They’d watched Sheba and Magnolia graduate with all the appropriate fanfare, cheered them loudly and left Howard and Magnolia and Sheba and Zita to say goodbye as they wanted.
In a startling show of empathy, Phelen had wandered off, leaving Arnbjörg and Jaya alone, and they, in turn, had grabbed a blanket and headed out to the meadow.
The sun was bright and warm over them. The air felt just right, like you could lie out in nothing but skin and be perfectly comfortable. And Jaya was pressed against her, Mask down and not wearing a whole lot more than skin. Continue reading →
“So are we gonna do it?” Arnbjörg was shifting her weight from the balls of her feet to her heels and back again. “I mean. I know Leo went a little…” She considered the room and forced a little bit of tact to come out of her mouth. “Well, he was having some trouble with blackouts when he was here?”
Zita looked at her pointedly. “I don’t know. Are you going to do it?” Her tone was too pleasant to be real.
Arnbjörg looked straight back at Zita. “Should we?”
“Eight months ago, sure. Now?” Zita shrugged.
Arnbjörg considered that answer, looked at Zita again, and decided it was a yes. Continue reading →
Everyone had noticed what Sheba’s crew was up to. Everyone, even the other cy’Luca – who he’d made some pointed comments at about being showed up by a bunch of girls, gotten into another fight, and been yelled at by Luke over, but it was worth it – had noticed them going around bullying all the shittiest Keepers into letting their Kept go.
Leofric would’ve thought better late than never, except the timing was less important than the one, significant, glaring gap in their rescue train.
No one had come for Cya. All these other rescues and they didn’t even so much as look at Cya.
He knocked – banged, really – on the door to Sheba’s suite, the suite where half his crew was being Kept. Continue reading →
Every time Abednego thought things had settled in to something like normalcy, they shifted again. He thought he’d stopped getting comfortable with things, just to find that he was dumped on his tail all over again.
Rafe couldn’t settle on what he wanted. He would pet Abednego for a few minutes, then shift away guiltily, give him an order and then tell him it wasn’t an order.
Saturdays and Sundays were the worst, and this time Rafe had gone through the cycle five times in less than an hour. When Abednego found himself wishing for his corner and rules that, if horrible, at least made sense, he sat up straight, shaking off another cycle of petting. Continue reading →
Arnbjörg curled up against Jaya on the couch, her girlfriend-and-Keeper’s head on her shoulder. They were watching a movie – Dangerous Beauty – something about a high-class prostitute in Venice. The rest of the crew was with them, paying varying degrees of attention to the movie.
“Ever think about that as a living?” Sheba mused quietly. “I mean, the right Words and the right skills and you wouldn’t really have to work hard. Some healing Words and it wouldn’t be so dangerous. What? Ivette talks about it sometimes. Lady Mau did it. We’re fae, different morals apply.”Continue reading →
Arnbjörg had just finished running laps of the gym, after a session with the heavy bag and enough weights that her shoulders and back had that happy ache to them. For once, she was enjoying walking through the halls unbothered.
“No! No, I’m not going to… let go of me!” A flash of lightning ripped through the hallway; the lights flickered and burnt out, leaving only the dim “Hell Night” red emergency lights.
Arnbjörg reached for a weapon she didn’t have anymore.
“I think you should leave him alone.” The lights flickered but did not turn back on, as a second voice chimed in, similar to the first one and both familiar…
They were her half-brothers, Arnbjörg realized. Ragnvaldr and Leofric.
“She might seem nice now, but she’s not stable, and it’s not a healthy situation.” The new, third speaker released his quarry, however, and stepped back until he was silhouetted against one of the red lights. “Rory, I’m just saying…”Continue reading →
“Good.” Doug nodded at Arnbjörg. “Much better. Focused.”
Arnbjörg bowed back, trying to hide a smile. “Thank you, sir.” Much better was practically shouted praise from Doug. She was getting better. Focused! “I’ve been practicing.”
“On?” There was a challenge in his question.
“Oh, just the air. Jaya doesn’t really want me getting into fights…”
She didn’t like admitting that. She sounded – well, she sounded controlled, which was accurate, as such things went. She was controlled. She ran her hand over her necklace. She was owned. And with everything else going on, nobody seemed to think being owned was even weird, as long as you weren’t badly owned.
“She doesn’t like the fuss, I guess?” she added lamely. Doug had this habit of making you want to fill in the silences. Continue reading →
Arnbjörg was sweaty, frozen, exhausted, bruised, and happier than she’d been in weeks. Doug had taken his little cy’ree outside for sparring and they’d all gotten a chance to practice their innate powers and how they interacted with magic. “Next year,” he’d told the first-year students, “we can try a real hunt. Maybe this summer.”
A real hunt. A real hunt, with real monsters she was actually allowed to fight, with creatures she was allowed to kill. Arnbjörg had never killed anything bigger than a mouse, and that had been almost an accident. She wondered what it would be like to kill a monster, a real bad guy.
“Hey, bitch. You know what happens to bitches who don’t know their place?”Continue reading →
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 →