Tag Archives: Tiranvof

Challenge: Legal Theft: The Creation of the Vatrin (292 words)

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Vofa looked down on the world that he had created, a world of green trees; gray rock; rich, dark earth; and red clay, where the gentle doe moved silently between branches, soft sheep grazed in fields, the wolf paused to sniff the air, and the dove flew bright as a sunray over all.

My world, Vofa thought, is wide. It will be good if I have some on this world who can carry my flame and aid those whose flame flickers and weakens in sickness.

Once more Vofa bent to the earth. From a mountain’s peak—this mountain’s peak—he scooped up a handful of stone. This stone he molded. He gave the creature nibble hands that he did not need to use to walk, leaving them always free to direct the fire as Vofa’s hands did. He gave him a sharp mind and a conscience bent towards compassion.

Into the other creatures, Vofa had sent a spark that burnt within the creatures as if on a wick, tethered to the creature and finite. In this, he thought, I will need more. He will need fire that he can siphon off to use to help others. His fire must be more than what is needed to sustain him alone.

He hollowed out the stone as he had with the others. This time he did not touch his finger to the wick and set alight the creature, but poured forth his fire into him, letting it fill up the empty spaces between the organs as water seeps between rocks in a jar. He left it to flow freely inside the creature like the creature’s blood. That firelight flickered in his newly opening eyes and exhaled on his breath.

The creature smiled at Vofa.

This has been a legal theft challenge issued by myself.  Legal theft has gone through a mutation.  The nature of challenge is no longer confined to a first line.  Last week’s (which one day I hope to catch up on and do) was to use two dogs.  This week I challenged my friends to write me a creation story (because I’d earlier threatened to do so, and I knew I had several in my back pocket that just had not been written).

My friends were good enough to accept that challenge.

Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master wrote “Honey Wine and Sweet Iron” (442 words).

Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad wrote “Khaalida, The Necromancer.”

C.C. at Creatures, Critters, and Crawlers wrote “Reaper.”

Trebez at Machete Diplomacy wrote “It Started With A Wish.”

Bek at Yeah. But So What? Everybody’s Weird wrote “Legends” (206 words).

Challenge: Legal Theft: For the Worst Days (519 words)

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Every woman in Evanston over the age of twelve owned a red dress. It was loose. It had sleeves that could be taken off. It was one of the most practical pieces of clothing that any woman owned.

And everyone older than twelve knew what it meant.

Priscilla had given Talya hers. She had shooed Darryn out of the house and had told Talya to sit. Talya had thought that she might be in trouble—or that Darryn might be—for the older woman, usually gentle, affectionate smiles, had looked unusually solemn.

Priscilla had handed the folded dress to Talya and explained what she could expect to happen to her—maybe not this year and maybe not the next, but she would feel it eventually.

When a girl wore the dress, the villagers treated her a little more gently. They realized that she was already working, sitting down or even lying down, even when she seemed to be lazing. She was working on something more painful, more precious than ordinary, everyday work.

Everyone, Priscilla had explained with a smile, sometimes put on the dress even when they were not bleeding. Everyone had days when they needed to be handled more gently, when life just seemed too hard, when they were hurting. The trick of it was not to put the dress on too often.

Talya had put on her dress the next day. It had fit her perfectly—perfectly for a red dress, hugging only her breasts and loose and breezy everywhere else. It had tickled the tops of her feet. Of course, Priscilla had made it, and Priscilla knew her size.

Mr. Crowe had started when he had seen her come down the ladder in the dress. He hadn’t barked at her to do any of her chores. She had worn it out into the village. The world had been a little kinder to her.  Amira had given her a roll so fresh from her ovens that the butter melted to yellow grease that dribbled down Talya’s chin. Gitta had swept her into a hug of hello. Garock had frowned at her but had said nothing.  Talya had grinned all day in the dress.

She had worn it again the next day.

And the next.

Priscilla had pulled her inside that day, shooing Darryn out again. She had reminded Talya that she couldn’t wear the dress all of the time. The dress was for her worst days, the days that were hardest, and that couldn’t be every day or the dress would stop feeling special, people would stop noticing when Talya wore it, or they would turn mean instead of kind because she wore it. Priscilla wished that every day the villagers were their gentlest. Some things would be easier then. But they were human. They were all human. And if Talya made every day her worst day, it would be hard for others to have their worst days too.

Talya had pouted. She loved the dress.

But she hadn’t worn it the next day. She hadn’t worn it again until the day that the blood showed.

The line this week is mine.  I’m not entirely pleased with the execution of this piece, but I am thoroughly tickled by its subject.

Bek at Yeah. But So What? Everybody’s Weird wrote “Firelight Woes” (619 words).

Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master wrote “Crimson” (328 words).

Trebez at Machete Diplomacy wrote “But Mostly, They Danced.”

CC at Creatures, Critters, and Crawlers wrote “Stains.”

Challenge: Legal Theft: Unasked (861 words)

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From a distance, no one would be able to tell that the towel tied over her skirt was not part of the dress. That was easy enough to smuggle to the creek. The soap cake she dropped in her pocket. It was too easy. The trickiest part would be getting down the ladder without loosing the towel from around her waist.

She was halfway down, one hand holding steady the knot that had indeed started to slip from the cotton, when Darryn announced himself with soft footfalls on the hard earthen floor. He spared no time on a greeting, but asked, “Is now a bad time?”

Internally, she cursed him using several of the colorful phrases she’d learnt in the fishing town of her childhood. She could tell him that it was a bad time, tell him to leave. He would do it. But if he ran into Mr. Crowe and Mr. Crowe asked after Talya, Darryn would tell him exactly where to find her—or where he thought Mr. Crowe would find her—in a bathtub that Mr. Crowe would quickly find empty. Darryn was a terrible liar, and Mr. Crowe was like a bloodhound. Asking Darryn to lie might be worse. She could tell him the truth, but he might worry that her actions were just illicit enough to get them both in trouble.

Any way she likely got in trouble.

She got down off the last rung and turned to face him. Truthfully, she said, “It is a bad time.”

The deities hadn’t been good to her, but she would have to hope that someone would watch out for her—just this once.

“I’m sneaking off,” she continued, “and I need you to as well before Mr. Crowe finds you. Before anyone finds you.  Don’t tell Priscilla where I’ve gone either. Don’t tell anyone.”

“You’re sneaking off,” he repeated, “with a towel?”

“Yes.” Her voice snapped more sharply than she’d have liked.

She liked Darryn. He found the good in people and in situations where Talya saw only bad, and he was unwaveringly loyal to those he liked best—Talya among them. He couldn’t lie, so he was honest even if he didn’t want to be, sometimes betraying secrets he hadn’t meant to betray, but always apologizing profusely if he did, so Talya always knew it was not willfully done. Usually he was easygoing, he was always eager to please, and he was not wont to complain—or if he did complain, it was because he sought to protect, because he saw dangers.

To soften the harshness of her bark, she explained, “I want a bath. But I don’t want to haul water, and Mr. Crowe’s forbidden me to use the raincatch water for anything other than drinking water for the animals till after the next rain.”

Darryn frowned. “So you’re going to creek.”

“And I’ll be careful. I’ll go to the forest’s edge.” In fact she planned to venture just beyond the first trees to keep from being spotted, but Darryn feared the woods and wouldn’t want to know that. “Any soap will be washed downstream and away from Evanston. No one needs to know.”

Talya waited while Darryn thought this over. She knew he wouldn’t like it. Technically it was a violation. No one was supposed to use soap in the creek. It had to be clean to drink—but she’d thought of that, found a way to keep her actions from hurting anyone else. Still Darryn wouldn’t want her in trouble—and she could still get in trouble. He would want to stop her, talk her out of it, but he would know that he couldn’t.

“I could come as your lookout. I’d keep my back turned.”

She would trust him to mean to do it too. Watching her, glimpsing her would be another form of violation. He wouldn’t mean to look, but something would startle him, and he’d turn, and somehow she didn’t want him to see.

To soften the refusal she smiled. “No.”

“Then,” he was clearly faltering, coming to the same conclusion she had done: that the best thing that he could do for her was keep out of sight himself until she was safely back.  “Then I’ll get the water for you.”

“What?”

“You don’t want to haul water, but,” he smiled, “I think the day’s been kinder to me.”  He pointed at her. Dirt, hay, and hair all clung to her sweaty skin and tangled in her mussed braid.

“I can’t ask you to—”

“You’re not asking.” He walked past her and into the storage area at the end of the barn aisle. He emerged with two buckets. Of course he knew where they were. “Find the tub,” he said coming back up the aisle. “Set it up wherever you like. I’ll fill the tub for you and be gone. Leave you to become a girl again or whatever’s hiding under that dirt.”

“Darryn Tvorec, you—” But though she knew many colorful phrases, she couldn’t bring herself to shatter him with the acerbity of any of them.

“You’re welcome,” he called as he headed out the barn doors.

This week, the line stolen was mine.

With it, Trebez at Machete Diplomacy wrote “No Happy Hour Tonight.

Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master wrote “Sunrise Kiss” (545 words).

Bek at Yeah. But So What? Everybody’s Weird wrote “A Mom Solution” (259 words).

Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad wrote “Theater Traditions.”

And welcome to the thieves’ ring C.C., who used the line to write “Not on My Watch,” which you can find on her blog, Creatures, Critters, and Crawlers.

Check back for more posts later.

Challenge: Legal Theft: Accommodation (288 words)

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PG-13!  Potential TRIGGER WARNING for survivors of sexual assault.

They gave her a suite of rooms, all her own, large, elegantly furnished, and with a guard stationed outside the door. The guard was a woman, and she never came in. Justus only came in after knocking and asking for her permission. Most of the time she was alone.

She spent most of the time in just a corner of the suite. The bed alone was nearly as large as the whole of the van. Walking to the room where she was expected to tend to necessities seemed a formidable trek. She tried to remember the layout of her home and couldn’t. She suspected that these rooms were at least as large—and she knew that they were nicer, richer, stronger.

They were safe rooms.

But she still didn’t feel safe.

Justus came, and he tried to wheedle her into conversation. He brought her books. She had learnt to read before she had left home. Or learnt to read a little. The books he brought were full of strange words that she didn’t understand, and she read more slowly than he seemed to expect. He’d ask her opinion about the ending when she was hardly a quarter of the way through the story.

He never touched her. He had promised that he would not. He had promised that no one would. But she kept waiting for him to. She waited for him to force his lips to hers and suck her dry. She waited for him to force himself between her legs and leave her wet. He never did. After days of this, she wondered if he even wanted to. Was it possible she had been found by someone who did not? Did he like her so little?

I’m teetering on the edge of apologizing for exposing this character’s pain and subsequent confusion.  She hurts.  She’s hurt for a long time.  I do not find her to be emotionally healthy, but I love her to her core.

I stole this line from Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master, who wrote “Black Sun” (1697 words).  It’s late, but she knows why.  I wrote this section of the story in time for at least Sunday.  I had every intention of returning to it to make it into more of a story, but I seem to have misplaced this thread and my motivation, and I promised to update by midnight tonight.  Perhaps later there will be a Part 2.

Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad stole this line to write “The Right Fit.”

Trebez at Machete Diplomacy wrote “Protection.”

Bek at Yeah. But So What? Everybody’s Weird wrote “Big Secret” (450 words).

Challenge: 777, an Excerpt from my WIP

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Olivia has challenged me to a 777.

The challenge is:

  • Go to your current work in progress
  • Scroll to page 7
  • Count 7 sentences
  • Share the next 7 sentences after that
  • And of course, tag people to do the same. You can even tag 7 people if you want to really get into the number theme.

I’m really enjoying this challenge because it gives me a moment to isolate a section of text that I rarely would isolate and to edit that section as if it were all that would ever be publicly visible.  My story, bless it, is in the middle of a rewrite.  There were sections of this story that I knew needed rewriting, and I could not find the motivation or wherewithal to do so, not after all the hard work of the first and second and other go-arounds.  So my catalyst character, a character of 10+ years’ acquaintance, decided to change genders and necessitate the whole thing.  While I curse her a little, I thank her a lot.

Sadly, the section highlighted by the 777 is a bit of an info dump and has not undergone much transformation.  Maybe it should.  I’d appreciate the critique.

 —

She gave him one last smile and set off.

Veil watched her shuffle down the slope of the hill, looking frail beneath the spiderweb of her shawl. As she faded into the growing twilight and the shadow of the mountains, a fire bloomed in the valley below, leaping quickly toward the deep blue eastern sky to replace the sun as it took its last peek at the world.

Against the flickering of the flames, he could see dark figures, silhouettes that he couldn’t recognize, but he knew that he knew—would know if only he could be closer, if he could see their faces.

From this distance, outcast from the ring of firelight, friends were as hazy as the stranger who had brought Veil to Gerizim. Priscilla had described him to Veil, but he was still no more than a ghost, insubstantial, intangible, and incomplete, as much a mystery as were his parents and their deaths.

He let his hand fall, realizing that he had been worrying the chain of twisted silver that hung around his neck. …

Now, of course, I’m supposed to issue the challenge too.  I know fewer people these days actively working on longer WIP.  (If I am misinformed and you are, in fact, working on a WIP, please correct me and accept the challenge.  If you’re one of those people I’m speaking to, I expect you’ll know it.)

Olivia has already challenged Gwen.  I also challenge Emily at More Than One Page, Eileen at Musings, and Katie at Mountain Hart.

Challenge: Legal Theft: My Dad Taught Me (295 words)

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Someday I’m going to start a legal theft piece early in the week.  Someday I’ll remember that I have a post to write and that I shouldn’t let myself be talked into staying past sunset to learn this and learn that on the chance that I’ll have to use it again.  Someday I’m going to learn the days of the week.

Someday.

I hope you don’t mind that this is more… character study than story.

When charging into dangerous situations you can either be fast and silent or fast and prepared. My dad had lots of sayings like that, sayings that you wouldn’t expect to come from the mouth of a fisherman or from a tinker either when it comes to that.

I don’t know what dangerous situations he expected me to land myself in. The most dangerous thing in our village was the lake in a storm, and no skill with a sword or swing of my fist was going to save me if the lake took a mind to drag me under.

Maybe he saw the fighter in me and decided to train me or maybe he put the fighter in me. Either way, I found my causes, even as young as six, they tell me, and I put to use what my dad taught me. I heard an insult slung at another and took personal offense. I don’t think I was ever looking for a fight, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I was looking to practice. Maybe I was looking to prove myself to Dad. After I’d told my tale, he never once told me off for fighting. He’d nod and smile, and I’d know I’d done right.

It gave me purpose, but it wasn’t a purpose everyone saw as fit for anyone—especially me. I heard my mum tell more than one indignant woman that my dad wouldn’t be moved and she didn’t really disapprove either of her daughter knowing how to defend herself or others. They both of them taught me a sense of right and wrong. They made sure I knew I was never to use the skills Dad taught me to terrorize anyone. But maybe they did let me run a little wild.

This first line came from Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad, who wrote “Hindsight.”

It was stolen by Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master, who used it to write “Foreknowledge” (496 words).

Bek at Building A Door used it to write “The Final Test” (393 words).

Welcome to legal theft Trebez from Machete Diplomacy, who used the line to write “Silence and Preparation”!

Challenge: Legal Theft: Last Night Before (318 words)

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“I can smell your bleeding heart from down the hall. What? Are you having second thoughts? Or fourth? Or hundredth? I’ve lost count.”

Darryn let go his knees and lifted his head and uncurled himself to look up at Talya. She wore a sad sort of smile as she stood above him.

Darryn would have liked to deny it, but Talya would know the lie. “Yes.”

“He has to be stopped.”

“I know. I know.” Darryn buried his face in his knees again.

Talya sank down beside him. He felt the pleasant weight and warmth of her beside him, more solid for not being able to see her with his head to his knees. She could be anyone or anything, the deity who could wipe the responsibility from Darryn’s sloping shoulders. Her skirts and sleeves whispered as she shifted herself.

“So what are you going to do?” she asked.  Her voice was quiet, a breath, a question for him alone. “I can’t do this for you, Darryn.”

“No.” Fear widened his eyes as he looked up to see her face near level with his. “Please,” he whispered, “don’t.”

She laid a hand on Darryn’s arm. “I know.  But I wish you didn’t have to. I wish I knew another way.”

“There’s no other way.” Darryn knew it. Talya knew it. They’d talked the point to death.

“I’ll be there,” she said. “Beside you. If you want me to be.”

“I don’t. I don’t want you anywhere near him.  You understand that, don’t you?” he asked.

“I,” she said, “do.”

“Promise me you’ll keep away. Let me do this. Alone.”

“Darryn—”

“Talya—”

“I will,” she said. “I’ll keep away.” She bit her lip. Her hand retreated into the folds of her skirt. Darryn missed the warmth of it.

“Thank you,” he whispered, and he looked away. He suppressed a shiver.

“Darryn,” Talya asked, “what if you can’t?”

The line this week was mine, stumbled upon while driving to work one morning and percolating in the back of my mind since.  The “boys” decided to be angsty (the dictionary declares this is not a word, and I think Merriam-Webster needs to get on that) today.  I would have liked a little more sass.  I may on a sassier day have to return to this line.

Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master stole the line to write “A Word for That” (741 words).

Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad wrote “Some People Juggle Geese.”

Bek at Yeah. But So What? Everyone’s Weird wrote “Opposite Sides of the House” (332 words).

Challenge: Legal Theft: Trial (421 words)

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The following includes major spoilers for my WIP book series (as it currently stands).  I’m sorry, but the boys insisted that this was the only scene that was getting written.  So, you’ve been warned.

The breeze sank to the floor as soon as it came through the windows, rolling stubbornly across the length of the room. It was the sort of heat that made it uncomfortable to wear even a threadbare linen tunic, the sort of heat that would have chased Darryn to the creek in happier times, where he could have soaked the tunic in the water without any lack of decorum. Court procedure demanded that he stand still, and they’d dressed him in a borrowed tunic of black velvet, highly unsuitable for the weather but perfectly suited, he was told, for the role of a Justice of the law and prince of a people. It itched besides.

But the shirt, the heat, all this he thought he could bear if it were anyone else standing below the platform.

When Darryn thought about Aidan, Aidan was always large, board of shoulder and boarder of personality, filling a room in ways that few others that Darryn knew could do.

But the boy in front of him now was small, and his red hair seemed a traitor to his otherwise subdued bearing.

Darryn suspected that it was the weight of the personalities that sat tight to either side and behind Darryn. Their disapproval fell heavily on Darryn and must be falling even more heavily on Aidan.

Darryn knew that they wanted him to speak first. They had made him practice what to say. He was glad now that they had. He would be dumb without their script heavy in his throat.

“Adian Agabus.”

If Aidan looked small, Darryn’s voice sounded smaller. A full name didn’t suit Aidan, not from Darryn. For so long they’d been beyond names. The use of even a given name was like a whip crack in their words, calling the other’s attention. The full name sounded and tasted like the snap of a bone.

Darryn tried again, and the name was a familiar plea, “Aidan.”

Aidan looked up. For a moment, while their eyes met, Darryn saw a flash of familiar fire in the hangdog face. Then Aidan looked away.

The words trembled against Darryn’s lips. “You’ve been called before the council—” No, those were older words, words from their childhood. “Before the court,” Darryn emended, “to answer charges of—” They weren’t really charges. Darryn had seen it. He’d seen what Aidan had done. Darryn’s surety of Aidan’s act made the whole script a lie.

“Aidan, my grandfather’s dead.” Darryn’s voice scratched, but he carried on. “And you killed him.”

This first line came from Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master, who wrote “Rattle and Hold” (409 words).

Before she read her work, Kate at More Than 1/2 Mad wrote “Things That Change & Things That Stay the Same.”

Check back for more stories from the line.

Challenge: Legal Theft: Blindsided (409 words)

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It took three weeks to sail between the islands, though rough weather could turn it into a more interesting five. Not one among the crew had told him what sort of delay would be caused by a tussle with pirates.

They’d not prepared him well for that possibility.

No one had mentioned raiders. Certainly no one had mentioned sword- or fistfights or being captured and having his ankles and wrists tied together, sitting quietly on the deck under threat of being skewered like a pig while three burly men in ratty clothes watched him. 

None of it sat well with Aidan.

He wasn’t sure if he was more annoyed with the tight-lipped traders quaking beside him or the pirates.

He ought to have just gone below and hid. He wasn’t sure why he’d jumped to engage the pirates.

They had his knife and his sword now. They’d been thrown into a pile with the weapons wrested from or surrendered by the crew and a very few that belonged to felled pirates.

At least, he thought, Darryn wasn’t here. Until recently, he’d have had to look after Darryn besides, but now it was only Aidan’s own hide that needed saving.

And that made things easier.

To the man next to him, he grumbled, “You didn’t tell me there were pirates.”

“We didn’t know,” the sweating sailor pled. “I haven’t heard of any in the area before now.”

“Just our luck. Any thought what happens to us?”

“I don’t know these—”

“Hey!” one of the guards shouted, and the tip of a sword tickled the sailor’s throat. “I said no talking.”

“I was asking him,” Aidan said boldly, “what he thinks you’ll do to us.”

“That’s up to the captain.”

“Do you have a guess?” Aidan pressed.

“Pray to your gods, boy,” the pirate growled by way of answer. He lowered the sword and made to turn away, but was stopped by Aidan.

“Suppose,” Aidan said, “that I pray to the captain instead.”

“Captain don’t like beggars.”

“Maybe not, but maybe you could use an extra deckhand? Or a cabin boy?”

The pirate laughed. “Boy, you don’t want to be no pirate’s cabin boy.”

“What’re you doing?” the sailor beside him hissed.

“I need passage away. I don’t particularly care where. And you lot seem unlikely to be able to take me much farther. So what do you think,” Aidan asked the pirate, “since they can’t take me, can you?”

This week we all stole from Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master, who wrote “Herd” (1117 words) but showed us only the first line until we’d all written our pieces.

Kid at The Gate In The Wood wrote “Red for the Blood.”

Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad wrote “Three or Five.”

Bek at Building A Door wrote “Paying Passage” (375 words).