Story / World: LEC 1
Title: Doing Patience
Prompts: Blueberry Yogurt #2: homecoming.
Characters: Libris, Tabitha, Seradoc.
Toppings / Extras / Other: Chopped Nuts.
Notes: This is actually from May. I decided to finish posting Blueberry Yogurt before I get into the Dark Chocolate mess (so there will be a gap of about a week where we aren't doing AS, which is most of Blueberry Yogurt and all of Toasted Almond, but that will give me time to write Toasted Almond I guess and then we will have postingness.
Sometimes the only thing you can do is act like you can do is act like you know what you're doing; well, all right, also you can hope the universe won't prove you obviously wrong.
To a certain degree, most of us, most of you, do that all the time. I've never had much experience at it, though, even before I died.
I caught up with the Lady of Order at the end of a length of shelves phenomenal even for the Library, these all bound in gray and blue. She was a few steps past having rounded the corner when I skidded inelegantly past her and tried, then, to appear to have been going for a dark green book about what seemed to be the first law of motion and how it applies as a constant to magical and less magical worlds.
There might have been the very smallest trace of a smile on Tabitha's face then. I threw off a rather odd salute and “Milady Tabitha”, and then she turned back.
Well, I thought. Okay.
“Librarian,” she said, cold but she always is (Seradoc runs too warm, she runs too cool, between the two of them they could maybe manage an ounce of stability and normal humanoid consciousness). “I will have you know, as you already do, that I am not yours, and I would prefer you did not refer to me as such.”
Saying something innocent with a heavy ladleful of what I think is called insouciance when you're fancy is pretty much a cliché. Me, I like doing the opposite. “It's just a formality, Lady.”
“You above all should know the importance of words. Speaking of which, 'lady' is barely mine in the first place.”
Coordination, like reverse sarcasm, is a lovely thing. I can nod, shrug, and pull the book the goddess didn't know she wanted off an indefinite shelf, all at the same time. And I did. “Consider me duly chastised then. This is yours,” I added, handing her the book, “I mean, not really yours but it's what you wanted. And, look. I think this conversation went wrong, it was probably me, so--” I bobbed my head, arms crossed over my thin green book “--how do you do?”
She smiled, this time, fast but she really did. Her teeth were sharp, and very white. “As I do.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Of course. And--” I'd never been good at small talk, and sparing myself just a little. “Look, I have a question, all right? Why do you wear those glasses?”
There was a slightly worrying pause. The Library does not tolerate cricket-sounds, but when I was anxious I heard the books whispering to each other, all up through the sky and below that. The Library's formed of information humming to itself that this is what it is and why and remember, and yes it is beautiful but it would also turn my mind to warm oatmeal and oddly enough hot cereals aren't the best sorts of things to think with.
“When I was a human child I could never see clearly. When I came here I could see, but that was, to me, impossible; so I found a concept to attribute it all to and by now I rather like them.”
The thoughtful finger pushing up my own glasses as I listened was, of course, entirely unrelated.
“But you could have found that out through your Book, Librarian, and easier as well.”
Quietly, I said, “I wanted to hear it from you. 'When [you] [were] a human child'?” I liked the bracket trick, really, though I wondered if it was lost on her.
“Do not ask me questions you know the answers to, Librarian, you will try my patience.”
Do or do not, I thought, stifling a snigger, there is no try. (Though I was not sure how to “do patience”, really.) What I came out with, though, was, “And the gems on them? What's that for?”
And again she smiled. “Thank you for the book, Librarian.” Then she walked away.
I considered shouting something like I have a name you know, but my name in her mouth seemed like a bad idea if one ever was.
- - -
When I got back to the table I considered mine the relief almost made my knees give out. I didn't know why, when the rest of the Library was home, that bit was so much more home (although, of course, I did writing work there; but that was because of the home sort of feeling, not a cause of it), but I really did appreciate the way it affected me, and would have appreciated it even more just then if Seradoc hadn't pulled up a chair and been sprawling in it, paging through something I was sure I didn't need his hands on.
“Oh shove off,” I said in one casually furious (that's yet another neat trick if you can pull it off) half-breath. Instead he turned into a blue-black cat and curled up on my desk.
“Or I can work with that, I guess,” I said.
Story / World: LEC 3
Title: She'd Say: The Things I Do For All These Oaths
Prompts: Blueberry Yogurt #8: an inconvenience.
Characters: Libris, and this random Cil girl (Maya?).
Toppings / Extras / Other: None.
Notes: I'm not too sure why this is in past-tense. Or what Libris thinks she's doing. Er. (I believe I wrote this due to random stabbing pains around where Libris got randomly stabbed. Sometimes I am very unimaginative as far as what kind of grevious bodily harm to inflict on characters, I know.)
Having a large knife lodged in your sternum somehow isn't really very comfortable. I shifted awkwardly, trying to see how I could get it out.
The thing looked like a household sort of knife, like the ones in most people with kitchens' kitchens, but it actually actively hurt: true Cilnar make, then. Also, ow. She really could throw.
She'd also turned her back to me and started going through somethings that rustled and smelled pleasant-ish. I found her behavior rather rude, really, and once I finally figured out the right angle and dislodged the knife with a jerk I leaned forward and said calmly, “I'm not a thrice-damned dartboard, you know.”
With a high-pitched little scream she jumped and left off what she'd been doing. “You should be dead!”
Her accent was unfamiliar, nice-sounding anyway – very heavy on the vowels – and not something I should be noticing as I smoothed down my now-bloodstained shirtfront and re-dyed vest. “That stain's going to be horrible to get out, also,” I offered mildly. “Hole's no big deal, though. Which is funny. I mean, aren't these things usually the other way around?”
Impolitely, she offered no reply. I shrugged a bit; really that sort of rudeness is to be expected from people who throw knives at you with a supernatural force and accuracy close to your own and then ignore you. Come to think of that:
“Really what did you think you were doing? I mean, you thought I was dead, right? What kind of person just stabs someone and leaves the body there, do you have servants to take care of murder scenes or something? Because I wouldn't much mind that job.” Thoughtfully, I added, “I could cause them for you too, give you the whole package!”
Once she'd backed up so far against the counter that her head was brushing one of the many cupboards and I was sure she must be experiencing severe discomfort at the way her spine had to contort (maybe it was almost as bad as a knife stuck in one's chest) just standing there, I realized all the while I'd been gesturing with the knife she'd thrown at me. That might not have been giving quite the right impression, I thought, but vaguely.
“Who are you and what are you doing in the House,” she managed to say, somehow combining the most annoying aspects of terror and snobbery in a way that came close to leeching all the prettiness from her voice.
That's not fair, I thought, she asked a question with out answering any of mine; still if pressed I could forgive her. Needs must, sometimes, and she'd already shown that she had few manners if any. “Oh, you know,” I replied lightly, “Breaking, entering, getting stabbed.” I got up and took a casual step towards her.
Cilnar are very strong and fast and can just generally do things humans can't, rather like me. But a knife buried up to the hilt (I mentioned strong, right? It bears repeating) in one's breastbone would still seriously injure a Cilnar, even their Fei. So I win there, of course.
She seemed to be getting an idea of how out of her depth she was, which was much fun to watch. Still, this was business, so I mostly ignored that and said, “I really don't like being stabbed. I'd retaliate but maybe just some information would do?” (I did my best to sound kind and patient. I just love dissonance.)
There was a reasonably long pause. Her eyes got bigger and my shirt dripped a little. Then she said, “What do you want to know?”
I grinned. Perfect.
And, part of my mind wondering about when I could manage to do something not related to my stupid oath to Amber for a while, I reflected on the fact that I had really only said that maybe information would do.
(If Jonathan wanted to complain about it, I figured I could grab his hands or something. That would stop him arguing fast. And of course it would be a deliberate act of war; but we were starting a war anyway, weren't we, so what was the difference?)