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Excerpts - The Gates of Horn and Ivory.

Trippiness sans context )

It's worth noting that this scene was inspired by a recurring series of nightmares I've had since I was tiny.
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In continuation of my grandmother's project...

What is the first thing you remember?

- Donna ni Tarak

Alyssa and memory

The first things I remember aren't full memories, per se. Not like a movie in my head; more like sense impressions. The smell of roasting vegetables. Water in my mouth, cold enough to make my teeth hurt and give me brain-freeze. The sound of a drum, slow and rhythmic, almost mournful. The ground covered in red and yellow fallen leaves, as far as the eye could see. All that, and a sense of mixed wonder and regret, though I can't recall the reasons behind either anymore.
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Shayara snippets - Alyssa during the Purges

Where were you when the Purges happened? Five years ago tonight. The Council won't let us acknowledge it. But I'll sneak in here to honor the fallen - the Halloran and Donnelly families, the Bartomni and Tamrani victims and those killed in an attempt to help them; the fallen Kirayth.

You are remembered.

- Kieran ni Narsan

Alyssa's story )
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Cheating a tiny bit, but hey, content!

[ profile] shadesong's world, Shayara has a forum where you can create your own characters. This is my character, Alyssa ni Narsan.

Profile under cut )

And hey, she gets a brief mention in canon, which makes me all kinds of chuffed.
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Excerpt - The Gates of Horn and Ivory

[Note this is a somewhat old, very rough draft. I'm not even sure I want to keep the first-person tense. It's also unfinished, though I'll probably round it out for the posting.]


When I woke up, it was the middle of the night. I could barely make out the tree branches scraping at the window. I was cold, and pulling up the blankets didn’t help.

You know those times when you wake up disoriented, not quite knowing who you are or what happened the night before? Well, this wasn’t one of them. Every memory was there, clear at first; muzzy later, though that might have been due to the drugs.

By this point, they must surely have found my body. Maybe a maid had tripped over it on her way to make the bed and bundle out the trash, but considering the motel squalor I’d gotten an abbreviated glimpse at, the room’s next occupant would be that much more likely to make the grisly discovery. Whoever they were, I hoped I wouldn’t give them too much of a heart attack.

Back up. Rewind the tape and pretend it’s yesterday instead of now.

It started with a lecture, at least as far as my part in it is concerned. I was a Parapsychology professor, at Walden University. Seventy percent of my job consisted of uncovering the wonders of the human mind. The remaining thirty percent were devoted to making the Classics majors look less nutty by comparison. My classes were generally full and my lectures well-attended, but I could never quite tell how many people only showed up because there was nothing good on TV.

The microphone hummed lightly as I stepped up to the podium. “Can any of you guess what I’m thinking right now?”

“You’re wondering how long you’ve got till lunch,” posed some wiseass in the back.

“Impressive deduction, but not entirely correct. I was actually thinking of dinner.” That got some scattered laughs. God save us from windbags who took themselves too seriously, no matter their subject, that’s what I’ve always thought.

“Imagine it, though. Human beings; people just like you and me, who can hear your thoughts as loud as a radio broadcast. Who-“ I fished a pen out of my pocket. “Who can lift an object such as this without ever using their hands. Or their teeth; or a rope pulley,” I intercepted, before someone could make the obvious crack. “Imagine someone with an affinity for the elements, who can call water molecules to them, or ignite the oxygen in the room.”

“Like magic?” asked a shy voice from the front row.

My jaw clenched, forcing me to undergo severe facial contortions to keep it from showing. The girl had hit on a sore point. “Not exactly,” I said. “The results would appear magical, no doubt, but the methods themselves would have to conform to the laws of science. Gravity. Conservation of matter. They will all remain constant. All that will change is the scope of our knowledge.

“Think of it this way. When humankind first evolved in its earlier forms, none of them had the capacity for speech as we would define it. Communication, language, all of that would come later, as the human brain evolved and expanded, becoming not only larger but far, far more complex.

“Now, think of language as you know it. Listen – there’s a candle burning by the tub in my bathroom. The candle is red. The flame on it flickers, blue at the center and orange around the edges. No white appears anywhere in it; the fire is nowhere near that hot. The scent of cinnamon and berries feels the room, though there’s something cheap about it, something artificial...” I broke off.

“How many of you saw that candle when I spoke?” Hands went up. “But you didn’t just see it, did you? You may have smelled it, felt the heat against your hand. Some of you may even have heard the splash of water, though I described nothing of the sort. Stop and think about that. Some words and a common framework, and I’ve given you my experience, nearly as real as living it firsthand. The same thing can happen when you read a book. A good writer can transport you into their world, so that you feel the earth under your feet, and hear precisely the way the character rolls her ‘Rs.’ And isn’t that something like telepathy? Words are merely symbols. It’s the raw transmitted experience which matters."
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BPAL, redux!

Venerable Victorian Tea Rose… twisted, blackened and emboldened with wickedness.

In imp: I don't think soap's particularly twisted and this is one decidedly soapy rose.
On me: Dangit, London shouldn't smell like somebody's grandma!

Sea of Tranquility
Silver-dusted lotus, white amber, rose otto, passion flower, white sandalwood, buttonweed, and white poppy.

In imp: A calming scent, indeed, soft and sweet.
On me: Mm, I like!

Osmanthus, honey, golden musk, vanilla flower, and ginger.

In imp: Cucumber?
On me: Cuke, I swear.
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Character Portrait - Daniela Alvarez - The Gates of Horn and Ivory

Dani is a small, wiry thing, with curly black hair that ends up bunching up around her ears no matter how long it is. Right now, it should be down to her shoulders - should being the key word. She's a military brat (still thinks of herself this way, despite having been Air Force herself) and she dresses like one. Camo pants with way too many pockets. Button-up shirt with its sleeves rolled up. Standard-issue boots.

It takes a while for you to notice the wheelchair. It's the way she sits in it (very deliberately so), like it's any old chair or couch. But once you see it, you can't unsee it anymore and it changes everything you think of her.

She knows this, and she doesn't bother to smile and say it's all good anymore. She never was good at lying.
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The last of the "What is Lily writing?" entries.

Title: The Gates of Horn and Ivory

The day Claudia MacLean died was far from the worst in her life. Or her afterlife, for that matter.

(Yes, I know that's a short-ass blurb. You try to summarize stories that are unfinished, without spoilers or making it sound godawful boring. I think I've erred on the boring side so far, which is likely a mistake. I don't think I'll ever make a lucrative living in the blurb-writing industry.)

Intended Readership: Adult. Very adult. Consider that there's unlikely to be sex and do the math.

Thought process: This one started as a Yami no Matsuei-based roleplay with OCs, when I was, what, 18? At the time, Claudia was called Andrea - which is a lovely name, but not her. More pressingly, she was a self-absorbed bitch, as I discovered on re-read. My co-writer's input wasn't much better. But something about the story we were telling around tugged at me even years down the line, making me dig up the awful old logs and start rewriting the thing from near-scratch.
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More BPAL! Rejoice!

Two, Five and Seven
‘Would you tell me,’ said Alice, a little timidly, ‘why you are painting those roses?’

Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice, ‘Why the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a red rose-tree, and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know. So you see, Miss, we’re doing our best, afore she comes, to—’

A huge bouquet of squished rose petals: Bulgarian rose, Somalian rose, Turkish rose, Damascus rose, red and white rose, tea rose, wine rose, shrub roses, rose, rose, rose…

…and just an itty bitty bit of green grass.

In imp: Rose doom. I like roses, but too much is too much and this gets cloying.
On me: Nah-uh

Rose Red 2007
The perfected winter rose, dew covered and freshly cut.

In imp: Nice!
On me: ...Whoa, that's a little too much amp there.

A scent of peace, reflection, and renewal of the spirit: sakura, ume blossoms, and wisteria.

In imp: Buttery, powdery old lady scent
On me: Same
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What's Lily writing? Take...fuck if I remember.

Title: The Devil's Playground

Blake Donover didn't mean any harm. Not when he joined a radical political organization at his far-too-rich-and-bored high school, and not in the disaster that resulted. When he's pulled out of prison by the legit-seeming Wentz Institute, he's eager to get back to normality. Instead, he'd made part of an international peacekeeping team, where learning to abilities he pretends don't exist can mean the difference between life and death - and not just Blake's.

Intended Readership: Somewhere between late YA and adult? This story is currently in the process of major change.

Thinking Process: ...Y'know, I don't even know. This one's been percolating in my head in various versions since I was sixteen. No, you never, ever get to see any of these early drafts. Not ever!
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(No posted notes)

In imp: Very sweet and rich
On me: ...Don't get attached. You'll probably never see this one again.

Atrocious Attic
A shadowy shrine filled with forgotten toys, broken dolls. The altar: a collapsing trunk distended by a rotted wedding gown. The air of the room is dusty, laced with the scent of a child's perfume and the remnants of a dried, crumbling bridal bouquet: tea rose, violet, white sandalwood, French lavender, and Calla lily.

In imp: Floral meh
On me: Meh

Egyptian amber, walnut bark, chamomile, frankincense, and saffron.

In imp: Rich, yet subtle
On me: Nice, but not really my thing
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[This is technically a character sheet for [ profile] secretboston, but I think it can stand on its own.]

If you were ever mortal, you no longer remember it. There may have been a man - you've heard the stories of the ways your kind come to be. Someone who hurt you or spurned you; someone who made your life seem small and worth giving up. There may or may not have been a child.

Whatever happened before, it was a rusalka you became. Not a mermaid; not the romantic version espoused by Anderson, but a Russian spirit, wild and dangerous. You were a killer.

You're comely enough, but not specifically beautiful. Still, those mortals who saw you in the moonlight would be drawn toward you like iron to a magnet, into the lake and downward, until the waters rose over their heads and they drowned. You've the reputation of a siren, but it wasn't just men you took. Men and women, young and old; all came to you if you willed it.

Cut for length )
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Still working on my next fiction piece, so here's more BPAL.

Jolly Roger
Sea spray with an undercurrent of leather, Bay Rum, and salty, dry woods.

In imp: Wood with a dry, bitter undertone. Only a very slight hint of yummy leather.
On me: Same. Very dry, which is odd for a pirate.

La Vita Nuova
Apple blossom, white rose, lemon balm, and champagne grape.

In imp: Sweet green grape. Nice!
On me: Ooh, lovely! Want!

Parlement of Foules 2008
Medieval romance and courtly love. White rose and soft resins.

In imp: Mostly resins.
On me: Candles r us.
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Son of yet more BPAL!

Stephanotis, cyclamen, heliotrope, white rose and gardenia.

In imp: Pleasant enough, but still traditional floral.
On me: Herby

Sleepy Moon
A nearly-narcotic blend of opiate-touched bark and blossom reflective of the bleakness and solitude of winter, the quietest point of the year : black opium poppy, bamboo pulp, ylang ylang, lavender, chamomile and white sandalwood.

In imp: Cloying herby. I can see it being soporific, though...
On me: And therefore will not try it on me, as I need to stay AWAKE.

Lucy's Kiss
Created to represent the essence of Bram Stoker's tragic heroine, Lucy Westenra. Seductive, wanton and deadly, but underscored with a soft, wistful innocense. The gentle scent of rose and a blend of Victorian spices.

In imp: Baking soda?
On me: Baking soda!
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Yet more BPAL!

This delicate, spectral perfume gives rise to an eerie distortion of of the senses. It bestows an ephemeral, ghostly, and truly haunting quality to your presence. Green tea, lemon verbena, jasmine and neroli.

In imp: All jasmine all the time.
On me: No

The sublimely beautiful, fiercely independent, impeccably cultured, fascinatingly worldly and witty courtesans of ancient Greece. A seductive and dazzling blend of golden honey, fiery patchouli, sweet fig and clove, and a blushing touch of ylang ylang.

In imp: Firey honey
On me: Nice!

His ofrenda is the soft shea he shares with Obatala, forest herbs, and sprucewood arrow shafts.

In imp: Interesting blend
On me: Shea butter. Nice, but I can get that from my bodywash.

Moon Rose
A crisp, pale, almost translucent rose dusted by moonflower and midnight dew.

In imp: Warm rose
On me: Goes to soap immediately
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More BPAL!

The essence of faith, love and devotion: lilac, lemon, green tea, wisteria, osmanthus, white cedar, and Chinese musk.

In imp: A whiff of lilac, followed by overwhelming NARSTY.
On me: NO!

Dolce Sil Nuovo
Our interpretation of Dolce Stil Nuovo is a blend of rose otto, carnation, vanilla flower, lavender and jasmine with the clarity of crystalline white musk and the warmth of golden amber.

(Whoa, jasmine stepping carefully here.)

In imp: Bit of lemon and...nothing. For a jasmine scent, that's damn good.
On me: Disappears entirely.

Named for the ambitious, vengeful poisoner Catherine deMedici, who used perfumes to perform her dark deeds. A sinful blend of orange blossom, rosemary and rose... allegedly the exact perfume she utilzed in her work.

In imp: Menthol and death.
On me: Just death, namely mine.
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"What's Lily writing?"

Title: Crossing Point

Crossing Point University isn't like most colleges. Classes are held outside more often than not, letter grades are less than mandatory and sometimes it feels as though the field dubbed The End of the World really does go on forever. But the weird cuts deeper than that, as five students discover.

Intended readership: Late YA to adult

Thinking process: Ok, here's the story behind this one. Once upon a time, [ profile] nevacaruso and I had finals. This means we were less than sane. Sometime in there, we came up with the idea of doing a webcomic based on Bennington and the people we knew there, only with overt magical weirdness happening. We were going to call it "Mrs. Jennings vs. the Zombies." Sometime over the next year, the story...evolved. Crossing Point is still recognizably Bennington, but the characters have become people in their own right and they've a real story now.
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Excerpt - And Some In Ice

I was born with purple eyes.

Don't look at me like that. I had an iris decoloration surgery when I was seven. My mother would have had me go through with it earlier, but the doctor told her it wouldn't be safe. Between you and me, I don't think she really cared. I could have gone blind, and it wouldn't have mattered. But the possibility of a lawsuit - oh yeah, that got through to her.

And ok, this probably saved me a lot of flack later in life. Being a genetic weirdo can be hell sometimes. I've heard all the stories. People getting beat up, kicked out of school, disappearing off the map.

But sometimes? Sometimes I wondered what it would be like to have superpowers.


No, I don't. Not exactly.

Just... just once. And if you tell anyone, I'll kill you. I'll find out, hunt you down and kill you. No, not with my powers. Guns are much easier, stupid.

It only happened once. I was twelve and a bunch of us were outside, playing wall-ball. You throw the ball at the wall, and while it bounces, you have to run up, touch the wall and run up to catch the ball before it starts rolling.

I really sucked at that game, and I sucked especially hard that day. I held it in and smiled, though, but after everyone left, I just hauled off and punched that wall. I can remember it now; all pure rage and adolescent hormones. And when I looked up, there was a fist-shaped hole in the steel, with acid pooling in it, eating away at the surface. By morning, that hole must have been deep enough to stick your whole arm in.

I don't know what excuse the admins made for it. I never told anyone it was me, though. I'm not fucking stupid.

And it was just that once.

Later, when I was eighteen, I got mugged by this guy, off of 37-and-4th. I'm terrified for my life and pissed off to boot, and I remember this incident from when I was a kid. So I huddle in, pretending to be too scared to move, and when he looks away, I sock him in the stomach. I hate this guy, far more than I ever hated the wall - but all it does is make him double over for like two seconds. I don't even get the chance to run before he starts wailing on me. I spent two days in the hospital after that one.

So there you have it. If you want superpowers, you're a fucktard.
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More BPAL!

Lady Una
Honey musk, green tea leaf, blackberry leaf, vanilla bean, and fae spices.

In bottle: Fresh grass and musk. Most interesting. Not sure what I think of it, but definitely interesting.
On me: Musky vanilla. Pleasant - very - but not a must have. Nice, though.

There was beauty, there was wine: a rich Sangiovese vintage swirled through opulent amber, rich plum, champaca flower, and arrogant white musk.

In bottle: Whoa, kick to the brain! Kind of a cloyingly sweet kick.
On me: More plummy sweet, but I'm still getting a sugared candy scent, which isn't really my thing. Shame, I like plums.

Hexennacht 2008
This perfume is the scent of the witches' revel: German fir and forest herbs, incense and bonfire smoke, infernal flora, glowing amber, and the wet, glimmering scent of skin warmed by dance.

In bottle: Burning wood and earth. With a counternote of frost.
On me: A day out in the woods. Very crisp and down to earth. Mmmm.


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October 2016



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