cya Yells at a Kept which itself followed (but was posted before) Faking it.

“Leo and his Kept are coming over tonight — for dinner and to sleep over.”

Cya said it like she expected it to be nothing, just another day, but her eyes were on Carew and he had no doubt she was gauging his reaction.

She did that, said things without any tone and waited to see what he made of them. Carew still wasn’t sure what he made of that.
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aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again and Blind Dateand Catching Up and Getting to (re-)Know him
and Also Needs a Title
and More Cya Date
They ordered dinner. There was a moment where it looked like Manus expected Cya to order for him; then he coughed and ordered his own food. Something different than she’d have picked; she wondered if he did it out of some residual defiance.

She hoped not. She didn’t want defiant, because defiant meant he was still thinking of her as an authority figure. Domme, maybe. She could definitely get behind (ha) that. But not authority figure in the rest of his life.

“So,” she asked, over delicious white bread that tasted all the better for remembering years where white flour was hard to come by, with a dipping sauce of Cloverleaf-grown olives (one of her proudest accomplishments was that tiny greenhouse orchard). “Tell me more about being a judge-and-diplomat?”
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aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
Okay, so the premise of this is thus: in this timeline, Cya has a small meltdown when she realizes that Leo is never going to love her the way she loves him. This has always been true. She’s always known it to be true. But she’s got a lot of practice at denial.

Anyway, her poor Kept has to deal with sobbing Cya and… in a move proving why her power thought he needed to be in a protective Keeping for a year… punches Leo in the face.

Leo gamely DOESN’T attack him back, although he scolds him, yells at him, and tells him to get out of his sight.

And then Cya comes home.

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aldersprig: an ancient-looking world map (map)
March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it! (I need more questions, guys)
This ninth one is from [ profile] medicmsh3141: What’s your favorite part of mapmaking?

Oh, no, favorites!

…All of it?

Okay, so when I was working on my first-ever Nanowrimo novel, The Deep Inks, one of the flaws in that book is that I spent like… 3 chapters describing an entirely-useless-to-plot town that the antagonists had built… I don’t even remember why.

But I LOVED that town.
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aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again and Blind Dateand Catching Up and Getting to (re-)Know him
and Also Needs a Title

Cya reached over the table and tapped Manus on the top of the head. “Okay. Rule one. No pouty faces in public.”

“I thought rule one was ‘don’t attack you?’”

“That’s rule one for Kept. This is rule one for boyfriends.”

“Oh, so there’s a completely different - wait, what?”

Cya waited a moment for him to catch up, one eyebrow raised in her best teacher face. A moment later, he smirked slowly. He always had been one of her smarter Kept.
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aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again and Blind Dateand Catching Up and Getting to (re-)Know him.

Cya looked at Manus over her water. The waitress was hovering nearby; she gestured the woman over and placed her order, let Manus place his. She ordered wine from the local vineyard because she was proud of it (and because there wasn’t that much other wine to be had, although she’d recently opened up trade with a place a couple days’ travel away). He ordered whisky.

“You get why I built it?”

“I thought I knew back then. I mean, it pisses Regine right off. The school, especially. Kids that go from your school to her school - oh, it makes her mad.” He grinned in that way that shared in the schadenfreude of Regine’s anger.

She smiled back, because she had been trying to piss Regine off, although it had been a tertiary goal.

“But I mean, that’s the school. You could’ve built a shell around it and called it good, but you have like a whole nation here.” He sipped his water. “I get it now. I didn’t, then.”

“Yeah.” She looked out the window. There was a park behind the restaurant, and through a decorative screen of ivy, she could see kids playing. “I wanted to build safety.”

“That’s pretty cool, you know.” He cleared his throat. “So. Warwick, he said you were looking for someone to date. I don’t remember… well, you didn’t date before, did you? I guess I might have missed it…

“I didn’t,” she confirmed. “This is, well. It’s a new thing.”

“And… you probably weren’t looking for old Kept.” He looked down at the table.
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again and Blind Dateand Catching Up.

Cya studied Manus thoughtfully. “You like Montana?”

“Let’s just say… I like what you’ve done with the place. I’m not old enough to remember Montana,” he admitted, “but I like the Cloverleaf region. You’re still here, though. When I was here, I thought maybe you’d move on.”

“I hope you’re not disappointed.” She struggled to keep anything out of her voice. Life had been easier, in a manner of speaking, when she just wasn’t feeling things.

“Oh, not at all.” He looked at her. “Something’s changed in you.” He flopped a hand. “Thirty years, a lot has changed, I’m sure. I’ve grown up, changed, I imagine you have too. But you’re a lot more animated.”

“I’ve been, ah. Learning a lot about myself.” She shrugged. “So you stuck around?”

“I worked for a caravan for a while. I’m pretty good as a guard, and there were trade caravans that were having trouble with bandits and Nedetakaei, wyverns and wolves. And that worked out fine, but when I talked a bandit out of attacking, he decided that I should be working for him for a while… so that was about four years.” He grinned, lopsided and not at all abashed. “Turns out I like working for people. I probably should’ve figured that bit out a while ago. But I didn’t like…” the smile slipped. “Well, I didn’t like what he was doing. So I moved on, which took some work, let me tell you. Did a few other things before I ended up with this judge-like gig. I like it.” He leaned back in his chair and looked at her. “I get why you built a city, now.”
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again and Blind Date.

“You look good.”

It was no surprise he was handsome, of course; for one, he was from Addergoole, where handsome was the norm, and for another, she’d picked him to be her Kept, which almost always meant that they fit within her two very specific types.

It wasn’t what she meant, in this case.

He smirked back at her and pretended to misunderstand. “Good genes.” He brushed away her response before she could say it. “I’ve been doing well. Doing good, too.” He ducked his head and grinned up at her through a sudden fringe of brown-black hair, a trick he’d excelled at thirty years ago and seemed to have been practicing. “Turns out your lessons stick.”
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date and Trying Again.

She had agreed to meet him in one of her favorite restaurants, in the back left corner booth. When she got there, she found herself staring.

By arrangement, she was wearing a dark red dress and a gold net in her hair. There was a man in a top hat in the suggested booth.

A familiar man.

The top hat had a red flower in the band; it was either her date or there was a series of coincidences too huge to be likely going on.

There were a lot of people who looked very similar, she reminded herself. One of their great-grandchildren was the spitting image of Leo’s half-brother Yngvi, for instance.

“Hello. I’m told that there’s geese flying south.”

The guard who had set them up had an amazing sense of the dramatic.

“Oh, but only in the… Cya?”

“Manus?” She sat down across the booth from him. “I thought it might be you. I didn’t know you were in town.”

“I wasn’t. That is, well.” He ducked his head. “I’ve been working in Neihart Mt., but Warwick, he travels there for the city. And he said he had a friend he thought I should meet....”

“He said something similar to me. Well…” Cya smiled crookedly. “It’s been a while. Twenty, thirty years…”

“Thirty-three, since you Kept me.”

“I was thinking since I’d seen you.”
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
After Cya gets ready for a date and Almost Out the Door for a Date.

The first date was… awkward.

No, the first date wasn’t. The second one was awkward.

The first date, he’d looked at her, dressed up instead of the way he’d met her, and cleared his throat in a sort of panicked noise. “I didn’t realize you were the Mayor!” He stood up so quickly she thought that he might have a speed-based power. “I, uh. I have to go - I have to go. I’m sorry. But I - no. You’re the Mayor.”

She’d gone running after that, back into her “plain-clothes” with her hair twisted up in a scarf so its trademark red wasn’t visible. The guards along the city wall knew who she was, of course, but they weren’t going to gossip about the Mayor and the angry look on her face. They liked their jobs.

The second one, then. She’d been a little poised for trouble. She’d made sure he knew she was the Mayor. She’d picked a place that her power said he and she would both enjoy.

And she’d Found him, after all. He was someone who could like her, who she could like.

And they found they had almost nothing to talk about. She worked in education, urban planning, and the explosive business of protecting her territory. He was a wanderer, a vagabond, who fixed things as he wandered through. “I like your city,” he said, and probably meant it, “but how do you - I mean. Don’t you get bored, being in the same place, year after year?”

“But it’s not the same place,” she’d protested. “It’s always changing. Always evolving. That’s the trick. A city, one with people, is never static.”

They’d stared at each other in mutual incomprehension and found safer topics to cover until the check came.

The third one had lasted several dates and a few trips home. The fourth one had even met Leo.

This time, she’d let one of her friends in the Guard set her up. It couldn’t, she figured, be any worse than her own attempts.
aldersprig: (Cya Surprise)
After Cya gets ready for a date

Cya was too old for this.

“Go.” Her Kept gave her a gentle shove towards the door. “Listen… ma’am.” He seemed to suddenly realize he was giving her orders. “Just ah.” He coughed. “I was serious. Remember that he’s probably sane, okay? I mean, unless you were doing your trick specifically for someone who wasn’t.”

Cya raised her eyebrows at him, which really wasn’t fair of her. “Do you think I’d forget that?”

He heroically didn’t squirm. “Yeah? I mean. No offense. But I know you’ve told me your crew is a lot more stable than they used to be, but I also know you built a city with your bare hands. And I know what kind of person you’ve been Keeping for - for forever. I mean, I’m that kind of person. And I know what I’m like.”

She tousled his hair - dark hair, this time - and gave him an affectionate smile. “I don’t think I went looking for someone who needed me. But my subconscious does weird things with the Finding sometimes. Thanks, sweetie. I’ll try to remember he’s a normal person.

Normal. She was surprised to find how nervous the thought made her. He was right, Barzillay was. She didn’t have a lot of experience with normal - with normal adults. Normal kids, sure. She’d been teaching for decades. But normal adults?

Remember that he’s sane. What would he do when he realized how much she… wasn’t?

aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
“So, which one of you asked?” Tokugawa ​leaned forward over the table, gaze bobbing between Byzantium and Charon. Charon’s new collar was silver with a band of something that seemed to change in texture and color depending on the way the light hit it, and it matched four rings on Byzantium’s fingers.

They shared a look, new-Keeper and new-Kept, and a smile that was far too similar. They had that new-couple thing going on, where they seemed to echo each other in everything, despite or because of the fact that they’d been hanging out for most of their time in school together.

“Wellll....” Byzzie started, and then giggled. “Believe it or not, we were both going to ask the other one. On the same day.”

“You have got to be kidding me. To Tokugawa’s left, Rhine shook his head in mock-disgust. “Seriously? You two are too cute for words.”

“Oh, I think it’s sweet.” Nobody could miss the look Eire shot over Tokugawa’s shoulder at Rhine - well, nobody but Rhine. “They were so in sync about it. That’s how practice Keepings are supposed to be anyway, right?”

“What,” Rhine scoffed, “disgustingly cute?”

“No.” Eire sulked, which was also missed or ignored by Rhine, “mutual agreement. Like a real Keeping. Something they came to together and hashed out.”

“It’s sweet, sure,” Rhine grumbled, “but ‘like a real Keeping?’ Really?”

“Like a real Keeping ought to be,” Tokugawa interjected. Nobody wanted Rhine getting Eire all worked up again. “And I think it’s kind of disgustingly cute - but in a good way. Cheers, you two.”

“Thanks.” Charon leaned his head on Byzzie’s shoulder. “It’s going to be an interesting year.”
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
Okay, I’m not actually sure when this is. It’s in a timeline we’re exploring where Leo and Cya actually talk. <.<

It’s * After Cloverleaf has been around for a while
* After Dysmas has been forcibly removed from the city.
* Not at a time when Leo and Cya have a pre-adult child around.
* Before Cya Keeps Leo, if she does.

And then Leo told Cya she should try dating.

Cya was too old for this.

And maybe, some rebellious part of her brain muttered, she was too young for it.

She checked herself in the mirror for a third time. She gave her Kept-of-the-year a kiss on the cheek. She checked the mirror again.

Her Kept, one of the more clever of the twenty-somethings she’d Kept over the decades, chuckled gently at her. “You look beautiful, you know. You always do. You look regal tonight.”

“Too much?”

“No.” He smiled crookedly. “I could wish it was me, but -”

“But.” They’d had that conversation. She gave him another hug. “The night’s your own. Do not do anything that will make the city guard have to come find me. Or make me have to come find you.”

“Yes, ma’am.” As far as Kept went, he was one of her better behaved, so he only smirked at the unneeded admonitions. “And you, Mayor Cya, make sure to give him a chance, and don’t try to fix all of his problems in one day.”

“…Have you been talking to Leo?”
aldersprig: (luke)
This comes after Luke and Mike... Talk

“Done already?” Leo asked them. He looked startled.

Mike didn’t know what to think about that, that Leo had expected them to be in there longer.

“Didn’t want to be too long.” The Kept-skirting-orders feelings were coming off of Luke in palpable waves. Mike wondered if he knew it. She wondered how it would change him – this whole thing, the bond, twelve years under the collar, being away from Addergoole.

Leo snorted, with a headshake that looked far too amused. “I’m not even your Keeper.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t give me orders.” Luke’s shoulders were even hunched forward. It was very nearly adorable.

“I didn’t give you an order, baka.” Leo flicked Luke’s forehead lightly, grinning. Mike fought against her own grin.
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aldersprig: (luke)
This happens after Slave and after, subsequently, Cya, Luke, and Leo have had an off-screen conversation. Thanks to [personal profile] inventrix for editing.

"Oh, Luke." Leo had paused just slightly, with that expression that meant he was being Humorous Leo. "You might want to give Linden some pointers, her punch is terrible."

There had been other words spoken since Luke walked in to find Mike and Leo talking in the General's tent, but those had stuck with him. Those, and the part where Leo had offered to give them some time alone.

"She was concerned we might not be treating you as well as we should," Leo had informed him. There'd been a warning there. Luke had taken it to heart.

Luke stared at Mike.

Mike looked back at him. She was in female form, but her clothes said she had been travelling male.

"You're sure...?" She hadn't said anything since Leo had left. Now, she looked at him with her head tilted, her expression naked.
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aldersprig: (luke)
After Flightless
Landing Page:

"You're having trouble with the concept of Belonging to someone else. I imagine your students often feel the same, don't you think?" Cya buckled the harness on him, one strap at a time. "It's not an easy concept. Your will, your actions, your body, all of it is the property of someone else to do with what they want. I was sixteen; I was used to my dad telling me what to do, teachers, other authority figures. Most of us were, at that point, one level or another. You... the only person that's been telling you what to do for the last century's been Regine, your crew... and she spent a lot of time pretending she wasn't, didn't she?"

"She covered a lot of it it." He twitched his wings and ran into the straps. "So, yeah. I got used to thinking nobody was telling me what to do. So?"

"So you've had what, almost three centuries of being your own man, and now... you're not. And it's not an easy concept to internalize and it's not an easy concept for me to hammer home, unless I want to seriously break you, which I don't."

He stared at her. “You put thought into that.”
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Dec. 9th, 2016 12:56 pm
aldersprig: (luke)
After Punished
Landing Page:

"Stay here." Cya walked into another room, only to come back a few moments later, carrying... what looked like sheets of leather and a few buckles. Luke frowned.

"Can you Make things or shape them more easily?"

"Shape, usually." He looked at the leather in concern. "What am I shaping?"

She ran her hand over a very thin slice of wood and muttered a Working. When she was done, there was a technical drawing in black - char? - on the light wood sheet. "This."

Luke studied it for a moment. His wings flared out in protest, knocking something off an end table and catching a throw pillow with his bottom wing-claw. "This is for me."

"It's for you."
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aldersprig: (luke)
After Flight
Luke flew back slower than he'd flown out. Gwen paced him again, but flew quietly, save for a brief conversation she had with her radio.

Luke resisted the urge to show off, to engage in aerial horseplay with her, to race. She was on a mission, and he --

well, he was probably in a lot of trouble, which he had to admit was a strange feeling. He had answered to Regine, sure, for decades, but he'd been answering to her as an equal.

Or, at least, the treacherous voice in his head suggested, you thought you were equals.

She clearly had other impressions.

That was going to sting for a very long time, he knew. Regine had been pulling and pushing at his mind, at his memories, all this time. She'd been making him into what she needed.
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aldersprig: (luke)
After Blond Bishop
Luke flew.

He didn’t want to do anything but fly for a few minutes, so that’s all he did, letting the wind carry him, letting the air hit his face, letting his wings do their own thinking and his body shift with the currents.

When he started to think again, he flew higher, making the work take all his attention. It had been a while since he’d gotten a good flight in. He should…

The thought hit him like a punch in the guts and he lost his glide for a moment. He flapped hard, caught himself, and found the thermal again, the panic momentarily overwhelming the sudden surge of guilt.

Once he was stabilized, he had no such protection. He should ask Cya if he could do this more often...
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aldersprig: (luke)
After Phase II and after [personal profile] inventrix' Chain of Command
Landing Page:

The Bishop is Mike. I'm not sure why.

Mike would laugh at him.

Mike probably was laughing at him, or, at least, he would be if any of Luke’s letters got through. Cloverleaf claimed to have a postal system, but you never knew, and Luke was old enough to have outlived several other mail delivery set-ups.

Some part of him thought, perhaps, that all the wiggle room in time when Cya sent him on errands was some sort of trap. She was the unapologetic dictator of an ever-expanding Empire; it wouldn’t be beyond her to have his mail intercepted so she could read it.
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aldersprig: (luke)
Directly after Movement
Landing Page:

Cya touched his cheek. Luke found himself leaning in to her hand. He tensed, but the touch remained gentle.

“Try to mind your breathing for a minute. In… out.” Her voice had lost all the false sweetness; she sounded like an entirely different person. “In… out.”

Luke paced his breathing to her words and found it an easy pace for long, deep breaths. Slowly, he felt the tension in his wings and shoulders release.

“How’re you feeling?”

They were still barely past halfway through. “I’m okay.”

She tapped his nose very lightly. “Didn’t I tell you not to lie to me?”

He pulled back. “No?” Hunh, he should’ve lied to her. “I mean…”

“How’re you feeling?”

“Like I’ve been put through the wringer,” he admitted. “But I can take more.”

“You’re doing well.” She patted his shoulder. “After this, we’re going to have a conversation about safe words.”

His cheeks heated up. Luke fought against his wings’ urge to flare out and mostly succeeded. “I know about those. I am in a crew with Mike Linden-Blossom.”

“Good. Then I won’t have to give you the primer.”
Read more... )
more )
aldersprig: (luke)
After (no Title)
Landing Page:

"I do hope eventually that isn't a negative for you." She patted his shoulder. "But I don't think 'eventually' is going to be 'today'. Okay, the next..." she glanced at a clock over her shoulder, where it was in plain sight for Luke. "...half hour is going to be experimental. It does not reflect on you as a Kept in general, nor does it set any precedents. Understand?"

"It's a sparring session?" Luke guessed. "Wait..." he winced. "It's the sort of sparring session where you show the new kid he'd not as hot of shit as he thought he was, isn't it?"

"That is a pretty close analogy. All right." She glanced at the clock, nodded, as if to herself, and started. "I'm really disappointed in you for not coming home sooner. I know this isn't what you wanted, but the least you could do is remember that you have a Keeper, and that your Keeper might want to see you once in a while."
Read more... )

aldersprig: (luke)
After Leash
Landing Page:

Luke tried to still his body, but his wings kept moving without consulting him first, twitching at the tips and unfolding just to tense up again. He closed his eyes and focused on his breathing, in-two-three-four, out-two-three four. He hadn't been this agitated in...

"Damnit, Regine, those are my students out there. I have to go. I have to help them!" He'd just gotten a report of another one dead, and a whole team of former cy'Lucas was about to go into the most active war zone on the planet.

"No." Regine's voice was icy, beyond calm and into inhuman. "You need to protect Addergoole. That's what you agreed to, and that is what you are going to do. Tempero Intinn Luka Hunting Hawk..." The Working had taken over his mind, and he'd lost both volition and memory of the scene.

He hadn't remembered any of that until a week ago, not the time he'd actually been standing by the door with his weapons in hand. He'd remembered being angry -- but he hadn't remembered being stopped, turned around. She hadn't wanted him to remember.
Read more... )

aldersprig: (luke)
After Knocking Over Pieces
Landing Page:

Cya answered the door when he knocked, looking something between amused and annoyed. "You live here now," she pointed out, in a tone of voice that, in someone else, Luke might think meant strained patience.

With Cya, he didn't think he could assume even that. He shifted from foot to foot, hating himself for doing it but not able to stop the shamefaced way he wanted to grovel and hide at the same time.

"It's your house," he tried, aiming for a gruff voice.
She raised her eyebrows at him. His wings twitched and he shifted his stance to a broader, more stable one.

"It is," he pointed out. "I don't want to intrude."
Read more... )
aldersprig: (luke)
This comes about 7 days after the last post, here:

Luke had been Kept for eight days, and he had spent 2 evenings with his Keeper. The rest of the time he had spent with Leo's army, doing the job he'd been assigned to - or, at least, the way Leo had chosen to interpret the job Cya had given him.

The army was quite impressive, aside from the whole godhead issue, and there really was quite a bit Luke could do to help. He liked being out in the field again. He'd forgotten how much he enjoyed that: talking to troops, strategizing, scouting. He'd forgotten how much he'd enjoyed being a soldier.

Forgotten - or had the memories pulled out. He'd spend 2 evenings with his Keeper, and she'd spent both of them untangling memories locked up in his mind. Luke didn't want to examine that too closely - or think too hard about why his crewmate, his friend had torn apart his memories and left him with a mind like Swiss cheese.

He glared at the map in front of him and indulged in an overblown wing-flap, knocking over a couple of the figures on the board.

"Why don't you go home tonight?" Leo suggested cheerfully. "It'll still be impossible in the morning."

Luke shook his head. "I'm fine. If I just look at this a little bit longer, I'll figure out what I'm missing."

"No, you're not fine." Leo shook his head. "Come on, you know how this works."

"How what works?" He made the effort to hold his wings in place and not flap, and very carefully put two of the pieces back upright. Pawns. Like Regine treated everyone; like Cya treated everyone.

"Being Kept. Go home, spend some time with your Keeper. You're getting cranky."

"What's that got to do with anything?" This time, Luke didn't control his flap. The little pieces went tumbling again. "These people...!" Leo's order was already pressing at him, though. He fought against it to pick up the poor little pawns. "I'm supposed to be helping you," he tried instead, and hoped it didn't sound too much like a plea.

Leo was looking at him oddly. He cleared his throat and finished straightening the pieces on the board. "Something with the dry creek bed, here, I think that's the solution."

"Go home, Luke. Be with your Keeper before you're unbearable to be around." Leo's voice sounded a little too perky. Luke looked around; there was nobody else in the tent. What...

"I'm just irritated with the map," he lied. He was irritated with Regine, and with memories that he didn't know what to do with, and the nagging sensation that he was doing something awful.

"You know how this works, Luke." There was the briefest hesitation. "Right?"

"Keepers." Luke folded his wings. "You need some sort of proximity." He'd always figured that had a lot to do with the Kept and not so much with the Keeping itself. "I haven't done this before," he added, defensive and not knowing why he was feeling that way.

"You haven't... been Kept before? Cya's your first Keeper?" Leo signaled someone outside the tent.

"Yeah?" Luke shrugged. "I never expected to be in this sort of situation."

Leo's teleporter came in. "Sir?"

"Take Luke here back to Red Doomsday, then return to your normal duties." Leo wasn't looking at Luke. "Go home, Luke."

"Sir." Luke bowed stiffly and let the teleporter take him.
aldersprig: (luke)
follows immediately after the last one, here:

Cya - his owner - his... she directed Luke upstairs, making cracks about Mike at his back. Luke held his wings as still as he could -- the stairwell wasn't that wide -- as she teased him about Mike.

"I'm not..." He pressed his wings a little tighter to his back as he reached the top of the stairwell. "I didn't..."

"You didn't sign up to be Kept at all, so of course I don't think you engineered this to get in my bed. That doesn't mean you might not end up there." She chuckled, and once again Luke struggled to keep his wings under control. "To the left, first door on your left. I think you're going to find being Kept very educational, and I think that it might even be good for you."

This time, he flapped. "You knew that already. The oaths. The twelve years." The first door on his left opened into a spartan bedroom: giant bed, three wooden chests, two deep-silled windows with thick curtains. "You've already helped me out."

"The situation helped you out. I'm talking about the actual Keeping."

Luke turned slowly so he could look at her. She was serious, he thought, although he had a hard time getting a good read on her. "You think... being under the collar... will be good for me?"

"It often is. One, it narrows the scope of concerns. Two, it gives you a different set of feedbacks. Three, of course, it's educational. And four, you can find yourself trying on different roles." She gave him a somewhat sad-seeming smile. "I've done this a few times. I have some experience making sure I'm not the only one who gets something out of it."

Luke narrowed his eyes at her. "And what, exactly, do you get out of it?"

He wasn't expecting her to laugh; he certainly wasn't expecting the delighted sound she made. "Do you really have to ask? Oh, you do, don't you?" She giggled quietly. "I get a man in my bed, Hunting Hawk, and someone to help with the chores, help raise my children when I have them in the house, someone to help me run this city... this nation."

"But... Leo?"

"You might have noticed I stopped taking Kept a few years ago."

Luke glanced away. "Yes." And now he didn't know how to feel at all. Something like guilt was gnawing at him, which was ridiculous. She had maneuvered him into this Keeping. She had maneuvered all of them into this - might have even manipulated Leo into the godhead he was currently enjoying. So why did he feel like he was messing up one of her plans?

He stretched his wings cautiously. There was enough room in here for them; there was enough room in her bed for him to lay with his wings spread and leave room for her.

Somehow, he imagined she'd planned that, even if it hadn't been his wings she'd been thinking of. She had to have Kept someone with wings before him.... right?

She sat down cross-legged at the head of her bed. "Lay down - take your time, get comfy - and put your head in my lap."

Luke was moving before he really considered where he was going, and, despite her "take your time" order, was as comfortable as he was going to be in just a couple moments. His head was pillowed on her calf. It felt... intimate.

He shifted, spreading his wings out as much as he could. Part of him wanted to protest that he shouldn't be in a bed with a student, but the rest of him shut that down as the stupidity it was. "What do you want me to do?"

It was a sign of how badly off-kilter she had him that he was just grateful his voice didn't squeak.

more )
aldersprig: (luke)
A double-crack alternate universe in which Leo gets an army and then takes over the northwest.


Black Knight and White Queen from the 9th and White Knight from the 10th and
Red Queen from the 11th,
and Domination,
Captured Knight,
Captured Knight continued,
Chessboard,and several pieces by [personal profile] inventrix - /directly/ after Chessboard.

Read more... )
aldersprig: (CyaSmile)
A double-crack alternate universe in which Leo gets an army and then takes over the northwest.


Black Knight and White Queen from the 9th and White Knight from the 10th and
Red Queen from the 11th,
and Domination and
Captured Knight and Captured Knight continued, and several pieces by [personal profile] inventrix, most notably this one, which comes directly before the story below.

Read more... )
aldersprig: (luke)
A double-crack alternate universe in which Leo gets an army and then takes over the northwest.


Black Knight and White Queen from the 9th and White Knight from the 10th and
Red Queen from the 11th,
and Domination and
Captured Knight, which read first, because AU, and several pieces by [personal profile] inventrix, and now I'm going to need a TOC for this.

Read more... )


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

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