July 28th, 2007

The Orchard

Dawn

She spread her fingers in dew-damp grass, watching the sun rise, content in her near-solitude. The fog melted away around her, and she sighed.

The father-god knelt beside her. "You're awake early, Tiala."

She smiled, looking down at her hands. "I've been walking. Wandering."

"Deep in thought?"

"I think it's time." He was silent, and she looked up at him, meeting his warm grey eyes. "I think I'm ready, Father. I think that we've gotten everything right. I think it's time to begin."

"Making the others?"

"Yes."

"Are you lonely, daughterlove?"

"It's not that. It is just..." She gestured to the trees, to the sky. "This world, this so-beautiful world. It is so empty. It feels like it's holding its breath. It is waiting."

He took her hand in hers, helped her to her feet. "Then let us go to your mother, and our sister. Let's begin."

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Julia - fist

Highway

The road can be home, in a way. Especially when you don't know where your home is.

And I don't.

It's safer than the cities... safer than staying in one place. The cops are always looking - if not for me, for any teenage runaways. The one night I spent in that shelter...

So. I shower at highway rest stops - all hail the Flying J! And I hitch rides with truckers... some of whom are okay, some of whom think some pretty fucked-up things about little girls.

But I can handle them. I figured out how to focus this... whatever it is, this power, this thing that killed -

I can focus it now. Just enough to hurt. Just enough to get out and run.

And I guess I'll just keep running. Just keep moving, don't care where. Fly down Route 66, see the country. There are highways everywhere, and I can be leaving at a moment's notice. I can be gone.

I don't know if they're looking for me. I don't know if they know what I did, what I really did.

I can't risk it.

Just keep moving.


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Thanks to new sponsors magenta_girl and mgrasso, I'm up to $2,305.97!

I'll be highlighting my fellow Blogathonners throughout the day, in alphabetical offer. More people to support and cheer on!

aurora_lamour is blogging at ecrite_lamour for the National Alliance for Mental Health. She says “Last year I blogged for the Lupus Foundation but this year I am blogging for the National Alliance for Mental Illness. I have a mental illness myself as do many people on my friend's list here and in real life. Please help the NAMI find ways to help these misunderstood and untreated diseases.”
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Some things can't be fixed

Alchemy

The conversation takes bare seconds, mind-to-mind, through the soulbond, as their poor subject lies writhing on the table, screaming, poisons tearing through his veins -

Katharine looks up at Arthur and realizes that he knew. All his talk of gentle alchemy, and he knew what this would do. It is far too late now to stop it, to stanch the flood. Arthur's chemicals are destroying their subject's body, and all Katharine can do is follow in their path, lightning-swift healer-touch, shaping pathways, striving for their goal, immortality, restoration of their poor subject's powers.

There are no words, no time for words, just a flood of emotion - Katharine's anguish, her fury, and Arthur blocks her, stoic and sad, knowing that this is unforgivable. "You can do this," he whispers.

The poor Tallart boy screams again as Arthur's poisons reach his brain, and with a cry, Katharine dives in, forcing connections, working faster than she can to save his gifts, to save his life, rude alchemy of blood to poison to power to so much blood...


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Thanks to new sponsor BlueRose, I'm up to $2,355.97!

And remember - I'm auctioning off exquisite jewelry, art, et cetera to benefit BARCC - click here to go shopping!

We're doing pretty well over here... mirrored_echo and mgrasso are keeping us company, and we have doughnuts. Mmmm. And coffee. *bounce*

wired_lizard = a hot redhead in just a bra and a skirt hiked up to her hips. Team Venture is awesome.

Hey, check out another Blogathonner!

bettybaker is blogging for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. She says: “Why am I blogging for The Breast Cancer 3-Day?
Breast cancer happens to friends of mine. Some survive. Some die. Breast cancer sucks.
In November, I'm walking 60 miles in 3 days to benefit breast cancer research. mishfish78 caught me one evening in the middle of a whiskey tasting.
"Wanna walk 60 miles in three days for breast cancer in November?" she asked.
"Sure," I said, hiccuping and swirling hard liquor in my glass. "Sign me up!"
I woke up the next morning with a hangover and an ominous premonition.
"Oh God, what did I promise?" I rolled out of bed. I went to the computer. I looked at the Breast Cancer 3 Day website. I'm a smart woman. I knew, even in my post-whiskey haze, that I didn't have to go forward with this crazy idea unless I truly wanted to.
The answer came quickly.
I want to. I whipped out my card and paid the registration fee.
Ever since then, I've been training in the early mornings, walking with books on tape and cranky knees. mishfish78 and I are team Four Boobs. Before November hits we will have raised $5,000 for breast cancer research. I think that's incredibly cool.
I'm doing this for the women that I have known who were taken from this world and into the great "yet to come" by breast cancer.
I'm doing this for the women who might live longer, better lives as a result of the work done by breast cancer researchers.
I'm doing this for my own mental and physical health: steamroller thighs, here I come.
It's not to early to sponsor me. You'll find me at the compie early tomorrow morning. You can imagine me with laurels in my hair, sucking on some exotic herb of insight. So. Ask me questions. Sponsor me in my quest. Keep me awake.”
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Capri/Halloran

Joy

The first time she woke up beside him, she was hesitant, afraid of what he'd say, if he'd regret the night before, finally kissing her, finally...

The second time, she felt a bit more secure, but still - is this really happening? She watched him, his slight smile in sleep, brushed her fingers against his jawline, admiring him. The love of her life. Finally. The soulbond fully open, no barrier between their emotions. Her amazing kiri...

The third time she woke beside him, she stretched, grinning, admiring the morning light on his face - on his eyes when he opened them. She laughed, surprising even herself. He pulled her in for a lingering kiss. "What is it, silly girl?"

She couldn't keep from grinning. "You're still here."

"I'll always be here, kiri."

"It's just - I've dreamed of this, all these years. And it's really real, isn't it? You're really, truly mine."

He kissed her nose, provoking another laugh. "I've always been yours."

Impish, she straddled him. "Show me," she whispered with a shy smile...


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Also - comment, comment, comment! Especially late-night...

And another Blogathonner!


* blitheandbonny is blogging at her Vox for Equality Alabama. She says: “As of right now, there is only one high school in Alabama with a gay student association - and it's a private school. Legally, if a school allows any non-curriculum student organization, it MUST allow the formation of a gay student association if a group so wishes to form one. That right is being denied many of the students in this state. In a sexual minority youth safety survey, Alabama scored a 3 out of a possible 100. We're ranked 49th out of 51. Gay teenagers without support are more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. I chose Equality Alabama as my Blogathon charity because in a largely rural state such as this one, we just don't have the community to support our LGBT youth like in larger metropolitan areas. It makes us more likely to come to a realization of our sexuality later in life, with more baggage and trauma associated with something that frankly, shouldn't be a big deal. Straight people don't wake up one day and think "Hey, I think I might be straight." They just take it for granted. I hope for a day when gay people can take their own sexuality so much for granted.”>
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Julia - XanaDuMalion

Choice

"Do you know what I hate about all of this? About... about you?" Julia glared at Kieran as she paced, anger roiling around her.

"I don't, Julia. I wish to hell I did."

"This - destiny shit. Tessa found me, she dragged me to the Sanctuary, and Jason-" She stopped abruptly and dropped into an armchair, a mutinous look on her face. "He made me remember," she continued quietly. "All of this. All of you. My - my fucking responsibility. And Tessa dragged me here, and... I'm being called on to be your Lishaya, to lead a fucking revolution. And it's too much. And I don't want it."

"You prefer being on the run?"

"I prefer having free will. Or at least thinking I did."

"You still do."

"Not really. The other lives inside me - I have to do this. I have no choice. And that scares the hell out of me, and it pisses me off."

"And what do you hate about me?" he asked softly, wishing he could reach over and take her hands in his. She scowled at him, as if knowing - and hell, she probably did.

"Kiri'totharan. Soulbond. I'm linked to you, forever and ever, amen. Bound to be your... whatever. Your partner. Fated to love you. I don't love you, Kieran."

"I know."

"I refuse. Destiny or not. You can't make me love you. You can't make me - do anything with you."

He nodded, holding her gaze. "It is your choice, Julia. Destiny or no, that much is always your choice."


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We're all topless over here now. Except mirrored_echo, who's wearing a dress and so cannot remove her shirt. Hot chicks, y0.

* boutell is making a movie in 24 hours, to benefit Doctors Without Borders - sponsor him! $25 gets you a line of dialogue!

boutell wrote a sonnet every half hour last year. He's freakin' amazing. Go check him out!
Hearth

Music

Lyric is fiercely intent when she hears new music - she devours it like food, digging out every word, every turn of phrase. It's the only time she focuses that sharply, and Napalm has grown to know that look.

He feeds her new music. He feeds her words, knowing that as he does so, he's clearing a path for her thoughts, giving her a way to speak to him. She is so close sometimes, almost normal.

What passes for normal, anyway, for people like them.

He changes the CD, gives her more, watches expressions of joy and longing and understanding flit across her face. Her eyes flutter closed as she parses it, fits it to her mind, her experiences, uses it to show him.





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Thanks to Anonymous and Extispex from the BPAL forum, I'm up to $2,386.52!

The Whovians are playing with their Doctor Who toys. Lots of disruption this round, so I didn't do the best of jobs here. :(

Special blogger spotlight! irana stayed up til 3 with me last year, and was inspired. She's turning out some great storybits. Check her out!

irana is blogging for NARSAD - The Mental Health Research Association. She says” It's simple really. If you've read my user info, you'll see that I was once diagnosed with PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Clinical Depression. The full diagnosis was much, much longer at the time, but those were the three biggest issues. NARSAD supports research into the causes, treatments and eventual cures for psychiatric disorders. Not just the ones you hear about most often for adults, but the ones you rarely hear about, like the mental health issues of children. Things like autism, child bipolar disorder, childhood depression, ADHD just to name a few.

The first time I ever heard of them was from a therapist I'd been seeing. Her mentor - one of them anyway - had been chosen by NARSAD for a grant to further his research. Now, you have to understand, the results from this program has affected not only psychiatry, but nueroscience as well. Their goal is not only to support research into developing new preventative measures, better diagnoses and improved treatments for these conditions, but also to educate the public about them. You know those commercials and pamphlets that talk about research showing the relationship between stress and anxiety, or the role of genetics in things like bipolar disorder? Guess where that information comes from?

I don't know about you, but I know plenty of people with some sort of mental illness who have stigmatized by people who didn't understand what they were going through simply because those people didn't understand that it was an actual illness, a medical problem and not just someone being emotional or lazy. I myself have been stigmatized that way. If you know anyone, anyone at all, who suffers from some sort of mental illness, sponsor me. Do it for them, do it for me, do it for yourself.“
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Capri - color

Aftercare

Capri cried out again as Kieran loosened the ropes, reaching for them as he pulled them off the bed. "Please, Sir, please!"

He smiled, stroking her sweaty back, tracing fresh welts. "No more, Kip, not right now. You've taken a lot."

She looked up at him through tousled red curls, pleading. "I can take more."

He kissed her gently, stroking the length of her body. "Shhh, sweetheart. Come back to me." She whimpered, and he kissed her forehead, hand resting on the curve of her hip. "So beautiful, Kip. And such a good girl."

"Was I?"

"Ah, yes. My good girl."

She smiled contentedly and snuggled into him. "More soon?"

He laughed. "Wanting to see how much you can take?"

"Yes, actually."

His other hand tangled in the hair at the nape of her neck; she gasped, but he resisted the urge to tighten the hand into a fist, to drop her into subspace again. "Soon, honey. Oh, yes."

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Thanks to ewinbee, I'm up to $2,406.52! W00t!

The mail came! I got an awesome package from my BPAL Switch Witch! Pictures will be forthcoming. But man, I have the best Switch Witch ever.

Blogger spotlight!

* lordandrei is blogging for Planned Parenthood - sponsor him!
Everyone here is a crazy person.

Extraterrestrial Vampyre Pajamas

Julia looked pained. "I can't sleep over."

"Why not?" Capri bustled about the room, tidying, looking over her shoulder at suddenly-tentative Julia.

"I don't know. Um. I have nothing to sleep in."

Capri laughed. "That's no excuse. You wear the same size as me!" She pulled a bundle of clothing out of a nearby drawer and tossed it at Julia, who caught it and unfolded it.

"What the -"

Capri grinned. "They're my favorite."

Julia held up a pajama top, studying it in sheer disbelief. "It - has flying saucers on it."

"Yep!"

"And... Dracula?"

"Yep! Space vampires."

"Capri?"

"Yeah?"

"Why do you have space vampire pajamas?"

"Because they exist!"

"But - it - space vampires?"

"What's wrong with space vampires?"

Julia laughed, turning the pajamas around to see every scene depicted. "Um, nothing. I guess."

Capri plopped down on the bed next to Julia. "Honey? I am silly. I am made of silly. That is far from the only thing I have around here that I have just for the silly factor. It's fun. It's okay for stuff to just be fun."

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I had to do all three at once; they were creentmerveille's daughter's, and it was just too fun an idea. :) Plus slipjig double-dog-dared me to use multiple prompts.


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Don't forget the auctions!

MGrasso to Wired_Lizard, who's writing HPfic: "I just don't know how you're going to get tentacles in there."
Everyone else: "DON'T TEMPT HER."

* mllelaurel is blogging for Planned Parenthood - sponsor her! She's sitting here being all adorable in just a bra, a skirt, and slipjig's hat. :)
We're good. Yes we are.

Bonus auction!

  • Current Music
    Tori Amos - Roosterspur Bridge (Clyde)
  • Tags
Pfil/subspace

Spine

He's smiling his evil smile as he watches her face, the combination of fear and arousal. "Feeling a bit exposed, are we?"

Capri nods silently, eyes not leaving his. She tests the strength of her bonds, tugging at the padded leather cuffs that anchor her to the ceiling bar. She shifts as if trying to decide if she's uncomfortable. He hasn't got her on the main stage at Need - just an alcove, really. But she can feel eyes on her, and she darts a look over her shoulder. Kieran steps in closer, whispers in her ear. "You want to know if he's watching you, don't you?"

She bites her bottom lip, lowers her eyes shyly. "Yes, Sir."

He laughs, low and rich. "Oh, yes. Yes, he is." She shivers, and he trails a hand down her spine, pressing his palm to the small of her back. Oh, lovely girl. "Want to give him a show?"

He doesn't wait for her answer.

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Thanks to brujah and caulay, we're up to $2,441.52! *dances*

Dude, I don't know why my brain is full of Capri/Kieran today. *laugh* I think I'm maybe a bit horny. Just a bit.

Couldn't possibly have anything to do with hanging out with a room full of hot topless chicks. Nope.


* fiddle_dragon and songwind are blogging over at dragonsfordvs, for the Dakota Valley Symphony. She says: “I will be blogging for Dakota Valley Symphony. Why is DVS significant to me? *grins* "I'm with the band" *chuckle* I play 2nd violin, and occasionally flute if asked if an extra flute is needed. During the 'thon, I'll be sharing what it's like to play in an orchestra, talking about music in general, music education, music music music! songwind will be throwing in his two cents as well, though I'm not sure that he's decide what those two cents will be.

DVS is a community-based non-profit symphony orchestra and chorus based in the Southern Twin Cities Metro area in Minnesota. It offers both local musicians and local composers an opportunity to perform and share their skills. As an arts organization it's always looking for funding to help with sheet music license fees, site rentals, site fees, hall rentals, equipment fees, rentals, replacements, purchase new percussion, flyers, programs, among other sundry costs associated with running an organization.

This summer DVS has been offered the opportunity to purchase a trailer to haul our equipment around to our summer pops locations. This is an exciting opportunity for them! But it's still another fundraising need.”
Click here to sponsor them!
Smoke that Slides

Fallen

I found him sharpening a knife outside his tent. His hair was unbound, and the breeze caught it; he still looked noble.

Then he looked up at me, and the cruelty in his eyes made me wonder how any of us could ever have thought him so.

He did not speak, but waited for me to do so, and I obliged him. “It was you.”

He gave a mocking smile. “What was, cousin? I do many things.”

“No games now, Tal. You killed Airenn; you hurt Tiala.”

He spread his hands and gave a slight bow. “Has she awakened? Or did you piece this together on your own?”

“She has awakened, cousin. This is not a matter of suspicion. I have – I have seen in her mind what you did to her. You do not deny it.”

“How can I?”

“How could you do it?”

He grinned again. “To Airenn? A large rock and a strong arm.”

“Gods, cousin, stop. I do not want this.”

“Are you come to kill me, Nisar?” he said softly.

I rested my hand on the hilt of my sword, unwillingly but firmly. “I think that I must.”

“Why?”

“What you’ve done is wrong.”

“Killing Airenn is wrong, so you must kill me? And killing me will be right?”

“It’s not –“

“What is it?”

“I love her.” It startled me to hear it come out of my mouth; I was not expecting it. So plain. But true.

He nodded. “That, I can accept.”

“How could you do that to her? Take that from her?” I half-whispered, seeing Tiala in the glade again in my mind’s eye, bloodied and broken.

He shook his head, smiling again. “I loved her,” he echoed. “And I was sick of all of you filth having her.”

I drew my sword. “Do you know what you’ve done to her? You’ve broken her, half-killed her. Wounded her mind, her heart, so deeply…”

And Tal laughed as he drew his own sword. “And so you, the lot of you, will never have her again.”

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Using my "repost" card because most of you haven't seen this, and we're ordering lunch. And ohhh, it's raining, cooling, there's a breeze...

This is part of the Fall.

Nisar is the first Kithrayn of House L'Arath, a position that Jeramie occupies today. He was the second Dasaroi that Tiala and the gods made.

Tal was the first.

Today, Airenn has been reborn as Kieran, and Tiala as Julia.

wired_lizard and I are flirting madly. Whee!

rafaela is blogging at star_barnkitty for Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding. She says: “I am blogging for the Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding in Knoxville, TN. STAR provides riding lessons and much more to people with disabilities, helping them gain strength, dignity, and wellness through physical exercise and contact with horses.”
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Alanna & Jeramie

Blood

It isn't even a knife; he won't allow her a knife. It's a small pair of scissors that she found in the vanity, yet another thing that belonged to Elizabeth Halloran.

She still remembers that night whenever she uses them, or anything that belonged to the Hallorans. She remembers stepping back from Michael, high on her anger, giving the order. She remembers nodding, giving the order. She remembers the sound of the gun, filling the room despite the silencer.... Michael falling first, shot so precisely. She remembers Elizabeth lunging for her, trying to protect her son, and the gun again in that chaotic silence... falling over the couch, her blood soaking into pale blue cushions.

We had to throw the couch away. The blood never came out.

She remembers how Elizabeth fell, hand outstretched toward her fallen son, so close, but unable to touch him, even in death. And then Thomas, but she wasn't watching at that point. She remembers stepping back, skirts swirling around her ankles, radioing the order to take down that bitch Jessamyn and her family -

And turning back, meeting Jeramie's eyes, watching his reaction.

And seeing Elizabeth again...

She draws the point of Elizabeth's scissors down her inner arm, soft pale skin yielding, a thin line of her own blood following sharp silver, the pain hollowing her stomach and making her float.

Again.

Again.

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* rhiannonstone is blogging for San Francisco Sex
Information
. She says: “SFSI is a volunteer-run non-profit that relies on donations to keep doing what they do. Despite the localized nature of the name, they serve people across the country (and in some cases across the planet!) by providing free, accurate, non-judgmental sex information via phone, email, web, sex educator trainings, and outreach events. SFSI volunteers are trained to answer questions about reproduction, condoms, and contraception as well as sex toys, sexual practices, gender and sexual identity, kinky and vanilla sex, and pretty much any other sex question you can come up with. If they can't answer it, they'll point you to someone who can. My sponsorship plea is thus: If you have ever been frustrated by the "sex education" you or your family received in school; if you're unsure of how to talk to your kids about sex; if you've have ever had a question about sex that you were afraid to ask your parents, doctor, or friends; or if you're just generally sex-positive and supportive of the free flow of information, please consider sponsoring me. (And if you've still got that question, ask SFSI!)”
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Angels don't kill

Divination

She's at the coffeehouse alternate Thursdays, the slim Zirothi woman with her tarot cards. Melina, they say her name is. She walks in with... it almost looks like an ammo belt, but with deck after deck of cards. I think she uses a different pack for every reading.

She sets up in the back corner, by the graffiti wall, that little table nestled between the stage and the wall, and starts shuffling cards. She doesn't look at anyone. She doesn't try to solicit business. She just sits there, and people come up to her.

Sometimes I hear her... her voice is low and intense. She flips the cards, stroking their edges lightly as she speaks. It's hard not to watch - it seems so intimate, in such a public place.

Sometimes I think about getting a reading. Maybe next time.

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Any character requests?

I'm auctioning off exquisite jewelry, art, et cetera to benefit BARCC - click here to go shopping!

Bid on gorgeous photos here!

Incoming: white pizza with asparagus! And garlic bread!

seimaisin is blogging at Consequence Free for Angel Foundation. She says: “This year, I’m blogging for Angel Foundation, which is a local charity that helps cancer patients pay for basic life needs. It was recommended by one of our social workers here at the hospital - they use Angel Foundation constantly, for our patients whose finances have been wiped out by the insane mountain of medical bills. Angel Foundation will help patients pay utility bills and mortgage/rent payments, or give them gift cards to grocery stores, or gas money for patients who live far away and have to be at the clinic on a daily basis. It’s a huge help; too many of our patients don’t have adequate insurance, and are getting treated with the help of state medical assistance. That’s fine for medical needs, but people who don’t have insurance generally don’t have very good jobs, and have to quit or take leave from their jobs when they have cancer. Thus, no proper income to pay their non-medical bills. That’s where Angel Foundation comes in. It’s a fantastic program, and I’m glad to be able to help them raise more money.”
- Sponsor her!
Smoke that Slides

Window

"What's out there that's so fascinating?"

Kieran turned from the window to see Julia leaning against the doorjamb, arms folded. "Excuse me?"

"Every time I come up here, you're just staring out that window. Looks like a perfectly average view of the street to me."

"Oh. Huh." Kieran frowned, parsing. "There's... a lot that went on here before you arrived."

"Yeah. A few millenia worth."

"Yeah, well, this is more recent. This is... I know they told you about the Purges."

"Yeah?"

"I was living here then. Living with Donna. My mom - my mom died not too long before this, and Donna was fostering me. And for some reason, I was just... really restless that night. I kept pacing. I kept staring out that window. And... just after sunset. That's where I saw them. The Hounds, running down the street." He drew a deep shuddery breath. "They were killing people, Julia, right there on the street. I told Donna -"

"How old were you?"

"Fourteen."

She gave a sympathetic nod. "Go on."

"That's why she wouldn't let me go out and help the Kirayth. Too young. Two years away from my majority. So I had to watch... until she realized what I was seeing, and she made me go down to the basement. Trying to keep me safe. And that was so much worse."

"Because you couldn't see," Julia realized.

He half-grinned at her. "You know, I think that's the first time anyone's gotten that."

"It's how I would feel."

He met her steady gaze, felt the soulbond almost let him through. It was Julia who broke eye contact, looking back at the window. "So now you watch."

"Yeah. I can't be here without looking."

She walked over to the window and looked out, hand pressed against the glass... maybe imagining that night. She looked back at him. "Coast is clear," she said quietly. "C'mon. Let's go get some coffee."

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Thanks to mikekn and crazybone, we're up to $2,541.52!

Okay, now this is killing me. I didn't sleep well last night, and I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open.


* shadowwolf13 is blogging for Spiral Scouts: “Word of the program spread and the ATC formalized Spiral Scouts into an expanded program now available to anyone worldwide.The program has a unique approach to youth programming. Each group isled by both a male and a female adult, to achieve and teach the balance that is so central to Earth-centered beliefs. While Spiral Scouts was developed on Pagan beliefs and practices, it is designed to be adaptable by other minority faiths as well. In addition to traditional woodland lore, camping and the outdoor living skills, the program includes teaching the many mythologies of the ancient world. Uniquely,it includes a component new to youth group programming - life strategies and skills for teens, to help them learn early how to have good relationships with their peers and adults, and interpersonal skills that will serve them throughout their adult lives.
I choose to blog for the Scouts because it's one way that I can give back to the Pagan community.” - Sponsor her!
Vertebra - thoracic

Pessimism

He wishes he had faith.

Years of dealing with the Council, Janos and Stephen, Alanna... years of pretending, years of being on guard every moment have eroded Kristian's faith. He watches this crop of idealistic young Kithrayna and their friends plotting revolution... and he fears for them and for their Houses.

It is not that he stands on the side of the Council. It is only that he must protect his House. If he provoked Alanna and her court...

He saw what happened to House Bartomn, House Tamra. She made sure of that.

He cannot endanger his House. No matter what he believes.

Still - Kristian watches, and he wishes that he had faith that the city would be restored, that this would not lead to further destruction.


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* slipjig is blogging for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He says: "As part of the splendor that is Blogathon, I will be blogging for 24 hours straight, once every half-hour, starting at 9 a.m. this Saturday. I am doing this to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in honor of my mother, who has been living with the disease for many years now."
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Fenris - by Xanadumalion [Contemplative]

Partnership

Fenris watched Jessa out of the corner of his eye. She was at her desk, working on House Tamra business; he was at his, trying to figure out how to resurrect the centuries-gone tradition of the Kirayth. So much paper, so much archaic language, so much shit to do when he just wanted to get out there and fight. He sighed in frustration, pushing parchment across the desk, and she looked up. "Everything okay, love?"

"Yeah. It's just overwhelming, you know?"

She gave him a fond, somewhat exasperated smile and crossed the room. He watched her, marveling again, as he always did, at her beauty and grace. Wondering, as he always did, why on earth she loved him.

She settled in his lap, her silk against his leather. His arms instinctively wrapped 'round her waist, and he nuzzled her neck, provoking an appreciative "mmmm." She leaned forward, grabbing a notepad and pen. "Okay, so you have the Telenias as a second-in-command, right?"

"Yeah."

"Well, delegate this stuff -" she underlined several notes - "to him. And this? This should be pretty easy. Just -"

He laughed quietly. She turned to him - "What?"

"I just don't know what I'd ever do without you, Jessa."

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Yeah, so, he does end up having to figure out what to do without her. :(

In other news, I will shortly expire if I don't get root beer.

* spoothbrush is blogging for Doctors Without Borders: “Your sponsorship donation will help MSF get medical care to refugees, displaced persons, people in desperate need, people in places where medical facilities don't exist or have been destroyed. I'm not just posting, I'm giving too: I'll be doing a 10% match on donations.” - Sponsor her!
Alanna & Jeramie

Illusion

If you didn't know who she was, she'd be the most beautiful woman in the room. Perfect ivory skin with that tumble of deep black hair, luminous eyes, that slight, teasing smile -

She's gorgeous. No denying it. Why she augments it with layers of glamour, I don't know. She doesn't look like the insecure type.

Breathtaking beauty. Until you see the cold cruelty in those eyes. And she's not mean for the hell of it - she's mean because she's broken, because she doesn't know another way to be. That's what scares the hell out of us. She's unpredictable.

But she still gets guys to dance with her, to go home with her. The glamour works. It works damn well.




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AUGH, I am sucking. I suck.

Also, I have time and energy to respond to very few comments. I'm sorry. I suck.

Conversation:

'song: We live by the tits! We die by the tits.
Rafaela: Noo, we do not live by the tits!
Tory: ...No Gellert, that is not your evil overlord motto. You're gay.
'song: Ok, fine, we live by the ass.

* sylverice2 is blogging for International Myeloma Foundation: “I'm blogging for the International Myeloma Foundation, because Multiple Myeloma is what killed my Aunt Shirl.” - sponsor her!
Hearth

Voice Post

VoicePost
181K 0:56
“This is Shetang(?) & if you hear that thunder in the background you will know why I'm calling. We're having a pretty big thunderstorm over here & we're having some internet connectivity issues. This is said to all of team venture, this is Switchi(?) Graciella(?), how do you pronounce your name, Schmamzello(?) & wired Lizzard(?) & we are going to again just to get through. Sometimes our stuff is going through & sometimes it's not. Oh Rafael is blogging under star barn kitty. So we are still awake, we are still writing. It just may not be getting to you guys exactly on time depending on the weather & further updates as they come. Bye bye. Oh contras(?).”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post
Julia - fist

Silver

Julia laced the intricate silver bracer with shaking hands. Capri had offered to help dress her in her formal Court garb, but no... not this time. This time, just me. The bracers were awkward, unfamiliar; she was just barely getting accustomed to the leather ones she had to wear for less formal occasions. Full formal... that was for weddings and funerals.

She pulled the laces tight. White, for death.

She descended the stairs alone, walked out of the castle, blinking in sudden daylight. Oh, gods.

The Hounds lined the walkway, both sides, kneeling, heads down as if awaiting the touch of her sword.

She walked up to the first one and touched his head, gently, silver glinting in the sun. Taking a deep breath, she entered his mind...

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It is storming, and I fear for our connectivity.


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Capri - xanadumalion

Tattoos

“Um – hi.”

He looked up from his book to see the waif. Capri, he reminded himself. “Miss Donnelly,” he nodded. “I am sorry for your loss.”

“Thanks.” She had to be hearing that over and over, and it showed. There was a numbness there.

She was so young.

“I heard that you helped a lot. That you saved a lot of people.”

“In a way, I suppose. I wasn’t physically out there fighting, you know.”

“Fenris says that you were like a switchboard, though. That you helped relay commands all over town. That you helped coordinate the Kirayth.”

“That is what I do.”

“Did you feel my parents die?” The numb look was gone now, replaced by an edge in her eyes, a tension in her posture.

He shook his head. “I did not. The only people I felt were of the Kirayth.”

“Oh.” She relaxed. “Good. I – no one should have to feel that.”

“You felt it, did you not?”

She looked down, biting her lip and struggling to keep her voice steady. “I felt it and I saw it, both at once.”

“You may wish to speak to your godfather of this.”

“I may.” She looked up. “But you’ve felt people die, too.”

“I have. And I will listen if you wish to speak. But your godfather-“

“I’m not a little kid anymore, Telenias.”

“Not after that night, Miss Donnelly. No.”

She nodded almost imperceptibly. “No. Thank you. A lot of the guys here think I’m a baby. But I’m not.” She sighed. “I think that I might have to stay here for a long time. So I’m just, I don’t know, wandering around and seeing who’s who around here. Who treats me like a baby and who doesn’t, I guess.”

He nodded. “I can see how that would be important. Well – you have your kiri’toth and your godfather. And you have me. And?”

“Not many others, so far.”

“Ah. I am sorry.”

She shrugged. “Mom always told me that, at our height, that’s always going to be a problem. She – she always looked way younger than she was. And I will, too. So. It’s a matter of seeing who sees the brain as well as the body, she would say.”

“Do keep in mind that many people see all thirteen-year-olds as children – because most thirteen-year-olds are. It is not a judgment on you, when they do not bother to see. You may wish to save these evaluations for later in life.”

She nodded, then looked up at him sharply. “Why are you called ‘the Telenias’?”

“Pardon?”

“I know that ‘Telenias’ isn’t your first name. And I know people call some people by their last name. Like Halloran. But people call you ‘the Telenias’. Why?”

“Ah.” He stroked his wrist; his shirt covered the tattoo. Teneo casiens. “How much do you know about the Fall?”

She shrugged. “We lived in a utopia, and we were immortal and really strong. Then something really bad happened, and the gods took away paradise and immortality and made us weaker.”

“Do you remember what the ‘something really bad’ was?”

“No – but Mom said that no one did.”

“I do.”

Her eyes widened. “Tell me!”

He shook his head. “I cannot. This is what it is to be the Telenias – knowing. Holding the memory. And being the only one to do so.”

She was speechless for a moment, arms wrapped around knees… then tentatively asked, “Does it hurt?”

He gave a short laugh, and she blushed. “No, Capri, I am not mocking you. I have just… never heard it put that way.” He looked out the window at the busy street. “All of them – all of you – you have no idea what life was like before the Fall. And no idea what your ancestors did. There are so many things… imagine that you are reading a book with its first two chapters missing.” He shrugged. “I have the whole book.”

Please tell me.”

“I cannot. I have sworn an oath.”

“Why do you have to remember, if you can’t tell anyone? What’s the use?”

“If we forget history, we are doomed to repeat it. It is my job – and the job of my mentor, Martin – to remember. One day, we may be called upon to reveal all. This is not that day.”

“When you can tell – will you tell me?”

He regarded her closely, this bright and determined girl. “Yes. I will tell you.”

“Thank you.”



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I'm using another repost card, because I couldn't think of a way to address the Telenias's tattoo.

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I happen to think it's a marvelous idea. And, as many of my fellow bloggers (more later) are blogging to benefit local charities, I liked the idea of giving an international bent.” - Sponsor her!
Hearth

Dress

Katrina stroked the deep blue fabric almost gingerly. It was a dress out of movies, out of books - no one wears dresses like this! - a Barbie-doll dress, even.

"May I help you?"

She blushed deeply, feeling horribly out of place. "Um, yes. I... I have an invitation to this party, and I had nothing to wear, and Janos told me to come here..."

The seamstress beamed. "Ah, you're the new protege! He told me to be expecting you. Going to the masquerade ball at House L'Arath?"

"I think so, yes."

"Do you like that dress?"

"This?" It's got to be so expensive. I can't afford anything here! "I do, but I don't think -"

"Oh, no - definitely not that color, dear."

"What?"

The seamstress rummaged through a rack behind her counter; beaming again, she extracted a dress and held it up to Katrina.

Katrina's eyes widened. It was a fairy-tale dress like the other, but lusher, more elaborate... and a beautiful dark green.

"Your House color," the seamstress murmured.


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Katrina is Julia's mother. She hitched her way into the city as a teenager, and promptly became a pawn of the Council, poor girl.

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Julia - fist

Feral

Tessa pushed through the crowd, Adam and the kids in tow. She barely remembered they were with her, barely registered the concert crowd she was weaving through... just homing in on the signal.

On her never-met little sister.

The buildings they shake but my heart it beats still
Oh mother of Jesus, I feel pretty ill


So close, so close that she was almost in tears of frustration. Years of searching...

I want to go home where my feet both feel safe
But there ain't no jobs in the old free state


She had done it, picked up that lost thread, that cold trail. She felt her sister just up ahead, pulsing with energy, enough power to light the place for a week.

So I must remain in my new adopted land
I'm doing the best, Hell I'm doin' all I can


The crowd cleared, and the shimmering whirling dervish in the center faltered, locked eyes with her - that shining beacon, a skinny little girl in plaid paints and big boots, hair spilling over her shoulders in careless curls... her expression startled, then resolving to a mixture of fear and anger.

So next time you see me, don't ask for my name
For I am the King and sure long may I reign


The girl flung her arm up, raised her hand -

And her power slammed into Tessa, into Adam behind her, knocking her quite literally off her feet...

I've been down in this world, down and almost broken

And as she lost consciousness, Tessa saw the girl turn to run...


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Second wind, y0.

And here's our last blogger spotlight!

* zarhooie is blogging at llama_go_mooo for The Heifer Project: “Who is my charity? My charity is Heifer Project International. Heifer Project is a charity that gives people a hand up, not a hand out. They help people in poverty-laden societies gain the skills necessary to become self sufficient. To do this, they give people animals to care for. The animals are things like sheep (for wool and milk), ducklings (droppings for fertilizer, eggs, and meat), bees (pollinate crops, and also honey) and water buffalo (good for areas that can't support a tractor, for whatever reason). Of course, there's also the cow, which can produce meat, milk, and fertilizer. Every first born of a heifer animal is to be given to another family. In this manner, an entire community can become self sufficient within a reasonable time frame. To see the entire list of Heifer Project animals, click HERE. Parts of animals start at just $10, and an entire flock of ducks or sheep start at only $20.

I chose this charity because I feel that their approach to solving problems is one of the best out there. Showing people how to care for themselves is always preferable to the alternative of having them rely on someone else.
“ - sponsor her!
Hearth

Home

The van. Sunset. Southbound.

We drive
to leave the past and clear the mind
to watch the sunset set; it's time
I swear you'll find I'm your ride home


Adam drives, and Tessa reviews files next to him, switching on a small, clip-on flashlight.

Now close your eyes
it's getting dark, the highway's clear
No sign of life from front to rear
It's just you, my dear
On the ride home
We're going home.


Middle row is the girls - Lyric is fast asleep, and she's fallen against Julia; at first, Julia had pulled back, but now she's relaxed into in and is awkwardly stroking Lyric's hair.

Back row, the boys - Johnathan's behind Julia, and Napalm's behind Lyric, reaching around to hold her hand even in her sleep.

I'll be reaching for the stars with you, honey
Who cares if no one else believes...


Tessa watches them in the rearview mirror. She touches Adam's hand on the steering wheel; they exchange smiles.

Almost home.

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pseydtonne's cooking us dinner. :)

No more Blogathonners! Still donation opportunities, though:

ewin reports: There is a friend of mine, spineless_steel who has a cat that was recently injured. He needs surgery to the tune of $1500... she is short $500.

I am not one of those people who believe you should have to be well-off in order to deserve to own a cat. That kind of bullshit only keeps millions of cats homeless. Normally, all a cat needs is food and water (and spay or neuter) and a warm spot to sleep. Rarely, something like this happens.

It happened to me, with my cat Mikey. He got sick. I couldn't afford to take him to the vet. I waited too long, and then noticed his weight loss, and then took him and damn the fee... by the time I brought him, his liver was failing and he had to be put to sleep. I will feel guilty for the rest of my life for the fact that he died of something that may have been fixable, had I the money. That feeling SUCKS, people. I don't want anybody else to have to feel that way.

spineless_steel is a real person, a good person, someone who I know in real life, her cat is real, I can personally vouch for the whole thing.


Go to her link for details!
Alanna & Jeramie

Dance

It's the only time she ever feels free - these stolen hours away from the Council, away from him, away from being who she has to be. Safely anonymous in the Carnival District, stealthy in newly-black hair.

She blends in, for just a little while.

She slips onto the dance floor and lets the music take her, moves with it - spinning in pure abandon, hair soaking and sticking to her neck, hips shifting under skintight PVC...

...and the boy takes her hand, and she falters, drowning in input - his thoughts, his emotions, his memories - gods, my shields, dropped my shields! she pulls away, eyes wide in shock, still trying to sort her brain out from his, and suddenly he is behind her, his cold presence feeling safe, feeling known, and for once,she's glad to be taken home.

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Teenage Alanna - back when she was just broken, before she really got mean.

I'm definitely coming down with zlana's cold... really not feeling well. Sore throat, stuffed up.
Some things can't be fixed

Loss

Blood.

I look down, dizzy, nauseous. Shaking. Blood.

I wipe myself. Gently.

I walk into the bedroom.

I call Donna.

“I need a healer.”

Donna gasps. “Jessa? Are you okay? Is Capri?”

I sit down heavily. “I’m bleeding.”

“Bleeding how?”

“I’m pregnant, Donna.”

Donna pauses only briefly. “We’ll be right there.”

“We” turns out to be Donna, Lily, Kieran, and Sara, a slim Tallart healer I don’t know well. Lily takes Kieran and Capri to the park. Donna holds my hand. Sara eases me back on the bed and presses a hand to my still-flat belly. I look up at Donna – she squeezes my hand, eyes sorrowful. “No one knew.”

“Not even the father?”

“Neither of them.”

“Ah. Fenris again?”

“Yes.”

“I didn’t know you were trying.”

“I wasn’t,” I whisper.

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Strangely comfortable

Change

"Are you sure?"

She leaned back against Kieran, relaxed into his arms. "Of course not. I don't think I ever will be."

He laughed. "Right answer, I guess."

"It's too much responsibility," she said quietly.

He nodded. "I trust you, Julia. We all do. Whatever you decide."

"What gives me the right to decide?"

"You're the Lishaya."

"Doesn't mean I know any more than the rest of you."

"Yeah, but it's all we've got."

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Dark Phoenix

Regret

Silence.

Then the rasp of my breath as I come back to myself. Then the pain…

I shudder on the cold stone of the balcony. Every nerve feels raw, exposed; I feel as if flayed alive. I fight tears. Mustn’t cry.

Though who’s to see me cry?

I look up, muscles protesting, to see the corpses of my associates. Janos. Olivia. So many more, just meat on the balcony, eyes open in horror.

Am I free?

I pull myself up slowly. Hands and knees, my hair falling in my face, tangling in this ridiculous armor. Armor couldn’t protect any of us, could it? Not from that.

Footsteps.

I look with my mind, not my eyes, and I see her. Surrounded by a nimbus of green light, the remnants of the blue fire crackling around her. Miniature Valkyrie. Death walking. Power incarnate.

My baby sister.

Come to make sure I’m dead.

I hear her footsteps on the balcony stairs, and I grab the railing, start pulling myself up. I will not face her on my knees. I will have the dignity at this last moment that I have never been allowed before.

I am still Lishaya. It is a stolen crown, but I wear it still.

My body is so weak, and the pain is intense. More pain than even he gave me, perhaps. My arms tremble as I haul myself up, bit by agonizing bit. And as I straighten, trembling, she is there.

She looks at once exactly and nothing at all like me. Were it not for my hair and our age difference, we could pass for twins. I was unprepared for that – Tessa and Katrianna have their own faces. This one – Julia, her name is Julia. Julia has my eyes, my mouth, my tumbledown curls…

But Julia has a clarity to her that I have never possessed. She has purpose. Looking into those steady eyes as she stands there, shortsword in hand… Julia has strength.

I have never been strong.

Weary from the battle, bloodstained and bruised, pale and resolute; she looks like Tiala in the old pictures, Tiala after the Fall.

So this is what a Lishaya looks like.

“Sister,” I whisper, and her wary eyes flash angry. Thoughts cascade through my mind. All the things I’ve done. All the unforgivable things I’ve done.

This is my death, and it is earned.

“Sister,” I say quietly, accepting this… “I’m sorry.”

Her eyes shift again. And I read… sympathy from her. Sympathy, and curiosity, and… reluctance?

I feel a wild, desperate stab of hope. Can I survive this? Can I live, and atone? Can I…

And then I feel him rise behind me, impossibly, inevitably, and the despair swallows me whole.

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Playing the repost card again, because my head is so stuffed full of mucus that there's no room for the writerbrain. I have to keep getting up and walking around, because being fully vertical helps a *little*, but then that messes with the plantar fasciitis...

This is the prologue of Mask and Marionette - Alanna's side of the story.

And with this, Blogathon is at the halfway point, and we all have writer's block. Can we pull out? Will pseydtonne ever finish cooking? Will I ever put any clothes on? Stay tuned!

And keep the questions and suggestions coming! I've been staring at the same prompts for twelve hours, gimme something fresh.
Fenris - color

Outside

The lights are still on inside the pub, glowing softly, casting golden light onto the street. The Kirayth have dispersed, by and large, but there are two people left at the bar, deeply engaged in conversation. They have a pad of paper between them, and they're gesturing heavily.

You can't tell their relationship by looking at them, but you think they could be father and daughter. They have that kind of easy rapport, and for all the girl's aggression, you can tell that she respects him.

What you can't tell by looking: She is technically his leader, not the other way around. His daughter is the first person she's ever let herself love. And he's become the father figure she'd wished for all her life, a wish she'd never let herself vocalize.

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Still no dinner. *waits patiently, but is kinda nauseous from Teh Sick anyway*

Sponsor Team Venture.
Because we have hot half-naked rubber-chicken-wielding redheads, that's why.
Hearth

Reader request: Alanna, the youngest I've written her

(Also from Mask and Marionette, which alternates Jeramie/Alanna perspective.
Jeramie, age 19.)

He did his best to still himself. Being obviously fidgety would reflect poorly on him. Being the youngest, most junior, of the Council, he had to work a little harder. Even if he was a Kithrayn. To his House, he was lord and master… but to Janos and the other Councillors, he was a boy just emerging from his teens.

It was enough to make him grit his teeth when dealing with the older Councillors, sometimes. A necessary evil, he reminded himself.

For now.

But today, it was difficult to be calm. Today, he was to see the product of the Council’s breeding program.

Years ago, when Jeramie was a naïve child in truth, the Council that had governed Shayara for centuries had realized that the Talthar Kithrayna was reforming – that the Kithrayna of all of the great Houses were being reborn, all to live in the same time and place. That a full circle would exist once more.

That the Council’s services would no longer be required.

Having grown fond of their political power, the Council found this unacceptable – and Janos had an idea, one so dangerous that it was shared with only a handful of Councillors at first. The Kithrayna of the other six Houses were being reborn – but not that of House Tamra.

Not the Lishaya, the reincarnation of Tiala na’Roth - the ruler of all Dasaroi.

If the Council could somehow control the new Lishaya, their power would be guaranteed.

What if the Council created the new Lishaya?

Janos undertook research, and found three women likely to bear the next Lishaya. One was sterile. One was diametrically politically opposed – and Jeramie spared a thought for her. Jessamyn ni’Tamra. Beautiful, fiery Jessa.

The last woman, Katrina Stone, actually had a preexisting relationship with a fellow Councillor, Stephen. It was easy to bring her into the fold. Her first child was a failure – not remotely powerful enough to even pass as the Lishaya, and almost no physical characteristics of her House. But the second child was reportedly another story – and was arriving here today.

Now.

Janos and the other Councillors were milling about the foyer. Jeramie stayed on the stairs, leaning against the railing – he wanted a little distance for this. It was as yet unknown whether the experiment had worked – whether the child truly was the Lishaya. She had yet to be successfully read. Her power had been measured, though, and it was enormous for a girl of her age. Likely to grow in strength as she grew up.

Tiala reborn.

Maybe.

He stilled himself as the door opened.

He’d met Stephen ni’Tamra before, of course. Councillor in absentia, he managed their considerable interests outside the city. Stephen was tall, blond, and impeccable in every way – to the world outside, he’d look like a Fortune 500 mogul. Perfectly tailored suits, a near-smirk, and cold-steel power.

Jeramie wanted nothing more than to be Stephen when he grew up.

And hiding behind his legs… little Alanna. She peeked out at the crowd, golden curls falling over her shoulder. Stephen spoke soothingly to her, coaxing her out from behind him – and several of the more junior Councillors openly gasped.

Tiala na’Roth had never been a child – but if she had, she’d’ve looked just like Alanna. Huge Tamrani eyes, long-lashed and grey-blue. Sweet little heart-shaped face. The cascade of golden hair almost to her waist, pinned back by barrettes that were the same deep green as her long velvet dress. Her House color. Not a tomboy, this one – she wore the formal dress with ease.

Lovely. Quiet. Biddable. All of four years old, and ready to be trained.

What will we make of you, little girl?

She looked up at him as if she’d heard his thought. Who knows – maybe she had. She was young for that, but if she was the Lishaya – it wouldn’t be entirely surprising.

He found himself descending the stairs almost without noticing, his eyes fixed on hers. Almost hypnotized. Are you her?

No flicker of response on the little face. His imagination, then.

He knelt before her, surprised to find himself doing so. Janos and Stephen, until then absorbed in their own conversation, looked down at him curiously, but he only had eyes for the child. “Welcome to Shayara,” he said quietly. “My name is Jeramie, Kithrayn ni’L’Arath.”

She gave a grave little nod, but didn’t shake his extended hand, clinging to her father’s hand with both of hers. “I’m Alanna.”

Stephen freed his hand, patted her on the head. “Alanna what? We practiced this.”

She clasped her hands behind her back, looking disappointed. “Alanna, Lishaya ni’Dasaroi, um… Kithraya ni’Tamra.”

“Good girl,” Stephen smiled. Alanna grinned and seized his hand again.

Jeramie stood. “Pleased to meet you, Alanna.”

“You too. You – um –“

“Yes?”

She wrinkled her brow. “You were Nisar, right? At the beginning?”

Indeed. Among other things. “Yes, I was.”

“Daddy made me memorize people,” she confided, looking relieved.

Jeramie smiled. “I’m sure you’ll do just fine.”

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I think I need to shift to answering your questions about the characters/world, as opposed to trying to work from one-word prompts... my brain is fried! Help me out here.
Julia in color - xanadumalion

Reader Request: Julia - soulbond? Do Not Want!

Julia took a deep breath, tugged at her cuffs, and nodded at Donna. Okay. This is it.

Donna gave her a reassuring smile, and opened the door.

Conversations stilled, and Julia, all too conscious of being the center of attention, inwardly winced. A room full of people, all vaguely familiar from memories recovered at the Sanctuary, their previous lives layered within them. The tall, burly guy had to be the Kithrayn of House Bartomn; the severe Goth guy, House Ziroth.

And there at the far end of the room, with the slender guy who had to be Lhri'nahr -

Him.

Her hands clenched inadvertently into fists, short nails digging into her palms. Not him. Stupid. She had to've known he was real, not just a recurring dream. Recurring nightmare, more like.

She drew her attention back to the matter at hand, shaking hands with the vaguely smarmy Kithrayn L'Arath, but she felt him staring at her. Son of a bitch. She made the rounds mechanically, murmuring Sanctuary-taught pleasantries, but when Donna brought her around to him, something in her rebelled. He gave her a hopeful grin, deep blue eyes warm, hesitant. Donna began her introduction - "And this is Kieran, Kithrayn ni'Narsan-"

He offered his hand, but she pulled back. "I know you you are," she said, keeping her voice level.

Confusion. Pain. His emotions swirled around her, and she shut them down, shielding hard. I will not let this happen. My mind is my own, dammit. "Donna, I want to go," she said. Quiet. Firm. Strong. You are not my destiny.

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Can't fucking breathe. Augh.
Grey Council - by chaos_by_design

Stone

The Talthar Kithrayna had decreed it, and so he must comply, but he did not like it. They had opted to wall off their home, to hide it from these new things, these humans... but as he helped to build the wall, he looked out at everything else they were walling themselves away from. The sea. The rest of the forest. The rest of the world.

He would obey, as he must. But he thought they would come to regret this.

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(Sorry, that's all I got for this one - the disgruntled workman.)

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The cuteness of Tor-Tor compels you.
Everyone here is a crazy person.

Bouffant

[Insert scene of Napalm, Johnathan, and Capri enacting Radio Free Vestibule's "Bulbous Bouffant", because that's what we're all doing right now.]

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Max is ignoring us studiously.