Rating: PG13 at the very least.
Story / World: Seer Trilogy book 1 - Amethyst Sky / LEC3
Title: But Amber Does Not Remember It Often
Counts for the Summer Challenge? Sure.
Prompts: Toasted Almond #28: blood bath.
Characters: Amber, Jonathan, Mina, Libris, some Cil of the two courts (more on that later).
Toppings / Extras / Other: Gosh, none!.
Notes: There's at least one more piece to this (Jonathan, Mina [I honestly swear I named no one in this book after anyone in Dracula, honest! No, seriously, I came up with them before I read it, it are coincidence like mad], possibly LIbris), and hopefully I will remember to write it sooner than, say, coming back to this in a couple months to index it and reading this annotation would imply. Er. Warning: sentence #3 is a very stupid reference, no, I mean, insanely stupid.
Amber remembers it in flashes, disconnected pieces. She remembers it in ways that are safe, insofar as anything about all of that can ever be called safe. (She could say: it killed safety and skinned it and now wears the skin, these days, so it's what she lives; but Amber finds that sentence to be morbid, violet, and self-pitying besides, and so she won't allow herself it.)
She doesn't dare try to forget, lest the events she can look at without flinching so much fog over and fade away. She has to remember.
These days she's sick of it. She has been for an age. That doesn't change anything, or help; it just makes her more annoyed.
- - -
Her, to Libris, before:
“Are you going to fight?”
Scrape, scrape, hiss, scrape. Libris looked up from running one blade of her scissors across a fingertip, ostensibly to sharpen it. Her expression was illegible – written in a different language with a different alphabet, chicken-scratch handwriting and very pale ink. Mandarin, maybe, or Greek. “You shouldn't ask stupid questions.”
The changeling nodded and tried to pat down her hair. She was slightly worse at that than at starting conversations.
“Okay,” she said. “Why?”
This time Libris didn't dignify the question with distraction, with a glance upwards, so if her mouth twitched Amber probably didn't see, and if she could see she likely didn't notice. (But she saw. But she noticed.) “Because I'm oath-bound to you. For now. Because the coming nightmare is partly my fault.”
“How could it be your fault?”
Libris smiled and shrugged with one thin shoulder. “I left. Oh, Amber? A word of advice.”
Ignoring her, Amber asked, “--and how do you know about my dreams?”
She stood up and turned towards Amber, who felt suddenly very, very short; the top of her shock of static-electricity hair came more or less to Libris' collarbone. Libris herself took a step forward and reached out, quite casually, one hand resting on Amber's upper arm, the other holding the open red scissors so the blade she'd been sharpening just barely brushed the hollow of Amber's throat.
“I know everything,” Libris said. “Here's the advice: If you have a demigoddess at your disposal ever again, much more so one of information ordered and perpetual its own sacred self, it could be smart to at least suggest that she present you with any knowledge she thinks might be helpful or relevant. That could help.”
Amber swallowed. “I order you to--”
“No.” Libris laughed, a very straightforward sound; hers sounded far more normal than Amber's own laughter. “It's soon going to be over, anyway.”
In the time it took Amber to blink, Libris was already walking away.
The changeling shivered, brushed a hand over where her collarbones met as she went to button her shirt up as high as it would go, and was left staring without comprehension when her fingers came away bloody.
After a while, the cut started to hurt, a thin bone-deep ache.
- - -
Breaking open the House:
It felt like a headache and a whirlwind and a hurricane of colours. Also like home. The impressions were too insistent to be pleasant, too fast to pin down, too thick and all-consuming to think through with any sort of semblance of logic.
So Amber did the only thing she could struggle through the treacle-slowness to think of: she shoved it away as hard as she could.
That was when the doors swung open.
“Well,” Mina muttered, “I suppose that is fine too.”
She didn't get an answer. Amber was too busy watching things unfold in her head – not learning but knowledge, the ingrained kind, so all she had to do was vaguely think of it. Apparently the House could tell she was family.
Amber wasn't able to go in immediately; everyone had to wait as she composed herself (and that was what it felt like, picking up the bits that were her and hers and fixing them back into a mind suddenly larger than before), one hand on the doorframe and half-afraid the doors would swing back and snap her fingers off. Her face was covered in a sheen of sweat.
From far away she heard Jonathan say, “That's not good, is it?” When no one replied he stumbled onwards. “I mean, for her to be like this before we even—”
“It's fine,” Libris interrupted. “No, better. It recognises her. If it didn't we'd be usurping.”
Without a word Amber opened her eyes and led them inside. She wanted to smile, but her face seemed to be stretched too tight against her skull and she couldn't. She couldn't even blink.
Behind her: “We're not usurping?”
“Oh, no, this is their normal succession.”
- - -
There was logic to what she had to do but it was a dream-logic and not, she thought, really worth listening to. She didn't need the strange, twisty justifications that, in places, made frightening amounts of sense; all Amber wanted was where they were going, what she was allowed to do, and what not be too smart.
The facts of the matter turned out to be that they were going to where the Courts happened to be meeting, since everyone was there and arguing about the succession besides, that the House would lead them there but would be required to also alert the Fei; and that Amber would be allowed to fight only with magic.
This last worried her; it was the only bit she wasn't too sure would work. Magic was a new thing to her, after all.
Their footsteps sounded very sure, at least, as the floor changed from wood to stone to carpet to tile and back again.
- - -
It took her shoulder against the door and her feet scratching fruitlessly at the stone floor before the door swung open that time. When it did it was all of a sudden, such that Amber was sent stumbling through with only one eye open.
“Hi,” she breathed, in the second of confusion before it all went to bloody chaos.
- - -
Mina was very good with a sword, Amber found. They fought side-by-side mostly, surely by luck and not by virtue of Amber having sought her out. There was blood speckled on Amber's skin, and Mina's face was white, but she was fighting. The blade was iron (Amber felt a bit nervous around it), that helped.
For her part, Amber was finding that she could turn Carrion kind to ash with a gesture. At least, she thought they were Carrion kind; the only way she had of knowing the difference was whether they disintegrated or not.
She'd thought at first that it was a specific thing she had to do with her fingers; then she realised it was just anything that worked, in her mind, as a trigger.
Now, mostly, she was flipping them off, and it seemed to work.
- - -
The battle itself is a haze in Amber's mind; after a little while the terror and gore got nearly monotonous, and then suddenly it was over.
What she remembers is, after they gathered around one dead man in particular and Amber saw him breathe, how she left and found her mother; and that they spoke, and that when she died, it was fast and as painless as her daughter could make it.
But Amber does not remember it often.
Story / World: Seerverse
Title: It Will Come Like A Wave, It Will Come Like Lemons (At First, Anyway)
Counts for the Summer Challenge? Uh-huh.
Prompts: Blueberry Yogurt #9: better off.
Characters: None in particular.
Toppings / Extras / Other: Butterscotch, describing that lovely apocalypse we have going.
Notes: A bit of how we ended up where we start. The narrator may be... I have no idea who the narrator might be, it's too omniscient to be anyone but Libris and it's not quite Libris' style. Well, okay, it's Libris' prose style, but she does train-of-thought mostly, she's not obligated to write things down anymore... I am so confused, let me tell you. Anyway! End of the world.
It happened all at once. Not just that, but in such a stupid way as well – which didn't mean it wasn't true, wasn't serious, just that this truth was (is) senseless and unfair.
Gods dream, sometimes. It makes sense that their dreams wouldn't stay in their heads. And a sick god (oh yes, beings of spirit and belief get ill, you can't imagine how badly) will have feverish dreams, which would be just fine if they stayed put in said god's head.
But the god of anarchy, of chaos, he dreamed an apocalypse, and our world went right along with him.
In those days technology was everywhere and everything. Everyone had a computer on their desk, in their pocket, in their fridge. No one really compared notes in the days before, or they might have seen it coming – something of everyone's was breaking. Cables snapped, bugs turned up, hard drives died in droves like the atmosphere had been turned into a giant magnet.
That was Thursday.
On Friday communications went out, and the real panics started.
On Saturday it was electricity, combustion engines, running water.
Then, on Sunday night, the words slid off all the pages of every book and they laid in still black puddles that melted away when sunlight hit them. (A few of them weren't touched by sun. A few of them were safe, but suddenly we had other concerns.)
Monday morning we woke up and the sky was purple, and we knew there was no going back.
Thus it is that four years after the now-Fei Amber Belaqua had this vision – the history books would say, were anyone inclined to write them – it came to pass everywhere but the City she still protected.
(An average citizen of the City might disagree as far as their relative luck went. Some of them tried to leave, even knowing that they'd lose everything, even after the death throes of the modern world weren't even twitches.)