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prompt post 2: son of prompt post.

"cacophony" || stone, james || philadelphia, 1891. yep, it's a flashback fic mini. =D

Wasn't quite sure how I wound up on one of James' painted ponies, but I remember that he offered t'hold my hat, and I laughed at him. It's a damned pony on a stick--I've rode ladies that was faster, was what I told him. Give it a chance, he told me. The damn thing got to spinning and the music started up, and I felt kinda ridiculous, the first time 'round.

Then I noticed how the ladies pretended to be mortified at how much showed 'neath their skirts, which just served to bring attention to 'em, and then some of the gentl'men waved their bumbershoots, and pretended to take shots at each other like they were in the cavalry, and then it seemed like a lot more fun. And then another go-round or six, and the singing got a bit loud, everyone singing a different verse, and half not keeping time to the song, and with all the squealing and shoutin' and the music, I gave up on trying to sort out all the different sounds into anything that'd make sense. I also got to thinking that everyone there might be kinda zagged.

Then about a hundred go-rounds later, I was feelin' a bit queasy, with the lights and all. And even after it stopped, it seemed like I was still spinning. I slid off my guilded charger and got a hand down. I could still hear that song in my head, too. ta ra ra BOOM de ay! Every time the song went BOOM, everything tilted in a new direction.

He asked me how I was, and something about a fence from a place called Virgina, and I said I was right copecetic. Then I vomited on his shoes. He took it pretty well.

Next time, he said, he recommended that I try the martini with my shellfish, and save the absinthe for home.

"asininity" || dr. czarnecka, the djinn || nyc

Dr. Czarnecka was not naïve. The old cliche that nobody got something for nothing remained, if anything, even more true now than ever. It irked, somewhat. Her dreams were less of the usual variety, of angels and dragons, shadows and fire, mountains and desert, and instead were nightmares of the theft and perversion of her studies, of being locked out of her own lab, of Travares laughing as he highlighted a clause she'd somehow missed. Why the hell did her subconscious have to join in? She was perfectly aware of potential issues here, and it was only a problem when it was, in fact, honestly a problem. Right now it wasn't, so there was little point in borrowing trouble. Her subconscious, like everything else in this frustrating world, ignored her completely and kept supplying images that continued to challenge the boundaries of anything even remotely rational.

Much like the strangely glowing apparition on her sofa. The strangely glowing apparition that had shown up on her doorstep not three days after she signed the contract (she still wasn't entirely convinced that these things weren't somehow related), had refused to leave, and had, in fact, taken up sleeping on her sofa. Czarnecka had very firmly informed it that this was not its home, and it was not welcome there, which worked for most ghosts and several types of fae, and then she tried sprinkling it with kosher salt, waving a bit of Pre-Collapse wrought ironwork at it (which should have worked for anything else), and even stopped at St. Peter's for a bit of holy water; she gave it a bit of a spritzing with her company water bottle, whereupon it promptly called a small tropical rain cloud into her living room in retaliation, drenching her completely, but did not otherwise appear to be fazed at all.

"What are you?" she demanded. It--he rather, as it did appear to be a man-shaped shining light thing--laughed. He did not respond to intimidation, and ignoring him entirely was proving rather difficult. Out-and-out hissing threats accomplished absolutely nothing except possibly serving as entertainment, but at least he had the decency to duck when she threw things at him.

This particular morning, after ignoring a demand to get the hell out of her apartment now before she had a reclaimation crew remove him (did she mention that she had a paying job now and she could arrange to have him out on his uninvited ass so fast it would make his barely corporeal head spin?), he made her muffins for breakfast. She wasn't certain where he found the ingredients for muffins (not in her kitchen, that's for sure), but she had to admit they smelled wonderful. She informed him she didn't have time to eat. He packed them up for her. If she didn't want them, she could feed them to her lab assistants. Or use them to make breadcrumb trails to find her way back, because with the hours she kept, he was starting to wonder if she wasn't getting lost. Did she need a map? An escort? A clock? A life?

Czarnecka checked herself before throwing the sack of muffins at his head. "My hours just saved your life," she told him, "as I refuse to go in late because of fighting with YOU." His laughter was the last thing she heard, as she headed out, closing and locking the door (gods knew why she bothered anymore, for all the good it did) behind her.

She ducked her head against a random gust of wet, cold wind, and supposed that maybe he wasn't that bad as far as random apartment-crashing entities went. Less obnoxious than the gryphon that had tried to nest on the widest bit of ledge outside her bedroom window, and, as he'd pointed out right before her threat of eviction-by-reclaimation, not only didn't he let out bloodcurdling shrieks at day and night, he didn't regurgitate the half-digested remains of various passerby for her as gifts; he was even more beautiful, and he smelled better, too. Which was actually what had sparked the argument in the first place--he seemed a little too well-versed on every aspect of her life--particularly the events previous to his arrival, for comfort. He had been there a little over a week, and not only didn't she know what he was, she didn't even know his name, if what he was even had one.

"anarchy" || a'martaen, his lady wife, and loralae, an unknown cridhos, and dia || dun avalon. another mini flashback fic. the bunny made me do it.

"And here we are, just as I promised. Feel free to read it over." A'Martaen announced, as he strode into the room, and laid a paper down upon the table between the two sidhe seated there.

"Rest assured that we of the Rian are hard at work for your continual benefit. This cycle, we've made great advances in the field of making absolutely no sense!" his lady wife mockingly announced, from elsewhere in the house.

A'Martaen froze for a moment, until he realized that he was the only one that she was permitting to hear her--at least so far and as far as he could tell. He sighed and decided that this was the last time he'd let her examine his work for errors again.

The Cridhos examined the document for a moment, thoughtfully stroking his chin. "Well. It is rather simple, isn't it?"

"Yes." A'Martaen preened.

"...What is it?" The Cridhos asked.

"The first step to confusion, distrust, disillusion, disorder and anarchy, that is all." his lady wife cheerfully, morbidly announced to no one in general and A'Martaen in particular.

"This," A'Martaen said proudly, ignoring his wife's dire predictions, is called a "Press Release." I learned of it from my daughter. It's meant to be read out loud, to the masses, or passed along to the bards."

"Aithre!" Loralae sent, from wherever in the house she was, in a mental tone of pure exasperated disapproval, "you DIDN'T!"

"It seemed like just the perfect thing."

"I am NEVER sharing another vision with you again, nil hea!"

"Oh, Loralae, really--"
But the faint, youthful, angry buzz of her attention was gone; she'd already cut him off.

The Cridhos had already passed the Press Release on to the young Lan an Firrin.

"Well?" A'Martaen asked. "What do you think, Sionnadh Diarmad?"

The pale violet stare was particularly fierce. "It is Full of Lies!" he pronounced, and folded his arms.

A'Martaen managed to make his amused chuckle into a cough at the last minute. A'Drakons. They were all the same.

"a cold fireplace" || rin & tiun || tirnanog. yet another flashback. =)

Tiun knelt and put a hand to the fireplace. It was dead cold. Their quarry had run, had at least a day's head start. Nobody in Tirnanog let their hearth fires go out.

At least a half dozen of the locals had been peering at them. They'd paid no attention, as complaining about the curiosity of locals was like complaining about rocks being so stoic. Rin frowned and snapped his fingers at the door, in order to ensure he had at least one of the invisible gawker's attention.

"Vi me leir tiu."

A sheepish grinning face peered through doorway into the drafty hall.


"Who does he know, that'd warn him we're coming?"

"Sionnadh Rowan? Oh, lots of people, I'd reckon, he's well-liked, on account he's been clever enough so far as not to piss where he's been eatin'. He's in trouble again, tá?"

It was Tiun that answered him, as they both brushed past him on the way out. "Could say that."

"yellow flowers and fog" || c2 (ard cridhos claravis secundus) || avalon

In some ways Avalon hadn't changed at all. The sun was still hot and steady, seeping between the feathers of his stunted wings and into muscle and bone, burning away the damp and the chill. The people were still exceedingly generous, and still a lot more polite and far less expressive than he was used to; they were more sensitive to his needs than he could have asked, even remembering that he took only the mildest and sweetest of their native dishes, and cooking their Iberian auroch beef so soft that he could barely scoop it up with the bread without it tumbling into pieces in the sauce. They dressed him carefully, in robes of finest silk, and tunics of the softest woven cutin fibers, and let him take no stairs. They drew him soothing baths and left him to soak in total privacy in rose and jasmine scented gardens. There were none in Tirnanog that would think to take such pains, and none that he would dream of asking for such treatment. He never felt so well, so comfortable, as here.

When he slept at night, he dreamt the drummers marked the steady beat of the waves upon the shore of the Isle after a storm; he dreamt of his teapot, with the clumsily painted yellow flowers in knots around the cover, made of some odd white clay the children had found and swore would make him stronger every time he used it. He dreamt of the fog drifting in heavy banks outside the window, and a hot fire roaring in his hearth.

Yes, Avalon was as good and kind to him as ever, but Ard Cridhos Claravis Secundus was never so happy as when he'd finished swearing in A'Martaen as the new Ard Cridhos of the South, and he was safely back in his own kitchen at home.

"fresh grass and red dirt" || two complete unknowns || several thousand years post nia wars and known universe

They stopped at the edge of a valley, the floor of which was carpeted by a great blowing field; one man reaching across the other to halt him. The second looked at the first questioningly, and the guide bade him to be silent and follow him, quickly. At the end of the day, after they had circled the narrow end of the unexpected valley, did the guide glance around and feel it was safe to speak.

"That was the Place the World was born." He explained. "The slit we all crawled from. It is sacred, and if we try to cross it, we will sicken and die before we reach the other side. That is the truth."

In answer, the other pointed to tracks, and answered, haltingly, in the same language. "Animals go there. That is also true."

"Animals are animals, I cannot speak for what may happen to them." The guide stated unequivocally. "Men and women die. She is the source of all spirit, and all life. If you do not believe me, then go and cross it."

He did not. But on their way back, he paused once and curious, left their camp and slowly worked his way down variegated layers of rock to the valley floor. He felt nothing. Insects hummed from flower to flower, violet and yellow and white against the emerald green setting, rimmed by a protective amphitheater of rock. An ancient crater, perhaps. He bent down and tugged a clump of grass; it gave way after a moment's resistance, filling his nostrils with the smell of summer haying back home. The earth was nearly black. He crumbled in his fingers. Such a waste. Silly native beliefs and superstition keeping the desert-dwellers from the use of what had to be some of the richest soil he'd seen in a hundred spans. He blinked then, startled, as the black turned red against his fingers. Then the burning started. He swore a soft oath and brushed the soil off his hands.

By the time he returned to his guide, his fingers had blistered, and the fever had begun.

"guilt" || the quartet of wrong (davy, rin & tiun, kyria) and c2 || tirnanog

"No! You don't understand." The Aggirach said, looking extremely distraught. Behind him, Rin, Tiun and Kyria made frantic shushing gestures. Claravis Secundus regarded all four of them for a moment.

"What is it exactly that I'm not understanding?" The Ard Cridhos asked mildly. Kyria put a hand to her face and promptly vanished, while Rin and Tiun gave him expressions of extreme disapproval over the Aggirach's head.

"As you probably already know, I didn't finish the cycle. I ran away to Gaia with my brother and ruined everything." Adavidarian sighed. "But there's lots more than that. See, I, I um, I corrupted your knights." He blushed.

"Completely." Tiun sent, complete with mental exasperated sigh. "It's all his fault. All of it."

Rin agreed, deadpan.

The corner of Claravis' mouth twitched. He very carefully generated a much more stern expression, resting his chin on his fingers contemplatively.

"I didn't serve my purpose at all. I wouldn't even honor a sacrifice given in good faith." Adavidarian confessed, looking miserable.

"They were crazy." Rin said.

"We shouldn't have let him eat one, nil hea--I think that's how he caught it." Tiun added.

"I wouldn't listen to anything he says." Rin finished.

"Nil hea, this is fascinating." Claravis assured them.

Adavidarian frowned at the Ard Cridhos, turned and gave the twin Fidei Defensoran a suspicious look. Rin and Tiun's faces went positively cherubic with innocence. He turned back around. "Sorry. Ard Cridhos?"

"My apologies. Do go on." Claravis said reassuringly.

"And then? We sorta killed the Ard Cridhos an Takomanohara."

"It was already dead!" Tiun nearly groaned out loud.

"And then?" Uh, we, uh, I corrupted one of the choir..."

"The entire choir?" Claravis asked, brow raised.

"No, no, I phrased that wrong, sorry. One from the choirs. Just one. That one." He said, pointing. Kyria flickered and reappeared, leaning against the wall with her arms folded and feathers ruffled. She rolled her eyes, and then gave the sort of expression that some mortals did when they were petitioning Heaven for patience. Claravis nearly lost what remained of his composure.

"I see..." He said, very solemnly, steepling his fingers.

"the smell of fresh ground(not brewed) coffee" || rhae and leo || the kitchen

She always woke up when he did, so it was fairly pointless for him to try to go sneaking past her room without her noticing. Rhaegan had no idea why, after all these years, he'd never recognized this particular tidbit of information himself; she certainly wasn't going to bother cluing him in. He always knew everything about everybody. It was nice to know something he didn't. Besides, it enabled her to catch him before he could get away with whatever it is he was up to at this ungodly hour. Rhaegan had her suspicions. She was up and stalking, even stealthier than her brother on bare feet and leathery wings tightly folded against her back.

He didn't turn on the kitchen light, didn't need to; she crouched there in the doorway, and a flick of a tongue gave the first clue to what her twitching nostrils told her later--the all too familiar, pungent scent of the forbidden bean filled the kitchen.

"AHA!" she yelled, flipping the switch--Leo whirled to face her, startled, hissing, wings suddenly raised and half-spread, mantling, eyes wide and fangs bared--"Put the coffee DOWN, Leo. Back AWAY from the coffee."

He glared at her for a moment, furious, red-faced and guilty. "Y'know, the fact that you could even DO that should tell you what kind of night I had."

"Give me the coffee."


"Give. Me. That. Coffee, Leo."

"Nil. Hea."


Leo looked at his sister for a beat, tipped his head back, dumped grounds into his mouth, and started chewing. "NUM YUM NUM..."

"deja vu in a crowded place" || three(3)words || somewhere on the west coast

Adam knew this moment. He couldn't remember this moment, but he still knew it, never the less. This had never happened to him, not to any of them, this was no memory of his, and none of theirs, and he was no seer. Yet he knew this, he knew what happening, what was going to happen, and he stood up at his drum kit, and he saw Leo fling his arms up and wide to the sky, and the sun dropping below a cloud to highlight him with gorgeous halo of red-gold. This was were the music stopped. Adam took a single breath, and held it, and it seemed the world paused with him, on the crest of a wave. From the top of that crest, Adam remembered where he'd seen this before, because it was the very next line.

Leo, in the supermarket, all of them laughing as he pinged to something classical and went whirling through the produce department, a stalk of celery in hand, alternately directing the imaginary orchestra and playing a celery violin. Pausing to fling stalk, arms and wings wide, in order to make a bold declaration to an old lady selecting potatoes.

"We are your new gods!"

The wave came hurling down. Adam brought the sticks down on the cymbals with a crash, and he heard them, all of them, every one, thousands of them, as they all sang the next line back, and the song thundered on.

"warm rain" || stone and vasya || alfheim, the mound

He felt the spark of Vasya's attention, like barbed wire gently dragged across the back of his neck. He looked up, before it could be pressed deeper. She stood in the doorway and she was tall for a moment, and her hair was black, and then she was a small and scowling golden haired barefoot Faerie Queen again, of the sort you might find on a Victorian postcard. Except not.

"We are going to war." She told him.

Old fear, childhood fear, had a funny taste, and the places it fit in brushed cobwebs and raised dust. It made his stomach hurt. He smiled a little, or tried, and said, "I told you you shouldn't have worn that dress, babe."

And she didn't say anything at all; didn't stop to argue, did nothing to make the world right again, to make the nightmare go away. She dropped those five simple, terrifying, world-shattering words on his head, and then she walked out, ignoring him.

Stone got up. Fen whined, but he raised a hand, because he did not trust the way his voice might shake at the order given; he already hated the sudden weakness in his knees, the contrast to the weight in his feet and his hands dangling off the ends of his arms. All the callouses on his fingers were from holding a pen.

He found Vasya standing outside, glaring across the landscape; she made no attempt to keep the rain from her, and the air was practically balmy. They had been looking forward to the new cycle. To spring.
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