Help, lazyweb! Help me figure out what book this was!
December 19th, 2013
Help, lazyweb! Help me figure out what book this was!
Thing is, I had three recipes, all different: and never quite the ingredients of any one. So I have mixed and matched, added a little of this from here and a little of that from there - "molasses sugar and black treacle? but I have neither of these things! so I will use raw sugar and molasses instead!" - and mostly just ended up hopeful.
I'm ... not really very good at being hopeful. It should be fine; it's got fruit and alcohol and eggs and grain-based binders (flour and breadcrumbs and ground almonds, in guessable proportions that don't quite meet any of the recipes' demands), and of a surety most such puddings have been made like that for most of human history, so. I can haz a hopeful?
(Also, of course, I still have a week to make another if this one turns out crooked.)
(Also also, it's got chocolate in it. What can possibly go wrong?)
Thanks, but the novellas haven't been published yet. I'm still waiting to hear from the publisher when they're going to come out as ebooks, and if they're going to do a print collection yet. I'll post about it here as soon as I know.
I concentrated on buying CDs as i have too many books at the moment.
These are what i found -
The Doors - The Best of The Doors (Elektra)
Destiny's Child - Survivor (Columbia)
Labrinth - Electronic Earth (Syco)
UNKLE - Psyence Fiction (Mo Wax)
Shakira - Laundry Service (Epic)
Bloc Party - Four (Frenchkiss Records)
Faithless - No Roots (Cheeky Records)
Marina And The Diamonds - Family Jewels (679 Recordings)
Another mixed bag in which some will be keepers and others on sale at Discogs.
Out there in the stupidosphere comes the suggestion that the reason that I write articles like this, or do things like this, is because I am a stone-cold opportunist who doesn’t really believe in these things, but says and does them to get ahead in science fiction, a genre apparently positively overrun by feminists and cowering males. My master plan is apparently to get in good with all the wimmins, reap all the awardz, and then profit! Or something.
(No, I’m not going to link to the blog post in question, because it is in the stupidosphere. You can probably find it if you make the effort. But why would you? Now, then -)
1. Well, you heard it here first, straight white gentlemen: The way to win all the things and sell all the books in science fiction and fantasy is to acknowledge your own stacked set of privilege conditions and to publicly sign on to the idea that all people regardless of race, sex, gender identification or physical ability should be able to enjoy a convention or gathering without fear of harassment or marginalization. Yes, with those two simple steps, a Hugo and a New York Times best seller slot will be yours. Who knew it would be so simple? Besides me, apparently?
2. Mind you, if the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ were actually running all the skiffy things, there would be the question of why it would need (or reward) me for anything at all. I think the answer, implicit in the assumption that I’m am doing and saying these things for coldly opportunistic reasons, is that I have craftily realized one of two things: One, the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ secretly craves recognition from straight white men and wishes to reward them for even the slightest of notice; Two, the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ needs a willing patsy to lull the Straight White Men of science fiction and fantasy into a state of complacent quiescence until The Night Of The Castrating Knives (i.e., The Hugo Awards Ceremony, 2014).
Or, hell, Three: Both! Then I will be king! Of the Feminist Diversity Cabal™! Insert maniacal laugh here!
Truly, I have been playing a very long game with this insidious, opportunistic plan of mine.
3. And, you know, it’s worked! For I now have a Hugo! And best sellers! And such! Thus, having achieved all the things I can finally TOSS OFF MY CLOAK OF LATTER DAY ALAN ALDA-NESS AND REVEAL MYSELF AS WHO I TRULY AM, THE ALPHA OF ALL ALPHAS. COMMENCE WITH THE SANDWICHINATION ALL YOU LESSER BEINGS –
Oh, wait, I haven’t won a Nebula yet.
4. So, uuuuuuuh, forget point three.
5. Now, there is an alternate theory for why I do what I do. It involves a scenario in which I actually believe in what I do and say rather than being a Cat-Stroking Bond Villain for Feminism. But that’s not fun, nor does it feed into the “I am a complete asshole and therefore cannot conceive of others not being a complete asshole, especially people I don’t like” mindset of the stupidosphere. So never mind that.
6. Here is the one thing this dipshit in the stupidosphere was correct about: I am, in fact, all about taking advantage of opportunities. As it happens, I have many opportunities, due to my place in the world, to speak and act on things that are important to me. I also have the will to take the opportunities when they come up. And in the last year, events have conspired to give me even more opportunities to do so. So, guess what? I’m going to take them.
What will I do with those opportunities? Well, I will say this: I can pretty much guarantee the stupidosphere won’t like it.
Insert maniacal laugh here.
But today I went. And I'm easing myself back into it. And I experimented with the treadmill! Which is very, very weird. Like I think the first 10 minutes I was working 6 times too hard because the speed was way too low but I kept trying to make it go faster with my LEGS? Like if I just ran faster surely IT would go faster? And more or less that felt like I was pushing a cart uphill.
I meant to go for 20 minutes, but only went for 16 because the sides of my lower legs -- peroneus longus muscles? Are those a thing that can hurt? -- were really hurting and my feet felt like lead. Which sucks, because doing so reminded me how much I bloody LOVE running, but my feet and knees just won't have it.
I don't know. I want to keep trying. And I need more cardio in my life. We'll see how brutalized I'm feeling tomorrow.
( Today.Collapse )
After which I ate leftover chicken, bacon and mushroom pasta in a creamy sauce. Noms.
Elizabeth Bennett (Darcy?) is played by the splendid Anne Maxwell Martin, the lead Bletchley Circle code breaker, and a miniseries this viewer admired. She was also Jane Austen in Becoming Jane. Naturally, this viewer loathed Becoming Jane , as this reader judges P.D. James's homage a writing mess -- and dismal to boot. *
Doubtless the television adaptation will be better, because it can't be worse than that poorly executed novel that bites Jane Austen, to no legitimate purpose, other than making money. However, unlike so many writers, Baroness James is not in financial pain. Trailer here:
Truly, this thing doesn't look like much fun either; also -- a mess. Lydia is so beautiful, and -- that music so non-period.
* This judgment was formed within the context that P.D. James's Dalgleish novels are perennial favorites in this casita.
...to have a working oven again.
I could have fixed this months ago, but there was travel and it required a phone call.
Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.
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I cured it in salt and sugar and molasses and nitrite, and then I baked it; and I hadn't done either of those things before, and it's all good. I always cooked a Christmas ham at home, but I never cured my own ('cos uncooked hams are everywhere; here they appear to be nowhere) and I always boiled rather than baked. I think it's the national tradition; certainly the recipes I have for "baked glazed ham" should be punctuated better, as "baked-glaze ham", because they're boiled first then have a glaze baked on. Which indeed is what I've always done. And will do next time, possibly next week, because it'll be a better comparison. Really this was just a trial run to see if the process works. Which it does, admirably. I'm very pleased & proud.
Today I must make a Christmas pudding, for I am late and my dried fruits are ready (they've been soaking in sherry for a few days now); but if I have time after, I might make kimchi too. Ham & kimchi sounds good to me...
*For the purposes of this discussion, "ham" is taken to mean a cured piece of pork on the bone, rather than a particular cut of hind leg. This is because it is ridiculously hard in this country to find a particular cut of hind leg still on the bone. So I used shoulder. So what?
As a kitten, Alice's name was "Ado Annie," and she was a prissy, prissy princess who didn't really care for any of the human suitors who came to visit her litter. Until she met me, and went to sleep on my arm, and I asked in a strangled voice if her breeder (my friend Betsy Tinney) took checks.
It took a good deal more time and conversation before Alice was ready to come home with me, as a sixteen week old fuzzball with firm ideas about the world, her place in it, and my place under her. She was my first Maine Coon, and after the learning curve was behind us, she quickly became one of my best friends.
She is pushy; loud; arrogant; prissy; very stinting with her love, and very particular about who deserves it. She gives affection when she wants to, not when people demand it. She won't eat human food, but she begs for it all the same, only to disdain it with a sniff if allowed to get a closer look. She sits like a human, and likes to hug the remote. She is, as I often tell her, my favorite thing.
Happy birthday, Alice. Let's celebrate a dozen more.
Oh, something silly happened at last night's D&D game. I got a teensy bit bored while people argued. So, I made my own fun. My character (Scylla) picked up a gecko. I like geckos. As it happens, there was a magical fountain that could randomly up your stats (or not) in the magical garden in which everyone was arguing. Contrary to my normally cautious nature as a player (wisdom was Scylla's dump stat) Scylla drink from said magical fountain. Her dex is now 18. Thus, she's a super fast thief. (this should help with survival.) She then gave the gecko a drink. And now my tiny thief, who is posing as a ranger--like you do, has a tiny animal companion. Meanwhile, the actual ranger... doesn't. The tiny gecko's name is Falkor. Because. Tiny. I'm still not comfortable playing the thief, but I'm doing what I'm supposed to do at this stage--run up to the front of the party when a door needs opened and run to the back of the party and shoot arrows when bad guys show up. Oh, and have a bag of holding and convince the party that things need to be stored in it. [cough] They still haven't figured out that I'm the one who makes regular money deposits in their money pouches. Well, I've only done it once so far. Because I've only stolen enough money to split up the once. Chaotic Good is hard work, y'all.
Jason Kottke declares the blog dead over at Neiman Journalism Lab, which makes him the umpteenth millionth person to do so. The actual piece is a bit more nuanced than its headline — Kottke notes that the blog is still an integral part of the online experience — but the overall tone of it is that the blog’s day in the sun is done, replaced by things fresher, less “streamy” and otherwise tuned to the Way Kids Do It Today.
A couple of things about this:
1. Kottke’s not wrong. I’ve noted before that I thought the many of the people who had blogs a few years ago were better served by things like Twitter and Facebook, which are easier for most folks to handle and actually do what they wanted their blog to do — i.e., keep them in contact with all their friends and family and let them share what they were doing (and also, pictures of their pets and children). I love my blog (hello!) but for the large majority of people, I wouldn’t recommend doing one. Even the closest new analog to the blog — Tumblr — is streamlined and connected in ways a standalone blog isn’t.
This isn’t to say that a blog can’t be useful for the people who have a need or interest in them — they absolutely can be. For the people who want to be able to write longer posts, keep a permanent self-branded outpost, and (importantly) have much more substantial control of their online persona, blogs have no real substitute. I recommend them for writers and other creative folks precisely because they’re your own space, and with a nod to the folks who host me, one of the great things about WordPress is that it’s made having and keeping a blog pretty dead simple. But for your mom, who just wants to keep up with the grandkids? Meh, Facebook is fine.
This doesn’t mean the blog format is actually dead. It does mean that its centrality to online life is substantially diminished. Mind you, this assumes that it actually ever was central, which is somewhat debatable — first there was AOL, then there was online chat, then MySpace and then Facebook/Twitter, with Snapchat, Tumblr and all other manner of services and spaces, all of which, again, have been better tuned to the person who just wants to be online to see what friends are up to, and announce to the world what’s on the menu for lunch.
What does seem true no matter what is that the community of personalities that existed around blog seems to have substantially dispersed — the people who were best known as bloggers are off doing other things now or at least have their presence as personalities less tied to their blogs. I can certainly speak to that; I am these days rather better known as an author than as a blogger. I’m not the only one who has seen their “portfolio of presence” expand or at least diversify. I’m fine with that, personally — I was long ambivalent about calling myself a blogger because I thought was I did (writing) shouldn’t be defined by its medium.
2. What’s more important now, in the middle part of the second decade of the twenty-first century, appears to be an aggregate presence online — the ability to speak (or at least to be seen) across a number of online platforms. Or as Zach Weiner put it when he, Warren Ellis and I were chatting about it on Twitter:
— Zach Wintersmith (@ZachWeiner) December 19, 2013
How one does this is the interesting bit. Personally, I keep the blog here active, because it’s congenial to how I want to be online, but I also find myself participating very actively on Twitter, because that medium is also but differently congenial to my personality. Other media — Facebook, Google Plus, Tumblr — I have a presence on but am otherwise less active with, since at the end of the day I have to, you know, write books and experience the real world with my family. I have to pick and choose. But the point Zach makes — that you have to go to your audience rather than simply hang out an online shingle and wait for it come to you — is a valid one. Personally speaking I don’t find doing this particularly difficult since I like farting around online anyway.
Also, I suspect in many ways a distributed presence online for a writer or creative person is a little bit like having multiple revenue streams, which is to say, a way to buffer yourself against one stream dipping or drying up. For example, this year, by blog readership looks like it end up lower than it was last year — about 7.5 million recorded visits for the year, as opposed to 8.1 million in 2012. I attribute this to a couple of month-long “semi-hiatuses,” during which I posted less while I was writing books or on tour, a theory borne out by looking at the monthly numbers (November, which was one of those months, had the lowest visitorship of any month in two years). However, this year I also added 15,000 Twitter followers, most of whom (so far as I can tell) are actual real live people and not Twitter bots, and my Facebook and Google Plus public pages also saw growth.
(I should note 7.5 million visits still means 2013 is Whatever’s second best year ever, so I’m not exactly panicking over here in that regard. But again, the fact that my other online presences showed substantial growth works as an offset in any event.)
I don’t see myself ever not doing Whatever, because at the end of the day I want to control my own space online and say what I want to be able to say, unencumbered by character limits or SEO-driven advertisements in the sidebars or any other sort of distraction. But if it turns out that it’s just one part of an overall online presence portfolio, well, that’s no different than it ever was (remember (or don’t) my other online presences as GameDad, MediaOne’s music reviewer, AOL’s “Blog Mayor” or AMC’s science fiction film columnist) and it’s part and parcel of the fact that my presence is distributed in other ways as well — namely that in addition to writing the blog, I write books, work in other media, and even do appearances in the real world from time to time.
So, yes. I suspect I and Whatever will continue on even after this latest death of the blog. At least until writing it stops being fun for me and/or I decide to just stop writing. Short of no longer drawing breath, I don’t see either of those as very likely.
I think it must be a combination of both. If I set out to deliberately do that reversal, I don't think it would have stuck with me for so long if it wasn't something I also just tend to gravitate to with my characters, if that makes sense. I think I'm just not as interested in writing stories where the female character is dependent on the male character for protection, food, shelter, etc.
Ilias and Tremaine of the Fall of Ile-Rien also fall into that category since he's from a matriarchy and he also comes to see Tremaine as the leader of their group, because she's so often the one who comes up with the plans also exerts so much control, in one way or another, over the others' actions. I think it goes for Thomas and Kade of The Element of Fire also. He's the Captain of the Queen's Guard, but she's the Queen of Air and Darkness. I think Nicholas and Madeline are probably the most equal couple. He's a master criminal, but she's a well-known actress and can go and get another role whenever she wants; she's not dependent on him. Also, she had about 90% of the emotional control in that relationship.
The isolation sphere in the center of the room looked like an oversized snowglobe. The room’s outer walls were two feet thick, built of steel and concrete to protect the rest of R&D from potential accidents. A good thing, too. Mrs. Claus brushed her fingers over the gashes by the door. Emma had been so excited by the potential for robotic reindeer…
Reluctantly, she turned her full attention to the fragments in the center of the transparent sphere. Every last splinter had been carefully retrieved and returned, laid out on the sterile white floor.
The team had also brought back the body of Yukon Cornelius.
Bumble hadn’t returned to the Pole, and the retrieval team hadn’t spotted him. At his age, and without teeth, he would have a hard time living in the wild, but she couldn’t risk sending her people out to try to bring him home. Not yet.
She was stalling. Forcing herself to project an air of calm, she turned toward Rudolph. “We’re ready. If you wouldn’t mind?”
Rudolph’s hooves clopped on the tile floor as he positioned his head in a specially designed metal hood secured to the outside of the sphere. When he spoke, his voice was muffled and tinny. “Ready.”
The hood was another of Emma’s designs. A sequence of lenses inside captured and amplified the light of his nose, sending a beam of piercing red light into the heart of the sphere. Hermie and Emma worked the knobs on the control panel. Inside the hood, a small mirror brought the beam directly onto the largest of the fragments.
The broken crystal acted as a prism, shattering Rudolph’s magical light into a rainbow … if you stripped that rainbow of every color save blue and violet.
Mrs. Claus waited for Emma’s spectrographic analysis of the crystal’s magic, though she already knew what Cornelius had found. “This was a weapon of the Snow Queen.”
They were similar to Mrs. Claus’ enchanted glass orbs, only far more potent. During the war, the Snow Queen had seeded the North Pole with her crystal snowflakes, hiding them beneath the drifts where they were all but undetectable, even to Santa’s magic. Feckless and Pacer, two of Santa’s original reindeer, had died after stepping on her buried traps.
They had been the lucky ones. While some of the Snow Queen’s crystals simply exploded, others cursed all within range. Illusion turned friend to foe, releasing its victims only after they had slain their closest allies, and forcing them to carry that guilt forever. Another variety froze the heart, leaving you with the memory of love, but stealing the emotion.
“I thought you killed the Snow Queen,” said Hermie.
“I did.” Years later, and she still relived that battle in her dreams. She pushed the images aside, forced the remembered screams back into the darkness of her mind. “She is gone. Whoever this is, they’re not the Snow Queen. But they may be looking for her arsenal.”
Time after time they had swept the Pole, searching for slumbering traps from that war. Each time she hoped they had found the last. Each time she was proven wrong.
“Could the Snow Queen’s magic control Frosty?” asked Emma.
“Oh, yes,” Mrs. Claus said softly. “Frosty, and so much more.” She turned and strode from the isolation room.
Rudolph pulled free of the hood and trotted after her. “Where are you going?”
“To the Snow Queen’s grave.” Frosty’s master would have to go there eventually. Even dead, much of the Snow Queen’s power remained trapped in her eternally frozen flesh.
“Excuse me,” Hermie said awkwardly. “We’ve all read about the war with the Snow Queen, but nobody knows who she really was. The elves who lived through it, they get this faraway expression and say they never saw her up close, or they can’t recall what she looked like.”
“They chose to forget,” Mrs. Claus said wearily. “We all did. Even Santa. You probably will too, when this is over.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence, through the paper mill and the wood-finishing factory, the greenhouse where elves harvested corn and grain for the reindeer, and finally to the guarded marble stairs spiraling deep into the heart of the North Pole.
The sounds of the Pole faded as they entered the mausoleum.
Gold plaques were mounted to walls of white ice. Many were older than Mrs. Claus. Most of Santa’s original reindeer were memorialized here, as were those elves who had died throughout the centuries. In the center of the far wall, holly and mistletoe bordered four large plaques. She tried not to think about the empty space below those plaques.
“I don’t understand,” whispered Emma.
Mrs. Claus touched the lower right plaque.
Rudolph’s nose painted the ice red. Hermie’s breath caught. Emma made no sound, but tears began to drip down her cheeks as she realized why they were here. She squeezed Hermie’s hand.
Santa Claus had been given the Mantle of Immortality, allowing him to serve for all eternity. His wife—his first wife—had been long-lived, but not even the magic of the Pole could preserve her life forever. Santa had grieved for each of his four prior wives, as he would one day grieve for her. But he was a being of infinite love, one ill-suited for living alone. And passion could blind even the greatest of men.
“The Snow Queen…” Mrs. Claus traced the icy words engraved in gold.
Rest in Peace
“The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air
When the song of angels is sung.”
– Phillips Brooks
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
(Sounds as if this could be relevant to various people who've commented here.)
recessional: A random thought I just had (Note: she'd like me to mention that she's packing and heading north for family celebrations, so may not be able to reply to comments)
And vass is having adventures in smelling:
vass: Bulgari Black: a review
I am bouncing up and down with glee if the perfume posts are inspiring other people to think and write about this stuff, so if there are other posts I've missed (and that you don't mind being linked), let me know.
This post was originally posted at http://rydra-wong.dreamwidth.org/38
If you missed it, I did a Year End Wrap-up Post here. And I'm still taking questions if you have any.
And this post On Fanfic and the Sherlock Q&A Incident
* Elizabeth Koelle's Calendar. I really love her nature photography.
* Emily Jiang: #NotYourAsianSidekick Trending on Twitter
* For the First Time Ever, a Prosecutor Will Go to Jail for Wrongfully Convicting an Innocent Man
An Heir to Thorns and Steel is a serialized fantasy novel updating once a week for free on Tuesdays, and again on Thursdays and Saturdays if tips reach $15 and $20, respectively. Single reviews of existing stories posted to Amazon count for $5 toward the tip total.
Blood Ladders, Book 1
With the exception of that first day, we woke at sunset and rode until just after dawn. The drake brought down game for itself and the genets stripped the carcasses and charred them for me over the fires they built with their clever fingers. I had to let them take care of me; even if I’d had any knowledge of the wildcraft, which I didn’t, my body simply didn’t function after a night in the saddle. Without the poppy and with the effect of the genets gradually diminishing, I was reduced to curling on the grass and struggling to win back my strength, my composure… my will to persevere. The idyll in the sorcerer’s tower receded from mind, taking with it much of my passion for our task. It became an intellectual construct, my quest for the king of elves.
To hold fast to something other than my own pain, I asked the genets to tell me stories, a request that Kelu refused with bitter hauteur. But Almond proved willing, as she so often was; as the drake loped across the grasses, tireless and swift, Almond recounted tales of angels and demons, of queens and kings and princes, of children, of sorrow… of the betrayal of humankind.
“Say that last again?” I asked in the blue night as the drake carried us ever westward.
“The humans chased the elves off the mainland,” Almond said.
“That’s not a story,” I said. “That’s true.”
“I’m not surprised,” Kelu said.
“Why do the humans say so?” Almond asked.
I thought back to the folio. “The text never said. And for us it was long, long ago. What do your stories say?”
“That the humans were jealous,” Kelu said. “Of course. That they hated the elves for their beauty and power and coveted what they couldn’t have, and in a jealous rage they drove the elves away while killing as many of them as possible in as pitiable but titillating ways they could imagine.”
My brows lifted. “So between one and the other the truth is buried, and likely to remain so.”
Kelu shrugged. “You can just ask one of them.”
Taken aback, I said, “I could just…”
“Ask, yes,” Kelu said. “The sorcerer’s been around that long, rumor has it. I’m sure the king has too.”
The concept of immortality remained an abstraction to me until these reminders gave them body and form. But then I thought to ask, “Wouldn’t all of the elves remember that time, if truly they can never die?”
Kelu said, “Some of them are older than others. And though it takes a lot of work to kill an elf, it can be done, and a lot of them were destroyed. I don’t know exactly how it all works.”
I nodded. Then, more quietly, “You haven’t told any stories.”
Kelu snorted. “Like I care about elves and what they think of themselves.”
“Surely,” I said, “the genets tell stories also.”
Kelu glanced over her shoulder at me. “Stories are for people who don’t know how they were made. You can only enjoy mythology if your god isn’t standing above you with a foot on the back of your neck and a whip in his hand.”
To that I said nothing. What could be said?
On another night, a violet night sharp with the scent of sage and wind, I asked, “Why are we not followed?”
“I don’t know,” Kelu said. “It may be that Amoret assumed that Sidithin kept you. No one crosses him.”
We had seen no towns, no roads, nothing but the short grasses, the thin rills, the occasional clump of palms and other trees. “Surely the drake….”
“Everything is disposable to the elves,” Kelu said.
Almond clung to me; though I couldn’t see her I could sense her distress in the way she rubbed her nose against my back.
“Don’t worry,” Kelu said. “We’ll have trouble enough once we get to the coast. Somehow we’re going to have to get across the channel to Kesína and into Suleris without becoming slaves, food or merchandise.”
“I have given that some thought,” I said.
“The elves keep human servants, yes?” I asked. “How are they hired?”
“Hired?” Kelu asked, puzzled. “I don’t know. New ones just appear sometimes.”
“Are they gifts from other elves?” I asked.
“Sometimes,” Kelu said. “Not often, though. Elves tend to be selfish, especially about food.”
“Perhaps they reproduce?” Almond offered, hesitant.
The idea of humans having children in captivity who grew up to become the property of their elven masters in turn, a chain unbroken for eternity, revolted me. “The few I saw didn’t seem to have the vitality to spark new lives,” I said. “Aren’t there wild humans? Human communities?”
“Farms, you mean,” Kelu said. “There are some elven lands that are worked by humans.”
“Perhaps I can be sent from a farm to serve the Suleris household,” I said.
Kelu snorted. “Why would the farm release a perfectly good worker like that?”
Wry, I said, “And I am so capable of physical labor, with my able body.” Almond winced against my back. “I thought,” I continued, “that my story could be that they sent me along because I had become too infirm to do any other labor.”
“That might work,” Kelu said. “On the other hand, they might decide you’d make good food.”
“You have to consider that possibility.”
I did and I hated it. Not just hate… I couldn’t conceive of it. But… “Can you think of any other way to infiltrate the blood-flag house?”
“In a way that would allow you to roam the halls freely?” Kelu said. She shook her head. “No… your idea isn’t a great one, but it might be the only one.”
“Your confidence is greatly appreciated,” I said dryly.
Kelu snorted. “I think this whole idea is an insanity.”
“But it could turn the archipelago on its end,” I said, smiling.
“Maybe,” she said. “If you live so long.”
“They can’t kill me, or so you say.”
“When they’re done with you you’ll wish they’d tried,” Kelu said.
I shook my head.
When we reached the coast it was all I could do to slide off the side of the drake and cling to its neck. The sky was just spilling the roseate light of dawn onto the white sands at our feet. The scent of brine and sage hung in the mist, draping over me, weighing my blouse and my hair down against my shoulders and back. And oh, the sound of the sea, the soft hushing murmur, the hiss as the waves crawled up the sand…!
The sun rising at our back finally touched on the distant crags of another island.
“A little long to swim,” I said, exhausted.
“The drake could make it,” Kelu said, sliding off its back and padding out toward the strand. She swished her tail, agitated. “We’re going to have to find a boat. Or someone to take us across.”
“And I can imagine anyone willingly taking us across the channel without deciding to keep me,” I said, watching the rose tint creep across the waters. The warmth of the light began to caress my shoulders, to shimmer on the scaled side of the drake. I began stripping the saddle off its back; so long as I kept each motion deliberate and paced myself, I could sometimes help the genets with its care. I felt obliged to, for that it was a staunch companion.
“You could begin your charade early,” Almond said, hesitant.
I glanced at her.
“Mark yourself with Suleris’s sign,” Almond whispered.
My gaze fell on my wrist; Amoret’s sigil had long since rubbed off.
“With Suleris’s mark, no one would touch you, Master,” Almond said.
“She’s right,” Kelu said. “There are many blood-flags, but few with Suleris’s clout. We might even be able to get the drake through. Not with one of Amoret’s saddles, though.”
“So,” I said. “We disguise ourselves as possessions of Suleris’s–”
“—you do,” Kelu said. “We can’t change the tags on our collars. We’ll just have to make up something else for us. Maybe we’re going with you because we’re broken or Amoret wants to exchange us.”
“And head… where to find this ship?” I asked.
“To Erevar,” Almond murmured.
“Erevar,” I repeated. I squinted at her. “Isn’t that where the one good elf is? Sadar. Kemses.”
“Ah! Yes, Master,” Almond said.
My eyes lost their focus, caught in the waves. “Perhaps he can help, then.”
“It is possible,” Almond said.
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Kelu said. “Just because he consorts with humans doesn’t make him a human-lover. The elves will say anything about each other if it means they can contrive a new excuse to kill one another.”
“Try to kill one another,” I said absently.
“Destroy,” Kelu said. “The word is destroy. Rend limb from limb and cast the bits into fires. I wouldn’t get to hoping much.”
“Do you have a better suggestion?” I asked. Relieved of its saddle the drake had not moved clear of me, so I leaned on it, all too willing to have it support my spent body.
“No,” Kelu said with a sigh. She looked at Almond. “Have you ever been there?”
Almond shook her head.
“Then I guess we’ll just head south until we meet the river,” Kelu said. “And hope that e Sadar is good to humans in a way that Morgan will appreciate.”
The world had become a beautiful gradient of lilac shadows and creamy sand, blending together, losing focus. Almond’s arms slipped around me. She whispered, “You should lie down, Master. We can continue in a few hours.” Her words dissolved into the colors and I nodded, let her and the drake guide me to the silk and warmth of the strand. And there I wondered if Kemses e Sadar would love or destroy me… wondered before I dreamed my perilous dreams if the world itself would have me first.
Extra long one today–we are already $5 toward our Saturday bonus! This is a good sign. Plus, Kemses is coming up, and one of my favorite scenes. *rubs hands together gleefully*
Mirrored from MCAH Online.