adventure

Marielle Beauchene


Marielle couldn’t help but give another small, inward sigh of relief that she and Aneirin were still together. She had been dreading this morning. Next to her, Aneirin was smiling at their new teammates and teacher as if this were perfectly natural, but she kept her fingers close to where his white tabard trailed in the grass, shining bright.
 –
She remembered him out in a rainstorm when they were both six years old, laughing when the lightning came, and though she’d wanted to go inside he made her see a part of his delight. In the backyard on his tenth birthday, when both of their extended families had gathered. That year the apple trees had been overflowing. She remembered the pyramid of presents stacked back in the cool, dim living room, while outside aunts and uncles and cousins crowded around him, a mass of heads and noise, but through them all she was still able to see a corner of Aneirin’s smile, a ray of his light, and that was enough.
 –
She remembered him two months ago when his wink, and a ripple of the sunlight around her, gave her the win in her last sparring test of Rank 1.  She did not remember the expression of the girl she had been matched against. And there was a twinge of guilt.
 –
“But what does it matter, Marielle?” he’d asked later, smiling and shaking his head. “You’re better than her anyway.”
 –
And Marielle had subsided, even though she didn’t believe him. Not always. But to believe in anyone, or anything, the way she believed in Aneirin, was incomprehensible to Marielle.
 –
As their families always said, they were sun and moon to one another.

 

Hildr Ostergaard


When Hildr’s older cousin had earned his Rank 3 badge, he’d patted her on the head and told her that either one day she would discover her true calling in battle, or she’d give up and go back to the farm.

In retrospect, she supposed that he was being condescending. But Hildr was not prone to resentment. And now that she was sitting next to Umi Kiritaeke, who used four-syllable words that Hildr had never heard before, who scooped up a pond merely by shifting the weight of her dainty body, and who drank cold tea with her eyes half-shut as she rested in the shade, her cousin’s motivations couldn’t have mattered less.

Moulded like a doll, yet calm and confident. Denied the constitution of a warrior, yet awe-inspiring.

Firstly, she had to find a way to speak to Umi Kiritaeke.

And secondly, Hildr had to become strong enough to stand at her back, always.

At the Wayside


I walked to where the river ran

On those spring days in ages past

When the oak trees were but saplings

And below, this road was but a path

Winding to the place where we

Would by chance so often meet

Beside the river, upon the hill

Where all was limned in peace.

We two wanderers, Niphophar,

Laid down fare, laid down arms

Breaking fast as if long years

Had left us as companions are

(more…)

It’s a Trap


It seems that war combined with matchmaking is a winning strategy in turn-based strategy games.

Strange? But the scores of hours that I’ve spent on Fire Emblem in the past month, and the game’s extremely vibrant shipping communities (“shipping” being the practice or pastime of insisting that two particular characters belong together romantically), speak for themselves. Making couples becomes a real obsession!

Now I am wondering why I never imagined a game like this before. Story, strategy, and intricate character design make a veritable cauldron for interpersonal drama! Let’s make some marriages before the next fight!

Plus its great to imagine all the guys who play this game getting swoony or worked up over their favourite couples. Me? I wish that they had the option for same-sex couples, because, man, those Libra x Virion support conversations… Too perfect.

(Virion is a dandy who flirts with every female he meets and Libra is a cleric who looks remarkably female – more than one character comments on his lovely skin. So when Virion first meets Libra and mistakes him for an eminently desirable woman… I could go on at length, but you can probably see where this is headed.)

The Night Hag’s Poem


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Spin and shatter and sweep the clay

With changing clouds and winding days

No work of human hand withstands

Time’s oft-short allotted span

So clay unto earth, earth unto dust

Towers to crumble and ploughs to rust

‘Till wilds run where they once did creep

Through wood and marsh, and scarlet deeps

With changing clouds and winding nights

Raze their fields and drown their lights

Grind clay unto earth, earth unto dust

Towers to fall and swords to rust

Follow, and hasten the workings of time

Hear the fellhorns and heed the signs

Waste the walls of their dead knight

And run them down with claw and blight

No work of human hand withstands

Time’s oft-short allotted span

But know you he who defies time?

Follow, follow, the Wizard of Nine.

~

Elizabeth Cook, 2015