edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Last set of fills, until the next ficathon rolls around. :)

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23. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Inception, Ariadne / or & any, minotaur, written 1/4/17 [AO3 version]

no morality by instinct (200 words exactly)

At the heart of every person's mind is a guardian, territorial and feral, that exacts repayment in blood and pain for all attempted intrusions; they can be evaded, confused, and with time and practice soothed to sleep, but they are never truly tamed; even the people a dreamer loves and trusts the most can still be ripped apart if they grow careless and startle the beast awake.

"Like a minotaur, a proper flesh-eater both maddened and cunning, sent to humble those who grow too proud of their power and cleverness and forget to observe the proper rituals," Eames says with a careless smile, "and you a combination of Daedalus and your own lovely namesake, both to build the maze that traps the monster and to spin the thread that guides us safely through."

"Ah, the benefits of a classical education," Ariadne says wryly, watching the slow and suspicious patrol of the squirrels and songbirds that populate the wilderness she's built in Eames's mind, and wonders whether, when Arthur begins testing her rough-draft maze for flaws, she'll have time to shoot herself awake before she learns what it feels like to die sliced apart by a thousand tiny claws and beaks.

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24. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Any, any, stealing the sun, written 1/8/17 [AO3 version]

years of drought and famine (225 words)

The clouds are thin in the first years, translucent veils that drape in narrow, scattered bands across the sky: the world's victory sari, people call them, and marvel at the way they seem to catch faint fire at sunset or sunrise, kindling Solstar's white to color within their refracted folds, or to reflect Oceanus's blue-green shine like a dream of verdant growth. But gradually they grow thicker and more frequent, and eventually begin to blot out Solstar's light for hours at a time: an ill-omen, people say now, and wonder in whispers whether perhaps the white witch of the mere cursed the world in her death-throes, or whether the Aeriel was corrupted in her victory; wait, say others, the world was not born in a day, nor can its rebirth be easy; all changes are terrifying even when they bring prosperity and joy at the end of the shift; but patience and trust come hard after generations of the world's slow fall and there are mutterings against the work of Crystalglass, words that might grow into deeds without a countersign, and soon.

And then, at last, in the midst of a daylight darkness, there comes a thing unseen for generations: wrapped in the lowering gloom of oppressive clouds and the fear of the stolen sun, the sky breathes rain once more unto the thirsty earth.

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Note: Darkangel Trilogy, obviously. :)

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25. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Mad Max: Fury Road, any, chasing the sun, written 1/10/17 [AO3 version]

truth, like the sun (175 words)

They say if you drive west fast enough, the sun never sets; drive west fast enough and a single day lasts forever. The true metal, the true V8, they race across the sky in a blaze of glory too bright to look upon with pitiful fleshy eyes, and they will never die; this is Valhalla, the promise and the dream, where everything is caught in an eternity of perfect, howling speed and chrome.

"Flashy and hollow, just like the rest of Joe's lies, and easily turned around if the people here weren't too cowed and beaten down to think," Angharad says when Furiosa relates this bit of warboy lore, words dragged halting and unfamiliar between her teeth like a slow fuel leak she can already tell will leave her stranded and weaponless one of these endless days; "What if you drive east to meet the sun as a partner, instead of west to capture it?" and Furiosa sits in gear-ground silence for the rest of her watch rather than admit she's never thought to ask the question.

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26. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Any, any, treason, written 1/10/17 [AO3 version]

the treason of pity (250 words)

"If I had it all to do over again," the Dolorosa says to her kismesis as they lie, sweaty, blood-streaked, and sated, in the little nest of torn sailcloth that serves as both pile and bedding ground for the slaves in Mindfang's crew, "I'd tell my son to aim for the Empress instead of the people; she is the Empire, after all, its incarnation as well as its creator; any attack on its power and order is an attack on her, and vice versa. Instead of making ourselves into a threat to put down, we could have shown her how the highbloods have already stolen control out from under her nose -- high treason on a scale to beggar belief -- and tried to set up something better in the wake of the resulting bloodbath; she admires strength and daring, after all, and surely after helping her regain power in practice as well as in theory, we would have convinced her that letting such qualities flourish among lowbloods does not automatically equal chaos."

"If you had it all to do over again, you'd do exactly the same as before," the Demoness says, a thread of weary resignation laced through her habitual scorn, "because I'd go back too, a thousand thousand times if necessary, until I nudged you back onto the path; my master only accepts the timeline that leads to his victory, and as we both know, there are punishments worse than death; do not seek more of them than are already your share."

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Note: This will make much more sense if read in combination with The Time-Traveler's Kismesis: Counterthesis.

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27. ) For [livejournal.com profile] lignota: Any, any, following smoke and remembering fire, written 1/12/17 [AO3 version]

the seat containing of unweary'd flame (Meet Adoration to My Household Gods) (200 words exactly)

Magic in this world, Susan reflected, was maddening compared to the magic she'd learned in Narnia; if that had been plucking ripe apples from low-hanging boughs in a well-tended orchard, this was wading through thorns and interminable flies in search of stray raspberries not yet discovered by birds or bears, or befriending some higher, older powers in hope of borrowing the bounty of their own hoards.

Still, she fought best from a distance, whether with weapons or words, and as bows were too conspicuous and handguns both too noisy and too illegal (not to mention of limited utility at best against vampires and demons), magic seemed the most immediately useful replacement.

Susan squeezed another drop of blood from her pricked fingertip, repeated once again in halting Greek (blast Peter for laughing when he realized she would have to learn multiple new languages and writing systems to master her new field), "Hestia, queen of hearth and home, strike this spark for your daughter," and smiled when the nest of kindling in her saucer breathed a sigh of smoke; it was no clear, bright flame to strike foes or summon aid, but all things would come with time, and work, and faith.

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Note: Part of my One Equal Temper of Heroic Hearts series, which crosses Narnia and BtVS. The halves of the title come from the Orphic Hymn to Hestia (#84, Taylor's translation) and Tennyson's 'Ulysses,' respectively.

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28. ) For anonymous: Any, any, tears of flowers, written 1/12/17 [AO3 version]

unwanted blessings (500 words exactly)

"The traditional blessing is for roses and jewels to fall from a poor but kind girl's lips with every word she speaks, but the fairy I met said that made it hard to hold actual conversations and tended to wreck local economies, not to mention the roses prickle something awful on the tongue," Morwen's new roommate, Rosamund, said when their conversation turned to their respective reasons for attending Stokey's Academy.

"Magic does have consequences," Morwen agreed. "Is that why you decided to become a sorceress? To see if you could unpick other traditional causes and effects?"

"Not exactly," Rosamund said with a frustrated scowl. "You see, the fairy still blessed me. She just blessed me to cry flowers instead of speak them, since she said if I was upset enough for tears, that's when I'd actually need flowers to cheer me up. It's a complete nuisance. The flowers are mostly violets and cherry blossom, which thankfully don't prickle, but the petals feel like tissue paper and slugs on my eyeballs, they get absolutely everywhere, and I can't even turn them into a garland or bouquet because they don't have any stems."

"Ugh." Morwen grimaced in sympathy and refilled Rosamund's teacup with the last of her aunt's best company blend that she'd brought with her from home. "That sounds like she was so proud of noticing the problems with the old spell, she didn't bother to make sure her new spell was actually any better."

"Yes, exactly," Rosamund said, and gulped the tea down like water. "That's not the worst part, though. After she cast the flower spell, the fairy said she wouldn't bother trying to make an endless gold spell that wasn't subject to abuse. Instead, she told me that my family already had everything we needed. That sounds nice, right?"

"In a vaguely moralistic and uplifting way," Morwen agreed.

"Very 'be content with your lot and beware the dangers of ambition,' yes," Rosamund said. "But it did sound nice... until we realized it was a spell too, and it was keeping our farm from ever turning a profit."

"How so?"

"If we already had everything we needed, what reason was there for anything to ever change? So nothing does. Everything's frozen the way it was when I met the fairy. We can't clear new fields. We can't rotate crops. We can't even buy a new goat without one of our old goats magically dying for no reason, which means the blessing is actually more of a curse." Rosamund clutched her teacup with white-knuckled fingers and said, so fiercely that Morwen almost expected her eyes to burst into flame, "I came here to learn how to break it. Then I am going to find that fairy, if I have to chase her to the ends of the earth, and I am going to give her a piece of my mind."

"I'll hold her down for you," Morwen promised, and gently pried the teacup from Rosamund's work-roughened hands before it shattered.

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Note: Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This one got a little out of hand. Oops? Also, Stokey's Academy is a bit of headcanon I made up when I was giving Morwen backstory for various other fics; it is glancingly mentioned in The Affairs of Dragons and serves as the main setting for A Splash of Color.

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29. ) For [livejournal.com profile] lizzie_marie_23: Narnia/Harry Potter, Edmund ~ or / Ginny, hidden corners of the world, written 1/12/17 [AO3 version]

the gate of iron and emerald (375 words)

"This is why you missed the first minute of the battle and left us without our best distance fighter," Edmund said flatly as he continued to inspect his mail shirt for damaged links; "Because you tripped and fell down a hole."

Ginny twirled her wand between her fingers (the way Lucy sometimes spun daggers) and said, in a tone that implied she was attempting forbearance despite great provocation, because despite everything she was fond of him and so forgave his foibles, "Because while I was scouting for ambushes -- it's only chance that the attack came from the west instead of the east, besides which I can't believe you missed a half-dozen giants in land this flat -- I found a locked iron door in an emerald frame in the back wall of this cave, which is so ridiculously out of place that it might as well be screaming it's magical, even without the runes I can't read carved over the lintel, and I was in the middle of testing to see if opening it would be dangerous -- it shouldn't be, by the way, unless you're actually as useless as you act when you're trying to convince people you're young and ignorant, in which case I want a raise since bodyguarding that kind of idiot definitely deserves hazard pay -- but anyway, stop looking at me like I'm a particularly squishable beetle and let's go see what's on the other side."

"I feel that Susan would tell us that interfering with strange magics is a terrible idea, and counsel us instead to both employ caution and remember our mission," Edmund said, pro forma, but this journey to Harfang for truce negotiations had several days' flexibility built in to account for the general disarray of Ettinsmoor after Peter's latest summer war, and he could never live with himself if he turned down a chance to explore one of the hidden corners of the world, thus blatantly presented as both invitation and challenge; and so he motioned his other bodyguard (a grizzled She-Wolf by the name of Skadi) to alert the rest of the party to this turn of events and followed Ginny into the narrow cleft in the earth, to meet what fate awaited them beyond the mysterious door.

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Note: A loose sequel to By Its Cover.

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30. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Beauty and the Beast (Disney or fairy tale; f/f genderswap), Beauty (or Belle)/Beast, roses in the snow, written 1/14/17

the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers (300 words exactly)

Beauty walked the garden paths beside Lady Falcon-in-Flight's massive form, one hand on her spear (as always, for the spells that bound the castle were fraying with age and sometimes spun off monsters) and the other extended to rest lightly on her lady's shoulder: soft fur layered thickly over hard muscle that could drive a body tirelessly for days on end until a chosen quarry was brought to bay -- now twitching restless and unfulfilled as her lady fought to leash a beast's instinct and appetite into a pale mimicry of human form and function, just as she gifted Beauty with garlands and gold instead of the fragile heart Beauty yearned to cradle in her hands and guard from every wound.

"You should hunt, as your body aches to do," Beauty said, as she had each morning since the new moon; "Bring me back a stag or boar, hard-won with your own strength: for blood on snow suits midwinter better than soft, spell-wrought flowers that seek to make all seasons equally a lie."

Her lady tensed, and Beauty bit her lip in expectation of yet another refusal... but this day her lady sighed (a hot, metallic gust of air, like opening the door to her eldest sister's smithy), turned her great head to fix her golden, slit-pupiled eyes on Beauty's own, and said in her rumbling voice, "If you wish a kill, you may make it yourself, but you are right that this body needs to run; I will be your hound and horse together, if you will be my mistress and guide me with a firm hand lest I lose myself to bloodlust; and perhaps when we return we might search the garden until we find amidst the ice a rose that, like you, has remembered its birthright of thorns."

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You know, I think these ficlets could count for [community profile] snowflake_challenge Day 7: create a fanwork, if I wanted to make this post multipurpose.

...I believe I will. :)
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Today is Ladypalooza reveal day! I wrote two fics this year: my assignment and a pinch hit. I will talk about each in a separate post.

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Let the Water Take Me: You've known since you were a wiggler that one night Meenah Peixes will set you free. You've known for almost as long that your death will only draw her further into the trap of your Master's schemes. And it only took one sweep in your Master's active service before it occurred to you that she is the only other troll in the universe who will live as long as you, with all the loneliness and loss that implies. It would take a far stronger person than you will ever be to not love and pity her a little, if only in the abstract. (You will destroy her anyway.) Handmaid/Condesce, depression, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide. [2,450 words]

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This is a pinch hit, written for [archiveofourown.org profile] Burgundyrose!

The prompt was for a version of Handmaid/Condesce that leaned toward red- or palerom rather than blackrom, which I leapt at because I'd been wanting to write something along those lines for a while but didn't have any framework for such a story. Burgundyrose's suggestion of a scene where the young Handmaid tries to drown herself, only to be interrupted by the Condesce, immediately gave me ideas. :D

I've always liked this ship, and while my first impulse in 2012 was to categorize it as a kismessisitude gone wrong (one of them kills the other), I later rethought my stance and decided the Handmaid would be much more likely to hate the Dolorosa, the Signless, the Disciple, or the Summoner. See, what would piss her off most is hope, since she knows in her bones how futile it is to expect any change to the system she's helped build at Lord English and Doc Scratch's orders. And by the time the Condesce is an adult, I think she shares that fatalistic, nothing-changes worldview. She comes at it from a different direction -- her core assumption is that she's always going to win and always be in charge -- but that can easily get wearing and pointless in its own way. She and the Handmaid also share an assessment of other trolls as toys/game-pieces.

And when you come down to it, after all, the Handmaid wants to die. She makes a genuine suicide threat to Doc Scratch as a child, and I can't think eternity in Lord English's service was any kind of pleasure. The Condesce, in effect, frees her by killing her.

"Let the Water Take Me" is a small exercise in radically divergent character perspective. For Meenah, it's almost a meet-cute (aside from, you know, the 'I rescued you from attempted suicide' thing), whereas for Damara, it's several small tragedies bound together because she knows exactly how their story is going to end, hates what that's going to do to Meenah, hates herself for looking forward to it, and would probably go through with that final assisted suicide attempt even if she did think she could change the outcome, because she wants her freedom more than she wants to save Meenah from Lord English's service. (And she hates herself for that, too.)

I used the characters' Beforan names for simplicity's sake, because Meenah at this point in her life is too young for an adult title (and might have used a different one at first anyway).
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Today is Ladystuck reveal day! I wrote four fics this year: my assignment, a pinch hit, and two treats just because. I will talk about each in a separate post.

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Sandedge: Unfortunately, when you turn around, you realize the cave was already occupied. Fortunately, the occupant can be reasoned with. (The Dolorosa meets the Disciple.) [1,325 words]

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This is a treat written for [archiveofourown.org profile] ratherrumpus, who asked for an exploration of the Dolorosa's relationship with the Disciple. It's kind of a sequel to an unwritten story about the Disciple's early childhood that I've been struggling with for over a year. That fic would start with a tiny, nameless, feral troll girl slowly and warily getting domesticated by the abbess of Sandedge, and end with her flight into the desert after the abbey's destruction. I'm not sure I'll ever figure out how to write that story, so it was nice to have a chance to pick up some of the background work and repurpose it in a slightly more hopeful setting.

The fic is part of my Ancestral Nights continuity, though I obviously couldn't add it to that series while the Ladystuck archives were still anonymous.

And now for a trivia note! I've mentioned the Sandedge spaceport twice in Trollstuck: Make Her Pay -- once as the location of a fight between the Summoner and the Grand Highblood, and once as a line in a wiggler rhyme that Vriska uses to disrupt Davven's thoughts and dialogue. So it's part of my general headcanon about the Ancestors and Alternia, though I haven't had a chance to explore it in detail, either as a spaceport or an abbey.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: The cult of the Signless Sufferer has no clergy and no rites, only one rule. Latula Pyrope is five sweeps old when she first learns it. (400 words)

[ETA: The AO3 crosspost is now up!]

The Whole of the Law )

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Okay, that was something I never expected to write. *blinks* I'm not sure what I think about it, other than it's obvious I still have a thing for ethics and religion.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Back in 2013 I had a story idea for the Ladystuck Dark challenge, which I called "The Time-Traveler's Kismesis." It was born from a couple stories I'd seen that had the Demoness tracking the Condesce through her life, and hating her passionately. And I thought, yeah, that works... but the thing the Demoness would hate most isn't casual entitlement. It's hope. And the person who has that, the one who tries to change the world for the better, and most particularly the one who also has personal experience with slavery, is the Dolorosa. The Demoness knows nothing is ever going to change. Nothing will ever matter. And the Dolorosa, despite being caste-bound into a form of servitude, and having her son killed in front of her and his movement destroyed, and being mind-controlled and raped, keeps on going.

I never did write that story. But this is one of the scenes that would go into it: shortly after the Dolorosa flees the brooding caverns with the Signless, she meets the Demoness for the second time... at least from her perspective. (825 words)

[ETA: The slightly revised final version is now up on AO3!]

The Time-Traveler's Kismesis: Counterthesis )

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Now I want to outline and write the rest of the story properly. Stupid plot bunnies!
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
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Master List of Elizabeth Culmer's Fanfiction: Homestuck
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Organization: This list is organized by associated narrative cycles; within each section, stories are arranged first by timeline (if applicable) and then by date. Word counts and writing dates are approximations.

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 completely and utterly blame [personal profile] askerian for my descent into this fandom. I hadn't even heard of Homestuck before she started writing fic for it, but I love her writing and generally trust her taste. So in late January of 2012, I did a little poking around via Google, found the comic, and... yeah. If you're here, you know how it hooks you. Then I made the mistake of reading through the backlog of [community profile] homesmut kinkmeme posts and fills. Before I knew it I had a file of prompts that looked intriguing. Then I was writing one. And it was porn, which if you know me is so bizarrely out-of-character there are no words. There was really no turning back after that.

I am still trying to figure out exactly how this fandom mugged me so thoroughly, but what the hell, it's been a fun ride so far and I'm sure it will continue to be so. :)

Where To Read: As always, if an AO3 version exists, it is definitive. FF.net versions are definitive in the absence of an AO3 version. Journal versions are the equivalent of beta drafts, though the shorter and/or fragmentary works may never be posted anywhere else.

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Trollstuck )

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Alpha Timeline Fluff )

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Tales from the Yellow Yard )

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Alternian Nights )

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Ancestral Nights )

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Untimely Ripped )

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Leaf and Letter )

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Stories Nominally Based in Canon )

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Assorted Partial AUs )

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Assorted Complete AUs )

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edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

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