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Seven Thousand Star-Petals [11 Jun 2014|10:28pm]
Title: Seven Thousand Star-Petals
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: Nc-17
Content: They're flying.
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.

We are taught how having love works. We know all about it by the time we leave hypno-school, and there are six hundred and seventeen love manuals written specifically for the Jang. We're not barred from reading those for Older People, though they mostly cover things that Older People do, like orgies. I haven't read all the love manuals and honestly a lot of it is the same thing, only written for the era and the fashions of the time. Right now Jang interest in apparatus is becoming fashionable again, and the flashes report stories about the new features of the Delight Palace putting in some piece of new furniture or other. I really like visiting the floaters or using the underpools, and I tried a star-swing a few vreks ago. But we had none of those things in Saz's bird-plane, and there was no manual that even hinted at what he and I were to do.

Saz guided me, my glar in this as he was for lightswords. When I got caught up in confusion about how I could know so much about having love and feel like I was doing everything wrong he soothed me, caught me up in his arms again and went back to kissing sunlight on flowers, sometimes as the sunlight, sometimes as the blossoms.

Every Jang manual has instructions on kissing. There is one that is just about kissing, one named Seven Thousand Star-Petals. That one is groshing. It's poetry. I've read it over and over, savoring the beautiful words describing the pure open beauty of sunlight on flowers, the trickling bliss of the gemwing's landing, the best ways to give the kiss of invitation, and how it should be answered, how to give the kiss of answer, and what you can say in how you hold your lips, in where you put your breath before and where you touch before the kiss is given, and how you touch afterward, and what you speak in a sigh. And there were stories, gorgeous stories of lovers speaking volumes with their eyes and their lips and a touch. I read it over and over, watched so many fabulisms based on pieces of it.

My adoration of Seven Thousand Star-Petals is a bit floopy, to most Jang. Old-fashioned. Sentimental. And awkward. So many of the kisses can't be done in an afternoon marriage, or a three unit marriage, because they're too intimate and demanding. It's too soon for such promises spoken on the skin, too eager. And often by the time you marry for vrek the moment for them is gone, and you've moved on to exciting things. Rarely have I been moved to bring the verses of those kisses to a marriage, afraid of odd looks or laughter, however good natured.

But I've never married anyone for vrek.

Saz had read that manual as much as I had, and the swooping feeling of flying in his bird plane matched my elation, my amazement at being given the quill-feather's touch at the notch of my throat, the silken puff of breath and gliding lips as he whispered endearments into my skin, writing them into the hollow at the clavicle. Words I couldn't hear, that I wasn't meant to hear or ever ask about, but I seized him and gave him my own reply to the open palm of his hand--so bold!--and he stared at me for a whole split with a look of awed joy before snugging me back down into the cushions of his couch.

I used to call this the amusement before having love. I was wrong. This was having love, and it was sweet and terrible. It made me ache and want more while wailing inside that it would have to end, before we'd even taken off our soft groin pouches (the gilded and gemmed cages thumped to the fur-of-silk carpet in half a split, though, and my sensor harness, and the armguards.) Saz's clasp landed on a shelf, and his half mask was dazzle-paint--he switched the dazzle off, but left the deep aged bronze and sable base as it was. We lay in the cradling net of my braids and the pillows, our knees hinged together and had love with our fingertips, had love with our lips, had love with our breath and the velvety fringes of Saz's hair, loose and curtaining around us. And when I caught myself wondering if I should feel like a woman while shielding him, my hands leaning heavily to pin his as I followed the sunlight of his kisses, or like a man gathered up in his lap, my arms around his neck as I gave him the caress of praise, that tracery of kisses you give to a woman's face, showing her what about her design you found the most groshing, when I faltered in confusion, my glar would guide me back to the beginning again to lie side by side, to the very first touches that begin the first time one Jang has love with another, if the one you've married has any manners at all. Some don't.

"This is beautiful," Saz said, tracing over the flower-wings painted on my body, following them with his lips - over arms and shoulders and my chest, along the tickling skin just under my ribs, breaths warm agony. I would paint myself every unit. No - I would wash it off, so the next time would be special and rare, so he would know that i wanted the gemwing's landings across my skin, that I especially wanted his touch.

"I was inspired," I answered. "Saz."

"Ooma-kasma," he answered, and the bird-plane spun in dizzy happiness.

"Say it again."

"Ooma-kasma," he said, and circled his tongue around my navel. "All the stars of my night. Say it to me."

"Ooma-kasma," I answered. "My rising dawn," I added, and he surged up the bed to kiss me again, again, burning like the sun. I tried for his hand but he drew it away, his fingers trailing along my skin, down to my hip even as he rose up to lie beside me, settling my thigh between his.

"We don't have much time," he whispered.

"No." I nearly wailed it, but he hushed me with his hand - calloused on palm and fingers, like mine but not mine, deliciously derisann and other - wrapped around me for one slow stroke.

"We can't do everything this time," he said, and he took his hand away - farathoom! - but only to reach for a bit of silken gel for his fingers, and that slick hot warmth was back, sliding up to dabble finger-tips along that spot just where the flare of my sex stretched past its sheath.

"I'll marry you tomorrow," I promised, hips raised and flexed to meet his hand, to push into the tight ring he made with rippling fingers, like I'd done it on the couch but so much more because it was his hand. He's watched me squeeze and twist while I wished it was him, oh it was him now, my Saz, my rising dawn-

"Say it again," he said.

"Mine," I said again, louder. I held onto his shoulder while I flailed for the gel by the couch. "Let me do it to you."

"After, my ooma," Saz promised. "This is for you. Look at me."

I did, and combed his hair back with my fingers. I watched him, and didn't shut my eyes until the very end, my fingers deep enough in Saz's shoulders to bruise.


There wasn't an after. I was trying to catch my breath and gather my wits when a terrible klaxon sounded, marking ninety four splits, the Committee-approved time for a light diurnal nap. Saz leapt out of bed to shut it off, frantically tapping in a different navigation course. I had an insumatt view of his back, and...

I squirmed when a cool trickle ran down my side. Farathoom! "There's no bathing unit on here, is there?" Thralldrap. Where would he put it?

"Just washing cloths," Saz said. Well. It was better than nothing. The dispenser unit gave me a paper-velvet cloth, warm and scented of moss-orchid. It didn't smear my painted flower-wings, at least.

"Where are we going?"

"The plane will fly to the History Tower, touch down for two splits, and then I'll take you home." Saz was getting dressed, still fiddling with the console. Across the plane from me.

I slipped into my tall boots, curled around the pit in my stomach as I touched one of the flower wings on the toe, wiping away an imaginary speck. "That would be fine."

"Ooma," Saz said, but it was me who turned away, feeling at my braids, checking for disarray.

"Ooma," Saz said, but i kept fussing until he turned me around, hands on my shoulders. I lookd down, though that meant gazing at his body. "I was startled by the alarm. I forgot that it would go off. I shouldn't have jumped up like that."

"It's fine," I said. Only an utter thralldrap would believe it. It wasn't fine at all. The cold trickle of what we'd done wrapped itself around my spine and sent chilling thoughts upward. But Saz pulled me in, and he was warm.

"It has to stay a secret," Saz said. "I hate that. But it does."

We stood together like that, barely needing to shift our feet when the bird-plane landed, but clung tighter when it took off.

"We can't tell anyone," I said. I knew that. I told myself that it made sense, as we rocked with the bird-plane's flight to Home, my stomach lurching with the descent.
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[11 Aug 2013|03:23pm]
Title: On wings of Glass-of-Steel
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG, but not for long
Content: there you are, my ooma. I've been looking for you.
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.
Chapter 15

On Glass-of-Steel Wings

Driven out of Home...and still no Saz at Ilex Park. I trudged on to the History Tower; I had my rig with me but I wanted the infocubes, just wandering about and finding things at random, like plucking up a confection and popping it in your mouth without looking at it. so I went on, and found a cube that talked about an ancient desert tribe, their nomadic customs, their exotic barbarousness. I listened to it, trying to feel a resonance, a glimmer of recognition between the cube and my dreams. There was nothing.

I was tosky when I popped the cube out, minced back to its resting place to return it. Tosky and a little bit embarrassed. Really, of all the flooping fancies I could have come up with--that I lived out in the desert with the outlawed duellist, the Four's first killer for ages? Ooma, try harder, I'm sure you can come up with something more ridiculous than that.

Out of desperation, I called Fisk. I called her even though I knew that she was in sense-distortion, and it was my fault, all my fault. I called her, and told her that i was so sorry, that I would never have done what i had, it was just that I was an impulsive floop and there wasn’t language strong enough to call me down and please call me, please and I would have gone on but the holo-call booth chimed and asked me if I was all right - the pay-sensors trip when you’re worked up, and the counselling subroutines kick in if you’re angry or uupset and the next thing I knew they were asking *me* about Sense Distortion and maybe it would have helped but I just asked for a bird-taxi to get me and take me to the Delight Palace.

There was Ecstasy waiting in the taxi. I’d gulped it all and tripped chirpingly into the lobby, giggling my way through paying before I stumbled into a sky-suite and into the love unit, where I wound up falling asleep. It happens to everyone, I’m sure, but it’s always a bit disconcerting to wake up cuddled around and in whatever apparatus you programmed. I needed the massage setting for the kink in my neck, and I dialed up another booster of Ecstasy - not a full dose, just enough to smooth over the tumbling fear I had over Saz and his secret--


My secret, too.Collapse )
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A Real Wind / OnWings of Glass and Steel, Part 1 [04 Sep 2008|05:29pm]
[ mood | okay ]

Title: A Real Wind
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG
Content: It's just a dream. Why let it guide you?
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


A Real Wind

It took nearly two units to get out of Limbo. But that wasn't what I knew first.

First, I knew music.

It started like a wind and crackled all the hairs up my back, just this unified sound that made me think of the thickness of jade trees, so solid it was, and then it-split into a dozen ribbons, each carrying a tone, an undulating movement of sound and as they split I realized that this worldless glory came from human throats – the sound of people singing, No upper-tonal, no accompaniment, only the glorious inaccuracies of voices. The sun rose in my chest, or on it, a loving blade pierced me even as I tried to see myself, see the people who sang

but all there was around me was the light, and I reached even as I turned away and knew whose arms I fell into, knew the waves that my fingers wove through, and the oddly stretched and pocked skin across his cheek even as my lips brushed it and the voices rose, spiralling into mourning and exultation both...

Do you dream when you are dead?

For I had died, and I did dream. I think I was sick, and a woman, and bent over - what? plants, in the earth. I was pulling them up, pale yellow root and all, laying them in a basket. Brown skin stretched over bones in my hands, cords standing out, black lined fingernails. The skin was lined and creased and filthy.

A wild animal with goggling gray eyes bounded forward, tiptoed around me, sniffing - at the basket, probably. I said "Attlevey, dear monster," and gave it a root. The Gray-eyes nibbled it delicately as I sat down in the earth, and then lay back in a row between plants to soothe my aching spine.

I ached everywhere, in all the joints of my hands, my shoulders. But I wasn't moaning about how drumdik it all was. Instead I looked up at the dome of the sky and smiled. The real sky, I realized, riding behind my dream's perception. Not a dome. And then--

"Are you getting old, ooma?"

"Of course I am," I said, and sat up to smile at he who addressed me, he who made my heart - not leap, but glow with contentment, to look upon his face--

his face--

And then the light again, the expulsion of gel from my lungs and throat as I coughed and fought upward, to the light, the light...

Cold, gradually warming. I awoke; I resurrected.

The Limbo Tub.

“This has to stop, you know,” the Q-R said, even as I rose gasping from the gelled waters of the tub. “We simply can't go on with this sort of behaviour. It's dangerous—and in very poor taste,” and it made that last sound like the crime, and not the other.

The music—the singing—gone. A dream. Another dream.

“Mm,” I agreed, and flashed my response wires at him. “May I have my tablet now? I won't be a minute.”

“In a moment,” the Q-R replied. “We would like to know what would stop you from performing suicides in this fashion. Why do you do it?”

“I wanted a different body. Take a look at my records—I did request a body change, and was denied.”

“You'd only left Limbo three meals previous to your request!”

“And before that, I hadn't suicided—or even requested a body change-- in vreks,” I said. “But that didn't matter. You refused me anyway, and told me to wait thirty units. So I tried it your way, but I wanted to change and knew I couldn't, so I suicided because you have to give me a new body that way.”

“And what is your explanation for this episode?”

“I realized that I didn't actually want a female body after all,” I said. “I took up new activities as a male, activities suitable for the male form. It didn't occur to me that I would miss them as much as I did. But the restrictions--”

“Are there for a reason,” the Q-R interrupted. “and you're defying them to suit your own wants.”

“And why shouldn't I?” I shouted at the Q-R. “You can rattle and click all you want about how costly changing bodies is, the resources wasted, the effort that goes into sculpting my form into the design I want. But the committee mandate is that I can change my body every thirty units by request. I don't even have to pay! And you--”

“We judged those guidelines for efficiency--”

“Don't interrupt me, vixaxn you!” I roared, rising up from the gel tank. “You asked me why I've suicided three times in less than thirty units and you also asked me what would stop me from doing it, so if you want the answer, you will SHUT UP!”

The Q-R opened its mouth, closed it again.

“Thank you,” I said. “Now I haven't changed my body in vreks. Long enough that the way I see it, I have saved the cities energy and expense to the tune of forty mandated by right body changes that I wouldn't even have to pay for. We'll agree that before that, I overstepped my quota somewhat with suicide driven changes, but I would not have suicided if I could have just walked up to limbo and said, “Attlevey, my oomas. I fancy antennae this time,” and you would have jollied me along to a design cabinet and kindly slipped me a bill if it was between thirty unit periods. And you would do that, if you weren't all a passel of controlling promoks. So here it is.

“You owe me thirty bodies. Not negotiable!” I snapped, as the Q-R opened its mouth again. “If I walk in here with a whim to change the shape of my graks before thirty units from today, you will do the design without charge. If I want a change in thirty units or more, it doesn't subtract from the bodies you owe me. And this will continue until my thirty extra bodies are used up.

“After that, if I want a change between thirty unit periods, I will pay. Do that, and I won't have any reason to fling myself from high places. Extend that to some of the more notorious Jang, and they'll probably agree with only an ornament of complaint.

“Then you'll only be left with the problem of the abnormal and maladjusted.”

“Really,” the Q-R murmured, carefully blanking any trace of irony from its face. “And this body that you are about to receive?”

“Doesn't count toward my thirty,” I pointed out. “If this agreement was already in place, I would have just come in.”


Victory on all counts, save one—I had to agree to stay in Limbo overnight, and they'd already delayed re-activation to examine me. I wondered, uncomfortably, about my dreams—I dreamed in Limbo before, about a storm, and purple flowers, and--

I jolted upright from my gel couch, arms and legs a-gangle. The rapier fighter. I'd dreamed of him that first time, in the tub, before I'd ever seen the mini-holo at Junaya's party. It was him. It had been him. They had exiled him to the desert. That's where I had been, in the dream of my death, in the visions between.

(except, his face)

I had known him--The me that I was before, it had to be that – but Personality Dissolution, it's supposed to wipe out everything, I couldn't—shouldn't remember it, if I actually remembered it...

They'd exiled him to the desert. How could I remember him in the desert? He died out there alone... out there, where he could see the sky—no. It was just a dream.

But who dreams, in Limbo? Who dreams, in death?

I hugged myself, bent over my curled and clutching arms, and wished I was a woman, wished I could dash to someone with this sick trembling horror and have it accepted, to be embraced, to have the care shushed from my brow with soft lips and a tender hand.

Instead, I went to the medi-dispenser and drank a brimming, tiny glass of Ecstasy.

The glow was only beginning to melt my limbs when I punched the override for a second, and that glass fell among discarded leggings and meshweave tunic, perhaps rolled under sandals, forgotten as I flung myself on on of the couches (cream and silver, now, limned in cobalt) and fell into quite another dream, one that guided my hands and hips and made me imagine that Saz was there and watching, floating above me half glimpsed in delerium.

“I wish it was you,” I whispered to the vision. “I want it to be you, derisann ooma, but I don't know how--”

and the vision of Saz faded as I set my mind to imagining how—all of those things we Jang do on the marriage couch before getting to the business of having love, of course, and I imagined Saz's hands and mouth and tried to think of how it would feel on the male body under my hands, its pleasures unlike the woman that I usually was. I had to know, and i would. When he saw me, he would understand what I had done, and why, and then we would


I awoke in an exhausted heap, and limped into my bathing bubble. Really, I had to stop this. Ecstacy is of course perfectly safe, but there is such a thing as overdoing, and I was stiff, sore, achey, near trembling with hunger. I took a meal injection and first meal, selecting roasted rootplant and a nut-steak, which bore little resemblance to the toasted angel-food that served as the customary Jang first meal. Actually, I had no idea if it was time for first meal, or if I was right in step. Silver-water cordial helped to steady the pain in my head and calm me before I had any chance to be agitated, though the idea of going through any agitation seemed too, too exhausting. I flung one arm over my eyes while I sprawled on a gel-couch and listened to messages.

There were piles of them. Junaya, reporting that Fisk had gone into hysterics when she realized that I'd leapt from Blue Sky and smashed myself to bits, inconsolable even though I couldn't die, not really, not when Limbo was right there to scoop up my body and transfer the soul-spark that was me into a sculptable form. Fisk was currently in Sense Distortion, having a committee designated adjustment emergency. Oh, Fisk. It never occurred to me to think that she would be so upset. I stopped listening to my queue to send her a message right away, apologizing to her and inviting her to come to me right away if she wanted to talk about it.

Even Dammick, who popped into being long enough to say that he had indeed been involved with another circle, but had heard about the suicide from Blue Sky, and was shocked to discover that it had been me. “And so I'm afraid we'll have to cut ties, ooma. It's not like we hadn't seen it coming, anyway.”

Forgive me if I don't cry, Dammick. Really, what a thralldrap.

Then Bel, flashing in to say that she'd once had a problem like mine (ha) and that she had found much more balance by going to see this glar who recommended an intensive of meditation, contemplation and yet more Sense Distortion, including a diet that avoided the usual Jang custom of gobbling down drug-laden sweets. “At the very least, here's a program of upper-tonal that we used for the meditation, ooma, that's the main part of the program. You're not the first to fling herself against the unlikely--and if you had gotten what you wanted, it might have been even worse, after.”

Well, well. I figured I had a very good idea what caused Bel to go join an older Person health cult, and she meant me to know, and—sympathised. Groshing of her. I kept the attached upper-tonal; it might help me kick the Ecstacy binge habit.

Then came a message from Argent, inviting me to stay with him and Junaya for a while if I didn't want to be alone, but even if I was all right would I please contact them so we could all share a meal together, and if I wanted we would all go air-skating together, since Junaya had learned about his windmilling beginner ploy and had been charmed instead of outraged.

I stopped the messages again and signalled Argent, guessing that he and Junaya were together. They were. “Attlevey,” I said gaily. “So! You're all worried about me.”

“Argent tells me that—well, ooma, it's not the first time someone decided they—oh, onk.

“Have an unrequited swoon for Saz, I'm guessing. But they don't all shatter beyond recovery, do they?”

“Bel talked to you,” Argent guessed.

“Bel did,” I confirmed. “She was helpful. Gave me an upper-tonal tape and told me to quit drugs. Anyway, I just had an absolutely groaning meal, but I'll be glad to go air-skating so you can fuss over me and make sure I'm all right.” Oh, I was jolly, and I was, actually. I'd no idea that my circle would gather around me the way that they had. “Do you know when Fisk is out of Sense Distortion?”

“She's probably out in two or three units,” Junaya said. “She went quite zaradann, you know. She'd gotten up to follow you, since you'd left quite suddenly, and so she saw the whole thing.”

I sat, appalled. “Farathoom,” I whispered. “That's awful. I'm completely drumdik. What a miserable floopy thing for me to do.”

“Why did you, ooma?

I shrugged. “No reason to stay female, since Saz turned me down. I've been having fun, male. I just never thought--”

“You never do, ooma. Come meet us.”

Chapter 15

On Wings of Glass and Steel


Another peculiarity of mine versus other Jang - I walk, most places. I have a bird-plane, but I generally leave it unless i'm going to have a lot of things to carry. I liked crowds, I like to watch the people milling about, and it never looks obvious when you take a detour if you're just wandering about--

Oh, stuff it. Saz wasn't at Ilex Park.

I had been weaving through a bunch of older people on their way to pointless busywork or familiar pleasure (close to the History Tower, how strange) when I'd heard tinkling laughter. Laughter I knew, laughter that drew my gaze behind me to look on a body I knew...

For it had been mine, twenty-nine units ago.

My body, now dressed in Kina's tics of gesture and her significant preference for paleness. My variation on the Astarte body type, released from rights of originality five units after I'd leapt from the Crystal Promenade.

I speak blithely of the fabulous gems I wear and of House as my own, but it's a polite fiction. I never stop paying for House, so I don't own it, and luxury is easily recycled as well as plentiful. The only thing that we can possess is the appearance of the body we inhabit - and after we give it up, either by changing or suiciding, the design goes to the Archives for anyone to adopt once the five units are up. Still, it's considered good form to deviate. Plenty of people do it. Most don't have the patience to design a good body.

That being said, Kina copying an old body of mine made her intentions screaming plain.

She threw her arms around me as I stared in nonplussed shock. "She tried to tell me you'd changed, just to make me tosky. The promok just can't leave anything alone... where are you going, ooma?"

Lie. "The Adventure Palace, or the Dream Rooms. I hadn't decided."

"Well, I haven't had first meal. You should take me, and then - you didn't have anything booked, did you? We could marry. Usually when we do it when we're the other way 'round--"

"No," I said.

"Well, I did say usually, ooma," Kina pouted, twirling one lilac mist lock around her finger. Her nails were enameled to match. "But it worked out all right the last time we--"

"No," I said again.

"Well, I was trying to be polite about it," she grouched, "but it's obvious to me that you're not over this male phase just yet, so I went ahead and switched. It'll be all right. We'll try it for a unit--"

"No," I repeated.


"Quit being a promok," I said. "Kina. I don't want to marry you."

Rude, but effective. I left her gaping after me in the street, and barrelled on to the History Tower. Fisk, Kina'd been talking about Fisk. Not a word about the crisis that sent Fisk into Sense Distortion; either she didn't know, or didn't know why and just didn't care.

And Saz wasn't at the History Tower, either. Farathoom.

They said no more about Fisk, and for that I was grateful though it didn't soothe my embarrassment to nothing. I nibbled the burning fruit and salad-on-ice through Junaya and Argent's meal, which they took rather briskly since I was already fed, and we went on to air skating. But their togetherness and their consideration wore on me, so I pleaded fatigue and left them.

They did help, honestly. It was just that I had other things on my mind. Where had he gone?


Home had another unpleasant surprise. My Q-R guardian awaited me, its expression programmed into a grave sympathy.

"We have not had a talk, lately," it said.

"I've been busy," I said, and made for the indigo garden. It followed.

"You have. But you have also--your suiciding behaviour, it's a concern. You hadn't in so long, and suddenly you're jumping off of everything. It's time we had a session - past time. please sit down," my guardian asked.

There's nothing for it. You can't drive a Q-R guardian off if it really wants to talk to you. And mine did - back in my hypno school days my guardian spoke to me every unit, playing sixth dimensional puzzle cube games and asking questions while I was diverted. I realized vreks ago that it was analyzing me, monitoring my mental state.

I couldn't afford this. Not with Saz's secret on the line. "I was angry," I said. "You remember when I used to change a lot, I used to force changes because I wanted to try new designs? Vreks ago. I'd suicide and come back with a whole new body or just a variant on a body until I finally settled in to exactly what I wanted, when the art was complete." I shrugged. "I wanted a skin I was comfortable in."

"You're saying this rash of suicides has been in answer to an urge of artistic creativity?" My Q-R looked like it didn't quite know whether to buy this or not.

"Well, it's not like I have a lot of outlets for that sort of thing," I said. "Artistic jobs are for Older People. I'm Jang, and I have this desire in me that isn't recognized in my stage. One day, I might make picture-vision or create sculptures, but for now all I can do, all I can create is myself." I cast my lashes downward, opened my hands in a presenting gesture.

"I see," my guardian said. "Do you want a job, then?"

"What? No," I said. "That's for Older People. I'm Jang," I repeated. "I just want to make something from my imagination real."

"I'll talk to the committee," my guardian said. "There must be something you can do."

"Without putting an Older Person out of a job," I said. "I don't want to disrupt the fabric of society. I just want to make things. That's all."

My guardian smiled. "I'll let them know that's important to you."

I got the hell out of Home but fast.
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[24 Jun 2006|02:04am]
Title: Clouds and Secrets, Part 2
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG
Content: no good idea goes unpunished, so imagine what happens when you go off on impulse...
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Clouds and Secrets, Part 2

...But we didn't go to Blue Sky. Saz chose a much more formal place, a haunt of Older People. If I didn't know better, I'd think he wanted to avoid other Jang. Hurrah!

We ordered, and waited, and I smiled angelically at Older People who glanced sidewise at us, wondering if we were going to disrupt their cool elegance with Jangish gauchery. Saz stared at me and didn't say a word, until he cleared his throat and asked, "Did you know that purple male?"

I didn't pretend coyness. "No. He followed me, on the path."

"He wanted to speak with you."

"Yes," I sad.

Saz double-checked the menu buttons. "You've made a very nice body."

Of course I had; I never misstep with these things. I mean, I stick firmly to the Naturalist school of body design, I don't often go about with floopy wings or antennae or any of those distractions. Part of why I had been content with the same body was precisely because I was so good--well, stuck with it until Kina had warned me on the Crystal Promenade. But Saz was waiting politely for my response, twisting his cobalt silk napkin into knots. I had to say something...

"Really? It seemed to shock you." Oh, promok.

"Yes, well," Saz jollied. "You nearly cost me the match."

"Graks. You could have won any time you tired of him leading with that shield. I wonder where he picked that up?"

"He needs distance to swing his blade," Saz instructed. "Attatched to lateral cuts. He's good--"

"Light feet," I agreed.

"--And that speed meant he could get away with bad shield-work."

"Relying too much on his defense."

"Right! That would be a good scenario for your doubled opponent work. Sharpen your willingness to suspend--"

I'd chosen that moment to toss my hair back over my shoulder, reminding him of what I'd done, and he faltered into his goblet of snow-in-gold. Crazily, I nearly assured him that we'd practice again, but that got crushed by my screaming desire to marry him, and females don't play at lightswords (why not?) But the fact that I couldn't disappointed him and--farathoom!

What if I'd got it all wrong?

What if he didn't want to marry me?

But if he didn't, why did he...I mean, at Junaya' the pool...

Our meal arrived. I picked at it--only the salad-on-ice didn't make rocks in my stomach. From the lack of progress in denting the feast, it seemed Saz'z enthusiasm for food had flagged, too.


"There's something I--"

"Go ahead," I said.

"No, you first."

"Not here."

We slipped out (not paying, since we'd hardly eaten a thing) and faded into a little park-path, which ran parallel to Gold Waterway. We found a mini-garden with an abstract spiral-something of a sculpture, and we sat apart on a crystallized rubber bench, sandals dragging as it soothingly rocked us.

"Go ahead," Saz said.

"Maybe you should tell me what--"

"I could be wrong, and that would be embarrassing."

"Same here," I replied, and turned my hot face to the water.

"No one knows this, what I'm going to tell you," Saz said. "It's my secret."

I leaned on my hand, pushing the bench in its idle rhythm.

He sighed, looked away. I waited. He looked back, and said, "I don't marry that often."

He had, just two untis ago. A low desire? That would be something to hide, especially from the wagging gossip of Jang. Never marries for more than an afternoon, that's what Bel said...

Listen, you floop. He's still talking.

"and I had thought that I was...predominantly female, for a time."

Saz? That didn't make sense. Saz didn't wear his sex like a strange outfit, nervous in a fashion that hadn't quite taken off. He was talking around something. What?

"I was glad to meet you, glad to be friends with you. I shouldn't Junaya's I'd no right would have did, didn't you? That's why you--" he waved on hand at my change, adding a curving gesture that symbolized my new body.

But he was still talking.

"Marriages...they don't work out, with me. I'm not...I'm sorry," he muttered, and fled.

I would have been crushed by the pre-emptive rejection, but I was too perplexed. "It's my secret," he'd said. But he hadn't told me a farathooming thing, as if it was too terrible to utter. I replayed his halting statements, pondering what he said even as I climbed into a bubble and went back to house, puzzling over what he meant.

I'm slow. It took me nearly a whole unit.

When I peiced it together, I screamed.

House, evidently, had decided the the best cure for alternate bouts of whooping hysterics and uncomprehending shock was to deactivate the recluse-switch. I had been in baffled statue mode when Fisk, heralded by the briefest of signals, materialized in the scarlet and azhure riot of my Atrium.

"Ooma, I--" said Fisk, and stopped, gape-jawed and staring at my disheveled yet decidedly feminine appearance.

Then she laughed. Laughed until the tears spilled, bent double in thigh-bruising mirth. I swivelled my head toward her image, half thinking baout how fluid the motion felt.


"Kina," Fisk wheezed. "She--"

"For Junaya's party," I said. "I didn't recognize her."

"Oh I know, old ooma," Fisk coughed, gasped, and pulled herself toghether. "And she doesn't know that you've gone and--wait, your thirty units weren't up yet."

"Yes," I said, and before she could latch onto that, I said, "So you want to go to the Upper-Ear sympony at Sector three's new weather park? The premiere?"

"Er, yes. My makers have a subscription, and they couldn't go so they gave me thier chits, and...well, if you'd like to come?"

"We'll fly," I agreed.

We took my bird-plane. It's a dainty little thing, a lark of peridot crystal (obviously, an artifact from my last colour-scheme) and I look a complete floop in it, male. I touched us down sedately and we wandered through the park, howling in tonal-induced excitement or sighing in bliss as the weath sympony unfolded around us. It started with an electrifying wind that set my hair to rising, then the sharp tiny kisses of a snowstorm. just as we were shivering in our gems and see through, a hot wind scented in sandalwood crashed in, replete with groshing lightning and perfectly timed cracks of thunder.

But weather symponies are usually an Older Person thing, and the upper-tonal conspired with ionic polarities to supercharge tactile sensation. It's a subtle effect, but profound.

In other words, I was raring to have love. If that violet-ink haired male came by, I'd be reduced to whimpering at his feet.

Because Saz--

"We should, um, get eighth meal," Fisk said as we streamed past clutching Older Couples, and so I took my bird-plane up and back to our usual neighborhood and landed it at a public pad near Blue Sky. Fisk glowed when she realized where we were going, and laughed all the way up the tube.

We both lay facedown on the cool transparent floor, watching Four-Bee glitter beneath us.

"It's so groshing, Fisk enthused, her hand a vise on my fist. "Why ever did we avoid it?"

"Dammick's vertigo," I said.

"Oh, dammick," Fisk scorned. "Haven't seen him in ages. Where's he been?"

"New circle, perhaps?"

"Cut us out, has he? Should we cry?"

"It's custom," I agreed. "Cactus-pinapple or rock cherries?"

"Silver-water cordial. All that weather, ooma it's so bracing. I feel as if I've risen from a feast."

I wisely ordered without comment.

Fisk gulped a thimble of cordial with a flick of her wrist, and kept her eyes carefully on me as she asked, "So how is it that you're not married to Saz now?"

Silver-water does not inhale well. I choked, and cleaning robots hasted to swab the floor. Fisk pounded my back, saying, "Come now, only to be expected that you'd change, but you obviously didn't go running to him after you got back from Limbo--"

I kept coughing so I wouldn't have to answer.

"You must have gone to see him," prattled Fisk. "Didn't he ask you? And what would you care for that, you could ask him--I can't believe you haven't seen him yet, you're insumatt as always--"

"Thanks," I wheezed.

"And really, Kina's so selt, of course you were going to change back, being male is just a lark for you, same as me... but then, Kina would be out of luck, regardless. Saz--he's derisann, ooma, don't think I haven't noticed. So when are you--"

"I already..."


"Fifth meal."

"And he said no? Is he zaradann?"

Really, this flattery was all rather too much. "He--didn't think of me as female."

"Oh, ooma,"Fisk said, and patted my hand. "What a grass-brained promok. Any male would be lucky for your regard, never mind him--"

I couldn't explain the truth to her, so I just let her fo on soothing me. Fisk has a nasty tongue, and she does like a laugh at someone elses' expense a little too well. But Fisk was unshaking in the loyalty, so I took her intent as pure.

Even when she allowed a troop of male Jang invade our divans and table and our meal. It was all part of her cheering me up after learning Saz doesn't want me.

But that wasn't the truth.

He just...didn't want me like this. In my moments of dumbfounded paralysis, I had meditated over the question 'How is it even possible?' I wasn't completely selt--we had hands and mouths, of course, but...that was all lead-in, not the actual having of love. and Jang did not, ever at any time have love without arrying first...I had an image of me-and-Saz trooping into the Ivory Dome after a sweaty and exhausting duel, announcing that we wanted to be married. The reactons of the Q-R...

It wasn't funny, in the slightest.

Deviant. That was what Kina had whispered to me, that the committess kept watchone me, that I still had a Q-R guardian vreks after the other in my circle lived alone (except for Junaya, but she is the youngest)

--and so is Saz--

A lemon haired and cinnamon skinned male loked inquiringly at the frown pleating my lovely brow, but I waved off his attempts to gallantly cheer me. "One split, ooma," said I, "I'm thinking."

He subsided.

Saz also ahd a Q-R guardian, too far into Jang to be on apron strigns. He too had PD, grown bored with life--unlike anyone else in his circle,, like me? Who had he been, in the life before?

He didn't know any more than I had. His ego-spark, nestled in storage for three rorls, re-kindled after his old life had crumbled to dust, like me...


like me.

The Jang looked at me hopefully. I smiled reassuringly and hid my face in a goblet of Joyousness. Was there something defective about recycled lives? No, because plenty of others had done PD and were happy citizens. They didn't feel crawling dissatisfaction. They didn't binge on Ecstasy just to be able to cope. they didn't feel alien, do anti-social things, want where they shouldn't.

there, that was what I fumbled.

I wanted Saz. and yes, I wanted him enough.

My brow smoothed. I got up.

"I must flit, oomas."

I took a float-cloak and dived from Blue Sky.

After a moment, I let it go.

Feel A Real Wind.
5 comments|post comment

[08 Jun 2006|08:29pm]
[ mood | busy ]

Title: Clouds and Secrets, Part 1
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG
Content: no good idea goes unpunished, so imagine what happens when you go off on impulse...
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Clouds and Secrets, Part 1

"Enter previous design, change body type: Isis," I said, and examined the base design long and thoroughly, adapting and adjusting to just the right lengthening of the legs, a little more curve to the lips, and a touch more fierceness to the cheekbones. Groshing! I got into it right away and sang a little of a new Jang love-song while waiting for the flyer, experimenting with standing on one leg, then the other.

The right seemed a touch weak.

I got off at Jade Tower and spent a little more time picking out a set of ten rings, opting for thin bands of gold, and paid - oh, how I paid! Laughing, praising, clapping my hands and so forth, and I swayed my way towards Home.

"Attlevey," a handsome male said to me.

"Attlevey," I said, and sidestepped. It was nice to know that I'd designed another derisann body, even though I wasn't at all on the market...

"Messages for you," my Q-R guardian chirped, and I kicked off my sandals and sank into the white furred floor. I let them follow me around the house as I rifled through the wardrobe, looking for better clothes than Limbo's.

I discarded a soft rose satin of glass tunic as Junaya called to make sure I was all right. Then Fisk, as I discarded the sapphire, violet, and black smoke gowns - inviting me to go somewhere, the location more spectacular and expensive every time she called back. Oh, Fisk. My circle and Saz's looked to meld, but circles tend to not go much higher than a half-dozen or so, and there'd be Jang in tears sooner or later. She was scared of being cut out. Dammik would probably evaporate without even noticing - where was Dammik, anyway? Had he even been at Junaya's party?

I didn't have time to signal him, though, not with what I had planned for Saz...

A message from a strange female waited patiently for Fisk's exhortations to please call her back, while I tossed gowns on the floor. Not the scarlet. Bronze silk of air? No. Silver-water crochet? No. White cloud of gauze?

I held it up to my bosom, studying it and the strange female. Wait... midnight sky hair, Opal dawn eyes... not a strange female, precisely. She was at Junaya's party and flitted from me to that floop Yana like one of the gem-wings that romped in the garden. Now on the prowl for me?

Too late, ooma, I thought, and then the graceful female started speaking.

I laughed aloud until I wiped my eyes. "Much too late."

I held the white cloud of gauze gown up again. It screamed my intentions, but...
The newly female Kina's message was coming to an end, and I caught a flash - Saz had also called, but he hadn't left a message.

Cloud of gauze it is, then. He'd know me. I'd designed the body that way on purpose - a feminine version of my last body, with slim curved strength. He'd be at Ilex Park. I would meet him there, and he would know me, and he would know why, and we would waste no time--

Wait should I bring a picnic? Or perhaps ask him to dine at Blue Sky - he might be hungry. Or he could decide to whet his appetite on me. A dozen layers of fabric scraped to a thin film floated to the floor, only the tips of amethyst enameled toes peeked out. Too dark? What if he hadn't got his rings? We could buy more.

I wittered until I'd taken a silver-water cordial, but it didn't settle my nerves. Walking helped, though, and so I eschewed the slidewalks and waterways in favour of the Jade-treed paths that wound all through Four-BEE, a web of paths that bound us all in useless leisure...

Yes, ooma. Resent them. It's as fine a distraction as any.

Males admired me as I practiced my gliding, string-of-pearls walk in towering golden sandals, letting the cloud of gauze gown flirt with the dome-generated breeze, heavy agate beads in my hair beating a tattoo against my thighs and calves. I swayed past their attleveys and antics, mysterious, distracted...


I pretended delight at a flower-wing, and flung up a (bare-fingered) hand. The tiny android insect obediently lighted on my fingers. It was green as a new leaf on the underside, metal-blue sky on the other, shot with black stripes and lilac-violet spots like eyes on its three-tailed wings. Groshing tiny thing, made to decorate the world.

I swept a curtain of braids away from my left shoulder and snuck a glimpse behind me as I hefted it back into the air.

Five Jang males packed behind me in a flying wedges, the flanks trailing the most insumatt male. Honestly, he was derisann--tall, with the slightest pearled tinge to porcelain skin, slim and muscled--marvelous specimen. Violet-black hair, Lilac eyes, and girdled in an amethyst mesh kilt belted with ambers.

What a waste. Fisk should have been here to console his rejected heart. Or Kina - I grinned at that thought, shattering what mystique I'd been carrying.

An Older Person - quite soolka, really - looked at me, past me, and at me again, smiling indulgently. Probably thinking fondly of the old Jang days of courtship and chase. I smiled back, and this thread of the park-web anchored into the dueling greensward of Ilex Park. Stupid to call it a greensward when the grass was purple. The blades bent under my sandals, crushed stems releasing lemon perfume. My own (microscopic) garden smelled of violets and the blades were scarlet - not expansive enough to be called a greensward, whatever the colour--

Onk. I'm babbling to myself. Get a grip on your graks, you promok--whoops, don't have them any more, ha, ha...

And there was Saz, dueling.

My body pounded as if I had just fought, had leapt from Junaya's waterfall once more, from the ziggurat of the Zeefar Monument. Saz, ooma-kasma derisann Saz, twinned blades whirling as he grinned. His opponent moved fast enough with only one and a small shield, dancing as light footed as my mad fencing glare. I edged forward through the watching circle.

Saz's partner wore his hair short, exchanged glamorous height for speed and agility, steady-footed strength and nimble steps. He'd slitted eyes like a dragon's his skin bronze and dappled nearly like scales, his hair a shade lighter than that. He'd designed his nose to look broke, jutting like an arrogant cliff. Better than beautiful, he was interesting.

He led with his shield, I realized. The shorter male thrust it outward when he wanted to advance, but didn't carry his leg forward until after the shield was where he wanted his body. I would have exploited it already, and if I noticed, Saz was only politely ignoring it until he wanted to end the bout.

The pair in front of me parted; I stepped in the gap. A breeze caught my gown and lifted the hem in kissing fingers. That didn't distract Saz; he'd look at the flowing distraction when he had time for it.

And when he did, he recognized me.

He stared until his opponent managed to set off the array to his right arm, rendering it useless. The crowd gasped, and applauded this upset, glancing round to see what distracted him, found me. By the time they turned their stares back Saz had had enough. He stepped into that shield gap and knocked his good blade straight into his opponent's "heart."

Broken Nose's harness twitched his nerves and sent him to the lemon-scented grass, and only then did I remember - it was right here that someone died, rorls upon rorlsago.

The crowd roared for Saz. Saz stared at me until my smile wilted into discomfort. What was wrong?

But as soon as the win registered, Saz's arm sprang to life and he helped his foe up, clasping wrists with him before walking over to me.

The anxiety I had nursed on silver-water cordial woke up and wailed in my belly. I tried to read his emotions on half his face - the left half masked in gold today, the surface of it engraved in whorls.

He came to me and kept coming until I had to tilt my head back to see him. He said nothing, content to examine me.

What could I--

He settled his hands on my shoulders. I'd thought this body strong? Farathoom, what a fool.

"You got a new body."

"Hours old," I said, "but the right foot's unacceptably weak."

He threw back his head and laughed. Mirth melted the fear in my gut, and it growled.

We nearly bashed our heads together, glancing down. But then...

"Me too," he said.

More? Yes, ooma. Clouds and Secrets, Part 2

4 comments|post comment

[26 May 2006|01:17am]
[ mood | accomplished ]

Title: Gemwings among Orchids, Part 2
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG
Content: Parties in books are never successful - anyone ever notice that?
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Gemwings among orchids, Part 2

I couldn't really get lost in Junaya's garden - it's not large enough. It's cleverly designed down a steep valley, with interesting little hideaways, and every one of them was polluted with Jang.

It doesn't matter. He didn't really die. But what moved them to do that violence in the first place, what made them actually go through with cutting each other, striking each other, thrusting the point of a real steel sword into another's body?

And why did I not feel the horror inside that I was acting outside? Some part of me only watched myself pound down the path, leaping up the hanging stairs two at a time, wondered at my nausea, and didn't feel a thing.

Did they hate each other?

Or did they just not think that it mattered? I didn't know - all I saw was the end.

No, not the end - for that slight male with the dark hair and the opaque clothing had been exiled. Exiled? To where?

The desert?

Oh, awful. How utterly drumdik. It didn't bear thinking about.

I made a beeline for the Joyousness, poured a goblet for each hand, quaffed one, then the other. Ignorant Jang cheered my display of merry excess; one filled both my goblets again.

To their approbation, I drained them both, cast the goblets into the ruby-iris patch, and leapt into a sea of dancing Jang, giddily swaying to the seventhbeat harmonic music spiked with upper-ear to enhance merriment.

And I didn't think about the look of rage on that males' face.

Not enough, not enough. I swerved out of the mass of dancing, dashed nimbly alongside the serpent-pool, passing those who bobbed along in its currents, gathered my strength under me and sprang from the waterfall's edge, soaring with arms outflung, pointing them together in the instant flight became falling...

..And hit a bare patch of water as swimmers scrambled out of the way, still screaming as I rose up from the water and broke the surface, soaked and shocked and trembling with the need to run, run somewhere, but nowhere was far enough--

A shout. An outflung hand. Saz, leaning over the plasgranite slabs of the lagoon's edge, and then he hit the water like a knife and surface in front of me, water dripping like diamonds off his silk of bronze half-mask.

He jerked his head toward the entrance to the snaking path before eeling towards it, and I followed, sliding over a rapidslide that twisted blindly into sickening drop to the bottom. It was nearly enough. Then the rapidslide gave out to free-falling water and I saw just enough to know that the pool was empty of Jang--

I landed badly, shocking my held breath out of me.

We went down into shockingly warm water, and Saz grabbed me around the waist, kicking up to the surface, holding me while I kicked and struggled to get away, to get free, to run--

Then his mouth was on mine, giving me his air.

I tugged back in surprise, but his hand cradled me, and he breathed. I calmed, passing the breath back to him.

We'd only be under an instant. We rose calmly, breathing the same breath back until we broke surface and I gasped in fresh, holding steady while he kicked and held me up and took his own breath before touching his lips to mine.

The barest touch--

"Ooma!" Fisk shrieked behind me. "Have you gone zaradann?"

I brought my knees up, jacknifing away from Saz, but tilted too far back and went under the water, flailed back upright.

"He went in with no oxygen injection," Saz said over my splashing. "Nearly drowned himself."

"Exactly what I mean! The thralldrap frightened the wits out of everyone, leaping off the cliff like that! Kina's above with a hypno spray after screeching something about the crystal promenade--"

"I dove, Fisk," I sputtered. "It was a wild impulse."

"Well you better march up here and show everyone that you're all right. Really, ruining Junaya's party like this! You promok." She stomped off, face nearly as red as her hair.

I turned around in the water, and Saz looked at me. "Sorry about that."

What was he apologizing for? Keeping his head? Kissing me? Nearly getting caught by Fisk? "Don't give it a thought, old ooma. Shouldn't have went over like that. Lucky you'd had your oxygen."

"Oh, I didn't. I know how to swim without it," he said airily. "What was that?"

"I saw... it doesn't matter, I'm being a floop."

"The duel," Saz said.

He was still holding me. I was just fine, but one arm banded about my waist, and--was that-- "You've seen it."

"Of course, lo these many vreks ago."

I shifted enough to wedge my hip on his, tilting discreetly away. "Why did they--"

"No one knows, ooma. That scrap is all we have, passed from hand to surreptitious hand. All we know is that the winner was exiled for the rest of his life."

"They said," I whispered. "It's--I mean, how insumattly drumdik, out there--did he get new bodies? No, they wouldn't do that, the Vixaxn Committee love to say no--he got old out there, Saz, old and wrinkled and weaker and left out there to dry up--"

"He went Out There," Saz stopped me. "Out there, he could see the sky."

A flash of purple flowered branches, violet petals snatched by a hard wind--I saw it in my mind for an instant, sand gritting over my tongue--and then Saz's mouth again, coaxing mine open, the polite, inquiring dart of his tongue.

Shock at the base of my skull like a flare of sunlight. He--he just--

I pulled away, but gently. Saz released me, and the water pelted cold against my waist, wrenching a shiver from me.

"I apologize," Saz said. "That was ill-done."

"It's all right," I said. It was jubilation. I hid behind a small but cordial smile. "I had better go."

"You'd better."

I swam away to the side, made my appearance up the terraces, and made glad faces at everyone while I kissed Junaya and then unobtrusively left.

I was pelting down the slide-walks to House when impulse struck and I leapt from the Crystal Promenade again.

I really shouldn't do that. It hurts.

Continue, to Clouds and Secrets, Part 1

3 comments|post comment

[13 May 2006|12:53pm]
[ mood | so tardy ]

Title: Gemwings among Orchids, Part 1
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG
Content: Parties in books are never successful - anyone ever notice that?
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Gemwings among Orchids, Part 1

Junaya throws groshing parties. Actually they're so popular that she doesn't flash or announce them - she picks a partner to host a party with her and they each tell one person, and let the wandering tracks of rumour do it for them.

I hosted a party with her once, but I can't ever remember her doing it with someone she'd married. Obviously sharing ten rings with Argent was insumatt. There could be twelve people there, or thousands - it wouldn't do to underestimate.

So I spent between second and fourth meal stealing jewellery and ornaments-I managed to steal a filigreed groin-shield, and I'm afraid there was no stopping my larceny after that, and then I settled down to a five course feast in Blue Sky, since I'd missed so many meals - good solid nut steak and toasted potato root flavoured with some kind of green herb and spicy oil, and soufflé--light as clouds, lightly spiced, and oily with melted rella. I'd be dumping Joyousness on that by evening, so I ate generously, resting between courses to eat a little more. I practically waddled off the platform, and glided back to House.

I should have checked the recluse switch, but I really was too busy looking at all the changes to House - I wandered this way and that, eyeing every single shade of the colour change (I know the renovators use computers to make sure everything coordinates correctly, but I still have to judge it with my own flawed optics) and scuffing my bare feet through the new carpets when Fisk appeared, standing right in the middle of the bath-room where I had been drawing up a bath.

"Going somewhere tonight?" she asked, eyeing the heap of jewels on the counter. Really, what a question. Junaya's giving a party - of course I'm going somewhere tonight. But her image looked faintly disappointed, with that you're the sixth person I've tried expression.

"Of course I am, you promok," I said breezily, dropping my robe and getting in the bath. Fisk leered, but it was just for show. "Junaya's giving a party tonight."

Her image flinched. "No one told me."

"I just told you," I said, just a little exasperated. "I only found out this morning, myself."

"Who's helping her?"

I selected scents from the bathing array. Honey, and osmanthus, rose, and…too feminine. "Argent." I touched on vetiver smoke, considered patchouli.

"What? Farathoom, what a floop-show. She's hosting a party with someone out-circle?"

"Her husband," I pointed out, and let the bath massage my limbs with scented oil. "and that out-circle is looking to become in-circle."

"Yes, I know you've made friends with that half-masked male," Fisk grumbled. "And Kina came round blabbing about lightswords and the Adventure Palace. All so groshingly cozy."

"Have you met any of them yet?" I asked, as the bath wound heated linen over my oiled flesh.


"You'll like Bel, I think." Or hate her, since Bel had a nasty streak to match Fisk any unit of the vrek.

"How many Jang will be there?"

"Who knows? The only thing we know is that the Jang who weren't there will kick themselves for not being there when they hear about it in the morning." The bath smoothed massaging fingers over my brow, and Fisk was interfering with my calming vetiver treatment. "So put on your best jewels and I'll see you tonight."

I disengaged the call and ordered the recluse switch.


The first room I walked into at Junaya's house had a violet floor; I caught glimpses of it between the bodies. Nude, half dressed, re-dressed, writhing and rolling together in the center, not knowing who was touching who and not caring. on the edges, people rested in pairs and trios, smoking and watching the flesh before them.

One of them looked at me.

"Junaya and her friends are downstairs, dear," the male said.

"Onk, silly me." I backed out of the threshold, pressing cool hands to my face. Junaya's makers were giving a party too, apparently, an orgy that was the core of the private celebrations of Older People. All that crawling around on the floor and all of them unmarried... it was more than a little kinky to me. Did all Older People do that? Better to stay Jang.

I padded down the stairway to the lower floor, and got halfway down before upper-tonal drilled between my ears. I giggled and bent over the railing, peering at the crowd of groshing Jang, enamelled and bejewelled in their finest, swaying to music and laughter, drinks clasped in their pretty paws, some of them apologetically licking spilled droplets off a handsome or beautiful shoulder.

The ecstasy, apparently, had been layered pretty thick in the wine. I burbled with mirth as I slid down the railing, caught up a goblet brimmed with sapphire wine and quaffed half of it at a go before raising it in salute to the crowd. Many of the females recognized me and raised theirs back. Most of the males I saw were lightsword fighters, and shunned or nodded, depending on their affiliation.

I crossed through that room and went out into the garden dome, relieved of the pressure of upper-ear hilarity. Junaya and Argent were holding court, seated on a garden bench within the halo of gemwings, painted to glow blue or green or golden, chasing each other in puzzlement and attraction. I gasped like a child to see them rioting among the orchid-trees, lighting occasionally on someone's hair - the Jang had made a game of it, and the one who had a gemwing land was usually promptly kissed by a nearby observer, to gather up some of their luck.

A Jang girl in cloud-pink and sunrise bronze offered me a tray of sweets, and I took it from her. She selected a few niceties and walked away, leaving me with the burden. No Q-R servants, then? I moved through the crowd, hoping to catch someone's eye so they could take the tray and I could pick some of that Toasted Angelfood, and then keep my eyes down until I felt like being of service.

Fisk caught my eye, and I smiled extra-widely as I moved toward her, giving her the tray and a kiss on the cheek. "You came after all."

"I did. There's quite a crowd here, wouldn't you say? I don't know a tenth of them. Word must have really gotten around."

Farathoom, not this again. "It seems. Obviously we've got to come out of hiding more often, or else we'll miss all the news."

"I'm not glamorous enough to hide and have people wonder after me," she said, and thankfully I'd just stuffed a pine-apple cactus tart into my mouth so I didn't have to answer, just waggle my eyebrows in frowning disapproval. She waited until I'd gulped it down, and while I sipped more wine.

"There's a male over there with cinnamon hair," I murmured low, "and he's eyeing you."

"Probably he'd like something to eat," she gruffed, but turned to search for whoever it was. Really, if Fisk had been acting like this it's no wonder no one had told her about the party. Nobody likes a thralldrap.

Maybe I shouldn't have told her, either...

But I couldn't betray a circle mate like that.

I turned around, surveying the crowd for a familiar face, but this was one of those parties where every Jang in Four-BEE managed to hear about it. I made my way across the garden, dodging a gang of males who were enthusiastically shoving everyone into the serpent pool, and Jang were shrieking with glee as the current carried them to a water-fall to land in a deeper pool made up to be like a lagoon. I followed the switching pathway, inhaling the orchid-trees, mixed with the diabolical smoke scent of my bath.

"Attlevey," came a feminine voice from beneath the trees.

"Er, Attlevey," I said, and watched a moonlight pale girl slide out from the shadows. Was her hair blue? It shone blue, under the floating lights. She smiled at me and took my arm, since of course I would escort her down the path, and of course be absolutely gallant to her. Really, the fashionable mannerisms give females all sorts of advantage - they can act like they're spun of ice of crystal one second, and trounce you around the ears the next.

I certainly had taken advantage of it in the past.

I covered her hand with mine and slowed my pace to one she could navigate in a glittering sheath and gemmed sandals, the heels raised on a slender spire. The very edge of fashion, that--and her body was just groshing. She'd opted, I could see, for eyes in Opal Dawn - I approved that choice, but who could resist those eyes once they saw them in the design catalogue?

A small buffet spread on the clearing below us, and mellower Jang lounged and smoked, their clothes drying under puffs of warm air. Yana swivelled his head around, looked at me, looked at her.

"I see they got you moving again," he greeted, all bluff and hearty.

"I see your arm's working fine," I returned, smiling only slightly.

"Who's your derisann friend?" he asked, ogling her openly now.

"I met her on the path," I said.

"He was kind enough to help me get down," she said, and swayed ever so gently away from me. I slipped back as they started a circling dance of flirtation, and wound my way further down the path, away from that crowd to another, gathered around something that filled them with fascination.

"It's drumdik," one of them declared. "That you can stand around and watch that--you're zaradann, all of you. Gone completely round the point."

"It's History," one of them protested. "This really happened."

"That's what makes it so awful," the first one said.

I stepped right in the middle of this dalika and asked, "What is?"

"Here." A portable picture-vision was thrust in my hands, torpid and silver. I touched a button, and the scene sprang up and played.

Purple grass, and jade trees - Ilex park? And a duel, surrounded by a ring of watching Jang - look at their clothes, the cut, the flares around the ankles on the trousers of the males, the long nails and spangled tunics of the females - this was rorls out of date.

But I knew those trees. And I knew that circling dance.

The matchup was completely unfair. One of the males was completely enormous, wielding a gigantic axe. His opponent was slight, pale, with curling black hair, and dressed so outlandishly - so covered - that I couldn't believe it. He was a misfit, all right, first class abnormal. His weapon was a slender, light blade.

Power-Axe struck, and a line of red blossomed across Rapier's chest. I blinked. Harnesses didn't do that. But the rapier fighter took on an expression of such rage and ferocity that my hands tightened on the display table in the instant that I realized--

The rapier struck, and entered the muscular giant's body. The rapier fighter stepped back, and red dripped from his blade--

Those weapons. Were real.

I'd just watched a man killed by another. Killed by violence.

The display froze on the final tableaux - the rapier fighter, frozen in berserker's fury, the crowd, surging forward in a lust of victory, his victim, staring at his hand and the blood there as if he couldn't quite make sense of it.

"What is this?" I asked.

"That is the origin of lightsword-duels," The angry male said, "And Four-BEE's only killing, recorded by the Flash center. The winner was exiled. The loser was the star witness in his trial."

"Of course, because no one actually dies--"

But this jade-haired male would brook no interruption from a gang of apologists. "The Jang demanded that they be allowed to duel, after that, to make it legal. Nobody could really die, after all." His tone soured the first rationalization our minds had grasped, once we had seen the blood, that blade stabbed into flesh. "The Committee chose the path of lesser hypocrisy and invented the lightswords as a substitute, so you apes can jolly about pretending to kill each other. But that's the truth of the game. Blood," he said, stabbing the display to run the sequence again, "and exile."

I watched it again. The fight was over in just a few seconds. The smaller one, the one with the rapier - he knew what he was doing. The hulking axe-fighter didn't have a chance, really.

I gave the display back and walked away, taking the first path I could find.

6 comments|post comment

[21 Mar 2006|12:15pm]
Title: Swimming in Ecstasy
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: M
Content: Angst!
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Swimming in Ecstasy

Never marries for more than an afternoon, Bel had claimed. The floop, the thralldrap, the ....


I couldn't take the Skytram, I felt so sickened. It clawed at my guts, squeezed my throat, dried my mouth and I wanted to run from it, run and run clear out of Four-BEE, into the desert I don't care just get this feeling away make the drumdikking thing in my belly just stop. I had to get that change.

If he only married me for an afternoon, I might die.

1 comment|post comment

[20 Mar 2006|11:29am]
[ mood | rushed ]

Title: Maze and Guard
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: M
Content: Jealousy.
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Maze and Guard

So then it was Kina's turn to reset the sensor array on my lightsword armour, and help me to my feet.

"You turned your back on him, you promok," he said, dusting bits of purple grass out of my attire. "You fought him like he was a little hypno-school child and then what do you do? You wander off."

"I know, I know," I muttered, edging past a throng of Jang girls ready to offer their commiserations. I bowed to them, but kept walking even when Kina wanted to stop. Scowling, he kept up with me.

"Completely selt, old ooma. You saw enough of what he'd done to me to know that he wouldn't fight with honour, and that's the only reason why he beat you."

"I know! You're right, I turned my back on him. I'm an utter thralldrap for it. I don't know what I was thinking."

"You were thinking that the fight was over," Saz said.

I spun on the ball of one foot, the other sliding back to take my balance. "Where have you been, you zaradann old thralldrap?" but I grinned to show him that I wasn't really angry, and we clasped hands in greeting, clapping each other's shoulders. "Did you see that floop-show back there? Oh. Meet Kina. Kina, Saz."

"Attlevey," they said together, and then Saz said, "Your riposte is much smoother. Obviously you've been practicing."

"Too bad his other blade got jammed," Kina agreed. "He would have taken a head shot on the first engagement."

"He could have done it just with the left hand blade," Saz said, "If it had ever occurred to practice one blade technique--"

"Attlevey, gentlemen, I'm over here," I said, and they both grinned.

"Tosky, isn't he?" Kina asked, and Saz nodded. Saz had barely said more than the politenesses to Junaya, but here he and Kina were comradeing around like they'd been to hypno-school together. I was tosky, all right.

I was jealous.

"As for where I've been," Saz, finally addressing me, "I just needed some time to myself. To--"


His mask shifted over his smile. "Right. What were you going to do?"

"We hadn't decided," I said.

"We were just getting out of there. What were you going to do?"

"I was going to trounce some promok strutting around Ilex Park," Saz said. "But instead, let's go melee at the Adventure Palace. You both need the practice."

We decided to wait until we could get an adventure suite for the three of us alone, and supped on fire-beer and sugared ice shards to cool our mouths while Saz and Kina joked and bragged at each other.

I mostly stayed sulkily silent, but perversely egged Kina into telling some of his most notorious stories, including the time he stunted a tight, hard spiral around the Committee Spire on a dare and ended up crashing spectacularly when his antics annoyed a crystal dragon so much that it took to the air to chase him. Kina retaliated by making me tell about the time that I stole control of the scoreboard at a star-ball tournament and used it to flash a rude message about the current favourite, which enraged him so much he lost the match.

Then we lapsed comfortably into talk of lightsword fencing, and Kina confessed that he started doing it because he knew I was. Saz didn't offer to tutor him, nor did he advise him to practice in the History Tower instead of at the Adventure Palace. I was privately gratified by that preservation of me-and-Saz, at least.
But at last our suite was ready, and we followed single file into the anteroom to find out what our adventure would be. After we'd paid in advance (mandatory for a private reservation) the portal slid open and a mechanical voice announced, "One at a time, please."

So it was to be a union mission. I liked those; I liked to pit my wits and skill against the scenario alone for a while. Kina went in first. Then Saz, then I stepped into the darkness and braced against the whirling disorientation while the suite dropped me into my place in the suite.

My vantage was atop a gentle hill, and below me was a nearly ruined maze that stretched beyond the horizon. I groaned as I studied it - large as a city, the crumbling walls nearly as tall as trees that had sprouted in its paths and outgrew them, reaching for the sun that dazzled ahead.

Mazes. I'm terrible at mazes - never mind keep your hand on one wall and eventually you make it out. They're as whirling as the boutiques, and if it weren't for my Bee I'd have trouble finding my own way home.

And somehow I'd have to find Saz and Kina in that mess before we could complete our quest. We probably wouldn't even be able to complete it in one session. Would we come back to finish the job? Who knew? I shrugged and started down the hill, angling toward a break in the wall.

Halfway there, I changed my course to one of the trees that grew beside it, and stepped into the crotch of its first branching, climbing it nearly as easily as a ladder before dangling by my hands to land atop a wall. Clever, clever me - from here I could see the twists ahead, plot my course. Perhaps I'd be able to find them faster.

I shouted, and my own voice echoed back to me. I listened, but no call answered. Which way? To the centre, promok. Bravely, I set off...

And realized that mazes are only slightly less confusing when you're standing on top of the walls instead of herding yourself in the corridors below. I, who could contemplate six dimensions with the best of them, couldn't tell exactly how to plot my path.

So I kept yelling. "Attlevey! Hi! Saz, Kina!"


I couldn't tell whose voice, but I could tell from where, and a great farathooming time I had of navigating the walls to get there, but there was Saz, dazzlingly in battle with a horde of skeleton warriors, blades whirling in his double sword style, slashing and wheeling and driving them back. Oh, he was derisann, but I leapt from the walls with a high ululating cry and landed in their midst, dealing death to their unquiet half-lives. By the time it thinned out to a half dozen I even turned a somersault in the air before dealing a fatal blow.

"What're we supposed to do?" I asked, once we were finishing the last.

"Haven't you read the walls?"

"I climbed up them."

"Such initiative. We're to retrieve the Egg of the Land from the centre."

"Well, of course we have to go to the centre, it's a labyrinth." I blew out an exerted breath, shook my jewelled braids. "Then what?"

"That's it--I expect they'll put out a sequel adventure if it's popular enough."

"Sagas," I said, shaking my head. "These walls say anything about the Egg of the Land itself?"

"You mean other than retrieving the Egg will save the land from subjugation, as portended in ancient prophecy?"



"Onk," said I, and started looking for another tree to climb, as I was completely lost scrabbling between the walls.

We found Kina not long after that, and had a groshing time pitting our skills against skeleton warriors, bands of goblin raiders, and cryptic messages from beautiful ghosts. We chummed our way out of the adventure palace, and Kina loped off to go to a lightdance and meet girls. I walked awkwardly by Saz's side, as we crossed Peridot Waterway and skirted the hypno-school aged kids screeching their way to the playground side of Ilex Park.

I didn't know what to say, so I asked, "What did you think of it?"

"The labyrinth? It was all right. But not enough... going to the center, battling monsters and getting the egg, sure. But there should have been something before that."

"Like why we were doing it at all?"

"Precisely, old ooma. I thought you'd understand."

"To make it more like a real story," I said.

"But if they did, they'd have scads of complaining Jang on their hands hollering about the boring old standing around and yakking when they could be lopping off skeleton heads."

"They would," I agreed glumly. "And really, just we two could have beaten the level - though I suppose we're a little over-trained for that sort of thing--"

"I would have rathered it was just us, too. So!" Saz said, bluff and jolly. "You married while I was off contemplating."

"I did," I said carefully.

"So did I," Saz said. "Still am, actually. I have to go see her. History Tower, tomorrow?"

Next! Swimming in Ecstasy.

post comment

[31 Oct 2005|10:24am]
[ mood | accomplished ]

Title: Delight & Defeat
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: M
Content: Delight and Defeat. I know, I'm no fun.
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Delight & Defeat

And he didn't go to the History Tower, either, though I did, and the holo-glars drilled me though the moves of slash and block, counterattack and press. After a while I would forget to listen for him and get lost in the whirling glow of twin lightswords, controlling the distance between me and my holo-foe, who gradually got smarter and smarter, learning my gambits so I'd have to learn another, the analyzers finding and exploiting my weaknesses mercilessly enough for me to guard against them.

Junaya did marry Argent, and I tagged along with them while they whispered ooma-kasma at each other for meals, but mostly they just made me ache for my change even though I didn't know if that was the right idea at all, after what Bel had said. Never more than an afternoon? Should I wait for him to decide to be female, then, and offer the ten rings?

Because I did try a marriage.

With a girl who wore her hair black and to her waist, with skin like crushed pearls and a penchant for black smoke-gowns and brass. She still lived with her Makers (she said) and I still lived with my Makers (I said) and so we took up a suite at the Delight Palace and fell to on a bed of silk, but when she sighed beneath me and said, "oh, derisann ooma, yes," her voice was wrong, and it wilted me. (But only inside, mind - I manfully strove to ensure her happy afternoon.)

But the Delight Palace suited me, and so I stayed there, even though it meant paying day and night. I drew up elaborate plans to renovate House, and fed them to the computer and used that as my excuse to stay in three rooms clad all in white and silver while I "waited out the disruption at home."

And I went to the History Tower and fought my opponent until I sweated and gasped.

I thought I saw the girl I married, but I didn't see Saz. But since she was on the arm of another Jang male (and because I didn't know what I would say to her, I went the other way) and my wandering steps took me to Ilex Park, to where the lightsword players sported.

He wasn't there, hadn't been there, had eschewed the park for as long as we had met, but I walked up to the circle of watchers and they rippled apart enough for me to join the ring, and who was fighting but the one Saz had called Yana, and -- Kina! who was getting a trouncing at Yana's hands, because the floop didn't have any interest in anything but beating him like a dog, picking off the perimeter lights on Kina's harness until the neuro-feeders made him limp like he'd been pinked a hundred times, and Yana played to the part of the crowd that cheered him.

When it was over, no one stepped forward to reset Kina's harness, so he just lay in the purple-jade grass while Yana received his adulation. I broke out of the circle and slapped the reset, so Kina could at least get up, and offered him an arm.

"Thanks, old ooma," he said, and we walked to the edge together until Yana noticed our departure.

"You know how to use that rig, or do you just prance in it?" Oh he was high on his victory, the thralldrap, and I turned to coolly appraise him--and then dismiss him with a glance.

"I suppose," I replied, "That I have a tolerable acquaintance with its use."

"Tolerable," he mocked, stiffening his posture in a caricature of mine. "Will you flee, then, and leave all these people in doubtful suspense of your... acquaintance?"

Anger pulsed bright and hard over the back of my skull, but I stood still and straight, in contrast to his arrogant slouch. "Am I to assume that your manhood needs to trounce another novice in order to serve its fears?" My sneer was delicate and perfect. Yana rushed me, even though both my swords were firmly holstered.

I crouched and dove for his knees; he swerved and I only managed to catch one ankle. I held it long enough to leave him windmilling for balance as I rolled and sprang to my feet. The left sword loosed and a beam of light slid forth, blue-white from my hand, but the right clasp stayed put.

Yana used one sword, and he came at me with an overhead slash. My left blade came up and batted his away almost negligently; if I'd had my right blade out I could have slashed at his throat and won the contest there, but I danced back and tried to loose it, fumbling into my hands. A bit of purple grass had jammed in it, fouling the release.

The crowd shouted now while some wit glimmered in the echoing depths of Yana's mind and he considered that perhaps I was a real opponent. Therefore, the floop wasn't going to let me get my second blade out, in case that would hamper my style.

And to be true, it likely would. I slipped into the ready stance to meet his charge, blocking his cuts--low, high, low, high--I knew this one. He'd lull me into a rhythm and then break it, and he wouldn't pink at me as he did Kina.

On the low, I swept his blade with a riposte, stepped inside, and took his sword arm. The Neuro-feeders rendered it limp, and with no defence, I stepped back, bowed to him mockingly, and walked away to rejoin Kina.


Saz had told me, the holo-glars had told me: A fight's not over until it's over. I looked over the crowd, and was surprised by the sight of the girl that I married, who watched on the arm of her swain. As I wondered just what I should do (she was smiling at me, a gesture that quirked up only half her mouth) Yana had dropped the blade from his right hand and grasped it with his left, and ran straight for my back. The expression on her face--outrage, and her arm, lifting to point gave me the warning, but as I whirled to face him unarmed he swept his light-blade across the body of my harness and scored the kill.

My first official lightsword match had ended in ignominious defeat.

Next! Maze and Guard

4 comments|post comment

[30 Oct 2005|06:05pm]
[ mood | mellow ]

Title: Celibate Male
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG-13
Content: fairy-clouds, air-skating, malicious gossip.
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


A Celibate Male

Home. Home is where you hide when you've behaved like an utter thralldrap.

I kept my screens off, my flash off, I refused messages. I stayed in and ate angel-food from the syntho machine and damn near swam in Joyousness, but all I did was contemplate and stare. I swallowed oxygen pills and swam through the water maze until I remembered the dream rooms, and then I practiced standing on my right foot while I watched Picture-Vision and I was so droad that my Q-R guardian started to hover in a most annoying fashion, and I couldn't order it away, because... well, you can order any Q-R to take itself off except the Committee, and guardian-programmed Q-Rs.

So it came to the time that I had to come out of my hole.

"I should marry," I thought to myself. "Even just for an afternoon. That's what's wrong with me. I haven't had love yet."

It was reasonable and the girls were there, Jang girls with curled hair and antennae (I'd always thought that strange) and long diamond eyes and they were lovely, of course, but it was hard muscles and planes that caught my eye. That's the last time I let the design lead me. This was going to be the most frustrating--

"Ooma!" Junaya caught up with me, hung on my arm. "Where have you been? I haven't seen you in units."

"Contemplating," I replied, and slung one arm around her shoulders much as Saz did to me. "I got lost in the new internal seven dimension polycube, and the joyousness was rather too close to my hand."

"I'd thought you'd thinned out," she fussed. "Come and get something to eat, I was going to the lagoon. Unless you'd rather the Fire-Palace," she said, but Junaya was in pink today, right down to the petal-tint of her hair, and I'd be tosky with any male who took me someplace that clashed that badly with... well, me.

"What about Blue Sky?" I asked, then wished I hadn't, but she lit up.

"Oh Ooma, rather too groshing," she cooed, and took my arm.

Junaya tapped gem-crusted fingernails on her menu choices, and a dish of toasted honey-nuts arrived with a spicy pitcher of warm wine that did, by the fuzzy sensation of pleasure melting my joints, contain ecstacy. We leaned against each other for support as we shovelled nuts, and then a creamy thing called fairy-clouds into our mouths. I was bursting by the time we got to the nut-steak.

It was just arriving and merrily aflame when two Jang arrived in clouds of violet smoke. I recognized them both, and they me--and we stared at each other in mirrored frowns, wondering if we should acknowledge each other.

Junaya attempted to divert me just as I decided to greet them and so her, "Will you carve?" came out just as I was saying, "Attlevey! Bel, isn't it? And Argent?"

Bel at least caught Junaya's desire to be alone with me, and a wicked gleam sparkled in Inky Night eyes as she sauntered over to sit at our table. "Serve the nut-steak, and I come. How are you?"

"Groshing," I chortled. "The fairy-clouds are full of ecstacy."

"And you unmarried," she drawled, grinning at my naked hands. "Still, there's hope, hmm? Who's this?"

"I would ask the same thing," Junaya said.

"Right. Junaya, Bel, Argent," I said, waving one hand.

"Attlevey," Argent said. "Your water-dress is insumatt."

Junaya was slightly mollified by this, and patted the spot next to her in invitation. "Are you one of the duellists?" she asked; ready to hang on his every word.

"Not me," he said. "I'm more for Star-Ball."

"Saz didn't mention that you were meeting us," Bel said.

"I wasn't," I replied. "Junaya and I met by chance and decided to have fourth meal together. Nut-Steak?"

"Perhaps some of those fairy-clouds," she said, and signalled for a menu. "You won't mind if we lag behind a touch, do you?"

Junaya's pleased squeal at something Argent said made me smile as I said, "Not a bit of it. But if you were to meet with Saz--"

"And go to the Adventure Palace," she nodded. "It won't be a problem. Perhaps you and your friend would like to come along?"

"Oh yes," Argent said. "Groshing idea. You can watch me play star-ball, and then we can air-skate," he said to Junaya. "Though I'm not very good."

"I can help you," Junaya said. Well. Argent was handsome, and it solved part of my problem neatly. However--

"Do you air-skate?" Bel asked, when Saz strode to our table and joined us.

"Attlevey, oomas. Nice to see you," he said, with a nod to me. Oh. Clad not in his duellists' gem-armour, but instead in naught but a groin shield and soft boots for star-ball, the crossed straps of wrist guards over oak-branch arms. His half mask was liquid of sliver, and reflected Junaya's petal-pink and my peacock robes in a swirl of oil paint on water.

"Attlevey," I managed to reply. "Yes, Bel, I air-skate."

"Then you should come with us," Bel declared, and flirted just enough to keep Junaya toskily attentive of Argent through the rest of the meal.

"Where've you been?" Saz asked me as we milled around the entrance to the Adventure Palace.

"I just needed time to myself," I said, and it sounded tosky. I winced and said, "and I thought that you'd think--"

"Exactly the same thing as you?" Saz asked, but I didn't sag in relief. Instead, I glanced around to check for nearby Q-Rs. "It was brave. I wouldn't have said it aloud," he continued, and like that we were through and in a dressing chamber, even though Saz was already dressed for a game. Argent had gone through to save a chamber for us, but Saz remained as I stripped off my smoke-robe and my sandals. He wore star-ball boots, but I preferred bare feet.

"I'm not sure why I said it," I confessed, and set to unwinding some of the more delicate jewels from my hair. "I thought I was the only one."

"I did too. Perhaps we're the only two," he said, started winding my braids into one long one, a wide flat ribbon of five strands. "You haven't been to the History Tower, either."

I slid back into ready stance. "Checking up on me?"

"Yes," he laughed, and threw an arm around my neck as he dragged me off to the chamber.
Argent and Bel won the game, but Saz and I gave them a hard fight. Junaya chose to applaud us from the observer's chamber, gallantly dispensing equal praise and encouragement on all players, but slightly favouring Bel, of all choices. Star-Ball is a rough game, and not many females play it. Bel, however wasn't shy about a well delivered elbow or two and I suspect she played the game a lot whenever she decided to switch.

Junaya is an insumatt air-skater, though, and dazzled Argent with the speed and grace she could display on repulsion boots. Saz, Bel and I contented ourselves with just milling around the rink in circles with the crowd, but Junaya often broke into the middle to spin and leap, darting back to where Argent windmilled his arms in an effort to keep balanced when she wasn't holding his hand. Clever, clever Argent. He only fumbled around when she wasn't looking.

"There'll be rings on their fingers by next unit," Bel declared, watching them skate in each other's arms. "Are you just as much as a celibate male as Saz, ooma?"

"Hmm?" I asked, weaving between them both to take Bel's hands and skate backwards. "Celibate male?" I glanced at Saz, who smiled and looked down.

"Oh, he's notorious," Bel declared. "Never marries for more than an afternoon, male, and when female she's got a trail of males after her. And a waste, too, because he always designs such groshing male bodies." She sighed dramatically, enjoying the discomfort she was causing in Saz. "And he's been male for vreks--"


"But he never stays female for more than thirty units--"


"Well, you have to admit it's a bit zaradann, Saz," Bel said, that malicious gleam back in her eyes, for all her tone was innocent. "I simply don't understand--"

Saz broke away from us, dodging other skaters to get off the rink.

Bel sighed. "Really, he doesn't have to be such a promok about it. But," she said just as I was ready to tell the floop off, "maybe you better go after him, ooma. He's heard quite enough from me." And with that she veered off to join Argent and Junaya.

I did follow after him, but he was gone, and he'd set his code to non-responsive by the time I got home. I left him a message, though, and set his code to go through in case he called back.

He didn't.

There is more - Delight & Defeat.

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[28 Oct 2005|08:04pm]
[ mood | drunk ]

Title: Non Serviam
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG-13
Content: Fencing.
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Non Serviam

After that moment of incandescent understanding, I swiped and groped like a fool for the next four units.

"Enough, we've been stumbling around like promoks."

"You mean I've been stumbling around like a promok," I grumbled. Saz was, as usual, graceful as a horned cat. "I couldn't find my graks with a map."

"If you stumble, I stumble," he said, "Because my instruction faltered."

"Crazy Glar," I said, and grinningly punched his shoulder.

"Are you hungry?" he asked.

"I'm expiring at your feet," I declared, and he chuckled and slung an arm over my shoulder, steering me out.

"Blue Sky?" I asked.

"Blue Sky," he agreed, and we raced along the rampwalks, jostling Older People who tut-tutted at us as they were supposed to, because we were behaving as we were supposed to. Jang are notorious for their lack of decorum and the domination of frolic in their lives. Saz skipped off a rampwalk and into a boutique, where he browsed the counters for jewellery, asking to see this and that of silver and agate of resin, in colours like Ocean and Sky and Sapphire Tears; blue, all of it blue as my gem armour, holding up jewelled claws like the flower-flies that danced in Ilex Park to my hair and shaking his head, declaring everything unsatisfactory and demanding to see more, don't you have any moon's stone or Snow Jade and What about stones in Lilac Mist--

"What are you doing?" I whispered at him as he set the Q-Rs bobbling at his every whim, holding very still at the cool metal twixt neck and hair, shocked by the silk of his fingers only when he was clumsy.

"You know very well," he said with a twinkle, and so I started calling for his colours - black and metals, pointing at the lace-of copper cage slide - demanding to see a pectoral of enamelled jet and steel and silver, shaking my head over all that was not right, and dropping things in a great bangling crash that we'd all bend down to pick up.

I must have had twenty things secreted among my braids when we had left, and I knew that my tally of stolen booty numbered seventeen--and all of it hidden on Saz. I was certain he hadn't noticed the serpent bracers, either. We walked out of the shop and into a skytram, presenting each other with the things we'd stolen with a prestidigitator's flourish, laughing at what we'd been able to take without paying.

"I despise paying," I said, and leaned back in the gel-swing.

"And why do you despise paying, old ooma?"

I thrilled to the endearment. Twenty-two more units, and I'd hear it in his arms. I fell asleep with my design tablet, adding refinement after refinement to my new body, adding more fancies, paring them down to the sleek simplicity of perfection, and dabbing here and there with effects. I'd discarded all colours that he didn't prefer out of my feminine wardrobe, leaving me with blues, opal, pearl, silver.

Coolly elegant, I'd drive him zaradann wanting to know who the mysterious miss was--and then he'd recognize how I moved and know, by my step and my bare fingers what I had done.

"Why should I?" I said, tense in my gel-seat. "Why should I praise them and thank them for all they do for me? Everything they provide--which I might add is manufactured from everything else, and all they want is a little of my emotional energy, my part to contribute."

"Without your part, the whole system would fail," he quoted hypno-school at me. "Payment booths extract the energy of our emotions and convert it into useful power--"

"That's it," I sprawled upward to stare at him on his couch. "Emotional energy. Every kiddie learns it, along with their seven dimensional contemplative geometry and their attractor coefficients and how to lace a corset. It doesn't say joyful emotional energy, or praises sung to on high, just emotional energy. Any kind will do."

Saz looked around the empty car, flicking his gaze to the corners where the Eyes watched. "You're right."

"But you go into a pay-booth angry, and what do they do? Give you ecstasy and encourage you to go higher, to whip yourself into a frenzy of gratefulness, and next thing you know you're praising the Committee and your Stupid Q-R Guardian you can't get out of your house even though you're long past old enough to live alone--"


"Yes, Saz. I did PD," I snarled. "This isn't my first trip through here. I and I bet the me that was me in the Before, well--" I started pulling the rest of the baubles from his clothes, setting them down on his chest, where a flower-bird was surely caught battering against the cage of his bones-- "I bet I stole then too. I bet I hated paying. I bet I thought the same thing in the before as I do now about those Vixaxn pay-booths." I was whispering the ozone ripple of the truth, once uttered, never revocable.


"It is how they force us to worship them," I explained. "The Q-Rs. The Committee. They could use our sorrow, our rage, our boredom... but they only want our praise. They believe that they are entitled to it."

Saz stared. When the tram stopped at a station, I ran on gazelle legs while he fumbled with the jewels I had heaped on his chest.

you may continue, if you like, to Celibate Male.

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[14 Aug 2005|01:29am]
Title: Salute and Parry (chapter 6)
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG-13
Content: Fencing.
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Salute and Parry

Home. Home is where you tiptoe past your Q-R Guardian.

"Messages for you," it chirped. Well, Home is where you try to tiptoe past your Q-R Guardian.

I sighed and let my Bee unfold, and garments didn't have a chance to hit the floor before robot servants whisked them away to my wardrobe.

I settled back in the embrace of a gel-couch, which took some time to conform to my new male body, and watched message flashes while it breathed beneath me. Junaya, still well annoyed at Fisk, asking if I was all right if I wanted her to bring me anything (Junaya gets makerish around those she wants to marry, and then turns shrewish when people expect her to be makerish. It never ceases to amuse me.)

A male stranger, inviting me to come out to lightsword drills. I replayed that one again until I realized that he was one of Saz's circle who invaded our meal at Blue Sky. Strange; usually circles are so cliqueish. Saz must really have power if they're jumping to please his whims.

And then Saz himself.

"Surprised you don't have call filters," he said, and the swirling silk-of-steel mask on half his face moved over his smile. "I've got you in mine, so you can call back. Somebody might ask you to joust. Don't do it. It's their usual game to invite a new fencer and then trounce him so soundly he goes away. They hate competition."

Ah. And one could ask why he was giving me such advice, but it wouldn't be me. Though it should. The sight of him on flash rippled over my skin in ways it really shouldn't--not until I could change. Not until I could change. Not until--

"Onk," I said, and replayed his message again. I shut my eyes and listened.

"--Me at the History Tower at the simulators again, and you can learn that way. If you like," he added, with the quickness of--embarrassment? "Just code through to me and let me know."

I stabbed down the reply code so fast my finger bruised. I hadn't even the chance to wonder if every plait was in place, and barely enough time to think that it didn't matter before an image of Saz beamed into the room, completely still and listening.

"Er, attlevey," I said, and gave a little wave. "I can meet you at the History Tower. If it's all right to eat first, I'd say we should go for first meal at the Fire Lounge, and I wonder what your opinion of the simulators is at the Adventure Palace? I'm off to fix a nut-steak, I'm zaradann with hunger."

His image moved, and only then did I realize that he had answered. I'd been babbling like it was an avatar.

"You didn't get a chance to eat at Blue Sky," he said.

"No, I did not."

"I can meet you at the Fire Lounge. The simulators at the Adventure Palace aren't a good place to start. They're supposed to be teaching aids, but they teach the wrong things."

"Everyone uses them," I pointed out.

Saz grinned. "They do. And they keep losing. To me."

"Then why give up your secrets to me?" I asked.

"You had the wit to go to the History Tower," he said. "Most Jang don't do that. You'll learn at the knee of the ancient glars on holo--the true sport."

"I could look at the history, too. It's an old sport. Who made it popular now?"

Saz turned his head so slightly, glanced behind him. "Who knows?" he asked, heartily. "But it's fun. I'll see you tomorrow."

He cut the connection and his image popped like a soap bubble, leaving only the memory of his warning frown. What was he warning me against?

The Fire Lounge isn't where one goes for breakfast, which was why I suggested it. Since I'm not a vain person, I didn't mind that the not-burning flames everywhere clashed horribly with the deep jewel blue that made up my fencer's gem-armour, or that the firelight caught and held the flashes of amber and scarlet in my Opal Dawn eyes. It never occurred to me. Besides, the contrast was simply striking.

Saz was already there, half-masked in copper and bronze, fitted in inky black silk-of-steel and garnet gem-armour. I surveyed the platter of breakfast--honeyed grains and glasses of syntho-fruit juice, tall and elegant as lilies. No joyousness, toasted angel-food, or wine of kaf. Saz himself patted a cushion near him.

"It doesn't do to fill up before working," he said. "And that will not do. Turn your back to me."

I obeyed silently, and signalled a Q-R servant for hot bittered wine. It arrived steaming, sweet and laced with cloud-cream. I took a first sip, and nearly spat the liquid all over myself at his fingertips brushing the nape of my neck, gathering all the roped braids.

"Hair flying around like this will get in your way," he explained. I strained to feel his hands again, rewarded in brushing accidents, the sweep of his knuckles as he plaited my hair.

"I could cut it and have it regrown later," I offered.

"No, this will do. A light-sword fencer needs a bit of style--and defending this mass against all comers will make you quick." It was a heavy rope, resting at my neck--wide as my wrist, even with the bracer on. His hands radiated to my skin, insistent as the light of the artificial sun in Four-BEE, warmer than the illusion fires that raged around us. Twenty-seven more units, I murmured inside my mind. Twenty-seven more units, and ten rings, and Saz, insumatt, derisann Saz. We'd marry for mid-vrek and have love and have love and have love--

Throbbing brought me back to myself, and I nearly spilled hot bittered wine on my clothes. Then I realized I should have, so I could escape without him seeing--I hadn't been male in so long, precisely because of this. Kina would laugh and--

"You haven't married yet."

A blush does not show in skin tinted Parvati, but I was doing it anyway. "No."

"The first few units are like that. You didn't change to marry?"

"No, no," I said. "It just...seemed like a good idea at the time. What fit the design."

"You are a good designer," he said. "I'll bet once the release runs out on your variant there will be adopters. How much longer will you be original?"

"Twenty-seven more units," I said. The first few units are like that, he said. Are they? I'd never changed unless there was a reason, and so it never--I mean when it--well, I'd have a use for it, is all. I've got a strong female preference. The Committee said so, but it's fun to be male, and healthy to make the switch...

Saz was talking. I was maundering. "I'm sorry?" I said.

"I said, 'that will give me plenty of time to recognize how you move.' And speaking of moving, eat a handful, and let's go."

"Not bad," he said. "Almost two splits. Switch feet."

I dropped my right foot down and stood on it, lifting my left heel to my buttock. I grasped the foot and stood, but my foot started shifting from big toe to little to keep balanced almost immediately, and he stopped timing.

"Right foot's unacceptably weak. Funny, isn't it? Your body, only three days old, and I'll bet that it's the same habit you had from standing in all the bodies before this, favouring your left leg. Take the ready stance."

This is all we'd done so far. Take the ready stance, and then correcting the tiniest derangements of my position, and then something else stupid, and then take the ready stance. I was feeling pretty tosky with it all--when do we fight? Why all this standing, standing, correction of the tiniest details?

I asked him why, as he was walking around to inspect me, and in reply he gave me a shove and I stumbled one step before correcting.

"If your ready stance is perfect, you would have kept your feet in place. Again. Ready stance."

Relentless, miserable thralldrap. No. He's doing it right, from the basics up. They don't teach you to stand in the Adventure Palace. He is the best fighter in Ilex Park. He knows what he is doing. I settled into the ready stance, my right leg behind me and left leg leading, slightly bent, body suspended perfectly between my feet. Right arm raised so the beam of my lightsword would sight along my eye, my left arm out before me so the beam of that sword would lay perfectly level across my body. If they were on, which they were not.

Saz shoved me again, and I only bent.

"Groshing. Now keep me in sight," he said, and started circling me. As soon as I crossed my left foot over my right to follow him, he shoved me again.

"Never cross," he said. "Ready stance."

I glared pure murder at him but settled again.

"Fighting is about space," he said, moving to my right, and I shuffled along with him. "If you control the space between you and your opponent, you are the winner. If they can never move a hair toward or away from where you want them, you are the winner. But it's not usually that easy."

"But it's important."

"Fighting is about control," he continued. "But control is not a rigid grasp. Control is an understanding that requires the fighter to be thoughtless. Do you understand?"

"No," I said. "You're zaradann. How can I not think?"

"Thinking interferes with being," he went on in his crazy glar lecture. "Thinking takes too much time. There is only time for knowing and acting."

"You are zaradann," I said.

He lunged for me, fingers poised hard as daggers for my throat. I swept backwards, shuffled forward as he danced back, halted as he halted.

"There. How did you do that?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said. "I was following you."

"Did you think about it?"

"There wasn't time," I said, and our laughter rang against the roof of the History Tower.

More? Non Serviam. except when it comes to providing more story.
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[11 Dec 2004|03:40pm]
[ mood | aggravated ]

Title: A Fabulist Prince (chapter 5)
Fandom: Biting the Sun, by Tanith Lee
Rating: General
Content: When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.
Disclaimer: This is an obscure fandom, so it might not instantly click. but if you dig it, get the book. it's good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


A Fabulist Prince

"There is no way I'm paying," I shouted at the Dream Room attendant. Really, though, they could have snapped on the receptors and got buckets of emotional energy--hysterical gratitude is preferable, but rage will do in a pinch. "My experience was not satisfactory. At all!"

"Of course, of course, we wouldn't dream of charging," the Quasi-Robot soothed. "This is most irregular. You remained male, you said?"

"Yes! That wasn't what I scripted at all. My emergence from the water was supposed to transform my sex, and it didn't! The symbolism was all wrong."

"Er, quite," the attendant agreed. "And may I add that your grasp of the symbolism is quite adept--transforming polarities from the feminine element of the sea to the masculine element of the air. But why didn't your quarry undergo a similar transformation? Just to satisfy my own curiosity, of course, because your scripting is unusually complex."

My float chair bobbed upwards, and I flailed arms and legs around to keep from tumbling out. "You think so?"

"To be sure, young sir. I rather think you have a career in Picture-Vision ahead of you." The attendant very diplomatically didn't notice my inept sense of balance.

"It was simple. My quarry was a rebel against society, his magics of a forbidden art, and a double mastery--he was also proficient in the magic of the Kingdom of Air. The transformation therefore wouldn't have the same altering effect on his gender." I fiddled with my gyro-stabilizers and the chair obediently began a soothing bob. Picture-Vision! Really! Only Older People worked at Picture Vision...only Older People had jobs, but really those positions were quite in demand. It isn't just anyone who can create the stories for them.

"Fascinating! And now I wonder if there was a subconscious direction to your dream variant," the Q-R said, and my float chair tilted again. I swallowed hard to get the taste of my heart out of my mouth.

"What variant?"

"Subconsciously you also saw yourself as a master of the kingdom of Air, and so your body didn't change. You did do magic while you were out of the ocean?"

"Yes, but the efforts were weak--"

The Q-R interrupted me with a satisfied look. "Just so. You could still do it. That should not have been possible, according to the script you had programmed. Your enemy was supposed to teach you the mastery of the Air, so that the two of you could liberate the undersea kingdom from its blind and tradition bound ways. Such energy!"

"Er, quite," I said. Of course the Q-R saw the whole script, you promok. How else would he be able to address my complaint? His ... enthusiasm for my dream unsettled me. Who cared about such things? They're over in ten splits.

"I'm sure this is just a glitch because your creative talent hasn't been properly honed and trained in fabulism," The Q-R burbled. "Your raw ability is very good, but it must be shaped by the principles of story. Oh my yes, I can see you being a very good producer in a rorl or so. You should endeavour to learn more."

"I do as much as I can, with my allotment at the History Tower," I said modestly. When a Q-R is selt enough to hand you a plum, you pick it...

"Really? Perhaps you need more time there. Learning from tradition--that's very good."

I screwed up my face in doubtful thought. "Well, I could try asking for a greater allotment, but..."

"I'll make a note of it here for the Committee," The Q-R said.

I gasped in spite of myself. "Thank you!"

"Think nothing of it, dear," The Q-R jollied. "One shouldn't waste such potential."

I hopped out of the chair and my own elation floated me out of the Dream Rooms.

Kina had wandered off somewhere, and I didn't feel like looking for him. My drifting feet took me up Peridot Waterway and to the shops. Well. I had just been complaining of my lack of masculine attire, hadn't I? Silk of glass from two vreks ago--I'm amazed I let anybody see me. I scuttled inside.

It was late enough in the day that the Older People were off doing other things, so the shops positively throbbed with upper-ear designed to make Jang giddy. I stumbled around, fingering fabrics, nodding to the hysterical compliments of the Q-R sales attendants. "So groshing!" they cried as I selected this and that, whipping me into a frenzy of histrionic gratitude in every pay-booth.

Honestly, I was so determined to replenish my wardrobe that stealing things just didn't cross my mind.

I exchanged my old rags for newer, more insumatt attire, discarding even the newly purchased for something I liked better. I eschewed certain fashions for my own peculiar style, suiting every colour to Parvati, platinum milk, and Opal Dawn. I stopped at a dressers and had my hair lengthened to mid-thigh, gasping at the tickling burn of hastened hair growth--and then purred as three Q-Rs wound my hair into coiling braided ropes, affixing jewels in a prism of rose, sky blue, moss agate, smoky amethyst, and citrine--they had nothing that would match my eyes, but compromised by using all their colours, gatheringmy braids in a silver and ice clasp etched with the swirling curves that represented wind.

I bought bracers that called attention to the sinewy strength of my arms, but refused the male Jang fashion of a pawful of finger-rings--they would interfere with my grip. I bought a lightsword harness, a clever confection of silver wire and sensor lights, to record and simulate the injuries I'd sustain in duels.

And I bought lightswords. A doubled set, with none of the ornamentation and absurdities that most Jang males sported. I chose hilts that were wrapped with gripskin, the butts enamelled a deep blue, the guards cleverly fashioned to look like blossoming plum branches--real dueller's weapons, not decoration.

A Q-R at the next shop exclaimed that there were boots in a blue cloth of leather that would match exactly, and I watched them mould up my legs, flexing perfectly at the knees under the silver wire leg parts of the duelling harness. Oh, I was derisann--I was a warrior, resplendent in barbarian finery. A young prince in a ransom of jewels and silver, prepared to slay anyone foolish enough to dare steal my riches with speed, inhuman grace and the genius of the sword. I laughed, and Opal Dawn eyes flashed their humour at me in reply.

But I had to go home. All that grateful psychic energy made me tired.

More? Salute and Parry.

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[15 Nov 2004|11:13pm]
[ mood | naughty ]

Title: Blue Sky, Dream Sea (chapter 4)
Fandom: Biting the Sun, by Tanith Lee
Rating: Mature (mild sexual situations)
Content: Dreams don't mean anything. they're jumbled reshufflings of the events of the day sorted around while you rest your brain.
Disclaimer: This is an obscure fandom, so it might not instantly click. but if you dig it, get the book. it's good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Blue Sky, Dream Sea

Blue Sky is almost Jang Only. They play upper-tonal that gets you both relaxed and garrulous; you have to make a real effort not to get a jug of Joyousness at your table, but that's all because there's no way to get to Blue Sky except through the wind tube, and then when you leave, you jump (buoyantly supported by a cape of float foam, but still, Older People don't like it.)

And so I lay on my stomach and looked through the floor at Four-BEE, imagining that I could see the movements of the people far below, and then rolled on my back and looked at the perfect blue sky above me. It may not have been perfect, beyond the dome--I'd never know. It's always perfect inside.

And my companion stared too--stared with such intense concentration that I blurted, "What are you looking at?"

And he said, "Not what I want to see." And then, abruptly, "Have you ever been to the other cities?"

"No." For some reason, I couldn't get a travel pass to see the other cities. Not a lot of Jang could, but...

"I haven't either. Do you wonder what it's like out there?"


"I think I dream about it," he said, and then he turned to me, his face--half of flesh and half silver silk-of-steel. "I never told you. I'm Saz."

"And you are one of the finest lightsword fighters of Ilex Park."

He didn't modestly deny it. "Why hadn't I seen you before?"

"I just got this body," I said. "My last one was female."

He nodded and chose fire-and-ice with cloud cream when the waiter Q-R arrived. I asked for spiced nut beer, and some of Saz's circle arrived just as we were served. They greeted me vaguely. One female actually cut a slab off our nut-steak--"you don't mind, do you?"

"Be my guest," I said, but she was already chewing, the thralldrap. One passed a box of rose cigars, and we watched violet smoke drift up to the dome. Not that I assumed any kind of exclusive hold on Saz (liar) but this was really too much.

"I must go, oomas."

A few ringed hands fluttered in my direction, their talk of star-ball not even nudged. Well, really. I gathered up a float cloak and dived off the platform.

Once home, I made use of the syntho food dispenser, lazed about and got so droad I signalled Kina.

"Look here, old ooma, I had no idea of your intentions. It's all rather a mess," I said. "Sorry I dashed your plans."

"I felt like a promok."

"You should have told me."

"And you wouldn't have done it?"

"It was a mad impulse. I regret it already." The truth worked admirably. "In twenty eight units I'm changing back."

"Well then," Kina sounded heartier at the news. "How about the Dream Rooms?"

The Dream Rooms are considered un-Jang, so naturally we flock there--a giggling mob of gemflower bedecked lunatics, clamouring to dream ourselves as pulsing motes of light.

Though we talked about it once, and Kina told me he dreams of being a kind of fish-man. I didn't have any better ideas, so I used his. I gave the computer reams of instructions, remembering details out of order at the last second. Finally I lay back and waited only a moment before I was there--

Gliding through violet waters with a dome city beneath me, the sprawling capital of the Oceanic Empire. Ours was a cruel and martial society, and I, one of the Hundred Companions, was a Wizard-Warrior of astonishing brutality and ability. I searched valiantly for traces of my quarry--a member of a rebellion, bent on sowing discord and defiance to our might.

There! A sign of his passing! I followed it, and strange creatures swam by my side, playing though platinum milk hair and the wake of my Opal Dawn scaled tail. My opponent laid a trap--his trail led to a cave and a rock blocked the passage when I ventured inside. I cried a word of eldritch power and the boulder became a lace of coral, which shattered under my fist.

Then I met a horrible creature with writhing arms like serpents. The monster tangled me in its limbs, but I managed to stab it with my spear, offending it into quitting my presence. I swam on, relentlessly in pursuit until my head broke the surface to the Kingdom of Air. I gasped the words of the charm that would let me survive the ghastly stuff, and a terrible pain shot down my tail. Stunned by this agony, I was flung unresisting to the awful shore.

Where my quarry--my nemesis--awaited me.

Bravely, I choked out the last embrace of the sea, and staggered to my feet--appalling! And what agony it was, to stand on the stumpy things! The kingdom of Air weighed heavily, my hair near threatened to topple my head off my neck, and the first shambling step shot up my legs (hideous!) like knives...

Toward my quarry, who waited arrogantly for me, his sword gleaming at this hip, matching the half mask he wore to cover the left side of his face--standing with ease on the horrid split things, awaiting me.

"You've come to capture me?"

"I mean to destroy you," I declared, and startled at the hoarseness of my voice, seared by the desert air. I rasped an unutterable Word, and the moisture clinging to my skin seeped inside, comforting me with a trickle of strength. I raised my spear, and advanced on steps of anguish.

Laughable effort. He struck the spear from me easily, leaving me helpless, transformed into naked vulnerability. I attempted a word to draw the water from him, but he flashed a sign with his hands, and the power burst between us like bubbling laughter--no one laughs, in the majesty of the kingdom of Water. Such an action hurts.

"Sir." I spread open hands. "It appears you have me at your advantage." I looked at him, standing eye level to eye, and wondered if the sand I stood on was higher even as the realization of his beauty struck me.

"So it appears," my enemy (gorgeous and terrible, a worthy opponent, and not the rabble that I had mistook him for in arrogance) my enemy looked upon me with admiration. "But did you not know that you could not best me?"

"I believed that I could," I blurted, and blushing, dropped my gaze--

To perceive a hard, powerful chest, contoured by muscle and rib, the faintest dusting of platinum milk hairs, an arrow point at my navel, widening down to--


To a stirring shaft, rising unmistakably from the apex of my legs--

But I was supposed to--

Horror. I looked back at him; helpless--oh, shame! His eyes lingered below to my stirring for him, just as I told the Dream, but my transformation--truant! I spun on the daggerpoint of my toes and fled, back to the sea, don't see me like this, don't--

He caught me. Whirled me by the grip on my arms, fingers curling into the powerful curves, and stared at the full length of my betraying (wrong! Oh, wrong!) body, drawing my gaze down

To where his own arousal stood--

Shocked, I raised my head to look at him, beautiful half-face, half hidden, twice gorgeous, lowering his lips toward mine. The barest silken touch brushed my lips to his, but I woke in the Dream Chamber and it burned, burned as if I'd bitten a flame.

the next chapter is A Fabulist Prince.

3 comments|post comment

Toasted Angelfood [01 Nov 2004|09:04pm]
Title: Toasted Angelfood (chapter 3)
Fandom: Biting the Sun, by Tanith Lee
Rating: PG-13
Content: What's a guy gotta do to get something to eat around here?
Disclaimer: This is an obscure fandom, so it might not instantly click. but if you dig it, get the book. it's good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


Toasted Angelfood

"But you just had a new body designed," The Q-R objected. "And a wonderful design it is too. Your eye for colour is outstanding; I'm sure that we'll have many people wishing to adopt this particular combination--"

"Yes, the colours are fine, fine," I said in the beautiful honeyed brass voice. "But I've realized that--well, deciding to go with a male design was just a silly impulse. Could you just do the same thing except female? I did an interesting modification on the Artemis type--"

"Quite impossible," the jolly old Q-R said. "You'll have to wait the thirty units, like everyone else." The thralldrap. "And I'm sure by then you will come up with something even more astonishingly lovely. Thirty units isn't a lot of time--"

"But before this change, I hadn't changed for vreks!" I shouted.

"And you could have simply come in for a change, instead of behaving so shockingly. You do realize that we've had seventeen requests for trauma integration from the witnesses of your performance? No," The Q-R said, brisk and dismissive, "you'll have to wait the thirty units. Enjoy yourself. There are plenty of ways, eh?"

I cursed him vilely and went out.

I'd taken my bird-plane this time, and went immediately home, stalked past my Q-R guardian (if I couldn't be rid of it, I'd ignore it) and set to changing the house to better match my body. Since I was going to keep the colour combinations. I was happily re-tinting the walls in subtle permutations of Opal Dawn's colours when I got a flash from the porch - just enough warning before Junaya sailed in.

"Attlevey, ooma--oh, you're groshing!" she enthused, walking all around me in a circle. "Positively insumatt."

"Attlevey, Junaya. Just got back from my change today."

She circled around me, her breath a damp hand on my shoulders, spine, hot and laced with firesweet at my ear. "I know, Kina is completely zaradann. He's running around like a promok, exclaiming that you'd deliberately made a fool of him--that you'd all but promised to marry him for a tenth vrek and then made yourself male to mock him."

"It wasn't like that at all. I never told him any such thing. And when did he decide to let everyone know about his change? He'd told me that he was going to keep it a secret for a while."

Junaya plunked herself down on my sleeping cube, petting the fur under her hands. "Black? Oh how clever, ooma. You'll look delicious, sprawled out on that." The picture of exactly how I'd be sprawled, and who with, glittered in her violet eyes. "He'd forgotten about keeping it a secret, when he came roaring down to the Fire Lounge, I suppose."

I nodded and walked behind the modesty screen. "Let's go out."

"Where, ooma?" Junaya asked breathlessly.

"Ilex Park. They're playing at lightswords today. We'll take a picnic. Can you get the food mixer to put something together? I haven't had anything but meal injections, and I'm famished."

She didn't flounce out of the room, exactly. I swore over the lack of masculine attire in my closet, and dressed before she could get any ideas.

Ilex Park is the nicest park on Four-Bee. It's a favourite of Jang all over the city. I especially like the pond and stream system, where you can leap into the churning waters and slide over the rapids, screeching like you've gone zaradann, and tickle the robot fish right out of the water, and they'll flop and gasp their way unerringly back to water, swimming with a jaunty flick of its tail like nothing happened. I suggested we go there because it's a popular, done thing to do.

Liar. Oh, little liar.

I watched the crowds playing at lightswords, craned my neck after every tall and muscled male with inky hair, and told myself I was looking for my friends.

Liar, liar.

But if I happened to see he of the half-silvered face, why, I'd stroll over and say Attlevey. Groshing bit of sword work this morning, didn't quite catch how you did that riposte, oh, and what's your name?

Liar, liar, loins on fire. The wrong set of loins, even.

"Well Attlevey, ooma," drawled a silky voice behind me. "And who is your derisann friend, Junaya?"

I tilted my head back, looking into the dome's sun - a safe sun, one you could stare at all day. "Attlevey, Fisk. Didn't Kina tell you?"

"Oh, of course. You're groshing, ooma, insumattly derisann. You should have said no instead of hurting his feelings like that."

I flopped straight onto my back and covered my eyes with a Parvati-brown arm. "He didn't tell me what he intended. It's embarrassing for both of us. I will apologize to him when he deigns to speak to me again."

"You mean to tell me you had no idea?" Fisk cawed with laughter.

"None. If I'd known, I wouldn't have changed." That was true. Kina made an adequate husband, good for a tenth-vrek. After that, though, he started getting tosky about everything and I had to move back to my house (obviously, married life in my home, complete with jolly Q-R guardian, isn't the best environment for having love.) sometimes it would take him the rest of the vrek to straighten out and become his usual biting self again: the sort of person you admire for his wit, and yet you want to kick him in the graks after a good roaring dalika over what an ass he was.

"So change again," Fisk suggested, and Junaya bristled.

"He can't change for another thirty units."

"She's right, I already asked."

Fisk screeched with hilarity. "Too much, ooma! What a joke! Well, you could settle for us girls for now, can't you?"

"Shove off, you floop," Junaya snarled. "We're having a picnic."

"So I see. Toasted Angelfood! How derisann," Fisk said. "And a gallon of Joyousness, and nice fortifying nut-steaks to keep his strength up. What have you got in that basket that isn't an aphrodisiac, ten rings?" She bent double with laughter, and if she had graks I'd be kicking right now.

Instead, I got up from the lemon-smelling purple grass, and walked away, leaving them screeching in the serenity garden. I walked and walked, and didn't stop until I'd made it to the History Tower.

Standing inside its soaring expanse, I hesitated. I'm here. What do I want to look at? They probably kept tabs on everything I did here, and I'd have to be careful, more careful than before, in case I looked at something that was


non-Jang and give the Committee reason to wonder at my alien fascinations.

Lightswords! Jang as Jang as Jang, and it drove the Q-Rs zaradann. And I'd had a good reason, hadn't I? And thirty units where I could do nothing but lay a plot.

"Sword tutor," I said, and the appropriate door glowed.

Once inside, I was not alone, for there was a back and soft black hair I recognized, gaily fencing a holo-opponent. With two swords, one in each hand, the light motes trailing in my eyes as he whirled and feinted, blocked, slashed and thrust.

He was derisann, absolutely. White light dazzled off the silver half of his face, and the shine from it caught the facets on his gem-armour.

He raised his swords in salute, and his opponent ceased to exist.

"Er, Attlevey," I said. "Sorry to disturb."

He peered at me. "You were at the park earlier today."


"I saw you," he went on.

He'd seen me? "It was a good fight."

"It was all right. Yana's a bit selt, though. Do you sport?"

"Not in vreks."

He threw each sword at me, still activated. I'd caught the one, yelped when I saw the other coming, and tossed the first baton to my left hand and snatched with the right. It bobbled a bit, but I caught them both.

Half-Silver stared at me for a long time. I stared back, looked down at the brushed metal floor, looked back at him.

He'd opened his mouth to say something when my stomach rumbled, loudly.

His lips quirked. "Me too. Care for Blue Sky?"


Of course there's more. check out Blue Sky, Dream Sea.
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To See Just Half Your Face [31 Oct 2004|06:33pm]
[ mood | content ]

Title: To See Just Half Your Face (chapter 2)
Fandom: Biting the Sun, by Tanith Lee
Rating: PG-13
Content: body design!
Disclaimer: This is an obscure fandom, so it might not instantly click. but if you dig it, get the book. it's good. This post is a glossary to the slang, and this post is the first chapter.


To See Just Half Your Face

The ground was a carpet of flowers, and the sky above me was empty, empty. A real wind whipped my clothes against my body, and when I looked down, I stared at my clothes in horror - the plainest, scratchiest stuff - no holosparkle or see-through or gem armour at all, just plain and solid and the colour of sand.

No. That was wrong. The sands were there, in the distance beyond the flowers, and a tree hung heavy with purple blossoms that swirled, petal by petal, grabbed by the wind.

The wind mattered. There was danger, and the pile of the same plain not-sand cloth tumbled at my feet. I was supposed to stretch it out. Over the flowers. The poor tree--


Shouting. At me. A man just stood up, and a gray square blotted out the blossoms. "Hurry!" He ran at me, and he grew bigger, and then I saw his face--

his face

Screaming, I awoke in the Limbo Tub.

"It's all right now, you're safe, you're safe," the Q-R attendant soothed at me. "We found you, it's all right."

Sobbing, I nearly threw myself out of the tub and bawled all over the silly--familiar, usual--thing, but remembered myself (deviant) just in time.

"It's all right," The Q-R burbled again.

"What happened?" I asked, and then remembered. It had hurt. But that body, not this one. I didn't look at the unfinished limbs, like anonymous rolls of dough. I looked at the Q-R, who smiled down at the good little Jang in the tank. I'd tossed myself off a bridge. How drumdik.

"There, there," the Q-R soothed. "Do you want your design tablet?"

"Please," I murmured sweetly. It set the console down and went away, just like I'd hoped. I looked at the controls and set to designing the most insumatt body ever. Really, I could have just gone for a change, I hadn't had one in two vreks. I didn't have to jump.

Why did I jump? "Set eye colour to Opal Dawn; keep."

Kina was right - the colour was just groshing: A kind of silvery gray, with depths of rose, green, amber, blue, violet--There silver, and there gold--perfect! I would design the whole body around them, marvellous, derisann eyes.

Was it fear? "Body type Artemis, taller, taller...stop. Complexion type burnished gold; try a bit of rose undertones--no, too chalky,, try a yellow-orange...browner, more gold...stop." The body lengthened and coloured in, only those ghost-kissed eyes filled in. "More brown on the skin. Try type Parvati, fade down towards burnished gold--slower! Start again...stop! Groshing."

I tinkered with it some more, trying out different hair, facial structures, types--nothing suited. My Q-R came in with a meal injection, which was all I could stop for. I wasn't getting the design right, but I wanted those eyes.

I finally figured out what was wrong, and laughed at the simplicity of it--and walked out later in my new body: Skin of golden Parvati, Opal Dawn eyes, milk platinum hair to my waist.

Kina was waiting at the landing from limbo for me. His eyes slid past, and then back again in stunned disbelief...and then frustrated anger.

"Oh, you promok! You ridiculous, contrary, zaradann thralldrap! How could you?"

"Nice to see you too, Kina," I said, and oh, my voice was like Joyousness poured over a brass bell. I spoke again, just to hear it. "You were right about the eye colour. D'you think the hair is a little too much?"

"Farathoom!" yelled Kina, and cast his offering at my feet, clinking and rolling at my toes. He whirled and got into his bird-plane, stranding me.

I watched him take off in his crystal dove before looking down at the ten rings scattered around my feet. Poor Kina--he knew, of course, that the body I designed would be groshing, and so wanted to marry for a few units.

I'm not sure why he never imagined that I would come back male. I scooped the ten rings up and walked to the flyers. I'd apologize to him, once he wasn't so embarrassed.

"Attlevey," the fourth girl of the afternoon said to me, sweeping lashes long as fingertips over blushing cheeks, their movements more liquid and rounded, sure to catch the eye. It was a good body, superlative even in a crowd of insumatt beauty.

"Attlevey," I replied, correctly polite and no more. I didn't know what was happening. Usually after a change I'm raring to have love, but I was dissatisfied and tosky. Perhaps I needed some ecstasy, or the Adventure Palace, or perhaps I just needed to go home--

I jumped back as a circle of young men careened into the path from Ilex Park, playing at lightswords, their blades crackling with sparks each time they met in parry and slash. I moved into the circle, meant to protect passers-by from their antics. One had red lights down his arm, and the harness made it hang limp, because it had been "hit." But the crowd was cheering him, and his opponent looked worried, shuffling backwards against a relentless attack. I watched the sure step of his back and the strength rippling across his shoulders. I'd designed similar for myself.

I blinked, and in that space it was over. I cheered with the rest of the circle, rushed forward to congratulate the winner, and he turned to laugh with someone next to me--

his face

Half-covered by silver paint and geometric spirals, the other half unadorned--masculine, with high cheekbones and enough corner on the jaw, and beautiful, so derisann my knees went liquid and I laughed.

What imp of perversity had made me design a male body?

Want more? the next chapter is Toasted Angelfood.

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Whisper Secrets [29 Oct 2004|10:59pm]
[ mood | creative ]

Title: Whisper Secrets
Fandom: Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun
Rating: PG-13, some troubling situations
Disclaimer: This is fanfic. You should read the original books. They're good.


Whisper Secrets

Today was the day that I was allowed to go to the History Tower, so I went to the Dream Rooms instead. Not that I didn't want to go to the History Tower, but my Q-R guardian would end up encouraging me to do Jangish things instead of indulging a tosky preoccupation with the past. No one in my circle had any promok Quasi-Robot guardian watching over them all the time; most of them had makers and a couple of them had Q-R guardians when they were still in hypno-school, but didn't now and hadn't for vreks.

Except me.

"It is not recommended at this time," the Committee said the last time I'd requested to be released from my Q-R guardian, and then they spent some time talking about me as if I wasn't there, comparing my activities to the average Jang behaviours and arguing over when I would be ready. Not recommended at this time. They always said that. It drove me zaradann.

Someone walked into my path as the Dream Rooms loomed ahead, their jewelled spires pulsing fractal rainbow light and holosprites flitted and chased along the park. The crystal promenades are crowded; someone's always getting in the way.

But he didn't get out of the way. "Attlevey, old ooma. Still yourself, I see."

He smirked and tossed jewelled blue hair over his broad shoulder, shivering it like a lion's mane. Not that he'd know what a lion was--he was Jang, like me, and Jang don't go to the History Tower. They don't see what the point of restriction is, because it's all boring educational flashes and no hypno-induction records at all--and didn't they go through all that learning junk in hypno-school, without having to remember the process? How droad, ooma. Have some ecstacy.

I looked him up and down--a good body. Tall, slender but wiry muscled, sparkling blue eyes to match the hair. He'd spent time in the cosmetic unit, wearing abstract swirls that highlighted his best features--which meant the silly old thralldrap was so busy he was hard to look at from the neck down.

"Attlevey," I said, pointedly excluding the endearment. "And you are someone else."

"Guess who I am," he said. "I didn't have it flashed. Even though you never bother to check, and so fail to recognize anyone."

"Dammik," I said.

"That floop? No," he said.

"Junaya," I guessed.


"Kina," I said.

"Very good!" he applauded. "It's so liberating, being unrecognized. I've half a mind to not tell the whole circle. They're so tiresome, it makes me tosky."

Half a mind is right. "And you let me in on the secret? I'm honoured."

"You should do it too," Kina coaxed. "It'll be fun, we'll fool everyone. How about the new hairdancers? In, oh, lemon--no! Purple Dusk! And I saw just the eye colour for you, it's so new no one will have it, it's called Opal Dawn--"

"Kina," I said, "I like the way I look now." And why wouldn't I? I'd done a good job designing this body, with silver-mauve hair that dragged on the floor and green eyes with a facetdisk, so they caught the light and flashed like the fountains at Peridot Waterway, and my nails were always apple jade. Besides, hairdancers tangled into everything, tuned into your thoughts as they were--the models would be very careful to think serene things, so the hairdancers would ripple becomingly, but get angry and your hair would lash like snakes. Not that Kina would know what a snake was, since he never went to the History Tower.

"But you always look like that. It gets droad. Why not change?"

"Because I'm satisfied with it," I said. "I'm used to it."

"You're not supposed to get used to it," Kina said. "That's why you still have a Q-R guardian. You're--" and he fell silent and looked at the crystal path between us.

"I'm what?"

"Zaradann," he said with a wincing little grin.

"That wasn't what you were going to say."

Kina sighed and looked at the brilliant jewelled sky-dome. "My maker came to visit me before--before I had this change."

Before he'd drowned himself in his--her, then--bathing bubble, he meant. Kina suicided whenever he had a whim to change what his kneecaps looked like. "And?" I asked, raising one silvery brow at him.

"And she said--look, I'm telling you this because it's important. My maker wanted me to go to my circle and--cut you out."

"V...n! Why?" If I'd had hairdancers, purple dusk locks would be grabbing passers-by and strangling them. What business was it hers who Kina was friends with? Makers don't--

"She said that she found out that you were--deviant," Kina whispered. "That's why you still have a guardian."

"I'm what?" I had a guardian because I had--whoever I was--grown tired of a long life as an Older Person and underwent personality dissolution, which people do when they're bored with their life. It's different from suiciding, which Older People don't do anyway.

"The Committee wants to watch you," Kina whispered. "And when you do things that aren't normal, they're convinced. But you're--I want to help you. Get a body change, and fast."


I was--who was I? Deviant? I'm one of the--

Kina had my best interests at heart, he was trying to help me. A true friend, more real than any of the promoks in my circle. He was giving me good advice, and I would take it immediately.

I stood on tiptoe and kissed his mouth. "Opal Dawn, you said?"

He looked confused when I whirled and leapt off the crystal promenade, hanging in space for an instant, soaring without a bird-plane, my arms outstretched like wings--and people behind me screamed as they saw me, and in the instant that flight became falling I had time to think, the reason why I never suicide is because it hurts and then I fell, fell--

And it did hurt. Right up until it didn't.

Want to read the next bit? It's called To See Just Half Your Face.

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A useful resource for Biting the Sun fanfic [29 Oct 2004|09:17pm]
Translator's note: Though the excerpts are written in equivalent modern English, there are some Jang terms of slang that pale in translation. This is a glossary:

attlevey: Hello.

dalika: Violent argument.

derisann: Lovely, beautiful.

droad: incredibly boring, a mindless waste of time.

drumdik: Utterly horrible, the most ghastly thing.

farathoom: Bloody, fucking hell.

floop: Jerk. See also thralldrap.

graks: Balls.

groshing: Fabulous, marvellous.

insumatt: Unsurpassable.

onk: Mild ejaculation, e.g. bother.

ooma: Endearment, like honey or darling.

ooma-kasma: Extreme term of affection, e.g. "Love of my life." Not generally used.

promok: Moron.

selt: slow on the uptake. 'Con'-able.

soolka: Well-groomed. Applied by Jang only to non-Jang.

thralldrap: see floop.

tosky: Neurotic, irritable.

Vixaxn: a word so bad that it is often not written in full.

zaradann: Insane, nuts.

General Terms

Glar: Early Four BEE title, similar to professor. The term hung on as a polite name for Q-R teachers at the hypno-schools, but otherwise was extinct by this time.

hypno-school: children of the fours attend six hours of hypno-school each day, where they learn incredibly complex mathematics and arcane subjects of theoretical knowledge through trance-induction. it should be noted that this education does not include knowledge of many practical or survival activities, as everything is provided to citizens of the fours through a legion of Quasi-Robots doing all the real work.

Jang: the middle stage of human life, an extended adolesence that lasts until the Jang grows bored of the structureless fun that is expected of his age-group and applies to become an Older Person, adopting the customs and behaviour of that group. the Jang stage usually lasts two rorls, but some stay in this stage for far langer than that.

mid-vrek: Middle period of any vrek, lasting forty units.

Older Person: the final "Adult" stage of human life. Older People have jobs and become Makers with another Older Person to supply the other half of material required to create a child, a process done entirely through creche incubation. All people of the Fours regularly ingest contraceptives, so childbirth in the older sense is unheard of in Four society.

PD: Personality Dissolution. Since the people of the Fours enjoy a form of immortality where their soul-essences can be retrieved and placed into new bodies, Older People who grow tired of their lives can opt to "die" by having their personality erased and start over from infancy, but with a Q-R Guardian instead of Makers.

rorl: Four BEE equivalent of a century.

split: Four BEE minute.

unit: Four BEE day.

vrek: Period of one hundred units.
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Hello Earth [29 Oct 2004|08:20pm]
[ mood | geeky ]

What you'll find here is fanfiction. This is a public journal, so go ahead and add it to your friendslist. My posting policy will be that fiction entries will be behind lj-cuts to save your friendslist, and if I write slash, it will be friendslocked and not public. so if you want to read the slash, comment on this post and let me know and I will add you to the filter.

Comments on what I write here are very welcome, and you do not have to be on my friendslist to comment. For now I will work with allowing anonymous users to post, but if it becomes a problem then regrettably you'll have to have an LJ account to comment.

I'm brand new to fanfic, but I have published erotica. you can read those stories in the archives of Clean Sheets magazine - Black Coffee, which I still like after all this time, and Threads, which I don't.

Right now the fandoms I plan to write in are a little obscure - no Harry Potter here, as I haven't even read the books - no Buffy, as I've never watched the TV show, and no LOTR, because I don't see enough gaps in the material to pull it off. Except for the Legolas/Aragorn hot tub scene that should have been in TTT, and I'll get to that eventually.

What will you find?

I will write fanfic set in the world of Tanith Lee's duology, Don't Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine. These two books have been released in one volume, called Biting The Sun.

Also from Tanith Lee, but probably not as immediate, I'm thinking of the Tales from the Flat Earth - Night's Master, Death's Master, Delusion's Master, Delerium's Mistress, and Night's Sorceries. These books are out of print, but I still think you should buy them. I'm also juggling around a different Tanith Lee universe - The Birthgrave, Vazkor, Son of Vazkor, and Quest for the White Witch. These books are also out of print, and you should also buy these ones.

You could find fanfic set in John Varley's Gaian Universe - Titan, Wizard, and Demon. Again, out of print. Again, you should read them.

I think i know enough of the early Marvel comics Universe to do fanfic based on The X-Men, but that's low on the priority list.

For gaming systems, expect to see Shadowrun first and second edition Fanfics and World of Darkness fanfics - you're likely to see Vampire: the Masquerade, but as time goes on, you'll probably see Vampire: the Requiem fic as well. Another likely fandom is Changeling: the Dreaming, but don't get freaked about my departures from the Canon: the system for this game disappointed me gravely.

I would love to do fanfic based on Steven Brust's universe, but I know he doesn't like fanfic and so I shall simply have to be disappointed that I can't do that.

There is always a chance I'll do a fanfic that isn't from any of these fandoms, because I'm all full of surprises.

Enjoy. and remember, if you want to see the slash, comment on this post so I can add you to the filter!


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