He was supposed to take my memories when he brought me here, the seelie knight, who had been commanded to escort me home with a simple “take it away, it’s too old now and it bores me” from the noble who had kept me for the past while. I traded him my singing voice for them though, and now where once sweet music poured from my lips only hoarse and untuned notes fall out without any of the tempo or melody they had before. Now I think I made a bad trade. It might have been better, if I didn’t remember, or remembered something else entirely.
I stare at the boy next to me in the circle, I was asked to join this circle as a way to make me feel part of something, part of a circle. They call the circle a support group for abducted children. Children who were abducted and got away, that is, I don’t think there’s a support group for those currently abducted. Their abductors wouldn’t allow them to attend, I suppose. The boy is speaking about the man who touched him, speaking of the horrible way he loved that man, because he was a child, and he had to love someone. Are his memories true? Or is he like me? Did a faerie take him away, and replace the memories from Under the Hill with these tragedies? Why? Did he commit some crime? I cannot say.
I am fascinated by the girl who sits next to the girl directly across from me in the circle. She tells us to call her Angie. She wears ratty clothes, not the sort of poor chic that seems to be an underlying trend, with jackets made of patches and ribbed cloth sold at malls, but real grunge. The tears in her sleeves reveal razor scars, her hair is short, she wants to look tough, she wants people to cross the street to get away from her when they see her coming. She is not tough. She is nervous, always nervous, always afraid, though she hides it well. None of these things are too interesting to me, those things I can see anywhere, but I thought context would be important so that the fact that she’s a pathological liar would not be the only thing you knew about her.
She is a pathological liar.
Her lies fascinate me.
After group chat, I take her aside and we talk, sometimes just for a few minutes, sometimes for hours, and I watch her fabricate thousands of untruths, from tiny white ones to huge fantastical ones as bright and colorful as her life has never been. Some days, I believe everything she says and some days I question each word, trying to figure out her secret.
It’s a strange thing, I was taken before I really knew my name, and each faerie that’s kept me (I was a pet for them) called me something different. Do I even have a true name? I’ve been Jane Doe since I showed up, stumbling barefoot and confused into a police station moments after midnight (at least the knight knew to leave me near a place of authority), so I’ve been introducing myself as Roe, like the deer. They ran my DNA through the missing children’s database (I didn’t understand what that was at first, was shocked at how closely humans had approximated magic with computers), but there was no match. I told them I didn’t know how long ago I’d been abducted, and suggested that it might have been before the database was made. They laughed and said I was eighteen, and DNA technology had been around much longer than me. I tried to explain that time was different where I had been kept, but they simply patted me on my head and told me they were sure that it seemed that way to me at the time.
They stared at me worriedly when one of them brought me a McDonald’s Happy Meal, and I asked what she wanted for it. She told me nothing. No one here ever asks for anything besides courtesy in return for their food, but old habits are hard to break. Even now, in my foster home, I cannot help insisting that my hosts confirm that this food is a gift freely given. They asked me to help them cook and I broke down in tears because there was a cast iron skillet on the stove (“Please don’t make me, iron burns, iron burns, and it gets under your skin and makes you go grey and lifeless like a flower severed from its roots, plea-please, please don’t make me”). It took them an hour to convince me that they weren’t trying to force me to poison myself, and the food burned (“I said I would help you, you asked me to cook and I agreed, but, but please don’t make me, it burns, it’ll burn me!” “It’s alright darling, you don’t have to cook if you don’t want to.” “But I said I would! It was an oath!” “We’re sorry, we wouldn’t have asked if we’d known it would upset you, you can help some other way if you like.” “You… absolve me of my oath?” “Yes, of course we do darling!”).
I am more comfortable with iron now, I am not one of the Fair Folk, after all, it will not harm me. Correction, a blade of iron would harm me, but not because it was made of iron. It does, however, mess with my glamor.
It is a difficult thing, growing up bathed in magic and yet to have none of your own. A pixie once spoke of how she envied my hair, and I said, on impulse, “do you want it?” So a trade was made. She gave me the ability to change my appearance, and she walked away with my hair. I expected my hair to grow back after a time though… it did not. With my glamor I can have the appearance of having whatever hair I please, and sometimes I change it daily, but when I sleep or when iron is near my bare head is revealed. It is assumed by my hosts and everyone around me that I have many wigs, I have told them I do not, but they don’t believe in magic, so they insist on believing this instead.
I hide when I hear thunder, duck into a bathroom and put everything on backward and inside out if I’m in public, or simply sit quiet if I’m home. The first time I did this, it shook me to my core when someone told me “You know, your shirt is on backward.” I started to panic, until I realized that I could see myself too. It was a revelation, discovering that there was something humans could see that the Good Neighbors couldn’t.
It still boggles my mind how much people throw away, tears and menstrual blood caught on napkins, or gifts from that one aunt that they held onto for so long for the sentimental value but can’t keep now because they have to move into a smaller apartment, or the shirt they can’t wear anymore because it smells like their ex. They could trade these items to faeries for so many things, and yet they simply throw them away. What a waste.
My hosts insisted I should have a proper education, and after three years of homeschooling (to get me caught up) I applied to attend the local state college. There I found more people who fascinate me the way Angie does. There’s Lisa, who fights for animal rights, and Kyle, the leader of the Gay Straight Alliance group, and Riley, who’s going into the Peace Corps next year because they want to help the world. I ask them all the time why they do what they do, what they expect to get back, and they tell me that ideally they’ll make the world a better place, and that will pay them back eventually, but that they don’t do it for what they’ll get back, they do it because it’s right. I don’t understand. There’s Cheyenne, who always gets into intense political debates with other people over dinner in the cafeteria, and she believes so intensely about things that don’t even affect her, and she fights for them, and she tells me she does this because it’s right, and I don’t understand. I’ve never met anyone who cared about anything other than themselves Under the Hill. Faeries can’t lie, they can’t go back on their word, they honor their deals and make sure you honor them too, they repay debts and ensure they’re repaid in turn, they amuse themselves playing or squabbling over power, but they do not do things for free. They don’t care about things for free. They don’t defend the innocent, protect the weak, or forgive the ignorant. The culture shock coming here is bewildering.
If I could I’d honor my debts, leave a pile of gold at the doorstep of everyone who’s done me a kindness, but I have not the magic to do so. The drainage ponds hold no sirens, the falling snow has no frolicking pixies between its flakes, there is no magic for me to use here… or is there?
Perhaps I can’t call upon the magic Under the Hill, perhaps I can’t summon gold or make deals with darklings, but I can find magic here, I’ve seen others do it. I’ve seen a moon so beautiful it sends shivers down your spine captured by a little lense-box and put onto thick shiny paper. I’ve seen songs and stories written with such emotion that it moves those who hear them to tears, to laughter, to dancing, to life. I’ve seen kitchen witches cure colds with hot chicken soup, and I’ve seen holy men ward off tricksters they can’t even see with the power of their belief.
Perhaps I can find a way to create my own magic, and do what other people seem to strive to do to repay their debts. Perhaps I can make the world a better place, and learn the magic of humanity. And as for the places where magic does live? Where the boundary between worlds is thin and the drainage ponds and snowflakes carry faerie magic within? …I think I’ll be staying far away, for my part. I might still have a lot to learn, but I think I like it better here.
I knew you met Dianna Gabbadon but not JK Rowling, when was this? Is there a story is it just everyone in the UK meets every famous UK celebrity at some point?
lol, no. The island is not that small.
I “met” her because I used to work at a bookshop, it was one of my first jobs as a teenager, along with gathering up empty pint glasses in the pub for 2 quid an hour and the occasional bout of babysitting. Presumably when parents were desperate.
It was the small village bookshop I got my first self bought book from with my pocket money at the tender age of five, and it was fairly inconsequential to the rest of the world but was the absolute hub of community and gossip for our little town second only to the tea house after church.
I’d flit from the cash register to the cafe at the back, learning to make coffee on an expensive Italian machine no one really trusted because using it to boil water for tea always burned the leaves, so the boss was always fuming that she’d spent a fortune on this shiny bit of equipment, and I was still brewing water for tea in the giant copper kettle on the ancient cast iron stove in the back because otherwise no one wanted it.
She was a hobbyist owner that one, meaning she didn’t actually want to run a bookshop but enjoyed saying that she did and was wealthy enough to not care if it failed. I always vowed one day I’d have enough money to buy it back from her and do it right. Except she managed to run it into the ground and now it’s a pawnshop.
Which is a profound shame because not only was it a vital community space, but it was also a beautiful old stone building that had last been refurbished sometime circa the 1920s, if not before then if I remember the plumbing right. It was all dark gleaming woods and shiny brass fixtures inside. It was the kind of bookshop you imagine when you read fairy stories. And now it’s all vinyl plastic and abandoned trinkets. Shame.
Anyway, long before the shop’s eventual demise, Order of the Phoenix was coming out and my boss had an idea in her head that she wanted to do a Thing for it to try and boost sales, and she chattered animatedly to anyone who would listen about how pretty it was going to be and how the newspaper would be there too. Also her “girl friend” was going to stop by to help out during the week, a statement which none of us thought about much because she always had some rich “girl friend” dropping by to inflict something on the shop. Like the one woman going through a midlife crisis who reinvented herself as a positive vibes guru and spent a whole afternoon “cleansing” the negative energy out of the store and managing to start an electrical fire when she flicked water onto the old electric wire heaters. (In her defense we did have to have a rather big clean out after that.)
True to the boss’s incompetence, she vastly under ordered copies of the book (200, she ordered 200, for the only bookshop for miles, while places like Waterstones in the city were ordering by the thousands and selling out in under two hours) and spent all her money on making the shop look the part and having fancy cakes baked by the bakery I would later go on to work for.
I turned up to work that morning wearing my official “follow me for Harry Potter” t-shirt which was distributed to all official retailers, a purple witches cloak I’d spent a week sewing (and still own) a pointy hat, and my mother’s old heather broom. I spent my morning before opening time running around the local shops picking up food orders (and also delivering books, because when they said they delivered free locally, what they actually meant was I’d hop on my bike and ring the doorbell) and generally standing out like a sore thumb and ending up with a gaggle of children following me back to the shop, their parents dragged behind them.
I dare say my mother still has the newspaper clipping of 16 year old me sitting outside under the old oak tree on my tea break, nose buried in a copy of the book with the headline “Witch Way For Harry Potter” over my head.
It was my first officially recognized (visual) pun that was ever published. The journalist was delighted when he realized it was intentional on my part and even asked me if he could use it. It’s still something I’m very (not quite so) secretly proud over.
But right before that moment, when the picture was being taken, the photographer managed to capture my expression of pure surprise when I opened up the book to find that it was signed.*
So yea, about that “girl friend” who was turning up to help.
Turns out I’ve made tea for both Diana Gabbadon and Rowling and not realized who they were until afterwards, although unlike Gabbadon the most I said to Rowling was “one lump or two?” and didn’t even glance at her. She was just another one of the boss’s blonde friends there to do something pointless like feng shui the audio books then fuck off again.
And they say these kind of things happen in threes, so I’m just quietly dreading which other author I’ve casually dismissed to their face without realizing it. I’ve probably told Stephen King I thought clowns weren’t that scary or something at the airport and Pennywise is just waiting to drag me to hell.
One can only hope.
Also Hagrid used to drive his sports car past my house most days, but that’s another story.
*a copy I didn’t even get to keep because the boss sold any and all copies left lying around in the shop when she realized her ordering mistake and didn’t even tell us until afterwards. I phoned my dad in tears saying someone had stolen my book from behind the desk, so god love him, he drove to Glasgow and waited in the hellish lines outside the still packed Waterstones and got me another copy. And a chocolate bar. Cause that was my dad lol.
Outside it had started to rain. One of Björn’s arms was around your shoulder and with the other he tried to prevent you from becoming soaked wet. “I want to go home.” You said while shivering. You felt your knees become weak. The alcohol, the emotions, the shock, all those things had made you feel dizzy. Björn noticed. “Hold on.” He said and took back his arm. Softly he grunted from the pain in his side. But that didn’t stop him from taking you softly into his arms. Your feet came off the ground and you hung in Björn’s arms as he walked to your house. In the distance the thunder had started to growl. It felt as if the earth was shacking with every rumble that came from the sky. An enormous lightning strike made the air bright blue. “The gods will protect you.” Björn whispered into your ear. Softly you hummed, closed your eyes and turned your head towards him. “I will protect you.” Gently he kissed the top of your wet hair as he fastened his pace towards your house.
Inside the warmth came towards the both of you. Björn walked to one of the comfortable chairs and gently laid you down. “Are you okay?” he asked, still whispering. “I’ve felt better.” You saw some sort of pain appear in his eyes when you said that. He kneeled next to you and stroke your hair. “Let me take care of you.” He pushed his forehead for a moment against yours. When he pulled back he turned towards your shoes which he started to take of your feet. Every piece of clothing on your and his body were soaking wet. You nodded at him with a smile and helped him by taking your dress of. Björn looked respectfully away from your bareness and saw the blanket you threw at your brother earlier that evening. He picked it up, shook the dust of it and placed it on your body. “Better?” He asked with an uncertain smile and looked you deep into your eyes. “Much better.” You said and looked at the fireplace that was barely burning anymore. “I’ll take care of it.” He assured you and left the house to pick up some firewood.
Björn was walking to the little shed next to your house when he heard Vidar’s voice calling him. Immediately he turned his head and looked to the slightly older Viking that was coming at him through the rain. “Where is he?” Björn asked and stepped forward, clearly talking about Kettil. Again he felt his anger grow. “Easy Björn. He has been taken care of.” Björn scoffed and shook his head from left to right. “Maybe for now. But he is still alive isn’t he?” He asked Vidar. “If they had let me I would have killed him.” Vidar stroke over his face and saw some blood sticking to his hand. He had a bruised eye and blood was dripping from his lip. “Who didn’t let you?” Vidar sighed because of the question and leaned against the shed, trying to escape some of the rain. “Your father.” Björn couldn’t believe his ears and he bit his lip out of frustration. “I’ll take care of it in the morning.” Björn assured Vidar. “Don’t do anything stupid.” Björn snorted sarcastically. “I would do anything for her.” Björn said. Vidar laughed softly as he took some blocks of firewood and placed it into the muscular arms of Björn. “I know.” Vidar gave Björn a soft pat on his shoulder. “Take care of her. And try to hear her out, okay? I need to know what that bastard did to my sister. And I think she’d rather talk to you than to me right now.” Björn nodded confident. “Where are you going?” He asked Vidar as soon as the boy started to walk away. “I also have someone who keeps my bed warm at night, Björn Ragnarsson.” The words made Björn laugh and with that gesture a thunderbolt cleared the sky.
It took a few minutes before the red coals were able to put the wooden blocks on fire. Björn was pushing them with an iron bar and was daydreaming whilst looking at the little flames. You saw he had sunk in deep thoughts and you pulled the blanket a little higher on your arms. “Björn?” You softly said his name. When he heard your voice he immediately awoke from his slumber. “Yes?” He answered with a little smile on his lips and looked at you. “I’m so sorry for tonight.” You said and looked towards the floor. Björn frowned his eyebrows and came walking towards you. “Don’t be.” He stroke over your cheek trying to comfort you, his fingers were still cold and wet from the bad weather outside. “The only one who needs to be sorry it Kettil. Sorry for what he did to you and sorry for what I am about to do to him.” You swallowed unsure and looked at Björn with big eyes. “What are you going to do to him?” You asked him whispering. Björn dropped himself on the floor, sat right next to the sofa you were laying on. “Depends on what he did to you, y/n. You want to talk about it with me?” You heard in his voice that he wasn’t sure if he should be asking these questions. “It is useless, it happened Björn. You can’t turn back the time.” He frowned his eyebrows and a dark glance appeared on his face. “But I can make him pay for what he did to you in the past.” You laughed softly from impotence. “Then why don’t have the gods punished him yet?” Björn grabbed the edge of the soda and pinched into the fabric. “I don’t know, y/n. Just tell me what he did to you.” You could clearly hear Björn was getting frustrated by you being silence about what happened. “Don’t you understand?” He said in an almost begging way as you didn’t spoke anymore. He turned on his knees and leaned towards you. “I want to protect you. I want to make up for the time a wasn’t here.” He grabbed with both his hands to his head and buried it away. His fingers slithered through his wet hair. “I want to make you happy.” Eventually he looked back up to you and you could see the imploring look in his eyes. “Please, y/n.”
“He came to this house at night when Vidar was away. I had seen him the day before on the market. Don’t ask me how we got there, but eventually we were talking about my past. I told him that I was feeling lonely since my brother started to spent a lot of time with his significant other. And that I felt an empty hole inside me since the day you left with your mother.” Your eyes started to fill with tears. You felt Björn was watching you but you didn’t dare to look at him. “You had your mother Björn. I had nobody. You knew how hard it was for me when they died when. We were just kids, but I was definitely old enough to experience the pain and the emptiness.” With a finger you caught a tear that was going to fell on the blanket. And at the same time you felt Björn’s hand on your other hand. Softly he pinched, stimulated you to tell further. You gasped for breath, trying to prevent yourself from crying. “So like I said, he came here in the night Vidar was with Inkeri. I was here all by myself, so at first I was frightened when I heard the intruder. Until I saw it was Kettil. He told me he knew Vidar was away and so he was there to make me feel less lonely.” You laughed trough your teard, realising how stupid you had been. “We talked. I cried. He comforted me and told me everything would be okay. And eventually I believed him. After that he told me it was better that I would catch some sleep, and that he would watch over me when I did. So he joined me in my bed and..” You stopped telling and immediately felt Bjorn’s hand tighten around yours. “And?” he asked, his voice sounded deep and raspy. “And he tried to rape me.” Björn jumped up without saying any further word. He grabbed the red glowing iron stick from the stove and made preparative to leave the house. “Björn no. Stop!” you yelled at him and also jumped up. The blanket hung around you like some kind of dress as you ran towards him to stop him from leaving. “He didn’t succeed. I fought him of, he didn’t get the chance to touch me properly.” - “It doesn’t matter. It is the fact that he tried.” His eyes looked like they were glowing from anger. “Please, Björn. Don’t leave me here.” An lonely tear rolled over your cheek. Björn sighed deep, trying to calm down. “One day I’ll make him pay. You can’t take that away from me.” You looked down to your bare feet and clammed the blanket closer around your body. “Don’t you want me to make him pay?” He asked you in confusion and put his finger under your chin to make you look at him. “I do, but..” - “But what?” Björn frowned his eyebrows in a worrying way. “He took my mother’s and father’s wedding rings. He knew how much they meant to me and now he is using them to blackmail me.” You started to walk towards the sofa and the stove again and Björn followed you closely. “Blackmail you how?” He asked. “He keeps them hidden somewhere and told me I’d never get them back as I didn’t do as he wanted me to.” Björn didn’t know what to say, and instead he pulled you against his chest. You felt his cold, wet clothes to your naked body but despite that the hug made you feel warm. “I’m going to make this right. I promise you. No more need to worry, no more need to be afraid. If the gods don’t watch over you, I swear to Odin that I will do it myself.”
It had taken a few minutes to calm down, but eventually you were able to smile again. Björn had comforted you and made you feel safe as he had promised. His axe was on the table next to the sofa the both of you laid on. In the meantime he had also taken off his clothes and put them next to yours to dry in front of the stove. “You are staying, right?” you asked him as you snuggled your head against his bare chest. You were laying in between him and the stove so you felt warmth on both sides of your body. “Why are you asking such stupid questions?” He whispered with a smile and pressed his lips against your neck. Softly you giggled and stroke with your hand over the side of his body. Björn cringed shortly and you looked at him concerned. “Are you okay?” He smiled at you to reassure you. “It’s just a scratch.” You frowned your eyebrows and suddenly remembered Kettil had hit him with the knife. “Let me take a look at it.” Björn laughed and held you down with his arms when you tried to get up. “No.” He loaded you with little kisses on your face. “Please.” You giggled and tried to push him away playfully. “No.” he said again as he pressed his lips fully on yours. And then you relaxed, totally went into the kiss. Eventually he ended the kiss but kept his head close to yours. “You can look tomorrow, but for now I just want to enjoy this moment. And especially, enjoy you.” You hummed in approval and pressed your lips afresh against his. In the background Thor was still playing the song of the gods.
ORIGINAL IMAGINE: Imagine you are living in the late 1800’s and your parents pass away due to a tragic accident. Leaving you an orphan, you are sent to a miserable orphanage. Then, a mysterious and harsh man named Loki visits the orphanage and takes you on as his ward. He brings you to his crumbling mansion in the English countryside, where you face his cruel intentions, and eventually discover that you care for him much more than you’d like to admit.
I hadn’t gone too far on my walk that afternoon. The place that I did venture to was a serene little spot underneath an oak tree: a location that I had been to many times with my master. I just needed some time to myself following the conversation that I had with Elsie, as it had made me uneasy about my imminent future once again. The truth was that I had somehow forgotten all about Lavinia, which was because Loki had not mentioned anything about her since the May Day picnic. The solitude of the quiet hour spent beneath the mighty tree allowed my spirits to be restored, and I grew joyous at the prospect of spending the approaching evening with Loki, Agnes and her family.
Then said he, “If you will not tell me anything, tell your sorrows to the iron-stove there,” and he went away.
Then she crept into the iron-stove, and began to weep and lament, and emptied her whole heart, and said, “Here am I deserted by the whole world, and yet I am a King’s daughter, and a false waiting-maid has by force brought me to such a pass that I have been compelled to put off my royal apparel, and she has taken my place with my bridegroom, and I have to perform menial service as a goose-girl. If my mother did but know that, her heart would break.”
-The Goose Girl
There are times in our lives when we suffer from the words and deeds of others. These are hard enough to bear without the additional strain of feeling like we can’t talk about it or have no one to turn to for sympathy. This spell allows for both a venting of those grievances and a call for justice upon those who have wronged you.
Intent: To relieve your sorrows and bring justice for a grievance.
Small pot / saucepan / teapot / large mug
Herbs: Willow Bark, Rosemary, Marjoram, Powdered Allspice or Ground Clove
Ideal Timing: This spell can be performed whenever there is a need.
Obtain a small pot or saucepan. If neither of these are available, a teapot or a large mug will do. This will be your sorrow pot. It is important to note that after performing this spell, you should wash and thoroughly cleanse the item to make sure that none of your sorrows remain before using it for mundane cooking or other magic.
Whisper your sorrows into the pot. Take as long as you like and be as sad or as angry or as vulgar as you feel you need to be. If you shed any tears, try to catch a few of them in the pot for additional potency.
Gather the following and place them in the pot:
A Palmful of Willow Bark
A Pinch of Dried Rosemary
A Pinch of Dried Marjoram
A Spoonful of Shavings from a Bayberry Candle
Stir the contents with a spoon until well combined, then tip the whole mixture into a fire-safe dish, carry it to a clear area without fire hazards, and set it alight. The candle shavings will help the herbs to burn more thoroughly, and you can add drippings from a bayberry or black wax candle if you wish to help it along.
Carefully sprinkle a generous pinch of Ground Allspice or Ground Cloves into the burning material. Let the herbs burn to ash, then cast the ashes into the wind.
If you stop there, the spell works to relieve sorrow and emotional pain, and to aid recovery and mental clarity. If you wish to go one step further and seek justice for the harm that caused your pain in the first place, add the following incantation as you sprinkle the Allspice or Cloves into the burning herbs.
Recite over the flames:
The pain I’ve suffered is your doing This spell shall be the undoing of you By sea-salt tear and burning flame The harm you’ve done returns to you
Once the herbs are completely burned, take the ashes and cast them into the wind to carry the spell to its’ intended target.
Note: If you do not have the space for burning herbs or do not wish to use fire, the herbs may be poured into a bowl and placed in strong sunlight for an hour, with the word “sun” replacing “flame” in the incantation. Cast the herbs into running water or scatter them in the wind for the final step.
- From the forthcoming book, “The Sisters Grimmoire: Spells and Charms for Your Happily Ever After” by Bree NicGarran and Anna Zollinger
I don’t know about you, but when I was first considering the overall state of Thedas, mostly for worldbuilding purposes, I was semi-consciously thinking of it as a fairly typical pseudo-medieval-Europe. And that’s natural enough, because in Origins, Ferelden really did look like that. Thatching, half-timbering, nobles in fortified castles, a fairly monolithic church around which much of society was built.
The further you go into the franchise, though, the more problems you encounter with this. Kirkwall as a city doesn’t give off a particularly medieval vibe, nor does its government. You have sailing ships that are more advanced than Europe saw in the middle ages, you have the Qunari with their mind-altering drugs and poison gases and explosives, you have a popular novelist. A popular novelist requires printing presses, paper manufacture, relatively widespread literacy, and fairly complex shipping systems to exist. The first European novels were published after the medieval period. Come Inquisition, we have the almost Baroque Orlesians, broadsheet newspapers, and a lot of things most people probably didn’t notice, like cast iron cookstoves and Bianca Davri’s steam-powered thresher.
Here’s the thing. Okay here’s a lot of things. I once had pages of notes trying to work this out, and I’ve tried a dozen times to make a post about it, but it’s too much. I give up being organized. So here’s some of the things:
Ferelden is a poor backwater. I know, I’m a rabid Fereldan too, but to the rest of Thedas, it is canonically the arse end of nowhere. It is no more a good example of the overall technological state of Thedas than the hills of my Appalachian home (where people lived without power or indoor plumbing well into the 20th century) in the 19th century were a good indication of the state of things in 19th century Boston, even though they were only a few days’ ride apart.
Thedas’ history and development is in no way like the real world. It’s a place where the world faces a potentially fatal apocalypse ever few hundred years. Again, the first game is pretty misleading in this regard, because we neatly wrapped up that Blight in, supposedly, a year, without it ever escaping the borders of one country. The First Blight lasted over a hundred years and ranged across all of Thedas. Far and away the shortest Blight besides the fifth still lasted 12 years and destroyed entire kingdoms. That’s five huge periods of world war and cultural destruction.
Magic. I mean, obviously. Now, the tangible existence of magic and demons in the Dragon Age arguably has a lot to do with the strength of the Chantry, which has set itself up as a protector from these evils, thus providing an excellent excuse to accumulate military power and suppress dissent. It doesn’t really effect everyday life much for anyone but mages in the Dragon Age–most people have never seen a mage, and only the wealthy can afford enchanted items. But of the five empires Thedas has seen, only two (dwarves and Qunari) put any emphasis on technology, and the earliest two (Elvhenan and Tevinter) relied very heavily on magic, and thus presumably had very little incentive to develop technology.
The Qunari deliberately suppress at least some technological innovations in the south. Remember your friendly neighborhood dwarf who liked to blow shit up from Awakening? His name is Dworkin Glavonak. You meet his cousin Temmerin in DA2 during the Finding Nathaniel questline, and he tells you that Dworkin’s been driven into hiding by the Qunari. (video) Certainly sheds new light on why no one outside of dwarves seems to have explosives or gunpowder in the south. Orzammar dwarves may be the exception here because a) they use lyrium in their explosives, thus making them self-limiting due to the restricted access to lyrium, and b) since Orzammar is a closed society and you cannot come in from the outside, the Qun could not easily place spies in Orzammar society anyway.
So let’s look again, not starting from Origins but look back from Inquisition. And this time when we look, we find a world that
has steam technology, albeit very new–steam-powered threshers were invented around the 1850′s
has cast iron stoves such as were not invented in our world until the 1850′s
has a canonical reason for lacking gunpowder–which, in turn, completely changes the nature of warfare (or more accurately, doesn’t change it, since it’s guns and cannons that put an end to armor and swords and siege weapons)
clearly has printing presses, even if we don’t see them, because there are popular, cheaply printed novels and broadsheet publications and banned book lists
And it’s not quite all from later games, either. Branka was made a paragon for the invention of ‘smokeless coal’–which isn’t actually a thing in itself but rather a process which removes the impurities from the coal so that it then burns cleaner. Which, as far as I can ascertain, is a process that was developed during, you guessed it, the 1800′s.
Now, I’m not trying to excuse all the inconsistencies in technology or claim that the devs did a good job of following through on all the implications of things they stuck into Thedas. Frankly, I think it’s a weak point in their worldbuilding. BUT it’s really going to keep not making any sense if you try to insist that the setting is more-or-less-medieval-Europe. In fact, I think it’s futile to try to match Thedas up to any period of real-world development, partly because Thedas’ history is just too wildly different, and partly because a lot of the worldbuilding is done by sticking a bunch of cultures into a blender and picking out what they like. But if you start thinking about it as a place where technology has continued to develop in places to something roughly congruent to the western world in the 1850′s, but with none of the socioeconomic conditions that created the Industrial Revolution, you might be a bit closer.
Summary: You make breakfast for the boys and after an unfortunate incident, you find out something big about what might have happened during those ten missing years. Pairing: Sam Winchester x Reader, Dean Winchester, Castiel Word Count: 2564 Warnings: Angst, mental breakdown, language, sweaty!Sam (always needs a warning) A/N: More things are being revealed but it also leaves more questions. I hope you guys are liking this series. :) Beta’d by the amazing @saxxxology and if you want to be tagged in this series, please send me an ask!
You barely slept the entire night, tossing and turning in the unfamiliar bed. You could deal with the supernatural being real, and in time, with your dad’s death… but knowing your uncle’s body was walking around with an angel inside it? Impossible.
A soft knock on your door drew your attention away from your racing thoughts.
“Hey, it’s Sam.”
“Come in,” you rasped, throat sore and dry from sleep. You reached over and grabbed the water bottle from the nightstand as the door slowly inched open.
He didn’t come into the room, but stood in the doorway, blocking most of the light from the hallway from spilling into the room. “It’s a little after seven, I’m heading out for my morning run. I didn’t know if you were a morning workout person, but I thought I would offer.”
“I appreciate it, Sam, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything.” You offered a shy smile and chugged the rest of your water. “Maybe sometime later this week?”
Sam nodded and smiled in response and scratched his head, tucking a strand of his hair behind his ear. You found your eyes slowly tracing over his body as he shut the door, admiring the toned thighs and muscular torso of the younger Winchester before he disappeared from your sight. You sighed, knowing you weren’t going to be getting any more sleep, and threw the covers off your body.
Summary: Reader goes undercover, she gets into big trouble and the team rescues her
Warnings: Hostage situation, violence, mention of blood and death
Author’s note: I had like fifty different endings for this but they were so long that I didn’t want to make this imagine too long. If you would like another part you can request it! I basically have like fifty new ways to continue this imagine, so don’t be shy and leave your feedback and request another part if you want. And this imagine is very quick pace, I really didn’t want to make it too long.
Mornings were horrible, especially after not being in your
comfortable bed for so long. All what Y/N wanted to do was skip the morning and
sleep in. The sun was only starting to peak through the clear windows of her
apartment when she pulled the fridge open, looking for something to eat. The
black pan heated over the iron stove as the omelet on the pan heated up slowly.
The smell of eggs had wondered around the house and up to the bedroom far in
the back where Antonio was sleeping peacefully. His nose caught on to the scent
quickly and his stomach started to grumble.
His feet landed on the wooden floors while he stretched his
whole body out of bed. The smell only grew stronger with every step he took
towards the kitchen and his stomach kept growling even louder. Normally, it
would be him cooking breakfast for her; but that morning the tables turned.
With the salsa music coming from her phone, she made her way through the
kitchen dancing to the rhythm of the song. Her hair fell down her back and it
swayed from side to side with her whole body as she danced around with a mixing
bowl in hand. He loved watching her dance, but something about that morning made
his heart flutter even more.
“You’re up early.” Antonio’s raspy voice broke her
away from her dancing as he walked towards her now still body.
“Me asustaste Antonio!” (You scared me Antonio!);
Y/N protested, flipping the first omelet off the pan and pouring the second one
in. Antonio spun Y/N around and pulled her closer to his naked chest. His lips
hovered over hers as their noses brushed against each other. Y/N waist moved in
sync with Antonio’s as another salsa song echoed in the small kitchen.
“Marry me.” Antonio mumbled, his hand grabbing
hers into his gentle grip. Y/E/C iris expanded when her eye landed on his
glistening ones. She heard him perfectly, but the drumming sound of her heart
beating against her chest and her heavy breathing made it even harder for her
to form some words together. “We don’t need to get married right away, I
don’t even have a ring right now but I want you to marry me. I want you to come
back home to me and be my fiancé, the love of my life.”
“I want to marry you, but I thought you said you didn’t
want to get married again.” Y/N babbled, turning around and turning off
the stove behind her. “Is it about what my father said? He’s a traditional
man, but you don’t have to do this Antonio.”
“I want you, that’s all I want. I don’t care if it’s a
huge wedding or even in the courthouse, I just want you.” A smiled creeped
up on her face as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Yes.” Y/N
giggled as Antonio had picked her up and placed her on the kitchen counter. His
lips landed on hers as his hands gripped on each of her sides. The kiss was electric;
it was breathtaking as the happiness only grew even more in them.
“You know he wants a huge Latino wedding.” Y/N
said, catching her breath while Antonio stood between her legs.
“Ay Dios mío.” (Oh my God); Antonio rolled his
eyes playfully at her, only for her to slap him on his shoulder. “I don’t
want you to go.” He whined, resting his head between her breasts.
“I’ll be back in
four weeks max.” Y/N chuckled, running her fingers through his messy dark
And he still hadn’t heard anything from her. He knew she
shouldn’t had taken that undercover job from Narcotics, it was something she
never seen or experienced before. Narcotics was a dark and powerful unit,
either someone ends up dead or the power of control and money gets to them.
One white shirt man
came in with two narcotic sergeants right behind him and made their way towards
Voight’s office. Automatically, everyone in the team sat on their desk in
complete silence as they all looked at each other worriedly.
They knew what to
The job went wrong.
It was all Antonio could think, they had done something to his fiancé.
“As we all know;
Detective Y/L/N has been undercover for the narcotics unit for the past four
weeks.” Voight began, his hands sliding into his pockets as the rest of
the team stood up around Voight and their guests.
communicating with her at least every three days, but since last week we had
lost that connection. Our secret source is no longer reaching out and Y/L/N as
well.” Sergeant Thomson said, handing out the copies of the files they had
on the investigation. “We were tracking down a huge drug-lord for the past
year and not until Y/N started working with us we finally have a name for him.
His name is Jorge Ramirez and he moved to Chicago about two years ago.”
The team kept
discussing the case while Antonio’s thoughts were somewhere else. All he could
think about what the last morning they had together, dancing in the small
kitchen in his apartment while the salsa music played in the background.
“Dawson” Voight called for him, pulling him back to reality.
looked up from his desk, all eyes darting towards him.
warned him before leaving the office with Olinsky and Rusek following behind.
With probably a few
hours left for the rescue of the two cops undercover, they had one of the gang
members in custody after a CI had told Halstead about an old buyer who had
moved to the dealing business with Jorge’s gang. Antonio watched from the other
side of the interview room with Erin by his side as Voight and Halstead were
trying to make the man crack.
It was no surprise
Voight would use his power to intimidate the suspect, one of his own was
missing and he would do anything to get them back. Voight pushed the man’s back
to the concrete wall with his hand wrapped around his neck tightly. Jay only
stood back from Voight with his arms crossed against his chest while he watched
the man being tortured in front of him.
“Alright! I know where they are!” The man choked out,
coughing out for air as Voight had roughly let go of him. “It’s a warehouse,
before the exit for the freeway.” Antonio was the first one to run out of the
room before anyone else could even leave to search for the warehouse’s
The sun was about to set as the team prepared themselves to
barge in the warehouse at any moment. The team and a few of the narcotics team
had huddled around any possible entrance/exit of the warehouse and waited for
Y/N could feel head throbbing and her whole body ache as she
laid on her sides on the floor. She could see Jorge smirking as he knelt before
her weak self. “You’re way more fun to torture than your partner, he was
too boring for my taste.” Jorge chuckled, caressing Y/N’s bruised cheek
with his thumb.
“If you’re going to kill me, just do it.” Y/N
coughed, her throat aching from the dog collar he had her tied to. She had been
tied and tortured for days like a mutt, but she wanted it all to end already.
“But where’s the fun in that sweetheart?” Jorge
laughed, grabbing the small pocket knife and dragged it down on the skin of her
inner thigh. The sharp pain causing her to scream her lungs out as Jorge
pressed his palm hard on the huge cut on her thigh. The stingy tears forming in
her eyes fell down her beaten up cheeks as she heard shouting coming from the
“Shit, get up whore.” Jorge demanded, pulling off
the chains from the wall and holding them securely in his palms as he held her
up against his chest with a gun pressed up her neck.
When the team made their way towards the second level, they
met with the fallen narcotics cop and Y/N being held like a prisoner. The blood
kept dripping down from the bruise of her thigh down to her legs even more
while Jorge forced her to stand while the team surrounded them. “She’s a
fighter, but not strong enough. It was erotic the way she would scream and beg
for me for mercy.”
Jorge began, pulling the chains on her neck tighter as the
purple bruising around her neck worsen.
“Jorge, you’re done. Just let her go.” Halstead
was the first one to speak up as the others kept their guns on Jorge.
Antonio’s rage grew immensely as he eyed his girl
completely. He had tortured her so much, her own body couldn’t even keep
herself up on its own. Her eyes were completely off, they were lost and
disoriented with her surroundings. With the amount of abuse and countless blood
loss she didn’t have any strength to keep fighting back.
It was up to her team now.
Y/N eyes rolled back as her limb body fell against Jorge,
her body weight falling on him completely causing him to lose balance. Antonio
ran to catch Y/N as she fell out of Jorge’s grip while Jay had pushed him down
face down to the floor, cuffing his hands behind his back. “Now you’re
going to be the one praying for mercy.” Voight began, gripping on the back
collar of his shirt and dragging him out with Olinsky behind him.
“Did it work?” Y/N coughed in Antonio’s arms as
she fluttered her eyes open. Antonio sighed out of relief as she smiled weakly
up at him. “Maybe I had a little fight in me left.”
“We need to get her to the hospital, that thigh doesn’t
look good.” Rusek pointed out, calling an ambulance through his radio line.
“I don’t look good at all.” She snorted, still
having some humor left in her.
A few weeks later, Y/N admired the small diamond on her ring
finger as she sat by herself at Molly’s waiting for the rest of the team. It
was her first day back and they all wanted to have some time together at the
bar after another hectic case.
“Corazón, drinking without us already?” Antonio
chuckled, pecking her lips quickly as he rested one of his hands in the small
of her back.
“A girl needs her beer.” Y/N giggled, cuddling up
to her man.
“And tonight is on us, congratulations on the
engagement.” Jay began, ordering the first round of drinks.
“I would usually go against that but If you’re giving
me free drinks then I’m not complaining.” Antonio added, taking a sip of
his own beer.
“I love you.” Y/N rested her head on the crook of
his neck as his hands ran up and down her back.
“I love you too.”
It wasn’t a normal engagement party, no expensive outfits
nor fancy food. All she wanted was to be back with her team, enjoying their
company with some cold beers. It was perfect and she wouldn’t trade it for
Steve’s already showered and changed into sweats and a tank top, his hair still sticking up in cowlicks. When Bucky drags himself to the couch, still in his uniform with soot on his face, Steve takes one look at him in the soft glow of the living room lamp and opens his arms.
Bucky drops the shield on the floor and crawls over Steve’s legs to collapse on top of him, tucks his face under Steve’s chin and exhales. “Jesus fucking Christ.”
The air is filled with the sweet smell of baking, and Bucky is in front of that faintly ridiculous pale pink cast iron stove that he insisted the kitchen needed, lost in thought, carefully decorating a cupcake. Chocolate, from the rich aroma and dark colour. He pipes a swirl of frosting on a cupcake in a decadent tower, almost doubling the height of the little cake. His hair falls across his face in loose tresses as he works, the bun that he’d tied it back in having long since fallen loose.
A/N: At the request of @myforevermoment, I’ve written an alternative ending to BATB, in which Gaston accidentally shoots Belle instead of Beast. Belle dies, though not before declaring her love and breaking the curse. But is it too late? Or can the enchantress still undo what’s been done? (For the full prompt, look here.) Okay, my friend. You wanted angst, so I have to warn you. I BROUGHT THE ANGST. Even knowing it was going to end happily, this was still pretty intense.
He stops climbing at the sound of her voice. True to her namesake, her voice rings out across the wide expanse, echoing off collapsing rooftops like a siren, like a beacon calling him home.
For a moment, he truly believes he’s lost his mind along with his heart, that as he scrambles to cling to unstable shingles, his deepest self-preservation has somehow miraculously, cruelly conjured up her voice from among the chaos. And if this is truly his end…well, at least he’ll have gotten to hear her one last time.
But then he turns and…his heart feels like it might soar right out of his chest. Could it really be? Can he dare to hope?
There she stands–a vision in white, like a dove on her perch, like a saint in her steeple, like a bride waiting for him at the altar.
Top 5 fantasies Yuuri had about about Viktor before meeting him (and top 5 ways the reality diverged)
that victor nikiforov is flawless and good at everything. victor can’t boil a pot of water to save his life. victor thinks that traffic lanes and lights are “suggestions” instead of “laws.” victor, in theory, understands how a savings account works, but not in practice. victor touches hot irons and stoves without thinking. victor shrinks approximately 90% of their clothes the first time he’s within five feet of a washing machine.
that victor nikiforov is a sex god. victor fumbles a lot, worriedly asks, “is this okay?” sometimes yuuri has to shut him up with his mouth or his dick, because victor worries too much, and it’s kind of a turn off. what’s better is when victor loses control, fucks him so earnestly they fall off the bed and laugh into each other’s mouths, scrambling to find the open and close of each other’s bodies on the floor.
that romantic dinners would be less of an ordeal–yuuri imagines him and victor nikiforov looking at each other across a candlelit table, sexual tension heavy, conversation minimal. and it’s still sort of like that, except yuuri never gets to feed himself. victor is constantly lifting wine to his lips, cutting small bites for him.
that having sex in a pool would ever be sexy. it is the least sexy thing in the world. sex in a pool is like having his colon lined in thick rubber and trying to fit a torpedo in his ass. he finds mutual blowjobs in the shower are much, much, much more enjoyable.
that victor is a hyper-intelligent being, wanting to stay up late at night debating durkheim and weber and foucault. victor just wants to stay up late watching bad tv and making jokes, letting yuuri’s mind take a break as he rubs yuuri’s feet and bandages over blisters. yuuri always expected he would be exhausted by victor nikiforov, man of the world. instead he is comfortable, cozy, relaxes into him and his hands and their conversations. (he is angry that he took roughly four political theory classes in college just so he could carry a conversation with Dream Victor Nikiforov though).
No Eyes, No Tongue, No Fingertips: Story of a Mother’s Love
A few years back, I worked as a nurse in the geriatric unit of the hospital in my hometown. There was one old woman there with pale blue eyes whose mind was still fantastically sharp, and her desire to socialize and make new friends set her apart from most others living in that wing of the facility. That woman and I soon became close for this reason. Her name was Yana, and I still miss her every day since she passed.
The strangest thing about Yana was not her accent (which I could only place vaguely as Eastern European), nor her disinclination to talk about her past (which means I never learned exactly where she had grown up.) No, what fascinated me the most was that a strange young man, badly mutilated and plainly blind and mute, would visit her every single day. His hands appeared deformed, seemingly eroded at each digit down to the first knuckle. But each evening, a little after dinnertime, he would visit and they would sit together. She would read to him, or sometimes sing in her frail, old voice. Sometimes they would just hold hands in silence. Finally, I gathered the courage to ask her about this man, and in a strange moment of openness, she agreed to tell me the story:
“My sister and I were the only surviving members of our family after our father passed away in 1964. These were very hard times for my old country, and Father had grown so sick that we were eventually forced to allow him to starve, rather than waste food to comfort him as he inevitably died. Sister had been losing her mind little-by-little before all this happened, but I could see in her eyes as we buried Father that she had finally gone somewhere far away inside herself. I remember the crows, perched in thick groups like clots of preening black movement, watching us in the cemetery from all of the rooftops. We moved to bury Father quickly, because the crows were as hungry as we were…
Sister took to begging in the streets, sometimes trading sex for rides into the city nearby in the hopes that her begging would be more profitable there. It was during these terrible times that she conceived a son – a bastard whose father was not known to her but who was certainly some manner of predatory monster. This was the only kind of man my sister knew in those days of her life. The child was delivered healthy, happy, and with a glowing spirit that broke my heart because I knew that soon the young boy’s eyes would look like mine, and like my sister’s. Even on the day he was born, I knew his beautiful, joyous innocence could not last.
Sister did not care for her son as she should have – as God and goodness alike demand that a mother should care for her child. She would not change the boy’s soiled diapers, leaving this to me instead, and would ‘forget’ to feed him even when his hungry wailing was ringing shrill and miserable through the whole house. Eventually she began to take him out begging, using the child as a prop with which to elicit the sympathy of strangers. She was most pleased when he looked his worst, and even complained to me once or twice that she could raise no money at all on days that he looked ‘too healthy.’
I can never forget her final act of cruelty against Vasily (I named him myself after Sister could not be bothered.) It was morning, and I had walked outside into our yard to smell the air. The child was lying motionless on the ground there, and seemed quite dead – smeared as he was with his own blood. His little fingers and toes were black with frostbite; Sister had not even bundled him in anything when she laid him down hours ago in the dark of night. The crows, which were as hungry as we were, had plucked his beautiful eyes and tongue from his still-living body. I grabbed him up with tears already pouring down my cheeks, thinking that I had claimed a corpse. It was only when he stirred against my breast that I realized he might be saved.
I swaddled him as warmly as I could, and fed him something before rushing him down to the home of the town’s only doctor. I nearly beat down the front door with my fist, and he answered with sleep still in his eyes because it was so early. I paid him with all of the heirloom jewelry from Mother that I had been able to hide from Sister over the years. An hour or so later, the doctor told me Vasily would live, but asked that he be allowed to monitor the child for the rest of the day. I told him that this would be fine, as today would be a busy day for me. And indeed it was. By evening I had smashed Sister’s head to a flattened pulp with the cast-iron skillet from our stove, obtained a train ticket for passage out of our home country, and made plans to give Vasily the best life that he could still yet have.
Vasily – my son now – knows nothing about any of this, of course. I told him only that he was adopted away from a situation which he was likely not to survive. The mirthful optimism I saw on his face when he was born survives to this day inside his heart. Sister, in all her malice, had only managed to suppress it for a while. And now, almost 50 years later, he still visits his elderly mother every single day.”
She beamed with pride as she finished her story, and would say no more. And she was right, Vasily loved her so much, and wore no resentment on his face for his injuries. He always seemed to be smiling pleasantly even though (in his blindness), he often didn’t know anyone was looking. He visited her every day until she died, and he was holding her hand when she passed. I knew from his interactions with hospital staff that he understood spoken English, and so at Yana’s funeral I told him that I had been a friend of his mother’s. I told him that she was the most amazing, wonderful woman I had ever met. His sad, grateful smile grew deeper, and he nodded his head. His response came in sign language.
This could be one of the most remote ski sites in the world, hidden in the Caucuses mountains, Georgia
In times like these, in which man dominates nature so heavily, untouchedness, wilderness and loneliness are more and more rare. Thus the true values of freeriding also vanish. In times like these, real adventures threaten to be replaced by virtual experiences in front of computer- and TV-displays. But they still exist - the magical places. Winter landscapes of such extraordinary beauty and seclusion, which seemed to be lost. Places that show us what we have lost in the presence of civilization and consumption. A place with this extraordinary charm is the village of Bakhmaro in Georgia. Well hidden at 2,000 meters altitude in the small Caucasus. A village, which due to its inaccessibility rests every year in the deepest winter sleep. Due to a 15 kilometer long pass road and the lack of heavy machinery and snowblowers, this road can not be cleared of snow from October to May. And that in the midst of a region blessed by snowfalls of incredible proportions.
Kristoff glanced sideways at the girl—woman—on the wagon seat
beside him. She was holding her hat onto her head with one hand and clinging to
the bench with the other, squinting ahead as if she was trying to see something
more than the wheel ruts of the track and the acres of flat, featureless prairie.
Title: Tipped Over Moon Pairing: Chris/Darren Rating / Length: PG / ~2,500 Summary: A very delayed sequel to Crosstown 79. Wherein Chris and Darren are still witches and get out of town for the weekend.
AN: If you haven’t, it probably helps to read Crosstown 79 first.