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Rainbow Margay Mage

Welcome to my blog
I'll share my creative life
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I value friendship and good conversation.  I look forward to talking with you all. 

For the 2014 A-Z challenge, I'm doing ficlets in a new fantasy world, featuring catkin and other fantastic beings.  Here is the A-Z prompt list, with links to the posts as I write them. As I write this, I'm still hoping for prompts for many letters of the alphabet.  Thank you in advance for your questions, prompts, and comments!


You can find links to my flash fiction, to my serialized story, Fireborn, and to my poetry and songs over at my new (under construction) website, www.wyld-dandelyon.com.

You can also find some of my fiction, poetry, worldbuilding, and artwork over at www.tornworld.net, along with the fiction, poetry, world-building, and art of my talented co-creators there.


If you miss my old, long-winded landing page, you can find it and the landing pages for various projects by searching on the "landing" tag.


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I look forward to chatting with all of you!

Thoughts Upon This Summer Solstice

Rainbow Margay Mage
“Can I ask you a question?”

It was a fannish gathering some time ago, long enough ago that we still dreamed there might somehow be a lunar colony in our lifetime. That dream had been one of the topics of conversation that evening.

“Sure.”

“You’re Pagan, right?”

“Yeah.” I never made any secret of that fact in fandom, though I didn’t know why it had come up right then.

“So, you believe the moon is sacred?”

“Well, of course.”

“So, what do you think of people walking around on it, leaving footprints and stuff there?”

“People walk around on the Earth all the time, and that’s sacred too.”

* * *

Tonight, the world (or at least the part of it around me) is veiled in fog, beautiful and mysterious. Fog always makes me think of magic, of choices to make, of dreams that might be made manifest. Fog reminds me that our choices matter. Fog makes me want to dance, even if I don’t have a bonfire to dance around or a drum circle to dance to.

Of course, if I dance, I will leave footprints on the sacred Earth.

But I’ll leave footprints no matter what I do.

Everything we do shapes the world in some small way. Every footprint matters.

I breathe in the fog, raise my arms to the moon overhead, and start to dance, with intent: Let my steps bless the Earth, and let the Earth bless me in return.

A post of little importance

Rainbow Margay Mage
unless you play Flight Rising, of course.

here there be obscurred pictures of dragonsCollapse )

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Rainbow Margay Mage
Tom frowned at the handout, and then at the substitute teacher. Rebelliously, he raised his hand.

“Yes?” The teacher raised her grey eyebrows, an effect that was magnified and distorted by the thick glasses she wore.

“We can’t even see these ephemerals. What’s the point of studying them?”

“Can you see the flu virus?”

“I don’t want to see a flu virus!” That was really the problem. Tom wanted to see the ephemerals.

The girl next to Tom raised her hand, but didn’t wait to be called on. “We can see a flu virus in a microscope, or we could if we had a good one.”

“Very good, child.” The substitute teacher didn’t even pretend to be learning their names. “And it’s possible that someday you will be in circumstances that are, metaphorically speaking, like looking through a good microscope. If that ever happens—”

“Yeah, right.” Tom groused, just loud enough for the teacher to hear. The magical world was notoriously secretive, though the few magical folk who’d been interviewed on the news (their faces and voices distorted or masked) called themselves “private”.

The teacher rapped on his desk with an old-fashioned wooden ruler, and Tom jumped. Where had that come from?

“If you do ever see an ephemeral, and cannot successfully pretend that it’s not there, this knowledge might save your life.”

“I thought you said ephemerals are not dangerous.” The voice came from the back of the room.

“Not normally. But most situations that let ordinary humans see them are quite dangerous.” The old woman smiled then. “There won’t be a quiz, you know. Just life. If you don’t want to study, you don’t have to.”

The bell rang then, and Tom reflexively tucked the handout into his backpack. He darted out of the classroom, glad to be away from the creepy teacher. Very glad she was just a substitute teacher. He hoped he’d never see her again.

But that evening, he found himself looking at the handout, which was already yellowing like the pages of an old paperback. He pulled out the extra notebook his mother had bought him, and started copying it, word for word, intensely enough that he missed his mother’s dinner call. After dinner, he finished the copy, as if he had been placed under a compulsion. Finally, he closed the fragile handout into the notebook; he could check his work in the morning.

He dreamed of catkin that night, a jumble of fast-paced alley adventures that seemed chaotic and unlikely when he woke the next day. Night ephemerals were everywhere, watching the whole thing as if his adventures were their equivalent of TV.

When he woke, he reached for the notebook, planning to write down his dreams and re-read the handout, but there was nothing left but dust, except for his scribbled copy. By the time he found his pen, he couldn’t remember enough of the dreams to make it worth writing anything down.

“Wow.” Tom sat there, staring at his notes, wondering who—and what—the substitute teacher had really been.

He wasn’t surprised to find his friends remembered a cute young substitute teacher who had set them to read Macbeth aloud. The magical world was very private, after all. But it had reached out to touch him, and that gave him hope. Maybe, someday, it would touch him again.

____________________

Thanks to DreamWidth user ClareDragonfly for the prompt.

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Still tired, but -- look! Welcome dreams!

Rainbow Margay Mage
The fever is gone, though I'm still coughing and still napping way too much. However, at least I'm back to adventuring in my dreams.

Chaotically, mind you, but it's a lot better than sleeping bored!

Sick of being sick and tired of being tired.

Rainbow Margay Mage
So, I figure you folks deserve an update--I had big plans, once taxes were done, and as you have seen, or more precisely not seen, I haven't been doing the planned world building A-Z ficlets. Of course, I haven't been doing much except for sleep, taking pills, monitoring my temperature, and coughing. I am a lot better than I was on Easter, but am still getting up, making food to take my antibiotics with, and laying back down, exhausted, afterward. I haven't had energy for writing or Sketchfest (the 50th!); I've done some half-hearted re-reading of stories and some half-hearted computer games (with a ludicrous rate of dyslexic mistakes).

There will be more writing, I hope very soon. It's very frustrating, at least in theory, but mostly I'm too tired for even that. And if I can't even keep track of which colored bubble is next, I'd probably muck up any writing too. I don't feel so bad about abysmal gaming; I'd feel much worse about bad writing.

Oh, well, tomorrow I'll call the doctor and see if he's satisfied with my progress so far. I'm not done with the antibiotics yet, but if he has additional advice, I'll be happy to listen.

You all stay well! I don't want to share this misery.

F is for Familiar - a Catkin Ficlet

Rainbow Margay Mage
(With apologies to people who are waiting to see the E entry. This one comes next.)

The offer of hospitality, which included meat pastries, cookies, and milk, settled Jeri a bit, but left her no less baffled.

The human, Tom, verbally accepted the milk and a cookie, but left them sitting in front of him, untouched. “I—I don’t understand,” he said.

The old woman took a bite of one of her own meat pastries. “No, I don’t suppose you do, Thomas.”

His eyes widened. “How do you know my name?”

“You told us your name, or at least that you are Tom, while you danced.”

He blushed. “Yeah, or at least, I tried to tell Jeri.” Then his eyes narrowed, and he frowned. “But how did I know her name?”

The old woman took another bite of her food without answering him. “The two of you have a decision to make, and you should make it before you touch. The connection is already quite strong.”

“What connection?” Jeri thought the question, but the human spoke it aloud.

The old woman turned to Jeri. “You must have been searching, lately. One doesn’t come uncalled.”

Suddenly, Jeri understood. She nodded. “I sent out a call at the new moon.” The ceremony had been peaceful, lit by candles in colors signifying the qualities she hoped for in a companion.

“A call for who?” The man looked from her to the old woman.

“Not who, exactly.” Jeri looked more closely at the human. Here, inside, she could see his eyes were hazel, green and grey with flecks of gold. His skin was well-tanned and he wore a t-shirt sporting an image of a wizard with an owl on his shoulder. She shook her head. “I would have been less surprised by an owl,” she muttered.

“An owl?” He followed the line of her gaze to his own shirt. “You—me—an owl? You’re saying you were looking for a familiar? For real?” He didn’t look shocked, merely skeptical.

Jeri nodded. Now that she thought about it, she could feel the pull of her own spell. She could feel that they were a good match, magically speaking. “It’s—it’s not settled, you know. My spell only identifies a possible match. You can say no—or I can.” Jeri realized she didn’t want to say no. The spell pulled her to him, even though the obligation to support one’s familiar could be much more complex, and expensive, if she accepted a sentient being in that position.

“Having a human as a familiar is complicated in a lot of ways, for both the mage and the familiar.” The old woman poured herself more milk. “Unless one of you wants to bow out immediately, I suggest a temporary agreement. The traditional term is a year and a day, but you could also choose a moon phase, or a season.

“A year and a—are you talking about a handfasting?” The man frowned.

Jeri crossed her arms protectively. They weren't talking about any form of marriage—but she resented the implication that it would be so terrible to be handfasted to her.

“No.” The old woman shook her head. “Magically potent time periods are appropriate to a variety of different situations.” Then she cocked her head, as if reconsidering. “You know, normally I’d strongly recommend against even considering a romantic relationship—but you, young Tom, showed up at the courting dance. I don’t think that’s merely the coincidence of your given name.”

Jeri frowned. She wasn't about to be pushed into a relationship by the old queen, her own magic, or anyone or any thing else. “I’m not looking for a marriage-like relationship,” she said, very firmly. “Just for a familiar.”

The old woman nodded. “So, what other terms do you want to set?” She looked at Tom. “That question is for you too, young man. If you want to consider the position at all.”

Jeri leaned forward, “I will support you, as is traditional, if you say yes.”

Tom shook his head, and her heart dropped. “I can support myself, thank you.”

“So, you’re not interested?”

“I didn’t say that. But I can't really say if this is something I'd want, though I'm curious. I propose instead that we date—for a season, you said?” He turned his head toward the old woman again.

The old woman nodded. “That’s one of the options.”

“Then for a season. After that we can decide, if we want to continue, to continue as friends or as more.”

“Don’t get your hopes up.” Jeri frowned.

He laughed. “Too late. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the magical side of the world. And you're pretty." He saw the expression on her face and stopped. After a moment, he said, "Look—my friends will understand me dating a pretty new woman. I can’t tell them I’m no more than—than an owl or a black cat to you. That might go over with magical folks, I don't know. I'm betting if I'm to somehow aide you magically we'll be seeing a lot of each other, so..." He fell silent, then finished lamely, "This will let us get to know each other, right?”

“You make it sound so logical.” Jeri still felt the magical pull, but was almost certain this was a mistake.

He smiled, a much nicer look on his face than confusion or his earlier frowns. "Isn’t that what you wanted?”

The man was irritating, but if she turned this familiar down without even a fair trial period, she’d have to wait at least a year to try again. “All right, then. Let’s discuss other terms.”

___________

With thanks to kelkyag for the prompt.

P.S. I could still use a couple of prompts, over here.

D is for Dancing - A Catkin Ficlet

a wizard writing
Jeri sat on the rough bark, swinging her feet, ten feet up into the tree. She leaned down to whisper to Anya, who sat on another branch, her long white-blond hair gleaming in the moonlight. “I like the blonde tiger, I think.”

“He’s pretty, but look at the way the tortie moves. I think he’ll outdo the blonde.” They referred to the tomcats as if they were in their feline forms, and strangers, though neither was the case. It wasn’t tradition, exactly, but it kept the focus on the dancing, and away from the more tricky topic of feelings.

Bindi leapt to the top of the fence, her form flowing from brown fur to browner skin in mid-air. “I like the black one.” She gestured, fingers twisting in a complex sign, and was covered by cut-off jeans and a t-shirt, but her eyes didn’t leave the palest young man. He’d been courting her for several full moons, so they knew his pelt, like his hair, was deep black.

Anya sighed. “It would be nice if you’d teach me that trick, Bindi.”

Bindi laughed. “Which one?”

“Both of them. All of them.” Anya’s answer was automatic; her eyes were on the tomcats, who were stretching and posing, showing off their muscles for the queens.

There were six men in the alley; following tradition, they stayed out of the neatly swept patio until the last of the queens arrived and the competition began.

Another queen arrived in human form, hair dyed purple. She was new, and didn’t introduce herself, just leapt into a tree on the other side of the yard.

Their host, an elderly woman whose greying hair resembled the stripes of a silver tabby, came out of the house, stepped into the patio and walked around, quietly greeting the new queen, then each of the toms. She nodded at Jeri, Bindi, and Anya, and accepted their casual nods in return. Finally, she settled into her chair under the tree, not quite under where Jeri was sitting, and nodded to the men to begin.

The newest tom, a redhead with brilliant green eyes, leapt into the center of the patio and started to dance. He was strong and limber, but not, Jeri thought, as graceful as some of the men who’d danced here before.

The blonde jumped in, an acrobatic move that flowed into a somersault and then into a bit of break dancing.

Then the tortie, a short man with nondescript brown hair in human form, slid into the center, with more break-dancing.

The next two danced together, with modern dance moves, mirroring each other. It caught Anya’s attention, and Jeri caught her leaning forward, her tongue between her teeth.

The final dancer, a slender man with dark skin, started with ballet moves and then some impressive Russian folk dance moves.

After the first round, there was another round or two before refreshments, but before any of the toms returned to the patio, a new young man jumped in. He was slender, with wide shoulders and narrow hips, and combined some modern dance moves with Riverdance-style kicking and tapping. His hair was long and blonde, and his eyes—Jeri caught her breath. Despite the full moon, she couldn’t tell the color of his eyes. He was either wearing contacts or was, simply, human.

The area was warded. A normal human should not have come so close—he should have either not noticed the party or remembered he had urgent business elsewhere. But this one had walked right in and joined the event before anyone even noticed he was there.

She glanced down at their host. The old woman was looking at the new queen, and then looked up over her shoulder at Anya, Bindi, and Jeri. Her expression was not upset or alarmed, just curious. Surprised and curious.

The toms were dancing two or three at a time now, each focusing on one of the watching queens, making a few moves and then taking a short breather, before dancing again. The human spun in the middle, eyes closed.

The blonde tiger and the paired toms focused in turn on Anya; the black continued to court Bindi. The other two toms danced for each person in turn. Jeri found her eyes lingered on the human, which soon led the other two toms to take turns in front of the purple-haired woman. He was not as limber and strong as a catkin tom, but he was quite good. There was something compelling about him, not so much the dance as his essence, like he was, or would become, important to her.

The human danced closer and closer to Jeri, his eyes drawn to her. She could see lines of confusion and curiosity on his face. Reflexively, she sent a thought his way. “Who are you?”

His eyes widened, and he lost a step, but he mouthed his name, “Tom”.

His mental voice was full and rich. It rang through her mind like a bell, or like the scent or catnip. It seemed as loud as a shout, and Jeri startled, but no one else noticed the exchange. No one else seemed to hear him at all.

She found herself sliding out of the tree and reaching a hand to him. He stumbled, then walked forward.

Suddenly, the old woman stood between them, not letting them touch. She looked every bit as mysterious as a cat could. “Come, kittens, let us go inside so we don’t disturb anyone else.”

The man nodded, and Jeri stared. He was human, she was certain of that. Why had the old queen called him a kitten, a phrase normally reserved for catkin?

The old queen watched her steadily until she also nodded, then she led them inside and offered milk and pastries.

(to be continued)

___________

Thank you to ankewehner for the prompt

C is for Ice Caves - A Catkin Ficlet

Rainbow Margay Mage
The beaver walked out onto Lake Michigan as the sun rose. She was in her human form, in worn insulated pants and jacket. She scuffed her feet a little, ice-fishing equipment in her back pack and pole in hand. A low bank of clouds hid the sun, but its light spilled over, slowly turning the shadowy violet twilight into a monochrome landscape of muted blue-greys. The world grew quiet as she moved steadily onto the lake from the outskirts of Chicaugwa. The noise of millions of people crowded together never stopped, not even in the natural hush before dawn.

It would be more than an hour to get to the ice caves, but the Beaver enjoyed the walk. She felt like she was being cleansed of the pollution and chaos of modern life. Out here there were no cars or cellphones, no coffeeshops or skyscrapers. Just frosty blue sky overhead, snow-covered ice below, and the sharp clean winter wind. She fell into a meditative state naturally, filling her soul with the simple actions of breathing and walking. The unusually cold winter was a blessing for her, in more than one way.

A seagull circled overhead, then dove downward in the distance, directly in front of her. She frowned. Chicaugwa-area gulls mostly ate human leftovers. They’d gone from glorious hunter-scavengers to living as parasites off the least wholesome mammal species the planet had yet produced. It was sad. Something had to be done about it.

She didn’t want to eliminate all humans, of course. She had friends in the city, and family. But she longed to return the area to wild swamp, or at least to once again have rivers and streams that beavers could enjoy. She’d never been able to build a dam in her ancestral waters, and it made her blood boil. As long as Chicaugwa was a major metropolis, she never would.

It was past time for change to come to Chicaugwa. She walked steadily onward, returning to the meditative state that let her pull in the natural beauty to fuel that change.

She was almost to the caves when the roar of several snowmobiles approached. She turned and shook her fishing pole at them, and they smiled and waved. “Idiots.”

The snowmobilers zoomed past the first, tiny cave entrance, heading for the larger, more spectacular one a little further out. But they had been to her small cave already, the pile of trash being picked over by a smug-looking seagull was testimony to that.

She shook her fishing pole in the direction the humans had taken, then dropped to her knees and crawled inside. It was beautiful inside the cave, but she had seen it before, and was no longer in the mood to appreciate the sight. She crawled, wiggled, and scooted until she reached the hidden area where she’d dug her fishing hole.

This area was partially open to the sky; once she reopened the fishing hole, she stood in the narrow beam of sunlight and stripped off her clothing, folding it neatly to cover where the sunlight hit the ice. Then she transformed and dove into the water.

From below, she looked up at the underside of the ice, and smiled. Her inner sight showed a vast magical circle, glowing and perfect. She ran her eyes over the pattern, checking for flaws, then returned for a breath of air.

The foundation was well laid. Today, she would build upon it.

Over the course of the day, she filled in the circle. In the center, she carved blessings for pure water and for wilderness. She blessed the natural world with fertility and abundance. She called on earth, fire, water and air to clean away the ugly, unhealthy excesses, and to eliminate things that stood in the way of an ecological recovery. Closer to the edge, she added sigils for chaos and entropy, to help that which should pass into dust again do so quickly. Finally, on the outer edge, she carved symbols of humanity, adding blessings of wanderlust and envy.

There would be more, as much more as she could add in the days before the ice started to melt again. She fought against her impatience, knowing that each day’s work had to be balanced and perfect. She couldn’t count on cooperation from the weather—the spell was set to be released as the ice melted, so it had to be left ready-to-go every time she headed home.

It was dark by the time she headed back across the lake, tired, but with a sense of accomplishment. Her limbs ached and her stomach growled. By the time she stepped back onto the streets of Chicaugwa, she was too tired to cook. She decided to stop at Blackbeard’s for fried fish on the way home.


_______________

Thanks to dreamwidth user Clare_Dragonfly for the prompt!
Rainbow Margay Mage
The cat walked up to the police officer, meowing. The sounds resolved into words in Officer Savannah Leahy’s mind. “There is something sinister going on in this neighborhood. The dead are screaming for justice.”

The police officer hooked her fingers in her belt, then frowned down at the cat. “Isn’t that kind of like an over-dramatic movie cliché?”

The cat twitched her tail. “Cliché or not, it’s true. Savannah, they are disturbing my dreams.”

Savannah crouched down and held out her hand for the cat to sniff, as if this were a normal stray. “So, what are they saying?”

“There’s no words, just screaming.” The cat twitched her tail, as if the human were being particularly dense.

“Look, I know you’ve brought me useful information in the past, but I don’t know what I can do with this—this complaint.” Savannah stared at the cat, trying to figure out which neighborhood woman this might be, when she wasn’t clad in tabby fur.

“Find and punish the killers!” The cat sounded stressed-out.

Savannah sighed. That was easier said than done. “I need more than that. I can’t just catch murderers like magic, you know, Cat.”

“Don’t call me Cat.” The tabby’s tail lashed.

“Then tell me your name.” Savannah asked every time the cat approached her.

“You know better.”

“Well, Cat, I can’t exactly fill out a citizen complaint that the dead are unhappy. I have a caseload, and paperwork, and a life.” More accurately, Savannah had the first two in abundance, and a thus-far ignored New Year’s resolution to work on the third. “Look, I’m not unsympathetic, but I’m just a cop.”

The tabby twisted to lick the tip of her tail. “You are a police officer, but you are not ‘just’ a police officer. A crime is being committed, and you will investigate.”

“I can’t investigate something I can’t see, hear, or touch.”

The cat nodded. “I knew you would say that. Here—this is the best I can do.” The cat flicked her tail to the side and revealed a set of earbugs nestled between two protruding tree roots.

Savannah bent to look at them. The earbugs were made of some exotic wood, golden with a remarkably red grain. They were carved into detailed butterflies, and linked with a braided silk cord. Their tiny carved eyes gleamed at her, and somehow the carved wings shimmered with iridescence. They were beautiful. Savannah reached to pick them up, to examine them more closely. She had very little magical talent, but these—they made her fingers tingle. She stood there, staring at what she realized was at least a powerful magical tool, more powerful than anything she’d ever hoped to hold in her hand. She longed to keep it, but found herself thinking about putting it down and walking away. Magic was never free.

The cat’s tail twitched. “They’re for your ears.”

“I couldn’t tell.” Savannah’s sarcasm was reflexive.

The tabby’s tail continued to twitch.

Cautiously Savannah raised one exquisitely carved butterfly toward her left ear, then jerked it away again as a raucous, dissonant howling invaded her consciousness. She tried to drop them on the ground again, but the cord caught in her fingers. “What is that?”

“Don’t play dumb. And don’t lose the earbugs.” The cat turned and vanished into the bushes.

Savannah tucked the earbugs safely into a pocket. She could return them, perhaps, if she could find the cat again, but it would be a dangerous insult to throw them away. For the moment, she was off-shift and hungry. This would have to wait at least until after dinner.

______________

Thank you to moon_fox for the prompt. (queenoftheskies I haven't forgotten you.)

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