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Parish's Progress
Leaf by Niggle by JRR Tolkien
Summary: To Parish it was like biting into a fruit still dewy from the garden when all you have ever tasted is syrupy chunks from a tin. Written for [community profile] yuletide 2015

There was once a young man called Parish, who had returned from a long journey. He had not wanted to go, indeed he had spent most of his time away wishing very hard to be home; and now he was. But home seemed to have changed while he had been away, and not for the better. Perhaps it was his gammy leg. It had not seemed so bad while he was away, when others had far worse, and still others (though Parish did not think about them very often) had not come back at all; but now that he was back he had to live with the wretched thing. Though he scarcely felt it, he was really very lucky. He had come back to a sweetheart, and she was not the sort of girl to be put off by a gammy leg. Soon they were married, and he and Mrs. Parish lived with her widowed mother in a house with a bit of garden, miles out in the country.
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Three Adventures Belladonna Took Never Went On (ao3)
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Summary: ‘Not a tavern!’ the wizard muttered. ‘Iron arm, iron head more like. To think that I should have lived to be not-a-taverned by Gerontius Took’s son! I’ll not-a-tavern him!’ Seven decades of meetings between Gandalf and the Old Took's children. Written for [community profile] fic_corner 2015

‘This is Great Smials,’ announced the young hobbit, ‘not a tavern. I ask you, are you any sort of a Took? No? Then take yourself off, my good man! We don’t want any Gandalfs here, thank you! Go and find yourself a place that caters to Big Folk!’

Now Gandalf was a wizard, and a very important wizard at that, and he was not used to such treatment from anything short of a king, and there had been none of those in that neck of the woods for the best part of a thousand years. It goes without saying that Gandalf was a good wizard, which was a good thing because he’d had a very bad day and if he’d been a bad wizard, he might have been inclined to turn the young hobbit into a very small toad and then step on him.
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The Boy with Wolf's Eyes (ao3)
The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff
Summary: She'd moulded the boy from a snowdrift, so they said, with a wolf's eyes and three drops of bull's blood. Written for [community profile] sutcliff_swap 2015

Gault was a late fruit from his father's tree: a frost-blighted plum barely worth the plucking. That was what the boy thought sometimes, beside the sun-gold giants that were his elder brothers. His father had been the old King’s general, back in the days when the skies shook with Lugh's laughter and his war cries echoed from the mountains to the sea; back in the days when their enemies fled before them, and the Tribe prospered in all their doings. And when the greybeard set his heart on a woman young enough to be his daughter's daughter, there was none who would gainsay him, not even though she were the sister-daughter of the new King himself.
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The Emerald Band (ao3)
'A Study in Emerald' by Neil Gaiman, 'The Speckled Band' by Arthur Conan Doyle & various works by HP Lovecraft

Summary How can I describe the sight that so unmanned my imperturbable friend? That caused the giant of a baronet to faint dead away? I could say Drago’s green-soaked body would no longer haunt my dreams—or if it did, it would be but a pleasant respite from the horror of that thing.

Rache & his faithful doctor investigate the murder of Julia Stoner in the 'Study in Emerald' universe, but the deeper they delve into the Roylott family history, the darker things become. Written for Yuletide 2014
~*~

We had done the right thing. We had struck a blow for freedom of our enslaved race. Once I believed that. Then the reprisals began. Her Victorious Majesty was terrible in her wrath. Week after week, The Star came out with thick black borders, and every issue carried lists of ‘traitors’ deemed to have Restorationist sympathies on no greater evidence than their failing to turn seawards before their evening chop.

We moved, my friend and I, from lodging to lodging, seldom staying above hours, never above a single night, Moriarty’s hounds ever running on our scent. But I had lived out of my pack before, in Afghanistan, in far less comfortable surroundings; had been hunted by a force far more awful than Her Majesty’s police. When one has walked through a valley choked with the writhing bodies of men turned witless as worms; when one has felt the Shadow pressing pressing—but I shall not think on that. Dwelling on the past is a weakness we can ill afford, as my friend daily reminds me. His nerves are steel, but even he cries out in his sleep some nights when the moon drips blood in the sky, red blood, not like—
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The Golden Apple (ao3)
The Silver Branch, by Rosemary Sutcliff
Summary: Paulinus met his father only once. It was a day he never forgot. Written for [community profile] sutcliff_swap 2014

I knew myself the apple of my mother’s eye before ever I’d seen an apple tree. Her love spilled out in honey cakes and honeyed words, and I grew into a plump child, content and carefree. In my earliest memories I’m learning to wind a length of blanket about me and tuck it just so, till the wash-softened folds fall like the marble ones in the frieze at the forum. My toga, she called it, pinching my cheek and telling me how proud my father would be of his proper little Roman man when he came for us. She spent hours each day with her pins and her pots and her mirror, coiling her bright hair, painting her face white as a statue and arranging her bracelets on her arms. Her arms were exquisite, truly exquisite, and her skin smelled as sweet as her cakes. Today was always the day he would come.
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I realise I never announced my 2012 Yuletide story here...

A Necklace of Acorns (ao3)
The Dispossessed & 'The Day Before the Revolution' by Ursula Le Guin
Summary 'Only cast pearls before swine if a necklace of acorns becomes you' (Sayings of Odo). Glimpses into the life of a revolutionary. Written for Yuletide 2012

Now the gods were jealous of Anarra, Moon Mother, for the Moon she had birthed from the pearls of her milk was more lustrous than anything they could craft with their seed. So they schemed together and Ra the trickster and Ur his brother accused her of outshining the All-father’s temple, the Sun. And so she was cast out from the Moon she loved. But her tears flooded the land of the two brothers, and made of it two lands. And so she was revenged.

—Traditional

The boy was Moon mad. He’d worked out how to scam the City Library entry code and read everything they had about rockets: not just the kids’ section, the adult books too. He cut pictures out of newspapers he picked up on the subway and stuck them up on the screen he’d made for his sleeping corner. So when rumour had it that His Oiliness Himself was coming to Rodarred to announce some lunar project or other, Briki rattled on about it non-stop till Tula got Katya to swap shifts with her so she could take him and his sister. He wanted to be a rocket engineer, or maybe a technician on the Lunar Base he swore A-Io would build before he graduated. Tula never had the heart to tell him no-one from Thuvietown was ever going to go to Technical College. No-one with a surname like Anokh was ever going to make it as more than a cleaner or a shelf-stacker or a tram conductor, maybe, if he could pass for Iotic.
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The Story of the Flying Rabbit (ao3)
Watership Down & Tales from Watership Down, by Richard Adams
Summary 'You know, he made me feel I could fly too'. Written for Yuletide 2013

It was November, late in the afternoon on a mild, clear day some eight weeks after the defeat of General Woundwort. The sun hung low, almost grazing the summit of Ladle Hill, and the air was so still that the beech leaves, which had faded to a pale fawn but still clung to the branches, made not a whisper. In the golden light, thick as butter, every blade of grass cast a crisp long shadow, even the short grass of the gallops atop the down where the rabbits were at silflay. Kehaar had flown in from the Big Water only the day before, bringing with him another black-headed gull named Lekkri, and the two strutted up and down in the rougher grass near the hedge, sometimes taking little hopping flights just for the joy of being in the air.

Bigwig had wandered a little apart from the other rabbits, and sat tall on his haunches, watching his friend. His distinctive shadow, one lop-ear hanging down, stretched along the expanse of smooth-mown turf halfway to the hedge. Catching sight of it, the big rabbit hunched down, flattened his other ear against his body, and began to nibble at a thin-looking tuft.

‘Give us a story, Dandelion,’ said Hazel. ‘Something new, if you can.’
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The Unlikely Spies (ao3)
The Silver Branch, by Rosemary Sutcliff
Summary: 'The work that Paulinus had died for went on.' But learning to do it without him took time. Written for [community profile] sutcliff_swap 2012.

A pale fat man haggling for wine on the waterfront, that was where the whole affair started. Near three weeks had passed since Paulinus had walked out into the glare of the torches, calm as a man taking a stroll to the baths. The house by the old theatre was not the only one in Portus Adurni that Allectus’s Mercenaries had burned, and when the Emperor went back to Londinium and his Mercenaries went with him, the trickle of men seeking passage to Gaul swelled like a dry mountain burn after a summer thunderstorm. The Berenice could not take them all, even had not her master Phaedrus been fearful of betrayal. So it was that Justin tramped the shores of Regnum Harbour, asking after work but never taking any, everywhere talking of the fierce August sun and the fiercer new taxes, and everywhere seeking another tradeship whose master had no love for the one who set those taxes.

[Now with added historical notes.]
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Summary: Havnor City, the largest city in the world... It's nearly 200 years since Lebannen came to the throne and his kingdom's on the brink of disaster. The king's mad, his heir's missing and when newly reinstated Officer Bittern investigates, he soon starts tripping over corpses

Author's note: This novel-in-progress owes almost as much of a debt to Raymond Chandler as it does to Ursula Le Guin. I thank Jay Tryfanstone, Miss Morland & Northland for advice & editing. All infelicities are my own.

Chapter 5: The Little Sister (ao3)
‘There’s a royal princess outside for you. I’ve tried telling her to wait for the chief to come back, but she’s insisting she’ll only talk to you.’

Must have made quite an impression last night, I thought. I laced my shirt up at the neck and fisted the sleep out my eyes and spat on my fingers and dragged them through my hair. The lieutenant stood there wearing a face like she’d got words stuck between her teeth.
firerose: (Default)
Summary: Havnor City, the largest city in the world... It's nearly 200 years since Lebannen came to the throne and his kingdom's on the brink of disaster. The king's mad, his heir's missing and when newly reinstated Officer Bittern investigates, he soon starts tripping over corpses

Author's note: This novel-in-progress owes almost as much of a debt to Raymond Chandler as it does to Ursula Le Guin. I thank Jay Tryfanstone, Miss Morland & Northland for advice & editing. All infelicities are my own.

Chapter 3: The Big City
Havnor City, the largest city in the world. A million people were crammed into its six square miles, they said, though barely half appeared on the Ministry’s books. (ao3)

Chapter 4: Too Many Princes
CHOP shared a place with CHOSS down by the Old Docks, five minutes from Half Moon Street and no more than half a mile from the university as the seagull flies across the bay. Lebannen the Great had obviously been hot on law enforcement because it was one of the biggest, grandest, most over-decorated buildings in a city full of big grand over-decorated buildings. (ao3)
firerose: (Default)
Summary: Havnor City, the largest city in the world... It's nearly 200 years since Lebannen came to the throne and his kingdom's on the brink of disaster. The king's mad, his heir's missing and when newly reinstated Officer Bittern investigates, he soon starts tripping over corpses

Author's note: This novel-in-progress owes almost as much of a debt to Raymond Chandler as it does to Ursula Le Guin. I thank Jay Tryfanstone, Miss Morland & Northland for advice & editing. All infelicities are my own.

Chapter 2: The Ice Maiden
My new boss handed me a miniature of an olive-skinned kid with a long narrow nose and the solemn expression of a goat cornered in a flowerbed. ‘This is the best picture of the prince we’ve been able to find,’ he said. I’d never clapped eyes on the prince but his ugly mug had frowned up at me from countless plates of corn chips at the Crown & Anchor down the docks. (ao3)
firerose: (Default)
Summary: Havnor City, the largest city in the world... It's nearly 200 years since Lebannen came to the throne and his kingdom's on the brink of disaster. The king's mad, his heir's missing and when newly reinstated Officer Bittern investigates, he soon starts tripping over corpses

Author's note: This novel-in-progress owes almost as much of a debt to Raymond Chandler as it does to Ursula Le Guin. I thank Jay Tryfanstone, Miss Morland & Northland for advice & editing. All infelicities are my own.

Chapter 1: The Missing Prince
The first thing I noticed that night, the night this whole mess started, was that the chief looked exhausted, even more exhausted than I felt. ‘Bittern,’ he said. That’s my name all right. ‘Good,’ he said. And that’s where he went wrong. Nothing good ever started from being woken in the middle of the night by a couple of goons and dragged up to the palace for questioning. (ao3)
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Drabble & a half, loosely for my prompt 'Everyone is the hero of their own story. Even Kossil' in the Earthsea Fiction LJ Ficathon 2009

Kossil learns )
Fiction in a range of rare fandoms

January 2016

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