Cross Post: ASTC Fortitude Snippets (2016-05-29) [4]

original here. dated 2011-11-04


Raehani always had to be silent when she did this. The stone of the hallways intensified any noises, but her lessons had some benefit (even if they were nowhere near as useful as her sisters’). The soft soles of her dancing shoes made each step all the more silent, in comparison to the boots of the warrior pair coming down the hallway; away she hid, spinning and ducking into the shadows of one of the tapestries. A scene of a king from long ago—her sire’s grandsire if she remembered correctly—defeating the enemy armies of Kurzos long before it had become an empire. The threat passed, and she continued her trek, darting into shadows when other people were in sight, until she arrived at her destination.

“… As always, the First of Myrgeth is grateful for the gifts your Highness has sent, along with the continued increase in trade relationships…”

It wasn’t as if the meetings between the Myrgeth ambassador and her sire’s council wer particularly fascinating (and her older sister, Kenadia was there, too) but she wasn’t interested in that at all. From her position, he was a blue and red (always remember the red) figurine the size of her finger, but she was quite a ways up in the shadowy corner of the empty balcony and in truth he was nearly two hand-heights taller than her.

“… our Kingdom of Alzeida, in turn, is also grateful for the Nation’s offer of naval instruction for our army and the protection of the Nation’s fine fleet…”

She had no idea how her sister stayed awake during these, or sat so still or looked so attentive. Another reason, though not a new one, of why her lessons as the second princess (and third in line for the throne, though really it was unlikely both Alerick and Kenadia would fall before they had their own heirs and even then she had the bitter suspicion that Vaseika would become queen before she ever would despite the two years between them) would never be as worthwhile or challenging or, fortunately in this case, time-consuming

“… the First of Myrgeth…”

“… Kingdom of Alzeida…”

Her sisters probably would have found this foolish, or maybe even cowardly, but she wasn’t them and they weren’t her. And she was infatuated with a boy from Myrgeth. And she didn’t even know why. No, that was a lie, she knew why, but it was such a silly reason.

“… the matter of conflict between your kingdom and the southern Empire…”

“… fully appreciate aid from Myrgeth’s skilled navies…”

He had red hair. Not the same red as her hair, a little duller perhaps, but still red, nonetheless. She was curious. No one else in her family had red hair, and the few times she left the palace also had a distinct lack of redheads. In vain she wondered what it would be like to leave her country. Go to the Nation of Myrgeth, maybe, and perhaps she would find other people with red hair where she would not be so different. So isolated.

She had always thought her hair was red because of her powers, maybe her familiars had left a visible mark on her or some other such claim. But when the Myrgeth ambassador’s entourage had expanded, including a young scholar working as a scribe, she saw him. And his hair. And maybe her hair wasn’t as mystical as she thought. But certainly more mysterious.

Or perhaps scandalous. But even though the evidence seemed to imply her mother’s (may the spirits keep her) indiscretion, no one actually believed it. Queen Zarina had been too sweet, too pure, too virtuous, too perfect. Not at all like the red-headed princess, rash and reckless and dangerous and uncontrollable. There was a reason why she couldn’t leave the palace often. Her familiars sealed away, the glittering gleaming dragons writhing around their prisons, looking for any way to escape. She understood completely.

Cross Post: ASTC Providence Snippet (2016-05-29) [3]

original here. dated 2011-11-04



She breathed deeply, enjoying the taste of cool, humid air. It would never stop being a luxury to her, even after the years of being home had outnumbered her time away.

“Kenadia, I know you can hear me. No, Justin, stay over there.”

“I obey only my queen’s orders—oh. Oh, my apologies, I’ll wait outside then.”

“I told you so. Kenadia, I can see you smiling, now get out of the water and put some clothes on. We’ve got visitors today and they, unlike your toy soldier, will not understand why the eldest Alzeidan queen is walking around her castle naked.”

She huffed in response, opening her eyes mostly unwillingly, and sat up, letting the water in her hair trickle down her back. Her familiars, now ever-willing to please (to amend, to apologize, to beg) moved to her, Talise’s flowing fins curling gently around her legs and Mekani’s shimmering wings blowing a soft breeze in her direction. She waved them away (some wrongs could never be forgiven) but bowed to each of them in turn (some lessons could never be forgotten).

“You are as slow as ice, Kenadia, you should not make our guests wait for your laziness,” Janoah scolded, holding out one of the blue robes and draping it over her shoulders.

She smirked and moved even slower towards the doorway, briefly pressing her fingertips to Justin’s shoulders, shaking him out of his embarrassed woolgathering. Both of them flanked her, one at each side, and she couldn’t help but enjoy the symmetry of having both Janoah and Justin with her.

“They’re hardly guests, Janoah; Czeni practically lives here when she’s not in the main palace and Torryl always stops by to hassle the new warriors.”

“It’s not just them, though you should have more respect for Sorceress Czeni and Monk Torryl they are your superiors.”

She would have, at one time, at least internally, cringed at the noise of their voices and their footsteps bouncing and echoing in the hallway. Or perhaps, had they been together at that time they would have been silent out of mutual distrust. Another turn into the chambers she had claimed as her own—Janoah often bemoaned her choice, the rooms originally built as servants quarters (albeit, very high-ranking servants), but she chose them for a reason (they were close to the pool and had two adjoining rooms where she all but demanded Janoah and Justin to stay, they would have anyways, but she preferred a preemptive attack) and she had turned them into her home away from the chilly water of the pool.

“You don’t call me by my title.”

“You are not my superior, boy-Justin.”

She smiled. Despite their needling and pretense of loathing, they really were quite fond of each other and knew the other almost as well as they knew her. They would have to, after the time they spent both caring for her in turn. It was routine. Janoah making sure she was sane, Justin making sure she was safe. Sometimes they switched roles.

“You’re very… oh are you going to dress now, my queen, I’ll stand guard… outside,”

“Yes, you go do that, boy-Justin. Now which outfit for today. You want the blue one, yes?”

Almost all of them had shades of blue. But Janoah picked out her favorite—the one she considered especially blue with white trim and purple embroidering, the smoothest silk and softest cotton and endless flowing fabric. She would admit, she had become something of a hedonist.

“Who else is coming, if it’s not just Czeni and Torryl?” Justin called from the other side of the door. She didn’t understand why he was so intent on respecting decorum with her and not with anyone else.

“Representatives from the Empire, Nation, and Tribes. Do you want to wear the crown, Kenadia?” Janoah gestured to the diadem, gold with deep purple stones. It had been her mother’s, “Of course you do,” She always wanted to wear it, “Let me fix your hair. You can return boy-Justin, Kenadia is fully clothed. Though I don’t know why you still blush, surely you’ve gotten used to your queen’s tendency to show skin.”

She missed being able to talk sometimes. She knew, had she still had her voice, she probably wouldn’t have made the comment (about a half remembered conversation with the other brawlers of the caravan about boy-Blizzard not appreciating women in what they thought was the proper way) but it would have been nice to have that option. She motioned him closer, Justin crouching slightly so that she wouldn’t have to move as Janoah placed the jewelery in her hair.

“Yes, my queen?” He asked, as she traced the edges of the black mask he wore (in honor of her suffering, as punishment for not protecting her, to remember all that they went through, to better protect himself and her and Janoah) which she had once worn so long ago and which Sorcerer Gordo had worn much longer ago. She lifted it gently from his face (even with it on, he could never hide his emotions) and kissed his cheek. “Kena—my queen!” She didn’t know why he still blushed either.

“Kenadia,” Janoah warned, though she could see the smile in the reflection. She kissed the hand by her head, and the smile grew softer.

She loved them both, so much, and she wanted them to know it.

“Behave, Kenadia, you have a meeting in the dining hall,” She didn’t like using the audience chamber of the castle, horrible memories attached to audience chambers even if it was a different castle, but the Northern Palace had always had beautiful architecture so she turned it into a gallery. Sometimes, in the rare moments when she wasn’t soaking herself in the pool or lounging in her chambers, she liked to wander from piece to piece and imagine what it would be like if she hadn’t been born a princess. If she hadn’t become a queen.

But for now, she had a duty to do. Rising (the cloth of the gown sliding against each other and her skin, the jewels of the diadem sparkling in the light) she left her chambers and headed for the dining hall. Janoah and Justin on either side behind her. And she was happy.

Cross Post: ASTC Honor Snippets (2016-05-29) [2]

original here. dated 2011-11-04.


She hated the stops, the breaks in the various filthy towns and cities that were scattered across the desert. They screamed at her; shrieking the difference between her kingdom and this empire (the environment, the culture, the people). During the fights, dangerous and tiring they may be, she could at least forget her situation. She could concentrate solely on survival, letting the stresses of her life (her kingdom, her familiars, her family, her duty) fuel every movement in the arena. But during stops, none of that was possible. There was only the unrelenting sense of failure, of imprisonment. There was no fooling her senses.

“Oi, Blizzard, get your head out of the clouds, boy, they’re bringing out the new treats.”

She especially hated this part of the stops. She didn’t know if her morals or her gender were more offended, but whenever the slavers traded the girls of their caravan for different girls (it could never be new girls, girls in the slave trade were always used in some way; she knew that, even in the caravan she was with, she knew what the other brawlers did to the girls even though they were only supposed to serve, only supposed to heal and clean and help) the part of her that still remembered how to use her powers, the part of her that still missed them, would push at her mind with righteous fury and helpless frustration. (why had her familiars abandoned her?)

“Leave the Alzeidan alone, Medahd, you know he doesn’t play around. He is still too young to appreciate a woman’s flesh, eh?”

The irony never made up for the stops.

But the other brawler did not obey, wrapping one scarred arm companionably around her smaller shoulders, “One day, boy-Blizzard, you will look back on these opportunities you passed up and ask yourself why you didn’t listen to the good and wise Medahd.” He said with a smirk and she tried very hard not to think about Warrior Hayne, with his teasing smirks and easy camaraderie (he’s dead, they’re all dead, but she was too for a while, she thinks, but look where she was now, enslaved, and how was that any better; she should have died on the battlefield rather than fight in an arena for the entertainment of her enemies; they killed her and him and everyone) but could only roll her eyes at the statement.

“First choice to our best brawler as always,” one of the slavers (they have no names, she will never call them by their names and they will always be monsters and she hates them so much) glared at her, probably thinking the same thing as the others (little Alzeidan boy-Blizzard always wastes getting first choice, always picking the girls who wouldn’t be fun to play with, never knowing that she chose the girls who looked like they needed a break from always being used and were always confused at night when she sent them away after the evening meal).

She hated this, too. This gift from the slavers for being the best brawler. As if she won her fights in order to please them or to get first choice, not to survive (survive, survive, survive, everything she did was to survive, and when was the last time she lived? Long ago, long before she was enslaved, long before she was barely breathing under Gordo’s protection, long before she was sent to the front lines, long before she was being trained as the future king’s protector and advisor, long before she was being groomed as the king’s female heir to the throne). As if the girls she didn’t pick weren’t as deserving or as in need of a break from being used by brawlers and slavers and other men with more power (not more power than her, never). But she could only pick one of them and she hated that she couldn’t do more (to help, to hurt, to fight, to escape).

“You could not move slower, boy-Blizzard!”

Tell that to her defeated opponents (the brawlers who thought they were facing a real storm, the brawlers who thought they were facing death—some brawls ended in death—after hearing her new name, the brawlers who were surprised to be alive and some were grateful and others angry with dishonor, the brawlers who would never defeat her).

And there—in the back of the line of girls, behind the ones posing, thinking that maybe being the first chosen would mean being the top girl in the caravan—a hint of blue. A deep blue. The kind of blue she missed because the endless sky wasn’t the same when the only thing around was the reds and golds and browns of the sand and dust. She reached out, and the girls parted for her—for the brawler they thought they saw—and made her choice.

“Name,” She hadn’t used her voice in weeks, months even. Grittier and drier and rougher even though she had never talked much before (before before before everything).

And the girl, older and taller and maybe even colder than boy-Blizzard the brawler, stared back at her with one eye as yellow as her dusty, pale hair, “Janoah”


The sorrow was a sour taste in the back of her mouth. She couldn’t swallow it down, couldn’t cry—it was a waste of liquid, it was too dry (she was dried out and there was nothing left of her, empty withered husk of a princess). Even Medahd’s wounds were already drying, the blood a crackled brown than the shimmering red (he’s dead dead dead, why?). His eyes were closed and maybe she could have convinced herself he was only sleeping. He wasn’t. He was dead.


Her throat hurt and her eyes hurt and she hated this desert. She hated having to fight. She hated Medahd for being too weak to win (liar, liar, Medahd was your friend you could never hate him). She hated whoever killed Medahd.

“Who-” her voice ground out before dying (like Medahd died, like everyone died)

“I don’t know,” Janoah was the one who gave her the news, “I could find out for you?” She was a good girl… they weren’t friends.

She nodded, eyes never leaving Medahd’s dead body (Medahd’s corpse) even as she heard Janoah leave the tent.

Medahd was dead. They had been friends. Maybe. She hadn’t let herself be friends with him—keeping her secrets, keeping her anger and hatred of her situation—but he had always tried. And now he was dead. Because he was weaker than his opponent. Which logically would have happened eventually—if he wasn’t the strongest in their caravan, or second, or third, there were stronger brawlers out there—but he had always been good enough. He had always been good. Except when he died. And brawlers don’t always kill each other, only the strong, valuable brawlers can get away with that, but Medahd had been good enough to stay alive, and now he was dead. Medahd was dead and she had no friends and she was hurt and angry and hateful and she had forgotten what that felt like. The anger and hatred she had been trying to hold onto had slipped through her hands like the water they never had enough of and now it was back and she was angry and hated everything, anything, anyone—the one who killed Medahd.

Janoah was back. Janoah didn’t need her to say anything. Janoah led her to Medahd’s killer. Janoah was a good girl… they weren’t friends. Yet.

“An Alzeidan? They have an Alzeidan in their caravan. And not even a man, yet!” Medahd’s killer laughed. He was still alive when Medahd was dead and that was not acceptable.

Enjoy your laughs now. I will kill you tomorrow. And I will enjoy the sound of your final breath as your blood drips off my sword.

Silence. She had said all of that aloud. In her voice which was too unused and dry to sound human.

The other caravan, perhaps from nerves, probably from ignorance, resumed their laughter. Her caravan did not. Someone had their girl fetch a slaver. Good. She needed to arrange a match against Medahd’s killer.

“Big talk for such a small boy. What is your name, small Alzeidan? I will spread your tale after I win, you have amused me much,”

She smiled at that, just a little bit. The smile that Medahd said made boy-Blizzard look even crazier than an Alzeidan in full armor in the desert already did. But Medahd was dead. And she smiled at his killer. When she killed him, he would stay dead. He didn’t deserve to stay alive through stories.

“Blizzard,” Good, the slaver arrived, “What’s this I hear about you challenging someone to a fight?” And she would not have to waste any more words on Medahd’s killer. She looked back at the brawler, her new name had meaning, had power, his caravan had heard of Blizzard.

And her caravan was helping, “It’s the most I’ve ever heard boy-Blizzard say!” and “Blizzard’s going to kill someone?” and “Crazy boy-Alzeidan, Medahd would call him a stupid child. I say, good!”

“Blizzard never kills!” The other caravan were looking less sure of themselves. Less likely to follow Medahd’s killer’s laughter. He was alone.

And he was wrong. She had killed. She had killed many times. Just always for the war, always for duty, always for honor, never for this sick, twisted game. But he had killed Medahd. She had lost a friend. She had lost too many friends already.

“Blizzard never lies,” Janoah, behind her, arranging the match.

She wouldn’t lose anyone else.

Cross Post: ASTC Fortitude Snippets (2016-05-29) [1]

originals here and here. dated 2011-11-04 and 2013-08-12

A/N: To make up for the several many missed posts of the last few days and the possible missed post I will have tomorrow (traveling again), I’m just going to cross post some of the more complete ASTC related writing I have from my lj.


Crown Princess Kenadia is eight years old when she loses her crown. Not literally, since only the reigning monarch of Alzeida–in this case, her father, King Aleron–wears a physical crown, but figuratively in the sense that she is no longer his heir. She is eight when Crown Prince Alerick is born.

The path her life is on has been shifted: no longer will she one day rule as queen until her death, her future is that of an advisor at best and a bodyguard at worst. Her lessons will be adjusted accordingly; though she will still learn politics and diplomacy, her tutors will no longer say “when you rule Alzeida.” Instead they will say “to help your brother rule Alzeida.” Swordsmanship will be added to her daily schedule, for she may one day lead her brother’s armies in war. Or in peacetime, she will lead her brother’s guard against assassins and lay down her life for his.

She is eight and she is no longer Crown Princess Kenadia, but her life is still tied to the throne.

She should have known something was wrong when she spotted one of the palace servants whispering in High Warrior Edwin’s ear and the subsequent frown. High Warrior Edwin was one of the few nobles whose facial expressions were completely transparent, he was also one of the few nobles she tolerated and the only one she liked. But nonetheless she continued training, the sword feeling more natural with every swing and thrust. Her opponent, Warrior Hayne, had the strength and reach advantage and required the majority of her attention despite her superior speed.

“Focus, ‘Nadia!” He warned, even as he continued his attack.

The entirety of her attention, then, as she barely avoided a cut to her cheek. Not that she hadn’t lost to him before—quite the opposite, she had yet to win against him—but she had improved to the point that she should be able to last longer before the defeat.

His sword was already at her throat, “You are dead,”

“Merely distracted,” She argued, stepping slowly away from the blade’s edge.

“Distractions can cause death on the battlefield, Kenadia” The slide of metal and polished wood, Warrior Hayne had sheathed his weapon, she was allowed to do the same.

“Which I won’t be on as a foot-soldier. You and I both know this training is all formality, it will be my powers not my swordplay that will cut down our enemies,”

“Princess,” High Warrior Edwin was allowed to use her name without a title, Warrior Hayne was not. She didn’t understand why they did the opposite.

“What does that harpy want with ‘Nadia now?” She wished she could speak as freely as Warrior Hayne.

“Yes, High Warrior Edwin?” But she would have to ignore him for now.

“The king’s wife wants… the king demands our presence in the audience chamber. And you shouldn’t call the king’s wife a harpy, Hayne,”

“When?” “I only speak the truth,”

“Immediately,” The man sighed, apologetic for an old friend both more powerful and weaker than himself, “Princess, you do not have to listen to… do not forget your place in this kingdom. As the firstborn, heir to the throne or not, you have more power than that… woman,”

Sometimes she tried to wonder what it would be like to not be a princess. But she always faltered on whether she preferred to be a prince or just not to be royalty. “I know my place and I know my duty. I am to always obey my king, who he obeys will always have more power than my own,” What would it be like to have High Warrior Edwin as a father? “But… I thank you for your words. Shall we leave now?”

“Yes, of course, Princess. Hayne, you’re in charge for now, and teach my boy how to fight properly, will you?”

“I can only try, Uncle,” He smirked, nudging her arm with his elbow and winking, “I much prefer sparring Kenadia here, she at least makes me move my feet,”

“Justin is not that… he’s improved…”

“They may be expecting us, High Warrior Edwin, we should leave Justin’s training to Warrior Hayne for now. Perhaps when we return we may continue this discussion,”

“My apologies, Princess, after you,” She turned to leave first, the High Warrior following behind her.

“Kenadia! Would it kill you to say just my name?” Warrior Hayne called out to her, easy grin in place even as he stared down his cousin. Or perhaps because Justin was his opponent.

Were she not a princess, the response would be witty, sly, even. “Only grievously injure me,” she could say, or maybe an opposing question, “Would it kill you to say my title?” But she was a princess. A dignified one. Repartee was not amongst her many traits. Obedience was.

She smiled anyway.

ASTC: Providence, (2016-05-20)

Of the Ten Miracles ascribed to Alerich–Caster of Night, The Ascended Prince of Alzeida, etc etc–two of them occurred before he was ever born, five were done by his sisters, and one was an accident that had nothing to do whatsoever with the legendary royal siblings but which benefited the kingdom greatly, anyway.

The remaining two Miracles had less to do with Alerich’s simultaneous rise to godhood and abdication of the throne and more with the fact that First Sorceress Czeni had threatened to start two separate wars if people didn’t stop asking her about her nonexistent betrothals to various people.

Perhaps it’s for the best that time has worn away those details, smoothed and polished the incidents into a gleaming jewel of myth rather than a somewhat embarrassing blemish in the kingdom’s history. Because in the actual story?

No one came out of it looking at all miraculous or divine.

Time passes and so does life, days turning to nights and babies growing and aging. There is not much that can withstand this flow, and even then it is as if they are stone being slowly eroded away rather than fleeting, fallen leaves washing down stream.

Alerich sleeps and dreams and sees all that has been and all that will be–

except, as always, for

–until he is abruptly awoken by Czeni, looming over him, majestic and oh so furious.

“The imperial ambassador is here,” she says, glaring at his rumpled appearance with soul withering displeasure.

“I thought that wasn’t until the end of the week,” he asks more than says, as if he has any hope of arguing.

“It is the end of the week,” Czeni bites out, ripping away his blanket before striding over to his wardrobe. He has an attendant for this, but he probably sent him away–the boy has yet to figure out when to ignore orders to fulfill his duties. Alerich doesn’t blame him: disobeying royalty used to mean immediate execution. Thankfully, his sisters managed to kill the False Queen and regain their family’s throne.

“Vaseika and Raehani are both away, and the last time Kenadia was in the same room as an imperial delegation they actually pissed themselves in fear,” Czeni reminds him, laying out his most formal robes–the itchy purple ones that make it difficult to breathe much less move–before she casts a monitoring spell at him with a silent jab of her hand. For now it chirps harmlessly on his shoulder, but no doubt if he takes too long it will start shrieking at unholy volumes.

“But that ended up in a better trade agreement for us,” Alerich says, trying to make the point as non-combative as possible, while he wriggles into the robes. It’s as terrible as he remembers.

“Yes,” Czeni agrees, smiling sharply at the victory, before scrunching her face in distaste, “Still, it’s the principle of the thing; it’s so undignified. Also, we shouldn’t use that tactic too often, it’ll lose it’s effect.” She draws near in order to help him with the sash, her touches both familiar and practical as if he were nothing more than a horse that needed to be saddled. Once she’s done with the knot, she steps away to admire her work; he holds his arms in their voluminous sleeves to aid that.

“You can admit it,” he says with a grin, “You became First Sorceress just so you could bully royalty into doing what you want.”

“No,” she scoffs, “I’m First Sorceress because except for you four idiots, I’m the strongest magician in the kingdom.”

The funny thing is, once–when they were children, of course, before the False Queen had ever entered Alzeida–Alerich and Czeni were arranged to be married. It was a good match: the only son of the Alzeida’s Royal Family and the First Sorcerer’s daughter who, even at the tender age of four, had already shown signs of immense magical potential.

And they liked each other well enough, which was to say, they were the only children their age within the castle–Alerich’s older sisters years older and already beginning their training. They only fought over small things like the last piece of cake or whose turn it was to feed the kindly, old training mare an apple and thus experience the ticklish, grateful snuffling in return. They were friends and, in time, they probably would have had a good marriage–one built on a foundation trust, if not love.

But fate had a different future in mind for them.


A/N: some more original fic because hooray original fic

Untitled (2016-04-27)

It’s not as if he’s never left the temple before–sometimes the older worshippers will ask for help carrying things, and he’s old enough to run quick errands by himself–but now stepping outside feels different. An entirely new experience because of the context.

He is leaving the temple and he will not be coming back tonight or tomorrow, not even next week. He may not ever return.

It’s a thought both thrilling and frightening, making him look back at the temple even as Consalvo and Melvina lead him away. The stained glass window sparkles in the afternoon sun, as if greeting him farewell. And even the grey stone walls seem warmer and brighter, the temple putting on it’s best face before he goes.

He smiles back at it, even if that seems silly.

“Excited?” Consalvo asks, noticing his smile and matching it with a grin of his own.

If anything, that makes him even giddier, and he can’t help the laugh that escapes him, “Yes,” he says because it’s true.

He has no idea what his future may be, and he’s eager to find out.

Their first stop isn’t a foreign one to him–while the town does have a port and one of the kingdom’s four main temples, it is rather small. There is only one haberdashery in town and the worshippers have to get their uniforms from somewhere.

Gilian the seamstress spots him first, somehow through a cloud of petticoats that will no doubt be part of the mayor’s next gown.

“Aljun!” she greets, pulling pins from her mouth and climbing her way from under what will eventually be a truly massive skirt, “I just saw you two weeks ago! Have you gone through another growth spurt already?” She asks, partially teasing, partially serious, eyeing the hems of his uniform with a sharp eye.

“Not quite,” Melvina says, catching Gilian’s attention.

The seamstress startles and blushes, embarrassed at having been caught of guard, before composing herself, “Oh? How can I help you today?”

“Aljun here will be needing some new clothes,” is all the warning he gets before Melvina’s hands clamp down on both of his shoulders and guide him towards the fitting area of the shop. “In hardier fabric than the uniform, if you can. Different styles, of course,” she adds, as Gilian crowds in close with excitement.

“I’ve always wanted to dress this boy up in something besides the worshipper uniform,” Gilian confesses, before smoothing a hand over his head as if he were several years younger, “No offense meant, Aljun, it’s just that the uniform gets boring after a while. I’ve always wondered what you’d look like in something else.”

“And color!” Consalvo says, poking his head out from the shelves of fabric samples and, indeed, holding a swatch of bright purple.

Betrayed and bemused, Aljun resigns himself to being a mannequin for the rest of the afternoon.


A/N: I really thought I’d get to the ship already… oh well. Here’s a random makeover scene nobody wanted

Related to these two ficlets… gotta think of a name for this series…

Untitled (2016-04-24) [2]

The temple worshippers have done their best to raise him, and he is grateful to them for that. But he doesn’t want this life–or, at least, he wants to see more and know more before he chooses it. Isn’t faith and enlightenment and worship more potent when it is chosen not forced?

He tries to explain it, stumbles over his words in excitement, ends up shoving his hands into his sleeves which stretches the fabric horribly but which helps him stay calm.

The head worshipper only listens, says nothing as he fails to articulate his emotions. The woman and the other boy, in their own complementary but distinct outfits, watch in silence as well, and he can feel his face flushing once more as he runs out of air and words.

But at the end of his ramble, the head worshipper smiles–the kind, graceful curve he has only ever seen twice before–before gently pulling his hands out of his sleeves.

“You will always be welcome here,” the head worshipper says, before squeezing his hands and nodding at the woman. She steps forward as the head worshipper steps back, letting him go.

The woman’s smile is wide and sharp, teeth and wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. Fierce, but welcoming. “Our ship leaves tomorrow morning, but it would be best if you packed your things now and stayed with us tonight.”

Suddenly, his excitement sours into anxiety, everything moving too quickly. He doesn’t even really know these people–it’s one thing to leave the temple, but to go off somewhere with strangers? He shoves his hands back into his sleeves.

His hesitation feels obvious, and it must be, for the woman’s smile falters. But the other boy still has a grin on his face and he blithely steps in between them and introduces himself. “I’m Consalvo of Redfall Island and the ship Horizon Chaser. This is my teacher, Melvina, also from Redfall and the Chaser. And you?” Consalvo asks, which is a little silly, considering both of them came here specifically looking for him.

But it helps: at least with names they aren’t entirely unknown, “I’m Aljun,” he says, then after a pause adds, “Of the Northern Temple.” It’s a strange thing, to introduce himself–he’s lived in the same place his entire life with the same people, all of whom knew him before he could even speak; there was never really any need to introduce himself.

Consalvo pulls his hands out of his sleeves, much the same way the head worshipper had, but different somehow. He worries the heat between their hands will cause his palms to sweat, but it’s a nice sensation.

“And tomorrow, you will be Aljun of the Northern Temple and the ship Horizon Chaser.”

He doesn’t really have much to pack. While there is a practice against materialism that the worshippers heed, they never forced it onto him. But he grew up amongst them, and so their minimal lifestyle became is own.

It’s a boon, apparently, because living on a ship means having even less space than his room in the temple dorms.

“If anything, we might have to buy you some things,” Melvina says, looking at the small pack which contains all of his personal posessions.

“Definitely some clothes,” Consalvo adds, plucking casually at the grey fabric of his uniform.

“Is this bad?” he asks, looking down at his own outfit. He doesn’t have much of a frame of reference to know. Doesn’t know what might look good or bad; fashion is not exactly a high priority in the temple.

“Well…” Consalvo stalls, stretching the word out like the sticky candy the worshipper in charge of meals sometimes lets him have.

“We wouldn’t want anyone to think we’ve kidnapped a worshipper,” the brightness in Melvina’s tone letting him know she’s joking, “and colors and patterns might as well be our uniform on the Chaser.”

It sounds nice, he thinks, except, “I don’t have any money.” He never needed any before.

Melvina and Consalvo share a look between them, a short conversation without words crafted after years of knowing each other.

“Don’t worry about it,” Consalvo says, before slinging an arm around his shoulders.

Melvina nods in agreement, taking the pack out of his hands even though it’s not that heavy, "We’ll take care of you, Aljun.“


A/N: Continuation from today’s earlier post because I had double missed posts and also because well… I don’t quite know where this is going but I kinda like it. Also, the characters finally have names, but I should probably think of a series name if I’m going to continue…

Untitled (2016-04-24) [1]

He is a stained glass boy, longing for places outside the temple he can never leave.

The older worshippers say he was a gift, a babe left on the steps for them to take in and raise in the ways of their religion. But all he can hear is that someone had left him behind, and in fifteen years had never come back for him. Consigned to a life sentence in a prison of walls and holy commandments he doesn’t really believe in.

He used to dream about leaving, about going into the world beyond the stained glass windows. But just as each piece is held rigidly in place with cold iron, he too is trapped.

He is sweeping–standing in the center of a beam of light painted red and blue and green and yellow–when the doors to the temple open and his fate changes.

The woman is too young to be his mother, their features too different for such a relation anyway, but still the hope lodges in his throat when she asks for him by name.

The head worshipper seems to recognize the woman, or perhaps what she represents, because she is quickly guided to the confession room where, even through the thick walls, he can hear them discuss his future. Loudly.

His broom has stilled, his fingers around the handle tight with nerves and a thrilling, hopeful confusion for the future. Maybe there is something else for him. Somewhere else.

“Can I get something to drink? I’m rather thirsty.”

He is so focussed on the door of the confession room, the muffled words escaping from it, that he startles at the voice. He lets go of the broom, and it clatters against the stone floor, echoing harshly.

The speaker is a boy around his age, dressed in a similar foreign-looking outfit as the woman–though, to be fair, anything that isn’t the grey worshipper uniform would look foreign to him–the fabric as colorful as the windows of the temple. He wonders if it feels soft to the touch.

“Anything? Water’d be nice,” the boy continues, an eyebrow rising in curiosity.

He startles again at the reminder of his own rudeness.

“Yes, sorry, I–” he steps forward, as if to guide the other boy to a seat, then away to fetch some water as requested, then back again to pick up his fallen broom. A strange, flustered dance which makes the other boy smile and himself flush in embarrassment, “Water. Yes, of course.”

There is a kitchen in the building behind the temple where he and all of the worshippers live, but it seems like such a long way to go, and an unnecessary delay for someone who has already stated they’re thirsty. Especially when there’s a fountain right in the very center of the temple.

The shallow wooden drinking bowl is used in ceremonies, for the temple worshippers to bestow enlightenment and spiritual healing upon those seeking it. But he is not really a worshipper, and without the ritual words and actions, the bowl is just a bowl and the fountain water just water.

He drinks from both enough to know.

Still, when he carries the bowl to the other boy, walking slowly so as not to spill, there is something charged about the moment:

Perhaps it is the sudden silence, the fact that they are the only two in room. Or the way the other boy walks forward to meet him in the middle, waiting for the bowl rather than taking it out of his hands. The way light streams in through the stained glass windows, turning even his uniform into a riot of colors.

He is shorter than the other boy, his arms already trembling, the water beginning to ripple and lap at the rim of the bowl. But still the other boy does not take it. Instead, he kneels, just like the pilgrims seeking spiritual renewal. 

When he brings the bowl to the other boy’s lips, he has to remind himself that he is no worshipper–the bowl is just a bowl, the water just water, and he is just a boy.


A/N: … um… i think this may turn into a series…

edit: continued here. should probably come up with a title since it actually is a series…

The Five Bastards of Alzeida, 1/? (2016-03-31)

When the king of Alzeida dies, he does not leave behind any wife, siblings, or legitimate children as his heir. The throne is empty for three months war nearly breaking out before one of the nobles, always reaching, always grasping for power, suggests:

“Why not an illegitimate child?”

The question is asked with a specific illegitimate child in mind–one Tarkin Delano, whose uncle by his mother would then become his Regent–but while fortune may favor the bold, it also favors those who aren’t unrepentant skeeze balls reviled by all of the other noble families. Which is saying quite a lot.

Because while Tarkin Delano may be the only noble-born bastard son of the deceased king of Alzeida (which would in normal scenarios make him a shoe-in for the throne) given the reputation of the other half of his heritage, some families consider war a preferable option. Luckily, he is not the only noble-born bastard or even the only bastard son, and he is definitely not the oldest.

And so the political race begins.

Four other bastard children are found and backed by different families to be the next monarch of Alzeida.

Of the five bastards in contention, only two are of noble birth on both sides: Tarkin Delano, whose family is only considered noble because their well established history prevents any of the other families from disregarding them entirely, and Harriet Stowe, of Mhyrnon Nation. Which, as opponents of Harriet Stowe’s bid for the throne, has not been a part of Alzeida for at least a century.

The next likeliest candidate would be Sir Elyan of the Hidden Rivers. Which is a very impressive sounding title indeed, except for the fact that he only was elevated from squire to knight three years before his training was complete because news of his claim. Anything to turn the Hidden Rivers from a minor territory with little to no points of interest into the home of the next king.

Unlike Elyan–whose mother was, if not nobility, then at least of a class that was not too far off–the remaining two would not even merit a mention were it not for a single, important fact: Poppy the kitchen servent and Zed, who is only known as such, both have magic.

Centuries ago, the kingdom of Alzeida was known for having powerful magicians amongst the upper echelons of court. Of course, the most powerful were the royalty themselves. Back then, marriages and alliances were based around magical bloodlines; power grabs were far more literal.

And yet, time passes, magic declines, and so does the power if not the prestige of the monarchy and nobility. Occasionally, there will be traces–a child who survives a great fall, or a territory whose harvests do not suffer as much as the rest of the kingdom during lean years–but nothing as the legends say.

Still, Poppy can maintain the fires of the castle’s kitchen oven with less than half of the fuel others would require–no small feat considering the castle feeds over two hundred people every day–and Zed. Well, Zed is a special case.


A/N: Here’s this uncomplete-ish thing I tried to write+post yesterday but couldn’t because no internet. Basically, political machinations are on my mind so…

I kept bouncing between wanting to make it really informal or vaguely historical fantasy-ish. Still not sure what style I want.

Untitled (2016-03-21)

The second morning of my Becoming is far from interesting. And so are the following twelve days.

Walking through flat lands with nothing in sight but grass is not the thing which songs are sung of. There are no rivers either, which at first made me wonder how exactly the grass could survive. Until a fearsome thunderstorm interrupted my sleep on the fifth night and continued all through the rest of the week.

With no shelter but a cloak and bedroll, it was not a surprise that I fell ill on the thirteenth day of my journey. It was a sign of poor favor from Kenadia.

And so it was less of a surprise when, on the dawn of my second week of Becoming, I woke to a sign of disfavor from Raehani as well.

Coughing and shivering, drenched and curled up in a pathetic ball on the ground, I woke up surrounded by a group of strangers wielding spears.

I never had any interaction with the few traders from the west. I was a priestess in training, and the youngest grandchild of the priestess and chieftain besides. I’ve never met anyone not of my clan before today.

The group of spear wielding hunters, waylaid from their search for game by the stranger in their lands, escort me to their village. It is strange in a way that makes complete sense, though it is not the kind of scene I myself am familiar with. The architecture of my home was, by nature, stone; caves both natural and manmade.

The village is as different from mine as the flat lands are the mountains, tents mostly. Beautiful tents, with fabrics of many colors and tall and wide and open. But temporary and so unused to what I’ve known. This is not a place where a clan can put down roots, entrench themselves into the ground and pass down the land throughout generations. This is a place of travelers, wind walkers.

This is no place for a girl from the mountains.


A/N: Related to the previous two untitled posts. just a small thing because i didn’t want to have a second missed post and so i did this on my phone and oh my god so much family stuff i’m so tired i’ve only had like a total of ten hours sleep in the last three days