Well, all these take place in the Technomage world, with Sergei, Ree, Yvette, Jack, and all their friends. Please note that some of these are rated R. Enjoy.
Mother of three illegitimate children, all with fathers who remained unnamed unto her dying day, Yvette Fraiser might seem like someone who should have been shunned by society and haunted by paparazzi. However, she is better known for her haunting abilities with musical instruments and the friends she had throughout high society, from Jack Daw to The High Priestess Aradia. To be frank, the paparazzi were afraid to touch her.
Robyn liked dreams filled with music from around the world, not ones like tonight where all she could hear were voices yelling and screaming. Why wouldn’t the voices go away and leave her in peace?
She’d once asked Mère about sound sealing her room like Jack’s was, but she had been assured that dreams of music and odd background noises were normal, and that she should enjoy them. Mère might have enjoyed it all when she was young, but she didn’t understand what it meant then. Robyn did.
Suddenly, a voice screamed that Robyn knew all to well. “Auntie Belle!” she screamed as she tore out of bed. She had to tell Mère and Jack to save Auntie Belle.
Richard smiled softly as he sat in the window seat in his office. He didn’t look like much, an old man with a scraggly beard, long hair, battered jeans, and bare feet. His school didn’t look like much either, a set of cabins in an obscure corner of the woods on an obscure mountain top.
But he liked it that way. People tended to underestimate them both. He trained his students well, so they would not be taken in by such a façade, so they could see and someday repair the flaws that were destroying their world.
His fingers gently toyed with the ring he wore on a chain about his neck. It was his wife’s ring, all he had to hold onto after she was buried beneath the earth. There were no children with her eyes walking about in the gardens below him, and yet, these were their children, and he was proud of them.
Some nights she just couldn’t get away from the voices, the screams that haunted her as she huddled in her bed. All the silencing runes in the world could not hold out her own memories of those pained voices. Sometimes the complete silence seemed to only call them up the faster. Sergei begging his brother to stop. Ree screaming as she was raped. Belle screaming and swearing as the bastards sliced her up again and again.
Jack kept the voices away, though she didn’t understand how. His room was as warded as her own, but his soft breathing beside her seemed to drive the screams away, reassured her that they were just memories and the events were long past.
It was an embarrassing explanation, but that was how Robyn got a little brother.
“Jack Daw! I’m Mia Sinclair from the Savannah Tribune. Are you here for the survivors of the Pearl Street Attack?”
The dark man glared at her. “No comment.”
“The doctors are being closed lipped about their patients’ injuries. Do you have a comment now?”
He growled softly as he moved away. A woman beside him murmured, “Vultures.”
“The people have a right to know what happened,” Mia responded.
The woman whirled to face her. “The right to know what?” she snarled. “The gruesome details? Are you going to categorically list all the injuries? The broken bones, the cuts, the burns? Will you file the bruises and abrasions from rape in the same category as those from fists?
“No one has the right to know that. I came here to visit three dear friends. Unfortunately, I’ve only visited two. The third is in her family’s vault. Maybe if you won’t respect their injuries, you will respect their grief!”
With that the woman stalked off, leaving Mia positively gleeful. That was Yvette Fraiser, up and coming musician. She could just see the headline now: Musician decries Media coverage, seeks respectful treatment of tortured friends.
Thank goodness for an eidetic memory.
Yvette looked in awe at the terrarium that took up a large chunk of the near palatial hotel room.
“How on Earth did you haul that from Italy?”
“We didn’t,” Ree said. “All the high class hotels have a few they can set up these days.”
Yvette looked puzzled. “I didn’t think there were that many socialites who packed along a massive potions kit when they traveled.”
“There aren’t,” Ree replied, and laughed. “But the crystalline butterflies are especially popular with the Mage family women as hair ornaments. I swear I can’t figure how some of them hold their heads up at parties anymore.”
“You’re kidding?” Yvette said, aghast.
“Nope,” Ree replied with a shake of her head. “Really makes life easier for me. It’s amazing what you can get through customs if you call it jewelry.”
Yvette eyed the hundreds of small creatures flitting about the terrarium as a wry grin crossed her face. There had to be a dozen that were made of plants illegal to import without a license … if at all. “Your family must have a hell of a reputation if they don’t even question how one woman could wear that many in her hair.”
Write 5 L-words
She was his Lover before becoming his Lady wife, or perhaps not. The bond they shared existed from nearly their meeting and it had been years before the night they fell into bed together for the first time. He had been set to marry Belle, but in a way they had both been his Ladies since the first moments their minds had intertwined.
They took turns being Leader. It was perhaps a trade off that many of their social standing would not have understood, but it served them well. Each had their own strengths, and they had learned to play to them. Fortunately, Language was as strength they shared. Wandering the world for so many years, they had needed every advantage, including understanding what their informant was muttering under his breath.
A rarely triggered facet of their existence was that she was his Liege. In the oldest traditions, she outranked him tenfold as the High Priestess of Aradia, no matter what his family pretended. The Ivanovich family bore no title since the fall of the tsar, an event they helped along just a touch. While others of his family might decry her position, he was proud to follow his Ree.
Player's Choice: prompt: Ark
“It’s like you’ve built your own ark,” Jack commented as he looked out the window of Richard’s office.
Richard looked at him quizzically. “I don’t see animals marching in two by two anywhere,” he said to the younger man.
“Perhaps not per say,” Jack said, pointing at several couples sitting out in the garden. “But it sure looks like you’ve created a haven for all types of people while the world outside is tearing itself apart.”
Richard looked over Jack’s shoulder at the couples and clusters of students, most evenly mixed between Mage and Mundane. “And the lion lay down with the lamb,” he said in cryptic agreement.
“I want to have sex.”
Jack looked at Yvette quizzically for a moment before replying, “I was under the impression you’ve been doing just that all summer.”
“I want to have sex with you,” she countered.
“I thought having done that once was half your problem these days,” he said, eyeing her still slender midsection.
“Aye, I bear the results of the act, but all I remember is a few dreamlike moments. I want to remember more than that.”
“So what’s wrong with you recent experimenting?”
“I don’t think they were very good. I’ve never even had an orgasm.”
“Not entirely uncommon for women your age …” he began.
“Or the caliber of men in this town,” she interrupted. “You are reputed to be excellent in bed.” He raised an eyebrow. “You brag about it enough. So do your conquests.”
“And if I say I think of you more as a daughter than a lover?”
“Damn it, Jack. If I’m going to have your child I’d at least like to remember what it was like creating it. It’s not like I can get pregnant again.”
“I’ll think about it.”
Yvette smiled as she watched Jack play with their children. All three were communicating in a mixture of chirps and whistles, a language Robyn and Jack had started teaching young Jamie from birth. Little Jamie was still lisping a bit, his mouth not yet developed enough for full control. They were a queer little group, a father twice the age of the mother, and two children who never admitted that their favorite uncle was really their father. Queer perhaps, but very happy.
Sergei was her salvation. She knew that. She was haunted regularly by the memories of that day, the pain of the torture and the assault. She agonized over how she lived and his fiancée, her best friend, dearest Belle, did not. But he was always there, encouraging her to live, never hating her for his loss. He was what kept her alive, all she lived for.
Unresolved Sexual Tension
Ree repressed a sigh. Once again they had shared a bed to save money. Once again they had fallen asleep on opposite sides of the table and ended up spooned together by morning. Once again his hand was on her bare stomach and something else was nudging her in the rear. Once again, she fought with the urge to turn around and see where kissing him might lead.
“These days it seems that you must be for magic or for technology. This school is for those who propose to change that. We must strike a balance and find ways for magic and technology to work in harmony. We long ago learned that religion is no reason to go killing each other off. I only hope we live long enough as a race to get past this impasse as well.”
From the welcoming speech of Richard Comyn, Headmaster of Idyllwild Academy
Genre: Young Adult
Idyllwild Academy is a quiet little school in a small mountain town, run by an elderly gentlemen known more for his relaxed mode of dress than his formal education. The location itself is stunning, warm in summer, snowy in the winter, full of well tended gardens between the sturdy cabin style buildings.
Just passing by, watching the headmaster putter about bare foot as he trims the roses, you wouldn’t realize it is one of the foremost schools in techno-mage appreciation. Students from all backgrounds are welcome and are free to study any topic within its walls. There are inner city kids on scholarships studying next to the heirs of a dozen of the top families in the world, in harmony.
The only requirement to enter Idyllwild is intelligence and curiosity, but if you stay you’ll probably want to change the world. Care to test your hand?
“This is going to trigger a mass exodus of mages from Maryland,” Mael said. “You’ll be lucky to see one near Annapolis for years, even if it is the state capitol.”
She stood on the edge of the campus with the few other surviving teachers, watching as a few remaining students picked through the ruins for, well, anything that survived. Between the explosion and the fires that resulted, most of the campus had been devastated, as well as the navel base next door.
“I doubt I’ll ever be inclined to sleep near a military base again.”
“Looking forward to returning to your beloved library out west?” asked Jess.
“Immensely. What will you do?”
Jess sighed sadly. “Haven’t a clue.”
“Richard set up transportation for me tomorrow … Come with me, all of you. There’s room enough. And if Richard doesn’t have an opening, he’ll know someone who does.”
Jess shrugged. "There's nothing left here."
“Greetings, Mame. Are you the potions master in residence?”
“Excuse me? How did you get this number?”
“Your number was found in our list of international potions masters. I am here to offer you an incredible opportunity to try potionflies. You won’t believe the improvement in the caliber of your potions…”
At that point Ree laughed and hung up. “Love?” she called to her husband in the next room.
“Dah?” he said, half his attention still on the potion before him.
“You need to figure out who the new distributor for the butterflies is, and probably fire them.”
“Oh?” He looked up at her quizzically.
“It’s bad enough that they are using telemarketers, but they are also dumb enough to include in their list of calls the person who’s name is on the patent of their product.”
It was a habit so ingrained she didn’t even have to pay attention to how her fingers flickered through her hair, forming the traditional pattern of braids and curls that declared her social status to the world. It had been required daily at that bloody school her grandmother made her attend, so she had become quite adept at creating the coiffure while continuing to read, and this book had some very interesting theories on the relationship between magic and string physics.
Her husband arrived as she finished, and gently flicked the curl that fell over her right eye. “I don’t think the unmarried curl suits you,” he purred. And she flushed. Her fingers quickly braided the strip of hair she had so carefully curled minutes before, and then spelled it up in a complex knot.
“I’m afraid I haven’t programmed myself for adding the Ivanovich knot just yet,” she apologized.
“Seems like you have it down pretty well when you think about it,” he commented.
“I might have practiced a few times … back at school.” A wry smile crossed her lips.
“Dah?” he said, and kissed her playfully before escorting her out.
Genre: Pastiche (A homage to the Princess Bride)
“Love.” He’d been calling her that for years. She thought it was just a friendly gesture. After all, Belle called just about everyone “Hun.” It was some kind of southern trait.
But today, today she really looked into his eyes and saw the truth. “Love,” meant “My love,” and sometimes “I love you.”
And as he kissed her, she knew she meant it too.
Player's Choice: An unfamiliar Genre
It was 2 am, an hour at which every sane person should be fast asleep in bed. But this is a school, and any good school has some obsessive academics and fanatical students awake at all hours.
In this case, if we were to look into the school potions and alchemy lab, we would find three students slaving over a boiling cauldron and a teacher in the corner watching over them with half lidded eyes.
If all goes well, then they will finish their experiment within half an hour, and be cleaned up and in bed within an hour. However, all does not go well.
Two minutes past two, a fire storm races through the school and the focus of these students is no longer their experiment, but rather whether the fire proofing wards on the room will fail before their air supply does.
There were times when I thought I would never recover from my wife’s loss. She was ripped from my arms bigots, of what kind it matters not. I only cared at the time that she was gone and our child with her. I had given up everything to be with her, the beautiful creature my father deemed unworthy of me, and now I had nothing.
It was a long time before I cam back to myself, but the trigger for it was a dream. Perhaps it was my own subconscious, and perhaps it was truly her that night. Either way, I awoke with a purpose. I would create a school which would turn out young people who would work to see what happened to my beloved Margot never happened again.
The human race once decided that religious beliefs were no reason to kill another. I can only hope my actions will help us realize that neither is whether a body has a gift for magic or a mind for technology.
Five L words in a drabble
Enzo comforted his sobbing apprentice. This was not the first time he had held her as she sobbed out her emotions after a bad meeting with his sister-in-law. The old bat had always stood firm in her belief that his interest in music was unworthy of a man of his bloodline. His choosing a girl of magic but no bloodline at all for his student had made her an unfortunate target.
It enraged him that someone so many turned to as a leader considered lineage important to the exclusion of all other things. Especially when this woman had failed to provide for both her matralineage and her husband’s patralineage. She drove her daughter off because she had so little magic, and bore no son to carry on her husband’s name.
And now she was determined to drive off her granddaughter, a woman who lacked every prejudice her grandmother loved, all over the man who kept her alive after the attack. Because of his bloodline.
Perhaps he should hate his sister-in-law, but in truth, he pitied her.
Mia Sinclair hadn’t been nice to Jack Daw and Yvette Fraiser since their first meeting outside the hospital in Savannah. In fact, she had been all but stalking them for six months, her articles less than flattering if only mildly inflammatory until the last. That was why she was surprised when the couple and Yvette’s young daughter were waiting for her in her office that day.
“I wish to rebut your assertion that Robyn is mine,” Jack began. “I thought it only faire that I first give you the option of retracting the article before going somewhere else.” The words were polite, but the threat underneath was clear.
“Paternity papers?” she asked, pointing at the thick folder in his lap.
“Test results proving my infertility,” he countered.
“I’m sure you can find a doctor to interpret them correctly,” Yvette added in a sickening sweet tone.
Mia was honestly surprised. “And the real father?” Oh, she shouldn’t have asked that.
“That is for me to know, and you to dream about,” Yvette replied lightly as she wafted out the door, her companions in her wake.
Mael loves the look in the eyes of a child raised by mages when they first enter her library. So much knowledge has been lost to them because of their parents’ prejudices. She will never lock that knowledge from them.
Even better is the look when they are introduced to her computer. The technology is still new, developing, but the potential is unlimited. She has a full connection to every variant of the internet she can find, and not only allows the students to explore them, she encourages it. She understands the thirst for knowledge and revels in seeing it kindled in her children.
There are many ghosts that haunt her. Short as her years have been, they have not been easy ones. But today the pain ends. The nightmares will follow her no further. Their manufacturer will be no more.
With a vicious grin, she carves an R above his right breast, a perfect copy of the one he left in her skin nine years before. It is the only revenge she craves.
His death is an afterthought, something as necessary as putting down a rabid dog.
And hanging his broken corpse from the city walls, that was just a small warning for his old allies.
“I don’t suppose there is any chance this will go quickly?” she asked.
The doctor just gave her a wry smile and shook his head. Really, after nine hours it was a rather stupid question.
Another contraction hit and she practiced squeezing Sergei’s hand off again. She wondered how on Earth most women did this without someone there to share the pain with them. Without Sergei here she’d surely be mad by now.
“After this is over,” she snarled between pants, “You are going to the lab and brewing a lifetime supply of birth control potions.” He just smiled condescendingly at her.
“If you think I am every going through this again …”