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Clara and Kathleen

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[04 Dec 2005|09:17am]

[ mood | hopeful ]

What say you we resurrect this? Maybe? Possibly?

I need an excuse to type things up. Even though my laptop is DEAD -- died right in the middle of our conversation the other night, deeply sorry about that. At the very least maybe we could use it to communicate with each other. Tell stories about our lives. Because I am much more motivated to write other people when I get to use pretty pictures next to my name.

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The Dirty Mirror; Shay [28 Jul 2004|12:03am]

[ mood | accomplished ]

Stupid thing won't format. Alas, I wrote this tonight:

The Dirty Mirror (aka Shay)

I was born a whore’s bastard. My mother was a simple woman, plain-faced and big-busted. In a dark room, she was any man’s fantasy. That night, she had been Rygan Daliel’s. A Lordling at the time, he’d come to the tavern seeking attentions that his lady wife had been withholding. According to rumor, their house’s Mage had told the Lady Mayene that she was pregnant, and warned her to keep from bed-activities until the child had settled. The same rumors said that the Mage’s advice was nothing more than revenge on Rygan, who’d had him whipped for bedding the kitchen maid.

In the end, the Mage had been right. The Lady Mayene birthed a healthy girl that Spring, only a month before my mother whelped me. But for our similar beginnings, we couldn’t have been farther apart. The Daliel Estate was among the largest in Khen, and Rygan had had the finest midwives brought after his mishap with the Mage. My mother, on the other hand, bore me half-drunk in an alley. Daliel was given two daughters that year. One was called Aurinelle, and the other Bastard.
My mother called me Shay, but the name couldn’t be formalized without my father’s consent. I was just another Lordling’s bastard, one of the dozens that ran the lower-city streets; bare-footed mirrors of their royal siblings.

Daliel had refused to claim me in the beginning. My mother was a whore, and had no proof of my paternity. As the years passed, however, and I grew Aurinelle’s face, he had little choice. I can still remember my mother’s half-drunk words, her hands rough as she pulled the tangles from my hair.

“Ye be rich blood, Shay. Ye da have to pay now, don’t he?”

She spent hours cleaning me that first time. I may have had Aurinelle’s face, but it was hidden under a lifetime of filth. She’d found my dress in the thrift shop behind the tavern. It stunk of fire, but bits of pink lace still hung to the hems. She’d said it was perfect.

I was five then, and furious at the scrubbing. Cleanliness was for people rich enough for warm water. Mama’s water hadn’t been warm, and I doubt that it was clean. I was too young to know or care at the time, but I suspect she’d snatched a used tub from one of the rooms above the tavern.

She strutted me through the town that day like a caged canary. The pink dress was a size too small, and I imagine I looked more like a primped boy than a Lord’s daughter, but as far as Ma was concerned, I was her ticket to wealth.

We were stopped before we reached Daliel’s front entrance. Apparently, word of Ma’s display around the town had gotten back to the estate. My Lord father came to meet us himself, hooded and furious as he ushered us into a side alley a block from his estate.

I don’t remember the conversation that took place, but I was vaguely aware that we didn’t go hungry much after that. Ma stopped bringing men into our bed, and she even bought me a sweet on the way home. Life was good.

Unfortunately, such naivety fled with youth. The years passed in a filthy blur of picking purses and tormenting street dogs. By thirteen, I’d won dominance over the younger bastards. We moved in packs, raiding pastry booths and mobbing the occasional noble that stumbled out of the tavern.

I met Kovin on the street. He was a year older, and two heads taller. He didn’t talk much of family, but by the look of him, he was a noble bastard. The other boys were unclaimed, but most belonged to the poor shop-keeps and stable-hands that roamed the lower city.

Over the years, the packs dispersed as the boys became men and left the streets. Many went to their fathers’ shops and farms, working as free labor for the privilege of a hay bed and two meals a day. Kovin alone remained.

I hadn’t thought much of the lanky youth when we’d shared a pack. He had spent much of his time brooding, and only watched when the rest of us fought for our share. Infuriatingly, he always ended up with the most; each of the boys offering a small portion of their bread or pastry.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized he may’ve had the right of it. For lack of a better option, we became companions.

Once I left the proverbial teat, my mother washed her hands of me. Daliel’s coin came in a slow but steady flow, whether I was there or not. By my fifteenth year, I rarely slept under her roof. For reasons unknown to me, she’d started taking men in again, and my presence in the small room only complicated matters. I spent summer nights under the stars, searching with Kovin for a hidden patch of field or pasture. In the winter, we had the choice of returning to our homes or freezing to death.

In the end, it was his home that we chose. After a night under the thatched roof, I understood why he didn’t speak of his family. He had fourteen siblings by his father, and whatever mother he’d had had been replaced by a sharp-tongued and quick-handed shrew of a woman. Judging by his treatment in the household, he belonged to neither parent.

We spent those nights in silence, tucked into corners or hiding in the tiny barn out back. No one questioned my presence; among fifteen children, one more dark-haired brat was hard to notice.

I’d spent countless nights watching my mother rut with strange men. The activity had grown tedious, and I’d hated the noises they’d make when I was trying to sleep. When I’d asked my mother why she did it, she’d told me that the men liked it, and paid her money to let them touch her, and for her to touch them.

It had seemed natural to me. When my breasts began to show under my rough tunic, and I grew hair where my mother’s was, I’d thought myself a woman. And, as far as I could tell, Kovin was a man. I learned differently that night.

Ma had done it a thousand times, and I’d seen it often enough to try it on my own. I cleaned myself longer than usual that night, and brushed my hair back before meeting Kovin in the barn. He was already asleep when I stepped in, so I stripped in the dark. I remember climbing atop him, like my mother had, and leaning forward to touch his lips.

His eyes had opened then, and he’d frowned at me. “What are you doing?” He’d sounded disgusted. When I’d explained, he threw me off him. He didn’t speak of it in the morning, and I didn’t ask questions when I saw him later that day pinned to the wall by his father.

Kovin ran away that next day. He was fourteen, nearly a man grown, and he’d often told me that he was tired of his “pa’s pighouse.” I’d poked around the crowded shack for days, watching Kovin’s father limp and complain of what he called a “bloody piss infection.” When word finally came, I was the first to intercept the scrawny messenger.

“You Kovin’s brother?” he’d asked me, squinting up at my dark hair and pale skin. I looked more like Kovin than the blonde brood that clustered behind me.

“Yeh. Where is he?”

“He be joined to the Guard now, ser. They be trainin’ him at the Castle. He told me ta be givin’ this to Shay.” He squinted down at the dirty pouch in his hand, then looked back at me. “You Shay?”

The pouch had contained four gold pieces and a rusted signet ring. The embossed falcon belonged to the Verring family; distant but persistent relatives of the crown. I’d been wise enough to open the pouch away from both Kovin’s family and my mother’s prying eyes. I buried the coins under the sole oak at the edge of the apple orchard, and wore the dingy ring on a bit of cord around my neck.

I didn’t chase after Kovin. Even if I’d gotten to the castle, I didn’t have the size or strength to be in the Guard. I’d really lost him, and all over a stupid thing like rutting.


The years after Kovin left were hard. My mother took ill during that first winter, and my father’s coin had slowed to a stop with her ceased badgering. Before the winter was up, I’d spent the first of Kovin’s gold on firewood and food. The merchant had given me an odd look when I’d handed over the piece, but the coin proved true.

We survived the winter, and the one after that, on the Gods’ good graces and Kovin’s generosity. Ma’s mind had gone before she had time to wonder where I was getting the coin for food and clothing. It didn’t matter, in the end. When she died, I was as poor as she had been, except for the ring around my neck.

Had the signet been my father’s, my task might have been easier. As it wasn’t, my sole hope was the rumor that I had my sister’s face. Aurinelle, well-bred and beautiful, had been shipped off to the castle nearly a year before, sent with the family’s finest jewels and clothing. Daliel was hoping to lure a rich groom to his doorstep.

What he got was a half-starved bastard. I’d done my best to clean myself, as my mother had done so many years before, and I’d worn my best set of clothing. I hadn’t owned a dress since the pink lace, and my mother’s clothing was all too full in the chest to stay up.

When I arrived on the doorstep, the attending servant attempted to shoo away the ‘dirty lad’ from inside the safety of the estate. When I’d stubbornly refused to move, the door had been opened, and my fate was sealed.

I was washed and clothed before I was allowed to see my father. The first attempt had been to fit me into one of Aurinelle’s dresses, but our different upbringings had left her fuller in the chest and hips, and me with more muscle than the dainty sleeves could handle. The harried servants finally settled on a cotton frock, looking like a heinous mix between servant’s wear and a mourning dress. They explained it away on my mother’s death.

My father’s reaction had been stoic. Spitting like a wet cat, I’d been shoved into his study without the chance to crawl back into my breeches and tunic. I was left there, damp and unbearably clean, to withstand his black-eyed inspection. I had those same eyes, and a quick glance proved that I had his hair as well. My skin was lighter, but the resemblance was unmistakable.

“My name’s Shay,” I’d muttered, tugging the frock out of place and stepping away from the door. Awkwardly, I’d spun in a circle, allowing him to see the full of me.

“Is it,” he’d murmured, his voice too low to betray emotion.

“Yeh. Least, that’s what Ma called me. She told me that I don’t got a real name ‘til you give me one. If it wouldn’t be too much troublin’, I’d like it ta be Shay.”

My short speech had drawn the first reaction from his swarthy mask. A wince. “I can hear her in you,” he’d admitted. It hadn’t been a compliment. “Call yourself what you’d like, child. The time’s past for me to name you.”

I’d sighed at that, and my scowl had him wincing again.

“You do look like her. My Aurinelle.” The words had been wistful, and I’d hated him for it.

“It ain’t my fault,” I’d snapped, pressing my back to the door once more. I was beginning to wonder if starvation hadn’t been the better option.

“What do you want from me, Shay?”

I remember wondering if he’d asked my mother that very question. ‘What do you want from me, Cora?’ What had she answered? A few coins to feed his child? Maybe she’d asked for more, and he’d refused. Staring at my father’s face, catching the fear in his eyes, I grew bold.

“I want to join the Guard.”


The castle Guard was made up of Nobles’ fourth sons, distant cousins, and unshakable bastards. Unsurprisingly, I found myself classified among the last. Women were uncommon on the Guard, but as my father had apparently convinced the Captain, I wasn’t a proper woman. Whether the Captain had agreed or not, Daliel had the political weight to force his decision. Likely as not, he didn’t expect me to survive the fortnight.

The castle was no stranger to foreign attacks or peasant skirmishes, and the Guard was the first line of defense. A strange assortment of about a hundred men and a dozen women, it was also a notorious effort at ridding noble families of unwanted or troublesome heirs. My request to join must’ve seemed a great convenience to Daliel; female bastards were less dangerous in matters of inheritance, but harder to kill off than the males. I’d made it easy for him.

(To be continued...)

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puzzled [17 May 2004|10:05pm]

[ mood | hopeful ]

Want to do a new challenge?

Puzzles. Puzzled. Puzzle. Kinda like a puzzle.

I like the world puzzle, why not write something with it?

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Story prompts [21 Mar 2004|08:07pm]

From http://elitelit.com/pages/inspiration.html

Story startsCollapse )

...okay, bored with that. One of us should write one for this week. *wanders off to find a new link*
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Here. [15 Mar 2004|07:32pm]

I'll delete this later, but if you're at work, I wanted to make an elaborate single post and announce.. ahem.

I am here.
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Hum. [07 Mar 2004|06:04pm]

[ mood | tired ]

I'm still in a writing mood, but I'm also veryvery blah. >.< I think going off my meds was kind of bad, 'cause now I'm dizzy and tiredlike. How do you want to write K&S, if we do? Together, like before, or alternate chapters, or? If I can convince myself not to do homework, I'll prolly try writing. Or maybe I'll just pass out again. Or, of course, what I'll /probably/ do -- waste hours and hours on Neopets. :D Hope things are going well.

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2 AM [05 Mar 2004|03:20pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

We had to write a poem using a model called '4 AM'. As ever, it's not my favorite, but Loraine and Bean liked it.

2 AM

The house beings to silence
Even the creaks have gone to sleep

It's the hour of ghosts and regrets
When slips of the tongue can break your back

It's no longer today
But tomorrow's distant footstep
Out of reach, out of sight

The searing limbo between love and hate
The leaden uncertaintly at your core

The hour when doubt begins to creep like a thieving rat
Taking tomorrow's dreams in knobby, choking claws

But you'll wake soon.

You'll see my light, the macabre glow of gold
and ask me back to bed

Let the hour pass, forever will be better.


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Hitchhiking. [05 Mar 2004|02:42pm]

[ mood | accomplished ]

The headlights caught on the sleet-slickened windbreaker, drawing Isaac's attention from the radio's growing dials. "Brilliant," he snorted to himself, squinting through the ice-smeared windshield at the slushy asphalt below. He'd seen half a dozen cars spin-off in the last half hour, and this Einstein hitchhiker was marking fate's next target.

Lightening the pressure to the gas, he dug heater-warn fingers into the overstuffed glovebox, grazing his gun's barrel as his brake's skid to a lesisurely halt at the curb. Shoving the latch back into place, he pummeled the buttons at his side, easing up only as the passenger-side window began to creep lower.

The face that emerged was shadowed, indistinct, but nonetheless feminine. Black eyes stared in at him, stubborn and unyielding, with a scowl that reminded him of Sarah.

"Where you headed?" He offered a smile, working for disarming.

"Canada." She slaughtered the word. Cay-nada. Those black eyes narrowed at his smirk, and his amusement faded.

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[04 Mar 2004|10:40pm]

[ mood | blah ]

I'm a full day early!

I wrote more, but I don't like it enough to type it at the moment. Soooo, here's my hitchhiking snippet, featuring yet another unnamed character.

hitchhikingCollapse )

Comment? Pleeeease?

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Sigh. [01 Mar 2004|03:12pm]

[ mood | melancholy ]

I bombed two tests on Friday... so I'm not in a terribly happy place right now. >.< Sigh. Anyway, here's my Carnivale poem. Definitely not my favorite piece, but it's Carnival-y.


The colors simmer
with corruption,
spinning and dancing
a clown's laugh,
echoing laughter,
feigned mirth,
and screaminig of lives,
of tears,
that leering children
don't see, the hurt
of laughter that
deformities inspire,
a slap in the face,
slapstick joy,
spastic and seizing,
trust and hate
twining together,
lost to the dizzying,
dreamlike atmosphere,
The Best Show on Earth,
facepaint and leotards,
contortionists of
the curtain is up,
don't let it slip,
tame the beast,
learn to fly,
smile through tears,
nightmares don't cry.

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[29 Feb 2004|11:23pm]

[ mood | exhausted ]

Next writing assignment: hitchhiking. Can be whenever. Due whenever for Kathleen.. I'm going to shoot for next weekend or before.

Assignment after that: something to do with indians.

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one will have to do... [25 Feb 2004|10:06pm]

[ mood | icky ]

Meh, I didn't finish writing the other snippets for the first challenge. My balloon one will have to do. Sorry Kathleen. Today was hell. Also sorry that I missed you on messenger.

I will post something about carnivals soon, though.

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Exercise 2 -- Carnivale [24 Feb 2004|09:50pm]

[ mood | chipper ]

Imagine that the E of 'Carnivale' has an accent. Car-ni-val-ay. Fwee. I am so artsy.

Assignment: write a snippet/short story/short short/poem/essay/whatever. Just include carnivals or circuses. It doesn't have to be set in one, though that would be lovely as I LIKE carnivals as settings. You can write about a carny if you wish. Albino sword swallowers, fly boys, whatever. The only stipulation is to include carnivals more than just using the word. Due friday evening.

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[24 Feb 2004|03:27pm]

[ mood | sleepy ]

I wrote (or rather, am in the process of writing) seperate paragraphs for each because the combination wasn't working. Here's the first.

I suppose I should say the obligatory "this sucks," and it does, but I still sort of like the premise.

Balloon.Collapse )

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The pensive koala popped the balloon. [24 Feb 2004|02:10pm]

[ mood | listless ]

I forgot to write the words down before school, so I just pulled together the ones that I remembered. Pensive, balloon, and koala.

Sucks... but here:

The child took a pensive step forwad, grubby toes biting the gravel below, staining the dirt crimson. She couldn't have been more than four, and no bigger than a thriving toddler -- belly distended like a macabre balloon and her eyes like pools of black ink. Tears were never far away on the street.

The jerky lost flavor between Sidle's teeth, and her otherwise precarious perch seemed to embody something far more secure.

"She's just a rat, Sids," her brother's voice waded through the thickening mood, and the next glance found the child scurrying into her water-marked cardboard home.

Here's a random poem I wrote in creative writing. /All/ of those are awful. :P Alas --

When Night Comes

God spins the dial on the world's
Colors fade and the seven
shades of black
begin to dance.

Creatures too delicate for the sun,
emotion too raw for the light.

When Night Comes.

The moon pulls the strings of puppet
Weaving a web of stain-glass
souls and shattering
your lies.

When Night Comes.

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Exercise 1 [23 Feb 2004|09:57pm]

[ mood | pleased ]


Write a paragraph for each of these five words. The only specifcation for this exercise is that the paragraph must be about or include the word.

Deadline: Wednesday night, due to Clara's busy schedule. If finished before then, they may be posted earlier, of course.

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