the clarion call

Universal Language

Drums thundering like super novas.

Strings flowing as a mighty river. 

Horns sounding a clarion call like a spear of light through the darkness.

Above it all, a voice like a silver bell weaving sounds and words like mistress of the loom. Thraktek had heard stories of human music and how unrefined and brutal it was, but the comparison was much like hearing that a dreadnought class ship was large and then seeing it in real life. The music in comparison to the songs his own people played was simple and unlike the almost surgical precision his peoples music was played with this was played with variances between the musicians, each one in unison yes but still milliseconds off from each other. Yet…these flawed musicians with instruments tuned by hand and ear were playing a song that reached somewhere deep within him…somewhere, primal…feral…he wanted to howl the war songs of his people, not heard for generations since they transcended above concepts like war…he wanted to race the wind and sing to the moon of this foreign world. Thraktek could not understand it, his hearts were racing, lungs heaving like the battle forges long cold and un-used, blood singing through his veins like liquid fire and…yes…that was what this music sounded like, that was what this music invoked within the mind…LIFE…this was not merely a group of sentient creatures making sounds on pieces of wood and metal. This was a pack of humans singing the song of life and vitality through instruments crafted by masters who may not even be alive to hear their works of art. It may not be the complex sounds of his homeworld…but this human music invoked greater feelings than any he heard before by life long masters of Centaria V, feelings of sorrow so profound they cut to his core and nearly dragged the Cries of Loss from his fanged maw, feelings of joy so intense he wanted nothing more than to grab his mate and whelps and run as his ancestors did through forests ancient, feelings of pride and patriotism that resonated within him on a level so deep he could only assume it was his soul singing in joy and sorrow, fear and courage. Truly these creatures of this death world may be some of the fiercest warriors the universe had seen, capable of depths of cruelty and madness unheard of, but also capable of acts of beauty and compassion that would ring through the stars for cycles to come. 


Human Joseph: So Thaktek what did you think of the symphony? 

Thraktek: It was..most enjoyable Human-Joseph…tell me, when is the next one to be? I would most dearly like to bring my mate and whelps, also I believe the council would benefit from this experience.

________________________________________________________________

Ok…So I have been trying to put this into words FOR WEEKS and its only now at 5 in the morning after…I’m not sure how much distilled and fermented poison (margaritas and beer) that I got around to it. Honestly it was only after and while listening to a few songs on youtube that I kind of had the words. Please I encourage you to use this to write more and better things than I can.

Playlist: Happy Feet 2 Under Pressure

              Ride of the Valkyries

              Sing Im still standing

              Moana We Know the Way

              Shakira Waka Waka

              The Nutcraker Suite

              Phantom Of the Opera in general

I’m not sure why, but for me, there are few sounds on this Earth more euphoric than the three-note call of a Black Capped Chickadee.

I am sitting next to my window right now and just heard one start up in the distance and like a Pavlovian reaction it has instantly snapped me, at least temporarily, out of my winter state of mind.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Talks Puerto Rico Benefit Song 'Almost Like Praying'

“You know how we always tell artists ‘stay in your lane’ anytime they say something remotely political? I’m trying to use what I do in service of this challenge,” Miranda tells Rolling Stone. “We’re facing a humanitarian crisis right now. And the response from our federal government is not commensurate with the previous two hurricanes, much less up to the unprecedented danger of this disaster itself.”

Miranda began work on the song, an adaptation of “Maria” from 1961 musical West Side Story, two days after the hurricane first made landfall. “I knew the name Maria was forever going to have a destructive connotation to this island,” says Miranda. “It’s also the name of my favorite song from West Side Story. So my brain was already looking for a sample to flip … And that’s what we do in hip-hop, right? We take a sample, we flip it and change the meaning. And so the hook of the song is, 'Say it soft, and it’s almost like praying.’”

But first, he sought clearance from Stephen Sondheim and the estate of Leonard Bernstein. “They gave their blessing within a day,” says Miranda. “When there’s a crisis, you call in all the favors – call the gods of musical theater! I have the great fortune to count Sondheim as a mentor and a friend. I worked with him and Bernstein on the 2009 revival of West Side Story and its Spanish translations. Sondheim wrote back immediately and said 'Yes – and what else can I do?’”

Miranda infused the number with a warm blend of dancehall, reggaeton and steel drum sounds; the result is an incendiary and highly danceable clarion call. (“If you’re gonna write a song for Puerto Rico and you can’t dance to it,” says Miranda, “you fucked up.”) Most moving is how many of Miranda’s childhood heroes, including original West Side Story cast member Rita Moreno, take turns shouting out each of the island’s 78 towns – a move Miranda says was inspired by Puerto Ricans’ heartbreaking calls across social media to find their relatives in the wake of the storm.

“There was a terrible silence,” says Miranda. “For some people days, for some people weeks. My Twitter and my Facebook were filled with friends and family listing the names of their towns. 'My grandmother is in Vega Alta, my father lives in San Juan, has anyone heard from Isabela?’ I began thinking about the towns as lyrics. What unites us in this tiny island that is 100 miles across and 35 miles north to south … Is that we’re from these towns. We ask, 'Where are you from?’ It is our link to our roots and our families.”

While enlisting collaborators for the track, Miranda says he made new friends in the process. “I broke my Rolodex and called every Latino artist I know,” he says. “And when I didn’t know them, I got on Twitter. I caused a minor uproar with Camila Cabello’s fans when I tweeted her, 'Hey I have an idea!’ I also sent a private message to Luis Fonsi, who I never met before. I cold-called and every single person said yes, without even hearing the song.”

Within a dizzying 72 hours, Miranda flew from New York to Miami and Los Angeles to be present while the artists recorded their respective verses. Yet some were still recovering in the Caribbean, where resources were scarce and internet access was spotty. “The rapper PJ Sin Suela recorded at home,” says Miranda. “But he didn’t have the bandwidth to email his verse. So he gave a memory stick to Estefan, who was there on a relief mission – she then flew it back to us. When I say 'all hands on deck,’ I’m really not fucking around!”

Riggs Morales, the executive producer behind the Hamilton Mixtape, mixed and mastered the song in the days that followed. Meanwhile, Miranda harvested stories of Puerto Rico from his collaborators, evoking tears and laughter inside the studios. This behind-the-scenes footage will air as part of a televised benefit, airing commercial-free on Telemundo Saturday, October 7th.

“I asked everyone, 'What are your favorite memories from Puerto Rico?’” says Miranda. “I will never forget seeing Rubén Blades breaking down about meeting Hector LaVoe for the first time. I’ll never forget Marc Anthony talking about wearing suits before getting on a plane [to the United States] so they’d look white when they landed … And Gilberto Santa Rosa, who sang at my wedding. He was a salsero, but grew up in the same part of town as Daddy Yankee. They could not make two more different genres, but music saved their lives.

"The way music comes out of every frog, every tree, every molecule of the place,” reflects Miranda, “That’s something we share.”

[Source]

washingtonpost.com
Opinion | Sally Yates just threw the White House under the bus
She demolished the Trump team's defenses.

Clapper’s testimony should not be overlooked. His description of the thoroughness and certainty of the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference belies President Trump’s bizarre and entirely unjustified efforts to call into question his intelligence community’s findings. The findings and conclusions some four months after the report concluding Russia had interfered in the election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton was issued “still stand,” he said. Clapper stated, “They must be congratulating themselves for having exceeded their wildest expectations. They are now emboldened to continue such activities in the future, both here and around the world, and to do so even more intensely.” He warned, “If there has ever been a clarion call for vigilance and action against a threat to the very foundations of our democratic political system, this episode is it.”

Yates’s testimony continues, as do the string of questions surrounding the administration’s bizarre conduct.

Yates is giving a tutorial in committee testifying. She just walloped not one but two GOP senators. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) tried to accuse her of misconduct in refusing to defend the Trump administration’s travel ban, which was ultimately blocked by multiple courts. Yates reminded him that at her confirmation hearing, Cornyn had asked if she would refuse to carry out an illegal or unconstitutional order. She recalled she had promised him she would indeed refuse. Ouch. Then up came Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) sleazily trying to get her to opine on Huma Abedin’s email habits(!). When that led nowhere, he took to quoting the statutory basis for the travel ban. She corrected him by pointing out that there was subsequent congressional action that specifically prohibited religious discrimination. Moreover, she took the opportunity to drop the news bomb that the administration ordered the Office of Legal Counsel to not even tell the acting attorney general the ban was in the works. Game, set, match.

Hey witchy side of Tumblr, can I get some job-finding vibes? I have been looking for the right one for maybe two years now and I am desperate to leave the job I have. It would also let me get a place of my own again so I can really indulge in my practice. I figure the more energy I have coming my way, the stronger my chances of getting one.

Much love to you all, and sending you my good energy!
✨✨✨🔮🔮🔮✨✨✨
🗒🗒🗒🗂🗂🗂🗒🗒🗒

the dream we dream together here (Zutara Week 2017: Soulmates)

*shows up late with Starbucks* Anyway, this is my very late submission for ZK Week 2017, under the Day 6 ‘Soulmates’ prompt (namely: the idea that you see your soulmate as a ghost after s/he dies, which is… admittedly just a very flimsy excuse for me to write my two favourite things: snow and angst, but oh well)

A hundred years from now, dear heart,
We shall not mind the pain;
The throbbing crimson tide of life
Will not have left a stain.
The song we sing together, dear,
The dream we dream together here,
Will mean no more than means a tear
Amid a summer rain.

- John Bennett, In a Rose Garden

A List of Things You Learn Growing Up in the South Pole

1. Things disappear.            

Amongst the glaciers, transience is a concept everyone learns from childhood. Nothing ever stays. Snowflakes melt the moment you tip your face up to them, there and gone in a blink as they catch on your eyelashes. You wake up one morning to find half the village’s meat supplies gone, dragged by wolves into the tundra sometime in the night. Every year when the worst of the blizzards hit, there are always people who go missing, caught in the storm and unable to find their way home, their cries indistinguishable from the screaming of the winds outside the heavy folds of the tents.            

Things disappear. Mothers are alive one moment, and gone the next. Fathers kiss you goodbye and vanish over the waves, bringing all the men of the village with him as they sail into war.            

You dumb-dumb, Sokka says to her once when she is six years old, when he jumps triumphantly out at her from where she is hiding, giggling, behind the alcove where the Southern Water Tribe stores their firewood. That’s gotta be the easiest game of Hide-and-Seek anyone’s ever played. You gotta learn to hide your footprints, Katara. I followed them all the way here.            

She sticks her tongue out at him. I hate snow! If we didn’t live in the South Pole, you wouldn’t have been able to find me.            

Maybe, Sokka says. But I like it. I like seeing where people go, or where they come from. I like that people know where I am. He jumps away from her, sending a spray of snow in the air, his boots leaving a perfect imprint in the white. It’s like a stamp, see? I am here!         

Yeah, I guess snow isn’t so bad, Katara says. If we didn’t live here, I couldn’t do this.             

Sokka turns just in time for the snowball to hit him in the face.

(2. How to run from your brother.)           

Later, they walk home, Sokka keeping a firm grip on his sister’s hand as dusk begins to fall, as the Southern Water Tribe begin to light their lanterns. Katara looks over her shoulder behind them to see the trail of their footprints already vanishing under the falling snow. 

I am here, Sokka had declared, a wild and defiant clarion call. I am here! But Katara looks at her footprints which are already beginning to fill in, and thinks instead, I am disappearing.  

3. Things reappear.            

But the sea never takes without giving back. Amongst the glaciers, return is also a concept everyone learns from childhood. Driftwood you hurl into the ocean one summer washes up on the black shores the next. Star-flowers survive the ice and the hail to push their weary heads out into the weak sunlight every spring.    

The Avatar, a hundred years later, turns up in an iceberg.           

 And three months after his funeral, Katara wakes up one night to see Zuko sitting on her bed. 

Keep reading

GRYFFINDOR: “No plea for help shall find me wanting. No obstacle will stand before me. No evil will taint the lands bequeathed unto me. When the clarion call is sounded, I will ride out and that which is sacrament, I shall preserve. That which is sublime, I will protect. That which threatens, I will destroy, for my holy wrath will know no bounds. Honor is all. Chivalry is all. Rejoice, for we, the Knights of BRetonnia, will be your shield.” -Andy Hall (Alberic of Bordeleaux: Total War: Warhammer)

There was a windy storm yesterday which, in early October like this, is my clarion call to go looking for freshly-fallen-but-not-yet-crispy autumn leaves for new pendants this year. Wish me luck!

I’ve many times discussed “victory blindness,” brought on by the seduction of big wins for civil rights and which has had many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people believing they’ve “arrived” ― that LGBTQ rights are secured ― while not seeing the perils ahead.

From as far back as 2014, watching the way that anti-LGBTQ forces were organizing for the future, I was worried about how the LGBTQ community would get too caught up in the anticipated win at the Supreme Court on marriage equality that was coming down the pike in 2015.

The onset of the Trump administration has certainly been a clarion call to snap out of it. And so many queer people have seen the threat and joined the Resistance.

But some recent exchanges and interactions I’ve had lead me to believe that many people, queer and straight, still believe that LGBTQ rights are secure and advancing. They point to public opinion polls, to cultural changes and to progress even in the most conservative corners of the country.

One person, educated in the history of the LGBTQ movement, told me that he couldn’t believe that the Supreme Court would undo something that the majority of Americans now supported ― marriage equality ― and implied a lot of the sounding of the alarm was for the conspiracy-minded.

I find this thinking to be naive and enormously dangerous.

It often doesn’t matter what the majority of Americans believe ― over 90 percent support universal background checks on gun purchases, after all, but we can’t get the legislation passed. The Supreme Court has handed down ruling after ruling that reversed precedents and defied the majority of Americans’ beliefs on voting rights, corporate money in politics, immigration and so many other issues. What is happening in our country right now is clear: a powerful minority is in control and is trying to get the fix in so that it can rule from the minority for a long time to come.

“What is Marriage?”

Musings on the themes in Because This is My First Life. 

When JH uttered these words, this entire episode (ep 15), in fact the entire drama became clear to me. This is the central theme of this show. The writer has brilliantly set up three characters to ask the same question in this modernist era where many find themselves evaluating old traditions. More importantly, many find themselves evaluating where they stand, with regard to the institution of marriage.

The writer has used three characters to argue the three permutations of marriage: 1) Is Marriage  Sacred? 2) Is Love Scared? and 3) Is neither Sacred? There is of course a 4th permutation, where Are Both Marriage and Love Sacred? and I will get to that in a bit.

Keep reading

Car Tunes

When it gets a little too silent in the car, 5.0.5. takes turns trying to play music with the others phones and MP3′s, but when all four of them can’t decide on a song, he takes matters into his own hands…paws.

Keep reading

ofwhomdoyouspeak  asked:

Could you possibly update the post-3B tag if there's anything to add to it?

there sure is

He Sleeps Unaware of the Clarion Call by TheObsidianQuill (2/? | 8,870 | R)

He thought he’d just give Scott some time, to mend their friendship after Scott was done grieving, but when Stiles finds himself in some serious trouble, Scott and the rest of the pack are nowhere to be found. Left on his own to face down this new horror and try to protect his dad, Stiles becomes trapped. His soul and body separated, so he can walk amongst his friends but they don’t even realize he’s there.

Time is running out for his body before it dies and he is stuck like that. Will his pack be able to solve his disappearance and save him? Or will they find themselves too late to rescuing their human friend?

The Promised Land by StaciNadia (1/1 | 1,952 | G)

Pushed away from the pack, Stiles has had enough of Beacon Hills.

Anytime by Marishna (1/1 | 2,225 | R)

“Sorry!”

Stiles snorted and started laughing, too. “For what?” he chuckled.

“Stiles,” Derek mumbled. “I think I’m high.”

Stiles laughed harder and louder, the sound echoing off the trees and interrupting the birds and crickets. Derek watched him for a second, then joined in, leaning heavily on Stiles while his body shuddered as he gasped for breath.

The Art of Healing by singaboutmoneytrees (2/20 | 3,635 | G)

Stiles can read Allison’s name on her headstone, he can read her date of birth, that she was a loving daughter and friend, and that she’ll be missed. Stiles can even count five fingers on his fathers hand as the Sheriff guides him back to the car, but if this is real, why doesn’t he remember waking up?

you still got me (to hold you up) by sheerpoetry (1/1 | 2,000 | PG13)

After the nogitsune, Stiles just wants to sleep. He wakes up in the shower with Derek.

(Warning/explanation at the end!)

hollywoodreporter.com
Tom Shadyac to Direct Wrongful Imprisonment Film 'Brian Banks'

Tom Shadyac is set to direct Brian Banks, a drama recounting the true story of the wrongful imprisonment and exoneration of the one-time high school football prodigy.

Shadyac will helm the film from a script by Doug Atchison. The project was originally incubated through Amy Baer’s development fund Gidden Media, and Baer will produce alongside ShivHans Pictures’ Shivani Rawat and Monica Levinson. Banks, Atchison, Justin Brooks and Neal Strum are executive producers. Production is set to begin later this summer.

Brian Banks centers on the titular high-school football player who was committed to USC by his junior year. His life was upended in 2002 when falsely accused of rape. Despite maintaining his innocence, he was railroaded through the system and sentenced to a decade of prison and parole. With the help of the California Innocence Project, his conviction was overturned in 2012 and he achieved his NFL dream with the Atlanta Falcons’ pre-season squad in 2013.

The project is Shadyac’s first directorial project since Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty, released in 2003 and 2007, respectively. “Living and teaching in Memphis for the past four years has given me an intimate look at the injustice people of color face every day,” Shadyac said in a statement. “Brian’s inspiring story is not only emblematic of that injustice, but a clarion call against a judicial system in urgent need of reform. It’s a story I had to tell.”

Added Banks, “It’s an honor to have such an amazing group of people to work with towards bringing my story to the big screen. Tom Shadyac is a good man with an amazing life-altering story of his own. He’ll get the job done.”

I’M SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS!!!

this man’s freedom and dreams were taken by a false rape accusation. you know that thing that feminist love to tell is “no big deal?” yea that (one more time fuck feminism, go womanism). his story deserves to be told just as much as any story by actual rape victims, who are also injured by those who fabricate rape allegations. 

this doesn’t give him those years back but at least his story can be a warning to all of us. false rape allegation isn’t something to belittle, to brush aside, to pretend doesn’t happen or to pretend doesn’t affect anyone. lives are ruined and sometimes completely taken (usually in jail). 

anonymous asked:

Hello kind sir! Just a question about the color pie...just kidding :) Your blog(s) are fascinating, and this community is becoming one where the people observing the canon are more qualified than those drafting it. My question, as a plot follower from the 90's onwards, is whether you believe the self-sufficiency and sentience of the Glistening Oil is a retcon. I remember that all Phyrexians simply shut down at the moment Yagmoth's "clarion call" left upon his demise.

It’s definitely a retcon. We do know that it wasn’t the original intent for how Mirrodin got terraformed into New Phyrexia (it was supposed to be an unfinished bioweapon), but that was just something the author mentioned on a forum, and how much you value that as ‘canon’ is up to you. It’s still a retcon in the sense that it’s different than how Glistening Oil was presented up until Scars of Mirrodin. It’s ultimately the least problematic retcon of SoM though.

DAY 3436

Jalsa, Mumbai                       Aug 24/25,  2017                   Thu/Fri 2:08 AM




On the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi .. may the divine forces be with all .. may they bring protection and love .. peace and prosperity .. affection and care .. and the health of a lifetime ..

….. may the grace and strength of Vighn Vinayak be upon us all and may he protect us from all that is evil and foul and base ..

We also do remember and bless the strength and determination of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, that great leader and freedom fighter, who revived the   festival to this present degree, when during the time of the British Colonial rule, the gathering of a certain number of people were banned, fearing revolution against the British ..

He designed the nature of the festival in such a manner that not only defied the British colonialists but also spread a great motivation of the coming together of the local populace to fight for their freedom .. and till today that festival of Ganapati is celebrated in all its grandeur all over Maharashtra in particular, but indeed all over the country .. 

So not only was the festival celebrated , but it also defied the British ruling with great success .. the British succumbed to the festival celebration being conducted, but in a sense also gave the people of the nation an opportunity to  show solidarity in its battle for independence ..

It motivated the Indians in their clarion call to the British to ‘Quit India’ .. !!





It dawns upon us now the coming of another event ..  in the coming together of us all to hopefully welcome the coming of KBC .. it starts its broadcast by the 28th .. and the curtain raiser tomorrow .. or rather tonight August 25th at 9 pm on Sony Entertainment television .. 17 years of its history encapsulated in an hour long broadcast .. 17 years of a life on TV .. 17 years of the trials and tribulations of not just my inner self but of those that came to sit in front of me to be in a situation of changing their life styles their entire universe, their entire being ..

For me .. it was an entrance into a darkened cave as it were, with no hope of ever being able to see the end of its passage or the presence of any light beyond .. but the horizon that opened for me after, was that ethereal rainbow coloured life and living - the delight of being in the proximity of them that had showered love and praise for me all these years and never given me opportunity to touch them, talk to them, feel their lives, live in their circumstances and to see them spring out from their desperation in the mightiest excitement that they expressed .. 

That joy was my calling .. that exuberance of victory was the heart beat of millions and mine too .. how many lives underwent a change is unimaginable ..

And I do hope it continues ..

My love to all .. for all ..


Amitabh Bachchan

Hail Mary, Part Two

By popular demand, a wee morning-after follow-up to my original post based on this anon prompt: 

I really liked this earlier Imagine: ‘Imagine in ep 1 they party stops to sleep for a little bit and Claire is freezing, so Jamie offers to warm her discreetly’. Would any mods be willing to continue this story or another alt point-of-view where J & C get closer, more affectionate, more sexual tension in those moments in beginning of book Outlander? Love your fanfic!! You ladies are so creative!

Catch up with Hail Mary PART ONE: 

>> Be warned: this installment is slightly more NSFW -❤️ Mod Bonnie


Part Two 

I was ice and electricity. Every cell, every muscle fiber, every neuron somehow both frozen and exploding with the same insuppressible energy.

A sound of need. Mine? His? Yes, each rising to answer the other in kind. 

Warm arms came suddenly tight around my back, lifting me, then lowering me—maddeningly slowly—down to straddle his broad thighs. Everything was heat. A warm mouth explored mine and I struggled against warm hands that kept my hips confined, keeping me from taking what I wanted. The warm fingers gripped tight even as they dragged upward, skimming under my shift to the narrows of my waist; up still further to thumb—for the barest of tantalizing instants—the tender, yearning underflesh of my breasts. I cried out in distress to feel the mouth—that blazing, devouring mouth—leave mine and a cloud of white obscure my vision. The sound had barely left my throat, though, before it was obliterated by another, a cracking moan of startled, throbbing relief as the mouth began to worship first one nipple, then the other, then the first again. The breathtaking sensations fell through me like whisky in my blood, and my body begged, begged, for more, pleading out a desperate, wordless question over and over in empty thrusts and moans. I gasped as the question was suddenly and forcefully answered, just as wordlessly; gasped at the visceral relief of being filled deep with red-hot iron. We moved together, the heat of his cock stoking and then igniting me, actual flames licking outward from my womb to encircle every inch of me. I wasn’t frightened of them; far from it, for they transformed me into a Fury, all-powerful to consume. Consume I did, riding him hard, and then harder, grinding furiously against the thumb that had the sensitive flesh above our joining glowing like a coal, sending shockwaves of heat up my spine. I began to keen, fast and urgently; then laughed darkly as I heard him begin to do the same under my power. My cries drove him, and his, me; together we roared, rising upward, and upward, and still upward into a seething conflagration of burning skin and breath and pounding blood, until—


I awoke to waves of pleasure rolling through me, my limbs quaking in the aftershocks of a rather spectacular orgasm. I closed my eyes tight at once, and exhaled, trying to savor the fleeting, pulsing sensations for as long as I might: the blood pounding between my legs; the comfort of being held by strong, warm arms; the beautiful, manly smell all around me; the unspeakable joy of being sheltered by the body that had just brought mine to compl—

My eyes snapped open.

Jesus H….

His ruddy forelocks were in his eyes, inches from mine. His head was lolled back slightly against the grain sacks, but even so nearly rested against my own. His arms were tight around me, still… and mine were around him.

Roosevelt…Christ…

I was still trying to catch my breath from the rigors of orgasm and the heated encounter of my dream, and couldn’t tear my eyes away from his mouth. 

Those lips…warm lips….

I supposed it…

…had been….?

Of course it was a dream, idiot. You saw how nervous he was to touch you. He nearly soiled himself when time came to get that sopping shift off. 

Despite everything, I had to stifle a giggle at the memory of him, going suddenly stock-still and screwing his eyes and fists tight, looking unmistakably like a naughty child caught red-handed and steeling himself for a whipping. Thank goodness for Murtagh’s sang-froid; and, for that matter, that I was no fainting ninny! While, granted, I had never before had the experience of being urgently undressed outside the realm of the boudoir, my upbringing with Uncle Lamb—to say nothing of the exigencies of six years as a combat nurse—had trained me not to fret over prudish concerns. No embarrassment to be had over matters of propriety if one dies of hypothermia while quibbling over them.  

No, it had been a dream. How could it be otherwise with those otherworldly flames that had surrounded us during our pounding, burning ecstasy? Besides, as little as I knew about Mr. McTavish’s past, I did think I knew him well enough to surmise that he was not one to seduce a lady in the night, particularly not one he had taken under his protection. 

….but God, I thought, letting my palm feel the curves of pectoral muscle beneath it, the strength of him, “our ecstasy,” my subconscious brain had just called it. It had felt so real, so immediate, so….

Guilt gripped my stomach, violent and indicting, in an attempt to distract from the other, more pleasurable tightenings occurring in my body at the thought. I was a married woman, for Christ’s sake;  and yet, here I was, practically naked by the standards of the eighteenth century, having both spent the night in the arms of a huge, rugged Scot and enjoyed shockingly detailed dreams about having my way with him. 

E n j o y e d.

Yes, I felt guilt. Not for having the dream…but for the undeniable part of my being that wished it hadn’t been a dream at all. Even now, in the faint light of pre-dawn, that great opportunity to dismiss the foolish fancies of night and revert to reality with no questions asked, I couldn’t deny the things I was feeling for him, the sensations that still had my body lit like a candle against his…wanting more. 

I shifted slightly to look more fully up into his face. I started a bit to see his mouth turned up in a smile. Good gracious, had he been watching me the whole time? Seen me staring at him for minutes while trying to get a bloody grip on myself? But no…he was still asleep, eyes closed and breathing steadily. The smile had been just a momentary flicker, it seemed, for his face was impassive once more. The high, elegant cheekbones; the golden stubble breaking out along his jaw; the soft movement of his breath against my forehead as he held me close and warm, even in sleep. 

A sound of tenderness escaped my throat, as I thought thinking back on all the moments Jamie and I had shared, from the first day at the stones, to Leoch, these long days on the road….and last night. 

No, it wasn’t just lust I felt, potent as it was. This man, this fierce warrior, big and strong enough to destroy a man in battle, had cared for me through the night, holding me as carefully and gently as he would a kitten. Despite his hesitation, his evident fear of crossing the boundary of propriety, he had given me the warmth of his body, cradling me to him and chanting soft words over me. He had seen me safe.

My fingers were reaching out as if of their own accord, needing to touch him. “You sweet lad,” I whispered, and I grinned widely to see him smile once more in sleep at the touch, the warm cheek tightening under my fingertips.

Suddenly, though, his eyes flicked open wide and met mine dead-on. My grin fell into an expression of blank shock, and I tried to adopt a casual air as I—bloody goddamn fucking fool, Beauchamp—moved my hand to my scalp to feign an itch that convinced no one. 

He was gracious enough not to call me out on this half-rate pageantry. “Did ye sleep well, Mistress?” he whispered, voice scratchy with sleep, looking down now with an expression of shy eagerness.

“Yes,” I whispered back, tucking my hair nervously back behind my ear, avoiding his eye. “Thank—thank you again, Mr. McTavish…for warming me.”

The whooshing rush of melting ice. A burning tongue tracing up the lines of my neck and hollow of my ear. Our cries rising high and fierce above the roar of the fire.

AVE MARIA—GRATIA BLOODY PLENA—

“And—and you?” I stammered, my voice several notes higher than I’d ever heard it and my cheeks so red I thought he could surely see, even in the dim light. “Did you, erm, sleep well?”

He certainly didn’t look it. His eyes were bloodshot, and there were dark circles underneath. “Oh—oh aye—” he said, with a faint grin. “Verra pleasur—pleasantly!—to—to be sure.” He blushed furiously and averted his eyes. 

Suddenly the panicked impulse to vomit came over me and I had to clench all the muscles in my body to quiet the screaming alarm bells going off in my head. My own nocturnal experience might have been a dream, and certainly I hadn’t actually ravished Mr. McTavish, but had I done something lewd to him in my sleep while having it? Frank had always said I was inclined to writhe wantonly about in sleep before initiating sex; my body’s own clarion call. Had I—?

Oh. FUCKING. Hell.

Mortified, my cheeks all pins-and-needles from anxiety, I began to jerk free my arm from where it lay pinioned behind his back, mumbling, “I should— gobacktomytent—proper clothes, you know—b-breakfast—”

Before I could extricate myself, though, his hands tightened on me, and he uttered the tiniest of sounds. I surely wouldn’t have heard it, had I not been still pressed against his chest. It was a pitiful kind of noise; a whimper? expressing, in the barest of instants, both protest…and need.  

Slowly, I looked back up into his face. The same emotions were written there, too. “It’s…an hour or more until full dawn,” he said, voice tentative and cracking. “Ye might…stay a while longer, yet…so as not to wake the others?”

I might stay….

I might stay.

Shaking the image of standing stones from my vision, I saw the anxiety rushing across his features at my silence. “Christ, I dinna mean to say—not that—only if ye—”

I laid a hand on his shoulder and he stilled. “I wouldn’t want to wake the others,” I said quietly.

“No…” he breathed, blue eyes clear and alight. 

“And…I am still a bit cold,” I whispered hoarsely. That wasn’t a lie, I told myself belligerently. It was a cold morning. It WAS.

“Well, then…” he said, voice low and deep and resonant against my skin, rippling down all the way to my fingertips. 

Just until dawn, I bargained silently with my conscience.

Slowly, I lowered myself back down to him, resting my cheek against his shoulder. I thought I heard him sigh; in contentment? It was rather hard to tell for sure, for my own sigh—escaping me as I settled back into the warm arms and felt the warm hands pull me subtly closer against him—seemed to drown out out all other concerns. 

God, lad…the things you bloody do to me. 

…my sweet Jamie. 

Keep reading

One Boy’s Stoner is Another Man’s Lawyer

Prim and proper were two words that I had often heard, in the background scurrying of the water-cooler, to describe me.  I had done everything “right” in my life to date, followed the finely-detailed stepping stones laid out by my father, and fallen into the career that was destined for me.  Stellar marks in high school led to a quality college education, and, finally, law school. Three years of hard work culminated in an offer from one of the nation’s preeminent law firms, and the rest, as “they” pejoratively say, is “history.”  I kept myself in fairly good shape, if only to uphold the appearances of corporate law, donned my tie, went to work, played the club scene a bit, and did it all over again the next day.  Between schmoozing wealthy clients and leading my arrogant little love life, things were, I have to admit, very good.

That all changed, however, when I met Tommy, or, as his foster parents curiously called him, Skunk.  Skunk was a scrawny little juvenile delinquent, recently celebrated his 18th birthday in SCI Camp Hill, who was kicked to me on a pro bono matter. To say that he epitomized the stoner crowd was a gross understatement.  He would float into my office, oversized t-shirt and pants around his ankles, and sit across from me with a stupid expression as he replaced my odorless work environment with the dank smell of marijuana.  Not surprisingly, Skunk was sent to me on a possession charge – the seventh he had caught in the last 6 months – and faced possible revocation of his parole.  I would implore him to take it seriously, but he never seemed concerned.  He would lean his boyish face toward mine, so close that I could smell the scent of weed and unwashed body odor, place one hand with its dirty, nicotine-stained fingernails over mine, expertly slip the other into his loose jeans, and whisper: 

“You’re a pretty fucker, ain’t you.  I bet you do well with the ladies, make big bank. Never gotta worry bout your next hit.”

 I would always recoil at this sentiment, pull away despite the gentle undulations of electricity that worked their way up my spine, and fight the roiling of my stomach.  This would set him to giggles. He would sit back, pop out his feet with his hand still gently working his skinny member, lost as it was within the over-sized folds of his ratty clothing. 

 “I’m not worried, man,” he’d remark. “My pops told me that if I don’t like something, I can change it.” 

 His voice would crack, he’d lower his eyes to his busy little hand, and jut his pouty lips out at me.  

“After, all,” he winked, “I can be whoever I wanna be.”

This ritual would happen at each of our weekly meetings.  The same phrases, mannerisms, gestures.  I thought nothing of it; this was a young punk trying to get the best of me. All I could do was my duty to help him in whatever way he’d allow me.  But that smirk, his calm and arrogant air, his entreating and penetrating eyes, and the hypnotic way that he worked on himself.  They all got to me.  At first, I would have a passing thought about Skunk. And then a weekly thought. A daily thought. An hourly thought.  And, soon, he was in my dreams.  I was his age, a skinny boy of eighteen who hung out in a circle only tangentially related to Skunk’s.  The next time I was his friend.  We’d drink together, hit on guys and girls alike, smoke, and stroke.  And, then, well, I was Skunk.  I felt his scummy teeth, his disconnected and delinquent attitude, the powerful surge of teenage arousal that obscured any intelligent thought in his brain; caused my old identity to dissolve into swift and ethereal circles.  Each night the clarion call of Skunk, Skunk, Skunk echoed through my ears until there was no room left for me or my thoughts. Always, I awoke in a cold sweat, my own penis inflated with unbidden desire.  A quick splash of water, a tentative glance around, a clean and crisp mental calculation revealed that I was not Skunk. But the feeling and desire to be him grew with insidious alacrity, cloying to my body until it was heavy with Skunk.

On the day that It happened, I was sitting in my office.  Our firm had been hit with an emergent issue, and I was busy pulling together fragments of caselaw and policy in order to finalize our response.  I smelled him before I saw him, and looked up tensely to see Skunk sauntering into my office with smirk in place.  He sat down, leaned in closely.  He smelled, as always, of weed.  But there were other, more pungent smells, this time.  Among the nettles of dirt and summer sweat, freshly cut-grass and stale alcohol, mingled the faintest traces of my cologne.  My cologne; but how?  Before I could reflect further, Skunk had taken up our weekly ritual, had rested his skinny hand with its dirty fingernails on mine.  But this time, betwixt the two, was a medallion covered in some sticky substance.  

His eyes locked with mine as he whispered,“Time for you to get some Skunk spunk.”  

I was frozen, unable to withdraw my hand, as Skunk continued to speak rapidly, lapsing into and out of broken English. 

 I felt my penis enlarge, my other hand instinctively cradling it, as Skunk chuckled, “Gonna enjoy bein’ you, my man. “Hope you enjoy what you see here,” his other hand was on his penis now, “you skinny stoner dumbass.”  

The word “dumbass” hit me like an electric slap, and I shot through my designer khakis.  Skunk had thrown his head back to laugh, his hand an iron vice on mine, as an almost imperceptible wind swept through the room, leaving our entire bodies inflamed. Everything was closing in on me now, dark patterns beset my vision as I drifted further down, down, down into the dulcet tones of Skunk’s failing voice.

I awoke with a start, sweat beading down my lithe body and my skinny little penis struggling through some distant hole somewhere.  My brain was in a comprehensive fever fog that it could not shake. But, it was a dream, I thought? Just another dream. A cursory look around what should have been my bedroom revealed this sentiment to be nothing but a fiction.  I was in a cramped little closet of a room.  No window for ventilation, scattered with dirty clothes that might belong to a teenage runt trying to be fashionable, or, better yet, a vagrant. And then I thought – “lithe body,” “skinny little penis?”  I sat up quickly, removing the comforter covering me. And there it was – the truth of the matter.  I was on a dingy piss-stained mattress, and the body, this body, MY body, looked better suited to an undeveloped eighteen year-old rather than a 32 year-old man who worked out every day.  I was pale and scrawny, two tiny nipples flowing effortlessly past visible ribs, a tight little core, a small, eager uncircumcised penis which glinted through holes in Hanes boxers, down to two chicken legs.  But that wasn’t all – I had cheap, vulgar tattoos scattered here and there, the most prominent of which was a cartoon skunk with a comically large grin on my deflated upper left pectoral.  Jumping quickly to my feet, I ran to a dirty mirror that sat above broken wicker furniture. It was just as I feared.  The dopey grin of Skunk peeked back at me.

There it was – I could not contest it now.  Skunk’s face looked back at me where mine should have been.  I grabbed at it, and the figure in the mirror followed suit.  That smooth baby-face, never known to a razor, the brillo-like stubble of my head where Skunk had shaved it (he wanted to look “rougher” than his little body betrayed), the crooked teeth and big ears.  I looked up and down the length of the diminutive stoner than I had become, touching and feeling the teenage sensitivity of it.  My hands – those skinny hands with the dirty fingernails – were shaking.

 “Fuck,” I uttered and heard with disdain Skunk’s dumb, empty voice echo back at me.  

I needed something, and needed it bad.  Pacing around that dingy room in my dingy underwear, working with gleeful abandon my tenacious little dick, I spotted it.  The bong in the corner.

Moving with renewed purpose, I took up the apparatus effortlessly, my mind filling in gaps where necessary, and before long I sat nestled in a comfortable pot-induced haze.  That dopey grin that was now my own settled, I ran my tongue over my dirty teeth and exhaled. 

 “That’s the shit right there, ain’t it,” I heard myself query distantly.  

A tall, middle-aged man appeared in the door frame, peeked in on me as I sat in my stupor.  I recognized him as my foster dad, blue collar all the way, and amply concerned about my future.  

He smirked and said, “Good. It worked,” to no one in particular. 

 I smiled as he advanced slowly, and tentatively called out: “Skunk?”  

He seemed more certain when I raised my eyes to meet him.  “Get your hand of your dick, kid, and make yourself presentable. You gotta meet with your lawyer today.”

 His comment triggered something lodged within the deeper recesses of my mind, beyond the new memories rapidly filling it, beyond even the outer-fringes of cannabis. I sat up quickly, knocking the bong to one side, and proclaimed: 

“That ain’t right; I’m the lawyer? I gotta be the lawyer.”  

My foster-father clapped in ridicule, casting his arms apart and tilting his head back. “That’s funny,” he chortled. “You’re barely gonna finish high school, boy, let alone go on to college or law school.”  

I balked at this, but knew it to be true, my mind already tainted with bits of Skunk. It was hard to talk; hard to think.  All of my words came out crooked-mouthed. 

 “But,” I said weakly.  

“Boy,” he continued, “you’ve been in and outta juvie for most of life. That’s not gonna endear you to those fancy pants schools; you are what you are. Deal with it now.  Get your skinny ass into gear and get going.”  

Without further prompting, I began to dress, watching the small idiosyncrasies of my new body as I did.  No need for new underwear – I love the smell of ripe fabric.  Loose jeans, ratty tank-top, big orange t-shirt, old gym socks, and we’re ready to go.

I left my foster parents’ small apartment just in time to catch the downtown bus.  Six stops later, one elevator ride, and a quick jaunt down the hallway and I stood in my lawyer’s office.  Stumbling in, my mind still lovingly embraced in the afterglow of weed, I found his gaze already meeting mine.  “Fancy fucker,” I thought, and then promptly stopped.  Something was wrong.  This wasn’t right, this couldn’t be right.  Everything in this office was at once familiar and strange.  My eyebrows contorted and I frowned.  “I’m just some skinny white stoner,” right, I thought?  My lawyer caught my confusion, and broke in. 

 “Skunk,” he said. 

 I looked up quickly and scowled. “Fancy fucker,” I thought again.  

“Why don’t you have a seat, my boy, and we can discuss your future?”