Wait and See

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The wolf takes the last bite of rabbit from Riannyn’s hand, pausing to sniff at it before swallowing, still suspicious of the cooked meat despite the many times he’s shared his meals with her.

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She is no mere wolf. Enchanted creatures like her live among the ordinary beasts in these forests where dragonkind hunts, identical in appearance to their more bestial brethren, known to no one but himself. In the centuries that he’s lived alone in this forest, Riannyn has learned to disinguish the enchanted creatures from the ordinary, recognizing the glint of magic in their eyes, spotting the subtle differences in the way they hunt and play. It’s a skill valued by none but himself, and perhaps by this wolf who is not just a wolf.

Different even from her enchanted brethren, and it was she who sought him out and initiated the friendship that had ended his long stretch of solitude. She had left her pack behind to follow him, sleeping outside his hidden den in the deepest heart of this old forest, hunting with him in the early hours of morning, bringing him small gifts when she’d return from a long absence as though she meant to apologize for abandoning him to his isolation once again.

She never returned to her pack; Riannyn had more than once sought her among them when she’d  been away from him for more than a few days. Generations of wolves had been born and died while she walked with him, and perhaps her descendants, some with that glimmer of magic in their eyes, would no longer even recognize or accept her. Where she went, he never knew, for even his skill as a tracker was not enough to trace her path.

Stretching after her small meal, she nudges at his arm, inviting him to play, in the way that wolves do.

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“You know where he is,” he says, glancing at the water where he’d watched Aymeri, a dragon of the Fire Eyrie disappear. Not drowned, surely, for water dragons cannot drown in their own element. Just gone, swallowed by the river.

The wolf whines softly, nuzzling his hand in affirmation.

“Will he come back?” Riannyn asks, searching her glimmering yellow eyes for some reassurance. In his time alone in this forest, he had explored many of the fae places his kind had always shunned in fear. Magic twisted the shapes and colors, and he could never be sure of anything he saw in the enchanted parts of the woods, but never had he felt any threat or hostility to his presence. Seeing the water pull Aymeri in was a cause for fresh doubt. The fae had never bothered him, living alone as he did in this forest, but that did not mean he was safe from them.

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The wolf sits, attentive, her tongue extended in a reassuring gesture.

“All right,” Riannyn agrees, watching the ripples dance on the water, “We shall wait and see.”

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Sunshine Blogger Award

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I have received 3 Nominations for a Sunshine Blogger Award, from StormySims, Becky, and ixot.   Thanks so much!

The rules are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers and add their links.
  4. Notify the bloggers you included.
  5. Keep the rules in your post.

My Nominations are:

  1. The Last Canvas
  2. As Far As The World Goes
  3. Different Winters
  4. Origin of a Halfling
  5. SOLV2
  6. Vamp
  7. Island End
  8. Soul Echoes
  9. The Foundling

Okay, then, questions! (I am having extreme difficulty with formatting, and all questions I copy/paste insist on being #1. Sorry!)

From Stormy (The Life and Times of the Willows)

  1. If you could be anywhere in the world (or fictional world) right now, where would you be?

I just got back from a very hectic vacation involving theme parks and very energetic children ranging from 7 – 12, so honestly, the only place I want to be right now is home, where I can completely relax.

  1. What drew you to start playing The Sims, TS2, TS3 or TS4?

I started with Sims 1, some time after its release. I was already a fan of Sim City, Sim Earth, Sim Theme Park, and management Sims in general. I was a little hesitant to try the Sims, because I thought watching little people pee and watch TV might be dull.

  1. What is your favorite genre to write about?

Scifi/fantasy come the most naturally to me. Even my more contemporary dramas end up having a little magic intrude in their normalcy.

  1. If you could make any one of your characters in any of your stories come to life, who would it be, and why?

Oh, Auberon. Though I’m sure that would cause all sorts of trouble.

  1. When writing your story on a blog, do you prefer to write on a white background, a black background or a colored background? Why?

Black or dark text on white only. Anything else I find too difficult to read. =(

  1. When you are writing or taking pictures in game for your story, what do you have going on in the background? (TV, music, etc.)

Usually nothing. Sometimes music, if I feel the need for particular inspiration.

  1. If you were a Sim, would you choose to be a PlantSim, Zombie, Alien, Werewolf or a witch? Why?

Witch. It seems like the least intrusive change to your life. No sudden transformations, no butt probes, no flowers dripping off my butt as I walk…It also seems the most useful, with spells to perk up your mood and clean the house.

  1. If you could be any animal, what would it be, and why?

A pampered house cat. Because, pampered.

  1. What is your favorite season?

Autumn.

  1. What is your favorite Sims world?

Just picking from EA worlds so my head doesn’t explode with choices…Dragon Valley.

  1. What has been your favorite Sims challenge that you either have done before or like to read?

The Random Legacy Challenge. I’ve played it several times, and read many random legacies. One of my favorite series of random legacies is by Becky, who has also nominated me for this award and whose questions I’m about to tackle. =)

Questions from Becky (Goldbeard RLC)

1. What is your favorite bird, if you can only choose from birds you have seen near your place of residence?

Crow! I love crows. So intelligent and cooperative. Also, tricksters.
2. Three of the worst movies ever. Movies you actually watched, all the way through. Poor you.

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. I have a serious obsession with Alice. I collect different editions of the books, and own a ridiculous number of figurine and other Alice related crap. But the Disney movie is so, so awful, with the worst music.

There was this movie, I don’t remember the title, starring that guy from Peaky Blinders. It was a scifi movie. They were on a ship or something, and were plummeting into the sun. It was terrible. Sorry, I already did a memory dump on this, and my husband is being no help with the recollection…but I do remember that I was disappointed that they failed to make a really obvious pun at the end. Which I no longer remember.

Dude, I cannot even dredge up a third. I’m really good at forgetting things. Maybe Interstellar? I don’t know that it was the worst…it wasn’t the best.
3. How about some movies that were so bad, you couldn’t finish watching them?

Yeah, there’s a ton of those. But I’d have to go log in to Netflix to find which movies we bailed on in the first 15 minutes.
4. You’re writing a buddy cop movie. What do you name your two main protagonists?

Foster Enmity and Carey Burden! Yes, I’ve used them before. But think about them as buddy cops! Hilarious!
5. Did you see a cartoon as a child that scarred you because it broke the animation age ghetto? If so, what was it?

Not that I can remember.
6. What are your three most favorite starship designs?

I’ve never considered any starship designs as my favorites. However, there are 3 I can recognize on sight. The USS Enterprise (Star Trek), The Normandy (Mass Effect) and the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
7. Psychic twins. Dead horse trope, or you just can’t get enough of how cute it is?

Well, I can get over the cuteness really quickly, but I don’t immediately groan when I see them coming…
8. Five computer games you thought were fun, aside from Sims?

Fable, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, The Witcher, Roller Coaster Tycoon
9. Are you in love with any Non-PC games? Regardless of replay value, let’s hear some of your favorites!

Not really.
10. Daffy Duck, or Donald Duck? Why?

omg, Daffy. I loved Warner Bros cartoons since my childhood, and Daffy was my favorite. I have a fridge magnet of Daffy (and Bugs).
11. That one glitch you had in Sims 3 that you love telling people about. What happened?

That one time when Grim came for Gibson Enmity, and then reset himself, leaving old Gibson in a permanent state of dying. He was fine, but everyone who got near him would start mourning like he was dying.

Questions from ixot (Cuckoo Legacy)

  1. What did you have for dinner – or, if it’s not dinner time yet, what did you have yesterday? Was it good? Did you cook it yourself?

Leftovers from lunch at Cheesecake factory. Chicken Stuffed Tortillas.

  1. It’s late at night in a small town and you’re heading home. You can either take a well lit detour – 30 minutes – or the shorter walk through the cemetery – 15 minutes. It’s pitch dark in there. Which route do you choose?

I grew up with my bedroom window facing an old cemetery. We used to play in it as kids. I have no fear of them, not even the dark. My only concern, if it was an active cemetery, would be falling into a recently dug grave. Also, if we are in a high crime area, I’d be concerned about the lack of light. But if those are not a concern, I’d walk through the cemetery.

  1. Pet birds, you’re getting them – 10 zebra finches or one parrot?

I know nothing about birds or their care, so I’m not sure which would be the biggest hassle. My cats vote for finches.

  1. Tell me something about one of your grandparents. Or all of them, if you like.

My mother’s mother was born in Italy.

  1. Your favourite teacher in school and why you liked her or him.

I don’t have any favorites for schools before college. My favorite was the professor who taught the surrealist lit class I took. Because she’d recently come to the realization that the surrealist were largely sexist jackasses and she just wanted to talk about this one artist, Leonora Carrington, and her big adventure in trying to meet her.

  1. Build a tree house or a dollhouse? Get a tree house or a dollhouse?

Dollhouse. I’m not sure where I’d even find a tree that isn’t a palm tree.

  1. Ever had a romance with someone who was taken? If yes, how did it end? If no, define what cheating is to you. Where would you draw the line?

Not a relationship, but 2 dates. I did not know he was married. It ended when his wife showed up during a date. (My fault…he told me he lived with his sister, so when she picked up the phone, I innocently told her where he was meeting me.) I would not have even flirted with him if I had known he was married.

  1. You’re describing the colour pink to someone who was born blind, what would you describe it as?

I have no idea how to answer this.

  1. Do you want kids? Why/why not? If you already have them, did you always want to? If not, what changed your mind?

I have never wanted children. I can speculate on the reasons why I never developed this desire, based on some of the more abusive aspects of my childhood, but it’s not like I ever had to explain it to myself. I never have had even a thought of myself as a parent or the desire to have a child. It is just not there. To me it is like thinking about why you have never wanted a tattoo (for those who have never wanted one). You don’t need a reason, you just have never had the desire.

  1. If you’re young, what’s your IDEAL vision of yourself as an adult, say 45 years, where will you live and what will you do. If you’re already an adult, not necessarily 45 but still, what was your ideal vision of yourself as an adult when you were ca 18? Are you close to that vision now? Is it still something you aspire to?

I don’t really want now the things I wanted when I was 18. But my life is eerily close to what I predicted for myself when I was 15.

  1. Your MIL is planning to knit you a jumper. She’s taking your measurements and shows you the pattern and yarn she wants to use – the jumper is REALLY ugly. She’s very excited, but knitting the sweater will take her more than a month. Honestly now, will you smile and thank her and then never wear it, or do you tell her you don’t want the jumper before she begins knitting?

Wow, this is exactly the kind of awkwardness that makes me anxious around people. I’ve been in the position of accepting gifts from people (okay, my grandmother mostly) that were just dreadful and which immediately got stuffed into the back of the closet. I’d feel bad about pre-accepting a gift I knew someone was going to spend time making, but honestly I just would not have it in me to say I didn’t want it.

My Questions: (I’m only doing 8, as I can only think of that many . If you feel a burning need to answer 11 questions, choose 3 more from the questions I answered above)

  1. If there was one object available in buy mode from any Sims game that you could own in real life, what would it be?
  2. How much of your Sims stories are based on your real life experiences?
  3. Do you read a lot of the genre you write?
  4. If you had to spend a day entertaining one of your characters, who would it be, and what would you do to entertain them?
  5. If you had to spend a day living as one of your characters, who would it be, and why?
  6. Do you have any bad writing habits you struggle with?
  7. Quote your favorite passage from your most recent story update.

Undersea

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The vortex swallows him, dragging him impossibly deep into waters that should not be this warm. A water dragon cannot drown, he reminds himself, though the thought does little to still his heart’s hammering as he tumbles and rises, lifted by a giant wave that rolls him onto a strange shore leaving him to gasp air into his choked lungs.

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He squeezes wet blue sand between his fingers, pushing himself up on his elbows. The grass, the rocks, even the water here is wrong, warm and blue, unlike the cold green seas that surround his island eyrie. Strangest of all is the unnerving quiet. Gentle waves lap against the shore, but there is no song here, no voice whispering  in the back of his mind.

 

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“I have waited long for you, Aymeri of the water dragons.”

Aymeri turns toward the source of the familiar voice, sounding strange spoken clearly and out loud, rather than the subtle murmur that sung in the quiet spaces of his mind. She rises before him like the sun from the far edge of the ocean, frighteningly strange and comfortingly familiar at once, like he had always known her face but had somehow forgotten it.

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She crouches on the shore before him, her coral colored eyes fixed on him, expectant.

“Are you dragonkind?” he wonders, her scaled skin resembling a dragon’s during the rite of marking, when they bring themselves to the cusp of transformation and hold themselves between two states, marking the skin they were born in with the colors of their dragon scales. But no dragon could withstand that agony while smiling as placidly as this creature does now, and Aymeri sees that she is not kin. “Are you…fae?” he asks, throat tightening around the word, fearing the bad luck that comes from even mentioning their kind.

Her smile sours. “I have sung to you since the day of your birth, Aymeri of the water dragons. Why do you give me this name of fear?”

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“I know your voice like I know the ocean’s tides,” Aymeri answers, “But I do not know what you are, or what to call you.”

“Names are powerful things. Before I had a name, I was the boiling ocean, churning and frothing, a raging geyser of unchecked fury. Then Auberon called to me, and gave me my name, Icovellauna of the Waters. Naming me, he changed me, giving me this form. And as I became Icovellauna, the seas were cooled. I gave the world my song, and it became a gentler place, a place for life, for growing things. That is the power of a name, the power to become, to shape, to mold. The dragonkind were born of the same magic, in the time when the world was changed. We are alike, but you call me fae, a word you speak with dread, a word you whisper to frighten your younglings. I do not want this name. I do not want what such a name might make of me.”

“Dragonkind are not born of magic,”  he protests. Little of her story made any sense at all, but that one claim stood out.

“How were the dragons born?”

“The Mothers were born of the steam that rose when the lava of a great volcano flowed into the sea.”

“I remember,” Icovellauna nods, “The air had a different taste when your Mothers soared the skies. I was not Icovellauna then, and the dragonkind were also not yet born, for you, like I, are no longer what you once were. The magic that changed me, changed the world. And that is how the dragonkind were born.”

Not even the Daughters knew what had happened to their Mothers. They had each hatched on their eyries in a clutch with two brothers, all fully grown adults, with nothing left of their origin but an ancestral memory of the lava, the ocean, the steam rising into the air. The Daughters had hatched from the great eggs laid by the Mothers, but bore their own children the way the beasts of the land did. These were facts dragonkind had never questioned, simply accepting their existence as they lived it. Perhaps this creature had the right of it, that fae magic had been at the root of the change that had made the Daughters and their progeny as they are now.

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“You are not dragonkind,” he says, asserting the one thing he is sure of, no matter the likeness she claims between them, “If you are not fae, what are you?”

“I am Icovellauna,” she answers, tilting her head, “I am the ocean, the rivers, the streams and the springs. I am steaming geysers and placid lakes, babbling brooks and raging seas. I am the ebb and the flow. You hear my song, and you claim to know my voice like the tides of the ocean. If you truly know either, then you know what I am, Aymeri of the water dragons, for I sing in you.” She leans closer, her stare piercing, demanding, “I am Icovellauna. Say my name.”

“Icovellauna,” he says slowly,  her song vibrating in his throat, humming on his lips, rolling on his tongue, “Icovellauna,” he repeats, quicker this time, taking ownership of the sound. “Icovellauna,” he repeats a third time, softer, warmer, more familiar. She had always been with him, but he did not know her. He had fumbled in the darkness without her, believing he could see. Her name on his lips was the dawning sun, illuminating all that had been hidden from him.

The corners of her lips quiver, and her coral eyes light with a golden shine. “Now you see,” she says.

Aymeri nods, speechless as his mind scrambles for words to frame his new vision, for an understanding of what his heart knows but cannot describe. The brightness of it is more than he can bear; like the sun, it burns the eye that stares too boldly, and he retreats from the glare, back to the shadows. “What is this place?” he asks, “How do get back to my home from here?”

“This is the Undersea, on the dawning edge of the Dusk. This is the place where the waters meet. The water will carry you to wherever you wish to be.”

A Place Without a Name

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All water sings with the same voice, the gentle lap of the waves on the shore, the laughing burble of a flowing stream, the mighty roar of a cascade. Anyone with ears can hear the water sing, but only water dragons know its rhythm in the beating of their hearts and the flow of their blood, just as the fire dragons dance to the flame and the storm dragons crackle with the energy of the lightning.

But the water has another song, a voice that beckons to Aymeri. Following its call, he flies over his eyrie’s traditional hunting grounds, ascending high into the mountain ranges of the mainland to the great falls that are the source of the river that twists through the valley below. It is a place without a name, shunned by all dragonkind because of the fae magic that permeates the very air here. Fae magic is dangerous, even when dormant, and in this place it is sharp and very much awake.

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Transforming as he lands, Aymeri hesitates on the shore. This is where the water’s song lead him, this place where dragonkind’s deepest superstitions forbid him to be, where every fear instilled in him since his days as a juvenile becomes real. This was a foolish plan, and he should flee now, back to the safety of his eyrie, the warmth and comfort of his clutch.

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He rolls his shoulders back, inhaling the mist that rises from the falling water, tasting the magic on his tongue, letting it fill his lungs, and steps one foot into the cold mountain tarn, followed by the next, treading in until he’s in waist deep. His fingers graze over the water’s surface, feeling the vibrating song on his skin. The roar of the falls is deafening, drowning out the call of birds and the chirps of insects, but he still hears the voice, louder here than anywhere else.

“I am here,” he answers it, wondering what he expected to find, and whether this was all he would achieve from this illicit adventure, more doubt and questions.

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The ground slips away beneath his feet, pulling him down with force of a tide, taking him under.

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Water’s Song

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Aymeri wakes before the sun rises and untangles himself from the embrace of his clutch mates. Seryn, always a light sleeper, stirs and murmurs something unintelligible, squeezing Terhanis closer to him as he falls back into his dream.

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The eyrie is quiet at this early hour. No one will see him leave, and he will return before anyone notices his absence.

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A finger of land juts out from the island, pointing the way to the distant shores of the mainland, a signal fire ever blazing there to guide the hunters of the Fire clan back to their eyrie. Clambering up the rocky edge, Aymeri pauses, listening to the roar of the waterfall behind him, the lapping of the waves against the beach. The song is there, murmuring in the falls, in the waves, whispering his name like a lover. The water’s song has always thrummed through him, while he wakes and while sleeps.

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The song belongs to all who share his affinity for the water, but for Aymeri, it is a beckoning call, a summons he can no longer deny. The water wants something of him that she has asked of no other.

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It is time. He springs forward, leaping into the air, his arms stretched out behind him like wings. Before he can fall back down to the rocks and tumble into the sea, he transforms, and flies towards the shores of the mainland.

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