[Mage - Coco]

This is the place where I truly feel like a Mage.

I’m sitting on an old chipped wooden stool at one of the counters in my… ‘lab’ is too grandiose a term; it’s more of a workshop/hobby room. But I love it in here.

I love the smells of the plants I use, even when the smells don’t really go together. I love watching them all grow, day by day, and figuring out exactly what each plant is asking for. Don’t worry, I’m not about to say that plants ‘speak’ to me, but…there is a form of communication between the two of us. This one is asking for less light. This one is a little thirstier than normal today.

I’m currently crushing up some dried valerian and magnolia bark. I grew the valerian myself, and got the magnolia bark from a supplier I know. They’re both already known as treatments for insomnia, so all I need to do is tweak them slightly, enhance certain properties, to get the best out of them. I can then sell them at my shop, and the customers are simply pleasantly surprised at the efficacy of the treatment. Holland and Barratt has nothing on me. Well, except for tons more money.

I like crushing things by hand in my stone pestle and mortar. It’s very satisfying. I crush the valerian as hard as I can; valerian tastes nasty, so I put that and magnolia bark in capsules rather than making one of my usual tinctures and sprays; therefore, the finer the powder, the better. I suppose I could amend the molecules that affect flavour, but I’m a big believer in only using the most essential spells for my work, and flavour isn’t really on my priorities list in most cases. I’m thinking of a particular client when I put this together; the poor woman has chronic insomnia, and hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in nearly twenty years. I can’t wait to hand this over to her, and to hear her feedback. I know it sounds corny, but I really get a kick out of helping people feel better.

I’ve been at this for a while now. I made some of my much-loved arthritis topical ointment – souped up aloe vera and green tea with a hint of eucalyptus – and I’m going to look at the plants I’m growing for my new idea, an inhaler for Meniere’s Disease, next. I’ve spent hours here and could happily spend hours more. This is my life’s work, and I’m proud of it.

I’ve got my iPod on random, and I’m glad there’s no-one around to listen to me sing along. Singing is not among my talents, and that’s putting it mildly. But there’s no-one to hear, so I let loose. Chesney Hawkes, The One and Only. I tighten my ponytail, which has gotten loose with the headbanging.

Chesney gives way to Fly by H-Blockx, and I enjoy it, even smashing up the valerian with my pestle in time with the riff, like a total derp.

H-Blockx then switches incongruously to Sarah MacLachlan. An old favourite, Fear. Usually I skip Sarah MacLachlan, as she is someone I haven’t listened to since I was in my mid-teens, religiously watching Roswell High on BBC2 (and pretending to my friends that I didn’t watch the Star Trek episode that directly preceded it). I smile ruefully at the memory of my teenage self – I was an ugly duckling with my bad glasses, a jagged hair cut that looked like I cut it with nail scissors, and head to toe Gringo clothes – and something makes me leave the Sarah MacLachlan on. I used to love her, even if I do find her a little shrill now.

But I don’t sing along.

There is a text on my phone from my friend in Surrey, asking if I am still planning on coming to stay while I consider my next move.

I hesitate. I’m actually thinking seriously about staying, at least for a little longer. I mentally shake my head. I was on the verge of moving away, yet again. But it seems like I might be useful here after all, with Liorli in a coma. I don’t and wouldn’t pretend to be as good a healer as him, but, as my Grandad Jack used to say, “owt’s better than nowt”.

Unbidden, his face appears in my mind’s eye. Not Grandad Jack. My lover. My new lover. The one who told me my skills could be useful.

I cannot stop a goofy smile from spreading across my face as I remember things we’ve already done, and contemplate what we may have yet to come.

My smile falters. I don’t get like this. Ever. I know better than to hope for more. I never usually even want more in the first place. My legacy – I am one of the Egregori – is usually enough for me.

"The never-ending hunger," Sarah sings, catching my attention.

"But I fear
I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose here in this lonely place
Tangled up in our embrace
There’s nothing I’d like better than to fall…
But I fear I have nothing to give."

I purse my lips. Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

I skip the track at last.

And then I stop the music altogether, suddenly no longer in the mood.

I sigh in annoyance with myself. He’s on loan to you only, I tell myself firmly. Just enjoy what you have while you have it.

It’s my life’s motto. Everyone I know ends up going away at some point. If you just expect it, at least you’re never surprised when it inevitably happens.

And I ruthlessly push down the idea that the – well, the…

What he showed me…

It means nothing, I insist to my heart. You’re not special. That was just a trip. Just chill, and have fun with him while you can.

I sigh once again, and return to the valerian.

But the smile as I think of him still plays at the corners of my lips, which are still a little puffy from his kisses, in spite of myself, and I put the iPod on again as my mind returns to the work I love.

Ghostbusters.

[mage]

Crash @CrashSpeedRadio

I has the best teachers.

#AllNightStudying #WhereWizardSchoolGo?

[Forsaken/events question]

We're considering a possible Forsaken weekender early next year. One possible site is about 40 minutes drive from the nearest station (Leicester in this case). After that, the only public transport option is a bus that leaves you nearly 3 miles from the site.

I know the majority of people end up driving/getting lifts but, realistically, do folks who would consider attending think this is likely to be a major barrier?

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[Mage - Crash]

Sunrise.

The Dawning of a new work day. Moments before the ants of the city overrun it with their cars and briefcases. Carefree, crossing the street and hoping they won’t get hit by black cab. Thinking about the Insurance claim, instead of how many bones they’ve just broken.

Fuck. I’ve just realised I’ve not even bothered to look since the accident, I just know whether by Fate or Space its fine to cross. I know a lot of things, a lot of pointless things, like the difference between civil, nautical and astronomical twilight. Like this building is exactly 486ft tall and that you should never drink and use magic, without a Life mage.

4 bottles, 6 ciders and way too many silly cocktail umbrellas. Best fun since Sidea’s, although I guess thinking yourself pissed, isn’t quite the same as actually enjoying a cool one. The unexpected is always better. It’s good to be king and have your own world.

Tom Petty – 1994

And what a world, what a view.

Drunk me would have thought about how mages like Spark can just fly off this building, bend the rays of the sun, become invisible to world. Igraine could turn into a bird in a moment of wonder.

Is it the Warlock in me that wonders why mages still experience the Call of the Void, even when our minds are truly expanded, even though with some effort, I could walk off this building and find myself stepping along the ground with the same step. It’s not even really a drop. I could free fall out into nothin’

Tom Petty - 1989

I should ask Cassie at some point, we’re too busy jumping from rooftop to rooftop to think about flying, I think she can turn into a bird, then again I’d be too busy soaring to go in a straight line, and coming down is the hardest thing.

Should I try to learn to fly? 91

To be honest I am a terrible learner with the wrong teacher. I never really paid attention to how Liorli’s does his transformations. I was always far more interested in if his water abilities effect beer, all signs point to yes. I should take him out to a bar. See what happens.

While Spark formalised her learning with her “mentor”. I’m learning in my own way. The orders still say I need a mentor, but that’s where they are wrong. I have a mentor. Focused me to control my thoughts. Master my anger. I learned to act the fool so people think I’m an idiot and how dangerous that assumption can be. I learned that everything is connected and that family is still everything and If I close my eyes and think hard enough I can always sense that Spark.

So with the Sunrise comes new challenges and by now her 10 minute head start is up.
Photo

Spark prompt "secrets" from +Ben Brown

Spark flicked the dimmer switch up to maximum and pulled herself up on the table, resting against the concrete wall and tucking her feet underneath her. She tossed her hat at the bench, but she couldn't find the anger for it. It bounced to the floor. She left it there.

Resting her head against cold stone she squinted at the steel ceiling. Her pale scarred face reflected with tired eyes. Her gut twisted; she ignored it, brushing it aside. Concentrate.

The light intensified in her vision, rays of energy crossing space. She reached through the fire that lived in her soul, teasing out the smallest fraction, golden white in her mind’s eye and burning with the heat of the heart of the sun. Gently she pushed it before her, combining the energies, twisting them softly. Tenderly she guided them, coaxing them apart.

Slowly she worked, and in an instant the air was patterned gently with blue and lavender butterflies lazily gambling around the room. Luscious grass topped with dew carpeted the floor and vines of ivy clung to the walls. Bird song reached her ears.

She relaxed back, looking at her work, and sighed.

She had always known that it would not happen. Could not. She found her fingers holding the silver necklace at her throat, and tears filled her eyes. The dinner, the drinks. The warm touch. The shy smile. Was it nothing? Had she imagined it? So desperate for anything that her mind made it up?

She ran her fingers through the illusory vines next to her, touching nothing but air. Light tinged her fingers green.

[Lost - Larissa]

I don't know what I'm more sick and tired of: being underestimated, being lied to (at best misled, if I'm feeling charitable), or being thwarted.

No-one is afraid of me. No-one holds my physical skills in any high regard. I look in the mirror sometimes and I can see, in the reflections of my eyes when I think certain thoughts, what I am capable of. It seems, as with my old life, nobody cares enough to look closely. If they did...maybe then, their blood might run cold.

I worked out what my Durance was about, in the end. It took me a while, but I cracked it. I spent my human life living for other people, giving and giving and giving, unnoticed and unappreciated, until there was very little of me left. The mist in Arcadia, the one that broke a little more of me away for itself every day, was just the physical manifestation of that.

Nothing has changed. I got out, but that's just geography.

I'm also deeply sick of being spoken to like I'm broken and need mending. I'm not your faulty carburettor, love. There is nothing wrong with me. I just got wise. I wish people didn't want me to change back to the weak, stupid, delicate version of myself I was when I got out. But I suppose that version of me is more convenient for them. Less bothersome.

Gee, sorry, guys.

First I was told that the Summer Court would have use for me, and my new ideas. They ended up being the same as everyone else, telling me I was wrong, and that I needed to be reigned in.

Then I was told that the Tolltaker Knights thought I would be perfect for them. They told me to my face that, when the circumstances were right, I could have free reign to do what needs to be done.

For a moment, I actually believed I had found people that didn't see me as a broken toy, or Humpty Dumpty. I looked forward to actually being useful, in the hope that I could finally win people's respect and approval, and that they'd see that I'm sometimes right.

I was mistaken, once again.

Now, the Tolltakers bark at me not to kill anyone. The "right circumstances" mysteriously never arise. Funny, that.

I've been told untruths. I've been prevented from doing what comes quite naturally to me. And when I complain, I am treated as a sick nuisance.

I don't feel very respected.

But I recently made an interesting new friend.

This Carmine seems to be on the level. I've been bitten far too many times to do away with the shyness completely, but...his gaze is direct. And he speaks of specifics, tasks that he actually has in mind that I could help with. It's more meaningful and more specific than any of the other fake help from my so-called friends, who just want to put Baby in the corner.

So far, Carmine doesn't seem to want to restrain me. And the relief is exquisite.

(In response to a downtime that kind of got away from me. Apologies for the horrifically pretentious style, I've been reading a lot of Kevin Barry lately.)

He doesn't remember getting out of the Hedge. He doesn't remember where he got the cigarette, either- he'd been trying to quit again. Always hard when one lives with Mizz. Or Priz. Or most of his friends, really, the sinful charmers that they were.

But he's out of the hedge, now. He's Ironside, in London, moving with a half hearted, long legged stride through the darkening streets, just a priest to these people, a balding, middle aged man in a collar, smoking a benson, eyes blank and misted with tears-

(and because they are human they do not see the bloody footprints he leaves, the scarlet drops falling from great steel claws, and the tears are very red)
- and thus they leave him alone.

He remembers the market, now.

He remembers the room (small, dark, wooden, lived-in) where he had sat with her. Whorl. The marketeer, the catholic, the girl desperately clinging to her faith in the face of the doubt strangling it like ivy on a tree.

She'd been tall, broad, strong when first he met her.

She was so skinny now, cheeks hollowed out by stress and the fear of a godless world.

And he'd.

He'd.

The cigarette goes out, burns his claws. He feels the heat, but no pain. Flicks it to the ground irritably, looks around, finally recognises where he is- soho- buys another pack from a corner shop.

It was late. He pulls out his phone (a gift from Priz- Nokia 3310- "it can't die," she'd said solemnly, before pressing a pink unicorn sticker onto it and laughing "and it's got proper buttons and snake,") and texted to her, to Priz, to Henri despite all logic-

Won't be home tonight.

I'm fine.

Need to think, and be on my own.

And then-

(hesitates before adding)

I love you all.

(and wonders how much shit he'll get for that from Mizz, but sends it anyway, because fuck it, someone should remind that burly bastard he's loved occasionally)

And starts to walk.

He'd ministered. As a priest was meant to. He'd listened to poor Whorl's fears, and gone away, and come back with bibles and the truth. Quoted chapter and verse to her, gently,

(stroking a moth's delicate, frightened wings, hush now, hush, it's alright, it'll all be alright)

and addressed her fears as carefully, one by one, as he could.

He'd been a priest.

(his mind reaches back over fifteen-fourteen-thirteen years can't remember any more too long too long since caswell beach since laughing and screaming and leaving bodies teased open by fingers made of steel a priest is he a priest what sort of priest does THAT?)

He'd been a priest to her. As she'd needed.

He keeps walking. The tears don't fall. Some things aren't done in public.

He walks all night. Smokes the whole pack of Bensons. Stops to buy another in a service station. Smokes all of them too.

Somewhere in the line, he had found himself believing again.

Really believing.

Thought it had gone from him.

Yet here it was.

He is standing on Primrose hill.

The sun is coming up.

The tears dry, still unshed.

He smiles, suddenly.

"Thank you for reminding me," he whispers.

And then, "master."

And Wrath goes home at last.

[mage]

Spark @SparkMiniObri

Uhm. Oops.

Sorry Mac. :-/

#wizardschool

[Fic prompt - A heart attack]

Focus narrows into the moment. Get her out of further danger by getting the knife into that monster's artery. Forwards finished it off. Then everything is on Lizzie. Start chest compressions. Breathing. You think you'd forget but it turns out it is like riding a bicycle, your hands moving before you even realise it. That desperate moment, knowing you might crack her rib and not giving a damn because ribs don't matter when your heart isn't working. And the sudden gasp, the pulse, weak but stable.

Not that the pace let up much. Get out, get to the hospital.

It's like...there's someone before you you've seen but never really seen. And she's alive, and yes, because of you. But most importantly she's alive, and as the words tumble from your lips, as you talk, suddenly this is the right moment.

This is the moment to speak the words and imbue them with the Wyrd.

And as soon as you do the world goes mad all over again.



Of course the second one was the other Knight. Because - Destiny? Mad coincidence? Is there coincidence?

Still, the moment Stone slammed through the door with Gwydir, you were reaching for the defibrillator (at least this time you had one).


So they're alive. Your Knights. Not yours, not really. Not yet. But you are Knights, together.


And it doesn't feel like a coincidence. Not in your heart.

(Metaphorical heart, let's not talk about the whereabouts of your real heart).


Bound together by this as much as by the Wyrd.

[Lost - Hemlock - Story prompt = The most painful thing]

He touched the contacts.

Nobody ever said thank you to Hemlock.

He drew the line against everybody, without armour, without weapons, without contracts.

He crawled under a sun, and fought invisible nightmares. He took on true fae, not because he wanted everybody to see him be brave, but because he never wanted them to share his burden.

He kept secret what should be hidden, and brought to light what nobody else dare reveal. Even when it brought scorn, and hatred, and worst of all indifference.

They told him not to speak, they told him not to play his ukulele, they told him not to turn up as he was. Fairest... Ogres... Always telling beasts what they shouldn't be.

He'd never hid behind his smile, or behind his shield. He'd never warn armour or used a hunk of metal because his hands weren't enough. He'd never been angry because he was dumb. He was just bitter that he'd been there when they needed him, but chastised him when he needed them back.

His heart was literally broken, every literal betrayal, every time people had tried to change him rather than understand him.

All of this came back to him in that moment, in that lack of heartbeat.

Would the lightning accept him.

Would the electricity pass through.

Would this be his final thought.

Nobody had ever loved him, or given him the time.

Would he die from loneliness or from this shock, and which was the worse.

His training paid off, the electricity passed through him and his heart started again. He had learned the lesson, he would survive another day.

Survive one more sad lonely day all on his own.

Survival was all that mattered right.

Life was enough?

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