prim's fairy tales

Quicksilver

Dearest Diary,

Two events of note occurred today. First, I realized that Peeta Mellark, who just yesterday I considered an ally and possible friend, is an irredeemable prat. Second, I became betrothed to him.

London, 1793. After a life spent on her family’s country estate, the time has finally come for the Everdeen sisters to be introduced to the London elite. Katniss will do anything to ensure her younger sister does not fall into the wrong hands, but surrounded by strangers, she has no way of judging Prim’s many suitors’ intentions. Enter Peeta Mellark, the youngest brother of the Earl of Panem and a longtime fixture of the ton. He seems the perfect ally, but Peeta has intentions of his own, and Katniss’ spinsterhood may not be as safe as she believes.

A/N: Rated M (eventually - there’s no objectionable content in this chapter). Part one of a new WIP.

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Writing Check-In: Bearskin and Gold (a belated Christmas treat)

I was hoping to finish and post this at Christmas as a little fairytale treat, but life is not obliging (in any way whatsoever). :( So here’s an excerpt, in case anyone would like a little Marko/Prim squee for their post-holiday doldrums. (I know this isn’t what you guys really want, and God willing, I hope to post another excerpt of that for you in the near future.)

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Once upon a time there were Three Bears who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood… One day, after they had made the porridge for their breakfast, and poured it into their porridge-pots, they walked out into the wood while the porridge was cooling… And while they were walking, a little Girl named Goldilocks came to the house.
~ Joseph Jacobs, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”

I came to the cottage unwitting and seeking no more than shelter.

The day began like any other. Katniss made for the heart of the woods with her bow, knife, and game satchel and I went to the lakeshore with Mother’s largest rush-basket, but no sooner was I muddied to the knees from stirring up two days’ portion of my sister’s namesake from the lake bottom when a bitter wind struck, and a frigid rain hard at its heels. My harvest was scarcely begun and I wished not to make the trek home till I had finished, especially while my resilient sister remained in the woods. Katniss would hunt and gather in the cruelest of weather to bring food to our table, and while she never expected the same stamina of me, I knew she would worry if she returned to the lake to find me gone.

I meant only to seek a broad tree beneath which I might shelter till the worst of the storm had passed, but when I turned my steps toward the woods  I saw before me a cottage that had surely not stood there an hour before, let alone a day or two previous. This wild place became market and garden for my family in the days of my huntress grandmother Ashpet and I myself gathered daily from it in my turn, harvesting from both lake and woodland shadows since I stood no taller than my father’s knee, and never before had I seen a human dwelling in these parts, nor heard of any such.

I peered through the blinding rain at what could only be the wishful construct of a shivering body coupled with a desperate imagination and squeezed my eyes shut again and again to clear them of such impossible fancies, but the cottage seemed only to grow more solid and radiant and welcoming with each blink. From its round windows streamed rich yellow light and from its chimneys pale smoke, and this was enticement enough for me. A mere quarter-hour beside one of those fires would be sufficient to warm my toes and lift the damp from my cloak, I thought, and perhaps the cottager’s sympathy would extend to a fortifying mug of wild onion broth with a little acorn bun or even a draught of hot berry-wine before they sent me on my way.

None came in answer to my knock, and as the rain beat against my back in barbed pellets of ice I forsook propriety and reached hopefully for the latch. To my surprise, it lifted without effort. The door gave at once beneath my touch, almost as though I were expected, and opened inward to reveal a very heaven of domesticity; all broad oak timbers and rounded stone, warm and bright as gold, where the very air tasted of honey and woodsmoke and freshly baked bread.

I crossed the threshold without hesitation and drew the door fast behind me.

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Confluence

Though Hollywood had of course been home to many a fantastical special effect in its time, such grand visualisations rarely left the buzzing hive of their studios, let alone made their way down to the sleepy corners of the Hills. It was even rarer for such things to occur in the tranquility of night in a quiet suburban neighbourhood. And yet even as these dejected souls slept, aspiration still flickering beneath their eyelids, something shifted in the air like an invisible spoon stirring through reality.

Had anyone been awake to see it, they would have been flummoxed and terrified by the juxtaposition that followed: a swirling, shimmering cloud of pastel blue and gold appeared some ten feet from the ground, bathing a small area in radiant, almost heavenly light. Such a spectacle looked fit to bring a myriad of celestial delights down to this mortal world, but the thing that gently dropped down from the interplanar rift was… decidedly less so.

There was a certain irony to the proceedings, she mused as the glowing vortex shrank down to a near-unnoticeable patch of fog around her head. She could admit to herself that she would have much preferred an entrance more befitting one of her nature. Maybe a pit in the ground of some sort? Throw in a few spiders, snakes and eldritch horrors and the look would be complete. Still, it would be churlish to sit here and ruminate over a ‘proper’ method of transportation: she was exactly where she needed to be now but she didn’t know how much time she had left here. She also now owed a favour to a psychotic fairy, a position she was hoping to extricate herself from as quickly as she could (though, she reasoned, her debt collector wasn’t even real relative to her own plane). For now though, at least, she was here.

Easily spotting the red “vintage” BMW from across the street, she shifted silently over to the drive of the modern ash-grey bungalow, where it was parked discreetly with its roof up to protect from the recent rain. Laughing at the attempts by this world’s caretaker to inject realism into this place, she trod straight past the damp old vehicle and found herself stood by the front door. As expected, it was heavily locked and chained. If her target was attempting to evoke the look of Marley’s ghost, then he’d certainly gotten the aesthetic right. In that case (she smirked to herself as the chains unlinked themselves and dropped to the ground uselessly) she would be the greatest visiting spirit to this selfish old man. After all, was this not about teaching him a lesson?

One long, dark featureless claw reached towards the door, which would be unlocked for her regardless of whether he had locked it or n-

“OW!”
As she’d touched the door, she’d felt a sting through her hand like a bolt of static electricity. “Honestly” she grumbled while nursing the sore digits, “You’d think with the godlike powers and everything I wouldn’t even GET shocks.” Shaking her head in confusion, she steadied herself and made for the door again, knowing that it would open at her mere whim-
“ARGH!”
Once again, a sharp pain was redirected through her hand.

Something wasn’t right here, she realised. Scanning the door more closely, she could see that a number of archaic runes and hieroglyphs were faintly woven into the fabric of the house. Wards? How the hell could there be WARDS on his house?? This loser doesn’t even know about magic! Who could have done thi-

Oh.

She planted both her talons on her face and groaned in frustration. It was her own stupid fault. Of course it was. It seemed like a fun idea at the time, trying to intimidate the little fairy girl Fern, but apparently she’d now taken the care to try and protect his sorry ass. Did that dolt not even wonder if he was worth the effort? Did she not believe what she’d said about him? Well, Fern wasn’t exactly bright, was she? She even thought her “anonymous messenger” was Jessica!

In any case this was a major problem. These protections were outside of her jurisdiction, which meant she’d need help from someone with the know-how. Which meant…

With a voiceless yell of exasperation, she pulled her phone out of thin air and popped a quick message to her own fairy “ally”:

“Hi Primrose, just gonna need to call in another favour! Your Little-Miss-Ginger-Snap went and placed a load of protective spells all over the nerd’s house! Any chance I could get someone of your…” She paused in disgust: “…great magical talent to dispel them? I can’t get your form filled otherwise!”