When you spend your time trying to learn as much as possible about the other people around you and working on finding the best in all of them - sometimes by viewing them by your cultural standards, sometimes by theirs, sometimes by some neutral third party - and then you find them using a kind of casual racism against creatures you think of as being the same as them, you tend to find yourself a little shocked or, if you are like me, a little stupefied.
After (Before) The Empire Falls, the Emperor Stands.
The young son-of-the-Emperor (they were all sons of the Emperor, although their fathers were all several years dead) waited until two of his cousins were making an appropriate fuss and two more seemed to have decided to climb the bookshelves all the way to the top.
There were seven nursemaids for the lot of them, but, from the things the nurses said when they thought their young charges weren’t listening, there were more of them, the sons, then there had been in recent memory — “recent” in Hildeh’s case and Galleh’s, at least, being a number that stretched back quite some time — and the bureaucracy that funded their employment did not seem inclined to send them any more help.
This particular son — whose name, like easily half of his brothers, was Eranodi, after Eroni, the first Emperor — was glad for the overwork and the subsequent distraction, because it gave him a freedom he was fairly certain young Emperor’s-sons were not supposed to have.
Written to sauergeek ‘s prompt.
It seemed like summer had left the door open and autumn was sneaking in. Xarissa threw on a coat and went outside to pull in her plants. The weather ap was calling for a hard frost tonight - never mind that it was
Written to kelkyag‘s prompt.
At forty, Gemma considered herself to be relatively practical.
She’d put aside the ridiculousness of her teens and the experimentation of her twenties. She had staid hobbies and a staid job and, to be quite honest, staid
It comes after Loose Ends and Tying Off; if you are following Addergoole: a Ghost Story, Shad and Meesh are Abednego's older brothers, Eris and Joff's former Keepers, and all around bad guys.
It is written to chanter_greenie's prompt.
Shadrach had last track of how many times they’d gone through this. Keeper, Kept, Keeper, Kept. They went through whole months where they were both as gentle as they knew how, hoping the next month would be kind back to them. They went through seasons where they were rough, violent, nasty. He’d almost died at least four times. He’d almost killed Meshach at least twice.
Once, Professor VanderLinden, Professor Solomon, and Professor Pelletier had taken turns living with them for two months. It had made those two months very tense, but it hadn’t fixed anything.
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
The leaves were turning wrong.
When you lived in a wooded area for a while, you got so you could feel the rhythm of autumn. The leaves closest to the road, closest to the prevailing wind, closest to anything that chilled them down, turned first. The biggest trees turned slower. The middle of the woods turned slow and last.
But in the forest behind Erato’s house, there was an almost circular place where the leaves had starting turning quickly, almost before the little maple that faced the wind all alone to the west of her house.
Written to clare_dragonfly's prompt. It wandered a bit from the prompt...
"Talen" is a (backhanded) homage to someone who will likely never read this... And obviously the poem/song in this is an homage to
O I forbid you, maidens all,
That wear gold in your hair,
To come or go by Carterhaugh,
For young Tam Lin is there.
Do not go by the TalenHall
Where ruined Talen's Holdings Lie
Each signal boost will get another 100 words.
It was the first day of the Faire, and it was, as luck would have it, a rainy day, chilly, and thus mostly attended by the locals, the die-hards, and people who had
Written to alexseanchai's prompt.
The problem with mad kings wasn’t so much the madness part, Iounia thought, as it was the shifting of the madness.
The only sign she’d had that she’d fallen out of favor with the king was a slight shift in his giggle. If she hadn’t watched Maia be dispensed with the month before after just such a slight shift - and before that Abri, and before that Martia - she might not have known it was time to leave.
But Iounia was known for her sharp eyes and her attention to detail, which was what had brought her to the mad king’s attention in the first place, what had sat her at his feet as his adviser, and what had led her to stop by Nueva’s room and suggest quietly that she might want to get while the getting was good.
Nueva made long-term plans. Nueva was really, really good at long-term plans. Dessie was really good at making do with almost nothing. Between the three of them - because Nueva’s plan had led to grabbing Dessie on the way out - they had gotten out of the palace without a hitch. They had gotten out of the city without a hitch.
And now, rather to Iounia’s surprise - although she should have seen it coming - they were planning a rebellion.
“Not exactly a rebellion,” Dessie demurred, as they sat in an abandoned barn, cooking rats over a fire. “More of a housecleaning. Let the Mad King keep his crown. We’re just going to - ah. Work around him.”
“Why let him keep his crown?” Nueva countered. “Why not let the crown sit on an empty throne?”
“An empty throne invites someone to sit on it. A madman on the throne invites people to stay away.”
“Let him give orders.” Iounia understood the plan now. “And let him believe his orders have been carried out. Meanwhile, the rest of the country can get on with - well, with being a country.”
Safe in his underground chamber, surrounded by his crowns, the Mad King never did learn that he had fallen out of favor.
And On Wordpress..
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...
It’s time for a Zebra Call, which is a special black-and-white and stripey version of a Giraffe Call.
The theme for the month is Autumn, Autumn (Roundtree)*, Fall, and Falling
There’s a longer post about what this call is for [here]. The short version is: We’re redoing our bathroom and the cabinets I really, really want cost $700 more than our budget.
If you’re interested in Giraffe Calls in general, check out the Giraffe Call: Call tag [here].
Leave a prompt (or several), get a short fic written.
Tip and get TWO fics written and 100 words/$1.50 tipped
Join my Patreon and get TWO fics written.
My goal is $500 between new Patreon Patrons and tips (Counting each $1 of Patreon-age as $3)
For every $50 in tips, I will choose a prompter at random and write another story to their prompts (so leave lots of prompts!)
For every multiple of 5 Patreon Patrons we reach (30, 35, 40…) I will do the same.
Milestones for this Call
$25 – Take-out! Which is useful, because we don’t have a kitchen sink right now.
$50 – Second fic written to a randomly-chosen prompter
$75 – We get the awesome zebra shower curtain instead of the pretty-neat shower curtain
$100 – Second fic written to a randomly-chosen prompter (and so on at every $X50)
$125 – New towels! All the new towels!
$150 – Second fic written to a randomly-chosen prompter
$200 – This fic is written to a randomly-chosen tipper or Patron.
$300 – we can get the slightly-less-cool second-choice cabinets
$400 – This fic is written to a randomly-chosen tipper or Patron.
$450 – Everyone who prompts can choose a story to add another 200 words to.
$500 – New Awesome Cabinets, thank you!
I encourage you to leave as many prompts as you feel like.
Prompts can be general (The Year Autumn Didn’t Come) or specific (Autumn Roundtree deals with Tattercoats); they can be in extant universes of mine (no fanfic please) or in something entirely new.
I also encourage – nay, request! – you to signal boost this far and wide, and to that end, for every signal boost, I will write 100 words of the signal boost story.
* so Autumn Roundtree is a character in my Stranded World setting. I was originally going to use the runner-up in my Patreon Theme Poll as the theme for this Zebra Call, but there was no clear winner, just a 3-way tie between settings. But Stranded was one of those settings…
And on Wordpress…
All right, it’s time for a Zebra Call!
When I first started my Giraffe Calls, they were to help defray the costs of the super-awesome giraffe carpet that I wanted – and got! – for the bedroom of our then-new(-to-us) house. The idea was that we would get the bedroom done “enough” to look finished, and then no matter what else we were working on, we could lay down at night and rest because the bedroom was done.
Hey, it worked, more or less.
Now we’re doing the bathroom! And it’s going to be black, grey, and white, mostly white, and since we already have a giraffe toilet paper holder (because giraffes), we want a zebra shower curtain…
No, I’m not holding a whole prompt call to finance a shower curtain. But it’s nicer than Cabinet Call.
You see, I have fallen in love with a certain door style and the nature of the bathroom dictates a certain (non-particle-board) carcass style and… that ends up $700 over our cabinet budget. I can cover $200 of that on current Patreon rates (3 months, or the length of this renovation).
We ripped out the “linen cabinet” that existed because
a) the face frame & doors went up to the former ceiling, 6’8″, and the cabinet itself went all the way up to the new/oldest ceiling, 8’4″
b) The doors were in bad shape, chipped, and worn.
c) the vent for the toilet was letting out in the top of the cabinet
d) the awful old drywall went under, over, and behind the old cabinet, and it was nailed to it.
And we removed the old (really ugly) vanity and replaced it with a pedestal sink last year, which opened up the place a huge amount, but poof, storage gone.
So we’re going to get two cabinets, one a linen cabinet (full height, to replace the one we ripped out) and one a wall cabinet above the toilet.
And I really, really want the pretty doors with a ( arch at the top to match the door we bought to put in as a bathroom entrance door – which is going to be a pocket door! – but the nice doors only come on the nicer cabinets.
So! Time for a Zebra Call.