Deuce of Gears
A cog in the machine. Pawn of powers beyond your control.
(Yes, Jedao was being snarkastic when he chose it for his emblem.)
Also, I love my catten but...she's not very bright? She likes to sit on the ping pong table and will remain sprawled on it when the Dragon and I start up a game. The ball hits her in the leg, she remains sprawled. It took the next ball hitting her in the snout for her to skitter-kitter off the table. *facepalm*
That's not the part where she's not very bright. The part where she's not very bright is that she was on the ping pong table during a game yesterday and got hit in the snout by a ball then, causing her to skitter-kitter off the table. You would think she'd figure out that ping pong game in progress = don't sprawl on the table waiting to be hit in the snout?
Back to work...
My recipient was iknowcommawrite aka Scioscribe, who wrote me two lovely Treats last Yuletide! FemslashEx allows prompts for original fiction, and this is the prompt I wrote for:
Class issues, identity porn, loyalty kink, and compromised principles: hell yeah. I think ideally I would like this one in a fantasy world, but I’m open to other possibilities. I’d love to see about any variation on this I could think of. Is the revolutionary undercover in the palace, getting ready to overthrow the monarchy while falling for the princess? Is the princess on the run from the revolution, disguising herself, and falling in amongst the rebels? Do either of them begin to rethink their principles or their policies? Is the revolutionary agitating in the open, and the princess is intrigued by her radical ideas? Other things I’m totally here for: wearing a crown while being thoroughly debauched by a revolutionary, hurt/comfort, kneeling, undressing from gowns and corsets, and virgin princess/experienced revolutionary.
Isn't that great? I found it very inspiring.
I wrote Burn, an epistolatory exercise in Ultimate Identity Porn. The revolutionary hides her face to conceal her identity. The princess silences her voice to preserve her purity. They know each other. And they don't...
Footsteps in the Sea (5926 words) by Isis
Fandom: Black Sails
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Captain Flint/Thomas Hamilton
Characters: Captain Flint (Black Sails), Thomas Hamilton
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Rivers of London Fusion, Supernatural Elements, Post-Canon, Genius Loci, Crossovering Exchange
Summary: James and Thomas escape from the plantation, find passage to the islands, are caught in a storm at sea, and make a bargain with Neptune.
When I saw linndechir's crossovering prompt for Ocean God Flint, I knew I wanted to write that. I didn't actually game the system, but there were only two people I could write for, and so I was delighted to get this assignment. My favorite part of the Rivers of London series is the existence of the Rivers themselves, the idea of genius loci who rule over their small parts of the natural world. Plus I had always wanted to tackle James and Thomas's immediate post-canon story.
The beach on which Thomas and James find themselves after escaping the plantation, by the way, is where the Bull River empties into Wassaw Sound. The beach where Thomas awakens after the shipwreck is in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas.
The Pirate and the Mermaid (8628 words) by Isis
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Mermaids, Pirates, Supernatural Elements, Cultural Differences, Shipwrecks
Summary: "Of course," said Charlie pettishly. As if she was just a stupid kid, asking stupid questions. "How was I supposed to know? You're the first mermaid I've ever met."
"Well, you're the first woman-with-legs I've ever met!" snapped the mermaid.
Oh, man, this was the most fun thing to write ever. I kind of ignored elstaplador's specific prompts and just keyed off the idea of a (female) pirate and a mermaid, and although I had the (general) ending in mind from the beginning, the story went there in its own way. As I said to sovay it ended up being sort of YA femslash, more of a story about two young women from different cultures hanging out and discovering commonalities than anything sexy or overtly supernatural. It's mostly mermaid worldbuilding, really, and I had a kick doing that. (I actually had a whole sexytimes idea in my head - more worldbuilding, from the physical POV - but that ended up not fitting into the story!)
In other writing news, I've been cheerfully writing lots of little stories and ficlets for trickortreatex, but it's about time to turn my keyboard to yuletide.
Like, Provenance, while frequently funny, is not a non-serious book -- it concerns itself with classism, wildly unhealthy family relationships, interstellar warmongering, fetishization of cultural artifacts, and inhumane conditions of incarceration, not to mention murder -- but the structure of the plot is very classic screwball. Misunderstandings! Mistaken identities! Brilliant[ly ill-advised] schemes colliding with each other and blowing up in everybody's face! The faint air of Yakety Sax playing frequently in the background!
Honestly it feels a lot like Ann Leckie channeling Lois McMaster Bujold, with less intense character dynamics but also fewer moments of side-eye.
Our Heroine Ingray Aughskold is the foster daughter of an elected official who has been locked in competition with her foster-brother since they were both small for the eventual goal of inheriting their mother's position. Ingray comes from a public orphanage, while her asshole abrother is the son of a wealthy family, which gives him an edge that Ingray has never quite been able to best.
CUE: Brilliant[ly ill-advised] scheme! Ingray decides to attempt to break a fellow political foster-kid, Pahlad Budrakim, out of Compassionate Removal (i.e. terrible jail) in order to learn the location of the highly important cultural artifacts which Pahlad has hypothetically stolen.
Complication: Pahlad is possibly not Pahlad, and is certainly not inclined to be cooperative.
Complication 2: The space captain who Ingray hired to get them back home is wanted for theft by an alien ambassador, who Does Not Understand Humans, and whom everyone is panicked about offending due to some Very Important Alien Treaties.
Complication 3: Meanwhile, what Ingray's mother would actually like her to be doing with her time is shepherding around some other ambassadors, human ones from a different planet, who want to do politically-motivated excavations in a local nature preserve
Complication 4: Also, someone is about to get murdered!
Complication 5: And the cop in the case has a crush on Ingray!
Complication 6: And MANY OF THE HIGHLY IMPORTANT CULTURAL ARTIFACTS HAVE DISPUTED PROVENANCE AND IT'S VERY DISTRESSING (for everyone but me, because the minute I heard that title I was like 'this had better be about cultural heritage' and LO AND BEHOLD)
((...though I did want to see a little more documented archival paperwork and process surrounding the question of the authenticity of the artifacts, but I mean, ignore me, it's good, it's fine.))
My favorite character was definitely possibly-Pahlad, with their bitter cynicism and constant challenges to everyone else to do better; wanting More Pahlad all the time was probably my biggest complaint about the book.
My other favorite character was the almost entirely useless Radch ambassador, who just did not want to be there that day. Everything about the treatment of the Radch in this book delights me. "So weird to hear this totally clueless woman speaking with the accent we're used to hearing from villains on the TV!" You definitely don't need to have read the Imperial Radch books to enjoy Provenance, but I suspect it does probably make the few Radch cameos five times funnier.
So, much later, Hannah climbed up to the deserted attic of the west wing of Raxdell House, and out onto the flat part of the roof 'twixt chimney-stacks, to find Flora already there, changed out of her finery into one of her old schoolroom dresses.
O, Hannah, she said a little tearfully, I thought you might not come.
Why should I not come?
Sure I am a foolish creature, but I have been hearing so much about how you go take care of the library, and are quite entire Mr MacDonald’s pupil in philosophy and a deal of other matters, sure you become the blue-stocking, while I have been about the frivolity of travel.
'Tis not what your letters led me to apprehend, said Hannah, sitting down upon a ledge and patting the place beside her. Was a deal of good thinking about what you saw and society and politics and history, 'twas no account of balls and flirtations and parties of pleasure.
Why, will not deny that there were plenty of those as well, said Flora, sitting down beside Hannah and putting her arm around her as she had ever been wont. But sure I should have liked to have you there, though indeed I now apprehend why there was such a to-do when I proposed you should come.
She looked down at her feet and sighed. I have learnt a deal of matters about things that concern me and those close to me. She fell silent.
Some considerable while later she said, but I would desire disclose 'em to you, my other self, 'tis why I wished come here where we may be quite private and none may overhear.
You need not, said Hannah, is't some matter of family secrets (had she not once heard some spiteful gossip that Flora was a cuckoo in the nest, no child of Josiah Ferraby’s but of some adventure of his wife’s? She did not believe it – was there not the finest fondness 'twixt the pair of 'em, did not Flora greatly resemble her father – but mayhap she was mistook.)
No, indeed I must - 'tis a very beautiful thing – indeed I feel myself proud - She stood up and looked about her. Sure I am foolish – none ever comes into those attics save to spring-clean once a year, and 'tis not the time for the chimneys to be swept.
Why, said Hannah, one may see through the skylight, grimy though 'tis, that the attic is quite entire deserted - there is no reason for any to come nigh -
I know, I am foolish, but the secret is not all mine to disclose.
Come sit down, then, and whisper in my ear as we were wont.
Flora gave a little smile and came to sit down again. She put her arm back around Hannah and leant towards her. I am Aunty Clorinda’s child, she whispered.
Hannah turned her head. Why, now one had heard it, one saw that Flora was very much of Lady Bexbury’s colouring, and none of the other Ferrabys was so fair. And sure Lady Bexbury had always manifested the very greatest fondness for her god-daughter –
But – she began in a low voice – who –
Oh, indeed Papa is my father. 'Tis somewhat of a long story, but it came about that poor Mama was very poorly indeed after being brought to bed with Quintus – and was advised that she should have no more – and very greatly yearned even so – and when it happened that Aunty Clorinda, that was not at that time Marchioness of Bexbury, went with child, she loved Mama so much, and thought that she would make a much better mother than she would, and I should be in a family with loving brothers and sisters, that she gave me to her –
Hannah frowned a little. But one could see that Lady Bexbury and the elder Ferrabys had quite the finest affection between them, that Lady Bexbury and Lady Ferraby were an entire model of fine female friendship –
- but indeed, part of the plan for this Grand Tour was that so she and I might spend some time alone together, and that she might tell me all this – though sure she had some hesitation, 'twas not until we were come unto Naples that she brought herself to come out with it. And – o, I do not know, mayhap 'tis possible your own mama has told you somewhat of how matters were before Aunty Clorinda married the Marquess? – but indeed I could see why she might suppose it the better course.
I was a deal put about at first, Flora went on, but then I thought what a fine upbringing I had, how much I love Mama and Papa, and how loving Aunty Clorinda always showed to me and to the others, would come romp in the nursery when we were little &C.
Hannah smiled. Would come be your tiger, and your wombatt. She squeezed Flora and Flora squeezed back.
But – o, there is more that happened, and things I should wish talk over with you, but sure I do not wish to drown you. Might we convoke here again in a day or so?
One did not often hear Flora so hesitant in making a request. Hannah kissed her friend, her other self, and said, tomorrow, do you wish.
And, said Flora, I should wish to hear all that you have been about.
Hannah smiled and said, sure ‘twas arranging flowers, and keeping the library in order, and a deal of reading. Little enough to tell.
'Tis not what I hear! – that Mr MacDonald goes lecture at the college in Gower Street, and that he practises over what he will say with you, sure, my darling, you are entirely acquiring a university education.
Hannah felt herself blushing. Why, I do not think the matter is beyond the feminine intellect; and indeed we have much fine talk of history and philosophy and the progress of the natural sciences.
We must speak further of this, said Flora in her old downright manner, but indeed I must go dress, for the entire family comes dine, save of course for Josh –
Do I not know it! Mama is entirely about seeing that everyone’s favourite dish is served.
Hannah watched Flora scamper away, climbing down entirely in her old hoyden-girl fashion and not as if she was a fine young lady of fashion that had travelled and was being (was Julius right in so thinking) being wooed by a duke’s son.
She sighed, and more slowly made the descent herself.
It's funny--I adore this show but declined to request it for Yuletide. Besides it being a highly jossable canon, what I really want is bona fide philosophy neepery, and I'm pretty sure 99% of the fandom wants to write about relationships. There's plenty of shipfic I would read for this fandom, but I really really want philosophy neepery. And, I mean, 2.5 was basically my Platonic ideal in terms of episode content.
Raxdell House was positively humming with excited anticipation.
Hannah Clorinda Roberts looked beyond the flowers she was arranging in a vase on the windowsill, out of the window. It was a lovely late spring day. Her father and her brother Julius were about the gardens – as if anything needed doing to improve upon their perfection.
She stepped back, looked at the flowers, and stepped forward again to make a slight adjustment to one of the lilies.
There were footsteps coming down the stairs.
Why, Hannah, do you have fresh flowers at every landing? Excellent fine they are too.
Gervase Reveley, Viscount Raxdell, her parent’s employer, smiled down at her. You must be glad at Flora’s return, he said.
Hannah bobbed and smiled and nodded, although she was not sure – was she glad? Flora had been away so very many months, must have had so many experiences during her Grand Tour: could it be the same between them? Flora had wanted Hannah to accompany her, but there had been – difficulties.
Lord Raxdell proceeded down the next flight, still an athletic figure although his dark hair was now lightly frosted, as Hannah watched him go.
She knew how very – out of the common – her situation was. The child of servants, even were they not merely upper servants, but the renowned cook Seraphine and the greatly esteemed horticulturalist Elisha Roberts. A sufficient degree of African ancestry to be counted, she reckoned, as quadroon and the same proportion of less-marked French ancestry. Yet her place in this household – more like some dependent relative held in great affection. Educated alongside the Ferraby children, the dear companion of their beloved cherished youngest, Flora.
Hannah made a final scrutiny of the flowers, shrugged, and went to the place that would always calm and soothe her spirits, the library. She did not need to take out a book and read: just being there made her feel – in the right place. Which was, she thought, somewhat incongruous. And yet, it was her place. It was the place where she undertook the useful task of making sure the books were where they were supposed to be, of keeping the volumes of the catalogue up to date: and where she had learnt the skills of finding things out, where to look things up, and writing things down.
Mr MacDonald was already there: he looked up, his habitually severe expression softening at the sight of her. Hannah – you look quite the calmest creature in this house today.
She sighed. 'Tis a delusion, she said. I am as agitated as any, that is why I come here to address myself to work.
I am in much the same state, he confessed, and also find it answers to be out from underfoot, while there is a deal of domestic activity in train.
Indeed there is, as if all was not already in order. But I daresay 'tis even worse at Lady Bexbury’s own house.
Oh, indubitably. Anyone would suppose she was one of those sticklers that will most immediate note the one speck of dust or the single spot that is not properly polished.
Hannah frowned. Is it not – not for her, or rather, 'tis done not because she would in the least complain but to provide the appropriate setting? (She had spent quite a lot of time in the past months considering over the phenomenon that was Lady Bexbury and her effect upon her intimates and her wider circles.)
Mr MacDonald broke into one of his rare and delightful grins and said, Sure you hit it off! We all undertake things to express our welcome, in our own particular fashion – for my part, I have a deal of books and journals that I have kept by for her, Gervase – His Lordship – has made sure that that Melusine has been given exercize as well as being well-groomed, Mrs Ferraby makes sure all is swept and garnished, your mother prepares her favourite dishes, your father and Julius ensure the gardens look their best – how else may all show how very pleased they are to have her back?
But, he said, I daresay your own particular feeling is for Flora’s return?
She sat down, and clasped her hands before her upon the library table, and swallowed against the lump in her throat. I daresay, she said at length, she will have changed.
There was a moment’s silence. And have you yourself stayed entire the same? asked Mr MacDonald.
Oh, said Hannah. Of course she had changed. Just because she had stayed in the same place did not mean she had remained frozen as Flora had left her. There had been these hours in the library, the conversations and arguments – she had been acquiring an education that, did she consider upon the matter, and think of what she had been told of Oxford and Cambridge, was very likely superior to that acquired by many that could write BA after their names.
He cleared his throat, removed and polished his spectacles, replaced them, and said, I shall greatly miss our convocations – sure you have an excellent mind and the finest apprehension.
Hannah felt tears come to her eyes. Why, she said, must they cease? There is still so much I have to learn.
'Tis the like case with all: happy are those that know it. Sure I do not think you will give up study – but you and Flora were ever the inseparables. It must make some difference.
Hannah wrinkled her nose. O, Flora will be going about in Society, and being presented, and there will be suitors, I doubt not, both for her own merits and as a daughter of a wealthy and influential family. 'Tis a world where I may not follow her. I am sure I shall still have many hours to give to the library. But mayhap I should be thinking about finding a place - though indeed I am educated beyond my station. Oh, I daresay I might go out as a governess, though there must be few families would want one of my dark complexion –
Are there not, said Mr MacDonald, families of a like heritage that have gone prosper in the world and would desire educate their daughters to their own new station –
Oh, belike! Yet I do not feel in myself any desire to be a governess – sure one hears it may be a hard and miserable life, I confide that few are in that happy condition Mrs Lowndes enjoyed, but also I do not have that paedogogic inclination that she manifests.
Have you never thought that you might earn a living by your pen?
Have you not already published articles and criticism in The Intelligencer? I assure you, Mr Lowndes does not make space in his pages out of charity.
Oh, but –
He smiled and said, For if our virtues did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike, as if we had them not.
I mind, said Hannah, that the gentleman to whom that exhortation was expressed showed one of very corrupted virtue.
Does not mean that the sentiment itself is wrong.
Well, said Hannah at length, I will think on’t. For sure I would rather teach through words in print than before a classroom.
Entire my own sentiment!
But indeed, she went on, there is a deal of different 'twixt placing an occasional piece in The Intelligencer, and earning a living by one’s pen.
Mr MacDonald looked thoughtful. I daresay you will have heard of that very enlightened course of action that Mr – I mean, Sir Josiah, as we must now style him – undertook, concerning settling an allowance on his daughters as well as his sons, rather than laying the money by to swell some husband’s purse –
Even, said Hannah with a little quirk of her lips, did Bess and Meg go marry almost precipitate!
Even so, they were not obliged to do so, and in their matrimonial ventures, were able to follow their hearts. But what I come at, and mayhap 'tis entire interfering of me, is that besides the very fine places your parents have here, they have that interest in the factory that makes pickles and preserves from Seraphine and Euphemia’s receipts, were able send Julius about that Grand Tour with his friends, pay the premium to apprentice Joseph to an apothecary, I apprehend that there is some likelihood that Daniel will be educated for the ministry –
Hannah wrinkled her nose. May be just some boyish notion, she said.
- why should they not provide you with a competence that might support you while you went build up a connexion for your writing? I am sure they would do the like were you a boy.
But I am not a boy.
(She doubted that her brothers received anything like the exhortations and warnings about beguilement that her mother had addressed to her, ever since she came to womanhood. She was suddenly not to go help Josh Ferraby in his menagerie, must not do this or that. It was exceeding tiresome, and she had supposed that some fear of foreign seducers lay behind Seraphine’s determined refusal of Flora’s pleas to Hannah to accompany her upon her Grand Tour.)
She could see that Mr MacDonald was about to begin perorate upon the topic of the inequitable treatment of women, but at that moment one of the footmen entered to say, Lady Bexbury and Miss Ferraby’s carriage just comes in to the stableyard.
Oh! cried Hannah, I daresay all are drawn up ready to greet 'em; let us go at once.
Indeed let us go most expeditious.
All were already greeting the arrivals as they emerged from the carriage: Flora embracing her parents, followed by Lady Bexbury embracing Lady Ferraby and shaking hands with Sir Josiah, taking both of His Lordship’s hands and smiling up into his face.
As Flora moved to make her curtesy to His Lordship, and then to embrace Mrs Lowndes, she was looking around her with a little frown.
O, she cried, picking her skirts and quite running across the yard, Hannah, Hannah, o, I have missed you so, I thought mayhap you were away.
Merely lingering in the library, said Hannah, feeling her spectacles misting. Oh, Flora, you are looking exceeding well.
Sure I am glad to hear it, for we had quite the horridest Channel crossing.
And so fine dressed!
Why, am I in company with Lady Bexbury, do not wish to look like a poor relation or hired companion. But, o, Hannah, I have such a deal to tell you.
What, more than was in those fat letters you sent me?
Indeed there were matters I did not wish to put into letters, but to tell you to your face.
Hannah looked at Flora. She minded that Julius had remarked that when he and his friends had run into Lady Bexbury and Flora upon their travels, Lord Sallington had seemed considerable taken with Flora. Was a fine match in prospect, with the likelihood of some day being a Duchess?
Flora looked around. Lady Ferraby was already beginning to urge them indoors where a collation had been laid. Why, must go do the dutiful first, but might we not foregather in the old secret place upon the roof, later?
Hannah nodded. So, whatever it was, was not yet something that Flora wished to announce publicly.
(I'm Texan. I grew up on country, okay? ^_^)
Feel free to link to Youtube versions of songs that make you happy! I expect yours are less mushy than mine. ^_^
4/5. Danny is fifteen and trans and very, very closeted. She happens to be present for the death of a superhero, and when his mantle passes to her, it transitions her.
A lot of this is great. Though in the case of Danny’s deteriorating relationship with her parents, “great” also means scary and infuriating. See also: the greatest transphobic threat to Danny’s safety and happiness in this book is arguably from someone who is supposed to be on her side and who claims the banner of feminism, which is painfully spot on.
I kind of wish this wasn’t a superhero book though? Which is not relevant, I realize, since this book is really just what you’d get if you reimagined a Marvel superhero’s origin story to include transness and queerness then wrote it in prose. That’s not a bad thing! But I am 0% interested in the extended – seriously, lengthy – descriptions of all the punching and kicking nonsense. And only minimally interested in superhero tech. And only a touch more interested in the ethics of superpowers conversation. Been there, done that.
So I guess what I’m saying is that this is a great book from a purely representational perspective – yay straight-faced superhero origin story about a transgirl – but I am not interested in straight-faced superhero origin stories these days.
I'm going to Japan in November! I'll be there for two weeks, divided between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka. The last is a city further south than I've been before, with some very pretty day trips.
I'm going to use AirBnb, which I also haven't used before, but it looks pretty great. I have two lovely apartments all to myself for cheaper than a hotel room would be, and one room in a house with a lady who cooks breakfast, has a friendly toy poodle named Piccolo, and says understatedly, "I am a former hotelier who worked in the five star hotel. I think I can assist you well during your stay."
Any of you done anything fun in Japan?
- doubled candy when catching, hatching & transferring pokemon
- your buddy will earn candy twice as fast
Other highlights: Pikachu will have a special hat. Your avatar can wear Mimikyu's disguise hat. And in addition to the already existing ghost pokemon, we will see some ghost types from Gen 3.