edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
This is not the id!fic prompt! That's going to take more serious work, so I figured I'd jump ahead in the queue and write something a little less emotionally fraught (and also less structurally complicated).

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[archiveofourown.org profile] priscipixie said: How about this: Ilgamuth/Shezan, "heart on sleeve", Shezan has just heard of the defeat at Anvard (really, I'd be happy with anything at all about Shezan and Ilgamuth!)

Note: This ended up as Ilgamuth and Rabadash rather than Ilgamuth and Shezan. Oops? I mean, it's still about Shezan and Ilgamuth, and them being obviously in love. It just kind of... went sideways on me and this is what wanted to be written. It's not exactly a shovel talk, but it sort of flirts in and around that trope, so. (1,200 words)

(The aftermath of Anvard will be part of "A Change of Season," whenever I finally get around to writing that story, so I didn't want to lock myself into something that would inevitably get overwritten later.)

[ETA: The AO3 crosspost is now up!]

How Easy All Can See )

Okay, on to the next prompt...
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
As always, here is the link to the current ficathon. Come and play! :)

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17. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Star Trek: AOS, Gaila/Uhura, code, written 12/6/16 [AO3 version]

systems analysis (225 words)

The code Gaila writes is designed to help complicated chunks of metal and ceramic machinery (i.e., starships) meet their design specs in the most efficient ways (i.e., not explode by accident), and the code Nyota writes is designed to help complicated chunks of biological machinery (i.e., people) talk to each other so they don't explode their own starships by accident either (and only explode other people's starships as an absolute last resort); which is to say, there's a certain amount of overlap despite most people's apparent confusion at hearing an engineer and a linguist swap technical advice along with innuendo and bilingual puns over lunch.

But this isn't what Gaila says when classmates ask her, in vaguely pitying tones, whether it's hard living with someone whose specialty is such a soft and fuzzy branch of science it might as well be in the humanities (which isn't even true, but engineers can be awfully blinkered, Gaila's learned). Instead, she just smiles and says, "Every person is like a new code problem, and I like hacking -- I'll try hacking you if you have a few hours to spare, and I bet even a brute-force attack on your firewalls will be pretty fun for both of us! -- but Nyota tells me her own variables and commands without forcing me to guess, and that's worth a lot."

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18. ) For [livejournal.com profile] reeby10: Any, any, for the glory, written 12/6/16

the ethics of duty (150 words)

"For the glory of Calormen, the glory of Tash!" Rabadash cries as he wheels around to face the unexpected reinforcements now pouring over the ridge and down into the meadow at Anvard's feet. Ilgamuth opens his mouth to echo the exhortation, but finds his voice caught stillborn in his chest by conscience: however glory may be defined, by the analyses of philosophers or the aphorisms of poets, he is sure this grubby piece of selfishness and revenge meets none of the criteria.

Nonetheless, an oath is an oath unto death, and although the shame of doing naught to stop this folly will weigh on him forever, to stand aside and leave his sworn brothers' backs unguarded would only compound his errors; in order to tally the cost of this day, they must first survive; and so he draws his sword and follows his prince into battle once again.

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Note: This snippet may or may not end up in "A Change of Season" whenever I finally get around to writing that story; until then, it can stand alone as a minor gap-filler for HHB, but it has more layers if you read it in conjunction with the rest of my Out of Season series.

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19. ) For [livejournal.com profile] runespoor7: Homestuck, Rose Lalonde or Rose/Kanaya, Rose being a huge nerd., written 12/6/16 [AO3 version]

truly an eloquent turn of phrase (225 words)

"I had a dozen sets of these when I was twelve," Rose says as she busily arranges magnetic words on the refrigerator door, "which I mostly used to write and annotate dreadfully pretentious drivel -- the annotations being a passive-aggressive response to the messages of praise and encouragement my mother used to leave beside my creations -- but I dare say I have a better muse these days; perhaps you'd do me the honor of judging whether my literary endeavors have likewise improved."

"Violets are purple, roses are gay, leaves embrace flowers, let's be a bouquet?" Kanaya reads, her tone hovering somewhere between sarcasm and utter bemusement; "I have an intense suspicion that I'm missing a potentially-mocking cultural reference, though as matespritship proposals go, I admit this is oddly charming, in much the same way that a concussed purrbeast wiggler incites tender pity; how could I possibly refuse?"

Rose presses a hand to her forehead and fakes a swoon into Kanaya's arms; "My goodness, darling, don't say such romantic things or I might be quite overcome with passion -- flowers are delicate, you know," she gets out in her most overwrought fake British accent before she can't keep a lid on her giggles any longer and tugs her girlfriend (or fiancée? Kanaya might have been joking, but Rose finds herself surprisingly taken with that idea) down to cuddle on their kitchen floor.

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20. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Inception, Mal & or / any, all that we see or seem, written 12/7/16 [AO3 version]

and, in parting from you now (200 words exactly)

"Hello, Mal," a voice says as she dies, and suddenly the pain is... not gone, precisely, but held aside for a moment, long enough for a conversation and a choice: to move on to wherever souls go when their mortal bodies shatter, or to step sideways and serve as consultant and artist for a world she's seen flickering at the edges of her own, magic curled warily around newfangled science, irrationality woven for its own sake according to its own rules.

Dom still lives; she sees him screaming silently down from the hotel window, eyes wild and hand outstretched as if he could reel back time with only his fingers and his fear; he will eat his own heart with guilt and grief.

"You will play the role that is given to you," the Dream King warns, "and it may not be as his protector," but the choice is no choice at all, and he pays her the respect of assuming she knows her own mind and hushes the raven at his shoulder when it opens its beak to attempt dissuasion; and so Mal takes her new lord's colorless hand and gives the whole of herself over to dreams forever.

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21. ) For [livejournal.com profile] silvr_dagger: Inception/Sandman crossover, Ariadne & Morpheus or Daniel, forgive us our trespasses, written 12/7/16 [AO3 version]

for thine is the kingdom (300 words exactly)

"Do you mind that we grab pieces of your realm and twist them around for mercenary purposes?" Ariadne asks as she and the pale stranger sit on the tattered, rose-gold edge of a cloud and watch a flock of bats with paint rollers slap a Van Gogh sunset across the scaffolded sky; "I mean, we love your world -- I've never met anyone in dreamwork who wasn't at least halfway addicted to creating a dozen new impossible things on each new job, no matter how down-to-earth they try to present themselves -- but even so, it seems rude and I'm sorry that I can't honestly promise I'd stop if you asked."

"You tell stories, which are always and ever their own justification," the pale stranger says; "I will make the same bargain with you that I have made with all those in your trade: so long as you bring no dreams physically into the waking world--" ("I don't think the PASIV works that way," Ariadne says) "--or humans physically into my realm--" ("I really don't think the PASIV works that way," Ariadne says, before adding, sotto voce, "more's the pity") "--then I have no immediate quarrel with you, and will inform you before taking hostile action should you ever infringe on the natural operation of my realm and the minds temporarily under my care; do you accept those terms?"

"I do, and thank you, your majesty," Ariadne says, and as the dream world fades around her, washed away by the warmth of morning light across her pillow, the scent of Yusuf frying eggs in the kitchen, and the sound of Arthur and Eames arguing cheerfully over their next job options, she hopes her training will let her remember more than a melancholy smile and a fading sense of absolution when she wakes.

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22. ) For [livejournal.com profile] runespoor7: Naruto, Naruto/Sasuke/Sakura, I think we deserve a soft epilogue, my love. We are good people and we've suffered enough, written 12/8/16 [AO3 version]

a soft epilogue (200 words exactly)

Naruto and Sasuke grab Sakura before she completely exhausts her chakra, and whisk her away to... she's not sure where, really, just that it's warm and clean and has the most comfortable bed she's ever encountered in her life (though that may be mostly the exhaustion talking -- or the two bodies wrapped around her like living blankets).

"We should set an alarm for--" she starts to say through a jaw-cracking yawn, but can't make herself finish the thought; there are a thousand and one things still to do now that the world hasn't ended after all, and on any other day she'd ration out the minimum amount of sleep before diving right back in to work, but right now all she wants is to stay here forever with the people she loves and trusts most in the entire universe -- and who love and trust her in return.

"Never mind, go back to sleep," Sakura manages in response to Naruto's questioning noise and Sasuke's vague grope toward whatever weapon he has hidden under his pillow, and lets herself sink into the whirlpool of dreams, safe in the certainty that finally, finally, they've reached a chance to build a kinder life, together.

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More in a few days, probably. :)
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Here are the results of my latest mini-ficlet prompt meme, in case you missed any of them. :D

1. Kiss the Bride: Corin proposes to Susan. Prompt: Susan Pevensie as Queen of Narnia, coping with marriage proposals. 425 words, for [tumblr.com profile] madamehardy. [Tumblr; journal]

2. In Sure and Certain Hope: Does a funeral really count if you know the person it's for will resurrect tomorrow? Beta kid friendship. Prompt: Dave, John, Jade: somber but hopeful. 275 words, for [tumblr.com profile] shinyrock6498. [Tumblr; journal]

3. Under Pressure: Sakura will survive until her teammates dig her out. Part of the Tides AU. Prompt: How about some Naruto: Sakura, building pressure. 400 words, for [tumblr.com profile] branch-and-root. [Tumblr; journal]

4. Literal Interpretation: John has some questions about the repercussions of going God Tier. Davesprite and Jade are less than helpful. Tales from the Yellow Yard. Prompt: Jade, John, Davesprite, god worship. 675 words, for [tumblr.com profile] asukaskerian. [Tumblr; journal]

5. Freedom Ride: Aradia and Kanaya, in the moments before a guerrilla raid on Battleship Condescension. Prompt: Kanaya, Aradia, Prompt word: whoops. 425 words, for [tumblr.com profile] gracefularchitect. [Tumblr; journal]

6. Tall Ship of War: Shezan and Ilgamuth discuss types of watercraft as the Narnian delegation arrives in Tashbaan. Prompt: How about Shezan and/or Ilgamuth, and boats? 225 words, for [livejournal.com profile] autumnia. [Tumblr; journal]

7. My Sorrow's Share: Arwen's view of her uncle's choice changed over time. Prompt: Arwen and the pro/con of choosing humanity. (I'm on a Silmarillion kick.) 125 words, for [tumblr.com profile] mmarycontrary. [Tumblr; journal]

8. Crowning Glory: Edmund combs Susan's hair. Prompt: How about Susan Pevensie, combs or haircombing? 625 words, for [livejournal.com profile] cat_i_th_adage. (Also a Cotton Candy Bingo fill!) [Tumblr; journal]

9. Picture Perfect: Davepetasprite takes up an old hobby in a new medium. Prompt: Karkat, Dave, Davepetasprite, likeness. 150 words, for [tumblr.com profile] primtheamazing. [Tumblr; journal]

10. Pay It Forward: Yukiko and Iruka discuss educational opportunities and the lack thereof. Part of the Apartment Manager AU. Prompt: Ayakawa Yukiko and educating the next generation, please. :) 1,150 words, for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory. (Also a Cotton Candy Bingo fill!) [Tumblr; journal]

11. Mischief Night: The night before they return to Konoha for real, Team 7 blow off some steam by reversing their old genin missions. Part of the Tides AU. Prompt: Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke; "strangely satisfying". 550 words, for [personal profile] eos_joy. (Also a Cotton Candy Bingo fill!) [Tumblr; journal]

12. Necessary Measures: Kanaya takes steps to end a recurring argument. Prompt: Rose, Jasprose, and Kanaya, bickering. 200 words, for [tumblr.com profile] primtheamazing. [Tumblr; journal]

13. In Abeyance, In Arrears: If Bro had smiled, even once... Prompt: Bro, Dave, dour. 150 words, for anonymous on Tumblr. [Tumblr; journal]

14. Broken If Revealed: Karen discovers Foggy's catastrophe contingency plans, and a number of secrets come out in the process. Prompt: Daredevil: awkward reveal, "This is- it's not what it looks like...?" 2,150 words, for [tumblr.com profile] shinyrock6498. [Tumblr; journal]

15. An Unorthodox Pedagogical Approach: Naga and Kakashi take their genin teams on a joint D-rank mission. There is no way this can possibly go wrong. Part of the Apartment Manager AU. Prompt: If you’re willing (and can without spoilers), I would love a future fic showing Naruto, Shinnin, and Sakura working together as a team while on a mission. 300 words, for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory. [Tumblr; journal]

16. Part of Your World: Rose asks Jade to move in with her. Jade/Rose, sequel to New Roots. Prompt: Jade, Rose, prompt word: adventure. 675 words, for [tumblr.com profile] gracefularchitect. (Also a Cotton Candy Bingo fill!) [Tumblr; journal]
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
I am having serious trouble working up motivation to write, which is frustrating. Like, I will open a document, check where I was in the story, type maybe five words, and... nothing. Blank. It's particularly annoying if I've been mentally juggling and arranging ideas earlier in the day so I know roughly where I want to go and just can't quite get there once I am actually trying to type letters on a keyboard.

One thing that I've found helpful in the past when I've had trouble writing is to switch gears and write something completely different, and also -- this is the key part -- something with an external rather than internal pressure/reward system. Like prompt!fic.

So.

Give me one to three characters plus a mood, a scenario, or a prompt word, and I will write you a ficlet that is at least three sentences or 100 words long.

Help me out, please?

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1 ) Kiss the Bride: Susan Pevensie as Queen of Narnia, coping with marriage proposals. 425 words, for [tumblr.com profile] madamehardy. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

2 ) In Sure and Certain Hope: Dave, John, Jade: somber but hopeful. 275 words, for [tumblr.com profile] shinyrock6498. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

3 ) Under Pressure: Lessee. How about some Naruto: Sakura, building pressure. 400 words, for [tumblr.com profile] branch-and-root. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

4 ) Literal Interpretation: Jade, John, Davesprite, god worship. 675 words, for [tumblr.com profile] asukaskerian. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

5 ) Freedom Ride: Kanaya, Aradia, Prompt word: whoops. 425 words, for [tumblr.com profile] gracefularchitect. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

6 ) Tall Ship of War: How about Shezan and/or Ilgamuth, and boats? 225 words, for [livejournal.com profile] autumnia. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

7 ) My Sorrow's Share: Arwen and the pro/con of choosing humanity. (I'm on a Silmarillion kick.) 125 words, for [tumblr.com profile] mmarycontrary. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

8 ) Crowning Glory: How about Susan Pevensie, combs or haircombing? 625 words, for [livejournal.com profile] cat_i_th_adage. (Also a [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fill, because why not!) [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

9 ) Picture Perfect: Karkat, Dave, Davepetasprite, likeness. 150 words, for [tumblr.com profile] primtheamazing. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

10 ) Pay It Forward: Ayakawa Yukiko and educating the next generation, please. :) 1,150 words, for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory. (Also a [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fill!) [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

11 ) Mischief Night: Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke; "strangely satisfying". 550 words, for [personal profile] eos_joy. (Also a [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fill!) [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

12 ) Necessary Measures: Rose, Jasprose, and Kanaya, bickering. 200 words, for [tumblr.com profile] primtheamazing. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

13 ) In Abeyance, In Arrears: Bro, Dave, dour. 150 words, for anonymous on Tumblr. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

14 ) Broken If Revealed: Daredevil: awkward reveal, "This is- it's not what it looks like...?" 2,150 words, for [tumblr.com profile] shinyrock6498. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

15 ) An Unorthodox Pedagogical Approach: If you’re willing (and can without spoilers), I would love a future fic showing Naruto, Shinnin, and Sakura working together as a team while on a mission. 300 words, for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory. [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]

16 ) Part of Your World: Jade, Rose, prompt word: adventure. 675 words, for [tumblr.com profile] gracefularchitect. (Also a [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fill!) [Tumblr crosspost; AO3 version]
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: Rabadash and Shezan share a few private words on the eve of his coronation. (575 words)

[ETA: The AO3 crosspost is now up!]

Before the Dawn )

I wrote this ficlet at the public library this afternoon, then revised it at home some hours later. (The problem with trying to write stories in a single interconnected continuity is that I have to keep looking up minor details to make sure I'm not contradicting things I've previously said.)

Also, I would like it to be known that I tried really hard not to write another Problem of Susan ficlet for this prompt, and by gum, I succeeded!

And now for some timeline blather! )
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: Shezan and Ilgamuth talk of paths not taken. (300 words exactly)

[ETA: The AO3 crosspost is now up!]

Or Wonder, Till It Drives You Mad )

Don't mind me, just doing finger-exercises...
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
This is some stuff from the Turn Left meme (which is still open, if anyone wants to play), which I am posting here for my own reference:

[livejournal.com profile] hungrytiger11 said, I'll choose a shorter piece- That darkened over coming years. Ilgamuth chooses a different gift other than perfume.

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Not much changes! He'd probably have picked jewelry or bells or a silk scarf/sash -- those being other traditional first move courting gifts among the upper classes. more details )

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To which [livejournal.com profile] hungrytiger11 said, See- this is so utterly, utterly fascinating to me. Even though it may not change the story much, I feel like I have a deeper understanding of the cultural practice. It makes me wonder more about Cor's choice of gifts then [in The Courting Dance]. Though they were more the same sort of small things, was his understanding of the nuances as good (due both to the fact that he was a commoner in a household of only men and because of the years that have passed since being in Calormen)?

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Cor and Aravis are different from Shezan and Ilgamuth in that they already know that they're both sexually attracted to each other and capable of living in a functional partnership for the long haul. They don't need the testing/dating period of the dance, which is why Cor jumped to offering two gifts right off the bat and left jesses along with the bells, and also why Aravis didn't bother rejecting that first gift. more details )

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[livejournal.com profile] hungrytiger11 said, So... I'm greedy but now am curious about another story- Out of Season. What if Shezan had revealed what she knew about the beaver's escape plot, or what if she had chosen to act as dead weight and pulled the eagle from its flight?

Alternatively, what if Rabadash's plot had been successful?


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The entirety of HHB gets derailed, for starters! After that... this is an answer in four parts.

If Shezan overcomes her moral qualms and tells someone about the escape plot, the results depend on who she confides in: Axartha, her fellow priestesses of Achadith, or her fellow Tolkheeras and Tolkaars.

1. If Shezan tells Axartha, the information gets passed to the Tisroc, and from there to the other Tolkaars and Tolkheeras, plus a dozen carefully chosen guards... but not to Rabadash. Marigold Beaver gets chained down to the altar instead of held by a single person, and winds up dead without a much more direct divine intervention. The Eagle likewise ends up dead, killed by the waiting guards. I don't think Aslan would interfere in such conditions, and while it's possible for Achadith to possess Shezan or appear in person, she doesn't need a favor from Aslan that badly and can accomplish her aims in other ways. Calormen therefore has no need to save face with Narnia, and is likely to start some sort of proxy war and/or trade embargo in retaliation for the attempted disruption of their holy day.

a LOT more details )

And that is that!
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Today is also NFE Madness day! I wrote three extra gifts this year, and will talk about each in a separate post.

A boat, beneath a sunny sky: At the Lake of Mezreel, Lasaraleen distracts Aravis from her father's impending remarriage. (1,025 words, written for [archiveofourown.org profile] rthstewart)

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Rth asked for a story about Aravis, with anyone, and in her Dear NFE Writer letter mentioned that she enjoys banter and friendship and stories that make her laugh at least once. So I tried my best to write something cheerful and silly, between two girls who don't have much in common but get on fairly well despite that... provided they aren't forced to remain in close proximity for too long. *wry*

Some details from this are drawn from an unfinished and unpublished fic about Aravis and her brother at Mezreel, and how their father comes to marry his second wife (who takes a dislike to Aravis and later maneuvers her into the arranged marriage with Ahoshta). But the story should stand on its own without any context beyond canon itself.

The title is a line from the poem that closes Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
The Courting Dance: Marriage is a bit more complicated than quarreling and making it up again, especially for the crown prince of Archenland and an exiled Calormene Tarkheena. Aravis/Cor, 21,100 words, Feb. 2010-Aug. 2016.

I started writing "The Courting Dance" somewhat by accident. Back in 2010, I wrote a little 15-minute ficlet about Aravis prodding Cor into making a move in a Calormene-style courtship. A couple days later, in response to [personal profile] rthstewart's encouragement, I wrote a sequel from Hwin's POV. Then I admitted that I'd been ambushed by yet another chaptered story. *headdesk*

The narrative arc is relatively jumpy, which is a side-effect of the way the POV switches every chapter. There is a LOT of world-building -- this story is equal parts romance and meta on Archenland and its fraught history with Calormen. And my writing pace is, as always, the next best thing to glacial. But I have an outline of sorts -- my current estimate calls for 15 chapters altogether -- and I will finish this sooner or later.

ETA, 15 August 2016: It definitely ended up 'later' rather than 'sooner' and only 13 chapters rather than 15, but thanks to the 2016 WIP Big Bang challenge, I got there in the end!

The Courting Dance - Table of Contents )

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Oh look, it's another fit of internet housekeeping! *sigh* This post will update as I write the rest of the story.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: In the days following Axartha Tarkaan's death, Zardis Tarkheena raises cautions about Shezan's courtship of Ilgamuth. (1,550 words)

[ETA: The AO3 crosspost is now up!]

That darkened over coming years )

So yeah, that happened. It's not remotely a 15-minute fic in terms of writing time, but it was inspired by the word in question, so I figured I'd tag it by origin rather than writing speed. Also, the title is a line from "I saw thee, child, one summer's day," which is a poem by Emily Brontë. The poem is gloomier than this fic, and not exactly thematically relevant -- it's about the moment in childhood when you suddenly realize the inevitability of death -- but I liked the general sense of foreboding in that line, and the way it can, in context of this story, suggest past generations casting their shadow over their descendants.

And now to bed. :-)

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

August 2017

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