Archive for January, 2010

applying old words to new

“It – it wasn’t a kiss,” Yori said, shaking his head vigorously. He flushed and said, “I – I mean I know it felt like a kiss to you and it seemed like a kiss, but – but it was a spell.”

“A spell,” Winnie repeated. “That was not like any spell I’ve ever known and I’ve seen a fair few spells.”

Yori felt his cheeks warm even more. “I… suppose you could call it a kind of… exchange of languages,” he said. “You – you were my language teacher.”

Winnie laughed. “Whatever you say, honey,” she said. She shook her head and added, “We need to discuss this with my friends. Come on, Yori.”

what I see I know to be so

“Look at it and believe that it’s there,” Rune said.

Sindri grimaced. He could see the stepping stones that would bring him safely from where he was to where he needed to be. The problem was, it hadn’t been there just a moment before.

Leisl looked at the stepping stones. “It doesn’t look very secure, Captain Wolff,” she said, her voice tremulous.

Rune chuckled. “It’s just as safe as the stepping stones across the River of the Four Season,” he said. “Safer, even, since these are completely out of the water, where those are slight submerged.”

Nodding, Leisl hopped to the first stone, then she was skipping across the stones. Sindri watched as she made it safely across. His brows furrowed. The stones hadn’t been there just moments before. They were one of Rune’s illusions. However, believing in them made them real.

“I see them, so they must be so,” Sindri murmured. Then he plunged ahead. He sighed in relief as his feet touched the first stone. He definitely did not want to get wet!

school-men and metaphysicians

Continuing the story started here.

Yori looked up as Winnie entered the room with her companions. “Hello,” he said, flashing a sunny smile at them.

Winnie sighed gently and sat down at the table across from him. “Yori,” she said, “what the hell are you?”

One of her companions chuckled. “We can’t find a record of you as a person from this world, yet you exist in the physical sense of the word. Which leads to this, seemingly, insane question.”

Yori scowled. “I’m a gryphon,” he said. They stared at him for a moment and he felt his cheeks warm. “An air elemental, specifically a wind elemental. We take the form of gryphons.”

“A wind elemental,” another said. He took a step closer and shook his head. “For that to be true… elementals don’t have a physical form, unless they’re summoned by a mage.”

“Actually, we don’t have a physical form unless one is made through magic,” Yori said. He frowned and looked down at himself. “We had to combine all five elements in order to do it, but… we used our own magic to give me a physical body.”

“What could be so important?” the first man said. He blinked and added, “Perhaps we should start with introductions and move from there?”

“It’d be nice to know who I was speaking with,” Yori said, nodding.

The other offered him a faint smile. “I’m Ezra Pemberton,” he said.


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everyman carries about him a touchstone

“How do you always know what to do?” Sindri asked. He was looking intently at Anna while she tended to Nora’s injuries. He scowled and tilted his head one way and then the other. “You always seem to know what to do to help someone feel better, even when they aren’t completely honest about their pain.”

Anna smiled faintly. “It comes from experience,” she said, her voice low. “I know what people look like and how they act when they’re in pain. I know what they look like and how they act when they aren’t in pain. Even when they think they’re hiding it very well.”

Sindri nodded. He looked at Nora, now. As Anna ran a light touch down Nora’s arm, her brows twitched. “Her brows twitched,” he reported. “Is that a reaction to pain or something else?”

Anna smiled again. “That’s Nora trying to be brave in the face of pain,” she said. She reached up to smooth Sindri’s hair. “You’re learning.”

He closed his eyes and rubbed his head against her hand. Pets felt nice, even in his human form. “Thank you,” he murmured. If he’d been in his cat form, he would have been purring. He’d made his mom happy. That always made him want to purr.


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confusion that is so hard to be avoided

Johannesen stared at Yori for a moment. Yori was petite and lightly built. Johannesen took in the long blond hair pinned back with barrettes and the wide green eyes. He noticed the soft curves and modest bosom. Everything about Yori told him that this was a very pretty girl.

He looked back at Rune. “That’s… a man?” he said. He had a sudden headache and wondered if it were actually possible for someone’s head to explode.

“Technically speaking,” Rune said, “Yori is both male and female. Gryphons are functioning hermaphrodites.” He tilted his head to one side and looked at Yori once more. “He’s a bit more female than male at the moment, but that’ll change when he’s older and he prefers male pronouns.”

“But… that’s a girl,” Johannesen said, waving a hand at Yori. He shook his head. “There’s nothing the least bit masculine about that person!”

Rune gave him a sly smile. “Ah, Captain Johannesen,” he said, “I can assure you, there is something most distinctly masculine about Yori Hummel.”

Johannesen opened his mouth to ask what, but something in Rune’s expression shut him up. “My head hurts,” he said, turning away. He couldn’t think about this anymore.


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every soldier in their army

“Why am I dressed this way?” Yori asked. He looked away from his reflection, to meet Rune’s eyes. As he played with one sleeve, he tucked a lock of hair behind one ear. The barrette slipped a tiny bit.

Rune clicked his tongue and shook his head. As he removed the barrette and smoothed Yori’s hair, he said, “It’s a uniform, Bellissima.”

“But,” Yori persisted, “why am I wearing a uniform?” He was straining to keep still. He wasn’t used to having anyone fuss with his hair this way.

“Why do you think?” Rune asked. He tucked the barrette back in and clipped it in place. “All soldiers wear uniforms, don’t they?”

“But, I’m not a soldier,” Yori said. He tucked hair behind his other ear. When Rune reached up to clip a barrette on that side, he rolled his eyes. “I’m not sure what you want from me.”

“I want you as my mate,” Rune said, his tone completely matter of fact. “I want you to wear barrettes in your hair and this uniform and work hard at your training, so that you can be a Snow Lion.”

He looked into Yori’s eyes then. “What do you want for you?” he asked.

Yori blinked. “I… want to make you happy?” he whispered. “I guess, to do that, I could be a soldier?”

“That’s the spirit, Bellissima,” Rune said, leaning down to press a kiss to his cheek.


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severity carried to the highest pitch

Severity is, here, defined as harshness

“It’s not right,” Yori said, shaking his head. He crossed his arms around the files he was holding, clutching them to his chest. Glancing over one shoulder, he said, “Isn’t a punishment supposed to fit the crime?”

Rune shrugged. “You don’t think this fits?” he said. A sly smile touched his lips. “How would you punish such an offense in your division?”

Yori’s brows furrowed. “It seems a bit harsh for such a harmless prank,” he said. “After all, no one was hurt. They were just having a little fun.”

“At the expense of their captain,” Johannesen snapped.

Yori shot him a glare and rolled his eyes. “Only you would pillory people for adhering your office furnishings to the ceiling,” he said.

“I suppose you’d laugh it off and send them on their way,” Johannesen returned. He rolled his own eyes then and shook his head. “This is exactly the reason why you’re not suited to being a captain.”

Yori’s glare darkened. “I never said that I wouldn’t punish them,” he said, his voice as soft as always, but his tone carrying all the anger he felt. “I just think public humiliation is excessively harsh punishment for a prank that never had to be known by the group at large.”

“You never answered my question, Bellissima,” Rune said.

Yori gave him a faint smile. “If they were in my division,” he said, “I would have made them repair the damage they had done.” He sent a knowing look to Johannesen and added, “The end result would have been the same: they never would have tried such a prank again.”

“There is something to be said from instilling a sense of respect in your men,” Johannesen pointed out.

“And there’s a world of difference between respect and fear.” His point made, Yori pushed passed Johannesen and continued on his way.

stand for nothing but the ideas of the mind

Rune startled awake when he heard a strangled cry. He sat up, ready to fight, but then he stilled when arms wrapped around his middle and he felt Yori bury his face in his abdomen. “Bellissima,” he whispered, reaching down to smooth Yori’s hair. “What’s wrong?”

“Nightmare,” Yori said. He wasn’t crying, but he was shaking wildly. Whatever he’d seen in the dream, it had been terrible.

Sighing, Rune pulled Yori upright and then lay back against the pillows. He smoothed Yori’s hair and then rubbed his back for several minutes. It was some time before Yori’s trembling stilled.

“Where to dreams come from?” Yori whispered. There was still a slight tremor in his voice.

Rune shook his head and shrugged. “Some think that they’re the subconscious mind trying to work through a problem or sort out our thoughts. Other people think they come from the Fates or some of deity – sent to warn of some impending danger.”

“Where do you think they come from?” Yori whispered.

“Your imagination,” he said. He kissed the top of Yori’s head. “It’s just a mix of images from your memories, Bellissima. Dreams can’t hurt you and they are seldom, if ever, portents of some dark future.”

“Why does my imagination have to come up with such frightful images?” Yori grumbled, snuggling closer to Rune.

Rune couldn’t help a faint smile. “Ah, Bellissima,” he breathed, “if I knew that, I would know how to keep those dreams from coming to disturb your slumber. As it stands, I can only be ready to calm you when they come.”

a pretty traffic with known correspondents

“Why?” Yori asked, blinking. He noticed the other captains staring at him and flushed slightly. Looking down at the smooth wood of the tabletop, he shrugged. “I’ve only been captain for a little while, but… isn’t that a terribly inefficient way to handle things?”

“It’s the way things have always been done,” Johannesen said, sounding upset.

“Ah,” Yori said. He nodded and then glanced at Rune. “So, then it’s the only correct way because we’ve never tried anything different.”

Rune smiled faintly. “Change is slow here, Bellissima,” he said.

“It’s nice having other viewpoints on things,” Leif said, smiling faintly. “We all start to think the same way after a while.”

“Fates forbid that,” Yori whispered, much to Rune’s amusement.

error and truth are uncertainly blended

“With all due respect,” Judson said, earning startled looks from many of the courtiers. Judson smiled faintly. He cleared his throat and took a step forward. “With all due respect, I think that would be a mistake.”

“Oh?” Lord Forseti said, his gaze intent – but not angry.

One of the courtiers stepped forward. “My lord, are you going to allow this… person to correct you?”

Lord Forseti smiled at the courtier and then looked at Judson. “He’s the only one here who’s smart enough to let me know if my judgment is in error.” He looked back at the courtier. “What sort of ruler would I be, if I failed to at least hear him out?”


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