[identity profile] al-shairan.livejournal.com

An August Evening; The Tower

My daughter is ready; and so am I. Matters have come into alignment. There have been various points throughout the history of this little lump of rock when stars, skies, oceans, calendars, however one marks time, have read that this is a time of Ending, rather then Beginning. Many have tried to make use of those times to bring about the end of all things, because ever since Man was made, he has longed to kill himself and others. But despite all the rumours to the contrary, I have not put my shoulder to the wheel of Apocalypse before now. Things have been done in one of my many names, but I have not led those attempts. Now is the time for finishing, and I will begin it. With blood, of course. It is always blood. It will be when the moon is darkest. That time comes soon.

For now, I see one of my acolytes cross the field to speak with me. This man thinks he wants an end to all things, but he barely understands what it is he serves. Poor fool. I am not much given to looking human, at present, but I put on something that will serve. A man's body, aristocratic in bearing. Flame lies just beneath the surface of its glassy skin. I will not be contained for long.

[open to Foxton]
[identity profile] managexcolo.livejournal.com
The long late days of summer, creeping toward the fall

COME, REAP, we said, three years ago now. (Our darling smiles with many sets of teeth, and we hold itherhim squirming - against our breasts, if we had them, we would.) There was a great cry in Egypt, and cried, ἐγώ εἰμι and so It is.

It was why we left Excolo, was It not? Because our old friend would not like our darling, and so we hid It from him. But we could feel the winds of change, and so let the road bring us back here: where all roads are intended to end.

Now it has come to that, we find we are not ready for the End. There are so many things we have yet to do. Motherhood has made us soft, haha, like butter, and we would like our precious to live longer, to taste dust in Its mouth of a world fallen silent, silent, silent through time, a tomb of stone and cobwebs. Not in fire and blood.

All the pieces are on the board, but our friend has not explained the rules of the game. Not very sporting, we think. But we plan to play our own game, and serve our own needs. Soon.

Happy birthday, darling.
[identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
A few weeks ago…

Ain't got no idea what he meant.

He didn't hardly say nothin' in the note 'cept he couldn't come back on 'count of havin' problems with Management. What's that mean? If Management wants to make problems with you, they could make all kindsa problems.

So I gotta go to him.

Leastways he said where he was gonna be.

Leastways he sent a note, 'stead of just goin' away.

Don't know whether to be surprised that he sent a note or not. Don't know what's like him or not like him, not even after all this time. He's still Tez, but he still ain't.

It don't feel like it used to when I'm near him. It don't pound in me, and it don't feel like I'm growin' bigger. I can't see the stars or pyramids or nothin', not 'less I try, and I don't think I should try. But there's still somethin' like before.

And it's still Tez. Sorta.

So I gotta go see him.

[Open to Tez]
[identity profile] atrarosa.livejournal.com
Early July

It's such a bright warm day. I swing myself on the swing in the park. I'm big enough to do that now, I don't need Mama or Kent to push. And sometimes I like to be by myself these days. I've got a lot of things to think about. Sometimes I feel so sad and scared, but I push it down so Mama can't tell. I'm good at hiding things. Father showed me how.

I climb off the swing and dust down my dress. I should get home. Mama will be home from work soon.

[Open to Wanda]
[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com
One week later

Our life has become a happy haze of the sort that I had nearly forgotten.

Sleep comes in small snatches between times when Marie needs to eat - and sometimes even smaller, if Luc has a nightmare or simply decides that he does not wish to sleep when it is bedtime. And during the day, all is exhausting joy, with Luc chattering away and asking if Marie can come play now,

Valmont does what he can, and so does Alice, and Nu and Kate and others come to help as well, and yes, it is easier to handle the second time around! But still, there are moments of deep exhaustion for all of us.

Sometimes I cannot sleep at all, though, not even then, for sometimes I feel that I must look at Marie while she sleeps. I must watch every twitch of her tiny perfect fingers and every scrunch of her little mouth, and embed them all in my mind so that I might always remember them.

But other nights, I fall instantly to sleep. Like now.

[Open to Nanshe]
[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com
Everyone says that it is easier the second time around. And it is, I suppose, for I already know what to expect. And it was briefer, for which I am grateful to all the gods!

And safe and healthy, for Nu was watching over me. Her calm voice, her soothing ripple of words, her kind hands - and, of course, the magical aid that she gave. I knew more certainly than I ever did with Luc, that I would be safe and so would the baby.

But there is no amount of preparation that can make it easier when you are handed a tiny human being, and told that you are responsible for everything. Feeding, cleaning, teaching. Turning them into a good person - that is your job. Making thousands upon thousands of choices that will shape them, choices that will cause joy or grief or fear or reassurance to a person who depends upon you utterly.

That is never easy. But oh, it is sweet.

As Nu steps out, I lie back against the pillows, my arms wrapped around the little bundle of blankets and warmth, and feel the joy seep through me as I hold my daughter.

Our daughter.

[Open to Valmont]
[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Evening; late. June 30th
The Mayor's front porch

Can't sleep. Wish I could. I'm tired. Not just 'it's been a long day' tired... no. It's a "my mind won't freakin' shut down" sort of tired. Thought sitting out here in the fresh air would help, but it's not.

Went over to the Carnival to talk to their management. At least, I think I did. I know I went over, I know I was admitted to a very normal looking wagon... and I remember walking away from it. As for the meeting? Fucked if I can recall a single damn thing we talked about. Only that some of the people working here looked... relieved when I came out.

So. I guess that went as well as I could hope?

Rose has been disappearing more and more. I wish I could chalk it up to wanting to be independent and out on her own to explore... but firstly she's three. Most other children her age would be learning to speak in broken sentences, put on their own clothes. My daughter was reading The Canterbury Tales... in middle English. Secondly---

her sire has been like a howl in my head. I have the sinking feeling she has been going to find him. Which is more worrisome than... well, everything.

Tired and worried enough that I can't shut out the music anymore tonight. Song after song filters through, but not enough to cover the howl of the desert from the North of town. With a sigh, I close my eyes and lean my head against the railing.

(Open to Rose, Kent, or anyone familiar enough with the family to drop in late)
[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Going on midnight
Outside of town

It was a big sign, bigger than I realized for all the times I must have passed it.

Welcome to Excolo
Population: 4500

est deus in nobis

The town had it re-done in the last two years, new wood and a in-lay of a sun rising over green fields.

Very cheery.
Very welcoming.

What a lie.

Training with a sword helped, but it almost took everything I had to chop it down. By the time I have it reduced to a pile of timbers, the axe nearly slips from my hand, my arms shaking and trembling like jelly. I toss it to the side and perch myself on top of the wreck. I brought a bottle of The Tavern's best fire whiskey with me, and I take a deep pull from it as I sit.

Est deus in nobis.

"God dwells within us." I murmur to no one, finding I am having a very odd craving for a cigarette. I wonder how many gods actually dwelled here, or still do. I wonder who might be gods in hiding, or who has it within them to aspire to godhood.

I wonder what Rose's father plans, and so much more importantly; I wonder if Rose has any idea of father wants her for, if she knows? Oh, my Rose.

I shake my head, and leap off the pile of wood. Something in me died today, or awakened. Not sure which. But once I realized I could not leave, and may never leave...

The whiskey is poured over the sign. What is left of it. I pull out a box of matches from my pocket, and light one. It's bright and vital in the dark, and it makes a lovely picture as it arcs across the sky---

The pyre is bright, it is swift, and it is right. The ground is wet enough, and it burns quick enough that the flames will not spread. Nod my head, as if this could bring some sort of satisfaction. I am ready for whatever comes, even if it is the end. I just want it over with.

I turn to leave when I hear a gasp and a shuffle of feet behind me. I turn back to see a wandering vagabond, looking from me to the sign. "Excolo's closed." I say simply, and smile as I swing the axe over my shoulder. "Try Dry run, it's about 40 miles that way." I offer as I turn and head back to town. My town.

The only town.

Abandon all hope...

[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Saturday the 23rd of June
Afternoon, on the road

Don't care if it's a little too warm for my tastes. Don't care that it's raining on and off and I'll get wet. I have to know.

Tommi let me borrow one of her horses. Now that her grandson has been born and thrived, she rides back and forth to Oakridge more often. The ride is a straightforward one, and I should get there at an easy pace within two hours, maybe three. It's a whole day wasted to just ride out and back...

but it's the riding out that's so damn important.

Rose, Kent and I spent our Saturday morning at the market like we always do, then I changed into jeans and a t-shirt, strapped on my sword, kissed them both and headed over Tommi's with a promise to be careful. Tommi was waiting with Spirit saddled and a hundred questions in her eyes. Thankfully, she did not ask any of them.

I head out, and although I can ride, and I have... it has been quite some time since I have ridden more than the town limits. Once we cross the bride and pass the carnival, I nudge Spirit and we take off into a gallop. It feels wonderful, this freedom as the farms drift by. We're getting towards the edge of town limits and the rain starts coming down softly, but it's fine. Spirit moves easily and even though we've slowed we're still moving at a good clip. Smile and tilt my face up to the sky, letting it get wet even as the sun tries to peak though. The road rolls on and I feel something close to exhilaration, for we must have passed town limits. It's been over a hour now, we must have left Excolo. I've left Excolo...

I make a noise something close to what could only be called a 'whoop' and urge Spirit to a run. I'm out, I'm Out, I'M OUT! Think I may be laughing and crying at the same time as I crouch low over Spirit's back and we race up a rise and crest the hill---

Spirit skitters to a stop and rears up on her hind legs, whinnying sharply. I manage to stay saddled and it takes a moment to figure out what spooked her so.

There, up the road... The Kincaid farm. And past that, on the horizon... the water tower. I am back in Excolo, beyond all rational explanation as to how.

"God damn you." I whisper under my breath as I stare at the rise of white in the distance.

[identity profile] kent-whitman.livejournal.com
Sunday, June 17th
Past midnight, on Silk

Continued from here

Shit. It's today. I knew it was today, what? Two weeks ago? But somehow, the fact that today is Wanda's birthday escaped me. But only slightly. I already have a present, and Rose and I planned on waking up early to make her breakfast...

but had I remembered I might not have stayed out quite so late tonight, wandering about and stopping to have a drink or four with some of the guys from my crew.

So with a bottle of strawberry meade in hand, I decide it might be time to get my sorry and bruised ass back home and to my lovely wife, silently thankful she likes to sleep in on Sundays.

[identity profile] kent-whitman.livejournal.com
Saturday the 16th of June
After dark and late, the Bridge of the Pontalier

The lights of the Carnival are rather mesmerizing in the moving waters of the river. I think I've been standing here for at least fifteen minutes; slowly smoking a cigarette and staring at the dark waters. It is late enough that I am nodding and murmuring to people as they are leaving the show and heading towards their homes, and not towards the bright lights.

I am not headed anywhere in particular. Wanda got that look in her eye several hours ago. The look that suddenly changes her from 'Wanda' to 'Mistress'. Rose went to bed, and I went to the basement where I happily spent the last few hours. I have discovered that afterwards I do seem to enjoy a cigarette and a walk. Maybe I shall stop at the Tavern for a drink... once I can sit properly. The memory brings a smirk to my lips, and I take a long drag from my cigarette to keep from grinning like a loon.

Some days, particularly today, my life is rather good.

[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com
Thursday, June 14
Valmont and Hermia's Garden

Well. This is going to be awkward.

But a bit of awkwardness is well worth the trouble, and worth the greater good if we can turn Mab aside from the path that she is on. If we can win her back to the path that I know she wants to follow, but has gone astray. This person who delights in violence and bloodshed - that is not my friend. Not the person who took me in when I first stumbled into this town; not the person performed my wedding.

If there is any chance that I can possibly call Mab back to herself, I must do it.

And, in truth, I should have done it long ago.

So we are setting out tea and cakes and lemonade in the garden, and sending Luc up for his nap a bit early so that he will be out of the way.

(Well, more precisely, we are sending him up to his room. Whether he will sleep is another question entirely. More likely, we will come up to find a very awake littleboy amid a maze of pillows and blocks and a long elaborate story about what it is. But at least he will not be here.)

I waddle about the table (dear gods, I did not think I could get any larger, but apparently, I can!), setting napkins and silverware in their proper places while Valmont fetches the food. And the wheels of my mind spin, and I wait.

[Open to Valmont and Mab]
[identity profile] al-shairan.livejournal.com
Evening of Tuesday, 12 June; The Tavern of Hell

It is these pauses that are our undoing. It is then that sedition enters the fortress and our troops rise in insurrection. Once before he had paused, and love with its horrid rout, its shawms, its cymbals, and its heads with gory locks torn from the shoulders had burst in....

I wore this body here once. It was a wet night; I remember how this body stumbled, a knee going down into the dirt. The witch's mouth on mine, tasting of cigarettes. I was grieving for the Night Wind then; I am always grieving for him, it seems. Or myself. It is a fine line.

That grief was for how he had betrayed me, what he had made me feel. This grief... If I did not know better, I would say it has a taste of regret to it. That is a different savour than other sorrows; a bilious feeling, a sick pain under the ribs.  (Bodies are so useful for these articulations.) Something that feels regret can feel remorse, and that can lead to reconciliation; and those are things I will never have.

I thought I had known sorrow; but these feelings are - different enough in a way that is... unbearable. I have endured for so long. But not for much longer. I have decided to move matters on apace, faster than I planned. I had thought to wait until Rose was ready for her first blood; the symbolism appealed. But though I think she would reach that in three years, I am impatient now, as I have not been in a long time.

Come, reap.

I pick up my glass and drain it.

[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Monday, the 11th of June
The Dormouse, afternoon

I have found, quite curiously, now that I am no longer surrounded by tea I want a cup almost every day. It might be because it is no longer work; but I would bet that it has more to do with the way Hope blends them. It's like she has a sixth sense about what will taste good together.

It's raining and blah and I have no interest in being 'Mayor von SacherMosch' today. I just want to sit and have tea and sweets and not be in charge of anything. So much so I forgo all the pretty dresses in my closet and opt to wear a pair of old, comfortable jeans and a t-shirt I found at the flea market. I have no idea why anyone would want a shirt advertising hardware, but the 'Pretty Hate Machine' part amused me greatly.

With my hair up in a pony tail and a walk that clearly states "I'm off the clock!" I head over to The Dormouse for lunch. I silently pray it's not too busy as I shake raindrops from my hair and push open the door.

[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Saturday, the 9th of July, Early afternoon
Tavern of Hell

I've already been up for several hours now. Did the rounds at the market, and it looks as if we'll be a go for expanding to Fridays as well come the end of the month. Most of the stall owners and small farms are able to make it, and the towns people seem equally excited.

The council voted to renovate the outlying barn into a secondary school, and besides the initial grumblings and panic, there has been no trouble from the carnival. Those that worried just stay away and the newer residents to Excolo find it a thrilling diversion from the every day.

Kent is at home with Rose, there is no more official town business that needs attending to, no one looking for me...

The Tavern is not busy yet. I suppose it will be in a few hours, but right now it is just empty enough that I can enjoy some of those rarest of moments; me time. Settled at the piano with a glass of meade, I can indulge the music in my head and let it out for a while. The townsfolk that frequent the Tavern used to laugh at the singing mayor, now they ask when I'll be in next. So here I am, letting whatever song wants to pop in my head out. Have to head home soon, but for now... it's just me and the music.

I find it looks the same, but everything has changed
I find remembering gets harder every day
Sometimes I still believe who I pretend to be
Sometimes, well everything's exactly how it seems

I see the color of your eyes turn to gray
I feel the wind is growing colder every day
Sometimes I open up the walls and disappear
Sometimes the crashing of the waves is all I hear

Ocean, help me find a way
Ocean, wash us all away

[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
"When I consider this carefully, I find not a single property which with certainty separates the waking state from the dream. How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream?” --- Rene Descartes

Tuesday, June 5th
The ballroom

"She's so big now, you would not believe she was only three." I laugh as we waltz about the dance floor with a fluid grace that only he and I had together. "Oh, I visit her every now and again." Lucien assures me with his easy smile as he turns me. "You certainly have your hands full." I cannot help but laugh. "She turned the house purple, purple! Do you believe it?" "She's your daughter, I would believe anything."

The music ends and we stop to bow and curtsy to one another before applauding the band. "Shall I get us some wine my dear, before that husband of your wakes you up and steals you away?" I smirk at him and swat his arm. "Stop it. He's perfectly nice and you know it. But yes, please." I kiss his cheek and he gives me a wink before head off to find the refreshments.

With a happy sigh, I gather up my skirts and wonder where Kent got to and why on earth he would wake me up when---


Look around and the head of long, blonde hair has disappeared. Like it always does once I realize I am dreaming. Where else would I see Lucien but in my dreams? Lucien is now just a memory, a very good one, that I can apparently make walk and talk. At least my subconscious can. Although sometimes I wonder if he's more than just a ghost in my head...

Enough speculation, for now at any rate. There are other's that are still here, that are not just memories. Those I can walk, talk and dance with, and it's more than just a memory of a friend.

"Damien?" I call out, finding a place to sit and wait as the band strikes up again. "Are you busy?" After all, what's the good of being all dressed up with no one to dance with?

[identity profile] kateohara.livejournal.com
[Continued from here.]

Dorian and Kate have had one of their regular trips to the market, where they chat and annoy one another in a friendly manner. Dorian lets slip that he's in love with Kate, and Kate admits that maybe she has feelings for him too. Now he's asking her whether or not it would be alright to kiss her goodbye...

"I'm sure you kiss a lot of your friends without it being a date," I say automatically, because teasing him's the easy thing to do, but then I bite my lip and think about it properly. "I think... a goodbye kiss can be allowed. You can't call it a date until I let you pay for coffee," and I smile at him, though my face is pink.

[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com
Monday, June 4
Hermia's Study

This is the hour that Alice and I have claimed for ourselves, in the middle of our busy days. Our work is both over for the day, and Valmont has Luc for his father-son time before the Whitechapel becomes busy.

Just as I have carved out time, I have carved out my little space - a tiny room that we put in during the renovations three years ago, that has become my study. Tiny, but just big enough for me to work on my magic, and for me to have my lessons with Alice.

So as soon as I have walked home from the library - or, rather, waddled home - I kiss Valmont and Luc, and go to the study to put my feet up and prepare for Alice.

Piece by piece, I set out the proper supplies on the table. Lemon-scented candles to help her focus, sage and verbena in silver dishes to bring out her magical aptitude while still giving protection. Once it is done, I call out to Chester, so that he can join us, and wait in the brief moment of peace.

[Open to Alice and Chester]
[identity profile] parras-siren.livejournal.com
Monday, 4th June
The cult enclave

I certainly haven't viewed the Carnival's return to Excolo with anything remotely approaching enthusiasm. I thought that it was finally out of my life - quite out! Like everyone else who stayed, I made my bargain with Management, and I have not regretted it for one single day. In the last while my life has been more pleasant and peaceful than I could have hoped for, and I have found a source of deep and abiding strength. Two, since I cannot describe my dear Polly as anything less than that!

I have become quite domestic in my own way, and have tea brewing as I know she'll be home soon. And then I can perhaps talk over some of my anxieties with her.

Open to Polly
[identity profile] kent-whitman.livejournal.com
Monday, June 4th
The cafe', afternoon

The waitress drops off another soda, and I flash her a smile and take a gulp before going back to my sketching. Spent the morning in my office, talking over the prospective ideas for expanding the school house. Now that the town is growing, there really is a need for more than just the one room. The question is; do we build on to the existing school, or build a whole separate building?

I've already sketched out the general idea for building the addition, and set that to the side. But there's a old barn not more than half a mile past the Dormouse. With the right floor plan and enough work, I think it could be converted into a beautiful school, probably for the older children. I find a clean piece of paper in my bag, and start tracing out the general shape. A large, open room, plenty of light, yes.

Besides the school expansion, I also have a meeting later this week with the Abbey. The Titus family just moved out of town, leaving behind their old mill up the river. No one has bought the property yet for it needs work, but if the abbey is looking to expand their cider production, I am sure a arrangement can be made all around. My mind is whirling as my pencil moves across the paper, the soft scratching of the graphite making a pleasing sound...

"Another soda, Kent?" What...? I look up at the waitress, only to realize a good hour has passed and I finished off that glass. "Yes, and may as well bring me a sandwich, too." I say as I sit back a bit to study what I've come up with so far. Not bad, not bad at all. I almost cannot wait to start actually building it.


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