lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
[personal profile] lilfluff
This is to [personal profile] aldersprig's prompt for my January Bingo Prompt call.

Title: Unexpected Family Ties
Warnings: slavery, some snarkiness, body modified character
Length: 2413 words
Genre/Setting: Fantasy, set in [personal profile] aldersprig's work


Flann sat perched on the side table and watched the mysterious girl sleep. There were times being a feline moddy could be quite useful. Being presumed little more than entertainment in the form of living art made meant few in the household paid any real attention to him. Which made his true job of protecting Lady Dwyer all the easier. Ever since the previous morning that meant watching this girl, young woman really, who had collapsed at the back doorstep without anyone seeing her arrive.

"Cat, you're sitting where her breakfast tray goes."

He looked over at Miss Shea and gave an exaggerated shrug. "Nya? It's where the call button is."

"Off the table, boy!"

He couldn't hold back a hiss as he slipped off the table. Keeping well out of her reach while he slunk over to sit on the windowsill instead. "Warmer over here anyway."

He hated the way she intimidated him. He was Agency trained. He shouldn't be shaken by a simple household slave like her. With his training he could put her down before she even realized he was striking. If only she'd ever step far enough out of line to justify revealing himself. But that voice of hers reminded him of his mother's making her far more terrifying than the worst of his trainers.

When Shea moved over to look at the girl he couldn't hold back the urge to tease. He waited until she was leaning over to brush some of the girl's dark red hair from her eyes before speaking.

"She was all covered in blood you know." Shea looked up and he gave her one of his pointy-toothed grins. "Most of it probably wasn't even hers. Mystery Girl is a scary. Whoever she fought she emptied a rifle and a pistol, and used at least a dozen knives on them. Then she walked unseen right up to our door after being bashed, burned, poisoned, and run through with a sword."

Shea gave the him a dubious look so he pointed over to the tattered remains of a coat hanging on the far wall then back at the girl. "Doctor Davina and young Mister Calem work well together, yes?"

Shea stared at the coat, which even after the laundry room's attention showed scorch marks, a few less identifiable stains, and a great many cuts and tears. Giving the unmoving girl one last brief look she left without another word.

After Shea scurried out the door he gave a little laugh before noticing the change in the girl's breathing. "Go ahead and open your eyes Mystery Girl, I can tell you're awake." Her breath froze for a moment before she gave a hint of a smile. A second later her eyes cracked open. Royal Gray eyes, just like he'd heard from the doctor. If not for the whiskers and pointed ears he might almost think her a royal. Those eyes, even if her hair was a bit too close to brown instead of a proper Royal Red. But no Royal would suffer being modded as he, and clearly she, had been. A freed slave? Impressive to be freed so young and so soon after being modded, she clearly hadn't been of age for long.

Moving her head slightly she gave the room a quick once over with her eyes. Then she looked at him, pausing at his collar. "Your keeper's doctor is good. Thought I was dead." She sat up with only a single groan and shaking arms, "Instead I just feel like a house fell on me."

"I'm told it was close. Only a few more minutes and..." he shrugged. "Doctor Davina is good, she's Lady Dwyer's own doctor. Still, when I saw her picking you up you looked dead."

Slipping down from the windowsill Flann walked over to the table and uncovered the tray. "Are you hungry? If you aren't or, myaa, maybe don't want the broth?" While he asked he pressed a button on the intercom panel to let the others know she was awake.

She sat up a little straighter and scooted closer to the headboard so her pillow was supporting her back. He sighed as she sat, "You do want it?" Unfolding the short little legs on either side of the bed tray he carried it over and sat it over her lap. "Fine, let the cat starve."

She simply shook her head. Not even flinching when he tried giving her the same toothy grin he'd given Shae. Smiling right back at him even if she showed less threatening teeth. "No. It doesn't look like you're keeper is letting you starve and I am."

He laughed while she pulled the tray a little closer and gave it a possessive look. Her hand froze halfway to her glass of juice and she frowned. Speaking so softly in the next moment he could only make out a few clear words. They weren't English, or any of the other languages he'd been taught. He thought it perhaps a prayer, but then at the end he clearly heard her whisper 'damn hawthorn,' which was a strange way to end a prayer no matter the faith.

"Oh! Where are my manners, I'm Flann, I was asked to watch and let the doctor and Lady know when you woke. You know, because cat and curiosity and all that." Let her think him strange and harmless, just in case.

She finished nibbling on a steamed carrot and gave him a smile, "Cody." Shy bit off the tip of her croissant and froze. A soft hum of pleasure reaching his ears a moment later. "'s real! I mean really real, with all those layers and layers of butter. I didn't think anyone made these anymore. I haven't had these since school what with the world falling apart."

She looked at the tray and strangely at the lights. "But your keeper," she paused to finish off the croissant and gave another hum, "it looks like she's doing well holding this place together." Her hand froze again with another steamed carrot halfway to her. "Say, your name, Flann with two 'n's? Not one like the dessert?"

"You've actually run into another Flann? With two 'n's? Huh, I thought mother just didn't know how to spell it."

"I had a great grandfather named Flann." Before he could answer that a new voice replied from the doorway.

"Really? Was he as nosy as my Flann?" He twitched at Lady Dwyer's sudden appearance but the girl, Cody just shrugged and answered.

"I couldn't say ma'am. I only saw the charts in school, I never met my mother's side of the family."



It had been a strange morning but not waking up dead wasn't something she'd complain about. Waking up healed, in a bed with silk sheets and a flawless breakfast waiting? That was running up quite the tab. But still nothing to complain about.

Flann jumped slightly when the woman appeared at the door and soon he bowed to the woman before turning back to her, "Cody, may I introduce my Mistress, Lady Dwyer, Baroness Great Falls."

Baroness? Well the woman seemed to be doing well enough and at least she wasn't arrogant enough to lay claim to being a queen or empress. "My thanks for your hospitality, it's been lacking in the world these last few years." There was something about that name... turning her mind to it she saw that genealogy chart in her head again and laughed, clutching her side as that upset something not quite fully healed yet. Even with the pinch in her side it took her near a minute to stop and catch her breath. "Dwyer? That's a coincidence, another coincidence? Grandfather's whole name was Flann de Dwyer."

She heard a sharp breath and turned back to the Flann who was in the room, finding him staring at her from the side of the bed. "Okay. So it wasn't really funny. I just fought a wannabe god and lived, give me a--"

"Where did you hear that name."

"In school, I just said that didn't I? There were genealogy charts I got to look at. Flann de Dwyer and Clarissa Carrington, who had a boy named--"

"The truth!" Flann leaned in closer, grabbing her hand that she'd been tracing the remembered chart in the air with, "Where did you really--"

"Flann!" Then man froze at his keeper's voice, "Let go of her hand and sit. You are scaring out guest."

He let go of her and stumbled back sitting against the wall. The lady watched him until he sat then looked back to her. "Are you hurt?"

"N-no ma'am."

Lady Dwyer looked at her a moment longer before turning her attention back to Flann. "Explain yourself, now."

"Mistress! You heard her, she's claiming to be related to me."

She was tempted to point out she'd not actually said that. But letting others argue had given her free information in the past. That and both were being rather intense.

"Flann, that is not what she said. What set you off, you've never done this before."

"That's just it! I've never told anyone any of this before. I don't know where she heard that name but I never told anyone about those dreams!"

Cody blinked at him and spoke up anyway. "A dream? Look, I've had some crazy dreams before but really, you're yelling at me over a dream?" Oh damn, not a prophetic dream. Those never came without pain.

He didn't answer her so after several seconds she gave a frustrated sigh, "I'm claiming nothing but what I saw on a chart, okay? Look, I know we can be long lived, but you don't look nearly old enough to be my grandfather let alone my great grandfather so don't expect me to call you either anytime soon."

More silence followed so she turned her head to find Flann and Lady Dwyer both staring at her. "What? He doesn't look much older than me. I mean sure his change is more obvious than mine, but unless he's actually masked to look that way he isn't much older than I am, right? I'm only twenty-four, you?"

The silence stretched a little longer before Flann answered, "Twenty-seven."

"Right, so clearly you're not my grandfather, great or otherwise. Look, prophetic dreams suck. I've only had one and even with that few years warning I still..."

"Her parents, Ariadne and Malachi?"

Damn. She pictured the chart and said it aloud this time, "Damn." How could he know? There was only one crazy explanation she could think of. That returned god liked making portals, perhaps... She looked around the room again trying to find anything that might refute it. "Humor an eccentric girl and tell her what year it is?"

It was the baroness who answered this time. "Twenty-fourteen. February twelfth of twenty fourteen."

"Well crudpuppies. So much for time travel and preventing the apocalypse." She turned her head towards Flann, "Clarissa's son was named Ardan, and I'm still not calling you grandfather." He didn't yell again or laugh. He simply stared.

"I didn't... I thought there were just dreams. Comforting dreams, I'd only just," he waved a hand at his face and flicked his ears, "I didn't think anyone would want me after that, but I saw her in my dreams and she said I was lovely and... I had those dreams for a month. They always felt so real but then I'd wake up in my cot and I knew it had to be a dream."

She supposed it was bound to happen eventually. Even if her mother had refused to tell her anything about her side of the family. "I thought I was done finding surprise relatives once I graduated. Unless, yes, I'll call you a paradox relative instead of surprise. And what's wrong with your change anyway, it's got that whole 'I be scary predator, fear my claws of doom,' thing going for it. Me, all I got was cute, cute doesn't scare the monsters."

Flann's ears flicked back, "Just because I'm male doesn't mean I don't care about having children."

"Oh, that. Anyone halfway decent with Idu and Tlacatl should be able to check on that for you. And if you really are the Flann on the chart, well that answers it too."

"What does that even mean? She said those words too but when I asked she just said they told her I wasn't sterile and, well, the dreams did a good job of distracting me after that."

"If your keeper isn't telling you about Words I'm not sure it's my place..."

The Lady spoke up again, "And if his owner would like an explanation?"

Cody gave the lady a frown, "Words of power? Magic? Like what came back and ended the world? Oh don't look at me like I'm crazy, you know what I mean, rains of fire, would be gods fighting in the streets... and you're still looking at me like I'm crazy... Where the hell is Great Falls that you haven't heard any news the last few years?"

"Dear, we are in Great Falls Barony, in the north east of Tir Na Cali. Being near the border I should expect to have heard if that was happening anywhere, if only to know to keep a closer watch."

"Tier where? Sorry, only Cali I know is of California, and other than media barons..." But Flann gave her a nod when she said California. "West coast of North America, California?"

She almost gave into the urge to start thumping her head against the wall when another nod answered that, instead muttering, "Fuŝado! Mi pensas ke mi malamas portaloj!" At Flann's flicked ears and tipped head she translated. "I said I'm starting to hate portals. I thought I was just 'dropped in a foreign land' lost, not 'riding a tornado and tossed down a rabbit hole' lost. Ma'am, you are in charge here?

"You understand correctly.

"Just so we both understand, as much as I appreciate the healing there is only one person whose collar I'll willingly take and nice as you seem you aren't her. And I need to get back to my family somehow."

"You wish aid returning home and a place to stay until that may happen."

Cody nodded and prepared to negotiate. Stuck in an unknown place with previously unknown relatives if dubious friendliness. Joy, it would be high school all over again.

Date: 2014-04-22 12:55 pm (UTC)
aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (Default)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
*bounce bounce bounce*

Date: 2014-04-23 01:33 am (UTC)
thnidu: edited from img383.imageshack.us/img383/3066/ss35450qf7.jpg (smiley)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Multiple wows.

My inexorable built-in spellchecker+ noticed some things. Do you want to know about them?

Date: 2014-04-25 06:12 am (UTC)
thnidu: Red pen. Text: The red penis the editor's friend; editing mark "insert space" in "penis". from lj:stormsdotter (editor's friend)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
You may regret that… ;-)

format:
quotation from story
change (relevant part) to
> comment


• in the form of living art made meant few in the household
→ living art meant

• slipped off the table. Keeping well out of her reach
→ table, keeping

• But that voice of hers reminded him of his mother's making her far more terrifying than the worst of his trainers.
→ mother's, making
> As it is, this sentence led me down a garden path, thinking that his mother had made her(self?) far more terrifying...

• Whoever she fought she emptied a rifle and a pistol, and used at least a dozen knives on them.
→ fought, she
> (How would he know how many knives she'd used, as opposed to how many she'd been struck with?)

• Shea gave the him a dubious look so he pointed over to the tattered remains of a coat hanging on the far wall then back at the girl.
→ Shea gave him
→ dubious look, so
→ far wall, then

• Giving the unmoving girl one last brief look she left without another word.
→ look, she

• "Go ahead and open your eyes Mystery Girl, I can tell you're awake."
→ eyes, Mystery Girl

• Moving her head slightly she gave the room a quick once over with her eyes.
→ slightly, she
→ once-over

• She sat up with only a single groan and shaking arms, "Instead I just feel like a house fell on me."
→ arms. "Instead, I [fix run-on, and add comma]

• Slipping down from the windowsill Flann walked over
→ windowsill, Flann

• She simply shook her head. Not even flinching
→ head, not

• when he tried giving her the same toothy grin he'd given Shae. Smiling right back at him
→ Shea, smiling
> 1: spelling of "Shea". 2: fragment

• It doesn't look like you're keeper
→ your

• Shy bit off the tip of her croissant
→ She

• and froze. A soft hum of pleasure reaching his ears
> EITHER
→ froze, and
> OR
→ reached

• the girl, Cody just shrugged and answered.
> Either bracket the name with balanced commas --
→ the girl, Cody, just
> or don't use them --
→ the girl Cody just
> (or leave the name, or "the girl", out completely).

• Flann jumped slightly when the woman appeared at the door and soon he bowed to the woman before turning back to her, "Cody, may I introduce my Mistress, Lady Dwyer, Baroness Great Falls."
> I'd expect him to turn to his Mistress and bow at once. "Soon" implies a delay. And it sounds as if he's turning his back on her to address the prisoner. I suggest
→ at the door. He bowed to her. "Cody,

• Baroness? Well the woman
→ Well, the woman

• "Where did you hear that name."
→ that name?"

• "Flann!" Then man froze
→ The man

• You are scaring out guest."
→ our

• He let go of her and stumbled back sitting against the wall.
> This looks as if he stumbled back _while_ sitting. Better would be something like
→ stumbled back, to land sitting

• The lady watched him until he sat then looked back to her.
→ sat, then
→ to Cody.

• That and both were being rather intense.
→ That, and both were
> OR
→ Besides, both were

• to be my grandfather let alone my great grandfather so don't expect me
> Comma after "grandfather" (either one, or both of them)

• More silence followed so she turned her head to find Flann and Lady Dwyer both staring at her.
> When did she look away?

• I mean sure his change
> Comma after "sure", or before if that sounds more right to you.

• I've only had one and even with that few years warning I still..."
→ few years' warning [apostrophe]

• "Well crudpuppies.
→ "Well,

• "I didn't... I thought there were just dreams.
?→ they were just

• would be gods fighting in the streets
→ would-be

• in the north east of Tir Na Cali.
→ northeast

• "Fuŝado! Mi pensas ke mi malamas portaloj!"
→ portalojn!"
> Ĉi tie necesas akuzativo.

• Ma'am, you are in charge here?
> Add close-quote

• "You understand correctly.
> Ditto.

• there is only one person whose collar I'll willingly take and nice as you seem
→ take, and nice

Date: 2014-04-23 10:19 pm (UTC)
natf: (Default)
From: [personal profile] natf
Iiiiinteresting…

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lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
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