Shorts: Random world building fun

I started this last month with a Tumblr post, just a collection of a few cultural quirks I knew about the various shapeshifter groups. It’s little details like that that make a world real to me.

l’den Jetta and Lemara would argue endlessly about the appropriate use of gems. Peridot or Citrine for openness in the family room. Lapiz or Amythest for the sweetest dreams. Everyone knew river rocks would protect an infant’s spirit, but brown or grey? But everyone knew, from Grandma Tala to baby Emry, that you touched the hematite studding the doorframe before entering anyone’s home. It was rude to bring an overabundant aura into another’s home.

Cera still wore a lump of it around her neck, a worrystone for when things got too intense.

The witches brought escargot to their first meeting with Rachel and the new wolves. Before anyone could even sit down, Seth pulled their leader aside.

“Let me explain to you the ways you are being rude. They are far, far different from the ways you intended.”

A young crow boy fancies a raptor girl. Even without the red shoulder flashes from her “big brothers”, he knew he didn’t stand a chance. Egging his car was just overkill. At least they hadn’t escalated it to anything physical though. He’d hate to embarrass them.

“I swear to god, Fen, no one showers more than you. You think I won’t stay the night if I get a whiff of how bad you stink? You can’t possibly have anything on my hormonal little brothers.”

Fenris watched the tigress sway away from him, sass in that ass even after the pounding she’d just taken. Damn she was fine. Not worth the beating he’d get if anyone caught the musk of cat on his breath, but still fine.

“Aww, damnit–Fen! Put some damned clothes on, would ya?”

Of course his roommate would come home right now. Of fucking course. Didn’t a tie on the door mean anything anymore?

“What does purple mean?”

Ence bounced from aunt to uncle, touching ribbons and knots, tucking flowers and leaves, planting hugs and kisses. Her father would scoop her up now and again, adding a twist and a tie, keeping her still with stories. His own mane was cropped short, as nearly all their clan wore here in the American land, but his tail still told a magnificent story.

He twirled a daisy against his little girl’s nose, enchanted by her giggle. “Purple is true love, my little one. I wear it for your mother, your brother, and you. Purple is our family, and our dearest heart.”

The last ring. Three orders of calamari later, and it came to a stare down over the last ring. Seth didn’t even want it, but Gwen had offered, and now they were at an impasse. To give your eijye food was honor, expected, but did the tigress see him as leader, or non-predator? He had to tread lightly.

“Ooh, poppers! Oh, blech! What the hell was that?”

Leave it to Bird to settle a delicate situation with barbarism.

Serpent Bedtime stories: In the Beginning

I think it’s fitting to start the Outtakes with the serpents’ “In the beginning” story. This expounds on the video I did way back when. I’ve always loved world building, so when I found a character trained in the oral traditions of his people, I pounced. Many of these stories will be true across all shapeshifter cultures, but these will be told through the serpent lens, because it’s the group I know best. This little bit is his people’s In the Beginning story, though not quite the origin of serpent-kin. That will come later, I’m sure.

Before the Beginning, there was Nothing. There was Everything. There was Balance. This is the ARE. Everything that ever would be, even BEING, or NOT BEING, tomorrow and yesterday, all was held in perfect Balance. And ARE was still.

In perfect Balance, there is harmony, but there is no growth. There is no change. There would never be bad, because there was no good. The ARE saw all these things in itself, and longed to set them free, so that there might be Dance.

Within itself, the ARE sent a stirring. It found Darkness, and the ARE cast it wide and far, and saw that it was good. Now there was Nothing, and Nothing seeks to be filled.

Without its companion, Light began to know Cold, for without its other half, Light suddenly knew who it was, and what it needed to be whole. But there is no Darkness in Light, there is no Cold, so all Light could find within itself for company was Heat. Just a small spark, but Light fed it until it grew and grew and grew, but still, it could not complete the hole that Darkness had left behind.

Just as Light had, Darkness too became aware of its lack. It recalled Light and and Fullness and it too took a piece of itself, just a spark, and tried to find Heat and comfort. Each fed their sparks, each in their own way, and as they grew, they drew the attention of the other. Light sough out Dark’s sphere, and Dark sough the Light, and thus the dance of Night and Day did come to grace the sky.

And still, the Orbs grew. Light and Dark fed their spheres, and thus began the waxing and waning of the Sun and the Moon. Together, began to dance, each growing or flowing, taking turns ruling the sky and learning how one glorified the other, and slowly they recalled what it was to be complete.

And the ARE saw all this, and smiled. Here was Balance, here was Harmony, but here also was Growth, and Change, and LIFE, and it was good. The ARE touched the Light, and touched the Dark, and from them sprung Fire and Ice, Wind and Water, Earth and Spirit, and suddenly the Universe was bursting with life and all was good.

Look to your parents, the ARE told the world. Look to that from which you came for the secrets of Balance and Harmony. And so the Fire, and Wind and Spirit turned to the Light, and the Ice and Water and Earth looked to the Darkness, and together the Light and the Dark taught the dance of balancing, indeed, the same dance with which we greet the Dawn, in honor of the first dance of Day and Night.

Shorts: Maleo comes to Asylum

NaNo prompts inspired this little short about Maleo’s first introduction to Asylum. Hopefully, more scenes like it are coming. Stay tuned. 🙂

Maleo couldn’t say what it was exactly about her that drew his attention. The fiery red curls, flying in the stage light, the perfect, creamy skin peeking out here and there with every shimmy– No, it was the innocence, the pure joyous laughter in her eyes as she danced. This angel had no idea she was beautiful, didn’t know what each twist of her hip and shake of her shoulders did to him. Doubtless did to every other hot-blooded male in the place. And a few of the females, if the ebony princess dancing beside her was any indication.She was pretty enough in her own right, and if Mal was reading their signs right, he could well imagine himself in the middle of their fire and coals embrace. But even as the thought riled him, it sickened him. Such a gentle girl, touched by such deviance…

Mal’s feathers ruffled as a shudder passed through him, and he smoothed a hand over his hair quickly. Must keep it cool, this wasn’t the place for feathers. He’d gotten lazy in his habits, living at the compound. Mal had a sudden flash of hot red fur and amber eyes–his sweet tender angel was undoubtedly a fox. A sly and wild fox, just waiting for someone to show her the way into the woods–and who in this den of sin wouldn’t just love to be the one. Maybe it was even too late…
The curtain dropped, leaving Mal blinking into the darkness.Safely unseen, he raised and resettled his feathers, blowing out a tense breath to resettle his soul. He hadn’t understood before, when this “Asylum” was all just talk, just why Xavier wanted to protect them. But if this Nica was anything like her students…
He would stay. Mal got up between one act and the next, ignoring the two clowns distracting the audience before the still lowered curtain. He went straight to the bar, nodding to the behemoth of a man tending it. He was so dark, only the whites of his eyes and his teeth seemed to show in the dimness. Maleo didn’t flinch, just asked to speak to the owner of the club, on behalf of Master Xavier, head of the Riverside Nest.
Kain raised an eyebrow, but it too was lost in the darkness. He called for Dev, against his better judgement. This bird was trouble, but at least he would be a known trouble. Better that than wondering what “master” was up to.