July 26th, 2009

Hearth

Places You Haunt



Recycled plastic yarn bag knitted by stringmonkey.

Click here to bid!

-------------


The second-floor apartment across from Wendy's never could seem to hold onto a tenant for more than a few months at a time. It had housed a private detective, a stripper, a self-proclaimed chaos mage, a ballerina, and a cellist all in the span of a single year. Diverse and strange things were always turning up in closets and cupboards there, long after their owners had gone.

When the ballerina left, she left behind two sets of knitting needles and a considerable pile of yarn. Kaylin happily inherited these, having been taught to knit by the ballerina, and she turned out an endless supply of garter-stitched scarves.

Until the yarn ran out. Then? She got creative. Doodle came home one day to find her midway through a scarf made of one of his old Grateful Dead t-shirts, which Kaylin had methodically torn into thin strips and knotted together.

Arthur wisely removed her from the apartment. From then on, he took her salvaging with him - found her things that she could safely make other things with, without destroying Doodle's clothing.

-------------


Up to $1,207.24! Keep it coming! SPONSOR ME!

Nine more hours.

My daughter is hilarious. Also, she sang "The Christians and the Pagans" at the Explo coffeehouse last night! Also, she has ZOMG and ROFL scrawled on her knuckles.
Hearth

Places You Haunt



Autographed "How to Take the Fall" CD by Juliana Finch.

Here. Listen. And click here to bid!

-------------

She would’ve been just another girl with a laptop in a coffee shop (and lords above, Doodle hated the gentrification of coffeehouses), if not for two things - the halo of blue-shading-to-gold that surrounded her, and the fact that she piqued Kaylin’s interest.

She was new. Not just to Caffiend, but to Vegas. There’s a shine you lose when you’ve been in Vegas a while, and she still had hers. She was new and lovely and had a glow, and Doodle would never have spoken to her.

If Kaylin hadn’t run up to her and asked to draw her.

The girl had been surprised, but she’d smiled, and Doodle was half-lost just in her smile and her kindness. Half-lost right there.

Her name was Sara Darien. She was new. She wrote. Kaylin was drawn to her. And she didn’t have an apartment yet. Martin approved her right away, based mostly on Kaylin’s opinion of her, and she was quickly installed in the other third-floor apartment, her door facing Doodle’s. Kaylin got in the habit of stopping by Sara’s after preschool, and Doodle got in the habit of cooking for three rather than two.
She was as shy as he was, and just as silly when dragged out of her shell. She loved bad movies and Doodle’s lasagna. She didn’t talk about her life before Vegas, and he didn’t push her. He didn’t need to know who she used to be. Just who she was now. And now, she was friend and family.

It was very late at night when he finally kissed her - late night of talking about his past, about his path to Vegas. About Kaylin. About Martin and Arthur and Petra and everyone (but not Kellen and Crystal, not Axis and Griffin, never them). She’d been resting her head on his shoulder, fingers entwined with his, his thumb rubbing her palm gently. “Sara,” he whispered into unexpected silence, and she looked up and he kissed her, all possibilities folding into this moment, into loving Sara, and he kissed her, held her, learned her, until dawn.

He later found out that Arthur and Petra had had a betting pool on how long it would take him to get around to kissing her - the whole house had known they’d fallen for each other before they had. (Petra won.)

He had never loved anyone quite this much before, and it was scary as hell. She confessed that it was for her, too. They wibbled over whether she should move in with them - but she needed her space to write, and he needed his to draw and paint. Still, she half-lived at his place, slept curled into him every night; he stayed awake just a little longer than she did and watched the tension she still always carried melt from her, watched her face soften and her glow mute as consciousness faded.

It did not last. Nothing ever did.

Years later, he couldn’t put his finger on just why it fell apart. They weren’t fighting. They just… weren’t working. Slightly mismatched gears. And they figured out that, if they wanted to be friends and family, they could not be boyfriend and girlfriend.

So. Sara across the hall. Truest love. Still family. Best friend.

And then they returned. Axis and Griffin. The sort of guys who always got the girl. He watched Griffin watching Sara, and his world trembled. She looked back through the closing door, perfectly framed, golden light around her glow and golden Kaylin in her arms. I can’t lose you. Please. I could not bear to lose you.

-------------


And *that's* where Our Story Begins.

The soundtrack of Places You Haunt, in my head, is very Juliana and S00j, Dar Williams and Rilo Kiley.

Up to $1,212.24! Keep it coming! SPONSOR ME!

Elayna has gone to bed. (This bedtime is for realz</>, don't you ever forget it!)

And you guys, I still have energy. And it's past midnight. And I've only had 3 cups of coffee all day.

Team Venture says "When in doubt, TARDIS."

I wish we did not have to be quiet. Landlords were out of town last year; they're downstairs this year. Still, the aggressively loud person from last year is not here this year. That helps.
Hearth

Do not Come to Cottingley



Collapse )

Cottingley Fae doll by conscience of DemonKidz Dollworks.

"The Cottingley Fae" is a soft vinyl, 9 inch, one of a kind customized doll from DemonKidz Dollworks.
She has been handpainted from head to toe using heat set mediums and stains to bring an ordinary child's baby doll to life. She has handrooted hair of auburn wool, striking handpainted emerald green eyes and hand made wings of Fantasy Film, glitter and specialty paints, sealed with high gloss varnish.

The Cottlingley Fae's clothing is handmade and consists of: Underskirt of antiqued cheesecloth, dusky green fabric skirt, gold tone bells, copper wire armband and copper wire headband embellished with yellow and green seed beads - topped with a jagged amethyst crystal.

The Cottingley Fae will go to her new home as pictured, along with her special Certificate of Authenticity signed and dated by the artist. She is guaranteed to be a One of a Kind doll, never to be reproduced!


Click here to bid!

-------------

We did not know what a camera was, this silly box the girls brought with them. Human children have many odd little devices around them. How can a faerie keep track of them all, and why should we bother? They flit by like wingblinks, little mortal lives...

We did not know what it was, only that it was a new toy. So we cavorted with the children as usual, teasing and dancing and placing wee little hexes that surely would not expose us, simply trip the children up. It was we who were tripped up, though. This little troop of us that were staying at Cottingley that summer.

Damn those girls to stinking, shrieking hells. Damn them and their miserable little box.

They exposed us. Exposed us to the world, presented proof of our existence.

And all the wrath of Faerie came down upon our innocent, ignorant heads.

We were able to curse them just once before our punishment took hold - cursed one to never believe the evidence of her own eyes and ears, and therefore recant, deny our existence, present excuses, reasoning - create doubt.

The other? We cursed her with loyalty. Sealed her steadfast to her friend. Gave her a lifetime of struggling to help the other girl accept truth.

And us?

You do not know the weight of faerie punishments.

Here is truth: You all know us when you are young. You know us as faeries, or invisible friends, or elementals. You are our playmates, our constant friends.

And then you age and, in aging, you forget. You forget everything, bit by bit.

This is the way of things; this is how it has always been. Bosom friends for a season, then a lifetime of awful blindness.

Us?

We are mortal, now. Still winged. But without our magic. And, after a century, certainly no longer beautiful. We still live in the grottoes, the trees, gnarled and broken and wrinkled and decaying and foul and feral. And we are forgetting. We are forgetting faerie ways. We are forgetting the language of the birds. Bit by bit. Slow agony of blindness and ignorance.

I know the night sings, but I can no longer hear it.

Do not come to Cottingley. Do not come to the bottom of your garden. We may no longer have magic. But there are things we have learned to do.

-------------


SPONSOR ME!

Team Venture would like a monkey.

zarhooie: "But angel mpreg is okay."

No it is not aii.

emilytheslayer, on Twitter: "Bloggers 4 LIFE y'all. Team Venture is 2/3rds finished with Blogathon and going strong. I on the other hand do not know how they are alive."

...Team Venture is hardcore.
Hearth

Shayara - Katrina necklace (My Empire for Ashes)




Is is chalcedony? Is it glass? We're not sure, but it's pretty, and it's by glinda_w. 20", with sterling wire and clasp.

Click here to bid!

-------------

They found her an apartment and a job, both via the bulletin board at Tyka’s. The apartment was a third-floor walkup in House Tamra’s territory, walking distance from Alexander’s apartment; the job was at Vanya’s Vinyl, a record store a few blocks over from Tyka’s - one of the twisty side streets that was becoming the new downtown. Katrina didn’t play an instrument of her own, but she loved the music of others, and she loved digging through the old stock and discovering new-to-her big band and doo-wop. She became adept at recommending music to customers, and her boss, a bellicose old Russian, praised her to the high heavens; it made her blush every time. He gave Alexander a knowing nudge and wink whenever he picked Katrina up from work, and he learned to nod and smile back.

Katrina decorated her apartment sparsely, mostly with things picked up from Kelly’s Ephemera. Junk-shop treasures. She framed her windows with bright plastic beads that caught the sunset and threw rainbows around the room. The furnishings were simple - the couch, bed, tables, and chairs that had come with the apartment. A record player. A bookcase. It did not look lived-in. When he asked her about personalizing it further, she would shrug and change the subject.

She doubted her permanence. She never said anything to that effect, but he read it in her apartment, in the things she never spoke of. When he finally asked her, her eyes welled up, but she did not cry. “I promise,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere.”

He tried not to doubt. Her world seemed so alien to him - a chaotic, often contradictory jumble of laws and and ways of life. He thought his world might be much the same to her. The more they talked about her life before, the more confused he became. He thought he knew about the human world; he’d certainly lived in it many a time, and he’d read extensively. She grew frustrated with him often, with his inability to intuit things about her background. For his part, he tried to be more patient - Dasaroi were accustomed to outsiders arriving here and having to be taught or re-taught their ways, after all. So this was nothing new to him. Not in concept, at least. Whereas Katrina was dealing with full immersion in a culture that was alien to her.
-------------


Still at $1,362.24. Can we get to $1,500 tonight? SPONSOR ME!

Green is the color of House Tamra. We have two House Tamra necklaces; this simpler one suits Katrina.

You guys, I still have energy. This is the difference that getting off Lyrica makes. I really had no idea just how sedated I was.

Team Venture is being vicious about crappy authors.

2 hours til Mark gets here!

And yes, I took my evening meds. Minus the Lunesta. Because that would be monumentally stupid.

Lily says: "By the law of XKCD, all of my posts should be "You're a kitty!"
Hearth

Shayara - Jessa necklace



House Tamra necklace by qotcpcf, Queen of the Cat People.

A green dichroic art glass pendant wrapped in silver wire hangs from a cord of green and gold Czech crystals, woven with bright green ribbon.

Click here to bid!

-------------

“Truth or Dare!” Nicholas announces, to a chorus of groans. He only grins in response, shadows from the bonfire flickering across his face.

I take up the challenge, though the question was directed to the group in general. “Truth.”

His grin widens. “Ah, Jessamyn. This, I’ve been wanting to ask for quite some time.” He pauses for effect. “Are you a virgin?”

I blush deeply. Elizabeth throws a pine cone at him, objecting; he manages to dodge it. Trying very hard not to look at Seth, I answer “Yes.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously! I’ve… I’ve been waiting for just the right person.”

“How far have you gone?”

I point at him. “Uh-uh! It’s not your turn. It’s my turn.”

He grins, leaning back in his chair. “So ask. We’ll get back to me.”

I stick my tongue out and try to think… but I can’t think of anything other than the question I really want to ask. So I ask it. “Seth. Truth or Dare?”

He looks up, surprised. “Truth.”

“…are you?”

“Am I…”

“Have you? Had sex?”

His jaw tightens. “Yeah. I have.”

It feels like my heart drops through my stomach, and I’m suddenly cold despite the fire. “…oh.”

Seth makes a fist, releases it. “I… didn’t wait. For the right person.” He pointedly looks away from me. “Okay. Hey. Elizabeth.”

“Dare,” she replies promptly. “I am not talking about my sex life. Or lack thereof.”

He grins. “Suits me fine. Hm. Sing and dance ‘I’m a little teapot’.”

“Oh, you suck!”

Everyone laughs. Everyone but me, looking down, pulling apart pine needles with that sick feeling in my stomach. I feel the pressure of someone’s thoughts as Elizabeth is singing, and I look up to meet Seth’s dark eyes. I wanted to be your first, I think, but only to myself.

“Jessa!”

It’s Elizabeth. “Um. Truth.”

She grins, glancing at Nicholas. “So how far have you gone?”

I laugh. “Not far. I’ve only been kissed.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it! Waiting for the right person, remember?” I turn to so-curious Nicholas. “Truth or Dare?”

“Truth.”

“So. You? Are you a virgin?”

He gives me a mock dirty look. “Yeah. Not for lack of trying, though.”

I grin. “So don’t give me such a hard time!”

“Seth. Truth or Dare.”

“Dare.”

“Kiss Jessa.”

I freeze. So does Seth. Nicholas is grinning like a fool, and everyone else is just watching. Seth stands up, hands tightening into fists, anger rising, and for a moment I swear I think he’s going to hit Nicholas. “No,” he growls.

My heart drops again. He doesn’t want…

“It’s Truth or Dare, man,” Nicholas says, laughing weakly.

Seth shakes his head. “No. Not like this. Not – kissing Jessa is – it is not a game.” And he turns and stalks off into the night.

Nicholas turns to me, opening his mouth, but I head him off. “Not cool, Nick.” And I get up, dropping my pine needles, and follow Seth into the night.

I find him at the low stone wall, and sit beside him. He’s radiating tension. I put my hand on his arm, and he jerks away. “Nicholas was being an asshole,” I say quietly.

“It wasn’t funny.”

“No. It wasn’t.”

“Some joke,” he says bitterly. “Me. Kissing you. Beauty and the Beast. Something for them to laugh at.”

“Is that what you-“

“I’m a fucking joke to them.”

“Seth – Seth, no.”

“Nothing but –“

“Seth!”

He turns to me, jaw clenched. I bite my lower lip. “It wasn’t a joke! At least, not on you.”

“On you? Making you kiss me?”

“No. No.”

“See the half-trained animal maul the-“

“Stop!” I cry, distressed. He does, astonished by the tone of my voice. “It’s not like that!”

“What is it like?”

I take a shuddery breath. “Seth – oh, gods, Seth. I have been wanting to kiss you for months.”

“You… what?”

“Months. I can hardly think of anything else sometimes. Nicholas knows – it was Nicholas who kissed me, who wanted – and I told him I couldn’t, told him that I was in love with you –“

“You what?!?”

I press on. “And I think he was actually trying to help, back there. I didn’t read any malice off of him. But – that was wrong, all wrong. You – you shouldn’t have found out like this. And our first kiss – if we ever have one – shouldn’t be on a dare.”

“You want…”

“Nicholas is an asshole,” I finish bitterly.
-------------


Still at $1,362.24 - SPONSOR ME!

Jessa is very different from Alexander. Writing her is more fun!

And yeah, truth or dare. They're a bunch of teenage psychics around a bonfire; what do you think they're gonna do? :)

Seth becomes Fenris. And yes. They has a love.

Of the two of them, this necklace absolutely suits Jessa more; she is given to the wearing of dresses, of ornamentation. Katrina is more bare-bones.

Team Venture is intent. Focused. Typy. Tired. There is hair-braiding going on. It is totally like a slumber party.

Emily: "Every time you see tinfoil now, you're going to think about rubber chickens."

Remember the auctions run til 11:59pm EST on Monday!
Jean Grey

When You Burn



9x12" print of From the Ashes by aaronace.

Click here to bid!





Embers and Flames handspun yarn by eilonwy of Eilonwy's Critters and Creations.

Embers (the darker skein) is wool (unknown type) and red recycled sari fibers (cut from the thrums of Tibetan looms), with some sparkly "firestar" fibers in red and gold added in. It is approximately 135 yards and 14wpi (about a fingering weight yarn.) Flames (the brighter skein) is about the same wpi (I spun them to go together) but slightly more thick-and-thin and is made from various shades of wool in red and black, as well as sparkly angelina fibers. There's approximately 119yards in this skein.

If bidding goes over $50, winner gets these and two bonus skeins! See auction post for details.

Click here to bid!

-------------

When a phoenix ignites,
it is from the inside out,
bone kindling, marrow searing;
when a phoenix ignites,
the flames are not red, not gold.
not at the core.
The core is white, white,
and a flicker of blue,
opalescent,
unimaginable -

The pain is so intense
that it barely makes a record
as it flashes through.
The pain is beyond pain
flaring up and out,
your head thrown back,
unable to scream,
just -

Ah-

Soft and light and high,
on the threshold of nothing,
simply a surprised, a wondering
ah -

And there is a space
between heartbeats
that lengthens.
A stumble into silence,
darkness,
oblivion,
a moment between-
a moment of grace.

And the stumbling forth into ash,
gasping, naked,
eyes wide, trembling.

When you set everything aside,
when you choose this rebirth -
you get to choose what to take with you.

When you have given everything up,
you get to choose.

You choose what to pick up,
what to bring with you.

When you surrender all that you were,
you decide who you will become.

Your choice,
offered forth with open hands.

Set your feet upon the path.
And dance.

-------------


3/4 done, you guys. Home stretch! Well, really hours 22-24 are the home stretch. What we're entering now is the hardest part of the Blogathon, when everyone's asleep and no one's commenting, and we are wearying.

Still at $1,362.24. SPONSOR ME!

I know I keep nattering on about how functional I am, but it is a strange wonderful new thing.

Me: "Hey, I talk like that even when it's not two in the morning."

Kat: "I love everyone right now."

Lily: "Okay, cannot put face on laptop. It is warm. And it purrs."

Kat: "I went outside to find my sanity. I could not find it."

Emily just finished the Sea Chanty scarf, and it is stunning.

I wish more of you were awake in the wee hours.

Lily is too young for the "no sleep til Brooklyn" reference.

Team Venture is cuddling cats.
Hearth

When Alice Fell



9x12" print of "Late" by aaronace.

Click here to bid!

-------------

When Alice fell
back to the world,
she did not fall completely.
One small window
in the back of her mind
stayed propped open,
sifting oddness in
like moonlight.

The doctors released her
when she disavowed the playing cards,
the chess pieces,
the waistcoats on the rabbits
that darted still just out of sight,
caring not a fig
if she acknowledged them.

She learned to tell what was normal
and not speak of what wasn’t.
We’re all mad here, always
whether we say the words or no.

She painted the Jabberwock,
the croquet matches,
the tea parties.
She was lauded for her imagination,
and never said
where she got her ideas.

When Alice fell again,
she was older than the Queen, the Hatter.
She lived her time.
When Alice fell again,
down the spiralling stair,
when she fell and fell
and fell forever
the last thing to fade
was her smile.
--------------


SPONSOR ME!

Man, I wish I had s00j's "Cheshire Kitten" on my computer.

There is a fly here. It is driving us crazy.

Team Venture wants bacon ice cream.

Kat: "I don't even know what I'm saying!"

Kat: "Okay whatever it's not my fault this time. Is all I have to say."

My tendinitis is starting to twinge.
Hearth

Albino Penguins of Leng




Choconomicon: the Lovecraft Truffle Collection, by coffeeinhell of Polidori Chocolates. Flavors so inhumanly delicious, they could only have come from beyond the ken of mortal man. Each box contains eight one-ounce truffles, made with exceptional dedication to quality from the finest ingredients available. Boxes come wrapped in paper stamped with our logo, and tied with twine -- an excellent gift, or a fine indulgence for yourself! Choconomicon contains two each of the following:

* Truffle Over Innsmouth – Behold the green tang of Key Lime as it clings to your tongue, followed by the briny essence of Sea Salt from the ancient, brackish depths!
* Nyarlathotep – Horribly delicious, beyond anything you can imagine. A mesmerizing combination of Dark Chocolate ganache, curry from the mysterious East, and gobbets of chili-laced mango.
* Elder Joy – This fabled treat coveted by the dark deities is a sinister cousin to a popular human confection -- an ambrosial amalgam of Coconut, white-chocolate Ganache, and Rum, enrobed in the darkest Chocolate and topped with a crisp, whole Almond.
* Giant Albino Penguins of Leng – Indeed, you shall be clutched by a primitive dread almost sharper than the worst of your reasoned fears, all the while delighting in the chill of Mint as it infuses the creamiest White Chocolate.

Click here to bid!

--------------


I visited her home for only a weekend. Common manners would have compelled me to stay longer, but her home was... most disconcerting. It was quite lovely from the outside - but within, the air was somehow always moist, and strange sounds were always just barely out of range. It made one quite nervous just walking down the hall.

And then there was the matter of her servants.

They thronged the house, dozens of them; she employed them as butlers, valets, chefs. They rose above me, tall and pale and forbidding, regarding me unblinking me with their terrible red-and-black eyes!

I swear that she was much amused to find me so discomfited, deriving some unseemly pleasure from my discomfort.

It was unseemly, to say the least; cruel, to say the most. She watched me intently, mocking me without speaking, as I struggled to contain my revulsion. My aversion to the beasts was well known, after all.

I left after two days, my business not concluded, my mind in disarray. I have not returned.

Penguins. Why did it have to be penguins?

--------------


Still holding at $1,362.24. Help me get to $1,500 tonight! SPONSOR ME!

Iiiii don't know. It's 4am, and I somehow left a thing I had to write fresh material for 'til now.

For the record? I <3 penguins.

Team Venture is determined.

And this is when The Tired really starts to set in.

Oh, and Kat is the first to reach the "can I set stuff on fire please?" phase.
Hearth

Politeness Counts



9x12" print of "Dragonfall" by aaronace.

Click here to bid!


Dragonspice roll-your-own-incense kit by beetiger of Mother's Hearth Incense.

"Rich with the sweet resinous scent of dragon's blood resin, rich sandalwood, and fiery spice, Dragonspice Incense by Mother's Hearth will keep you warm and cozy as you contemplate your horde of shinies. This roll-your-own incense powder just requires water to make a clay from which you can make your own sticks, cones, or tiny burnable sculptures. Five packets are included, each of which makes approximately 10-15 cones, for a total of 50-75 cones. Comes with complete instructions."

Click here to bid!

-------------

Excerpt from Swanleigh-Fulcrum's Guide to Cryptozoology and Culture of Mythical Beasts, by Octembre Swanleigh-Fulcrum, PhD

A first impression is always important, but is doubly so with dragons. Unlike many beasts, dragons will not reevaluate you after a negative impression has been made.

Well, usually they will eat you.

But even if they refrain from eating you, you will have no opportunity to impress the dragon on second or third acquaintance. It is all or nothing.

So how does one approach a dragon?

With care and with tact. Dragons are very social beasts, and love to hold forth for hours on philosophical discussions, but you must prove yourself intellectually worthy first. You must make said worthiness clear at every phase of the approach, or you will promptly be made dinner.

At Step One, no less than 500 feet from the mouth of the cavern, one must sing. “The Marriage of Figaro” is preferred in this day and age. The dragon will be evaluating your vocal control and range, so do your very best!

If the dragon does not roast you, you may move forward another hundred feet. At this point, stop and recite a favorite poem. Do not compare the dragon to a summer’s day - the dragons have become bored with Shakespeare.

If your oratory is approved, move forward another hundred feet. At this point, you should sing a pop song. Research your dragon’s preferences beforehand! My draconic intellectual sparring partner prefers “My Heart Will Go On”, but many of her friends will flame-broil anyone singing Celine Dion and shove them over the cliff, too appalled even to eat the suitor.

If your dragon is humming along with your rendition of “Can’t Buy Me Love” or “Roxanne”, advance another hundred feet. At this point you must declaim a poem that you wrote particularly for this dragon. Dragons prefer sestinas. Be sure to include references to the color of their scales. Dragons have a rigid scale-based caste system, and, like fans of sports teams, each shade of dragon has several particular points of pride about their color. Compliment a red dragon’s fiery verve, a blue dragon’s elegance.
At this point, you may make your final approach. Be certain to bring with you a freshly-slaughtered animal (goats are traditional) for the dragon to roast and you to share. Bring gifts - scented incenses for their cavern make a thoughtful present. Also bring lemon curd, as much of it as can be obtained. All dragons adore lemon curd.

Above all things, never fail to be polite. When in close quarters with dragons, the only thing that keeps you alive is your sparkling personality and unfailing courtesy.
-------------


Am at $1,367.24. SPONSOR ME!

You can pledge now and pay when you get your paycheck!

Mark is here, and Emily is going home for her well-deserved sleep! Team Venture loves you, Emily!

Lily: "I haven't hallucinated cats yet this year!"
Hearth

Fire Blessing



Fire Blessing pendant by [info]sealgair (based on Elayna's story "Fire Blessing", which I'll repost with permission).

14g nickel frame, 26g color-coated copper wire tree, carnelian chips. About 1.5" wide & 1.75" tall.

Click here to bid!

And here is a special treat for you. This is not by me - it's by Elayna.

-------------

She walks, hair alight with flame, closer to the center. The fires lick at her dress, climb up her body, decorate her from head to toe. She steps forward, always forward, silent footsteps echoing in the blazing heat. No one can explain why she is not fazed by the fires, or why her skin does not burn. Her skin never burns. No one can explain it; no one involved survives. But she walks steadily onward, calmly, serenely, silent. She stops at the edge of the circle. She scans the area around her for anyone hidden in the fires, but no one alive is around her. Anyone who may have followed her, unwisely of course, would be scorched and turned to windswept ash. She turns back to the circle, outlined in what seems to be a red light, and raises up one foot.

Do not be afraid.

It is a whisper, but no one knows who is whispering. No one has heard it but her. She pauses, lowers her foot outside the circle instead of within. The whisper does not stop, does not change tone.

Do not be afraid.

She has never before hesitated. She no longer does even now. She lowers one foot into the red lit circle. No change in the voice. Do not be afraid. She puts both feet into the circle. Flames soar even higher than before, spread even further. She does not laugh; she does not cry out in fear. She is used to the fire. She is never afraid. She always follows orders. Do not be afraid. So she is not afraid. She simply swallows hard and walks on. The city is demolished. She walks forever on. She continues to scorch the ground on which she steps. She comes to a new city, walks on in flame, to a new circle.

Do not be afraid.

She pauses outside the circle. She does not step inside. Not a blessing. Not really.

Do not be afraid.


She swallows. Not a blessing. She turns away from the circle, her eyes squeezed shut. She does not want to open them, does not want to look around, to see what was behind rather than ahead. She has never before looked back.

Do not be afraid.

She opens her eyes. A long trail behind her. Cities. Towns. Villages. All scorched, all demolished, all burned. She has never before looked back.

Not a blessing. Not really. Do not be afraid.

She turns back to the circle. Will she step in? Meet her fate? This is why she was given this blessing. So she could walk on, in the flames. Not a blessing. Not really. She always follows orders. She has never been afraid.

Not a blessing. A curse.

Do not be afraid.


She experiences what she never has. She looks up at the sky. It was once blue, once upon a time. Now it is red, red as blood, red as fire, red as an upcoming disaster. She is that same very color.

Do not be afraid.

She is blood. She is fire. She is an upcoming disaster.

She is afraid.
-------------


My daughter rocks.

Still at $1,367.24 - SPONSOR ME!

Kat: "Maaark let me paint your nails."
Mark: "No. Why?"
Kat & I, in unison: "You're support staff."
Me: "What did you think that meant?"

I ate too much cheese. Now my tummy is oogy.

Kat: "I was going to post about my boobs! I forgot about that!"
Hearth

Choosing of the Fairest




Crocheted treasure tote by littlebuhnee - 3" x 6", gold ribbon yarn and beads.

Click here to bid!

-------------

The Choosing of the Fairest
I would have given you grace in battle,
skill in war,
wisdom beyond the telling,
more than any mortal man should have.

I would have given anything
to see the mantle of fairest
around my pale shoulders,
to cradle the golden apple.
To be, just once,
thought fairer than she.

She is the sun and I the moon.
A grey-eyed woman
pale next to her golden self.
The embodiment of beauty.

She let you slake your lust.
But oh, what I would have given.
I would have given you so much more.
I would have given you wisdom -
which, having not,
you chose without.
------------


Up to $1,382.24. SPONSOR ME!

They're cooking eggs. I've moved from the dining room table to Elayna's office nook, have the windows open, and I am trying quite desperately not to vomit. Desperately. As in, all my attention is focused on not puking.

Aaand I have now had to move upstairs, because the stench is just overwhelming. Horrible. Am pale and shaky.


I'm in my bathroom, which is between sleeping Adam and sleeping Elayna. So I can't have anyone with me. So. Wish me luck staying awake.
Hearth

Spring Skipped Town



"Ostara" necklace by azhure of Raven's Dreaming.

Ostara features an antiqued brass pendant featuring a female figure with long flowing hair; the pendant is approximately 25 x 27mm.

Two rows of Czech firepolished crystal attach to fine antiqued brass chain via delicate floral motifs. An extension chain is finished with matching crystals.

Length is adjustable from 40 - 52cm. All findings are antiqued brass (nickel free).

Click here to bid!

-------------

Spring ran away from home.
We didn’t notice the first year -
Just a long, bitter winter, we said.
Just an extra-fierce summer.

The second year, we began to suspect.
Snow in May,
Hard rain in August.

The third year, we tracked her down
Posing in some studio in SF.
Draped in silk and passionflower vines,
Tendrils in her hair.
She refused to return.
“Why should I?
I am so fleeting, there.
So brief.
And always a maiden.
I never get to become.
I’m just Summer’s opening act,
Burned out as he ascends.
Let me be.
Here I can be young forever.”

We tried to beg,
Cajole,
Offer anything she might want,
But she refused and ascended the dais,
Draped herself over a floral chaise
And practiced a come-hither look.

And home,
winter and summer battled,
Roads cracked and creeks flooded.

In the end, it was Summer who did it.
He followed her,
The small flowers that grew in her footprints.
He stood at the back of the studio
Until she noticed him.
He knelt,
Arms full of blossoms.

He told her how he missed her.
He told her how he felt,
Stepping aside for Autumn;
He told her how he felt,
The joy at seeing her every year,
Flaring into heat.

He said “Listen-
You get to come back.
Every year, winter fades
And you come back,
Seedlings pushing through the frost,
An act of defiance.
You always come back.
So come back.”

Last we saw,
He’d tucked a flower behind her ear,
And they were dancing.

------------


SPONSOR ME!

I really need coffee. But I'm trapped up here. Maybe I can try going down in another half hour.

Jack just jumped into the hamper.
Hearth

Haven



Collapse )

Honor the dead of Haven with this delicate pendant by kythryne of Wyrding Studios!

Ocean jasper bead cradled by silver wire, on a 16" handspun silk cord.

Click here to bid!

-------------

Bella perched on a boulder and watched the colonists milling about on the plain. Looked like about a third of them were out here. The rest were busying themselves with building and furnishing their homes, getting started on their jobs. Cooking dinner for their families.

But some of them were here to say goodbye.

The second sun was almost down below the horizon, and full dark would soon follow - the perfect time to release the dead.

Bella saw movement by the base of the rock formation - a child, climbing up to sit beside her. A girl. Maybe twelve. The girl settled herself near Bella, then glanced up. "Hi."

Bella nodded. "Hi yourself."

"You're the pilot, right? You get to...hit the button?"

"Well,there's no button, but yeah. I give the order."

"Was it you who found the malfunction?"

"Yeah." Bella closed her eyes. Last cycle before planetfall, she'd found them. One subset of coldsleep coffins malfunctioned. Two dozen colonists dead, sixty years dead by the time she'd found them. A blip in Arnie's systems had fried the circuit. It was far too late by the time Bella awoke for her centennial maintenance, but still she blamed herself a bit. She wondered how many colonists did.

"Did you - what did you do with the bodies? They're not just being nudged out an airlock, are they?"

"Oh, yech, no! We -" Bella stopped and regarded this grey-eyed girl, this child whose parents were not pulling her of this rock. "Did you lose someone?"

"My dad." The girl looked away. "He was a biologist. An Earth biologist. Mom is a Haven biologist. She's okay. So's my brother. They just...didn't want to be here."

"I'm sorry," Bella murmured. "I wish - I wish Arnie had caught the blip, I wish I'd cycled sooner."

"It's okay." The girl shook her head. "Well, no. It's not okay. But there was nothing anyone could do, my mom says." She looked up at Bella. "My name's Lara, by the way."

"I'm Bella."

"So - how does it work? With the bodies?"

"Are you sure you want to hear this?"

"Yes. I want to know."

Bella sighed. "Well. We cremated them. And since you really can't have ashes floating around a spaceship, we compressed them into a sphere, each of them, lightly coated. And they've been in a storage compartment." She closed her eyes again, remembering, and held out her hands as if cradling one of the spheres. "They were actually kind of beautiful. Mostly grey, but with flashes of silver and gold if the person had implants. Swirly. Like giant marbles. Or very small planets."

"Dad would have liked the idea of being a very small planet."

The second sun dipped below the horizon with a flare of red and purple, and night fell. Bella raised her wrist. "Let 'em go, Arnie," she said quietly into her wristcom.

One by one, they fell, scattered apart, burning as they entered the atmosphere, trailing light. The colonists murmured, cried, reached up in vain. Lara just watched the sky, silent tears streaking her cheeks. "He's a falling star," she whispered, just loud enough for Bella to hear her. "He gets to be part of Haven after all."
--------------


At $1,382.24. C'mon, guys! Get me to $1,500!

SPONSOR ME!

Will try going downstairs after I post this, to see if the stench has dissipated.
Hearth

Autumn



Persephone Mask by ioianthe of The Uncommon Facade.

his mask blends together all the traditional symbols of the goddess Persehone... the veil is both her marriage veil and death shroud, she is consistently depicted with a sheaf of wheat, and of course the pomegranate seeds that sealed her fate! This piece is one of a kind (thus far), and not made to order, so unlike other items in my store is sold as-is. If you would like to order a custom piece in this style, please contact me! Made out of 4oz veg-tanned leather, with pomegranate like beads nestled into casings of polymer clay, and copper wire mimicking the long ends of a wheat sheaf.

Click here to bid!



Persephone earrings by spoothbrush of Possible Daydreams.

Click here to bid!

-------------

She leans forward to line her eyes,
sharp precise angles of jet,
and the earrings brush her shoulders.
Long trails of silver
with three dangling garnets on each.
I did not give her those earrings.

"Where did you get those?"
I ask,
trying for casual
and missing by a beat of my heart.

She looks at me slantwise,
frozen before the mirror,
shifts her weight to one side,
wary.
"A friend."
She looks away too quickly.

I sit and watch her work,
sweeping shadow over her lids,
weaving lace into her hair.
I try not to ask, but it slips out - "...a boy?"

She rolls her lips,
distributing lipstick,
buying time.
"Yes."
She looks at me,
looks at my reflection in the mirror.
"Trust me, Mom,
okay?"

I do.
I always have.
She is good, my daughter,
and has good friends.
But this world can be hard,
and dark,
and so cold.

I remember my daughter as a little girl,
bright in spring,
radiant in summer;
I remember us hand in hand in the park,
the orchard, the theater.
We have always been close.

But now her friends,
now the clubs.
Now a boy I have not met,
giving her earrings,
six hard little gems
brushing her bare shoulders.

Now the time for me to step back
and let her dance,
and let her choose.

She hugs me.
"I'll come home," she whispers.
"I'll always come home."

And I embrace her
and release her
because part of loving her is letting her go.
-------------


Still at $1,382.24. SPONSOR ME!

Am back downstairs; the stench has cleared a bit. Am very drowsy, though.

Lily: "Oh, there we go; phantom tail to the right of me. Cat hallucinations have begun."

Mark is regaling us with tales of the circus.

Earrings in silver and garnet, sterling silver ear wires.
Hearth

Them Apples



Collapse )

Key pendant by arianhwyvar of Silver Owl Creations.

Antique key, vintage bronze enameled copper wire, red fire polished beads, goldtone apple charms, goldtone cat charm (with moveable body and tail), bone fish skeleton. 3 3/4" long including the bail; just over 1" across at the top of the key. Will come with an antiqued bronze steel cable chain with an antiqued brass lobster clasp, 20" long, fully adjustable; if the bidding goes over $50, the pendant will instead come with a nicer antique brass rollo chain, adjustable between 15" and 20".

Click here to bid!

-------------

I ripped another sheet of paper out of my notebook, crumpled it, threw it against the wall in sheer frustration. For once, the newspapers had listened to me. But what was the use? It had all happened so quickly - the arrival of the seemingly-beneficent aliens, the seeding of the planet with genetically-modified "apples" that were supposed to cure world hunger - I'd told them to be careful then, but they just laughed and told me I'd been reading too much sci-fi. I didn't trust them, though. I brought the apples to my lab.

On Tuesday, I'd discovered the secret behind the apples. The virus. The plague. But it was too late.

By Friday, three-quarters of the world's population was dead.

I ripped out another sheet - but motion near my feet stopped me. My cat nudged my calf and looked up at me with big blue eyes. I sighed, picked him up, and paced with him. "I don't know, Pixel," I mused. "I just wish there was something I could do."

"There is, actually," Pixel replied.

I stopped dead in my tracks, looking down at him. He licked a paw and washed his face. "Did you...just..."

Pixel huffed. "Yes. I speak English."

"I'm going crazy," I murmured.

"No. But you'll go extinct if you don't listen to me."

"You said I could do something?"

"Oh, yes. You're the linchpin to our whole plan. See, we need to get someone aboard the mothership. We've got a great toxin that we think will obliterate the aliens in a matter of days. Thing is, they think the humans are the only intelligent species on this rock, and they won't take meetings with anyone else." He took another swipe at his face, little pink tongue flashing. "Insulting, really, but what can you do."

"And you want me to deliver an alien toxin."

"Oh, no. I'll do that part. You just get me there. I've already set up your rendezvous. Just get me aboard the ship, and I'll claw an alien. They have this thing where they all melt into this mutual pool of goo when they sleep and just reform in the morning – they share everything, every cell, every bit of ooze. The toxin will be spread tonight, and they'll all be dead by Sunday."

"How do you know so much about aliens?"

"We cats have been negotiating with them for months over the internet. The apple thing was our idea, actually. We told them that humans go gaga for anything red and shiny."

I held him out, staring him in his adorable, sociopathic face. "This is your fault?"

He shrugged. Or maybe it was just a wriggle. "Look, there are way too many of you. Were way too many. We inoculated the humans we liked, and let the aliens take out the rest. There's enough of you left to sustain the species without overpopulating. The planet should begin to recover from what you've done to it in a few centuries."

I had to admit that we'd done a number on the planet. "Why not just let the aliens kill us all?"

"Better the devil we know, as you humans say. Besides, you serve my fish just the way I like it."

...

I did as he asked. What else could I do, really? As he said, the aliens were dead by Sunday. I had to move down south - the pigeons took over New York City as their payment. They'd developed the toxin, had been breeding interesting new diseases for years. Me, I opened a restaurant for the cats. Fish, lots of it, from depths they couldn't reach on their own. I think deep-sea fish is the next big culinary trend. Exotic.

In return for the fish, they let me live - and they've given me a mate, a girl who used to run a no-kill shelter. Five more years of service, and they might let us breed. We'll see.

Some days, I feel like a traitor to the human race. Some day, I feel like a survivor. Most days, I'm just glad Pixel wanted to keep me.
--------------


SPONSOR ME!

Am getting second wind, right on schedule.

Am listening to s00j sing "Cheshire Kitten", thanks to [Unknown LJ tag]. You can, too.

We're all mad here. And that's okay.
Hearth

Wool and Silk and Wood



Collapse )

from "Wool and Silk and Wood", interpreted by emilytheslayer. Tussah silk and baby camel handspun on wooden drop spindle. Hand wash only, about 2.5 oz.

Click here to bid!

-------------


There are no strong parts for women in this story;
No warrior, no queen, no sorceress.
I stand at the threshold of it
stripped of all I was before -
dancing maiden, ingénue, studious young woman learning at my mother's loom.
Wife. Mother.
The story does not allow it.
I enter -
The Grandmother.

You stand before me
looking noble, eager
And I want to slap you.
I am losing you as I lost your brothers -
One beaming as I strapped your father's sword on him
(I did not raise him to line the belly of the dragon, my love)
One waving goodbye as he left to seek his fortune
(I did not raise him to die in a tavern brawl half the country away, my love)
And now you. Now you.
I did not raise you to perish to wizardry, my love.

Why do you not see
that you already have all the alchemy you need?
Sheep to wool, wool to yarn, yarn to your nice warm clothing
wool spinning, lanolin-slick, from a cloud of fluff to one thick thread
guided by my hands, your hands
through the wooden drop-spindle.
This is all the alchemy you need -
Tree to wood, wood to spindles and tables and shelves
carved and polished, shape from nothing;
your hand and a knife.
This is all you need -
bright silk from worms, through dye
to the ribbon in your childhood sweetheart's hair
bright in the morning light and so soft to the touch.

I raised you to be my legacy.
I raised you to spin and weave,
to know the old ways
to teach them to your children.
You see a future in your ethereal magic.
I see only a broken chain.

I love you enough to let you go.
I wish you loved this enough to stay -
me, your home, the village bonfire, your life.
I wish you could see that all the alchemy you need
is in wool and silk and wood.
I wish you could see that the old ways have their beauty, too.
I wish, I wish, I wish -
but no faeries come to grandmothers.

So I pack your bag,
books and bread and cheese
(paper from trees to books
grain transformed to bread
milk cultured to cheese
alchemy, if only you would see it)
warm woolen clothing.
A small drop-spindle,
wood worn by my hands, by my mother's hands -
so you do not forget.

I kiss you goodbye,
and I fade back into my cottage.
What befalls me, none will know.
Stories care naught for grandmothers,
just flashing steel and quests and sorcery.

There is alchemy right here, if only you would see it.
-------------


Up to $1,402.24. SPONSOR ME!

Emily was spinning this tonight. Gorgeous stuff... such a vivid blue. The poem itself was inspired by a prompt from her, "wool and silk and wood", so having her create something based on something I created based on her idea is full-circle. And very cool.

This poem is actually my first published work; it was in Electric Velocipede #15/16.

Kat: "I'm gonna brandish a plate at you. I don't wanna brandish a knife; I might hurt myself."

Fabulous daughter is seated at my feet (why at my feet? I do not know), playing games on GaiaOnline.

You guys, we are kicking ass. We are all going to make it.

Elayna: "Aaagh, a gnome is attacking me! Now a flamingo's attacking me. Die, stupid flamingo!"
And we are talking about monkeys flinging poo. We're so classy.
Hearth

Twist of your Heart



Collapse )

Necklace by upstart_crow - glass, clay, amber, and garnet. 16"-18".

Click here to bid!

-------------

There are many ways to trap a heart, my love.

The fashion used to be for robin's eggs or stones; the fashion used to be for hiding one's heart in a dragon's lair or a maiden's bedchamber. It was well-known that hiding one's heart made one immortal - look at Koschei.

Look at me.

But a heart is nothing so simple as all of that, my love. It is not all meat and life. It is not just of the body. It is of the soul.

Are you cold, my love? Here; a blanket.

Your heart, still beating, though ever so slow; your heart, trapped within glass and held to my breast. Do not look afraid, my love. I give you eternal life. You did say you wanted to stay with me forever.

There are so many ways to trap a heart. Smile. This is not as messy as it could have been.
-------------


Still at $1,402.24. SPONSOR ME!

Almost there. Almost there. Next post is the last post.
Hearth

Wind Tunnel Dreams

A Food basket assembled by lifecollage:

Stories are nourishment for the soul....but what happens when the bodies gets a mite peckish? They open up this fantastic basket of WTD-inspired goodies and dig in to the bounty!

A sturdy and spacious basket will be filled to the brim with coffee, tea, cookies and bread -- four foods that are frequent characters in Shira's stories -- and a few special treats from other tales. We''ll have the rich coffee of Tyka's shop (deep within Shayara's walls) and the Earl Grey Tea of "spiders spinning lace," the fresh-baked cookies of Mama Rina's kitchen and the simple earthy bread of "wool and silk and wood." You'll feast upon the treasured meals of Wind Tunnel Dreams past, present and future. Approximate contents include:

Four flavors of whole bean coffee, approximately 1/2 pound of each
A small selection of teas
Two types of bread
Several flavors of cookies, including cinnamon for Capri and chocolate chip for Nanahuatl
A few choice apples, golden and otherwise
Banana bread, for the Angel of Fremont Street
...and some surprises tucked into the corners...

Harry & David wish they could assemble a repast of story and sustenance like this one.

Items are from such keen local and nonlocal businesses as Iggy's, When Pigs Fly, and Whole Foods.


Click here to bid!

-------------

When Mama Rina bakes the world
she rolls it out flat
on the kitchen counter,
and the flour sprays onto her black dress -
that is what stars are, you know.
The flour on Mama Rina's dress.
It sparkles there as she moves,
dances between counters
and the stove.

When Mama Rina bakes the world
she does it with her hands -
no fancy tools, no gauges
rolling worlds in her hands
til they look just right.
She pours melted sugar,
glassine,
for the rivers and oceans,
and presses in spices
for continents,
cloves for mountains.

When Mama Rina bakes the world
she bakes the animals, too -
all sorts of silly beasts
scattered on the cookie sheets.

And Mama Rina bakes the people
best of all,
making us sweet and spicy,
making us sharp and full,
and it is she who decides when we are done -

And that is why
you must not bite your brother
even though he looks so delicious
with his currant eyes.
-------------


Epilogue
Somewhere, three sisters who are no longer queens are learning to spin and weave from a grandmother who is no longer lonely. Somewhere, a man soars high on gryphonback, leaving his old life behind. Somewhere, a nymph finds the sea. Somewhere, the ringmaster is in the pit with the snakes.

Worlds end.
Worlds begin.

The bone chimes rattle in the nest of thorns.

Somewhere, the Hypothetical may be dreaming it all.

And here, and now, your storyteller sits, cat on lap. She has given you thirty stories in almost thirty worlds; she has taken you to deep space, to the comfortable SF-pulp past, through horror and through joy, through captivity and freedom.

She thanks you for reading, and encourages you to tell your friends; she reminds you with a flick of her eyes that there is a tip jar, if you liked the stories. She smiles, and she bows.
-------------


I maintain at $1,402.24. SPONSOR ME! You can sponsor me through Tuesday, I believe.

Auctions run at blogforbarcc through 11:59pm EST on Monday. Go bid! (Thanks to all of the wonderful artists/crafters/musicians who donated their wonderful creations!)

Team Venture is me, zarhooie, mllelaurel, nevacaruso, thesilentpoet, and jennaria - please go catch up on everyone's posts, and sponsor them for their hard work!

Support staff is emilytheslayer, yendi, and feste_sylvain - kicking ass, taking names, keeping Team Venture fed and functional, and we love them!

Thanks also to visitors swashbucklr, wired_lizard, pookit, and mgrasso, who kept our spirits up through this long slog! And also to our faithful commenters!

Thanks also to Max, Jack, and Victoria, the official Team Venture cats!

And thanks to s00j, whose golden voice carried us through, from Tam Lin to the Cheshire Kitten.

(And RIP Frank, our faithful, melted mascot.)

We have been Team Venture. It has been our pleasure to bust our asses to raise money for causes that are so important to us. Thank you for reading, and thank you for sponsoring.

In the grand tradition of Team Venture: It's over. Thank fuck.

We are going to sleep.