Flash Fiction: Our Own Nightmares (790 words)

“Bring her to me!” Lady Cintia yelled. Three guards scurried from the hall as if she had struck them, and every one else fell into brittle silence. The echo behind her voice had seemed too loud. Their breathing wasn’t even quiet enough. A few people shifted toward the walls. Others stayed exactly as they were.

Cintia shoved herself away from the long table, stood, and whirled away from it. The table rocked on its legs. Glancing around the room, she seemed to realize how many were still gathered after the morning court. She looked at the wall rather than glare at them directly.

“Clear the room!” she shouted.

Everyone moved toward the door in an instant. Teo, her husband stayed in his seat. The two guards at the wall stayed. The Captain of her guard, Maurei stayed, standing on the other side of the table. The rest of the crowd clattered out, and left a greater echo in their wake.

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Royal Court Book Tag

Welcome to the Royal Court Book Tag, created by Janna Marie over on YouTube. The idea is to create your perfect royal court by picking characters out of the books you have read to fit the roles in each question below. I’m not sure “perfect” is what I ended up with, but this castle would definitely never be a boring place…

I was not tagged, but I’m doing it anyway.

I’m also not answering the questions exactly as Janna Marie created them, because it seems the game of Telephone has wreaked a little havoc with them and I grabbed them from Katelyn at Book Chats who purposefully attempted to lose some of the gender inequality.

Here we go:

Squire - Tamora Pierce Good Copy1. King and QueenYour Favorite male and female leads
Favorite is always a difficult word for me, but Keladry from The Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce has been a favorite for a long time, and I think a warrior queen would be amazing. She’ll kick a few butts, refuse to leave any of her soldiers behind, and keep everyone under her care safe. She’ll keep them happy too, if she can help it. She would probably hate the job of Queen, but I’m giving it to her, and at least this way she won’t have to worry about losing her knighthood every time she disobeys orders to help someone out.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchJean Tannen from The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch is a more recent favorite of mine. It may be cheating a little to call him a lead, but he is patient, dangerous, kind, and better able to put up with stupid people than almost any other character I’ve read. After everything he goes through, he deserves a little stability and happiness.

And my royal court is already off to an interesting start: a queen who disobeys orders and a king whose superpower is putting up with stupid people. Oh, and she carries a glaive which can take off a man’s head from ten feet away, and he carries a pair of hatchets called the Wicked Sisters. Continue reading

Gwendoogle Part CXX – ANM’s Third Birthday

Gwendoogle partyAnswers served with party hats. Take one. :)

Today is the third anniversary of the late-night whim that created Apprentice Never Master. To celebrate, every question in today’s Gwendoogle will be answered with the words “Happy Birthday, Apprentice Never Master” repeated with meaningful inflections.

All right. That would be difficult to do. It would be nearly impossible in text. So, all answers will be given in anagrams of “Happy Birthday, Apprentice Never Master.”

Or, maybe not. Because I’m not sure what question “A carpenter’s empire braved thy hippy ant!” would answer. So, all answers will be given, using only the letters of the alphabet used in “Happy Birthday, Apprentice Never Master.”

Or, maybe not that either, because that’s only 15 letters of the alphabet, and while a, b, c, d, e, h, i, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, and y are lovely letters – and I can use them to spell “a bardic nymph vest” – I’d like more. So, all answers will be given without using any of the letters in “Happy Birthday, Apprentice Never Master.”

Wait. Nope. That only leaves me eleven letters of the alphabet. I’d be wandering around saying Fgjkloquwxz! for the next hour.

So, all answers will given as usual. After all, I’ve already used up the number of times I can say “Happy Birthday, Apprentice Never Master” in this post. ;)

Neekers searched: How do you finish a nap?
Dream about a baby prince elephant who came to your house on an epic quest for a thousand clean socks so that he can use them to to keep his herd’s noses warm for the winter. You feel bad because, you would give him the very socks on your feet, but they are, of course, dirty. When the baby prince elephant trumpets to call the town together to make a plea for socks, you will jerk awake. Continue reading

Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Gone Overboard (363 words)

At that point, sense, logic, and sanity abandoned ship. Captain Ricksen hadn’t imagined they would make such a splash when they went over the rail.

He had thought it would be good splash. Something solid, and a little long, echoing a flailing sort of motion, because nothing enters the water in a clean dive when it’s shoved over the rail. But not the solid, hollow sound of one of the longboats settling into choppy water.

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Shatter Lavinia

Lavinia by Ursula K. Le GuinLavinia
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Lavinia has existed as a character since the first center BCE, but only in a few lines of Virgil’s Aeneid. Le Guin’s Lavinia is aware of it.

She is aware she’s fictional. She is aware her poet wrote her without any dialogue. She is aware he said that she was blonde when she is quite clearly a brunette, and there are a scattered handful of other things she could correct him on, but they don’t quite matter.

He knew where she was born. He knew who her father was and who she would marry. He knew when her husband would die. He knew the wars that would be won and lost around her home, who would lose blood in them, that she would be daughter, wife, and mother of kings.

And I’ve never met a character so at peace with her own fictionality.

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Is There Such a Thing as an Airport Librarian?

Today is a strange day: I’m talking in an airport.

I’m not exactly a frequent flier. I didn’t get on an airplane until I was nineteen years old and decided to cut my teeth on a fourteen hour flight to Athens. I talked to people in the airport then, classmates who had signed up for the same two-week tour of archeological sites and temples. On the plane, I mostly slept, because my tickets had been bought several weeks after everyone else’s and I was several rows away from anyone I knew.

Two years later, I flew to California, then took a trip to Ohio, and Massachusetts. It wasn’t until I flew to Colorado that I realized I didn’t speak between saying “good-bye” to the person who dropped me off the airport and “hello” to the person who picked me up on the other end. Maybe a “thank you” to the nice people at security. Maybe an “excuse me” to anyone I had to scoot past on the plane. Six words, tops. And I usually say at least eight in a single second.

I took a trip Massachusetts again, more aware, but still didn’t speak. I’m always flying alone, so, even though I’m not fond of the silence when I feel so surrounded by people, there isn’t a need for speech.

But today?

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Wednesday Serial: Farther Part LXXXII

Anie fire_handANIE

Da called up the stairs. His voice was a little muffled coming up through the wooden floor beside Anie’s bed. Her room seemed a little large. Thea was sleeping in a dozen beds at once. But it was good to hear his voice.

Anie shifted onto her side, reburying her head in the pillow. She was going to steal her few more minutes of sleep. Da would understand. She thought he was probably proud of her too, now that she wasn’t really running away after all. They hadn’t gone so far from the city.

Her thoughts seemed to stutter against each other, matching what she knew had happened to the room around her. She realized her eyes were shut. She realized she was dreaming. The floor should not be standing upright and there were too many Thea’s in the room. Da’s voice was too high, too much like Drystan’s.

“Come on, come on, come on!” Drystan called, a sing-song too bright for the early morning. “Roll out of bed. Put your feet on the floor. Walk yourselves to breakfast. If you’re still dreaming, I suppose you can swim there, but move, move, move!”

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Flash Fiction: What Comes After (521 words)

Calleigh rested her hand on the bulge of her stomach, pressing heat into the latest ache from the baby’s kicking. It was almost time. She was sure she was stretched almost to her limit. Her skin felt thin to her, and it was her skin under her palm… but it was someone else’s foot, elbow, shoulder, head. Some stranger’s, maybe. She hadn’t seen their face yet.

She rubbed over the spot, feeling the baby turn, maybe press back at her for a moment, and took a breath. Not deep. There wasn’t much space in her for a deep breath these days.

“Did you love me before I was born?” she murmured.

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Flash Fiction: Knives and Hats (538 words)

It blinked and Jaska, who had been about to sit on it, nearly jumped through her skin. The thing in the chair blinked its brown eyes again, lazily, and turned its head. Its fur was so thick it seemed as if it had simply rotated around, a white and brown fluffed dome set into a brown fluffed cushion.

Jaska stared while the rest of her party skirted the table to claim their – empty – seats.

“What is that?” she demanded.

Captain Akiva tried to hide her smile as she slipped into her chair. She set her elbows on the table and folded her hands in front of her face. Behind her, one of the taproom’s boys craned his neck to see what had startled her.

“I’m sorry,” he said politely. He touched shoulders and elbows in the crowd to gently nudge his way around to Jaska, then gave her a low, apologetic smile. “It’s just Polliver.” Bending over the chair, he collected the thing. It looked at him, then away again, bored, and limply let him lift it up, revealing four legs in the long hair and a tail like a long, frayed flag.

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Gwendoogle Part CXIX – The Only Solution is to Stop Leading Me Anywhere

GwendoogleAnswers served with a smile. Or three.

E-Boy searched: Where does the phrase “leading me down the primrose path” come from?
Primrose is popularly – but wrongly – thought to derive from prima rosa (“first rose”), and since the 1400s, primroses have been used metaphorically to indicate ultimate beauty or pleasure. The “primrose path” would have been almost synonymous with heaven, though lacking the piety.

Our modern meaning, in which that primrose path leads you eventually to destruction, comes from Shakespeare, who borrowed the phrase in Hamlet:

Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.
Act I, Scene III, Lines 51-55

“Leading me down the primrose path” has also recently been confused with “leading me up the garden path” which indicates you are purposefully being tricked or misled. Mostly likely, the latter phrase originates from a time when weddings were held in the house gardens, and men were not always aware of what their bride looked like before the veil was lifted.

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