aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Collar Rapport?



After the relatively unhelpful Communing with your Collar class, they were shepherded into the dining hall for lunch. Today there were Blue people at the food station. Desmond felt like he was being measured up by all of them - a lanky person with sandy hair and pallid skin, a round person with darker skin and reddish hair, and a smiling-bright person covered in freckles with their blonde hair cut very short. Even the smiling one seemed to be judging him.

“Desmond,” he offered. The first two ignored him, except to ask what sort of lunch he wanted. The smiling one bobbed a curtsy.

“Ailia. This is my third year. And I hear you’re the one that was last in?”

“Yeah.” He looked off to the side, then decided he should stop being stupid and looked back to Ailia. “So, uh, Communing with Collar class…?”
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Portals


Kayay appeared as they were leaving Portals and heading for their next class. There was a tall, broad, red-uniformed student on either side of Kayay, making Kayay look very small and very pitiful indeed.
Desmond knew anything he said would be taken wrong, but Jefshan and Wesley handled it, stepping forward and making fussing noises over Kayay, completely ignoring the goons of Physical Team that were clearly there to escort Kayay.

Once they were gone, possibly believing that the rest of Kayay’s dorm-mates would stop any future escape attempts, Kayay’s voice dropped to a whisper. “I found something.”

Desmond looked at Kayay and from there to the rest of their group. It was Jefshan that asked, carefully, “So… ‘something’? Like, an exit, a dragon, and room full of collars?”

“I found another stairway,” Kayay hissed. “LIke the first one. It was…”
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Force and Shields


It was almost as if their schedule had alternated interesting and boring classes. Their next class, with Professor Resaginotel, a tall woman with brilliant white hair shot through with streaks of black and a collar that matched, was on paperwork and regulations regarding magic and collared people. Desmond struggled to pay attention until they reached the overview of the accounting.

The nation owned the collared people, or at least it owned their time and service.

But people paid for those services and that time - for things like guarding a boat when it went on the water, or protecting a caravan, or moving a lot of rock. So there were hours to be accounted for, and a rate dependent on a large list of factors. For about twenty minutes, Desmond was in heaven, figuring out his current hourly rate for different tasks and helping Doria do the same.

Kayay still hadn’t returned when they moved on to their fourth class, which turned out to be Portals and Doorways.
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Force-Fields


They shared a look among them. Cataleb stepped forward to speak when nobody else did. “Kayay got angry and stormed off. I’m sure she’ll be back when nobody goes after her.”

“Of course. Well, welcome to Force and Force-fields, a class you will be taking every year of your education here, or until you can hold off a tsunami with nothing but your mind and your collar. And you may very well need to, so I’d suggest you pay attention. Now. I am Professor Smiff. I prefer neutral or feminine pronouns when socializing, and neutral pronouns when working. The collar has no gender; the magic has no gender; we have no gender, just as that tsunami has no gender. Now. We’re going to start with very basic exercises and move on. Please join with a partner and face each other, just far enough apart that your arms stretched in front of you do not touch.”

Desmond looked around and quickly moved towards Jefshan, but Wesley had beaten him to it, which left him facing Talia.
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Classes


“Maybe they have a career-path explanation eventually,” Jefshan offered helpfully — or at least sympathetically. “What’s our next class?”

“Forcefields,” Desmond consulted his schedule. “Oh, good. I liked doing those.”

He looked up to find the rest of his - friends wasn’t the right word? Classmates? Dorm-mates? House. The rest of his house/year-mates staring at him. “What?”

“What do you mean, you liked…” Kayay headshook angrily. “No wonder you were the last one up the stairs. Are you a ringer?”

“Am I a what?” A wringer? That was a new one.

“A wringer, a plant. Are you really a fourth-year student or something? Are you here to spy on us and make sure we don’t find out something we’re not supposed to?”
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Collar Food


It turned out Hellina and Meshron had a secondary purpose in shadowing the new students through breakfast - it was their job to guide all of the first-year blues to their first class.

That turned out to be a lecture room big enough for all twenty-seven students (with three seats left over, Des noted), fronted by a tall person with a very long white beard dressed much more like the students than most of the adults they’d seen.

The person wore long pleated pants that touched the floor in brilliant blue, a jacket in a lighter blue, and a shirt underneath in crisp white. The collar was gold and seemed to sparkle and shimmer.

“I am Professor Hapdegh, and I am here to teach you the basic theory of collar magic and its history. You may call me Professor Hap if it is easier, and I generally answer to he and him pronouns, although I’m not all that concerned one way or the other. Now, I don’t think I’ll remember all your names, but I’m going to try. Let’s start in one corner and work our way around, shall we?”
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
Written to some of [personal profile] lilfluff's prompts.
The characters uh. Have something to do with [personal profile] wyste's ongoing very long fanfic. That is, ah,
are completely original. Really.


Jaime had gotten himself “arrested” by simply being in the wrong (right) place at the wrong (right) time, an occurrence that had been happening far too much lately. A suggestion that he happened to be maybe A Little Bit Magical had gotten him put in the right cells, and then it had taken just four or five mundane tricks to assure that he wasn’t actually stuck in the cell.

It sounded simple if you didn’t think about the weeks of planning and four people worth of preparation that had gone into this, all of which had involved quite a bit of arguing, more than a bit of negotiation, and a tiny bit of blackmail.

Jaime had gotten his mission. Now he just had to get out of it.

And the lock was proving slightly more tricky than he’d expected.

He was swearing quietly at the door when it swung open. He slid his lockpicks up his sleeves and tried to look disgruntled and imprisoned.
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Cataleb


“No, but really.” Talia followed Des into the lunchroom while Doria flanked him on the other side. “That’s a good question, Des. Where do the collars get their energy from? Is it from us? Oh…” Talia winced and her eyes went a little crossed for a moment. “My collar’s talking to me again…”

::We can take energy from the person who is wearing us, but it is considered a bit uncouth and, also, it causes problems for both us and the person in the long run,:: Desmond’s collar informed him. ::Talia’s collar may be going on about the uncouthness. Some care more about that than others. In the Old Times, when collars were only a punishment…:

“Oooh.” Des swallowed. “But - oh, there’s so many questions.”

::Save most of them for later, when the one who would abuse their collar isn’t around.::

“But where do you get food from?”

::You’ll see. I assure you, I will not let you starve me. Nor will that one’s collar let them do the same. We’re programmed with some control::
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aldersprig: (me-lyn-kitty)
Some of my dreams stick with me. Sometimes they’re my weirdest ones. not sure about this one.

Here it is, though, a dream, attempted to make into fiction. I don’t know it if helps or hinders to imagine the first half of the story the way I dreamed it - as sentient Fisher-Price figures.


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aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
She woke on Sundays.

The world was small, quiet; the landing site nearly self-sustaining, but when she’d slept a month she’d woken to find the smallest robot bumping into walls, so now she woke on Sundays.

Her calendar marked thirty-one Sundays. She woke, X’d the date, took notes, transmitted data, checked the fields.

The robots did most of that. Still, she had to do something.

The calendar had 12 months of Sundays. On “Christmas” she made eggnog. For “New Year’s”, she cried at old songs.

On Leap day, they finally reached her.



Written to Jul 30th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt as an experiment in tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic for Mastodon

Actually, in this case, this version is slightly longer to fit in the Thimbleful requirements. The Tootfiction version here - https://tootplanet.space/@aldersprig/34252 was only 80 words.

... and now that this text may be longer than the story...

Oh yeah! Inspired by the Wired comic for Interstellar, which I liked better than the movie.
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
The trees in Haleth Forest were unlike those anywhere else. They had not grown but had been created. In every one of them, broad leaves spread out, waiting for pen.

You could climb the trees to read someone else’s tale unfolded leaf after leaf or you could climb higher to find pages that had not yet been written on.

There, you could write your own story on new leaves, untouched by hand or pen or tale.

Some people used it to gain immortality.

Some used it to gain a fresh start.



Written to Dec 29th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt as an experiment in tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic.
aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Space and Time


They didn’t get to meet the ninth member of their dorm until the next morning.

That first night, they spent a little time talking, getting to know Doria, Poiy, and Lufet and sharing more stories of the stairs, but they were all exhausted and they had an unknown but presumably early bell to answer to coming probably far too soon.

Des’ last thoughts as he drifted off for the night were that the bed was surprisingly comfortable, the pajamas ridiculous, and the ceiling far too close.

The bell came early, but not as awfully early as he’d expected - there was already a splash of light through the window. In the winter, that would make the bell unpleasantly early, but right not Des could see enough to climb out of bed without kicking either Talia or Doria.

He dressed quietly, listening to the grumbles and rumbles of his dorm-mates without really hearing anything. The buttons on his shirt seemed to give him trouble, but he managed on the third try without anyone else seeming to notice his issues.
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Questions


By the time dinner wrapped up, Desmond was feeling exhausted, and everyone else around the table looked as tired as he felt.

At the front of the dining hall, a tall person in heavy blue robes stood up. “Your attention please.” Their robe, like the others Des had seen, left their necks and shoulders bare to show off the collar to the full extent. “Tomorrow begins your classes, so I would heartily encourage all of you to aim for sleep when you get back to your dormitories, and not merely for laying down. The morning bells will ring to tell you when you must be awake, when you must be in the dining hall, and when your first class will begin.

“That said, welcome to the Academy. I hope that all of you who have made it this far will continue to thrive, and that you will, in due time, do the Academy very proud in your future placements. Study hard, all of you. You will need every bit of your knowledge as you progress forward in life.”

“That doesn’t sound ominous at all,” muttered Talia. Kayay hissed in admonition, but nobody - least of all Talia - paid it any heed.
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
Unknown ‘verse, possibly the one I wrote another slave rebellion in that nobody’s ever read, to [personal profile] lilfluff’s prompt “Mistress meets former slave after the successful rebellion”.

The rebellion had gone far more smoothly than anyone had ever expected such a thing might go.

It was bloody, of course; it was violent, of course, and in the end there were nearly as many slaves dead as owners.

The thing was, though: there were a lot more slaves than owners, and they had been a lot more willing to die than their owners had.

Paleyah Rose, formerly Junior Lady of Rose Heights, had not been willing to die, and her personal slaves had not felt very strongly about killing her, the way some owners’ slaves had. She was incarcerated in what had been the slave quarters of Rose Heights, and she had been put to work with such tasks as the current establishment believed she might be able to handle. At the moment, that was light cleaning and light food preparation, her former Head Chef keeping the position but working under his own free will now.
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aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
After New kid moves in next door

There were four tall people in the family and one short one, a child, all of them tanned and with their hair unruly and sun-bleached. The tallest one was staring right at Sinclar and Ainsley, looking through the leaves of the potted plant at them.

He raised his eyebrows, smirked, and crossed the distance between their “stoops,” as Ainsley’s parents insisted on calling that little tiled area outside each apartment.

“You’re the Nessons, right? The Biddles are on the other side…?” Up close, he was very tall, but looked not that much older than Sinclair.

Ainsley squeaked. Her sister saved her. “We’re the Nessons. The Biddles have two boys and a very young daughter.” She nodded her head in a polite greeting. “I’m Sinclair Nesson, and this is my sister Ainsley.”

“I’m Ted Jendrock.” He thrust out a hand to them, and then, seeing their confused faces, “what, people don’t shake hands in this place?”
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aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
The apartment next door to Ainsley’s family’s home had been vacant since the Hawkings had left precipitously in the middle of the night, back when Ainsley was twelve. By this point, four years later, Ainsley and her sister Sinclair had started working on an application for the place. When they were both of age, they posited, they could move two or more mates in there easily enough, and still be close to their parents.

Now there were people moving in, moving in to their place.

“People don’t just move in.” Sinclair was staring at the wall between the two places. There wasn’t much noise - the Complex was well-engineered for many people in close proximity - but it felt like an invasion nonetheless. “Nobody moves in to the Complex.”

“Well,” Ainsley offered weakly. “Is it the Mccormicks? Their boys are just a couple years older than us - maybe they had the same idea.”
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🏨
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Theories


The food was good. Desmond tried to focus on that. It was filling, it was tasty. Somewhere, they had a good source of fresh vegetables and even meat. Of course, of course, Des remembered, there was magic. For all he knew, there was a magical potato farm next to the magical stairway.

The food was good, but everyone was very quiet. After a few minutes, Jefshan repeated, “there’s no going back. It’s like Wesley said. All those people — and none of them ever came back, did they?”

“No.” Talia’s head shake was slow and sad. “So what do you think happened to the twenty-eighth candidate? I mean, people don’t go back, right? As far as we can tell. And they’re not here, and…”
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aldersprig: (tea3)
After Poise, to [personal profile] thnidu's commissioned continuation.

The question of was I poisoned was not as easy to answer as one might assume.

I did not, say, keel over (that is, turn my bottom over top) and die. But as I said, sometimes someone can poison your mind as well as just your body.

I knew I had what it took. My displays were perfect. My speech sounded unrehearsed and off-the-cuff and covered exactly everything I needed it to with no stuttering or humming or hawing. And the core product was sound. More than sound, it was brilliant and necessary.

But as I walked into that building - chin up, laptop bag in hand, looking like a million bucks and walking like I owned that place - I was secretly terrified. Five people had turned it down. Six of my friends had told me it was a long shot. Seven relatives had laughed in my face. To sum it up: I had been poisoned in my mind. I was ready, or I wanted to be ready, to make this presentation.

But was I ready? The doubts crowded onto the bus with me, shoved for a place in the elevator with me. I looked prepared. I looked proper. I looked prosperous. (Three more words that had no root in common, much to my surprise).

I was terrified.

I made my posture perfect. I smiled sweetly. I swallowed as if to bring more of that potion of poise into my body, into my mind.

I ran over all of my lines. I debated pertinent points sub-vocally. I told myself, once again, that my product was predestined to win this contact.

And in the back of my head, the poison continued to war with the potion. I was poised — but I was tainted by doubt. Two different sorts of weight were pulling at me.

The situation was grave, and it deserved gravity. Yet I found myself giggling. Here I was, pulling in two directions by the same thing — by a potion. By a great weight.

And that, my friends, was the lift I needed. The giggle, the laugh — the joke. By the time I left the elevator I had cut the strings weighing me to the criticism and doubt — if only temporarily, for those strings are very persistent — and I was buoyed up, walking on air, poised but yet no longer poisoned.

But had it even been poison? For if it had not been for that pun, I may not have been smiling, they might not have smiled, and the day might not have been won.

Funny things, potions and words, both.

🍹

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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Introductions


Everyone had their own story about the stairs. Wesley had run up as fast as possible, until their collar had shouted: “so loud it nearly blew out my ears,” Wesley complained. “And then there weren’t any more stairs.”

Talia had gotten in an argument with a puzzle door that had ended with a chute downwards to the reception area. “My collar’s still annoyed with me. Won’t talk to me.”

“Not even for collar’s-choice?” Jefshan leaned forward over the table, looking intrigued. “Mine won’t shut up. “

“Collar’s-choice?” Talia blinked owlishly.

“You know. That bit near the end where the collar picked out which way to go. Collar’s- choice.”

“Oh, that! Yeah, my collar said ‘left’ and that was it.”
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aldersprig: (LynBack)
It's been a busy month on my Patreon, and I got a little behind in telling you all here on the blog what I've been doing. So here's a summary!



Third Step
a story for the Liminal Spaces prompt call.
🚪
That door.

It would be too easy to say it looked like an ordinary door.

The thing was, it didn't look ordinary.
🚪
read on...
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Outfitted



Desmond tugged on his vest. It fit him as if it had been tailored to him. His pants were long enough. His shirt buttoned snugly but not tightly around his throat.

"Eventually," Grenor put in, "you'll learn to direct the magic yourself. The collar will always be involved, of course - the collar is the control for the magic. That was the Agreement," he added, in a much quieter voice. "But after a time, you'll be able to look at a piece of clothing and fit it to yourself by will alone. I'd be glad, if I were you. You'll notice quickly that not everyone is as good at that as you are."

"It wasn't me," Des protested.
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aldersprig: (Shooting star)
January by the numbers continues (now seven days off but I'll get there).

From [personal profile] rix_scaedu's prompt "xerographing xenophobic, xanthophyllous xanthiums;" a fiction vignette of sorts.

Did you Know:So I grew up in Rochester, home of Xerox, and I always thought that xerography came from Xerox, and not the other way around... Nope!

🌟
"So, tell me again why exactly we want to photocopy a noxious weed? It's not exactly pleasant to handle, it's no fun to look at, it doesn't taste good, and it's all over the place."

"Well, one." Xavier had his lecture-face on, which was not his most pleasant expression, but Xadrian found that he liked it. "It's not exactly photocopying. Xerography is just making a reproduction of an image..."

"Right, right. I mean, we could just take pictures and copy that, and it would probably be less unpleasant." It had fallen to Xadrian to gather the stuff, and even with gloves involved, his hands were not pleased with him. "Wouldn't that be a lot better?"

"The problem is, as unpleasant as the xanthium is, it has an advantage nothing else on this blasted island does. It's xanthophyllous."

"It loves yellow?"

"It makes a yellow pigment. And that may not seem like such an important thing to you at the moment, but the thing is, we don't have any yellow anywhere else here. Nothing but clothes we brought with us, and those are fading. Not to mention, they protect eyes from ionizing blue and ultraviolet light... anyway, this noxious mess is important."

"So we're photocopying it." The thing was, Xadrian might have been a xenozoologist rather than a xenoherbologist, but he knew what he was talking about. He just loved teasing Xavier. It got him this lovely lecture-face reaction, and sometimes increasingly detailed explanations until Xavier figured out he was being put on. "This nasty thing."

"We're dupli - yes. And maybe you should be the one to pull it apart for the duplicator, too. And then you can make the yellow dye we're going to use, and feed the rest to the chickens, and..."

"Next time I want to play dumb," Xadrian muttered, "I'll go bother Xena."

"She'd have you xerograph the proto-xenops. And those things hate outsiders." Xavier's smile was far too pleased with himself. "Now, take your gloves off. You're going to need your dexterity to get these thorns into the machine."

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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Three Routes


Another door. Desmond stepped through it cautiously, half-expecting to find darkness, or a pit, or someone flinging fire-balls at him.

He found a stairway. He sighed quietly and started climbing.

::Urgh. I hate that feeling. Hate it. It's like being put in a box. Hate it.::

"Welcome back to you, too." The stairway seemed interminable. It seemed like exactly the sort of thing he should expect today, so he just kept climbing.

::Hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it.... All right. I'm done complaining. What did you decide?.::

"You really weren't listening?"
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aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
January by the numbers continues (still three days off, meeps~)!
From DaHob's prompt "miracle;" a ficlet.

🙌
“There was a time,” Golbeck told his daughter, “when the gods came down every weekend. They would amaze us with their miracles, they would charm us with their dances, they would sing songs for the honor of our nubile youths. And then they would take those youths away, not to be seen for weeks or months or even years.”

“Time flows differently there,” Golbeck’s line-wife Tenrin put in. Her voice was dreamy and quiet, and her eyes were looking off somewhere that was not their home. “A day there might be a year or two here, or it might be twenty years — or only two or three nights.”

“Some people say, because of that, that the gods have not left us, but are merely napping. The gods do sleep," Golbeck commented, and now it was his turn to sound dreamy, lost in some past memory. "They nap, they rest, they snore like any common human does. But it has been so long-"
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aldersprig: (tea3)
January by the numbers continues (now two days off~)!
From [personal profile] kelkyag's prompt "Poise;" a ficlet.

This one turned out a little weird~~


🍹

It means weight.

Well, it doesn't mean weight, but it's all about weight.

Poise. When I was little, I thought "being poised to" was the same as "being poisoned" and I thought if someone was poised to, say, leap, it was because someone had poisoned their mind.

(Speaking of leaps, I made quite a few strange ones when I was young)

Turns out a poison is a potion, and not necessarily a weighty one.
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aldersprig: (Shooting star)


Originally posted Dec. 16, 2012. It's not quite thresholds - but, as it turns out, I don't have all that many stories about liminal spaces.

🌑

It happened once in a generation, or maybe twice - twins born on the cusp of the day, so that one was born to a sinister day, and one to a bright day. The one born to the sinister was taken away, to be raised by others born in the night-days. The one born to the bright-days lived in the light.

read on..





“Come to the movies with me.”

See, that’s the thing: It’s the lever on a Rube Goldberg machine, and you have to see the lever, pull the lever, and then not catch the cat before it eats the mouse six steps later.

read on...



Both stories free for all to read!
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
January by the numbers continues (now two days off~)!
From [personal profile] kelkyag's prompt " Dubious dirty diapers;" a ficlet
.
🚼
"The thing is... I don't have a kid."

Gere stared at the laundry. Pene stared, too, but mostly at Gere.

"I know you don't have a kid. I would have had to help you fill out the paperwork."

"All things considered, you would have had to help me with a lot more than just the paperwork. So. I don't have a kid."

"True. And, just in case this is somehow in question, neither do I."

"I know that. But the thing is, Pene, those aren't your 900-credit pants, are they?"

"Why in the legions and the stardust would you ever pay 900 credits for a pair of pants?"

"Well, they've got stardust in them, for one; they make my ass look amazing, and when I'm meeting with 900 million-credit clients, they make me look like I belong there and not in the kitchen."

"Right. So, those are your pants?"

"Those are my pants. That's my vest beneath it and, if you pick those up, that's my socks and underwear and whatnot - it's my clothes. Just in case someone else nearby has exactly the same tastes as me, I checked for the tiny rip I had repaired in my favorite vest and the way the pants are hemmed with a very narrow hem to allow for --"

"Yes, yes, you're a giant, we all know that. Gere. It's your laundry, come back to you from our laundromat. What's the problem?"

Gere lifted up all of the afore-discussed laundry to reveal a small pile of mostly-clean diapers, with an apologetic note. "These. And," under the carefully-lifted diapers were a pile of onesies and an adorable baby set of pants-and-vest, very like the aforementioned set of Gere's. "And..."

"...and we don't have a kid. Gere, who sends diapers to the laundromat? Whose diapers have stains the laundromat can't get out?"

"...and who dresses their baby just like me? We have some problems here."
🚼
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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Decisions


Halthinia had not, it turned out, brought a picnic, but still seemed fine waiting patiently while Desmond considered matters.

After a while, Des snorted. “I’m overthinking,” he told Halthinia. “Considering the options, considering what they could mean, considering what I know about collared people…”

“I can’t imagine that’s all that much.”

“Oh, no. I mean, I’ve seen a couple. But nobody I know knew one, and nobody had someone from their family who was one—”

“That they spoke of.”

“That they spoke of,” he agreed. “So I have, well, nothing at all to base my decision on.”
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aldersprig: (AldersGrove)


Originally written in February 2012 for my In the City prompt call. Content warning: this is a war story, although only in the abstract.

They knew how to handle the snow, and their enemy did not.

So they stayed ensieged, locked in their city, feigning more distress than they felt...

read on..






Novemeber had a lot of, ah, false starts. So here's another one, the beginning of the first story I started about flying.

Problem was, it's sort of a nice setting image but it doesn't want to go anywhere.


🐦

Taking flight hadn't been the easy part; it'd been terrifying, horrible, and, for more than a couple minutes, Parastoo had been absolutely certain she was going to die.

But every child did it, dove from the next, caught the wind, spread their wings, and flew - or missed, and tumbled, climbed back up and tried it again. Every child had to fly, if they wanted to ever be an adult, if they ever wanted to really leave home.

read on...
aldersprig: (Stormclouds)
I will not rise.

I will not beat the greatest warrior and take their place as mightiest.

I will not challenge the skald to a battle of rhyme and wit, or, if I by some hubris do so, I will not win.

I will not bake the finest bread in all the county, and men and women will not speak gladly of my prowess in the bakery.

I will not rise. Such is not my fate, to be known far and wide for the skill of my hands or my arms or of my voice and my mind.

I am not to be the mightiest, I am not to be the ruler. I have my small hill and my small lands, and over those, I will be ruler enough.

The poets will not speak of me for my skill or for my beauty.

But I will write my name on these flags, and I will weave my name in these threads, and I will press my name in this cloth.

And the wind will blow my name across all this land.

written to [personal profile] clare_dragonfly's prompt, because I needed to fight a couple more Frizi (on #4thewords)
aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Supplicant


One more time, Des opened a small black door under a wide sweeping staircase. He hesitated, hand on the doorknob. Was this a test? Was he supposed to try the wide stairs?

His collar was quiet. He held the door politely for Halthinia, who smirked at him and stepped through.

This time, the hallway was not dark. Smooth, off-grey tiles went forward about the width of the stairs above, and then split in three directions. Halthinia waited at the split for him.

The collar was quiet. Des raised his eyebrows.

“This isn’t the sort of challenge your compatriot can help you with, I’m afraid. As a matter of fact, listening to it in this case could cause you a great deal of sorrow in the future.”

“We’re supposed to work together,” he complained. “And you want me to ignore it?”
Read more... )

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1230352.html

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aldersprig: (LynBack)
January by the number starts here!
From [personal profile] novel_machinist's prompt "endings;" a piece of fiction
.

Everyone looks at "new beginnings" with wide-eyed hope, optimism, and to be honest, they should. New beginnings, clean slates, all that, they're made for optimism and hope and in most cases, they're made out of those things, too. You're not (usually) a new person, you don't have a new brain or new abilities. So you're hoping on a new place or a new date or a new notebook.

The thing is, out of those hopes are new people made, so I'm not going to tell you that they don't work, or that they're bad, or wrong, or anything else. No, the thing about "new beginnings" is that they're also endings. That old person, that old place, that old notebook, that old brain? They all end.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, you might say. After all, you wanted to get rid of that thing for a reason, didn't you? You wanted a change.

Good for you. And I mean that sincerely. Good for the ones that actually become someone new. Good for the ones that change their habits, their hobbies, their bodies, their brains. Good for you. You wanted a change, and you went about getting it. That's to be applauded.

But remember - even if just once in a while, even if just in the back of your mind, remember it was an ending. And remember The End, where all those things that didn't continue wandered off to.

That's me. I'm the gatekeeper, here. I'm the one that archives and stores, shelves and rearranges all those things that End. Which explains something, by the by. Because the longer something's been here, the further back in the shelves it is, and the less likely it is to get out.

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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Climbing


::They're supposed to leave the decision up to us::, the collar was complaining. ::You heard them. "Until your compatriot tells you that you have reached the appropriate level." That's me, your compatriot. Your co-resident. Your co-::

"-llar," Desmond interrupted. "You're my collar." He pushed the white door open, surprised at how smoothly it swung.

The collar, it seemed, was sulking, and said nothing. Des moved carefully, not trusting the floor, especially not when the stairs behind him were vanishing.

He stepped onto a smooth black marble floor, in a room much like the reception center he'd begun this adventure in. Broad sweeping stairways led up in both directions; two perfect people sat at the reception desk, looking as much a part of the decorations as the gold trim on the stairs or the broad silk carpets on the floors. They were collared, this time, in gold.
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Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1224022.html

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aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Testing


The stairs kept going. Desmond had already climbed more stairs than existed in any other building he'd ever been in, and he was pretty sure the Central Office wasn't all that much taller. Then again, he was pretty sure magic wasn't real, either, and he'd been using it - and having conversations with a collar - all day.

Maybe all the collar meant was that you'd gone mad, and he was ensconced in some nice sanatorium, happily climbing up the same five stairs, like a toddler. If so, there was no consequence to falling, but, if so, there was no consequence to anything. He supposed he might as well live as if this were real, right up until some nice nurse came to lock him in a cell.

He skidded to the top of a flight of stairs which had been slick and greasy and found the stairs splitting in front of him. One stairway went left, the other right.

Neither direction ought to be possible, the way the tower was built - or, at least, the way the tower had appeared to be built from the outside. The window he was looking at — frosted glass, but a wider window again — showed no shadow of the stairway, either.
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Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1219254.html
aldersprig: (Shiva Unhappy)


The invasion happened overnight (as far as the Americas were concerned, at least). The portals opened, circles of blue light no bigger than a porthole, in bedrooms and offices and stores and streets around the world, and then they closed again, just as the sensors were starting to detect them, closed again.

There were witnesses, of course; even in places where it was midnight, not everyone was sleeping, and in places where it was daylight, the portals opened in very public places. All of them told the same story:

read on...
aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Getting to School


This time, it seemed normal to have the voice in his collar steer him down the hall, although Des was glad when the stairway appeared lit. The white-marble stairs curled upwards in a narrow spiral that would have been challenging to navigate in the dark; even in the light, the narrow treads were tricky.

Sun poured in through narrow windows, all of them either frosted, bubbly, or blue enough that they allowed no sight of the outside world. Desmond was a bit turned around, but he was fairly certain he was in the back of the Central Office; it was possible the windows would have looked at the Potentate's Palace, which was forbidden, of course, or they could have simply overlooked an alley or a sewer, which would have been unpleasant.

(that is, assuming sewers were allowed near the Potentate's Palace. They might not be. Des had heard Stories of that place -- everyone had heard them. They were up there with Beyond the Edge of the Ocean fairy-tales and I Crossed the Mountains myths -- and, of course, rumors about the Potentate. But presumably even the Potentate shat.)
Read more... )
aldersprig: (Pterry)
So, we were talking about my Patreon prompts on Twitter, and something Inventrix said twigged some small memory, so I present to you two separate Learning to Fly stories from long-ago, in honor of the Animal People month on my Patreon:

First Wind and First Nesting, a story of a people I have never again explored, sadly, from 2012.

and

Some Say Life, an Addergoole fic of Luke and Arundel, from 2011.
aldersprig: (lock and key)
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Desmond Goes to School


IV


Des had been to the Central Office a few times with his parents or with Annelle. The grand entryway never stopped catching his breath, though: the marble entryway, the broad sweeping stairways leading up in both directions, the perfect people at the reception desk, looking as much a part of the decorations as the gold trim on the stairs or the broad silk carpets on the floors.

It was different, being there today. For one, there was a voice in his head telling him to bypass the reception desk and the broad stairs and go to a narrow black door nearly hidden under the left stairway. For another, there was the way that people's eyes seems to skid off him the moment they noticed the collar. For a third, there was the terror in the pit of his stomach.
Read more... )

Poll #17761 More, Please?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 7


What should I write more of next?

View Answers

Slaves/School 1 (Desmond)
5 (83.3%)

Slaves/School 2 (Austin/the Fah)
1 (16.7%)

Beekeeper
3 (50.0%)

4th Husband
1 (16.7%)

Finish It Bingo
2 (33.3%)

Fanfiction
1 (16.7%)

Arisse/Cress (Rock/Hard Place)
2 (33.3%)

I wish to leave kudos on this story

View Answers

Yes
5 (71.4%)

No
0 (0.0%)

Waterfalls?
2 (28.6%)

aldersprig: (lock and key)
After Slaves, School

II


::Report to the Central office at 1 First street at 11 a.m. today::

Desmond touched the collar around his neck; the voice repeated itself.

"Okay..." He didn't know if he was supposed to talk back to the collar. How did that work, anyway? "Will do?"

He touched the collar again and got silence. Well, maybe that had worked.

"Mo-om!" He tossed his robe on over his pyjamas and hurried out into the main center of the house. "Mum. I--" He fell silent, because his mother was talking with someone in the foyer.

She'd already turned around to look, though, and stopped mid-sentence. "Oh, Desmond. Darling. Oh..." Her hands went to her face and she turned back to the person in the foyer before turning back to Desmond.
Read more... )

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1204597.html

Poll #17756 More, Please?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 9


What should I write more of next?

View Answers

Slaves/School 1 (Desmond)
6 (66.7%)

Slaves/School 2 (Austin/the Fah)
2 (22.2%)

Beekeeper
6 (66.7%)

4th Husband
3 (33.3%)

Finish It Bingo
3 (33.3%)

Hurt/Comfort Bingo
0 (0.0%)

Supernaturally Blonde (fanfic)
1 (11.1%)

aldersprig: (GIRAFFE!)
Because (for *cough* SOME reason), I was suddenly feeling the urge to write slaves and magical schools.
These are bare intros, of course.


Slaves, School


There was a collar, of course.

Desmond hadn't exactly been expecting it, but somehow, when it was there that morning in the middle of summer, pressed around Des neck and already body-temperature, it wasn't a surprise.

Every year, on Aleriaon the 1st, 28 citizens between their fourteenth and nineteenth birthdays woke up wearing a collar. It was chosen entirely at random -- or so it was claimed, by those in charge of claiming such things -- and you never knew if you would be the one to wake up like that.
Read more... )

Poll #17750 More, please?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 9


What should I write more of next?

View Answers

Slaves/School 1 (Desmond)
5 (55.6%)

Slaves/School 2 (Austin)
4 (44.4%)

BeeKeeper
3 (33.3%)

4th Husband
3 (33.3%)

Finish It Bingo
4 (44.4%)

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