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Master List of Elizabeth Culmer's Fiction: Original Stories
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Organization: This list is organized primarily by... *ponders terminology* by universe, shall we say. Within each universe, I organized stories by timelines, by associated story cycles, or by degree of relation to the main story; the summaries should hopefully make the patterns clear. When the 'universe' is a category rather than a fully realized secondary world, the stories are arranged chronologically by writing date. Word counts and writing dates are approximations. (Especially the writing dates. *headdesk*)

Content/Warning Policy: 1) I am not consistent about warnings! I use them when I remember, for a few relatively broad categories of potentially problematic content, but if something is off-page, non-explicit, or generally backgrounded, I probably won't think to note it in the metadata. 2) The things I try to warn for are explicit sex, rape, murder, torture, cannibalism, incest, depression/suicide, familial dysfunction, and occasionally also societal dysfunction (aka dystopia). Sometimes I just slap a general content warning on all my fic for a given fandom and don't label each individual fic. I also don't generally warn for violence, unless the violence in a fic is dramatically out-of-step with the violence in its source canon. 3) I don't use any content rating system unless I'm posting to a site or community that requires or encourages ratings, because I find movie-style ratings counter-intuitive when applied to written fiction, and not particularly useful for anything other than denoting the presence of explicit sex, which I already note in the metadata.

Quality Rating System: I've marked my favorite stories with asterisks, on a scale of 1 to 4. The more asterisks, the more I like the story. This doesn't necessarily mean that stories without asterisks are bad, just that I don't like them as much. Also, I am not claiming to be an arbiter of taste; you may love stories I dislike, and vice versa. I am just providing a heads-up about the ones that I think are best written and/or most interesting.

Notes: I am shamefully slow about my original writing, and I almost never seem to finish anything. Nonetheless, a fair amount of the following stories are complete, if only because I try to avoid posting those likely to be permanently unfinished. *sigh*

Also, a general advisory: you may or may not have noticed while reading my fanfic -- my quirks are somewhat disguised and/or mitigated by working in other people's universes -- but I am fascinated by ethics, religion, families and other social networks, sociology, history, culture clashes, world-building, and the nature and structure of truth and stories. I also have a strong tendency to focus on female characters. A lot of my original fiction is slower and more 'thinky' than a lot of my fanfic, and my issues show through more clearly.

None of these are necessarily bad things, but I figure it's only fair to tell you what to expect from my work. :)

Contents: Firsthome, The Sum of Things, The Summoner's Tale, Ironheart's War, Winter's Daughter, The Witch of Immish, fables and fairy-tales, Camia ('Finding Marea'), modern America, autobiographical (kinda-sorta), Ithaca Paranormal, Elsewhere, Ashes, Sunbright and Shadowfall, Utilitarian Virtue, Intarre, random stuff

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Firsthome

Firsthome is a world I started fiddling around with when I was about 13 years old. Back then, it was a thought-experiment about the changes a complete inability to lie would have on human society. That aspect quickly fell by the wayside (as have various other iterations of the world), but some of the early ideas stuck, most notably the character Ekanu Thousandbirds -- a woman who left her vaguely Inuit-like people at the age of 15, traveled south to a vaguely European region, and became a traveling linguist, musicologist, and troubleshooter for the University (which is what might happen if you took 85% of the colleges and universities in our world and joined them into one authority structure dating back several thousand years).

But Ekanu is not the only facet of Firsthome I write about, and the world itself is the most thoroughly developed of my various secondary worlds, both in breadth of geography and depth of history. (In other words, yes, I really can write up a broad-sketch world history starting from the evolution of humanity, and yes, I really have hashed out the geography of at least sixty percent of the land area of the planet. I keep filling in details as I discover them.) Furthermore, the history is as realistic as I can make it, with no Epic Fantasy Quests (TM) allowed. Some background magic exists, and there is life on the moon, but aside from those points Firsthome is my attempt to create a secondary world that feels as solid and lived-in as our own reality, with people who have real lives and real issues, not Dark Lords out to destroy the world, or meddling gods, or superpowered wizards, or medieval fantasy technologic/economic/political stasis, or any of the other things that tend to annoy me about "High Fantasy" after a while.

Anyway. On to the stories!


Ekanu Thousandbirds

I have a master index post of all my Ekanu stories, which lists the component sections of "Learning to Listen" as individual stories, and also various snippets of the second half of "Harvest," so I'm not going to reproduce those links here.

Baby Steps: 425 words, April 2009. After her vision quest, Ekanu takes a step into half-adulthood by training her new dogs to join the annual caribou hunt. Or at least that's the plan. [15-minute fic]

*Empty Hands: 325 words, Feb. 2015. Ekanu finally tells Kadeotak that she's going to leave home. [15-minute fic]

*Learning to Listen: 7,000 words, Jan. 2004-Jan 2006. Ekanu's vision quest leads her south into foreign lands, away from her family and friends. Slowly, she finds her footing in this new world, aided by her study of music and her new friendship with Denifar Rollesdun. (I wrote this in sections in no particular chronological order, and later did some delicate joint-work to make the pieces fit together in a single narrative.) [Contains four 15-minute fics]

Barycenter: 750 words, Aug. 2009. Ekanu and Denifar talk about legends and the possibility of travel between worlds as they watch the moon from the clock tower roof. [15-minute fic]

Craftsmanship: 325 words, July 2010. Ekanu watches Denifar do woodcarving. [15-minute fic]

Ripples in Time: 425 words, March 2015. Ekanu takes a class on the history of the Three Day Revolution and the end of the Estarin Empire. [15-minute fic]

Seduction: 900 words, March 2004. Ekanu finishes her studies and travels south to Vinaeo to begin paying off her pledge as a Scholar of the University. (This will eventually be subsumed by a longer story called "Passage," but for the moment it stands alone.) [15-minute fic]

Diplomacy: 800 words so far, started Feb. 2004. Fragment. Ekanu spends a year or so in Shimat-Mek, trying to negotiate the founding of a new chapterhouse; circumstances keep her mentor from accompanying her at first. (The posted section is only about half of what I have on my hard drive, but the story is still several thousand words away from completion.) [15-minute fic]

*Harvest: WIP, 4,700 words so far, started Oct. 2004. After leaving Shimat-Mek, Ekanu discovers that Denifar has gone to Ileara in the Gwynorae archipelago to help with a waterworks project, and she finds a job that will allow her to join him there. They attempt to add sex and romance to their relationship, and nearly lose their friendship in the process. Implied sex, mildly explicit discussion of sex. (The posted section is a very rough draft, which has since been altered in numerous ways, but I'm leaving the link as-is until I finish the whole story. Hopefully that will be sometime in 2009!) [Contains two 15-minute fics]

Small Mysteries: WIP, 2,950 words so far, started... I don't remember exactly, but probably 2005 or 2006. During her tour as a chapterhouse inspector in Yanomy, Ekanu meets an intriguing man while traveling alone through the Pakarrin hills.

Getting to Know You: 500 words, April 2009. After their arrival in Pythas, Ekanu tries to figure out her new relationship with Ain Taylak. (This is a tag for "Small Mysteries.") [15-minute fic]

Nor Good Red Herring: 550 words, Jan. 2010. Ekanu and Ain talk about the history and ethnic tensions of Yanomy. [15-minute fic]

*The Painted Sky: WIP, 1,700 words so far, started April 2004. Several years after leaving Gwynorae, Ekanu has finished a tour of Yanomy as a chapterhouse inspector, and has thereby paid off her pledge to the University. Wishing for some time to herself, she travels south to Merin and has a brief affair with Darei Ko'en, a silk painter. (Again, this is very far from finished, and some parts of it make little sense without Ain Taylak's introduction in "Small Mysteries," but I was seduced by a gorgeous sunset photograph, some hasty research on silk painting, and my continuing interest in early Industrial Revolution textiles.) [15-minute fic]

Flame and Shadows: 650 words, Jan. 2005. Short, first-person musing on the philosophical differences between the Domaris (Ekanu's original people) and the Estarians (Denifar's people, among whom Ekanu has spent the most time during her travels and studies). Ekanu's narrative voice feels off-kilter and I don't think this is accurate in the fine details, but it's not horribly incorrect. [15-minute fic]

Wash Us Clean: 350 words, Dec. 2014. Ekanu spends the summer on the shores of the Inner Sea in Nivenos. [15-minute fic]

Migration of Souls: 300 words, Oct. 2014. Ekanu rides the wind, but not as a leaf. She is a bird, and will always return to her home. (This is from the period Ekanu spends in eastern Estaria, in her early forties.) [15-minute fic]

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The Decline and Fall of the Estarin Empire

Pebble on a Mountain: 575 words, July 2010. About 500 years before Ekanu's birth, Tallo Nashialle meets Svedanya sin Alar in the slums of imperial Estara. Fifteen years later, they will lead the Three-Day Revolution that topples the Estarin Empire. Mention of slavery and discrimination. [15-minute fic]

Quid Pro Quo: 675 words, Aug. 2010. A few months after "Pebble on a Mountain," Tallo and Svedanya discuss magic, secrets, and stupid parlor tricks. Mention of slavery. [15-minute fic]

Tightrope Walking: 350 words, Sept. 2011. Svedanya thinks about her new friend and the future. [15-minute fic]

*Against the Flood: 975 words, July 2010. In the aftermath of the Three-Day Revolution, Empress Consort Maranea de Colleua is informed of her husband's death. Grief and gathering war.

The Edge of the Knife: 575 words, Nov. 2014. Svedanya and Tallo face a disruption to their attempt at a private life after the Three-Day Revolution. [15-minute fic]

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Other Stories

Clockwork: 400 words, April 2004. Three definitions of spring, via the complaints of a carter about her latest contract. This story is set in Besmodu, a nation in southern Chida; Ayutha the carter has no relation whatsoever to Ekanu, besides living in the same world at roughly the same time. [15-minute fic]

*For Want of a Nail: 800 words, July 2009. Nearly 1600 years before Ekanu's birth, two lovers flee south into the Kaitaru desert. Their departure spells the ruin of the ancient kingdom of Ionniqué and the triumph of the Estarin Empire. (Please ignore the glaring Arthurian overtones.) Implied adultery, discussion of war. [15-minute fic]

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"The Sum of Things"

The Sum of Things: WIP, 20,000 words so far, started Nov. 2004. In the fragmenting nation of Kanos, two young people struggle to find themselves and prevent their homeland from descending into chaos. Dubious political ethics, mention of organized crime and brothels, eventual graphic depiction of war.

This was my NaNoWriMo project in 2004. As you can see, I did not win NaNo that year. (Nor have I ever won, actually; I'm a slow and easily distractible writer. *sigh*) Anyway, "The Sum of Things" is, to borrow a phrase, 'swords and horses' fantasy dealing with wars, politics, ethics, maybe a little romance, and Talin's and Ranna's journeys to adulthood and responsibility. Or it will deal with those when I get around to finishing it!

Defender of the Faith: 600 words, April 2009. Over a thousand years ago, Shemoni Kikalava fought a ritual duel with Jonoma Topio, the swordborn conqueror of the north, to determine the legal status of a new religion in Halo. [15-minute fic]

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"The Summoner's Tale"

"The Summoner's Tale" is currently a disjointed set of ideas -- loosely inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter series, and my own preoccupation with the early Industrial Revolution -- that may eventually become a young adult novel. It's set in an alternate America where:

A) some magic works (particularly alchemy)
B) as a result, technology is both different and less advanced than in our world
C) The Protestant Reformation went a bit differently in England, leaving Catholicism as the major form of Christianity and giving English colonies a much greater focus on Mary (rather than a pure obsession with Jesus)
D) the English settled North America by dividing it into great estates for new noble families. The American Revolution thus created a sort of constitutional oligarchy rather than a straight-up republic.

Catherine Roxburgh, the Countess of St. Paul, is the instigator of the plot in "The Summoner's Tale" -- she's the summoner in the title. The other three main characters are Colin Tenaby, her much younger cousin; Naomi Wood, her niece; and Jeremiah Dicht, an orphan she took in as a sort of foster son.

*Leah's Garden: 550 words, Nov. 2003. Catherine Roxburgh reflects on her mother's death. Implied suicide. [15-minute fic]

Reckoning: 200 words, Nov. 2003. Catherine counts her grievances against the world. (The implied dates in this are wrong in several places, but I find the numerology interesting.) [15-minute fic]

Quiet, Before: 550 words, May 2004. Colin Tenaby travels to St. Anthony to stay with Catherine. [15-minute fic]

*Legacies: 475 words, June 2004. Catherine shows Colin around her house and gardens. [15-minute fic]

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Ironheart's War

These stories are set in a world I created somewhat by accident as part of a creative writing assignment in my junior year of high school. That story -- "Deliverance" -- was set five hundred years after and several thousand miles west of Ironheart's War. Clearly, my obsession with world-building and the history of my secondary worlds got a little out of hand, since I wound up doing most of my story planning in the Shanish-occupied Tarranny Isles instead of the lawless western reaches of the Danna-Edraic empire. *sigh*

The basic idea here is that the Danna, a group of former plains nomads, were pushed out of their lands in a southeastern continent (cleverly named Soea) and set sail to the northwest, following legends of a land beyond the sunset. They ran into the Shanish Isles, which lie a few hundred miles off the northwestern continent (cleverly named Nowe). Most of the Danna continued on to Nowe, but some stayed in the Isles and swore fealty to Lirr, the Sea-king.

Lirr settled the Danna in the Tarranny Isles, a separate archipelago north of his main realm, which were then in disarray from plague and generations of settlement, ethnic cleansing, and rebellion. This was a mistake. Ketchy Wicking, later called Ironheart, launched a new rebellion; the combination of Danna settlements and her gruesome execution at Waek Tower set the Tarranny Isles on fire.

*Blessed Are the Meek: 1,050 words, spring 2002-May 2004. Fragment. In the years after the Danna's arrival, Lirr betroths his granddaughter, Eilonnua, to a noble from the island of Danimun. She goes through with the marriage on her own terms. Something of a stylistic experiment. Arranged marriage, implied arranged marriage of an underage girl. (I've written another 375 words since 2004, but practically speaking, this story is on extended hiatus.)

Toward Justice: 150 words, Feb. 2011. An excerpt from Ironheart's speech to her troops before the first battle of Waek Tower. [15-minute fic]

Paplewick: 1,050 words, spring 2002-March 2005. Fragment. Cory Rimmersgard describes the battle of Paplewick to Ketchy Lae, whose father died there. This is part of a much longer story, "Nothing More, Nothing Less," which is intended to show the effects of the rebellion on the Tarranny Isles, and which is also meant to be a romance. I have the 'depopulated farms and trouble with lawless refugees' part down, but I keep failing at the romance. Death, graphic description of war.

Dissolution: 275 words, Jan. 2004. Eilonnua stands firm in the chaos of war and takes what she means to hold. [15-minute fic]

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"Winter's Daughter"

This may or may not one day develop into a novel about Ata, a woman of a Mongol-inspired steppe tribe who, together with her husband, Ogan Buraigur, leads a successful invasion of the fertile, settled lands within and beyond the southern mountains. They rule for a dozen years. Then Ogan dies. Ata rules for a few months as regent for her son, Temuz Mirel, before various other tribal leaders stage a coup and exile her.

*Ata of the Bloody Hand: 500 words, July 2004. How Ata gained her first cognomen and met her future husband. Blood, death, attempted rape. [15-minute fic]

Day of the Dead: 600 words, Dec. 2003. Traveling south in exile, Atta remembers the men she's loved. [15-minute fic]

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The Witch of Immish

These are two parts of a series of interconnected fairy tales, which trace the history of the Isles through several generations of the royal family and the witches of Immish. Someday I will also finish "The Sea Hag," "The Three Sisters," and "The Wizard's Bargain."

**The Sun and the Moon: 1,700 words, Dec. 2006, revised Dec. 2008. Long and long ago, before your grandmother's grandmother was born, the sun fell in love with the moon. It did not end well.

*The Moon's Daughter: 1,800 words, Nov. 2003-Dec. 2005. When Prince Githry boasts that even the most beautiful woman in the world would fall in love with him if he wanted her to, he finds himself having to prove his word, and travels to the uttermost west to win the hand of the moon's daughter. Torture.

Fall Into the Sea: 1,025 words, Jan. 2011. A sea girl makes a bargain with the children of a fishing village. Rough attempt at a companion story to "The Sea Hag." [15-minute fic]

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Other fables and fairy tales

*Sea-Glass: 950 words, Sept. 2001. Three interconnected fables, about magic and faith and change. [Gift!fic for Ardis]

*Time Turns in the Shadowed Sky: 475 words, Feb. 2005. There were two names for the clockmakers' village -- Sukien and Inien -- for the two commands of the Lady of Hours. "You are capturing Time," she'd told the first clockmaker. "Your clocks must be like Time itself. Precise. And graceful." [15-minute fic]

*Bluebell: (AO3 version) 8,500 words, Dec. 2001. A backwards retelling of The Firebird, from the point of view of the Princess of the Ivory Tower rather than the prince who claims her as a magical prize. Assisted suicide and a discussion of the ethics thereof. [Gift!fic for my family]

*Emerald: 850 words, Dec. 2001. A variation on the idea that eventually became "Bluebell." This version is shorter, sharper, and more didactic.

*Beauty: (AO3 version) 12,000 words, Nov. 2005-Nov. 2006. A retelling of Ricky-of-the-Tuft, with a greater focus on what a curse of stupidity might have done to the princess's family, and an attempt to make the ending seem more something the characters earn and less a predestined result of the fairy godmother's meddling. Dysfunctional family, discussion of mental retardation, dubious ethical treatment of a mentally retarded character (by the characters and by me). [Gift!fic for Dad and Vicky]

*The Poor Woodcutter's Children: 1,400 words, June 2010. An unconstruction of The Golden Goose -- in other words, I was trying to retell a fairy tale but the characters refused to play along, regardless of the story pattern and plot elements I inflicted upon them.

*An Equal and Opposite Reaction: 250 words, Dec. 2013. Life does not stop when the princess pricks her finger upon the spindle. Written for [livejournal.com profile] daria234 in the Three Sentence Ficathon 2013.

*the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers: 300 words, Jan. 2017. Beauty and her lady walk in the winter gardens. Written for [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger in the Three Sentence Ficathon 2016.

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Camia

Camia is the name of a continent in the southern hemisphere of an unnamed world. It grew outward from a small country in the southern mountains, called, variously, Small or Dunneth. The continent acquired various other nations, most notably the Doran Empire, which governs most lands west of the Great Mother River and north of the southern foothills. I have several stories set in this world, a couple of which are even likely to be finished someday, but the only one I've currently posted is "Finding Marea."

****Finding Marea: Truth and Change in the Circle of Kemar: 16,500 words, autumn 2001-July 2006. "Listen, and I will tell you a story. Do not write the story. Writing will freeze it; writing will kill it. Everything always changes; what does not change is dead." A meditation on the nature of truth and faith, refracted through generations of women and stories. Implied suicide of historical figures; implied historical (and possibly present) human sacrifice, voluntary and/or involuntary; historical and continuing religious persecution, inter-religious tension, and religiously-inspired violence. Also theology.

"Finding Marea" is, along with "Knives," my favorite story I've ever written. It was maddening to write -- for years, every time I thought I had a handle on it, the story slipped away and developed a new layer of complication -- but it gets at the heart of a LOT of my borderline obsessions, and I remain amazed at how well the disparate threads pulled back together from the four winds to which I'd cast them. (Please note that none of the theologies expressed in the story are mine, though I am more in sympathy with some than with others.) [Gift!fic for [livejournal.com profile] snaegl]

The Fox and the Star: 325 words, Sept. 2009. A rich merchant hires a thief-catcher to guard his house. When his daughter falls in love with the thief-catcher, nobody is pleased. Fragment. [ultimately intended as a gift!fic for [livejournal.com profile] snaegl]

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Modern America (occasionally, I write stuff that isn't fantasy or sf)

The Gordian Solution: 1,050 words, March 2004. Everyone in town knows that I take a road trip each year as soon as the high school lets out, heading to a different state each time. And at some point during my summer break, I add to my collection. Sociopathy and serial murder. [15-minute fic]

The Lone and Level Sands: 475 words, March 2004. There was a painting, photorealistic in detail, that hung over the living room sofa. Jennifer liked to study its reflection in the dining room mirror. A plotless vignette about imagination and yearning. [15-minute fic]

Breaking Points: 450 words, July 2004. Two women, a coat, and an argument. [15-minute fic]

Raven Learns German: 700 words, Aug. 2004. Different languages have different grammar systems, surprisingly enough. *grin* (This is nominally meant to be backstory for Raven Carlson, the main character in my X-Men fanfiction, but it has no connection to Marvel canon except my own original character, and nothing to do with mutants, so I'm filing it as original fiction.)

*Oranges and Lemons: 750 words, March 2017. "Don't buy tiny fruit trees," Nic said obediently. Written for the 2017 John Mosedale creative writing contest, held by the Loon (annual newsletter/directory of the Star Island Protective League).

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Autobiographical (kinda-sorta)

Vignettes about my own life, fictionalized to greater or lesser degrees.

Houseguest: 725 words, Feb. 2005. My life in early 2005, distilled for the 'write what you know' meme. Depression.

Raspberry Red: 325 words, Aug. 2010. A meditation on Star Island and picking raspberries. [15-minute fic]

three introductions: 600 words, Oct. 2016. Three ways to introduce myself as a character. [Comment!fic for [tumblr.com profile] rollinginbooks]

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Ithaca Paranormal

I have a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series that currently exists as several pages of world-building, four very rough-sketch novel outlines ("The Lady Is the Tiger," "Cobweb Maze," "A Dream of Butterflies," and "Open Threshhold"), and about 3,000 words of rough draft for the first novel. There are also two alternate versions, one for "The Lady Is the Tiger," and one for "Cobweb Maze," which take different approaches to the Rules of Weirdness that define any fantasy universe.

In the Still of the Night: 550 words, Feb. 2010. Lia Reynard talks with one of her ghosts as she sets a trap for her shadowy stalker. Exploratory noodling for "Cobweb Maze." [15-minute fic]

Dinner Date: 550 words, April 2010. Takeshi Fitzroy prepares for a dinner date with Lia, and asks his friend Aileen for help. Exploratory noodling for "Cobweb Maze." [15-minute fic]

In the Morning Light: Takeshi and Lia talk about tattoos and Arthurian legends in the back room of her store one morning. Exploratory noodling for "Cobweb Maze." [15-minute fic]

If Not Us: 575 words, May 2010. Kari Fitzroy begins the fall semester at Cornell, teaching a class on the history of Touched rights. Exploratory noodling for "A Dream of Butterflies." [15-minute fic]

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Curiosity, Satisfied: 2,150 words, Feb. 2010. What would you do if you found out that your best friend was a werewolf? Danny Carolanza has a surprising conversation with Claire Flaherty, the Tompkins County shape-shifters' regional coordinator. (This is the alternate version of "The Lady is the Tiger." It is complete as it stands, though it could be extended into a more typical romance with another two scenes and 5,000 words.)

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Elsewhere

Elsewhere is a small mountain principality in a world wherein the ominous lands of Faerie surround the equivalents of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. I created it initially as an exercise in pure world-building, and then later decided to use the setting for a Letter Game between me and my sister. That never got off the ground -- which was entirely my fault for failing to write the first letter -- but I do like the world and characters, and may try conjuring a proper novel out of them someday. In the meantime, here are a few snippets about Apple Rumluck. (And yes, this Apple Rumluck and her cousin Daphne are the basis of the Apple and Daphne I used as OCs in my Harry Potter fanfiction. I recycle ideas a lot. *grin*)

*Apple & Blue: 900 words, Aug. 2004. Blue Turnagain reminisces about his childhood friendship with Apple Rumluck, then meets her unexpectedly in the city of Myria. This is more an exercise in world-building and character development than a proper story, but it's cute nonetheless.

Heirlooms: 700 words, May 2010. Apple finds unexpected treasure in the attics of Briar House, during a visit to Daphne's cousins. [15-minute fic]

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"Ashes"

"Ashes" is a story I dreamed up (literally) when I was twelve or thirteen, and then sat on for fifteen years because I couldn't figure out how to write it. The basic idea is that several centuries ago, a magical catastrophe destroyed the world, leaving something like 85% of the land swamped in a cold, malevolent darkness called miasma. The scattered remnants of humanity survive in the living kingdoms, where the miasma and the tainted creatures of the wastelands are held at bay through careful magic and vigilant physical defense. For most people survival is victory enough, but a few still dream of reversing the apocalypse and saving the world. Three people -- Morgalen ha le Shani, a traveling magician; Riam Tegera, the binder of Zerlon; and Zalir Na, a swordswoman and scout -- set out to make those dreams reality.

Ashes: WIP, 18,500 words so far, started Nov. 2010. Two hundred years after miasma spilled through the Gate to taint the earth and air, a magician, a binder, and a swordswoman set off through the Great Waste on a quest to set things right. But the magician has hidden motives, her companions have secrets of their own, and there is no guarantee that their effort may not simply hasten the death of their world.

Ashes: 1,350 words, March 2010. Preliminary sketch draft to the actual story. A traveling magician arrives in Zerlon, the last living kingdom before the Great Waste where the miasma entered the world. She asks for help in her quest to restore the light, but her new companions are unaware of how deep her secrets run, or the price that they will pay in the end.

I Will Follow: 550 words, Aug. 2010. Morgalen and her brother in happier days. [15-minute fic]

The Principle of Fire: 350 words, Jan. 2011. The nature of Morgalen's magic, and the reason for her bargain. [15-minute fic]

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Sunbright and Shadowfall

These are some preliminary sketches for a fantasy story that starts as a variation on "Sleeping Beauty," but expands into things like absolute power (magical and/or political), restraint and use of power, the ethics of power, swordfighting, horses, messy battle scenes, dreamwalking, people finding loopholes in carelessly structured curses, devotion, the logical implications of magic, complicated political maneuvering, shifting power dynamics in relationships, royals who actually do things, found family, time travel, etc. And a central lesbian romance which starts with Sunbright older than Shadowfall but ends with Shadowfall older than Sunbright, because I can do that if I want. *grin*

The Coming of the Queen: 325 words, Aug. 2014. On the day she raises her banner, the Shining Ones will fall. [15-minute fic]

Paved with Love: 600 words, Sept. 2014. A moment from Shadowfall's childhood, before things go terribly wrong for her family. [15-minute fic]

The Scent of Onions: 350 words, Nov. 2014. Four days after Shadowfall's parents were executed, her aunt Greenleaf cut her finger while chopping onions. Her blood was silver. [15-minute fic]

Tooth and Claw: 500 words, April 2015. Sunbright is twelve when she first kills another human. War, child soldiers. [15-minute fic]

Cast a Shadow: 525 words, Feb. 2016. In which Sunbright unexpectedly acquires a body-servant. [15-minute fic]

Penance: 350 words, Nov. 2014. The sleeping city is empty now, but Shadowfall cannot take that final step beyond the thorns. [15-minute fic]

The Queen in Waiting: 425 words, Jan. 2015. Sunbright has a complicated relationship to the prophecy that shaped her life. [15-minute fic]

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"Utilitarian Virtue"

Two fragments from an unwritten novel about Aujae, an assassin who travels from world to world at the behest of the Keeper, a mysterious AI tasked with staving off the potential collapse of the multiverse. But Aujae's qualms about her mission have been growing, and this time when she finds her target, she makes a different choice. (Contains body modifications that may count as mild body horror.)

Utilitarian Virtue: 350 words, Dec. 2011. A wanderer crosses into a new universe on an ethically troubling mission. Fragment. [Prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] cherokee1]

Signs and Portents: 1,000 words, June 2015. Aujae and Laura regroup after a dangerous encounter with the Keeper's enemies, and build on their fragile trust. Prompt: markings. Written for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo. [prompt!fic for [livejournal.com profile] cherokee1]

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Intarre

Some fragments from an unwritten epic fantasy saga. The world of Intarre is highly permeable to other worlds, and has also been locked under two worldwide spells -- the Word and the Way -- since the aftermath of a devastating magical war. Tabitha and Thomas Redding are the grandchildren of a sorceress who fled Intarre for Earth. On their thirteenth birthday, Tab summons a dragon to take them back. The dragon's price is as yet unknown...

Correspondence: 525 words, Nov. 2015. Ri-Lady Lourdés Rodelay receives bad news from home. Tom does what he can to be there for her. [15-minute fic]

A Dream of Snow: 300 words, Oct. 2014. Tab Redding mindwalks for the first time. Naturally she chooses her twin as her target. [15-minute fic]

A Dream of Heat: 325 words, Nov. 2015. Tom Redding endures a test in the desert of Mur. Direct sequel to "A Dream of Snow." [15-minute fic]

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Random stuff

**Mona's Blood: 1,950 words, original version written spring 1994, revised Feb. 2000-Sept. 2004. On a cruise ship isolated by a second Great Flood, Carrie Waters agrees to a discussion of lost art with Mr. Newcastle, a fellow passenger. Attempted rape of a minor, religious issues. (Original version is 850 words.)

The Pirate, the Witch, and the Demon Rum: 1,200 words, spring 1999-Sept. 2008. Fragment. Part of a surrealistic series I wrote in high school, which dealt with... um, well, it had spaceships, space opera, magic, high school, sex, time travel, government conspiracies, blasphemy, and the potential destruction of earth in a massive nuclear war. Also, it made no damn sense whatsoever and kept randomly referencing things ranging from Nietzsche and Omar Khayyam to the X-Files and Monty Python. I was not particularly sane in high school. *grin* Surrealism.

*There's Always a Catch: 1,050 words, Dec. 2003. When the city of Solace is invaded by the supernatural Riders, Imberlee, Char, and Siv -- an apprentice artificer, a city guard, and an untrained witch -- set out on a quest to find the Crown of Worlds and keep their home from being subsumed into the fractured lands. This is a brief interlude several months into that journey.

*Switch: 4,500 words, March 2001-Aug. 2005. A series of diary entries chronicling Annelise Grissom's discovery that she's a little bit different from normal, and her attempts to cope. The thing is, her difference is a magical ability to join and break electrical circuits, down to the synaptic level. (This story began as X-Men fanfic, but I decided partway through that I couldn't deal with the way mutant abilities trample all over the laws of science, so I said, "Screw it, let's justify the weirdness with magic!" and then used that to work up a more realistic world without superheroes or the over-the-top anti-mutant hysteria so common to X-Men storylines.)

Deliverance: 2,100 words, spring 2000-July 2008. Fragment. A colony planet is invaded by aliens who take advantage of the colonists' still-limited resources. A war of attrition ensues, while various people attempt to establish communication with the aliens. But that's just the backdrop; this is the story of Jenny Silver, the lead singer of Soul Cake Tuesday, and the band's tumultuous progress through the Cataclysm years. (Yes, I am quite probably nuts.) Implied war, implied use of humans as scientific specimens, discussion of xenocide and the ethics thereof.

Geometry: 50 words, Dec. 2011. Prompt: Point A/Point B, is this the end of the line? Written for [livejournal.com profile] lizzie_marie_23 in the Three Sentence Ficathon 2011.

*Red: 1,000 words, Jan. 2012. A long-term scientific mission to Mars runs into unexpected trouble. Sketch of a nightmare that I have never figured out how to flesh out into a proper story, but the bare bones get the point across just fine. Body horror, death.

fossilization: 50 words, March 2013. Prompt: anthropomorphic, pot & kettle, relative blackness. Written for [livejournal.com profile] with_rainfall in the Three Sentence Ficathon 2013.

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Elizabeth Culmer

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