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The Princess out of Time: 480 words.  Theological discovery of the day - my Saturnists find the idea of 'eternity' somewhere between silly and blasphemous.  Their conceptualization of Faerie is... interesting: not necessarily especially insightful as a whole, but it's certainly got some illuminating new angles, and some interesting new candidates for the category.

Fairies best not irritated at your daughter's naming feast, Lesson One: Atropos.

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In other news, 500 lunch-break words of The Princess out of Time, the Kateverse's answer to Sleeping Beauty. It may or may not get finished: its main attractions are (i) it is writing and it occurred to me; and (ii) it's exploring a culture and a religious perspective that touches marginally on Three Katherines of Allingdale, but gets no direct screen time there, and no love at all from absolutely anybody.

Listen: they tell stories in Volkary, too. Jack Angrist Shallow was the best tale-teller of all those countries, and if you rub off the gloss the bad church made him put on it, no-one from the King in his palace to Katy in her wightwoods has ever heard a better!

But you can't ever rub off the gloss; nor is it yet clear to me just how much Joachim Angristus Schlau really believed in his national version of State Saturnism, and how much he was satirizing it - except that elements of both seem most distinctly present.

Volkary is a fairly large and near neighbour, about which I've previously showed a broad and regrettable tendency not to know Jack.
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Only for 85 words this morning, but after weeks of "I got nothing!", that feels like a bigger deal than it sounds.

Been quietish as well as story-dry lately - partly through a sort of bloggetty exhaustion, partly due to RL stuff of the mostly-good kind. I may mention some of this biz at a later stage: can't just yet.

But I can hear the Muses singing...
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It's International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, and I perform my wretched work!

Here is a Kateverse folk-tale from Cauldale. Some tales are told in some form across all the universe with human beings in them. But when one of those human beings is Kit Fox, the Red Witch of Alland, the moral is liable to degenerate spectacularly...

How the Wide World was saved from drowning in the sea that is the sky. )
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Lob Lazy at the House of Silence: 480 words, writing the ritualistic fairy-tale linkage between eucatastrophe and dénouement while it's hot. Or, in this case, while pleasantly crisp and chill.

This has been giving me some interesting insights, not only into the Kateverse's alt-Scandinavian cultures, but into the things they know that maybe I don't. This linkage stuff, for instance, strikes a seam in their folklore that... well. There are Deep Mysteries in this world that Katy Elflocks knows about, and the gods and the Elvish Court and suchlike; but here's plain proof that at least one other mortal once learned them too. Likely in more detail than Katy, who has other cares and interests she considers much more wholesome.

I wonder now who this world's Woden-figure really was. If he wasn't exactly Mercury after all, but knew something of the god's ways... and didn't mind screwing around with some heavy necromantic crap... Oho!  He could be my ultimate source, and plenty more.   I wonder whether I'll ever get to develop any of that. Not in anything I'm writing at present, either way.

And here, as a special bonus because it is gibbering away in my head, is a little riddle-chant those healthy hearty Nordic nannies like to teach their children.

Old King Dead, his drink is red:
He'll sup you up from your sleepy bed.
Old Queen Rot, she's on your slot:
She'll suck you down to her creepy grot.
Young King Cold is stark and bold:
He'll stoop for steel and spurn at gold.
Young Queen Clay is fair as day:
She'll steal the gallant and the gay.
Dead or Rot or Cold or Clay,
Who will take your time away?
Rich or Low or Rude or High -
Who will have your soul for aye?
There is probably a reason that all the Nordic-descended cultures seem to have drifted towards bland mainstream neo-Olympianism.

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Lazy Lob at the House of Silence: 2,000 words.  Took down Thuggish First Son, and good riddance.  Cunning Second Son is not only smarter, but - since even in a fairy-tale, I don't see any point in using ritual repetitions just to repeat myself - he's turning out to be simply more sympathetic, to the point where his necessary failure threatens to be almost tragic.  It's not that he's a bad man, only that he isn't good enough.  He's just discovered that his brother set off somewhere inadvisable.

I've received my first lessons during this as to how Norse-type cultures work in the Kateverse, where there are the Olympians, and other religions fail the reality test even when they are more sensible.  (There are two major antitheistic religions  I know about - the Northern Titanolatric one and the Southern transcendental one - but neither is in much doubt as to Whom it's supposed to be anti-.)  Making the Odin figure really Mercury with another funny hat on... changes the Nordic dynamic quite a bit, even when it's completely in the background.

The Northmen's take on Hades proved particularly entertaining when I smacked into it.

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Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 910 words.  Mostly Okay Genius makes his move.  My heroes aren't the only people who can play "Let's You and Him Fight!" without saying a word or copping the blame.  Also, he is better at it than they are.

The World on Maltby Edge, I now discover, is sung to a traditional tune called Riding over Alland.  Which figures.  The highly-coloured imagery seems to be inspired by it, too.  Words of that version keep intruding on my day, but I am resisting them, because I am quite earwormed enough already without encouraging it any further, and also because I suspect the totality of those lyrics would be of small interest to anybody but some future Northdales equivalent of Cecil Sharp.

I know that Riding over Alland is itself only a slight modification of some real and stirring tune in this world - I'm a non-musician and couldn't possibly compose anything half that good offhand on my morning commute, or most likely ever - but however irritatingly familiar it is, I can't quite put my finger on where I've nicked it from.

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Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 190 words.  Linking matter.

Lazy Lob at the House of Silence: 1,430 words of yet another Kateverse folk story, inspired by legions of good-for-nothing folktale youngest sons called Boots, who always come up trumps.  I didn't ask for this one, it just came, with a little help from something Bonecold Refugee did in the main novel recently.  Nearly set Thuggish First Son up for his well-deserved fall.  This is the easy bit.  Cunning Second Son I'll need to out-think.

The World on Maltby Edge: An apocalyptic folksong from about the portion of Killer-Kate I'm writing at the moment.  Its in-world composer wishes the people were not so new fangle.  I made an audio this time, which singing for reasons of health and safety and rotten tomatoes I shall not inflict upon the public, but which shall save my forgetting what the blazes the tune was by tomorrow.

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Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 360 words, of comradeship and Bonecold Refugee.

The Wave That Broke on the Ingerfell: A complete 2,400 word Kateverse short story!  An earthy folk-tale from Cauldale of how Kit Fox tried to scam a penny bag of nails from somebody, and everything got completely out of hand.  Chicken Little meets Rudyard Kipling for a story which reflects nothing that ever happened or nearly happened in the 'historical' Kateverse at all, except that Kit Fox happened to it.

I didn't foresee the actual climax of the story until just before I wrote it.  This was just pure fun in motion, all the way through.

Very little redrafting needed.  This I can handily do in time for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, to which The Wave That Broke on the Ingerfell is now scheduled as my contribution.  I wondered what I was going to be able to whip up for that!

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Returning to London last night, I found my phone/Internet connection dead, apparently from a fault at the BT exchange which may take up to 3 days to resolve.  So my communications may be kind of hit-and-run for a time.

A few hundred words of a side-project fairy-tale, attempting to do for Beauty and the Beast something vaguely akin to what Arthur Machen did for Mustardseed and Peaseblossom, only with happier ultimate  tendency.  This has been hanging around in stub form for most of a year, and has suddenly put forth several questing roots and a slightly kinky shoot.  More of this if I finish it. 

No Katherine words are coming, though I did have a dream last night in which I was working for C. the Great, Empress of All the Russias.  As something pretty much like one of Mercedes Lackey's Heralds, bizarrely enough.  Luckily for C. the G. and my brain bleach budget, some oneiric Health and Safety appears to have embargoed the presence of large white superhorsies.

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A happy New Year to one and all!

I have not been awful active in a literary way over the holiday. 2,650 words of Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland, all of them from a long Council of Infodump very little of which will survive the redraft. But the developments it sparked have changed both my present chapter and the whole dynamic of the Rising beyond all expectation. Again, I am cast upon strange tides, and many-braided Allwater has taken me to some places I never imagined I'd see.

Two new visions which may bear future fruit, and which have at least helped keep me out of mischief. One was a reverie into which I fell upon the Holyhead train, in which I learned that one Man's Eru is another Orc's Azathoth - and that one side's desperate doomed stand against overwhelming horror and power can look remarkable similar on the other side of the lines. But not necessarily in the same genre. I like Doc Wolfram and Splicewire and the Lady of the Last Ditch almost as much as I would hate to live in their world, and it is just conceivable that I've met a dark fantasy notion with enough heart that I might be able to yarn about it. Certainly I haven't stopped having new flashes about that setting yet.

...And one that came to me in a dream, of a hunt on St Lucy's Eve, where I involved myself in a thousand-year adventure with St Lucy herself, and the Titaness Luna, and a charming and witty Iranian emigrée named Soraya, to wrest the light of the world from the heartless legalist glare of Delian Apollyon.  The end of this dream is not yet, so I shall say no more.  But if there is really a sensible answer to its central problem, I should give a great deal to be able to tell of that, too.

Ars longa, vita brevis, as always.

Meanwhile, here is a merry year's-getting toast from me and all the Katherines; and here are certain New Year's resolutions, looking to a day when they have gone to their long slushpile. 

Wassail, dear friends and good neighbours!  Drink hale! 



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August 2015

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