Interlude: Juniper 2

“I don’t want to know.”. Juniper shook her head, not for the first time, and pressed the letter into Professor Valerian’s hands.  “Holly took… Holly has… I don’t have to have anything to do with either of them, that’s the point.  It sucks, it sucks so much, that this is the only way for me to get out of here…” She swallowed around a lump in her throat.  “I’m getting out of here?  For real?”

“Your graduation requirements have all been met.”. Professor Valerian nodded slowly.  “Juniper, you ought to—”

“I’m going to apply to Berkley, Cornell, and University of Wisconsin, Madison for next year.” Juniper felt a little bad for cutting her Mentor off.  On the other hand…  “I’m going to get an apartment in Madison and look for work in a library.  Wisteria knows someone at the big city library and she already sent her — and two of the nearby small-town librarians— letters for me.  I’m her protege.” Continue reading Interlude: Juniper 2

Interlude: Ofir

Two weeks after Christmas

Xaviera liked to go to the cy’Linden parties.  Ofir was pretty sure by now that it was something to do with her memories of Ardell.  He’d treated her like a thing, like an object.

Ofir wasn’t going to do that, at least.  She was a person.  When she wasn’t ignoring him, he was actually kind of fond of her.  She wasn’t all that bright, but that was fine.  He could steer her easier if she didn’t notice exactly what he was doing.

There were a lot of things that were easier if she didn’t notice quite what he was doing. Continue reading Interlude: Ofir

Interlude: Workings vs. Halfbreed Innates

Bonus Meta Week! This week we will be taking a break from our scheduled interludes to present some fae-related metatext.

The variety of innate powers demonstrated by halfbreed Changes is one of the strongest arguments in their favor. While all Ellehemaei can use Words, and Workings grant Ellehemaei a wide range of powers and abilities far beyond those which humans can possibly achieve, being able to wield magic without needing Words is an entirely different story.

And as Addergoole has proven, there are significant advantages to wielding magic without words. Anyone with Meentik and Kwxe can create fireballs and set nearly anything on fire, but the number of people who can do so simply by thinking it are far rarer. In combat, this gives a significant advantage of speed. And, both in and out of combat, being able to wield magic without speech gives substantial advantages of stealth. Continue reading Interlude: Workings vs. Halfbreed Innates

Interlude: Halfbreed Changes

Bonus Meta Week! This week we will be taking a break from our scheduled interludes to present some fae-related metatext.

The genetics of inheritance of Ellehemaei are, at best, poorly understood – that is after all a primary motivation behind the creation of the Addergoole school. What combinations create what kinds of halfbreeds? What causes an individual to express as a halfbreed, rather than a pureblood? And so on and so forth.

To that effect, all of the information below is to be considered speculation and theory, not fact. Continue reading Interlude: Halfbreed Changes

Interlude: Abaddon 3

Abaddon had put it off as long as he could.  He had come up with excuse after excuse, but the problem was, Gennie knew why he’d gone to talk to Professor Sakamato, and she wanted to know the answer.  The longer he put it off, the more suspicious she got.

“You know, you don’t look like you could be Japanese,” she was trying this time.  “But if he was your father, that would explain why they all sent you to him to talk about it.”

“They sent me to him because, uh.  Because he can handle the Other.”  He made a rough gesture at his horns, hoping Gennie understood without asking other questions.  “At least, that’s my guess.”  Continue reading Interlude: Abaddon 3

Interlude: Joff

Joff woke up from a nightmare to find Zeke’s hand on his shoulder, his lover’s face just a few inches from his.  “Joff?  Joff, man, you were – you were doing that thing again.”

Doing that thing was fairly vague, but the worried expression and the emotions pulsing off of Zeke explained it well enough.  “It was – it was Meshach again.”  He had been feeling something from Rafe’s room.  He’d thought he’d gotten pretty decent at screening out Abednego’s low-level unhappiness, but this had been – different.  Self-disgust, anger, waves and waves and unhappiness and fear and panic.  It was like Abednego was going through his first week of being Kept, a bad first week of being Kept, all at once.

Joff had fallen into  – fallen into the closet, he thought, trapped and bound and naked and afraid and cold.  He had been so cold.  He pulled himself into a sitting position and accepted the comfort of Zeke’s arms and Zeke’s warmth. The warmer he was, the less likely he’d remember what it’d been like, before.

He found himself staring at the wall between his room and Rafe’s.  Someone was awake over there, and there were miserable; someone was asleep, and they weren’t happy.

“You didn’t…” he whispered.  Rafe knew he was an empath.  He wouldn’t have…

“Didn’t what?” Zeke asked quietly.  “What’s going on?”

“I’m wondering if – no.  No, Rafe isn’t trying to be a bad guy, he wouldn’t do that.  He’d have to be trying to hide it.  He’d have to be willingly…”  Joff shook his head.  The moods that were washing out of that room.  “Zeke, can you get me two of the little red pills?”

Zeke frowned.  “The sedatives?  You told me those were only for emergencies.”

Zeke was a good Kept.   More than that, he was a good boyfriend and a good friend.  Joff swallowed a momentary pang of guilt.  He was allowed to have friends that weren’t Rafe and Eris.  He was allowed to have friends that weren’t broken.

He was allowed to have friends who had a healthy sense of what constituted an emergency, because he was pretty sure he didn’t.

“Does the urge to carve a hole in the wall between our room and Rafe’s count?  Because I’m not sure if I want to hug him or knock him into next week.”

Zeke gave that due consideration.  Joff could just order – no, no he couldn’t.  He’d put in safeguards when he’d gotten Dr. Caitrin to give him the sedatives.  Zeke had an order that orders about pills weren’t orders, and if that wasn’t proof enough that the Keeping could be a mess, Joff didn’t know what was.

“Why don’t you sit here with me and tell me about it?” Zeke offered.  He patted his chest and Joff obligingly leaned back against the wide, warm chest of his aptly-named Sequoia.  “Then, if you still want the pill, I’ll get it for you.”

It should have felt bad to put part of his decision-making process in someone else’s hands so completely.  It felt safe.  Joff snuggled a little closer and closed his eyes.

“The way that room feels right now, someone just realized something horrible had been happening.  Has been happening to them to a while?  It’s like Abednego just woke up and realized he was being Kept by – by a monster, I guess.  Just realized things had been happening to him that he didn’t like.”

“I didn’t think Rafe was any good at Mind Workings?” Zeke offered cautiously.

“He’s not.  But you wouldn’t need to be, you just need to be an asshole about the bond.  I just, well, I didn’t think Rafe was that sort of asshole.”

“What do you mean?”  Zeke’s fingers were running through Joff’s hair, untangling sleep-tousled curls and massaging his scalp.

“I – urgh.  I could show you, but.  Well, you can order your Kept to do anything, to stop thinking about something, to stop feeling something, to stop wanting something.  So if I told you to stop breathing, or to stop worrying about something, or to stop thinking about, say, home…”

Zeke’s hands stilled.  “It can do that?”

“It can do that and so much worse.  It can make you stop minding things.  But the thing is, then you’d have to – to feel like Abednego is …”  Joff stilled.  “I am going to kill Rafe.  I really am. I am going to murder him in his sleep and then I am going to bring him back and murder him again.”

“Easy, easy.”  Zeke startled into motion, cuddling Joff tightly against his chest.  “Murder is against the rules, remember?”

“I remember.”  He couldn’t forget.  How many times had he heard that…?  “But what he’s done ought to be.”

Chapter 48: Cynara

Monday, February 19, 2001

Cya felt like, if she held herself perfectly straight and perfectly still, nothing would fall off.  Otherwise, she was afraid, she was going to shatter into a thousand pieces.

She kissed Dysmas and made the appropriate wiggle as he grabbed her butt with both hands and pulled her in towards him, then headed off to class, not straightening her skirt until she was out of sight.  Nobody tried to hit on her; Alexander looked over at her with sad eyes and she pretended she couldn’t see. Save your sadness for someone who needs it. Continue reading Chapter 48: Cynara

Chapter 47: Abednego

Sunday, February 18, 2001

Rafe was being… strange.

Abednego wondered if he had been someone different, not his brothers’ sibling, if maybe Rafe might have been like this from the beginning.

The first day after the demon attacking Rafe had been awful.  Rafe wouldn’t look at Abednego, he wouldn’t touch him, wouldn’t let him talk.  It took him until after Abedngeo’s first class to even realize there was a silence order – and there had to be, although Abednego couldn’t remember getting one – and at that point he’d only changed it to “you can talk when the teachers talk to you.”

But today, he was… well, strange.  He had sat down next to Abednego and brushed his hair, fed him with his own hand, showered him and tucked him into bed next to him, both of them naked. Continue reading Chapter 47: Abednego

Chapter 46: Arnbjörg

Saturday, February 17, 2001

She was trying, she really was.  

She wasn’t trying, perhaps, as hard as she ought to or as often as she ought to, but Arnbjörg was trying hard to accept this place.  It was just…

“It’s so fucked up.”  She threw up her hands.

“What?”  Jaya turned to look at her. They were studying together on their bed, Jaye’s head on Arnbjörg’s shoulder.  They hadn’t been talking at all; Arnbjörg had been glaring at her textbook and attempting to focus.

“This school.  Everything about it.  Babies. Continue reading Chapter 46: Arnbjörg

Chapter 45: Leofric

Wednesday, February 14, 2001

“Why is he fighting?”

“Heck if I know!”

“Leo, Leo, it’s okay.”

That voice, it was… “Zita?” Leofric blinked and looked around. Zita was standing in front of him, and he was in… a suite. A suite he didn’t recognize. “Where are we?”

“We’re in Sheba’s suite. Howard’s here, too. We rescued you.”
Continue reading Chapter 45: Leofric