December 9th, 2012

Elf

December Prompt Request

The Prompt Request is open from now (Sunday, 9 December, my time) until sometime Monday, 24 December, my time is now CLOSED.  Thank you to everyone who participated and I will keep writing till I've finished your prompts.

WARNING:  Prompts requesting seasonal weather are likely to get heat, mugginess, thunderstorms and a threat of bushfires because that’s Christmas weather where I live.  J

If you give me more than one prompt you need to know that I will work through the list in order starting at the top.

The rules and parameters:

1.    Each prompt will be:

a.    a short sentence or phrase;

b.    a story of mine posted to LJ you want to see more of – it does not need to come from a Prompt Request; or

c.     characters of mine from stories posted on LJ – they do not need to come from a Prompt Request.

2.   For each prompt I write to I will write 300±50 words.  If you want to see something I’ve done along these lines before, please see the results of my September and October Prompt Requests.  I have found that stories sometimes carry me away and you may get more than 350 words due to no fault of yours.

3.    I will write one prompt per person, unless you signal boost this Prompt Request or a story from it , in which case I will write an additional prompt per site/platform you boost on i.e. one prompt each on LJ, Twitter, Dreamwidth, etc, for each day of the prompt request you signal boost.  I am setting an arbitrary limit of 14 extra prompts per prompter from boosting.  You will need to tell me about your boosts because I am not across every site and platform.

4.   For each prompter I get, I will write 50 words in a prompting reward serial story;

5.    No fanfic, I just don’t know enough about enough current series and settings to do your favourites justice – give me a name or names and I promise what you get will not be the people you know and love; and

6.    Please, nothing that has to be porn – I have to be in the mood to write that sort of thing and I would like to be able to post these stories without warnings.  (Yes, I know, 1b & 1c could produce prompts that are almost like that.)

7.    For every ten prompt-based pieces I write I will I write a background piece on a world or character, subject to be chosen by audience poll.

Why am I doing this?  Practice!  Plus I’ve found that I enjoy the interaction with all of you.

And yes, there is a tip jar.  This is for extensions. I will write extensions at 500 words per $5.00.

1.    If I receive any money for extensions I can no longer be flabbergasted because that’s already happened but I will be very surprised. J

2.   For every $15 I receive for paid extensions I will write to one more prompt, chosen by those who have paid for extensions, from any ‘unsupported’ prompts received in the Prompt Request.  This will occur after I have written the paid extensions.  An ‘unsupported’ prompt is one which does not have a signal boost to support it.

If you are kind enough to give me more signal boosts than you want to prompt, I will use each of your ‘left over’ signal boosts to power another 50 words in the prompt reward story.

Please tell me where you’ve signal boosted as a reply to your comment giving me prompts.

Thank you for participating.




Prompt Extensions



Elf

Questions Answered And Raised

I worte this to lilfluff's first prompt, "More Nai and/or Ha-Ri."

“Well,” allowed Harry, “I have lived here almost all my life, which accounts for the accent.”

“It would,”agreed his Economics classmate Su Tai as she sniffed appreciatively at the dish he was putting on the table in front of the group.  “So, Ha Ri, this is real Diutsic food?”  She managed not to stumble over the foreign word.

“It’s as real as my mother cooks,” confirmed Harry.  “I don’t know if all Diutsic cooking has cinnamon in rice all the time, but my mother can’t cook the stuff without putting it in.”

“Smells good,” commented Tang Jun.  “Do we have to use forks?  Wouldn’t chopsticks be easier?”

The rest of the table howled him down and Jun picked up a fork like the rest of them once he’d served himself from the common bowls.

Once the meal was over and the cleaning up was done, the group got down to studying.  After an hour of Economics, Shan Mei practised her Literature presentation in front of them.  As she was the only one doing Chuan poetry in this, their first, semester they were the perfect practice audience.  After the clapping and the suggestions for improvement they went back to Economics for another hour.  After that, the study group broke up so they could get enough sleep before classes in the morning.

“Ha Ri, will you be coming to the movie marathon at the Student Union on the weekend?”  Han Rei was a movie buff and was trying to induct his study group into the mysteries of the classic noir.

“Sorry, I can’t.”  Harry hoped that he’d hit just the right note of regret.  “I’m working, both days.”

“What is it that you do?”  Shan Mei looked at him, perplexed.  “You work most weekends, often both days, and sometimes in the middle of the week.  Which isn’t really that much but you can afford this place on your own.”  Harry’s one bedroom flat wasn’t very large but most of them were sharing something of a similar size.

“I’m a very junior assistant gi referee and I’m trying to live on my honorariums.”  There, he’d told them.  How were they going to react?

A moment’s silence then Han Rei asked, “So, why are you studying Economics?  And why are you here and not at one of the really prestigious schools?”

Elf

Prompters' Story Part 2

The first part of this story is here.  It has been split because it got too large for LJ.

She let him blindfold her with his scarf, then he spun her around four or five times so she was dizzy when he stopped her. Then he took her by the arm, “Come along,” and led her off, the scarf still around her eyes. She could only imagine what the people passing them thought, she wasn’t even sure why she was letting Rhys do this. They crossed a road, walked a little farther then they stopped and Rhys warned her, “There’re a few steps here to get up to the front door.” He led her up the steps then they stopped again and she heard a door open. “In we go,” and he led her forwards again, maybe ten more steps.

“Can I help you, sir?” She didn’t know the voice but for some reason it didn’t sound to her like a waiter.

“Just a moment, we’ll uncover her eyes first.” Rhys undid his scarf and she found they were at a neat, plain and unlabelled reception desk with an open doorway behind the counter leading into another area beyond the partition wall. A young man with a short, neat haircut dressed in a white business shirt and grey trousers with a tie that was hideous enough to belong to an exclusive school stood behind the counter. She saw his hand twitch as if pressing something under the counter as Rhys told him, “I have a letter of introduction from Hajji Razzaq ibn Abdullah to the Master of this Chapter.”

“Certainly, sir. I’ll take it to the Master.” The young man’s voice also suggested that he’d gone to a very expensive school and he held out his hand.

“Thank you, but I prefer to hand it to him myself.” Rhys was still holding his companion by the arm as if he was afraid she’d run away if he let her go.
A second man, older and with a touch of grey to his hair came through the door. His trousers and coat were black but his shirt was white and his tie was just as hideous as his younger colleague’s. His voice sounded roughened as he asked, “Is there a problem?”

Rhys was about to speak when a blond, thick featured young man paused as he passed the doorway and took a second, hard look at the couple on the far side of the counter. “Ana?” He stepped forward, “That is you isn’t it, Anastasia?” He had an accent from somewhere within the German states.

“Klaus?” It was like a dam breaking inside her head. “You’re my cousin Klaus!” An enormous grin broke across her face and she turned to Rhys. “Rhys, this is my cousin Klaus. I’m Anastasia Hannelore Solana Herena Stannford!” Then, hampered by the fact he was still holding her by one arm, she stood on her toes, threw her free arm around him and kissed him.

The next little while was chaotic. It seemed that a lot of the people in the building knew Anastasia, whom they called Ana, and she had to counteract their attempts to separate her from Rhys by clinging to his arm. The chaos was calmed by the arrival of a tall, middle-aged man with a still powerful physique who simply had to glare around the room for the noise to settle down.

“Hello, Uncle Mark.” Rhys thought his companion’s greeting was very subdued to the way she’d been greeting everyone else she knew so he simply covered the hand on his arm with his own and squeezed it reassuringly.

“Anastasia,” the older man nodded. “Where have you been for the last four years?”

“Amnesiac and being told I was Karen Frockman.” She looked him squarely in the eye. “Did no-one come looking for me?”

“We could trace you as far as Bartleby, but then we lost you. We’ve weren’t able to find where you went from there and we have been looking.” He looked stern and possibly a shade defensive.

Ana thought for a moment. “I can’t remember Bartleby. The last thing I can remember before waking in the hospital and being called Karen is... having lunch in a café across the square from the cathedral in Rythorn.”

Rhys asked, “Have you been to Bartleby in the last four years?”

“No,” answered Ana thoughtfully. “The furthest I’ve been in that direction is the stone circle overlooking Queens Cross. I was going to go up to the Leap to see the Falls but there was a mob of sheep with a farmer on a tractor on the road, so I turned around and went home.”

“That would be the boundary in that direction, then,” said Rhys thoughtfully. “But you actually got to the stone circle?”

“What are you two talking about?” Ana’s Uncle Mark was beginning to look annoyed.

“I’m sorry,” replied Rhys. “There’s been a deliberate effort to keep her confined to a small district, presumably to stop her finding out who she really is. There was certainly an attempt to get us off the train to the city this morning, and I’m interested in the boundaries that were set on her.”

“Who are you?” The older man’s eyes narrowed.

“I have a letter of introduction for the Master of this Chapter,” was Rhys’ even reply.

“That would be me, Sir Mark Stannford. May I see it?” The older man held out his hand.

“Certainly.” Rhys handed over the envelope.

“From Hajji Razzaq ibn Abdullah? Interesting.” Sir Mark opened the envelope with his fingers, pulled out the letter inside and began to read. Several times he looked at Rhys with an odd expression and then went back to his reading. Finally he said, “I’ve heard of you under both names and didn’t realise you were the same person. The Hajji’s version of events is very different to the official story, isn’t it?”

“The truth is often complicated.” Rhys expression tightened.

Sir Mark indicated the letter, and asked, “So, what did you learn from your experiences?”

“Conversational and written Persian, a few spells and that I really don’t like vampires, or ghul for that matter.” Rhys gave a tight smile.

The older man probed, “And you are now longer in the Army? In any capacity?”

“That’s right,” Rhys nodded. “I’m no longer trusted. My version of events seems to make some people uncomfortable.”

“And what is your version of events?” Sir Mark asked the question impassively.

“Our government was tricked into trying to counteract the Caliphate’s suppression of a vampiric/ghul moiety in and around the city of Kara Amida. Once we got there, our ‘allies’ started picking us off as fodder and recruits. We lost half my platoon on our night first patrol, without ever meeting the Caliphate’s forces. The vampires and the ghul were enemies we weren’t expecting and weren’t equipped for. Three weeks after we arrived we knew enough about what was really going on, and there were so few of us left, that we warned off the resupply flights, destroyed the base and went to the Caliphate’s forces for help.” Rhys was looking into the distance of the past.

Sir Mark questioned, “Why not withdraw? Just return home as a unit.”

“Our command was compromised soon after our arrival,” Rhys shook his head, “not that we realised that at the time. Not all vampiric recruits went to their front lines, some were left in place to…shepherd the rest of us.”

“One of the first things your commander would have done on arrival,” said Sir Mark slowly, “would be to have a face to face meeting with the leaders of the group you were there to support.”

“Yes.”

“You were all doomed from that point on, weren’t you?” Sir Mark looked sympathetic.

“So they thought,” Rhys agreed. “I’m not the only survivor. Unfortunately, although we did our best, I can’t guarantee that some of the converted aren’t still walking around too.”

“You covered all of that in your debriefing?” It was a sharp question from the older man.

“Yes, but it was clear to me that they didn’t want to believe me.” Rhys smiled wryly, “Certainly I was pushed very firmly out the door of the Army as quickly as possible.”

“Which brings us to why you are here today. I think,” said Sir Mark with a smile, “that we should all sit down with a cup of tea and have a nice long chat about the state of play in your part of the world, don’t you?”

Sir Mark gave them tea in a room that could best be described as a “meeting-people office.” It had all the usual attributes of an office, including a desk and a certain amount of standard office equipment, but it also had four armchairs and two sofas, all upholstered in the same cabbage rose patterned fabric, and clustered around a coffee table. Rhys and Ana sat together on one of the sofas while Sir Mark played host from his seat directly opposite them with a silver teapot and a good bone china tea set. When everyone had tea and biscuits Sir Mark asked, “So, what seems to be going on?”

It was Rhys who answered. “A conspiracy to keep Ana within a set area that precluded her from finding out who she really is, that seems tied to a whiff of taint we’ve both noticed. The taint reminds me of the feel you get around a vampire that controls others, but that’s not quite it.”

“Vampires are rare in this country,” Sir Mark commented. “Those we do get have either taken great effort to import themselves or have been created by older vampires who did so. Statistically, it is likely to be something other than a vampire. Where do you think things are centred?”

“The area your niece has been confined to revolves around Wychbury. Until now she’s been no further on this direction than Market Tonbury, Hainton to the north and, as you’ve heard, Queens