persephone20: (little storm in a teacup)
The Queen is dark. Dark skin, dark nails polished and pointy at the ends. Dark lashes grow long from her eyelids, creating cruel shadows over sharp cheekbones. Spider web gossamer makes up the dress that flows from shoulders to ankles. Her dark hair is broken by florescent pink highlights; the only colour.

Around her, subjects pay court. They are in many different shapes and sizes. Horns and wings are popular themes. One small creature seems clothed entirely in vines. Another has bark for hair. They like to leave bark in place of the ones they steal. Bark and bracken. They laugh about it afterwards.

Before them all, a serpentine girl awaits their pleasure. Awaits the Queen's pleasure. None of those paying court are moving. They all are there awaiting the Queen's pleasure; dreading her displeasure.

"Play." The Queen's word is formal.

The serpentine girl is blue and green. Her arms and legs are long, flowing; fingers and toes have extra joints. She is beautiful, hair flowing like water, trinkets in it like goldfish swimming through sea weeds. Her painted skin is bare, perfect globes for breasts that barely move as she twists and turns in impossible contortions that seem perfectly natural to her form.

Her audience stares in silence that is only broken occasionally by awed gasps that she seems hardly aware of. Her hair flows into her face and away again. Her gaze has attached itself to a far-away point on the wall.

"I tire of this quickly," says the Queen. Courtiers look around and a new silence, made of in-held breaths, replaces the last.

The serpentine girl seems not at all surprised. Rumours of this Queen have come a long way, so that when the serpentine girl was summoned, she knew her likely fate. Once, death had been terrible to the long-lived races. Not so with this Queen. Still she had come to make this dance.

As her fate came to fall down upon her, the serpentine girl moved not at all, fingers still and clasped before her smooth nether regions, hair long but still, as though it had never looked like water. Her lips seem big now, pronounced, out of place. Her nose is small. Her gaze is no longer fixed on some far off point. Her stare pins every faerie in place, calling them on their compliance to let this action occur.

It is almost a relief when her head is relieved from her shoulders. It rolls towards several courtiers to the right of the Queen. They all step back into the faeries behind them.

Even the blood runs blue.

The Queen is unmoved. The night is young.

"Next!"

**

I wrote this -- something like this -- a very long time ago.. and then promptly lost it. It's been playing around in my head ever since and tonight, buried nose deep in my new copies of Holly Black's the idea came to me again and I decided to rewrite it. There's a whole novel attached to this vignette, less than half of which is written.

I'm torn between writing that novel for my PhD, or the piece I've been working on and off with since I was 16. 11 years on and I can still stand the sight of the latter. But my interests and exegesis are more in line with the mostly unwritten novel that I've had in mind for only 3 or 4 years.

But hey, at least I'm talking about my PhD again!
persephone20: (a tree)
This book is like Francesca Lia Block and Melissa Marr teamed up to write the book of my dreams.

Well no, actually, it's not as good as all that. But it has elements of both writers which is giving me a nostalgic zing. The intrigue of a Faerie book written after a War between humans and faeries sometime in the near future keeps me turning pages.

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Actually, I can do better than that. In my teenage years, I read a lot of books by Sherryl Jordan. While a beautifully evocative author, her books were a little bit sameish on theme: stories were often about outcasts and, much of the time, they would be set in some post-apocalyptic world/historical world. Both backdrops had much the same feeling.

With Janni Lee's first book, Bones of Faerie, I'm getting a bit of that vibe. The main character, Liza, is an immediately sympathetic character. Supporting characters are vivid. It is not just the bits and pieces of information on the humans vs faeries War that keeps me turning pages.

I know that, in a year or so, Melissa Marr's first book Wicked Lovely is going to be released as a movie. Around that time, there is going to be multitudes of fanfic flying up all over the place. In the meantime, though, this book is making me want to take that characters from that universe (because I am too busy to think up original characters, naturally) and put them into the situation of War against the humans. \

A part of me is hoping that Janni Lee's sequel novel, Faerie Winter, is going to be a prequel -- much like Malinda Lo's Huntress was a prequel/sequel of her Cinderella story Ash -- but a bigger part of me somehow doubts it.
persephone20: (quantum gravity)
Inspired by the second of Justina Robson's second sci-fi elf-and-demon book, Selling Out, and the elf speaking of the main character as 'his girlfriend'.

*

He was finally here.

Over the hill, where the trees that didn't sing grew, past the buildings that seemed to suck in light, amidst pedestrians who didn't seem to feel the connection with the ground they walked on.

Samael stood on a not too busy street in suburbia. Not too busy by human standards, perhaps. Traffic flowed without backing up much, but Samael couldn't make himself look back to those moving boxes of metal for long. It was still a struggle to remind himself that he would not have an adverse reaction to it. However, having an elderly woman help him across a road several streets back, had bruised his pride and made Samael decide he would deal better with these things.

He had demanded to be here. If fast moving vehicles were another part of being here, that was the price. In turn, he would just have to think of them as horses. Brightly coloured, chrome, flashing horses, that growled and rolled on wheels, but horses nonetheless.

Dark had told him that his life here would take longer to get used to than the physical body he now wore, and now Samael believed him. The guardian had given him a look of mild pity when they came to be here after Samael's first moment of contact with the trees.

"Do you need a moment?" The words had been delivered with the perfect impartiality that Dark had ever used to speak with him, and Samael had shaken his head and indicated they should move on. Every minute longer that kept him away from Tiana was needless.

Now, standing at the window that reflected not just his physical form, but the mobile metal boxes beyond him, he almost wished he'd taken that moment by the trees.

Then he saw her on the other side of the mirror, and found he couldn't move even one step towards her.
persephone20: (quantum gravity)
I work in a sci-fi / fantasy specialist bookshop so, it shouldn't come as a surprise, I tend to end up giving recommendations of books to read to friends of mine fairly often. Especially when they are visiting from Canberra. Especially when they are living with us in our house ;)

A couple of months ago, I gave such a recommendation to [profile] ingysledge which, in turn, gave her an idea of the kinds of books I might like.

Now, I don't like sci-fi. Fantasy is more my thing and reasons such as greater character development and aspects of romance, as opposed to machinery and technology, are my reasons. However, when Ingrid suggested Keeping It Real by Justine Robson, I decided I'd give it a go.

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For the first 50 pages, I was having moments of "Oh, yeah this isn't so bad.... hah, that line was actually quite good! ... don't know why I'm still reading this book really... oh, there's a reason. Pity the whole book isn't like this". I likewise suffered to about page 100, and here was where the cartoon light turned on above my head.

145 pages in, I looked down to the page number to realise, with some surprise, that I hadn't put the book down in almost 50 pages. This shit just got really good.

What is this book about? Well, it's probably going to come as a real fucking surprise to see that I like faery fiction. The premise of the Quantum Gravity series, of which Keeping It Real is just the first, is that a bomb some time in the not too distant future has gone off and disintegrated all of the barriers between Earth, or Otopia as it is now called, and other realms, including the faery realm, the elvish realm, the demon realm and that of the elementals. Oh, and our main character is a cyborg.

I now think, given I know how the end of the book rounds off, that the first 100 pages are going to improve immensely through knowing what is about to happen and seeing all the signs of foreboding in the text.

To my excitement, I realised that this was not just a trilogy, but a first book in a series of five so far that have been released. To my disappointment, however, this first book is not a stand alone. For sure, it ties up many of the loose ends but, for the characters, there are many openings left to be explored in later books.

So, as today is a public holiday and the public libraries are not open, I am suffering to write down my thoughts of the book I currently have, and making plans in the direction of the local library tomorrow afternoon.
persephone20: (Default)
Lead-in to this journal entry here


Samael shrugged his shoulders in the new body that had been tied to him, tied to his essence. The usual menagerie was not here. Bones had made sure of that.

"I only count one bone woman here, and it certainly isn't any one of you," she'd announced to a room that consisted of Eddie, Arize, Hunter, Vic and Dark.

Danika, behind a smirk she didn't do a lot to hide, dared ask idly, "Why's he get to come along?"

Bones had looked at Dark, then answered, "He's a guardian."

Now Samael stood, with only Bones and Dark, pondering the body they had given him while the guardian and the bone woman watched on.

"It doesn't feel any different."

Bones tipped her head to the side, looking at him with no small amount of irony. "Well, of course it doesn't feel any different. You're still here, aren't you?"

Samael looked down at himself, almost expecting to see parts of his body become suddenly transparent. When that didn't happen, he looked back up at Bones and Dark. "I'm still here," he agreed, with one short nod.

Bones snorted. "Not here, you idiot. Here." She waved her arm around, indicating everything around them, the graveyard and beyond. "In the underground."

Samael blinked. "And your point?" he asked.

When Bones sighed and rolled her eyes, Dark decided to take this one. "Believe me. You'll notice a difference when you go topside."

Samael's eyes narrowed in on Dark. There was a certain resemblance between the two men, if one looked to tall, dark and handsome as amounting to a certain resemblance. Although Danika had helped define why Dark had come along with them, Samael couldn't find it in him to actually like the other guardian. The guardian. Samael supposed he didn't count among that number any longer.

He looked aside from Dark, not to concede a victory to the taller man, but caught within his own thoughts.

"Come." Bones' voice struck him again, causing Samael's eyes to lift once again. "It's not that bad. You can go to the human world soon and, for the first time, actually walk up to your beloved."

That sentence would once have brought a smile to his face, purpose and protective instinct to his stature. Lynette's other guide had sent messages here often enough that let him know she was still safe, still there, even without ongoing Samael's guidance during his quest for a corporeal body. It wasn't that which struck a chord of nervousness in him.

A furrow developed between Samael's brows at that 'chord of nervousness' but, before he could articulate his thoughts, Dark spoke again.

"Things are gonna be real different for you from now on. You're not Sidhe anymore. Not just Sidhe. That part of your life is over." With a glance at Bones, he added, "That's the thing that's gonna take more getting used to than the body, I reckon."

Bones shrugged a shoulder, nodding her head in agreement. "I told you that before," she said simply.

"Yeah." Samael's jaw tightened, loosened, then tightened again. "Yeah, you did."

Dark gave him a moment to compose himself, then took in a deep breath. "We'd best get this thing going, if we're going to. Do you know where you want to pop out?"

"Pop... out?"

"Topside. Which city is she in?" When Samael hesitated, Dark's voice turned very droll. "Can't direct you to her if I don't know where I'm directing."

This time, Samael maintained eye contact with Dark for a good long time. "Melbourne," he acceded, finally.

"Good." Dark held an arm out to Bones. "Let's get going, shall we?"
persephone20: (lanterns)
Alright. So this.... This is a story that is best represented by itself. It's poking fun of a whole lot of things, and was really fun to rewrite.

(If anyone knows how to do dreamwidth cuts, I'm happy to hide these stories behind them. I just don't know the html)



The Underground and Himself
This was before they knew him. He was arrogant, self-entitled, after that, but all the Sidhe were like that. Brought up as unelected aristocrats of the fey. At least according to Themselves. So what was he doing down here?

He was humble, only just this side of broken, and only just doing that well. Frator Victatio didn't forget much that he saw. He never brought it up afterwards, and neither did Bones. By the time they arrived at Arize's place, they were already pretending like it had never happened.

But out there, on that dank, drunken night, they had made first sight of the Sidhe that would become Samael. Vic didn't drink, but he did a good impression of a drunk man for all of that. They were swaying back and forth on the street that kept moving -- the street totally could have been moving; it was the underground, after all -- when Bones stood shock-still and Frator Vic resumed watchful sobriety.

"What the fuck is one of the Sidhe doing down here?"

Bones was moving again before Vic could quite reach out to stop her. She could take care of herself, it was just that Vic didn't necessarily think it was a good idea for her to prove that on a member of a race whose presence down here usually preceded violence.

As he watched this Sidhe, however, he didn't think that that was going to be the case. This one looked... lost. Like he didn't know what to make of the two of them, or even of himself having found his way down here. It was unsettling to see in the usually confident Sidhe.

Not unsettling to Bones, apparently.

"You look like shit." She wasn't saying it to borrow trouble, though Vic felt some concern that this might be the way her standard bluntness was received. For surety, the Sidhe was taken aback. Then his eyelids dipped half over his eyes in a way that somehow didn't obscure his view of Bones; a reasonably suave move coming from the Sidhe, since Bones stood almost as high as the lithe fey man.

"You are the bone woman."

Clearly, he'd heard of her.

Bones didn't preen for a moment over the obvious claim to infamy. "Yes. And you are tall, dark and reasonably attractive. For a fairy boy. So what are you doing here?" She attempted a leer but, between her drunken stance and lack of one eye behind the eye-patch she wore, it came out as almost more of a snarl.

Vic groaned under his breath, but the 'fairy boy's eyes flickered up immediately to assess him. Damned Sidhe. Their hearing was as bad as the vampires'. Vic cleared his throat, but stood his ground. Cherry wouldn't like it at all if he came home in more than one piece, but she'd like it far less if he didn't come home at all.

The Sidhe's eyes moved away from Vic as suddenly as they'd come to him, obviously -- probably correctly -- assessing her as the more volatile threat.

"And, he is?"

It was interesting that, bedraggled as he still clearly was, he was already beginning to command some of that arrogance that made up much of the backbone of his race. Bones didn't play into it at all. "That's Vic. And I'm Bones. And, you are?"

"I don't... have one." He frowned.

"A name? Eh." Bones shrugged one bare shoulder. "You'd be surprised how common that is around these parts. Why are you here?"

Bones' emphasis referred back to the original question, still unanswered, and now repeated twice. Apparently, this time the fairy boy saw fit to answer it.

"I have no where else to go." That lost look was returning to his features again. Apparently, they'd offered something to distract him for a while. Vic found that he almost preferred the fairy boy when he was cusping on arrogant.

"You do now," Bones supplied briefly. "Come on. Let's go knock on the Succubus' door."

Vic groaned again, this time without the Sidhe's note. Arize wasn't the best for having house guests; his partner even less so. This was going to be... interesting.

"Vic? You coming?"

Coming? Vic questioned silently, his feet already moving to follow up behind them. Like he'd miss this.
persephone20: (a tree)
I've just had The Autumn Castle, by Australian writer Kim Wilkins, recommended to me by [profile] teknohippi. It has completely absorbed me from first page to about half way through fourth chapter when Fergie interrupted the flow of my reading to ask me something before. Very well written, very much making me want to keep reading to see where it goes. Depictions of characters are a little bit on the light side but there's enough given to keep you engaged.

I didn't know, when I picked this up, that it had a large portion of it set in the Faery world. I remember, a couple of years ago, it was nearly impossible to pick up faery fiction. Now it seems to be about as popular as vampire fiction, with as much variation given in authors' discretion over how to represent these creatures, and the good ones seem to keep gravitating towards me.

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It's something I can live with, actually.
persephone20: (lanterns)
I turned to [personal profile] the_bone_yard as I started writing this this morning to say 'Man, I really need to stop writing this depressing shit'. So this is the low mood of the vignettes. There's been too many vignettes were all the fairies concerned were kind and lovely people. Makes me sad like sparkly vampires.

Ahem. Don't know if this was inspired by anything beyond the last vignette, really, but I was reading Yeats' Celtic Twilight this morning and also Lady Gregory's Visions and Beliefs of the West of Ireland.



This was the story of the Summer Girl, how she came to Fairyland, and how she had gained the attentions of King Finvarra. It is a story she would have told herself, if she had been able to remember it.

For the most part, she remembered silence. Not so long ago, there had been the voices of others, later the sounds of revelry, but now, nothing. Just silence, in an opulent room of which she was the only occupant. That wasn't always the case. Betimes, the fairy king would return to the room, and then she would be whirled into a too brief time of sound and colour, all previous points of reference forgotten until, once more, silence.

She couldn't remember how long the silence had gone on this time. It seemed like a while, long enough that when a sudden break came to silence, she startled. Immediately, her eyes looked for the king, but he was not there. It was not the kind of sound from a door opening, or even a footstep. The sound originated in her head. A voice, like from before.

"He didn't expect I would come back."

The voice was strained, drawing to her mind's eye a conversation in images that already seemed to be halfway through a story. Through him, she remembered herself, but that did nothing to help the lone figure staggering through a wilderness that even she could not see the end of, with nothing but dry sand for miles, and hot grit burning the undersides of his feet. He was tired, bone tired, and had been travelling so long already.

Her shock gave way to a shuddering sob.

"Don't think of it. There was nothing you could do."

Before she could argue, she received a string of images, of the young girls who had been Summer Girls before she, girls that the king had stolen away from others, decked in the finest of clothes and jewels until his interest in them waned. She looked down at herself, decked as she was in the finest of clothes and jewels.

"You can get out of there." From the determination in the strain in his voice, she came to realise his link to her was keeping him going. She resolved no argue with him no more after that; wouldn't risk taking even that much of his strength from the journey back. Instead, she kept on talking to him, quoting poetry remembered from high school to him, anything that would distract him from his long journey that would bring him back to her. Meantime, as she kept tight hold of that contact, she launched herself away from the king's bed, as though stung, covered herself and exited the manor via shadows and doorways.

"Think not of it sweet one so. Give it not a tear; sigh though mayest and bid it go any-- anywhere--"

As she continued, tears choked her thoughts, filled her eyes and overflowed to her face. He spoke back to her too, when he could.

"Remember... Do you remember where we used to meet... the old building... Do you remember it?"

"Of course. Yes!"

"There we will meet. Tell no one."

He was silent thereafter for the longest time. Tears burned down her cheeks over fairy cruelty and deception, for there was no doubt in her who had delivered Him so far and thought he'd not come back. For a long time, she sat alone in the old building, waiting and hardly daring to hope. When the sound of leaves crunching outside the building touched her ears, she stood, wiping tears with both heels of her hands, and fear and hopefulness vied for first emotion.

Despite that, she knew she could take the few steps to the front of the building if He had actually found his way back here. She pulled herself to the doorway, bracing herself as best she could for the eventuality that the king of the fairies had found her. She had no time for relief when she rushed forward to break his fall from his last unsteady steps.

"I found you," he croaked, and his voice in her ears this time was the sweetest thing she'd heard by far.

"Come on, please. Just a little further," she said, already starting to bring him closer to inside the building, and looking furtively over his shoulder just in case. But no, this was their safe place, theirs alone. And, with her help and the last of his strength, they found shelter together within the walls of the old building where they would not easily be found by the King Finvarra.
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