Tuesday Tidbit – Someone’s All Wet

Gus and administrators don’t see eye to eye. Neither does his mage, Dr. George A. Custler, for that matter…

“… also provide academic support and consultations, as well as public outreach and informational services,” the dean concluded. Dr. Sutledge failed to look impressed, although that could have been the way her face was made, sort of round and sagging, mouth curved down at the corners. Her forehead seemed to bulge a little as well, and George had a terribly inappropriate mental picture of her clicking and chirping to echolocate. He stomped on the idea before it could escape.

Sutledge inhaled deeply, swept her gaze around the geology lab’s equipment, samples, and reference collection, then turned and processed with great self-dignity out the door, dragging the dean and Mr. Dawkins behind her like a pair of towed-sonar arrays. George waited until he heard the faint thunk of the second door closing before uncovering Gus’s tank. Instead of the usual greenish-brown mottled pattern, the octopus sported pinstripes. Gus’s brilliant crimson eyebar proclaimed his displeasure.

“That was more administrative excrement than is found on the deep-sea floor below the blue whales’ bathroom,” Gus stated. “Academic support? Like the last time the department paid for the keg at a conference?” Continue reading

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Saturday Shikhari: Natal Gifts and News

Raymund, now six, is celebrating his natal feast. This is from Shikhari 6, tentatively called The Wise Eye.

Rigi finished the trim and had added the flowers painted on the shed’s shutters by the time Tomás and Kor returned. She’d also changed for supper. Tamara met her in the family room. “I’m done with my homework, Mother,” Tamara announced. She twirled in place, light green skirt billowing out and black braid rising to horizontal, far more graceful than Rigi had ever been. Once again, Rigi wondered just how much of Tomás’ great-grandfather the child had inherited. The man had been one of the few male Temple dancers, and Tamara’s light build and natural ease of motion matched the Prananda family stories about her ancestor. Rigi underlined her mental note to see if Tamara might be interested in dance lessons beyond what the school provided. All children learned social dance—waltzes, ring-dancing, fox-trots and the like—but the greater disciplines required private instruction, at least for eight and a half year old students.

“Good, dear,” Rigi replied, sitting in her chair. “Has Mr. O’Brien returned your science paper yet?” Continue reading

Bonus Shikhari

Right. No poker playing wombows. However… The following is all y’all’s fault for poking the Muse.

“So, you have a bird problem?” Kay sat near her reference book shelves and smoothed her soft grey divided skirt.

Rigi inhaled, then exhaled. “I have a scale problem. I’ve been asked to paint a five meter by two meter depiction of the greater fauna of Shikhari and Home. Together.” Rigi reached into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out her smallest drawing pad, flipped past some other things to the very rough sketch. “Like this.”

Kay put on a detail lens and studied the pencil sketch. She looked up at Rigi, delicately angled eyebrows rising a centimeter, then back at the sketch. She lowered the pad. “Wombows… dancing?Continue reading

Tuesday Tail: Fitting a Familiar

In which Leila and Tay visit a master tailor, and find interesting things…

Donnie couldn’t have been more than Lelia’s height, maybe a little shorter. He had a heavy build and wore a white shirt with dark cuffs, tailored brown trousers, and a dark waistcoat with a watch chain draped across it. Tiny silver scissors and thimbles served as fob charms on the chain. “Come into the light, please, ma’am.” Tay giggled and Lelia could have thumped him. She did as asked and the designer walked around her twice, looking at her clothes and figure. “Lovely tailoring, ma’am.”

Lelia blushed under her make up. “Thank you, sir.” She’d worn one of her favorite skirts and the peplum jacket that she’d found at the Community Thrift and had cut down to fit. She’d managed to preserve the soutache trim on the jacket, and really liked the neo-Victorian style, even if it had taken the better part of a month to get everything set, re-fitted, and reassembled. The lining had almost defeated her.

“Not neo-Revolutionary,” the tailor announced. He crossed one arm over his chest and held the opposite elbow while cradling his chin with the other hand. “No, nothing bustling in the back.” He moved a little to the left. “Do you ever wear a train?” Continue reading

Saturday Shikhari: Boys

Shikhari Six ambushed me very early on Thursday morning, the entire plot spilling out for me. This is the opening of the first chapter.

Auriga “Rigi” Bernardi-Prananda neither frowned, nor raised her voice at the sight of her youngest son and his play-fellows as they tumbled in the grass between the house and the woods. She confined herself to a short, sharp exhalation of maternal annoyance and tapped the planks of the verandah floor three times with the toe of her house-shoe.

“Raymundo Capella Timothy,” she called, pitching her voice to carry over the sound of young males’ commotion. Continue reading

Friday Fiction Fragment: The Cold Sea

Another excerpt from a Familiars story in progress. When we last left Heike and Walburga (an albino wallaby), they were settling into a cottage near Husum, Germany, and considering what might have called them that far north. The maps and the Lammkontor Restaurant are not fiction.

Heike returned from Husum with cheese, sausage, smoked pike-perch, more bread, and an inadvertent ear-full of gossip. She tucked the cheese and fish into the refrigerator, considered the various jars of vegetables in the small pantry, and decided on the carrot salad and celery salad. The fish smelled rich and in need of a tart balance.

Chore tended to, Heike checked on her Familiar. Walburga remained fast asleep, so the mage picked up her knitting bag and sat on the small bench outside the front door. The thick overhang of the thatch roof would keep away any afternoon sprinkles of rain. Heike considered the location and gossip, and decided to work on the back of a waistcoat. Knitted waistcoats seemed to be fashionable again. She selected a ball of medium-weight dark blue yarn, and one of cream for the stripes. Materials arranged to her satisfaction, Heike tapped her needles twice right over left, then once left over right, and began feeding the yarn through the needles. Continue reading

Saturday Snippet: Storm on the North Sea (Familiar)

Sooooo… there I was, trotting—OK, slogging away—on the treadmill at the gym, when not one but two stories in the Familiar universe jumped me. One has a Familiar, the other a sorcerer (I think)  but ties into Lelia’s ongoing training. This is from one of them. I sense two collections of short stories, otherwise it’s going to be one set of over 100K words. Oh, yes, the Lammkontor is a real place, and the food tastes amazingly good.

“Hast du deine Jacke?” Heike stood in the doorway, one hand on the heavy wooden doorframe.

Her Familiar’s voice came from the shadows inside, “Ja, aber die Knopfen…” Walburga’s frustration became apparent when she hopped closer. Heike could see the out-of-order button problem, and shook her head a little. Wallaby paws and fasteners…

She turned and crouched as Walburga reached the doorway. Heike fastened the jacket buttons, adjusted the hood so it fit better around the wallaby’s dark glasses and ears, and stood. Walburga cleared the doorway in two bounds, then stopped to nibble the salt-grass in the yard as Heike closed the heavy wooden door. The postman happened to be driving by, and his van slowed as he stared at Walburga, then sped up again when he saw Heike watching him. She smiled a little to herself. By the time he finished his route, all of Husum and most of Schleswig-Holstein would know that they’d rented the summer cottage. Continue reading