aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
This is, more or less, slice of life as the world burns.  The gas station guy came to me and I needed to give the story something of an end if not a beginning.

So here it is, Fae Apoc, early in the war so mid-2011.  


“What do you mean,'no satellites found?’”. Hayley pounded the

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aldersprig: (GIRAFFE!)
My Giraffe (Zebra) Call Is Open!

Written to lilfluff‘s prompt.  Definitely a beginning.  


“I don’t see why I should step down.  Everyone knows Winter is evil.”

There were four seasons and four courts.  There had always been, as long as the words went back and before that

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aldersprig: (GIRAFFE!)
My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is open!

Written to @dahob's prompt.

It was the day past the Autumnal Equinox, and the Emperor wasn’t dead.

The Rothenkill Empire, a wide-spanning mass of bureaucrats, generals, courtiers, financiers, farmers, and clerks, waited with their collective breaths held.

The servants of the Emperor moved slowly and carefully, as if their heads might fall off if they went about their tasks too quickly, or if they said the wrong thing.

Everyone was waiting.  Everyone was confused.  And almost everyone was worried.

In the Rothenkill Empire, it was said that the Emperors fell with the leaves.  And, like leaves, it was known that sometimes, the Emperors needed a little push, a helpful shove.

So where was the shove?

“This is nor normal,” complained the Chief Financier in charge of budgets. “What are we going to do?  Someone should do something.”

“Someone has to do something,” complained the Head Bureaucrat in charge of law distribution, re-writing, and deletion.

“Won’t someone do something?” pleaded the General of the Imperial Armies.  “He’s starting to give orders that make sense and can’t be ignored!  What are we going to do if we can’t ignore him?”

The Emperor, snug on his throne, pretended he could hear none of this.  He hadn’t ascended to the Poison Throne by looking or acting particularly bright, after all.  None of his predecessors had, either, not in decades, possibly not in centuries.

“The problem is,” muttered a person serving as a handmaiden, “nobody remembers how.”  Her grandmother had once helped off three emperors in a row, but that had been when you got a class of emperor that sometimes needed a shove.  “And with this one, I’m not going to risk it.”

And the Emperor smiled as the empire - the mass of functionaries that had killed his father, his grandfather, and countless of his various uncles and cousins - began to crumble under its own confusion.


and on wordpress...
aldersprig: (Evangaline)
After Fated, for my Fourth Finish It Bingo Card.

At the third adoption agency, Karen acknowledged that her family and the power were definitely getting in her way. Before she called the fourth - they lived near a big enough city, but there was still a limit - she visited her Aunt Becka.

She brought Aunt Becka’s favorite sweet rolls and a fresh box of her favorite tea.

And while they ate rolls and gossiped about the family, she swirled her mug and studied the leaves at the bottom.

Everyone had always told her she had no skill for it, no art. She looked at the leaves and saw a cradle.

“Here, dear.” Aunt Becka reached for the mug, and pulled her fingers back when sparks lit up between them.
“Oh!” She chuckled, sounding more pleased than the old woman had sounded in some time. “So you’ve decided to own it, have you?”
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aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
Written to [personal profile] lilfluff's prompt: "Kids at the mall stumble on the secret wing with the stores not listed on the mall’s map."

“And then Kevin said - what?” Abigail stopped mid-story to frown at Liv, who had gone silent and tense in the middle of Rue 21. “…oh. Come on, this way.” She took Liv’s hand and pulled her past the menswear. “Vic Carter, I swear,” she muttered as she pulled. “Bullies should not be allowed in the places normal people go.”

Liv had no problem being pulled - she never did - and kept her head down and her voice low. It wasn’t like they hadn’t done this before. “We’re normal now?” she muttered.

“Well, compared to that pile of unkind sentiment and bile?” Abigal got them out of Rue 21 and looked both ways. It was clear towards Hot Topic…

“You’ve been reading Austen again or something, haven’t you? - shit.”

“Oh, look who they let out of their cages!” Vic Carter’s snotty voice came at them like a weapon. “Didn’t I tell you two worms to stay away from me?”
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Part II:

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aldersprig: (Evangaline)
First: Visiting the Family
Previous: The Powers that Be

Uncle Willard let Eva’s words hang in the air while he opened up his sun porch to them and brought in a pitcher of cold lemonade.

There was something like a ritual to it, the clean glasses, the glass pitcher, the cold, sweet-tart fresh lemonade. In the winter, it woudl have been tea. Their family had things that they did, and they all did them more or less the same.

The thought made her smile, her lips just starting to curl up as Willard answered.
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Hooked In

Mar. 10th, 2017 08:36 am
aldersprig: (Beryl)
This is written to [ profile] sauergeek‘s commission and a request for more about how Beryl’s father got hooked into the family.
In high school, there had been a couple people — two in every year, three in the class that were freshmen when Mark was a senior — that were just a little bit different.

Not “didn’t follow the social conventions quite right” different, not “their accent says they didn’t grow up around here” different, but somehow just a little strange, despite conventional clothes and conventional haircuts.

To himself, Mark thought of them as “shiny” or, sometimes “sparkly,” but since none of his buddies seemed to notice — and none of the sparkly people seemed to notice him — he thought little more of it.

Then came college.

Freshman year, first semester, Survey of American Literature I. She sat down next to him and smiled, and Mark was hooked.
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aldersprig: a red-heded freckled girl, smiling (Autumn)
The meme is here: Give me the names of two characters and I will tell you why character A loves character B.

Here are [personal profile] rix_scaedu's second and [personal profile] clare_dragonfly's first prompts. Kailani and Rozen are from Addergoole; Autumn from Stranded World.

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aldersprig: (DragonBaby)
After Shattered, written after [personal profile] thnidu's tip.

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

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

They had so very few goods these days. It had taken almost twenty years to get any sort of manufacturing back online, and, once they had, it had all gone to the war effort. Certainly, those guys next door had something we wanted - as it turned out, they had minerals and metals that didn't currently exist in the borders of their fractured city-state. Mugs, plates - if you couldn't scrounge it or make your own from back-yard clay, you were Sure Outta Luck, as Hannah's mother had liked to say, those times she'd noticed Hannah was listening.
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aldersprig: (unspoken)
This is written for my third Finish It! Bingo Card, coming after R is for Rituals and Linguistic Tricks.

If Eliška Konvalinka had been male and still an Informer, she would have found some friendly person and asked them to show her how to tie the complicated head-scarf she'd - he'd - seen here and there throughout the crowds. If she'd guessed right, the person she asked would have a tie to the people with those scarves, who spoke in a strange language when speaking to each other and who held themselves apart from the rest of Scheffenon.

Since she was firstly an Informer, she repeated the teaching poem of Scheffenon to herself several times, taking notes of the parts that might relate, and then she spent the evenings of two weeks in the library, reading up on all of the strange histories of Scheffenon.
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aldersprig: (Ruan)
Written to [ profile] kelkyag's prompt(s) here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

Okay, this story references or is after several stories, so here goes:

This is where the divination deck originally showed up - 1st story in the whole series.
This story and then this one introduce Adam.

Wild Card comes immediately before the one below.

This is the Finish-It Bingo referencing Wild Card.

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aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)

I'm trying to put together an [profile] all_bingo "Finish It" card here.

It was pointed out to me that I have far, far too many unfinished stories to sort through.

So I started looking through the second page of my more, please tag: here

This is just a few suggestions of things someone has said "more, please" to that I have not finished. I will add to it as I find time.

Stranded in Winter - Autumn is stuck in town in winter
Space Accountant
A Reason - and Accidental, and bunking arrangements, etc (Genique got Married?)
Matchmaker, Matchmaker - Sabine didn't intend to collar Holles. But...
About That... Fridmar in an unexpected possibly-romantic situation with a student? i.e., Lyn is not great at consistence.
Bracken, her first year
Deaths in the Faerie apocalypse, a side note
They Were Over - Forrester runs into her former Keeper
Together/Again twins!

Aunt Family
Then and Now - Radar and his kitten
The Strength - and other stories of Deborah

Romance was never this convenient to handle - Mark Faine, Mark Faine, Mark Faine. How many of him are there?
Falling From Grace - ...not sure what to say about this one.
this one didn't get a more please but it could use one.
aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
Written to [personal profile] thnidu's prompt from 2014. here. New setting. Might be part of something else.

The Forest of Tesznerov gave the impression of being a monolith of green and brown, a forbidding wall that slowed and even stopped progress.

But if you could get past the obstructions and into the forest itself, it was bright and sunny, with patches like meadows almost half an acre large. And if you got even further in, near the top of the hill called Thistle Mountain, you might encounter the Cheramia.

Oostely had been that - not lucky, to call it luck was an insult - skilled, the first in a century to get that far and (one hoped) live to tell about it. She perched on a stump and waited, listening, until a chermiach settled down in front of her.

It chirruped out a greeting. In return, Oostely bowed deeply and responded in her own tongue. The Cheramia were one of the truly foreign creatures to be found within the technical confines of the nation, but if she had to try to describe one, Oostely might do as her great-great-grandmother had done and say "a flying cat-snake with some sort of squirrel tail." They might be as long as the distance between her ankle and hip, but they preferred to coil up like a spring, so they peeked at her through the fluff of their tail.

The chermiach whistle-popped a sound that could be a question, and then squeaked out what sounded like a human word. "Greeeeet," it clucked.

"Greetings," Oostely responded. She could not help but notice how sharp the chermiach's teeth were, or how longs its claws were, or how close it was. But her great-great-grandmother had met one and lived to tell about it, so Oostely chirruped out what she hoped was the word for peace, and prayed it would work.

(the tip jar is a kitty for reasons)
aldersprig: drawing of the author (LynLyn)
She was, above all else, tired.

The rain was coming down again. It seemed like it always rained, these days. The monarch sipped her tea and stared out at the yard, where the ravens were dancing in the downpour. The ravens had always danced there. Soon, her son would visit, and she would have to have a long-postponed conversation with him. She found herself exhausted at the very thought.
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aldersprig: (Girey)
[personal profile] clare_dragonfly asked for the Calenyen word for bunnies. So:

Lexember Day 3:

Bunnies, it must be bunnies

They have three variants on the rabbit on Reiassan:

The Kaler, a domesticated fur rabbit, small and generally friendly. Their fur comes in a wide variety of naturally-occurring colors and is well known to be good for baby clothes and underclothes.

The Zhyoobie, the wild version, which is about the size of a squirrel, eats plants one wants to keep, and nobody has yet made a Peter Rabbit book about. It's known to make its nest in the remnants of other animals' nests, and generally leaves a mess of wherever it nests.

The Natiel, a large hare, sometimes domesticated but often wild. These are the biggest of the rabbits, brought over by the Bitrani settlers, and named by them (nateo), but they do not thrive in the warm climates of southern Reiassan and have mostly migrated north.

This is not the first time I've shamelessly named things in Calenyen for people, as much as the language allows. The Zhyoobie and the Natiel are named after people I know/have known in other parts of my life.

Lots of days left to go! Stop in and give me something to word about!
aldersprig: (Doorway to Clouds)
"It's all your fault!"

They were fourteen - except Ralph, who had always been the baby of the group and was just turning thirteen - when the portal into Ombrion stopped opening for them.

They had known it was coming. Only children could enter Ombrion through the portals. And for the past year, the openings had been rarer and rarer. Two months had passed when the four of them huddled around the door in the old abandoned school library and called out toVerdana, who had guided them. They lit the candles, even though they knew the candles weren't necessary. They wished on the fullness of the moon, all of it the way they had the first time.

The gates stayed closed. Verdana did not answer. And to all of them, the gates felt more sealed, more dead, than they ever had before.

"It's got to be you." Clarence glared at Barbara. "With your..." He flapped his hand in vague disgust.

She sneered back at him, uninterested in his squeamishness. "What about you? With your voice changing, with all the squeaking through the calling there?"
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aldersprig: (Stormclouds)
"My Father is going to hear about this!"

He knew how he sounded. He knew exactly what they thought when he turned his back and stomped off.

The sycophants, they would think his father, yes. And his mother. They have the power, and that much power might rub off on us.

The Other Side, The Enemy, they would think what a prissy little ponce. But they would know that his father and mother had power that they weren't ready, yet, to cross.

And the ones that didn't care either way, the ones who were very determinedly Team No Hat, they would think what a loud little bitch and go on looking for power in some other way, some way that didn't mean being For or Against the Young Dragon's family.

He watched that all flicker across their faces, even as he wished he could cram the words back down his own throat. My father will hear about this. What stupid child said things like that?

He counted to three silently. Dragons did not take things back. Dragons did not ever concede that the power of the family wasn't all-important and all-encompassing. "Unless..."

Dragons did not say unless. They didn't bargain.

He met her eyes. Her. The Enemy. The born daughter of everything his family stood against. "Unless, daughter of the Leviathan, you'd care to settle this right here?" He lifted his left hand in a post of magic and challenge.

She watched his hand as if it were a strange object. A beat passed. Another A third. "Don't be foolish, young dragon. The leviathan do not duel."

She left him hanging just long enough that he was ready to gather up his pride and stomp off again. And then she smiled.

She smiled, daughter of the sea and all things cold and unforgiving, daughter of the Leviathan. "But if you'd like... Taranis... we might settle this over a deck of cards and a pint of beer."

The Leviathan and the Dragon did not drink together. The son of the dragon raised his eyebrows in perfectly patrician surprise.

"Let's," he agreed, surprising not only the crowed that surrounded them, that always surrounded them when they fought, but himself and perhaps the daughter of the Leviathan as well. "Tomorrow at 8, at the Crooked Rooster." He picked out of the crowd one of those who determinedly didn't care. "Perry of the Lion. Bring a deck of cards, would you?"

It got a laugh. And when he looked back at Levina of the Leviathan, she was grinning at him.

The son of the Dragon decided his father didn't need to hear about this one just yet.

If this sounds like a certain school with a certain blonde bratchild and some other certain people just a bit here and there, I blame this version of Fall Out Boy's Centuries and what happens when you let youtube have its head after that.
aldersprig: (BookGlasses)
Previous: Probably a Rescue
First: A Rescue, of Sorts
see also:
A Proof, Of Sorts

For the "Do up whatever story/stories suit your fancy or for whomever most wants/needs 'em." commission and the poll here

Daxton’s rescuer really had thought of everything. She’d packed a change of clothing for him, as well as scissors to trim his scraggly hair and a razor for his beard. When they rode away from the cabin, he was as clean, as well-dressed and as smooth-shaven as he had been on the day the Red Queen’s agents had taken him.

He was skinnier, by quite a bit, but he had a full stomach for the first time in ages. And he was a lot more nervous than he had been, right up until the moment the Red Queen’s people had grabbed him.

“You could ruin me, you know.” It wasn’t the most cheerful conversation for your prospective wife, but then again, most prospective wives didn’t pull one out of a dungeon owned by a wildly powerful despot.

“If I’d wanted to ruin you, I would have left you in the dungeon.”
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If you want more of this story - and this one could go on for a while!! - drop a tip in, ah, the tip handcuffs:

aldersprig: (Pania)
Written to Kuro_Neko's commission. The 0th Cohort were a test year before the First Cohort of Addergoole, and, as documented in Addergoole: Year Nine, many things went wrong. This is where things started going south.

“And for your homework tonight, class, be sure to read Chapters Seven and Eight of the History of the Americas text. And start thinking about your mid-term projects - yes, Nyla?”

Nyla’s hand was up. That didn’t seem like a good idea to her. Her hand was up and her lips were moving and how had she let herself get talked into this?

Oh, that was right. Because Professor Valerian liked her. Because she was the one with the leaf-green eyes and the forest-green hair and the tree-professor thought she was cute.

Nyla missed juvie.

She coughed. “Professor Valerian? We heard a rumor that this school has some unusual graduation requirements.”
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Buy the writer
some tea!
aldersprig: (Unicorn)
After The Grey Line (lj), Productive, The Governors (LJ), and Right & Wrong

Unicorn Factory has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

The Guilian story may contain references to "going down to the river" but no direct unicorn-on-human violence.

Santha had been sorting through Antheri's papers for a week already, and, from the looks of her careful notes, she had at least two weeks to go. From the looks of things, even if Antheri had been completely right about everything, he had also been a) completely insane, and b) willing to do whatever it took to appease the monsters he believed the Governors to be, up to and including murder.

Guilian had not been idle while his new assistant - that was, Santha, and to the sewers with anyone who felt that was inappropriate - worked on Antheri's paperwork. The Factory and the Town and thus the areas around the Factory and the Town had been under Antheri's care for far too long; there were more tangles to straighten out than there were hours in Guilian's days.

Today, he was staring at the output from the Factory, and working on a way to build in what should have been there from the beginning - some sort of filter on the waste. He had already worked out where the coriander everywhere was coming from, and, after a series of long and heated arguments, allowed cilantro plants to be set in pots around the perimeter of the town wall only. It would slow down the unicorn incursions without hurting either the unicorn-pregnant or the beasts (if they were indeed beasts) themselves.

But the coriander was not the only output, and the factory waste currently spewed directly into the river. Thus, the Administrator was standing in hip boots with the foreman of the plant, staring at the grey-black water.

"We need an engineer."

"An engineer, sir?" The foreman was a steady man, but slow. "What for? We just need to get a bit of space here for a filter set-up."

Guilian counted to ten silently. "And where are we going to get the space?"

The foreman looked at him as if he were the slow one. "I figured we'd just divert the river three feet that way." He pointed away from the Factory. "We've already got the races in upstream, for power. We can just change their aim a bit, and drop rock here above the river level."

This time, when Guilian counted to ten, it was to keep himself from sounding stupid again. "Brilliant. Get some workers on that, then." One more problem solved. If he didn't get any new problems by dusk, he'd actually be ahead.
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
Prolly nigh on 50 years after Addergoole: Year 5

She wasn't really sure why her last owners released her.

She'd done (almost) everything right, and had been (relatively) docile and obedient. She'd been trying to learn, and Owners Number Three had taught her quite a bit. But 'why they released her' wasn't part of it.

They'd given her a nice big pack of stuff, too. The girl who had once been Delaney looked at it for the third time. There was enough in here to survive for a month, if she decided to wander. There was enough to trade for... well, a whole bunch of booze, if she felt like that, instead.

She wasn't really sure what she felt like. She'd been under the collar for what she thought was probably a decade, and before that... before that, she'd been insane, cracked, and, if the stories and her vague memories were true, psychotic and sadistic.

That person had a string of homes and wealth scattered across the country. The person she was now wasn't sure where any of it was - or if any of it was still where she'd left it. She'd shared everything with a partner, after all. And that partner was gone.

She stared down the road. It curved through wasteland and farmland, through places she didn't remember being and places she might never have been. And it was all hers. She could do whatever she wanted.

The horse-drawn wagon clomped up beside her. "Going west, Miss?"

"I am." At least, that was the direction she was pointed in. "I could give you.." she touched her pocket. "Twenty dollars Sondaran for a ride."

"Ten will do. Hop on in."

The man in the driver's seat reminded her of Amish, long ago - beard and straw hat, plain shirt and plain pants. She wondered if the Amish had survived. "Thanks." She passed over the money, first.

"My pleasure. My name's Amos, by the by."

She'd prepared for this. She had more than enough reasons to leave that old name behind her. But she'd needed a new one. "Ellery." She smiled brightly. "You can call me El."

She had a fresh start, and she was going to take it.
aldersprig: (Evangaline)
I asked for Non-Addergoole Prompts here; this is to [ profile] kiarrith's prompt.

The Aunt Family has a landing page here.

It was a whisper, not even a proper rumor, passed among the members of the family - mentioned as an overheard sort of thing in an e-mail, or drunkenly chuckled about in a party when the Powers That Be were busy being powerful elsewhere. Did you hear about the Aunt that got herself a cult?

Not even a proper Aunt, the rumors would continue. No sisters, a dead-end line. But that part, scandalous as it was, wasn't nearly as shocking as the other part. And she's being worshipped! Worshipped!

There were things you didn't do, in the family. You didn't trust men with power, you didn't get pregnant if you were the Aunt, you didn't bring men home - or women, or even cats - without running them by at least one Granny first. You didn't show off your magic to outsiders, if you had any, or talk about it, if you didn't.

And you certainly didn't let people think you were a goddess.

But the rumors persisted. And, one day when her last child had left the nest, a woman named Stolen - a sensible, practical woman, a mother of four and already a grandmother of two, the sort who had put aside her tea leaves long, long ago - began making some discreet inquiries.

She had spent twenty-seven years working in insurance, and thus, in addition to being more cynical than most of her sisters, had a very well-honed skill with investigation, which she put to good use talking to relatives.

She might be a grandmother, but she was not yet, technically, a granny, and, besides, she was so down-to-earth that nobody really expected she'd be doing anything untoward. She was putting together a book of family legends, sure. It had been done before, but not recently. So people told her things.

And people outside of the family - they were easy. She might have put aside her tea leaves, she might have been solid and rational and dependable, but she was still what she was. People were easy.

It was thus that, two years into her youngest's college life, Stolen found herself donning an all-covering blue robe and pulling the hood until it shaded her face.
aldersprig: (Beryl)
I asked for Non-Addergoole Prompts here; this is to [profile] kiarrith's request for More Cat.

Aunt Family has a landing page here.

This comes after Family Secrets & Cat Secrets, which itself is after Cats & Grannies. and Cat's in the Attic.

Beryl had the book now.

Radar found himself pacing, which was not common Radar behaviour, and possibly (he was no longer really certain) not really cat behaviour either. The family needed a strong, knowledgeable witch - Aunt, whatever - again. Eva did not want to be steered, which was good. But it meant that Radar was going to have to work sideways around things.

Radar was not good at working sideways, and he wasn't really certain if it was the best idea. But, while he had been instilled with certain values, he had not been given precognizance, which he felt showed a lack of foresight on his creators' parts. So he had to guess.

Guessing meant he'd put the most important book in the family's history in the hands of a teenager - not even definitely the next Aunt, no matter what the family thought, although she was definitely already a witch - and hoped that she wouldn't spill her soda on it or, possibly worse, spill the beans to all and sundry.

Beryl was proving good at keeping secrets so far. If he'd had fingers to cross, Radar would have crossed them.

Instead, he paced, while nearby, Beryl sat with the book, a laptop, a family dictionary, and a notebook open, taking precise notes on everything she read.

Finally, content that she was far too engrossed to notice him, Radar hopped up on the dresser and slid her cursed necklace over his own neck.
aldersprig: (Evangaline)
I asked for Non-Addergoole Prompts here; this is to [personal profile] kelkyag's prompt.

The Aunt Family has a landing page here.

The day before Thanksgiving was, by family tradition, a day spent at the Aunt's house, cleaning, prepping food, and getting everything ready for the feast the next day.

It was two things notably: It was a day where the family chose to ignore all gender distinctions, and work as if everyone was one, and it was a day in which the Aunt of the family was expected to sit back and not do any heavy lifting, metaphorically, metaphysically, or literally.

Eva was, thus, hiding out in her kitchen, with Beryl and Stone, who were ostensibly sorting the cocoas to help Beatrix & Janelle make cookies. But, since they were sorting cocoa - and since Everyone Knew either Beryl was going to be the next Aunt, or they were going to have to throw everything on its head and let Stone be an Uncle, they were making cocoa, and talking to their Aunt Eva about scrying.

"So, there's a whole bunch of things going on." Eva swirled her cocoa and finished the last of the milk, leaving a long ring of grit at the bottom. "The first is simply focusing the Sight in a convenient medium - the cocoa. The second is the feelings you've got about doing something. So." She focused on the swirl, and smiled as she saw a cozy family scene around the big fireplace in her living room. "Cocoa tends to tell you warm, happy things. See?"

She passed the mug to the brother-and-sister team, and watched their faces light up as each of them sent their Sight into the grit. This was going to be a generation to watch, indeed.
aldersprig: (KinkBingo2)
Priming the pump again. Writing a little non-Nano to get myself going.

Caroline swallowed. "You're sure... sir?"

"I'm sure." Jaden handed her the leash. "I promise you, I am certain about this, and no negative repercussions will come down on you for this."

She took the leash as if it were a snake. "You said..."

"I said a lot of things, and most of them were wrong. I'm sorry for that, but this, I'm fairly certain you want this."

"Well, a little bit, yeah.... but you're in charge. You're the Keeper."

"And I'm still your Keeper. But for the next day, you're in charge. As long as you keep to the rules-"

She found herself smiling. "I'm not very in charge if I have to keep to rules, am I?"

"Well..." It was interesting, to watch him smile. "All right. You have a point. It would be better if you kept any overt stuff inside the room, okay? It's easier to protect you if people don't think you're topping from the bottom."

She pondered that. Things were safer, being with him. "All right. So-"

"So, for the next twenty-four hours, I promise to do whatever you say, as if I were Kept. And for the next twenty-four hours, none of my orders hold sway over you." He dropped to his knees. "In effect, I'm all yours."
aldersprig: (Kyle)
This is a break from Nano, essentially: Kyle, Lady Maureen, and his succubus half-sister (Ivette) are Addergoole characters; the setting is Tír na Cali..

Kyle woke up in a small concrete room, on a small, hard bed, wearing nothing but his skin - his Masked skin, he checked - and with the familiar feeling of a collar heavy on his neck.

And it was heavy, the sort of thing only sadistic or control-freak Keepers put on their Kept. He touched it; it felt plasticy and thick, hard and not giving at all. And locked on.

Okay. Memories. He needed some of those. He'd been out at a bar - well, that sort of thing happened when you were in college, and he didn't want to be that strange. And then there'd been the weird rainfall, and he and Dave and Jerry had hopped through it to a bar none of them could remember seeing before. And then... then there'd been a redhead.

He tried not to think too much about how much redheads did him in. He knew more about his mother than he ought to, and he knew more about himself than he ought to, and that being said, she hadn't looked anything like either his mother or his succubus half-sister, except that she'd had flaming red hair.

So bar, alcohol, redhead... "Fuck." He ran his hand over the collar again. "Fuck, fuck, shit." Well, once he could get to a phone - assuming he didn't have orders not to - he could probably get in touch with his mother, and Lady Maureen could probably make this go away.

He didn't feel guilty about that. He ought to feel guilty... shouldn't he?
aldersprig: (Shiva Unhappy)
The hood over Rrrina's head smelled of menthol and nothing else, the world around her was muffled and her ears pinned against her head, and she was bound. Usually, when she ended up in this position, someone wanted to do something a bit naughty to her. This time... well, she wasn't ruling it out, but she thought that "naughty" might be in a completely different context than she was used to.

And she was being carried again, carried by a skin-job, a leopard in a man's body. This had to be the weirdest her life had been in - in - maybe in ever.

She was too turned around to have any sense of direction, the menthol in the hood made it impossible to navigate by scent, and her porter kept bouncing her, making it very hard to count steps. Had he stolen her? That's what he'd said. But stealing slaves was - it was bad, very bad. And her head felt funny. Something in the menthol? Something... this was bad.

Rrrina came to on a cushion, in a warm place that felt like sunshine. Three sets of training came into play, and she opened her eyes only halfway while letting her other senses take inventory.

The cushion was comfortable, soft, and warm. The heat was too omnidirectional to be sunlight, but maybe a sun lamp? It was bright but not unbearably so, and the light seemed to be coming from above. Her nose was still clogged, but, even so, she could smell other cats.

She opened her eyes. The floor, the fixtures - all white. In front of her, a lab-coat person. Her eyes opened further. A lab-coat-wearing feline, jaguar spots, now that was new. Her captor was there, too, shedding out of his overalls. He met Rrrina's gaze and smiled. It looked wrong, too feline in his human face

"Good, you're awake. Welcome to the Feline Rebellion."

After Down in Kitty Town, Entering Kitty Town, and Kit Town Maybe.
aldersprig: (Evangaline)
Dr. Elwood had been the obstetrician for the last seventeen Family births. A remote cousin by marriage, Dr. Elwood understood, at least more than a normal doctor might have, the problems implicit in just about everything a Family member did.

Which meant that, when he held Haley Stone's first child in his hands, he made sure that the nurses had cleared all extraneous family - all of them - out of the room before he spoke softly to Haley.

"Is it possible you - ah - indulged in some way during your pregnancy, Miss Stone?"

Her cheeks were already flushed, but he thought her expression might have been a bit guilty. "I never do drugs, Doctor. Is my baby all right?"

"Your baby is perfectly healthy, Miss Stone. And you know as well as I do that I didn't mean drugs."
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Beryl)
This is [ profile] wispfox's commissioned continuation of Cats & Grannies. and Cat's in the Attic.

Radar appeared to approve of the center box of the nine - although, perhaps out of consideration to Aunt Bea, he wasn't talking. Beryl, armed with the gloves the cat had suggested and a scarf tied over her nose and mouth, moved everything with the care usually taken by museum archivists.

(She wondered, very briefly, what a historian or archaeologist would make of the family archives, such as they were. Had anyone in the family ever studied archeology?)

“Aunt Bea...” Her voice was muffled by the scarf, but Aunt Bea's hearing was still sharp. “Do we have any historians in the family?”

“Oh, the family doesn't tend to go that way.”

“Aah.” Beryl noted the tone, and wondered what Aunt or pushy Granny had inculcated that idea into the family. “I think it might be fun to do a study of all this, that's all.”

“Well, but who could you show it to?”

“Aunt-” She hefted the box out of its spot and set it, carefully, on a clear patch of attic floor “-Evangeline. Or maybe one of the cadet branches - hey, how come they're the cad... never mind. Thanks for letting me take this, Aunt Bea.” That was Dangerous Territory. People Beryl's age weren't supposed to worry about Dangerous Territory.

“Don't worry too much about the politics, honey. It'll sort itself out, it always does. And be careful with what's in those boxes - I mean, tell Eva to be careful.” Was that a wink, or just a trick of the light?


Beryl had earned the privilege of a locked door with her fourteenth birthday, and was very grateful for it as she and Radar sat down with the box. Not that she thought her mother would exactly object, but her mother would talk to her sisters, and her cousins, and they'd talk to their mothers, and their aunts, and so on, and soon Beryl would find herself buried in Grannies again.

She turned up the music nobody else in the house liked - just loud enough to be audible if one stopped to listen, not loud enough to get her yelled at by anyone else - triple-checked the lock, and made sure The Necklace was wrapped in silk and locked in a stone box. “All right, Radar.” She popped the lid and stared inside. “What am I looking for?”

“It's going to be a journal.” Radar jumped into the box, growing smaller as he did in a show of power he almost never exhibited. The kitten-size fit much better among the paperwork. “If I recall, it was bound in leather - brown and green - and wrapped in ribbon.”

“There's so much stuff here.” She lifted out a folder labelled Family Photographs, 1910. The handwriting was a long, spidery script she'd seen more than a few times before. “And what's dangerous about photos?”

“In your family? Everything.” The cat pushed aside a yellowed book of sheet music; Beryl had never heard of the composer, but she could smell the magic still coming off of it like dust. “Here it is. Careful, girl, it's old.”

Old didn't begin to cover it. Beryl stared at the cover of the book, with its flaking gold-embossed name. “Is that...”

It had to be. The family, for reasons of clarity, did not repeat names. But she had to ask again, anyway. “Is that...”

“The secrets have been lost for a long time indeed, child. Take it.” Radar pushed the book towards her. “You're going to need it.”

Aunt Family has a landing page here (and on LJ).

Want more words, or just really like this post? Drop some money in the tip jar!

aldersprig: (goatie goat)
After With the Goats

Liegya hadn't meant to be a census-taker.

She'd meant to be a show-rider, a fancy-goat-dancer, a parade-trick-acrobat.

And she was good at it, good with the goats, good with the acrobats, good with the showmanship.

She still was. But parental push had been harder than she'd expected, she'd gotten very good marks in counting and accounting in school, and the position in the census bureau had come with a very nice salary and a house she only saw once a year.

And it came with her pick of goats, and being with the goats 9/10 of the time, even if she'd rather be counting other people's goats than the people themselves.

When the villagers told her about "oh, Lazhman, probably out with the goats..." She had to go look. At the goats, of course.

And maybe at another soul who'd rather be with the four-legged than two.

Reiassan has a landing page here (and on LJ).

Want more words, or just really like this post? Drop some money in the tip jar!

aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
To Three-Word-Wednesday (Today's words are Carcass, Geek, Slash).

"When you said you were really into Star Trek, this is not what I expected." Anna stared at the refridgerator carcass which currently took up the large part of the shared living room. "Hector, what are you doing?"

"I didn't say I was into Star Trek. I said I was a 'Star-Trek-style Geek.'" Hector pulled another piece from the guts of the fridge. "This isn't our fridge, don't worry. I got it off craig's list."

"That aside - and good - what is it doing in the living room?" Anna picked her way closer through the debris.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
This is to [personal profile] librarygeek's prompt and comes after The Heritage that Wasn't

"Kitsune are believed to possess superior intelligence, long life, and magical powers."

The dictionaries were not helpful. The online databases were not much more useful. The only place - other than the letters, which were clearly not enough help - where Jen could find any information at all was an old, old, pre-space database which someone had reconstructed as a school project.

Kitsune were benevolent, or mischievous, or even malicious. They were spirits, or they weren't, they shifted form, or they simply appeared to sometimes be human. The information was all over there.

But that one line: "...believed to possess superior intelligence, long life, and magical powers." That, Jen grabbed on to. She could not lengthen her life, not on her own. But she could learn magic.

Of course, "magic" did not exist. Of course, "superior intelligence" was a matter of genetics and pre-birth implants and careful training. Of course, kitsune were a myth.

But Jen had been living off-planet just long enough to have learned that Central Bureaucracy had its lies that it needed to tell, and that colonists, settlers, the Modified, and the true aliens all had their own truths, truths which had more to do with what Jen needed than the Central Bureaucracy Registered Facts ever would.

Superior intelligence came from a series of illicit implants, a longer series of sleep-learning in an Earth-banned procedure used everywhere, usually to bone up on a specific subject, and an ever longer series of sessions with a Modified shaman.

The same shaman taught Jen the preliminaries of magic, and set her on the path to a second teacher, and then to an alien, native of the planet on which she & her father were now residing, who taught Jen things Central Bureaucracy had never even thought to forbid.

Kitsune were myth, but on her twenty-third birthday, Jen found herself staring in the mirror at a fox-fairy.

Want more words, or just really like this post? Drop some money in the tip jar!

(the tip jar is a kitty for reasons)
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
2 continuations were anonymously paid for; this is [personal profile] alexseanchai's requested continuation of the "Samurai" thread
Gonna be a Samurai
Gonna Learn how to be a Samurai and
Being a Samurai Takes Work

First Year

“Dancing is a good idea, Austin, Sianna. It teaches balance, rhythm, and a sense of where your body is n relation to your partner.”

It turned out that almost everything was useful to learning how to be a samurai, at least to hear Miss Ascha tell it. But the weird thing was, everything was also useful to learning how to be a dancer, like Sianna - even swords-training - or a teacher, like Ethelwin wanted to be - even the meditation exercises - or even a bounty hunter, which is what Sweetbriar wanted to be this week.

Austin wasn't sure if Miss Ascha was right; he wasn't even sure if she was being honest or if she was just encouraging them to learn their math and dancing and meditation. But Professor Inazuma and Principal Doomsday agreed with Miss Ascha, yes. Dancing was useful for being a samurai. Addition and subtraction were useful for being a samurai. And science and history were very very useful.

They were his teachers, and Austin was going to have to listen to them if he wanted to be a samurai.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Shooting star)
Written to @ShingetsuMoon's prompt (here but spoilers-ish) for Friday Flash

The machines started small on Earth, as they had on every planet so far.

They found the brightest, the cleverest, the most innovative - people and dolphins, elephants and corvids, apes and chimps. They picked them off, one by one or in groups.

A smart guy dies in Oxford and a grifter dies in New York City, who's going to make the connection? A murder of ravens goes missing - who notices? An elephant at least makes a stink when she falls dead.

They noticed the dolphins first - but it was a group of researchers who noted it, and they weren't far behind. Then the chimps, signing "help us, help us," until the virus destroyed their brain.
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)

I have "write a more-please" on my writing list, but when it comes up, I often find myself paralyzed by choice. (This is not helpful for writing & directly in counter to the purpose of the list!)

Thus, I'm asking you guys to help me narrow it down. Pick one to three things you'd most like to see continued and comment here.

(For completests: I created a morepls: fulfilled tag for things I've, well, written more to, but I didn't backlog. If you see something that needs the tag to be changed to "fulfilled," either change the tag yourself or leave a comment on the post that I should change it.)
aldersprig: (Syadaia)
To [ profile] wispfox's prompt

Morning came, and Lazhman slipped out of the house and into the herd. When he could, he slept among the goats, too, but the census-counter was in town, and everyone had been pressuring him, act normal, Lazhman. Act like a person and not a goat.

Lazhman had no interest in such things, but he did sometimes like bread and stew and, to be fair, didn't have the stomach the goats did. So he spent most his time among the herd, let his beard grow like a goat's and his hair as well, twisted two braids to look something like goat-horns when nobody was looking, and spent just enough time in town to convince people to keep selling him bread and stew.

He'd done that, last night. Now he could sit out on the hill near Copper and Counter and the other goat, watch the clouds and the river move by, and have no cares except the wildcats and the occasional bandit.

"Hello there."

What? Words? Lazhman snorted and looked around.

"Hello." She'd snuck up behind him, how had she done that? "I'm Liegya." The census-taker, that's who she was. "I'd like to talk to you."

aldersprig: (Tairiekie)
A study of the paper,
On the Nature of the Sira and Its flow
by Opaknaipbo-Oset, Scholar of Edally Academy

Paper written c. 850 R - study 1002 R.

Scholar Opaknaipbo-Oset was one of the first to study aether as a science, although he did so in the era when it was believed to be sira, an ancient Tabersi word meaning simply force.

In this paper, one of his most comprehensive, he details the flow of several different kinds of sira. In a move that is not uncommon to ancient scholars but unusual in his era, he color-codes three sorts, lithic as green, aqueous as blue, and igneous as red - much as Temples of the Three still color-code the services of the gods - the blue, Tienebrah, the red, Veignevar,the green, Reiassannon.

More than that, which is, after all, a simple trick used throughout history, Scholar Opaknaipbo-Oset tracks specific flows and patterns of the sira over the continent, and within specific "spells" and formulae.

Although there is a great deal of superstition in Scholar Opaknaipbo-Oset's work, there is a great deal of value there as well. While he still thinks of the aether as a magical force of the gods, he manages to make some surprising discoveries about the flow of aether that still color research today.

Within the book is a series of maps. Scholar Opaknaipbo-Oset spent years, with a series of interns and apprentices, walking across the continent from end to end, mapping every line of wild aether he could detect, and finding patterns in the way that it moved and spread. Those maps are the basis for research still being done today.

More interesting, to those who study such things, are the diagrams of "spells." If Scholar Opaknaipbo-Oset could diagram things that he thought were magic, what can those of us, who truly understand the nature of aether, do with those diagrams and Scholar Opaknaipbo-Oset's work?
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
To Three-Word-Wednesday (Today's words are eradicate, mercenary, squeamish).

In the same world as last week's story, The Job

There were always politicians.

Even now, even after the near-end of the world, even after the years of struggling to find a new way to survive, even now, when survival was not guaranteed for more than ten percent of the remaining population, there were politicians.

And they would stand in their safe, protected halls in their safe, cozy auditoriums, and they would pound their fist and shout. "Eradicate the Blank Plains!" they would demand. "Wipe out the Creatures! Make this world safe!"

Over and over again, the politicians would shout, because shouting was safe when you were within the walls.

There were always the mercenary ones.

If it seemed like there were more of them now, when every commodity was a rarity, when there were so many ways to gouge and so few could afford to be gouged, then it was probably a matter of perspective: there had always been those out for number one.

They would stand by the gates and offer "services," in the marketplace and offer supplies, by the graves and console widows, and all at a low, low price.

If it could be bought, they'd sell it, because selling was easy when your audience was captive.

There were always the squeamish.

If they seemed far more delicate now, when there was no room for delicacy, when food was scarce and resources tight, if they seemed too soft to live, it was probably the comparison: most people had grown far more hard. But there were always those that could not toughen.

They would wail over their choices for meat, when even their herd animals were starving. They would wring their hands over an outlaw's death, when outlaws threatened everyone.

They would flap their hands, because it was easy to be squeamish when someone else was getting dirty.

There were always those who wouldn't do what was needful: the politicians, the mercenary, the squeamish.

And then there were the Rangers.
aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (Identity)
"You're a robot," they'd told him, "an automaton. We made you, we created you. You are a steam-powered device. You have no feelings, you have no emotions. You do what you are told."

They clothed him in metal until he forgot he had ever had flesh. They told him what he was, and told him nothing else. They fed him a sludge they informed him would lubricate his joints, and they taught him that to fail to obey meant sharp pain - that, in essence, his programming would not allow him to disobey.

"You are our robot," they told him, and parade him before tin-hat dictators and penny-ante princes. "You are our robot."

They taught him to be their robot, until one day, he taught them that humans, unlike the robot they'd made him, could die.

This came from a 7th Sanctum prompt: The theme of this story: metaphorical conflict. The main character: neurotic robot. The start of the story: service. The end of the story: education.
It sort of wrote itself from that.
aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (campnano14)
This is the second in a series of character profiles for my upcoming July Camp Nano Project.

The story follows a group of friends and acquaintances as the faerie apocalypse destroys Rochester, NY

Emmett has never been comfortable anywhere, and R.I.T. was no different when he showed up.

He's older than the rest of the students, for one - although you wouldn't know it to look at him - starting at twenty-two instead of finishing there. He chose to live in the dorms anyway, in hopes that he might find some sort of community there, and had some luck, although not quite the way he'd hoped.

The guys down the hall started playing a Shadowrun game on Friday nights in the lounge; the first couple times, they played around Emmett, who was watching TV in the corner and did not really mind. The third time, one of their number was out somewhere else and they invited Emmett to sit in.

Emmett, who hadn't played any sort of game since Jr. High, found he liked it, and quickly found that there was more of this sort of thing going on on campus. That's how he met the gaming club, which is how he met Jo and Cadey, which is how he ended up hanging out at Anelle's Samhain party, the confused date of two avowed lesbians.

Emmett is small and skinny, barely over five foot tall, with straight hair past his shoulders in an unbelievable red, hazel eyes, and skin that freckles if you look at it funny. When he actually pays attention to what he's doing, he can be very good at swaying a group of people, or, especially, a single person when alone with them, but he rarely tries.

He's never been particularly strong, nor will he ever be, but he's robustly healthy. He enjoys spending time hiking when he has the opportunity, and spends a lot of time in the nearby parks and cemeteries.


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

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