Answers served with a side of bacon. Everybody loves bacon.
DJ Matticus searched: Words with Friends?
I enjoy trading words with friends. I’m especially fond of:
- inquiries into their health
- inquiries into their daily aspirations
- inquiries into their yearly aspirations
- inquiries into their plans for complete and utter conquest
- inquiries into whether or not they have yet read that book that you swear will make them bemoan the lackluster use of the English language everywhere else
- inquiries into their progress in the television series that just might cause tachycardia
- statements of their excellence at being friendly and human
It was difficult to sneak into Toar’s yard. He’d long ago abandoned any thought of making it pretty, trimming it down to plain grass and a looping stone walkway left over from where someone had thought to wander in a garden. There was a center stone circle, and red stone walls higher than a man’s head, and between the two, voices and footsteps tended to carry a whispering echo. He had one tree in the back corner, a thick-headed, pliable thing that cast sweet shade, but wouldn’t harbor anyone trying to climb over the wall in its branches.
But occasionally, Jaera realized, its breezy rustle was enough to cover the squeak of the back gate.
She jumped, catching a sharp breath, when Zain appeared beside her on the back steps.
The halls in Lord Ryden’s estate were quieter than the ones in the Clan Lord’s court. There, Karleigh always shared the wide halls with faces she knew. Friends and acquaintances would pass her in both directions, chatting in small knots, or they lounged on the couches to read and play cards. Sometimes, they just stood at the windows waiting for their friends to arrive. Silence only slipped in late at night.
Here, at the right time of day, Karleigh could walk alone with her echoes. She had never expected that at the home of the First Lord. He was second only to the Clan Lord, and she assumed that his halls would be almost as full, situated in the center of his own busy island.
Surprising as it was, she couldn’t decide if the quiet suited her or not.
Karleigh had been wandering for a little under half an hour when she saw Jaera standing in the hall. The younger girl had her back to the wall, her shoulder inches from the frame of a large double door. She glanced up when she heard footsteps, and offered an easy smile.
Her uncle’s house was quiet as Karleigh made her way down the sweeping stairs from her bedroom to the main hall. Her hand whispered against the railing, while her soft shoes tread silently against the padded steps. Somewhere on the other side of the back door, two birds were competing for sweetest call. The house echoed with its own hums and creaks. Karleigh stood still for a moment, waiting for something else to appear, then to turned down the hall.
The door to the back rooms was tucked underneath the stairs, almost seamless in the wall. She had to run her fingers down the plaster to find the narrow latch. Slipping inside, she moved carefully along the narrow, dim hallway and pushed through the door on the far end to reach the kitchen. Sunlight lanced in through stout windows set high in the ceiling. Herbs hung off the rafters in one corner settled a blend of sweet and sharp over the whole room, while the walls stood in warm yellow light with their baskets and shelves cluttering the space in a friendly way.
Her uncle’s housekeeper must have been sitting at the square table at the center of the room, but she was already standing when Karleigh swung the door open enough to see her. Her tea steamed from the tabletop, and there was a thin stack of playing cards in front of her, spread a little in her haste to put them down.
Seryn counted her horse’s leaping strides, each one of them echoing up through her spine as it bounded forward: one, two, three… Aled’s horse was pounding the ground along side hers, hooves thrumming against the ground between each pounding strike of her own horse. Three strides, and she pulled her horse around, tapped the reins and spun him on a pinpoint until he came to an even stop. She threw one leg over his neck, slid out of the saddle and stopped hands raised, reins looped in her fingers, her horse’s body tucked against her back.
Aled was behind her. The city was in front of her, with the guards teetering on an uneven line where they’d started to give up on any sort of chase. All of them were staring at her. It didn’t much matter. Aled was behind her where he belonged. The guards were far enough away to give her space to breathe. The moment was hers again.
She took a careful breath, meeting the guard’s eyes one at a time, calmly and quickly convincing them she wasn’t likely to move any time soon.
“I’d like to see your commander,” she said evenly. She raised her hands a fraction higher as the lead guard came toward her. His face was bent in sharp angles, watching her like she might explode at any moment. Her motion pulled her cuffs down just a little farther, showed a scant inch more of the scars that looped lazily on her skin. “I promise not to move until you bring him here.”
He glanced at her hands, her scars, then back at her face. She was calm enough, her scars were dark enough, her statement held the narrow gap between surrender and threat.
If luck existed, he could dress it in blame, and the cut of the cloth would fit like a second skin.
He could say the absence of the family he’d been born to wasn’t his fault, just as firmly as he could deny his culpability in the families that never chose him. The state home he’d lived in one year after another, until it was the first word that arrived when he thought of home, was just the way the dice were rolled sometimes. His early enlistment was fate, not the best choice among limited options. The explosion that almost sent him home, the name he had to give up to enter a service that would keep him, the violence he had to learn to remain useful, were just the cards that he was dealt.
Last night, hundreds of people gathered in tuxedos and gowns to celebrate the best films this year had to offer. For the next week, the media will offer us opinions on those tuxedos and gowns, on hair and make-up, jewelry and style, with some side comments about who won what. I will ignore most of that, despite having watched all ninety minutes of the red carpet coverage, and all three and half hours of the award show itself.
Because – despite thinking a certain blue gown was stunning, despite enjoying the prevalence of bow-ties, despite laughing with the sudden appearance of a pair of ruby-red slippers – the things that stood out most to me were the smiles, the breathless attempts to squeeze two hundred names into forty seconds, grins so wide their faces can barely contain them, shaking fingers holding tight to prepared speeches, literal jumps for joy.
Answers served with a modicum of efficacy and a small trout
DJ Matticus searched: Why should you never take a lion to a movie?
I can think of three good reasons off the top of my head:
1) No film has ever been filmed or subtitled in Rawranese. In general, this bores lions, since they can’t understand the dialogue. Best case scenario, they watch the movie while making up their own dialogue and every film turns out to be about the desperate search for blood popsicles. Worst case scenario, they find other ways to entertain themselves.
No one in the theater will thank you for bringing a lion.
Karleigh opened her eyes, slowly focusing on the plain, pleasantly cream-colored wall beside her bed. She blinked lightly, realizing that she hadn’t moved during the night, hadn’t rolled off her left side, taken her hand from under her head, or un-crooked her knees. Her hair was still twisted and tucked against the pillow they way she’d done as she slipped into bed to hold it off her shoulders. The blanket was still perfectly square where it hung off the edge of the mattress.
Karleigh took a deep breath. She was no longer tired, her mind sharpening with every breath she took as she pulled herself out of bed, but she wasn’t comfortable. She dropped her feet over the side of the mattress, straightening her knees and rolling her shoulders back.
She’d had this room since she was six years old, but it still wasn’t home. She was beginning to believe – and accept in small, silent moments – that it never would be.
Darek’s shop held its quiet place of honor, second from the corner, on the sweeping market street. He did business exactly as he liked it: regularly and quickly, with a high enough reputation that customers rarely tried to argue down his prices, and low enough that the nobility mostly passed him by. He could relax, rest his elbows on the counters when he was tired, ignore the door for a few moments when he was in the middle of something, and smile at everyone like they were his neighbors.
It was comfortable, it was easy, and after ten years of running the shop, it was habit.
When the door swung open, he glanced up enough to count the three men who had stepped inside, then looked back down at the bolt of cloth he was rolling back up. There had been no better way to the sell the creamy yellow fabric than to lay it along the full length of the counter and show Mr. Illiam how it played in the alternating sunlight and shadows of the room. Mr. Illiam bought eight yards for his girls, and Darek was enjoying spending his time on the remainder.