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Old Jun 24 2008, 11:09 PM   #1
D. M. Domini
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chicagoland
Gender: F
Fan of: Afra Lyon, and Robinton!
Now Reading: Sabriel by Garth Nix
Post Snippets of Original Fiction, by Portalvast Magus

I like writing fanfic...it's fun in a good geeky way, lets me think up new stories for characters so beloved over the years that, had they physical form, they would be missing button eyes and tails and the velvet on their little noses where they have been kissed so much.

However, there's a little gremlin in me that also feels guilty. It says, "Fanfic! Not again! You're wasting precious, precious time on things you can never sell! Shame on you! SHAME!" So, after pigging out on a few thousand words of fanfic, I guilt-trip myself into attacking my original works of fiction.

Anyway, I figured maybe I should post a few somewhere. My style is markedly different in original fiction than in my fanfic. I'm also generally more proud of my craftsmanship with my original fiction. Unsure if anyone will be interested in my original fic, but I thought I'd put a few bits in a thread, just in case.

Fair warning--I do use adult language in parts, particularly for the second snippet.

But first...here is a snippet from the story I call The Dragon King's Wife:

**********

Chapter Two

Rouwan - 1


First, the tourniquet. The cloth is wide and rubberized, with hooks and eyelets along its length so it can be fastened with one hand. An invention of his own. He pulls it tight around his left bicep, tight, then tighter, to slow the flow of tainted blood, and clenches his left fist, turning his hand so the wrist is facing upwards in an accessible position.

Then chemicals. He teases the dry ends of the impregnated cloth out of the pan. The scent is of vinegar and musk, strong, burning deeper and deeper up his nostrils. Keeping his fingers out of the solution and on the dry ends of the cloth, he swabs it across his wrist, blowing a hard, but controlled breath out of his nose as his skin protests, itching, burning, stabbing, telling him that these chemicals aren’t exactly a health compress, but something more akin to poison that would drop a different man dead within the next few minutes. But he’s not different man, he’s Rouwan, and he watches as suddenly the black-limned circle appears in his wrist, the center first normal, and then curling back from the center of a pit as the scort is forced to open up unnaturally, an aperture in his flesh half an inch deep.

The Mathematician sitting across from Rouwan at the table is not so far gone as to not realize what Rouwan’s doing has the potential to go very very wrong. “Hmmmhm,” he breathes out, his often unused voice warming up to possibly speak an audible warning. His eyes flick in movements that more accurately speak of the lightning-quick and breakneck speeds of his mental processes than his worn and creaky movements do.

Rouwan drops the chemical impregnated cloth back into the pan and waggles his fingers in an order to wait. He’s done this before. Wiping his fingers clean of any minute remnants from the chemical-imbued cloth on a towelette, he then picks up the metal gadget. Its a tangled mess of wires and a metal cylinder, snarled around a silvered spellsource that would cost most people a year or more of wages, with a protrusion on the end. This protrusion he inserts into the scort laid open at his wrist. It doesn’t fit in entirely smoothly.

His body rebels, of course, like it always does, a strange analogue to the sensation of nausea sweeping over him, except full-body. Then his subconscious mind sweeps up his brain’s resources, processing thoughts and concepts that slip by him like fish in the deeps, temporarily trapping conscious, intelligent thought into a corner as if it were insignificant, paring it down to child-like simplicity (if the child were a feral animal) until the adjustments are over, and his body abruptly relents, the almost-nausea fading away, spilling a shower of fuzzy mutterings up his arm and down his back and back up again to spill into his eardrums.

Flinder, he thinks.

Slow, Flinder the Mathematician thinks back, as if he wasn’t surprised at this unnatural method of communication. Speed it up, Dragon King. There are harmonic thoughts above and below that, along the lines of Rouwan having lost it, a disturbing thought coming from a man who hadn’t interacted with the normal world for the better part of a century. There was also an admiration for the application of mathematical knowledge this gadget must have taken to create.

Rouwan lets him know he can hear those harmonics, and in an exchange of thoughts, slower at first, then faster and faster as Rouwen’s mind fell into a minor wit-seize of acuity--the hyper-sensitive state the mathematician Flinder Wover tall Tall was always in--they converse.

While Flinder, ecstatic at this new outlet for his thoughts and imaginings, started to babble mathematical jargon three layers deep, Rouwen took another gadget from the table, which was, for the most part, a bronze horn shaped like the end of a trumpet, and touched one long pin on it to a matching one protruding from his wrist.

Their thoughts became audible to the room, issuing from the horn. At least before the Mathematician froze, his thoughts dying away.

Useful, yes? Rouwen thought. His thought spilled out into the air from the horn, a few octaves higher than his normal speaking voice. It was much faster than the same words issued from his mouth would be, bordering on garbled to the physical ear, with the fuzz and strange whines that scratched through their thought out conversation becoming audible as well.

Rouwen moved the pins away from one another, and the horn stopped projecting its thin, fuzzy sound into the room.

The literal application of hearing thoughts, Flinder says.

Yes. How is it that you don’t need a device to project and hear thoughts, and I do?

Magic, the Mathematician says with an unsettling grin. They both know Flinder is pulling Rouwen’s leg; dragons are never magi. But math has been and always will be mistaken for magic.

Moreover, how is it that I, with merely a gadget, can process the input and output from this device without any practice at all? Rouwan asks, mostly rhetorically. He doesn’t expect Flinder to have the answer.

You’re wit-seized, Flinder points out.

Indeed Rouwan is. His eyes are flickering in the same quick, bird-like movements that Flinder shows all of the time, and he can feel trivialia building up in his hindbrain; details like the maze-like patterns of wood grain on the table, a fleck of rust on the pan, the conversation drifting up from the street through the open window. He can repeat word-for-word the gossip of the gaggle of little girls walking by, and will be able to until he purges the excess information from his brain. He’ll need to do it soon, before the flood of mundane information overwrites memories of his childhood and youth that he wants to keep. Memories Flinder no longer had his own versions of.

Here, Rouwan says, and sends him sounds and sights and images of Flinder as a little boy brazenly piling into his lap and shooting questions at him as if Rouwen hadn’t just given a speech of intent to all of the assembled dragons and their wives while wearing a white suit stained with someone’s blood. And here. Rouwan’s third wife, grown old but still beautiful, teaching Flinder measurements off the sides of her glass cooking cups. Flinder was more interested in cookies being baked, probably one of the few times he ignored the stark abstract beauty of numbers in favor of the immediate solid physicality of sweets.

It hurts the Mathematician. He jerks out of his chair, spilling it to the wooden floor with a loud clatter, and then trips backwards over it, flashing the pale soles of his leather shoes in the air. The fall will leave bruises, large ones on Flinder’s frail body, but Rouwan eyes the other dragon and deems the pain of receiving memories perhaps Flinder had intended to let mundanity write over to be worth it. Spare the rod and spoil the child, and Flinder was sometimes still very much a child despite being older than any man who was not also a dragon.

Rouwan disengages the device in his wrist, and bathes his left arm clean of the remaining chemicals with a different cloth, this one soaked in purified water. When the unhealthy tingling and burning in his arm dies down, he chances releasing the rubberized tourniquet, and drops it on the table. He rubs his bicep to restore the circulation, slumping down in the chair as the wit-seize he is in stops, and suddenly the environment in fine detail isn’t engraving itself in five senses on the curls and loops of his brain. He lets out a shaky breath, and watches Flinder on the floor on the other side of the table with hooded eyes. Flinder is making small noises, and trying to curl up in a fetal position, but the frame of the chair is in his way, pushing angles into his abdomen.

Eventually Rouwan rises from his own chair and helps the man up and to his bed. The Mathematician accepts the aid gratefully, not a word of blame for Rouwen’s actions escaping his lips.

* * * * *

Note: I'm aware the verb tense fluctuates. It's still up in the air if I will continue Rouwan's scenes with the present tense; I do forgetfully lapse into past tense as I write. Editing will clear it up.


* * * * *

Onto the next snippet! Here's a possible opening scene for a totally different story in a totally different world, called Daughter of Lilith, Son of Eve.

* * * * *

Jakome - 1

If I told you I was stalking a young man, and that I was in my forties, and gay, I think you’d get the wrong impression. There’s more to it than that--sorcery, and curiosity, and the magic that creeps through my veins like tiny, persistent inchworms--but if they hauled me up in front of a judge, only my age and orientation would matter to the jury, once discovered. Magic is, at best, a religion to most, and therefore not an acceptable excuse for my actions when they could assume perversity instead.

I sometimes assumed perversity myself, later. But that was much later, with a lot of history between point A and point B.

My name is Jakome Frewyn, and I am a sorcerer. Please don't call me Jack. Or Jak. You may call me sorcerer if you wish, but people may regard you with suspicion if you do it in public. And the magical subculture has more in common with a crochetty local club of amateurs and hobbyists--toy trains, dollhouses, something quaint and largely replaced by more modern interests--than a coalition of people with strange, supernatural powers, so I'm afraid "sorcerer" sounds more impressive than it is. I don't see much magic these days at all, much less anything that is performed proficiently enough that I would want to give them a professional title for doing it. Likewise, nobody has seen fit to give me any sort of title for my own small feats of magic, so "sorcerer" is more descriptive than anything. Although I do admit that even as a mere descriptor, "sorcerer" holds more social weight to me than "witch".

No need to look at me like that; it's not as chauvinistic as it sounds. I may explain my reasoning later.

Do you remember, when you were small, thinking about things, and examining things with a sense of awe and wonder, things you wouldn't glance twice at now that you're adult? I used to twist my neck wrong when I was young from time to time, and it must have pinched a nerve, like a "funny bone" in my neck, that caused something in my jugular area to twang like the lowest string on a guitar. I don't do it anymore, but I remember thinking about what it was in my body that was doing that when I was small. The same with a sneeze, the sting of a cold in my sinuses...or, indeed, hitting my funny bone on something and having my whole arm jangle up to my shoulder, or the peculiar small snaps between tooth and gumline when I wiggled a loose tooth with my tongue. The experience of having a body was still so new that everything was remarkable.

Magic is always like that for me. I sense something magical happen, and I can't pull myself away from it. It's...not addicting, but it reminds me of being very small indeed, and sitting cross-legged with a foot on the opposite knee, examining my toenails just because...wow! I had toes! (I think I was four when I did this.) These days...Wow! I have magic! (I'm over forty now, as I said before.) I am caught unaware by the sensations my own magic lets me experience, and it's like being a child all over again. It's difficult to tell if this is because magical stimulation is so infrequent that I haven't had enough experiences to jade me to my magical senses, or just because magic exhilarates me. But when I feel a tingle of power from somewhere, I drop what I am doing, and I investigate.

Not without caution, of course; the sense of awe might be child-like, but I'd like to think my wits are not.

So this is how I ended up stalking a young man half my age.

#

Jakome - 2

"Jakome?"

The magic and my secretary Codi both caught me at the same time; I chose to raise my finger at Codi to tell her to wait, while I sat back in my chair, feeling. I was deaf and blind to magic, but I could feel it scuttling along my skin, smell its faint pungency. I turned my leather swivel chair on its base, trying to orient myself facing it. There. South, southwest. Not surprising, given Chicago was south, and the lake was east.

The scraps of power that flowed over me were disorganized; not a spell, not much of anything, so after I finished determining the direction from which they had been emitted, I licked them up and added the power to the invisible store of magic within myself, like brushing a marble into a clenched fist for safekeeping.

Then I turned back to my secretary. "What's going on, Codi?"

"Did you hear something?" she asked me, confusion flitting across her young, teenaged face.

"I thought I did. Thank you for waiting."

"No problem. I didn't mean to interrupt."

I waved the concern away. "You didn't, not on purpose. Are those the contracts we're waiting for?" I asked, pointing to the sheet that proclaimed FAX on it, and the tube she held which probably held architectural blueprints inside it. She gave the fax to me, which I denuded of the coversheet immediately, and she set the tube down and popped off the end and withdrew the blueprints.

"He wants some changes," she warned me, her face trying to keep still, but amusement dancing in her eyes.

"Is this Anderson? He's a wanker."

"A what?"

"That's a term I stole from an ex. It applies quite well here," I said, accepting the blueprints she held out to me and spreading them on my desk. There were inelegant scribbles on them. Despite having the originals stored elsewhere, I felt a bit affronted, like usual, that someone had scribbled on blueprints. "'Wank' is another word for masturbation--"

"I know that. I did read those Harry Potter books--"

I looked at her curiously. "They tell you that 'wank' is another word for masturbation?" I asked, surprised.

"No! No, no no. Nevermind."

"Ok," I said, after a moment while eyeing her. "Well, this Anderson fellow is a wanker. He has the architectural aesthetics of a snail, and yet he's scribbling all over my blueprints. It's mental masturbation; it probably feels good but just makes a mess in the end. Oh look, he wants a load-bearing wall to go bye-bye..."

Codi laughed. "I thought you didn't like to badmouth clients," she reminded me.

"I don't, but this man really deserves it. He's been a boil on my ass. Do you think we can squeeze more money out of him so I can to the doctor to get the boil removed?"

"Probably. If you stated a revisions clause in the contract."

My fingers twitched as I tried to remember how many revisions I had specified were under the original fee. Then I remembered I had the signed contract under here, and I pushed aside the desk-devouring blueprints and pulled it out again, and flipped through it after retrieving my reading glasses from a drawer. "Oh you're ****ing kidding me. These are the old forms. Hell, they're ancient. Where'd we pull these out from?"

"Oh crap," my secretary said. "The ones without the revisions clause?" she was sympathetic, but her eyes still danced with laughter. Being secretary was boring enough that any upheaval was interesting, and often a source of amusement. I didn't hold it against her.

"I need to clean out my desk," I said. We'd cleared the bad forms out of the main filing cabinets years ago, but I'd probably found this one in the depths of my personal drawers.

"If I end up doing it for you, you're paying me overtime," Codi said.

"Of course. Damn." I agonized over it for a while, then sighed and pushed the mess back towards Codi. "Lose it in a corner or something. Even if we can't exhort more money out of him, we don't need to spend lots of time on it. Why did that kid have to quit? I took this contract so he could get some residential design experience under his belt..." I grumbled.

So, as you can see, I was an architect by day.

After Codi left, taking the offending blueprints and contract with her, I removed my reading glasses, setting them on my desk, and thought of the magic that had come from the southwest.

Disorganized. It suggested a lot. You might think that disorganized magic would be hard to fathom, but in truth it generally only meant one thing. The user had just discovered their abilities. No experienced witch or sorcerer would let magic slip through their "fingers" like crumbs. It was like eating; even the clumsiest adult wouldn't end up with their food smeared all over their face, plate, hair, and floor like a small toddler would. I would probably only have to find a person with the "sticky fingers", and they would be the one I was seeking.

* * * * *

I like writing Jakome. He's fun. And yes, there's a missing scene I didn't post between part one and part two of Daughter of Lilith, Son of Eve. I'm not very content with it as it is, so no posty.
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