Yuletide reveal day! I got a little carried away and wrote six stories this year. I have listed them in the order I wrote them.
-----( 1 ) Loving Bonds
-- The Dark Is Rising
, 2,800 words. There is a fierce long age between Arthur's reign and the final Rising. Any number of things could have broken a chain of descent and prevented the Light from having a Pendragon on their side. Why, then, did the Dark allow Bran to remain in the twentieth century? Contains discussion of premature birth and the death of a premature child
, and a threat to a living child
. (Written for rizny.)Thoughts:
This was my assignment story. I had offered to write The Dark Is Rising
not because I had any particular drive to write for it, nor any ideas, but because it is a canon I am familiar with, and it has enough gaps and loose ends that I figured I could find something to hang a story on. Rizny's optional details said, among other things, "I would really love a story with Will or Merry or Arthur or John Rowlands as one of the main characters, doing with fierce determination what must be done to save the world, whether it's a scene left out of the book or the Dark returning somehow or whatever,"
which seemed promising.
The trouble is that when I started rereading canon (focusing on The Grey King
and Silver on the Tree
, because they are the only books containing John Rowlands), I discovered that what I desperately wanted to do was explore and explain Blodwen Rowlands. *headdesk* So I beat my head against a metaphorical wall for a while until my subconscious coughed up the idea of John convincing Blodwen to let Bran stay at Clwyd with Owen Davies.
The bit about the premature birth of the Rowlands' child came out of freaking nowhere
as I was typing up the opening section (which I had written longhand at work). On reflection, I think it snuck in mostly because one of my real life friends is pregnant right now. Her pregnancy is going swimmingly, but apparently I am still worrying in the back of my head. *shrug*
Initially I called this story "Guardian Angels." I swapped that out for "The Fate of Men," and then "While Shepherds Watch Are Keeping," but I didn't like any of those titles. (The first is stolen from 'All Through the Night,' the second from Silver on the Tree
, and the third from 'What Child Is This?') So I went with "Loving Bonds," as did two other people this year -- it is the most obvious title for any story about love and families in this fandom -- but whatever, it works, and I'm not sorry.
I am fairly sure I lifted the line about a 'fierce long age between X and Y' from one of Andre Norton's Time Traders
books, but I cannot remember which one offhand, and I like the phrase too much to change it. *sheepish*
-----( 2 ) The Geographic Cure
-- American Gods
, 2,100 words. Artemis and Apollo go to America. (Written for Minnow.)Thoughts:
I got my assigned story up before the last minute this year, and then had a few days with nothing much to do and a lot of real life stuff I didn't want to think about. So when the list of people who still needed pinch hits went up, I scrolled through it and minnow1212
's prompt jumped out at me. American Gods
didn't really work for me as a novel -- I could never connect with it properly -- but the idea behind it is genius, as I think the number of responses to Minnow's prompt shows. *grin*
I have very little to say about this story as a story; it kind of happened through me as I typed, without much conscious direction on my part. So no, I don't know why the twins were in England, nor how long they'd been there, nor where they'd traveled and what they'd done since Rome went Christian. I do know why they went to Charleston, though -- Charleston was apparently quite the melting pot in colonial times (they had a notable Jewish population, among other things), and I also wanted more of a stratified society (and closer social connections to upper-class England) than New England would have provided. I also did some actual (though glancing) research on women's saddles and foxhunting and consequently inserted a little one-sentence handwave about how and why Artemis is out hunting with the men.
(Not research-related, but possibly relevant: I think that when the Romans adopted the Greek pantheon, Apollo had no troubles whatsoever, not having a Roman counterpart, but Artemis and Diana fought a vicious battle that ended with Diana dead and Artemis taking on her name as a new title and absorbing the worship and power that had previously gone to Diana. *nods firmly* Furthermore, the little bit about Jesus that ended up in my story? That is there very deliberately, because one of my main issues with American Gods
was the way Gaiman left out Christianity and Judaism and Islam. I am not sure if he was setting those religions on a higher plane -- true gods, rather than human-created gods -- or was just trying to avoid religious backlash, but it annoyed me. What I did not manage to make Artemis say is that in my view, this world's Jesus is a god like any other god, but he is currently vastly more powerful and so he can and does completely ignore the old pagan gods and the new technology gods.)
-----( 3 ) And Both Shall Row
, 900 words. Cally and West meet again after several years. (Written for Lesserstorm.)Thoughts:
I saw lesserstorm
's 'Dear Yuletide Writer' post in November, and tucked away the idea of writing Seaward
fic as a treat. I promptly forgot about it, because my mind is a sieve, but when all the requests went up for Yuletide Madness the memory rushed back and so this was the first thing I wrote off that list, before I began scrolling down alphabetically.
I had a file somewhere in which I explained my reasons for deciding Westerly is from Pakistan, but I seem to have misplaced it. Basically, it comes down to his physical appearance (black hair, dark eyes, dusky skin); to the book in his fantasy room (written in a language and script that Cally, who is pretty obviously from England, cannot recognize -- possibly Arabic or Urdu); and to the idea that his country is in political turmoil in the late 1970s (since the book was published in the early 1980s), has a seacoast, and probably (by implication) has a mostly temperate climate. Also, given the scene at the harbor near the end of the book, his name does genuinely seem to be 'Westerly,' not a word that translates that way, so his country must have had heavy British or American influence in the not-too-distant past -- and Pakistan is a country that would be familiar to a British writer like Cooper.
The title is a line from the song "The Water Is Wide," though I assure you the later verses have no connection whatsoever to this story. *grin*
-----( 4 ) thy daughter in law, which loveth thee
-- the Bible: Old Testament (Book of Ruth), 1,100 words. Naomi loves Ruth, but not quite as Ruth would wish. (Written for Summercloud.)Thoughts:
This one is kind of WTF for me, because while I do spend a lot of time thinking about religion and while I have played textual games with Judeo-Christian religious traditions in an original novelette (Finding Marea: Truth and Change in the Circle of Kemar
, if you are interested), I had never thought of writing straight-up Biblical fanfic. But the prompt jumped out at me when I was scrolling down the Yuletide Madness page, and it's really easy
to reread the Book of Ruth and spend half an hour doing a little internet research on what redemption means in that context. So I thought, why not?
-----( 5 ) whatever a sun will always sing is you
-- The Darkangel
, 150 words exactly. Erin is always at Aeriel's side as they build their world and their lives. (Written for fresne.)Thoughts:
I wrote a Darkangel fic for aishuu
earlier this year, and discovered that while I enjoy reading post-series Aeriel/Irrylath, I do not believe in it strongly enough to write it myself... at least not without an awful lot of space to work up to it convincingly. And yet I had never thought about Aeriel/Erin, which is odd because I love how female-centric the series is, and I always liked how Aeriel and Erin's friendship and loyalty to each other was made much of. So it was interesting to step sideways and look at canon again and say, "Oh, right, femslash!"
The story is still pretty gen, but that's partly because I fail at sex scenes, partly because I was trying to stay within the bounds of Pierce's own treatment of sex and sexual desire, and partly because, well, the story's only 150 words long. Where was I going to put
any sex? *wry*
The title is a line from an e.e. cummings poem.
-----( 6 ) Princess no Go
-- Enchanted Forest Chronicles/Hikaru no Go
, 350 words. Cimorene and Mendanbar play Go. AU. (Written for pentapus.)Thoughts:
The prompt for this story was "Cimorene and Mendanbar, AU. Go." The entire story is therefore an elaboration of a play on words. If it had not been ten minutes to midnight and if I had not been so tired, I think my better mind would have self-censored this into non-existence rather than post it, but what the hell, it's kind of cute and I never claimed my sense of humor was any good, so what do I know. *sheepish grin*