writersaurusrex: (Writing)
 The Excalibur's recreation officer lay flat on his back and up to his waist in machinery in Rec Room 1. He hummed festively to himself as he worked as quickly as he could to get the food replicators ready for Christmas. He paid it no mind when the the computer started playing Christmas carols for no apparent reason; he just chalked it up to someone getting in the Christmas spirit. The music was just loud enough to hide the faint rustling of garland that streamed from a point about five feet off the center of the floor and festooned itself around the the top of the rec room walls and criss-crossed the ceiling. It crescendoed long enough to hide the soft scraping noise as one of the tables uprooted itself, scuttled several feet over, and rebolted itself to the floor. The caroling diminuendoed, but it was still loud enough to mask the whispering as the tabletop Christmas tree floated over to the spot abandoned by the table and grew to six times its former size. The rec officer didn't hear the almost inaudible pops as Christmas ornaments gushed from the same mid-air spot and whirled around the ceiling to hang themselves from the garland and find their places in the tree. He didn't even hear the flapping of the gold and silver angel tree-topper as it swirled into being and flew to alight on the tree's summit.

It wasn't until he heard a loud crack that he pulled himself out of the wall and sat up. His jaw dropped as he looked around. He slowly got to his feet and made his way to the wall intercom.

"Rec room to bridge," he said as he pressed the button.

"Stevens here. Merry Christmas!"

The rec officer looked at the clock and saw that it, was indeed Christmas Day, if only barely. 00:02.

"McCain here, Lieutenant, and Merry Christmas to you, too. Someone's decorated down here, sir."

"Yes, I've seen it. Very nice."

"No, sir, you don't understand." McCain paused as he wondered if what he was seeing was really there. "I mean, someone in the last five minutes came in here and decorated the hell out of this place."

There was a long silence on the intercom. "Be right there," the lieutenant said and cut off the intercom.

McCain stood in the center of the room and turned slowly in place, growing more and more amazed by the second until the door swooshed open.

"Now, what do you...mean..." Stevens's voice trailed off as he saw what McCain was talking about.

"What the hell?"

"I don't know, sir. I was reprogramming the food replicators for Christmas, getting it ready fot the goose and the pudding and everything. I wasn't in there even five minutes. I heard a noise, came out, and..." He waved a hand at the room around them.

"Know what I think, Chief?"

"What?"

"I think my dad lied to me. There really is a Santa Claus."

writersaurusrex: (Writing)
This year, I'm going to try the Winter Bingo game on the Charloft group on LiveJournal. I'll be writing for Mary Hall...who has two version. There's the Texas Death Match version ("MH: TDM"), which is from my semi-work-in-progress murder mystery. And then there's the Doctor Who companion version ("MH: DW"), which is the same character, but who becomes a Companion to the Tenth Doctor.

My card, taking the first one that came up, is as follows:

         
reindeer hay kerchief pneumonia roasting on an open fire
Festivius shoveling snow solstice shoveling snow Bethlehem
scarf fuel shortage   snowboard scarves
Janus cold feet snowsuit by the fire dreary
mug snowball poinsettia sacred snowman

Get your own CharLoft Winter Bingo Card at http://www.labarc.com/Bingo/



writersaurusrex: (Writing)
A scene written for the online Ars Magica play-by-post game I'm in, Light of Andorra . 750 words.


Lucia paused at the edge of the training yard, taking a short break from her afternoon errands to watch her maga spar with some of the men. A quick glance at the sun as it kissed the covenant walls told her that Vibria would be wrapping up her session soon, and she knew that Vibria would like a quick soak to relax before dinner. The young girl smiled to herself as she let her imagination wander, picturing Vibria inviting her into the tub with her to help her work out some of the knots in her arms and legs, then letting Lucia soap up her magnificent huge...

She shook her head quickly to snap herself back to reality. If there's one thing she'd learned about Vibria the past few months, especially after the embarrassment in Barcelona the Christmas before, it was that Vibria wasn't interested in her the way Lucia was in the maga, and never would be. She sighed and turned away to start her trek back to Vibria's sanctum when something on the archery range caught her eye.

Or someone, rather. For a split second, she thought that Vibria might have a twin sister who had joined. The same unmistakable silhouette as the woman quickly drew an arrow from her quiver, nocked, drew, and released. By the time the arrow thunked into the target, the woman was already drawing her next arrow.

Lucia glanced quickly back to the training yard and saw that Vibria was still engrossed in her sparring. Taking a deep breath, she approached the archer and watched quietly as she waited for her to finish.

The archer was almost as tall as Vibria, and almost as curvy, with a bust somewhere between where Vibria's was when she first met Lucia and where it was after her return from Vulcanus's errand. The archer's hair was straw blonde, just brushing her shoulders and well out of her eyes.

When the archer's quiver was empty, Lucia took a couple of steps closer. "Nice form," she said in Occitan.

"Thank you," the archer replied in the same tongue. "I wish I'd put more arrows on target, I'm not used to shooting at things that aren't moving."

She saw the questioning look on Lucia's face. "When I was growing up," she said with a smile, "I used to borrow my brother's bow and go hunting when I needed to get out of the house for a while. I got to be a pretty decent huntress."

Lucia grinned back. "Did your brother know you had borrowed his gear?"

The archer laughed. "No. That just got me in more trouble. Never bothered me much, though."

Lucia stuck our her hand in greeting. "I'm Lucia. I don't think I've seen you around, and your accent says you're not from around here."

The archer looked at Lucia's hand in surprise, then shook it carefully. "Call me Epona. And, yes, I'm new here, just arrived a few weeks ago. I just got fed up with everything at home and decided to leave while I could. I heard rumors of a place that would welcome people who were different, and wound up here."

Lucia shrugs. "I grew up here, so I guess I'm used to different people."

She walked alongside Epona as she went to the water barrel. "What was so wrong at home that it made you leave?" Lucia knew things were different out in the "mundane" world, but she had a hard time picturing what was so bad that people had to run away.

Epona filled a cup with water and took a quick sip. "My family kept trying to push me into a marriage, and I was having none of it. They finally pushed me too hard, I'd had enough, so I left."

"What was wrong with it?"

Epona looked at Lucia for a long minute before she finally answered. "Let's just say that men aren't exactly my thing."

Lucia nodded sagely. "I know exactly what you mean. They never did anything for me either." She looked back at the training yard and saw that Vibria was removing her dragon helm, which meant she'd be headed back to her sanctum soon.

"I have to get going," Lucia said apologetically. "My maga's finished her sparring and I need to go draw her bath. If you're not busy after dinner, I would love to meet you at the tavern and share some drinks, talk some more."

Epona smiled. "I'd like that."


writersaurusrex: (Writing)

The night that Vibria had her heart broken for the first time, she decided that the right and proper thing to do was to go to the inn and drown her sorrows. She wore her favorite blouse (despite having been let out by Lucia, it fit rather more snugly that she would have preferred – which was surprising, considering how thoroughly Lucia had measured her bosom) and a long skirt, layered in a vain attempt to keep her warm.

She didn't really want any company while she drank, although a couple of men offered to console her in their drunkenly awkward fashion. Vibria rebuffed each in turn and ignored the insults they muttered under their breaths as they walked away.

She had just started on her third glass of wine, and was slightly annoyed that she was still sober, when she saw her maidservant enter the tavern and head straight for her.

"Maga, this isn't the right place for you right now," Lucia said with a worried expression. "I know you've had a rough day, but maybe it would be better if you came home."

Vibria looked up at Lucia for a long moment and blinked a couple of times trying to get the girl's face to focus. "Maybe you're right. But I'm not done drinking. I'm taking this bottle with me. And we should get one for you, too."

"Of course. I'll get a bottle, and we can get you back home, and we can get you to bed when you're ready."

Lucia found the serving girl and had a quick conversation with her, which resulted in another bottle of wine finding its way to Lucia's hand. She returned to Vibria's table just in time to see the maga stand up quickly. A little too quickly, judging by the look on her face and the way she wobbled in place for moment like a child's toy.

"So, this is what they mean by 'falling down drunk'," Vibria said, having just discovered one of Life's Great Truths.

"You're not falling down, Maga. I'll get you home. Grab your bottle, we don't want to leave it behind."

Vibria weaved her way from behind the table, Lucia walking with her nervously. Her free hand was ready to steady the maga if she needed it. Vibria grabbed her bottle and held it carelessly by the neck.

She managed to find the tavern's door on the first try, although she did have to alter her course a couple of times, with some guiding tugs and nudges from Lucia. It took considerably longer to get from the tavern to their home than it normally did, mainly because Vibria was weaving a rather circuitous route, and Lucia had to slip her arm around Vibria's waist and try to nudge her in the right direction from time to time.

Once the two entered the foyer of Vibria's sanctum, Lucia felt behind her to push the door closed and throw the bolt. Vibria looked around in the near pitch dark, with the only light a dim red glow leaking around the edges of the inner door from a dozen and more roaring fireplaces that kept the laboratory swelteringly hot.

"'s too dark," Vibria muttered, then spit a small ball of flame into the palm of her hand. The ball gave enough light to find the door, and Lucia carefully removed the bottle from Vibria's hand and placed it on a table next to the one she had carried.

"I'm not done drinking it yet," Vibria said as she reached for the bottle.

"I'll carry it, Maga," Lucia said as she deftly moved between Vibria and the bottles. "We just need to get inside first. Sit wherever you want, I'll get a couple of glasses."

"You're a good servant." Vibria patted Lucia on the arm, then fumbled with the doorknob. Lucia waited patiently for Vibria to open the door, then guided her into the laboratory.

The maga stopped abruptly just a few steps in and started sobbing. "Why would he make that for me if he thought I was just a tease?" She let the flame in her hand die, but the room was well lit by the plethora of fireplaces lining the walls.

Lucia looked at Vibria, then followed her gaze. The maga was looking at the mannequin that held her armour, which was topped by the enameled dragon-headed helm that Vulcanus had gifted her with a few months earlier.

"He was just trying to buy your affection," Lucia spat. She stormed over to the dummy and grabbed the helm, then went to a fireplace to toss it into the flames.

"Stop! Don't destroy it! It's too expen...eski...too pretty to destroy!"

Lucia looked at the helm "This thing? Exquisite?"

"Yeah, exquisite." Vibria said the word carefully. "Don't burn it. Put it where I don't have to see it, though. I don't want to be thinking of him every time I walk in here."

Lucia looked around, then carried the helm into the bedchamber and tucked it into the bottom of a wardrobe, piling a few blankets on top of it to hide it from sight.

When she returned to the lab, Vibria had managed to collapse into a chair and sat there with her head in her hands, crying.

"How could he do this to me?" she sobbed. "I love him so much, and when I told him how I felt, he went off and married that Fédora right away! He couldn't even..."

"Not right away," Lucia interrupted as she poured them both a glass of wine, filling her own glass substantially more than Vibria's. "He did stop and shag those four women last night, first."

"He what?" Vibria started to rise, but was stopped by Lucia's hand on hers. "Does Fédora know?"

"I'm sure she does. It was the talk of the covenant this morning. The girls seemed quite proud of themselves. Couldn't wait to tell the world that they let Vulcanus have his way with them."

"Lucky," Vibria muttered.

"Right," Lucia snapped. "Lucky to get used by a man only interested in getting his jollies, then marrying someone he knew would spread her legs for him and pop out as many babies as he wants."

"Lucia." Vibria started again to rise before falling back into the chair. "I won't have you badmouthing Anselm like that. I still..."

"Don't tell me you're about to say you still love him, after what he did! He obviously doesn't feel anything for you, or he wouldn't have run off like he did."

Vibria slumped in the chair and reached for her goblet, draining it in one fell swoop.

"I thought he did. He's the only one who treated me right in...years! Everyone else treats me like I'm a whore, or useless, or incompetent, or a thief, or..."

She raised her glass to her lips, only to frown when she realized it was empty. She held it out for more wine.

"Not everyone, Maga," Lucia said as she poured a dollop.

"You're right. You've treated me fairly since you started working for me. And thank you. I'm glad you're the one that got stuck with me.

"Stuck with you? Heavens, no, Maga. I wanted to be with you. I heard how all the other servants were talking about you, and I knew that wasn't right. So I volunteered, and I'm delighted to be here." Lucia smiled and cracked her knuckles. "And the others soon learned to keep their mouths shut about you."

Vibria's head had fallen forward with her chin resting on her chest, but she awoke with a start and looked around briefly.

"You seem tired, Maga. It's been a long day. Maybe we should get you to bed." Lucia stood and moved to Vibria's side.

"You're right. Only drunks fall asleep in their cups. And I'm not a drunk, I'm just a tipsy." Vibria started to get to her feet, and almost succeeded, only to fall back in her chair a third time. It took two more tries, and a little help from Lucia, to get her standing up.

"Just a teensy weensy tipsy with great bit titsies that no one else seems to want." She looked down at her breasts. "It's just you and me, boobies." She lifted one breast. "We still love you," she said in a falsetto as she jiggled her breast. She then did the same with her other one, squeaking "That's right! We're a team!" She then dropped her breast and giggled.

"I'm drunk, aren't I?" she asked.

"A little bit, yes," Lucia replied with a blush.

"Well, I deserve to be. Isn't that what you're supposed to be when the only man you've ever loved runs away and gets married? And I may never find someone who's going to love me now!" Vibria started bawling and flung her arms around Lucia.

The maidservant, surprised, stood their awkwardly before she hugged the maga back, not quite sure what to do.

"You'll find someone," she said in what she hoped was her most reassuring voice. "Who knows, you might find the one you love right under your nose." She stood there holding Vibria and let her cry herself out.

"I'm going to bed," Vibria finally said as she eased herself out of the embrace. She turned and looked around for a second before she stumbled through the door into the bedchamber and pitched headlong onto her bed. She was sound asleep almost before she hit the mattress.

Lucia smiled tenderly for a couple of minutes as she gazed at Vibria. She got a bucket and placed it by the bed, then carefully lifted Vibria's legs onto the bed and pulled the sheets up to tuck her in.

She then undressed for bed and sat on her mattress, a few feet away from Vibria's, and watched the maga as she always did. She eventually pulled the thin sheet over herself and drifted off to sleep, perchance to dream of a day when they might share a bed.

writersaurusrex: (Default)
Every now and again, I'm actually motivated to write more than a sentence or two at a time.  Thursday was one of those times, when I wrote a big wall-o-text for one of the online Ars Magica pbp games I'm in.  About 1400 words, done in about two hours, including getting lunch.

>^-_-^<
Cygna's Testimony

"Adorjan was a magus at Duos Flumen, where I grew up and spent my apprenticeship, first with Mikhail and then with my mater, Grus. Shortly after my Arts were Opened, I am told, Adorjan offered to teach me Magic Theory, in exchange for my assistance with his laboratory. He was what could be described as a harsh master, in that he firmly believed in mistakes should be punished. I was not the best of students, through no fault of his, and I felt the switch on my back on many occasion. I still bear those marks, not just from that first season but from later years.

"That entire spring, it felt to me that he would go out of his way to belittle me, to insult my abilities while at the same time commenting on how intelligent and gifted I was. I bit my tongue, out of respect for the magus, but he still seemed to provoke me at every turn until I could take no more and I started to yell back. That seemed to please him, and for the next couple of months, every time that I lost my temper, whether with him or with anyone else, he praised me. At the end of my lessons, he took me aside after swearing me to secrecy, told me that he could tell that I was destined to greatness, that I had gifts such as he had never seen before, and felt that by strictly adhering to the Code that I would someday swear, that I would only fetter myself. He said that he knew of a way that I would be able to garner more power than I would through Hermetic study alone. I believed what he told me, felt what he said to be true, and told him that I would do what it took to become as powerful as he knew I would be. He then took me to a hidden chamber in the woods near Duos Flumen, again swore me to secrecy, and explained that by swearing my allegiance to the Princes of Hell, at the proper time, they would aid me in my studies and my quest for power. He told me that I had earned the grace of Satan, and that I should bear his mark. He them Mutoed a length of iron into a branding iron, and graced my body with the sigil of Satan." Cygna's hand rises to her breast.

"It was a few years before he asked for my assistance in the laboratory, although I did speak with him often, after dinner or when I was given some time to myself outside of my studies. I stole away, and we...Adorjan and I...spoke of my progress, my future, what he described as "my destiny." And, when we were alone, we would steal away and speak of the other paths to knowledge and power. A few months after the Gathering of Twelve Years of 1203,I became Grus's apprentice. I was not adjusting to the arrangement as well as I should have, I'm afraid. Grus was happily married, with three beautiful children. I freely admit that I was jealous of what she had. I was fourteen, and wanted something like that for myself. That winter, we worked on the wand that cast Ball of Abysmal Flame, and we often discussed my feelings toward Grus and David, of my jealousy of their happiness, and how I longed for something like that for myself. When we had finished, and it was time for me to return to my dominae, we once more withdrew to his hidden sanctum. He explained that Leviathan had found me pleasing and acceptable, and Adorjan placed the mark of Leviathan upon my body." Cygna's hand moves to her gut, then she folds her hands in her lap again.


"A couple of years later, he invoked his right as Bonisagus to take me, and I assisted him in the invention of his Longevity Ritual. During the course of my working with him, he started to ask me questions of a...personal nature." Cygna blushes, but continues, obviously deeply embarrassed. "He learned that I was yet a virgin, but that I had feelings for...certain boys in the covenant. He...encouraged my interest in them, and even offered assistance should I wish to pursue my amorous intent." She heaves a deep sigh of regret.

"He offered to speak with them on my behalf (they were both of an age that they were no longer bothered by Adorjan's gift), and arranged a place for us to rendezvous for our illicit pursuits. I accepted his offer, and gave my body freely to them...and, over the next several years, to anybody who wanted me." Cygna looks down at the hands in her lap.

"When my time in his laboratory was done, he again took me to his hidden sanctum, told me that my actions had greatly pleased Asmodeus, and placed his sigil on my body.

"It was only a few months later that he invoked his right of Bonisagus again, this time to work on a device for the covenant's defence. He praised me at every opportunity, told me how impressed he was with the progress I had made since our first season together, and convinced me that I had more to offer Duos Flumen and the Order as a whole than anybody he knew. It was not long before I started to believe him, and my head swelled with pride and my own self-importance. Once more, he told me that I had been pleasing to one of the Princes of Hell, this time to Lucifer, and asked if I dedicated myself to his cause as I had the other Princes before him. I affirmed that I did, and was branded with the sigil of Lucifer.

"I did not assist or study under Adorjan for any length of time after that, but I did often steal away to speak with him, to discuss things and to learn what I could in what little time I was able to spend with him. In the winter of 1212, a few weeks before the Spring Equinox, he sent for me and said that it was time for me to prove myself once and for all. He did not tell me what he meant by that, but said that I must come with him. I did so, without hesitation, and he led me to a wood, about a day away from Duos Flumen, that had been one of our sources of Vis. When we draw near, he told me that we were to perform a ritual that would transform the Vis, give it an Infernal taint. I wondered what purpose that would serve, but said nothing. When we arrived...Bethany ex Mercere was there, cold, naked, shivering, shackled to a stone altar, one that had not been there before." Cygna starts to cry, but forces herself to continue her testimony, one that she is convinced will damn her as surely as she did Adorjan.

"Adorjan told me to enchant Bethany, to make her docile for her part in the ritual." She shakes her head as the tears pour down her cheeks.

"I should have realized what he intended, should have stopped him. But I didn't. I did as he asked, and he chained her, ankle and wrist, to the stone and drew a knife. That was when I realized what he intended to do, and that is when I finally realized.... I yelled at him, begged, pleaded for him to stop, to not kill Bethany. But he refused, said that she had to die for what she had done, had to die to complete the ritual. He raised the knife. I ran at him, knocked the knife from his hand. He started to yell at me, to curse me. He pushed me aside, grabbed the knife, and started to come at me.

"I panicked. I ran, pulled off my robes, took my heartbeast and flew home as soon as I could. As I started to run...I heard him chanting behind me...and then I heard thunks. Over and over and over." Cygna stops, and draws in on herself, crying uncontrollably and repeating "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, please, God, forgive me." for several minutes.

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