Thursday, January 28, 2010

[RP] The Faire, Chapter 1

Thiyenn is not a new character. Over the last year or two she's grown a lot, and I'm profoundly affectionate toward the timid little thing. No matter where she finds herself, or how terrified she is, she always manages to get by. I had an epic dream the other night and, while I can't remember much of it, it sparked the idea for a formidable writing project that really fills out the character and makes her feel even more real to me.

When I was little, the open sky was my roof and canvas tents my shelter. The earth was my floor. I would like to say that simple living brought peace, but I cannot; I was never suited to the life to which I was born, and for me, peace was a rarity.

The Darkmoon are a people of wanderers. For those who do not know them, the name invokes images of dark, exotic beauty, brazen deception, squalor and tawdry mysticism. As one who has belonged to them, I can truthfully say that only two things can be claimed almost universally of the Darkmoon's diverse tribe: they are hardworking, and deeply superstitious.

The Faire was only quiet in the early mornings just before dawn, and this was when I liked it. I saw only my own people then, bright costumes hanging over their shoulders as they finished preparing their stalls and games for another day and ate the morning meal standing up or sitting on mats, or on the tall stools behind their tables while they arranged their wares. Their mugs steamed with a drink the Darkmoon love, a pungent, syrupy brew made from roasted leaves. Mama said I tasted it once, when I was small. My eyes went wide "just so," she would say-- and here she would open her own beautiful dark eyes until they swallowed me whole -- "and then they stuck that way." I was a mirror of her in those days, a perfect miniature. Only my blue eyes were my own, yet I envied hers, the color of coffee swimming with flecks of gold.

Mama told fortunes. She wore her wealth on her body, gold loops circling her wrists and ankles, chiming softly halfway up to her dark elbows; coils of hammered gold with ruby eyes, like snakes, wrapped themselves around her thin upper arms. I made myself small and hid in our tent while she made herself a dusky oracle for strangers. Men and women, young and old sat spellbound before her, helpless as I was helpless to resist the pull of her spirit and those soulful eyes. I crouched in the corner and stared at my bare feet, dark with sun and dirt. I smelled the earth and incense and my mother's perfume, enthralled by the lulling and husky tones of her voice.

At night, long after I first slept, Mama would scatter her bowl of spent incense across the entrance to our tent to ward off demons and evil spirits. Then she would lower the heavy flap of canvas that served as a door and undress, peeling off the rustling red and orange silks, the peacock velvets and cinnamon satins, all woven through with threads of gold. She left them hanging like shed skins over the crates and chests that were our tables and chairs and held everything we owned. She came to bed in simple nightclothes, made for warmth, and there she would wake me, curling one of her bangled arms under my head in the dark. Sometimes she spoke to me, sometimes she sang the old lullabies the Grandmothers taught her, and sometimes she merely watched me until I fell asleep again, my eyelids heavy under the weight of night.

I loved her.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

RP: Keeping Warm

It's cute, it's sappy, it's geeky. It's Libby-Fenn RP!

The fully crystallized birches of Crystalsong Forest are useless for traditional burning. The effects of magical petrification are most visible in the dramatic, alien landscapes above key ley lines and below the hovering magic city of Dalaran, but extend far beyond what is visible to the naked eye. 90% of Crystalsong timber contains at least 5% crystalline cells, permanently altered by the perpetual magical current. The most valuable lumber is found a few hundred feet into the grassline bordering the purple lichens of the magic zone, where the trees are between 35 and 40% striated crystal. Logs of this type burn hot, produce even, violet flames, and typically last over one hundred times longer than their uncrystallized counterparts.

In a high-ceilinged apartment of the Legerdemain, a single piece of this prized timber burns on a bed of grey coals. A particularly large node of phosphorescent pitch ignites with a loud pop, and the devilsaur sleeping on the hearth opens one blue eye before falling back asleep. In the bedroom, Libby wakes up. Her dark face is groggy and soft with sleep, and Fenniel is watching her.

"... Fenni?"

Fenniel blushed. "S-sorry Libby, I was just thinking."

"Is everything okay?"

Not everything is okay. In fact, pretty much everything outside of this little apartment is not okay. People are scary and every day there are battles, some too close for comfort. Fenn remembers that he was lucky today. He also remembers his last breath--what should have been his last breath, had luck not been with him--and who that breath was for. He wraps his long arms around her. She is warm.


Her long hair is loose again. She pulls and tugs at it when she is nervous, when she is anxious, when she is thinking, when she is breathing. Now they are a mass of unfurled, braid-kinked black curls contrasting with her pillow and her pink pajamas. She wears them because she is too nervous to be undressed in front of Fenniel. She wears them because sleeping in her quick-blooded feline form is too hot. She wears them because he gave them to her. She wears them because she loves him.

"I can go make you some tea if you need help slee--"

Fenniel squeezed tight, cutting her off. "No, don't go. I'm fine."

"A-are you sure?" Her face was hot.

He's going to kiss her, he wants to kiss her, his face is turned to hers and for a moment he almost looks like he might. Her eyes are purple, looking back at him over the soft dark fuzz of her nose. Then he looks at her mouth and he wavers, afraid he'll mess up or do it wrong or that she won't like it. His cheeks turn a brilliant red that shows even in the dark.

"I--I'm sure. Let's go back to sleep." He put a hand on the back of his neck, his usual nervous scratch making an appearance.

Libby looked at him for a long moment, then sank back into her pillow and sighed. "Okay, Fenn. Goodnight."

And as she drifted off, he listened to her breathe. When he was sure she was asleep, he found just enough courage to say how he felt.

"I love you, Libby."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Literary Food Porn? YES!

I stumbled over this blog today and I can't stop reading it. Vivid epicurean excerpts from literature served in blog form? Hell yes. They're like potato chips--crunchy bits of awesome that are delicious on their own and always leave you wanting more.

I still remember reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder's little farm boy and the massive homey spreads they managed to serve up every day. Food was a huge part of their lives. They grew it, preserved it, prepared it; it was their sustenance, their livelihood and the stuff of their memories.

We are what we eat. Food nourishes and replenishes us. The preparation and consumption of meals are intricate rituals born of a simple nutritional imperative, and have evolved into an experience more varied than any one lifetime could contain.

I'll always remember those who have fed me and those I have fed; the processes of cooking and baking; learning from others and through intrepid solo experimentation. The smells and tastes and textures invoke powerful recollections of people and places that hold no small significance in my life.

Not everyone feels as strongly as I do on the subject of food. Not everyone is passionate about what they put in their bodies or feed to their families. For some, food is fuel, and that is all. That's fine. But if you share my love of food, if you collect recipes and books and kitchen tools that never collect dust, do yourself a favor and have a look at Lashings & Lashings of Ginger Beer.

(P.S. Happy New Year!)