Monday, March 21, 2011

{Textiles} Chain Dancing set

Sketch to come.


Already finished:

-Basic stage of black dancing bra, with straps and edge decoration of aluminum chain. The edge decoration has sterling tassels attached.
-Basic split-side black harem pants.
-Pre-made and purchased dark blue dancing scarf with silver-toned coins
-Black leather lace up roman-esque sandals (which have proven quite handy for dancing).

Adjustments desired:

-Replace the blue dancing scarf with a black belt made myself. It will have four rows of the same trim that is on the edge of the bra (six, if I can eventually get another set of chain tassels and aluminum chain to add to the bottom and top rows).
-Add a partial skirt, either of drapes or of some simple panels, to the belt. This belt will be worn over the harem pants. The panels should have some embroidery on it, likely focused at the tops and bottoms of the panels. There should also be drapes and hanging lengths of aluminum chain (both silver-tone and black coated) attached to the bottom of the belt.
-Sew a cropped keyhole vest to go over the dancing bra. The keyhole is so that the bra will be visible underneath it. It should have chain trim along the edges and sewn in some simple wide designs over the bulk of the back and the portion in front under the bust, and perhaps some silver embroidery in between.
-Add some silver embroidery to the dancing bra.
-Add three silver buttons and button loops to the edges of the harem pants, so they can be closed in colder areas.
-A long veil of chiffon that can be attached to the hair should be roll-hemmed in silver thread, or should have some black and/or silver fringe added to the edge. There should be a hook for it to attach to silver rings, one on each hand, and it should be long enough that it drapes decently deeply. It should likely also be semi-circular in shape, thanks to the way in which it is being worn, although I'd prefer rectangular. A decently large black or dark blue or dark red silk flower should be worn in the hair over the veil. I do not intend to completely cover my hair, I intend for the veil to be pinned to the hair at about the crown of my head. There should be a similarly decorated chiffon veil worn over the face.

The makeup should be shadowed eyes with somewhat dramatic eyeliner, perhaps some dark red lipstick (if I can find some that won't end up stuck to my damn teeth), and likely foundation (although I hate the shit). My hair should be braided up into a knot set not at the base of my neck but at the back of my head. Pointy ears couldn't hurt-everyone loves an elf, especially at conventions. I would very much prefer to have some stage makeup to blend them in with, however. The skin tones don't match.

Also, not all of these adjustments can be made in time for the convention. If I manage to get the belt with the undecorated panels on it, and the flower for my hair (quite possibly with ribbons or yarn attached, thus turning it into a hairfall) done, I will consider it quite the success for this year. I have one other sewing project and several other projects of other mediums planned, and it's been a difficult year, so I will be busy and with minimal energy.

{Textiles} Tolkien-inspired Elvan court-gown.

A sketch is to come.


-Knee high leather boots, preferably custom made, in fantasy land where I can have whatever boots I want of pale cream leather, in the leaf-wrap pattern seen in the movies, with silver floral and vine embroidery around the edges, and white or grey leather cords to tie the boots on at the edges. Flat soled. In actuality, likely I'll end up getting a pair that are still custom made and expensive, but instead of a design that's close enough to keep the feel of the piece, in cream and pale blue leathers with silver-toned metals for the clasps. I know a few places in the Colorado Renaissance Festival out here that make boots like that.

-If not the boots, short silver and/or ice-blue satin slipper shoes with leather soles. Ballet slippers are close to the design, though the details are a bit off.

-Jewelry, silver with pale stones (again, clear/white and pale blue ones) set in it, in elongated knotwork. A necklace and possibly earrings, and a circlet that is shown primarily on the back of my hair, is all.

-Ear cuffs. I found an artist on both Deviant Art and Etsy who makes wire-wrapped ear points shaped like elf-ears. I'm aiming for a pair of those for this ensemble, because they're much prettier and much better shaped than the silicone prosthetic ears commonly found. And they're longer lasting, even if they're more expensive (approximately $60 a pair).

-Gown. Of my own design, and fortunately simple enough that all I need are measurements of the body in question to make it; no pattern is needed.

Construction of the gown:

-Fabric of thin, soft, stretchy, half-transparent and gently nubbed ice-blue silk for the exterior and bulk of the dress. If a type can be found which is woven so that it seems to change color depending on how the light hits it, it would change color from ice blue to midnight blue.

-A width three times the length of the torso from underbust to high-hip is gathered and laced around the torso.
-The skirt is several vertical panels, gathered and attached to the lower edge of the gown. It is long enough to brush the ground and indeed puddle on it by an inch. The gown would need to be lifted for walking-fitting of a court-dress. The "bodice" is a vertically gathered bit of fabric just wide enough to cover the bust completely, allowing for minimal cleavage if any at all, and the back of the neckline echoes the front's shape. There is 1-1.5" wide ribbon anchoring all seamed gathered edges, and in the case of the neckline and laced edges, it is sandwiched between the trim (mentioned later).

-The sleeves are tight to the arm, and similarly long like the torso of the gown. They are made with simple rectangles, and there are horizontally stretched and gathered pieces of fabric forming the caps of the sleeves.They go a bit past the wrist, the edges of the sleeves coming about to the end knuckle of the thumb, where the wrist widens at the base of the hand. There are petals attached to the sleeves just above the elbow shaped like elongated ovals, to imitate flower petals, which drape to the mid-thigh when arms are held out level, to the knee when arms are down. They are colored white, with silver thread shot through, and they are finely roll-hemmed in silver thread.

-The bodice, skirt, and upper half of the sleeves are lined with a thin, soft, but much much less stretchy and opaque flesh toned fabric. It is similarly gathered as the outer fabric, but half to 3/4 the amount is used for the gathering. The neckline is trimmed with silver floral trim, and there is the same trim decoratively sewn over the seam where the skirt attaches to the torso to hide the seam.  There is NO trim over the seam under the bust.

-The gown laces in the back with 2" sheer white or silver ribbon, or 3-4" wide swathes of strong but sheer or semi-sheer fabric. There is wide silver trim, likely fabric, around the back edges of the dress where it laces; the silver grommets are set through it.

-There is embroidery over the fabric on the bust, echoing in the mirroring area on the back of the dress. It is in silver thread. There is also embroidery on the upper portions of the sleeves, and while the bulk of the embroidery ends even to the underbust, it continues for another few inches where it fades off into a point. It is detailed, and of, for the most part, simple interlocking knotwork, spirals, or vines. Likely it would be done by machine, and it would be meant to be stretched with the fabric.

The ensemble would be worn with the hair half braided back, preferably intricately. The knot the hair would be braided into would be set to a level so that the back of the circlet could be pinned into the bottom of it. Makeup would be minimal, if present at all. Likely only foundation and a faint lip tint. No weapons would be worn.

This ensemble was also inspired by my drive to go to the local anime convention, and also because I've been wanting an elvan inspired dress for years, but I nixed this design for anytime soon thanks to the cost of the materials. I really don't like man-made fabrics, and I use natural fibers whenever I can manage it, so it'll take quite some time before I can afford this. The external fabric will likely be silk, and the lining will likely end up being bamboo fabric. Neither of these are cheap. I moved onto designing the Matrix-inspired ensemble after this, although this year-if I manage to go at all-it will likely end up being that I go dressed in some bellydancing garments, the alterations of which you will see in the next post-and the materials for which I already own.

{Textiles} Matrix-esque Ensemble

This is one of several designs I have in my head right now. I have a sketch in progress; it is to come shortly.

-Black trenchcoat, meant to be fitted but vee-necked, and to zip (possibly buckle) between bust and high-hip line. External material will be cotton twill (unless wool is affordable), inner material will be raw silk.
-Black pants, likely tightly fitted. Material undetermined; something of a light, soft, and flexible but strong and decently warm material. Possibly silk, but probably something man-made, if sufficiently breathable...or tightly woven linen, linen/cotton, or cotton, if the right kind is found.
-Black boots. Preferably leather, preferably knee high, preferably lace or buckle or custom made since my legs are annoyingly skinny. Preferably with short (two inch at most) heels, stiletto if I can find them.
-Sunglasses. All Matrix cosplay must have sunglasses.
-Black leather gloves. Preferably soft flexible leather; these are not for winter warmth, although I will not buy leather gloves with no actual purpose. I imagine these would function as riding, driving, or fall gloves in other times of the year.
-Black tightly fitted tank top. Preferably a muscle racerback tank, but a spaghetti strap one will do if that's not found.
-Black knives. Probably a couple 3.5" pocket knives, since longer ones are illegal.
-Cosplay guns and some holsters to go on the hips. I'd actually prefer real ones, but in places like cons real weapons aren't generally permitted. Besides, I don't have a concealed carry, unfortunately.

The look would also go with my hair (temporarily) spray-dyed dark red, and either tied up into a braided bun, or tied into a long braided ponytail. Since my hair has much flyaways (it's thin and thanks to over-dying breaks easily), likely it'll also be slicked back with some kind of gel or mousse. The makeup would be simple but striking. Likely some lipstick and neutrally colored but shadowed/ striking eyeshadow and liner.

I was inspired to make this ensemble thanks to it's relatively low materials cost (compared to my normal designs), for an anime convention that is out here every fall. I am NOT intending to cosplay Trinity; I am taking the general Matrix designs and running with them. Besides, I love wearing black and dark colors, and I don't have enough garments in those colors.

{Pencil} Lord Silver's Token

One thing entering in my spiritual practice right now is work with the Temple Of The Twelve. It is a book series, currently with two books out, by Esmerelda Little Flame. Check the links for more info about the books themselves.

The above picture is meant to represent Lord Silver as He pertains to me. It is still in it's beginning stages; this is simply the line art.

It is done on 11x14" 90lb cream colored drawing paper, in pencil, and when finished will be a pencil rendering. The deviances in the lines across the midsection are due to the scanner I have available being too small to fit the whole piece on it; I had to do it in halves and then GIMP the two halves together.

{Writing} Deconstructed.


The old showerhead, belonging to one of the old showers-those kind that have an oval shaped shower rod, that go over those clawfoot bathtubs, you know those?-sputtered as it started the water for my shower. I hardly cared enough to shower these days, but if I didn’t, he’d be angry. I stripped, as the water heated and steam filled the room.

“Shit, the towels!”

I’d forgotten them, which isn’t entirely abnormal, so I sprinted naked to the bedroom to fetch them, and sprinted back before too much steam escaped from the door. I loved my hot showers, and the little bathroom being well able to turn itself into a sauna was one of it’s assets.

My boyfriend, though, didn’t seem to agree. He got angry when I didn’t shower at least every two days, telling me that if I was going to be without work, I could at least keep busy, not be lazy. I could at least keep clean. And so, no matter that I would simply get verbally beaten for using up more of the costly items, I showered.

I had not, this time, forgotten my hairbrush, and I soaked up the steam like a sponge while I brushed my hair. I didn’t have long, though…my hair was almost as spongy as my skin, and soon enough it’d be too wet to brush. So, a few seconds later, I shook my hair out and climbed in.


It was a pleasant enough feeling to bring a ghost of a smile to my face for a fleeting second. I hardly cared about anything anymore, as I’d given up about most things in my life. Showering seemed a superfluous expense of money and effort, so did eating. The internet was used by both my boyfriend and I, so that wasn’t an indulgence…that I could indulge in as much as I liked without really having to bother about effort or extra expense.

I sunk into my thoughts, about the day, the week, my life, while I was showering. Why couldn’t he just get it? Why couldn’t he just be less of an asshole? Didn’t he care? Didn’t he-

“OW! Motherfucker!”

I looked down to find that I’d cut my leg shaving, something else I always had to be sure I did. I was suddenly fascinated, transfixed by the bright stream of red coursing down my leg. I could smell the copper. Blood…huh. I stopped moving, stopped pissing, and simply tried to understand the fact that I could feel. That I was alive. I simply could not comprehend it.

You see, I’d started to wonder, in my partially self-created hell, whether or not I was truly real. Whether or not I was actually alive…wondered if I was simply dead, moving around like an animated corpse. I made zombie jokes about myself sometimes, which on occasion degraded into Jesus zombie jokes-who hasn’t made one?-but I really did doubt that I was alive. I had long ago become numb. Long ago I had forgotten what it was to feel anything, though those rules seemed to disappear when I was fighting with him. When he was not home, when we were not fighting, I felt nothing. Nothing but the dull pain of breaking in my mind, slowly driving me mad. I had even started to become physically numb…partially to deal with the pain, partially to deal with what always came when we entered that end room that held our queen bed.

I had been alive once. I had to have been; I had reached physical adulthood, I had curves and a mature if severely underweight body, which meant that I must have been alive, living, long enough to achieve that.

But that was long ago, before him, before my hell, before I had to turn off and cut away piece by piece of myself in order to survive, in order to keep hold of my sanity. Now, I was broken, numb, un-whole, deadened. Just a degraded deconstructed shade of a being…starting to wonder if I was just walking cold.

So when I felt the cut of the blade, felt the searing white hot heat of overly-hot shower spray hitting wound, saw the thick stream of crimson copper down my leg, I didn’t understand. How could this be? How could I be displaying signs of life? How could I be feeling this? I was alive?

“I wonder…what if I just…started being less careful? That‘s not bad, is it?”

No. Unforgivable. Unallowable. I would need to kill off more of the broken shards. I was not permitted life. A deconstructed half-being, I must always be.

{Writing} TTT: The Idiot Tree

“Tra la-la la-laaa!”

I skipped along today, impish and fey and bored with today’s run. We were on yet another rescue-and-destroy run. The day before, I’d been quite pleased to find that my skills as a walking detonation device were of use to the company. The Brown had stood, confused, in front of a building that needed demolishing, unsure of how to do so cleanly. I had watched him rub his chin, brown hair falling everywhere as he tiled his head back and forth, for several minutes before walking up and offering my services. Five minutes later, I had emerged from the middle of the pile of ruin giggling, much to the dismay of my commander. He had, at the time, ordered me to “NEVER DO THAT AGAIN, DAMMIT!”, and so I was pleasantly surprised and gleeful when he asked me to do the same thing today at their next destination.

We were, at the time, partway through a valley that rather magnificently amplified any sound, and so as I could not sing my nonsense song out loud, I did so in the heads of anyone who would listen. I soon had many either amused, or exasperated with me. If I had really hit an interesting spot in their minds, they were both. The Brown was behind me, as was Shadowsong. The prior was amongst the ranks of exasperated, the latter tried to hide his entertainment and maintain his tough-guy exterior. The Medic, walking next to me today, was as always elegant and sleek, maintaining his aloof, blasé expression behind his glasses. If you looked, though-and I did-you could see the corners of his mouth twitch, indicating not only that he heard me, but that he was amused…and, quite likely, intent on joining the game.

“Tra la-la…la-LAAAAA!”

I crescendoed into a trilling peak at the end of my little song, giggling at the echoes of “Oh good gods…” and the returning giggles I caught, as we turned a corner. The Brown, apparently, had had quite enough, because I heard in mental reply a quite clear “You DO realize that you should not be making THIS kind of noise in THIS canyon?!”

 I turned to look back at him, impishly grinning, scanning the faces of my fellows to see their reactions. As most of them were either as amused as the Medic and Shadowsong and I, or pretending not to be, I replied, “But of course. But, wouldn’t that require me to be audible to those rocks? They cannot hear what I say now. Or, indeed, what you just spoke to me. I think we’re quite safe.”

I was rewarded with an exasperated grumble, an eye roll, and a “move along” gesture. So, I turned around-although partially at the Medic’s pulling my arm-and moved on. I soon realized, however, why he’d taken my arm. He rightfully expected me to start skipping again. At my confused glance, he nodded ahead, to where a shadowy blob was barely visible in the distance. I changed my skip to my silent padding-my “assassin walk”, my children call it-and pulled one of my two knives, as did many of the others behind me.

We approached the object, still several miles away, at half the speed we had been going. It looked odder, and odder, the more we approached, and many of us could smell the death surrounding it. Unsettled, we became progressively more restless, more set on our guard, thus more armed…

…Until we got within sight. The tree had been stuffed full of dead men, impaled and thus pinned to the trees. It was recently done, too, because the smell was not of rotten flesh, but of blood. Some of them were still dripping it. These were our opponents too…it looked like some of their captives got the better of them. My mouth fell open in utter disbelief, as did many of the mouths of those behind me.

The Medic was the first to come out of shock. I looked at him, incredulous, as he cocked his head, rubbed at his chin, and considered the tree. He opened his mouth and took a breath twice, as if to say something, but shut his mouth, shaking his head with an “mmm”. He looked down at me out of the corner of his eye, and at my exasperated look and my mental “WHY DO YOU NOT JUST SAY WHATEVER THE FUCK IT IS”, smirked at me, winked, and turned around. And in his deep, drawling, voice, he quite clearly stated, “Oh look everyone! It’s an Idiot Tree! Everyone, pick an Idiot!”

I looked up at him, and grinned. He grinned back, with the same impish light to his eyes, and a fraction of a nod and an arch of an eyebrow were seen. So I shrugged, and flounced over to the tree. I picked the closest and most interestingly impaled man, with the most interesting implement, and yanked it out. Ducking drops of blood, I whipped out my knife, and proceeded to stab what would have been the living daylights out of him to the sounds of the Medic's and Shadowsong’s roaring laughter in the back of my head.

The repressed giggles were audible…and the Brown soon had his hands full trying to shush them, not wanting either a rock slide or attention drawn. His efforts were for naught, as we soon felt the approach of many heavy feet approaching us. They disliked us enough to begin with, and we were found near a tree full of freshly killed and impaled men…I was sure it would be a lively fight. I grinned at his dirty look, pulled my knives, and fell into formation to sprint to meet them with the rest of the fighters.

“Fighting with Chaote! Fighting away from us! No fighting! I’ll send you home! DON’T EVER DO IT AGAIN!”

The Brown was, it seems, displeased. I was rewarded for my efforts, and his hissy fit, with the lovely ease of fighting an easy fight to the sounds of my fellows wheezing, of laughter, in my head.

{Writing} Rori's Tale: Chapter Three.


I said his name in my sleep. The face of the huge nigh-black dragon drifted through my half-sleeping mind, full of fangs, soundlessly roaring at me. And then it changed, shifting to the human-looking face, oddly ethereal and not un-lovely, concerned black eyes looking down at me as I woke. His lips moved, slowly, and drew my attention…they mouthed a silent phrase, which I could not read, and then the images in my mind slowly faded to the deep black of peaceful sleep.

“Ah can teach ye…”

His voice echoed through my sleep, piercing and unnaturally loud, repeating what he‘d whispered to me at my pool. It seemed much more ominous, floating through my mind, accompanied by nothing but black nothingness. I jerked, gasped myself awake, breathing hard. I hoped I hadn’t screamed or whimpered this time. I felt stirring next to me, heard the slight noises as of one waking up, and felt a hand slip around to rest lightly on my waist. I had woken the Shadowsong along with me, it seemed. I hadn’t known till then, but I was tense, shaking, my breath hitched. I’d also managed to disturb half the nest, and was pinning it mussed like that, half propped up on my elbow with distance between me and my sleeping companion that had not previously been there. I run a high temperature, and the hotter the presence the colder a sudden draft is…I am not surprised he woke.

“What t’be bein’ wrong? Ye alright?” He spoke softly, knowing how I was after waking up unsettled from dreams or nightmares, and his voice was a full foot at least behind me. And I had known, if vaguely, that I had woken him. It should not have startled me, his voice, but it did. It felt like he was breathing down my neck. I gasped again, whipping around-I daresay I cuffed him in the head with a wing, unintentional though it was, at least it was not a dagger!-and stared at him, eyes wide and likely a peculiar and not-quite-naturally bright shade of some color or another. I was shaking, fighting the urge to run, and he was quick to soothe me. That bard’s voice of his…some days, if he chose, he could make do whatever he wanted with that voice.

He was slow to move, still, cautious and fully aware of my state despite being half awake himself. He kept steady moss-green eyes on me, eyes as calm and soothing and entrancing as the voice he used to bring me the rest of the way back to myself-he knew it, and he was using it for all it was worth, he would not wish fear threatening shock this morning-continuing until I relaxed some. I looked at his hand, still on my waist-somehow I’d not reacted to it being there, so he kept it there-touched it, almost unrecognizing. He smiled, bringing the back of his other hand to lightly graze my cheek. “There ye to be goin’…it be alright. Don’t to be worryin’…it jus’ be me. Ye to be knowin’ me…”

I nodded, slowly, managing a faint smile. I laid back down, on my side still but facing him this time, and burrowed into his chest. He continued to croon softly to me, stroking my hair with one hand, stroking my back between my wings with the other. I breathed deep, drinking in the scent of clover, leather, smoke, feathers and fire that always clung to him, shuddering. I was trying to fight off the fear, and it was fighting just as hard to stay. I felt him look up, the angle congruent with the doorway. As he did not react defensively, and I felt someone behind me at the same time, I thought it was likely the Brown. I didn’t react to nor acknolwedge his presence yet though…I couldn’t afford the attention, I needed it all towards calming myself. I would go to him later.

The Shadowsong nodded nigh imperceptibly, then leant down to rub his cheek against my hair. “What was it to be bein’ this time?” He knew my nightmares well…this was a considerably mild one, to be sure. It was lucky, but he didn’t skimp on helping me calm. His voice still had the soothing, gently musical lilt, and it was almost as comforting as his hands. He murmured in an old strain of Gaelic we both knew, and that did it. Within a minute I was almost able to breathe, and to stop shaking-the worst was over.

I took a shaky breath. It wasn’t easy, trying to get the words to settle in my mind…I was still caught in the chaos of what was behind the faces of the dragon, and the reactions in my mind I still couldn’t untangle. While I could breathe, I couldn‘t remove my face from his chest or scent, yet. He was patient while he waited, stroking my hair, knowing it helped calm me as stroking the neck does a skittish horse. “I…I don’t know.” I paused, not sure how to continue, and I felt the Shadowsong’s surprise and confusion. He made a sound as if to say something, but then seemed to change his mind. He simply waited.

“It was Rori, I think. I saw his face, both as a dragon when he’d roared at me, and as a humanoid when he was waiting for me to wake up. I knocked myself out thunking against his chest.” I turned just enough to look up at the Shadowsong, my expression furrowed with confusion over the images. It turned quickly to a mixture of annoyance and amusement, as I found his own face was contorted with the effort to keep from laughing. “What is so funny?” I was indignant, and annoyance was winning out over amusement.

He was shaking with the attempts to keep from laughing, now, he could see well enough it was rubbing me the wrong way. “Ah…ah don’ quite to be knowin’. Ah suppose it just to be bein’ funny tha’ ye to be reactin’ to his faces like ye were to be havin’ a nightmare. He not to be bein’ THA’ scary!”

I was annoyed, and I thumped his side lightly, to which I was rewarded by a squeak, and a brief tussle. We could never resist the chance to harmlessly beat at each other in times like these; we were just that way. I finally stopped laughing, but couldn’t help giving him a crooked, vaguely triumphant smile, having won the miniature wrestling match. He was sprawled on his back, me half pinning him, using his chest as a propping post for my elbows. “He is when you’re mostly naked, unarmed, and the first thing you see is GIANT FACE OF DOOM FANGS.” My face drew out into a melodramatic popping of mouth and eyes, and I added some theatrical finger waves for good measure. I was rewarded with the Shadowsong throwing back his head and laughing full out. “Aye…aye, ah suppose that would to be cuttin’ it.”

I grinned, and pushed him over a bit more, so that I could lay my head on his chest without needing to suffocate myself or be flopped off the nest. “Yes, yes it would. And YOU, Shadowsong dear, were not in this gown. I daresay this is a bit more risqué than your leathers, no matter how pretty you are in them.” I said the last bit as a friendly jibe-he hated being called pretty, he preferred more masculine adjectives, but he still blushed at the sassing flattery. He prodded my side in retaliation, and I yelped, but didn‘t start the wrestling match again, just thwapped his chest and replaced my head on it. He absentmindedly started stroking my hair, still chuckling over the amusement, so rare to follow a nightmare. I set to scritching the back of his neck, just as absentmindedly, while I mused over the dream to myself.

“Is it worth it?”, I thought. I hadn’t forgotten the last times that I’d interacted with dragons, before him, though the memories were faded. I remembered that it was dangerous, that I’d been betrayed. I remembered that what I had thought worthwhile, trustworthy, had proven to be anything but. I remembered no more, but it was enough to make me mistrustful of this dragon, this sleek pitch-purple being who seemed to be so honest and well intending. I usually knew with almost perfect accuracy when I was being lied to, and in what way…and this one gave off nothing of lies…nothing of dishonesty, nothing of intent to mislead, nothing more than telling me what he could at the time…leaving the rest to later. He could have hidden much, and misled me, but he laid himself bare. He told me what there was to tell at the time. That at least I could see.

But, all the same, I wondered. He was able to intrude upon my bath, the safeguards of which were nigh impossible to penetrate unless I permitted it. He did so without permission, intruding on a healing bath. How did he do that? It implied a more coercive bent to his actions...and I would wonder what he was hiding, and also what else he wanted of me. It would be much less reason to trust him, much more reason to think he was simply wanting to use me. Though for what, I could not say.

But, then there was the other option. Did he have help? Was the mirth that my lover hid behind his mask of thoughtful contemplation the mirth born of benign secret conspiring between the three, between him, his brother, and the dragon? He’d already proven he knew Rori well enough to identify him straight off...if he hadn’t, he’d not have been so hard-pressed to restrain the impish light in his eyes at my first request-my asking if he knew of any purple, shape shifting dragons. He would have instead been simply confused. The Brown knew how to get to me in that grove without my permission, he was the sole one who did, and could bring others with him if need be. It was a safety precaution, one set so that it was made sure that I was well through the bath, and one I always laid: he came to find me, should my bath pass a pre-determined length of time. He could have shown Rori how to get through, and simply not accompanied himself, if he judged Rori’s intent favorably enough. He was not one to put me in danger, not even chance it, not after the war we were finishing. Both he and I had almost died...we had had enough of danger for some time.

And I still suspected that the Shadowsong had been in on it, what with the shared conspirator’s grin between him and the Brown, just before I had been left to be petted to sleep like a cat with the prior, by the latter. The Shadowsong was even less willing to risk my safety than the Brown was, and I still did not know why he was so protective of me. If he was in on this, if he would likely mean that the Brown also did, though it would still require asking to be sure. It would also mean that it was quite likely that my paranoia was ill-placed. Hmm...was it worth it? Was the knowledge worth the risk? Hells, was the risk even there? I may well never have the chance to be taught the like again, and I never could resist the chance to expand my realm of arts and knowing. Maybe this time I should not fight the temptation to do so.

If the situation was truly as benign as it could be-if the Brown had let Rori in, if the three of them were conspirators looking to amuse themselves and give me a challenge and puzzle for me to enjoy, the watching of it for them to enjoy, with a prize of new-gained knowledge for me, and of the teaching of it for one and the pride of arranging it for the others...if teaching and possibly friendship was all that was wanted of me by the Irish Dragon...

Maybe it really was worth the broach of paranoia and mistrust. I would try, I would ask further. The dragon was right-I would come to him.

Having made my decision-I would speak with the Brown and the Shadowsong more seriously over the matter, ask for their input before approaching Rori-and having heard a quite distant but protesting “Firedancer!“ from the Shadowstorm, I quickly started to come out of my self-made trance.

I found the Shadowsong squirming under my hand, making strange contorted faces and a bit red in the face. I got the distinct feeling that he’d been trying to speak to me about whatever was making him squirm so, more than I had heard, and had failed.

I arched my eyebrow at him, looking him over and making it obvious that I was referring to his interesting physical state. “Yes? What is it?”

He turned a deeper shade of red. “ to be scritchin’ bit o’ the wrong places to be scritchin’...” He gave me a desperate look, seeming to hope that I didn’t need further explanation.

He turned an even deeper shade of red, apparently quite embarrassed. At his expression’s behest, I looked closer at him, absorbing more details of his reactions...and quickly got the point. We were dear friends, not lovers, and so I did not blame him for being embarrassed at my unintentionally rubbing his neck as one. I soon was equally embarrassed. Turning a shade of red to mirror his, I quickly retracted my hand. And while I remained sprawled on my side, I rearranged myself, discreetly but just as quickly, a few inches away. I was careful not to touch him.

He sprawled, pretending to be relaxed, and stared at the ceiling, still embarrassed. I spent a bit too much time studying the embroidery on the pillow that had just reappeared under our sides, quiet and seeking a distraction from the awkwardness for some time before tentatively broaching speech again. “You knew.”

He looked at me then, eyebrows arched slightly in inquiry at the uncertain waver in my voice. A half amused, half compassionate smirk soon graced his face at the appearance in my own. I was still red and embarrassed, he was not. “Don’ to be worryin’ over it too much. Ye weren’ to be knowin’.” He grazed my cheek with his hand, and thought some before replying to my question.

“Aye, ah was to be knowin’.” He didn’t offer more information, just continued watching me with his ever calm and steady green eyes, waiting for the further words he rightfully guessed would come.

I spent enough time sorting through my mind, using the distraction of the stitching on the pillow as a focus for calm, that he lightly squeezed my shoulder up by my neck. A silent inquiry, making sure I had not forgotten his question to sink back into my thoughts, masked with the smoothing of the ever-present knots in my shoulder. I didn’t answer at once, but after a short moment acceded to sigh, look up at him and answer. I didn’t want him further pestering me for focus, and he would if I took too long. “Would it be worth it?”

He didn’t need the rest of the questions. He didn’t need to hear me ask if it was safe, ask if the benefits would outweigh the detriments that always accompanied any gift. He didn’t need to hear me ask if this would be just one more to grow close to me in the teaching, whether or not it would be acknowledged during the while, only to abandon me when he got bored. He didn’t know my history and the source of my fear of dragons, but he did know the rest. And he could hear my tone, full of hope and fear and resignation to the latter. It was enough. He looked at me long, studying my eyes, contemplating. I never knew how he could keep his eyes so calm like that. I could look at them forever.

He nodded, slowly, his voice quiet, but certain. “Aye. Aye, it would to be bein’.” I could hear the answers to all my unasked questions writ in that simple answer, and in his eyes, calm and steady though they still were. I nodded back, saying nothing in reply, and I allowed a half smile to flit over my face. I was still uncertain, wishing to speak to the Brown, but I was in part relieved and reassured. Instinctively, despite the recent awkwardness between us, I edged near enough to him to press against his chest and wrap my hand under his wings. I stroked the feathers underneath, gently preening off some of the fluffy down he couldn’t get to. It was his molting season, after all, and I was one of the few he allowed to help preen his wings. He always did say I’d done well, and he sighed, almost purring, relaxing against me as I worked.

I was glad he had said that...that it was worth it. Glad that I had chosen to ask. Too often had I discarded priceless opportunities I could not get back thanks to my paranoid afterthoughts.

“An’ if ye not to be believing’ me, ye can ask him yerself.” I looked up quickly, surprised. I’d thought he’d finished with answering me; he never spoke much...and said more in what he left unsaid than with what he said. I was skilled at reading between lines, and it had been proven that I spoke his language well. It seemed I was wrong, this time. I found, when my eyes met his face, that while his voice was soft and gentle-rare, for him-his face, hard in protection and warning, did not match his tone, nor was his gaze on my face. He was looking over my head. I turned to lie on my back, shifting my wings so that they were flat and out of my view. When I looked behind me, I found the source of the unexpected words. Behind me, in the doorway, stood the very dragon I had asked of, indescribable look on his face in the doorway. And, two rooms away, stood the Brown, his strange expression too far away to read.

{Writing} Rori's Tale: Chapter Two.


I swept into the Brown‘s door, cloak and still-damp gown flowing, flushed and heated from my stalking walk home. My eyes were flashing, and I was still struggling to wrap my head around what had just happened during my bath, and if anyone knew who that had been, it would be the Brown. He handled most of the entries into the Inn; he must know who the dragon was!

“Mmm?” He leaned back in the chair he was working in to peer at me inquiringly from around the doorway. I could smell the ink he was using-he must have been working-and I felt a bit guilty for interrupting him. I gave him a sheepish grin, and was about to apologize, but the smug, impish smirk on his face removed any incentive I had for that…and now I wore a look of suspicion, in place of the guilt. Two smug males, both wearing the same exact smirk, in one day? I couldn’t help wondering if he already knew what I was about to present him with…but I couldn’t smell the dragon anywhere nearby, so I could not think how he would.

I shook my head. No matter. I spun off my cloak, hung it on one of the hooks near the door and whipped around, ignoring the pointed smirk he gave me when my speed dislodged my dress a bit too much. I put my hands on my hips, eyes flashing, hair mussed, daring him to comment on the gown when I had more important matters at hand. “Do you have any idea if there are any purple shape-shifting dragons in the Inn?”

His wings twitched as if to repress giggles as he placed his quill on his desk, capped his inkwell, and stood. “Mmm…I do not know. Purple dragons…it strikes no bell. Did you get a clear look?” He strolled slowly across the room, looking like the thoughtful expression on his face was hiding too much amusement…as well as further attempts to stare through the sheer bathing gown I still wore.

And I? I was exasperated, staring at him, mouth agape, at his question. He asked that, knowing the extent of my scrutiny? “Did I…what? Alright, completely leaving out the fact that I am one of the most detail-oriented people we both know, he walked in on me while I was in my pool while I was sleeping. That does not happen! Yes, I got a clear look!” Still exasperated, I paced around the room, gown swirling, furrowing my eyebrows in concentration, barely noticing the surprised look, meaning that I’d caught the Brown off guard with my statement.

I was quieter in tone, thoughtful, now. “He…shifted between a humanoid form and a dragon form. His dragon form was huge, bigger than almost any other dragon I’ve seen…except maybe Amberflame, depending on the proportion compared. Sleek…I saw only his tail, and his head…it was the color of midnight blue, except replace blue with purple. Midnight purple, I suppose. And he was shaped, what I could see of him, almost like a Western dragon, but not quite. Almost like he belonged on the Celtic Isles. His human form…he was maybe five six, fair-skinned, as pale as you but with cool undertones, with shiny black hair. Fit and slight, but very solid…not elvan-lithe, like you or Shadowsong, or feline-lithe, like me…but also obviously not human. The same eyes…dark, black, but black like night, in both forms. Far more perceptive and knowing than any other eyes I’ve seen…except yours. He never told me his name.”

I looked up at him, now standing quite still within arm’s reach of me, watching me, eyes smiling, languid, and feline, keenly boring into me. He walked closer to me and smiled, turning me to face him, and he stroked my hair out of my face. I closed my eyes and purred under his hand, but gave him a confused look when I opened my eyes. “You don’t know him? It was on Inn grounds…how could he live here and not have you know of him?”

His hands were wreaking havoc with my concentration, and he knew it. He chuckled as I leaned my forehead against him, who was stroking under the wings that he knew were there, but could not see. “Mmm…I may know him. I may not. You say he gave you no name?”

I shook my head against his chest, accidentally nuzzling him in the process. My voice was mumbled. “Mmm…no, he didn’t…you know, I really cannot think coherently when you’re doing that…”

He chuckled again. “That is the point. Now, about this dragon of yours…what did he do to you? You say he walked into your bath?”

I slipped my hands under his wings in retaliation, smugly satisfied as he turned to putty. “Revenge is a bitch. Yes, he did. And he’s not “my” dragon. I was sleeping, he woke me up, roared at me, and then did strange things with my brain.” I found myself wishing that we could continue this conversation in a large squishy dish chair.

He seemed to read my mind. He scooped me up and toted me off, simultaneously busy with laughing, head thrown back. “He did strange things with your brain? Well, that narrows it down.” He turned a corner, and walked into the doorway of his bedroom. His nest, set on the right wall between desk and dresser, lavishly designed and made, was full already. The Shadowsong blinked up at us drowsily as the Brown’s laughter interrupted his sleep, and I was unceremoniously dumped into the Irishman’s lap. He jumped, and squeaked in surprise, giving out a sleep-slurred, “Wha’ in the nine hells?”

The Brown doubled over, laughing anew, as I tried to get my disheveled hair straightened, made none too easy given that it had gotten stuck on the Shadowsong’s ever-present leathers, and given that my bath gown had freshly rearranged itself into improper fashions. “Oh, a dragon interrupted her bath.” At that, he turned to leave, allowing his brother to wrap his arms around me to prevent my pursuit.

The Shadowsong’s eyebrows reached his hairline in amused disbelief. “Oh really? Who was it to be bein’?” His mischievous grin given up at his brother had me suspicious-it was the same smug grin I’d seen on the Brown and the dragon!-and the Brown’s face quickly echoed his brother’s. He turned around in the doorway to smirk, eyes bright, at the both of us.


My face must have been priceless, as I lay, now shocked into silence. I could not manage to do more than sputter. He took a flourishing bow, and backed out of the door with a twirl. I heard the front door close, meaning he’d left me and the Shadowsong be. The Shadowsong, shaking with silent laughter, pulled my frozen form back to rest against him, stroking my hair. I turned to gape at him. “He couldn’t have said that to begin with?! He knew! You knew! I know you both knew! Why did something so easy have to be so difficult! AUGH!”

The Shadowsong was now laughing as hard as his brother had been. He pulled my face to him and kissed me on the forehead, and then pulled me back against him, rubbing the base of my neck to relax me. “Because it to be bein’ me brother. He not to be bein’ the Brown if he to be bein’ any other way.” I could’ve sworn I heard a faded comment about the conversation being much less amusing in the back of my head, but I couldn’t pin it. My face twisted into this indescribable look of incredulity and disbelief.

But, my best friend’s hand and purring at my neck were soon enough to set me purring myself. I still couldn’t drop the infuriating aggravation had made, though. A dragon is quite a good deal larger than an elephant, and I really didn’t appreciate the attempts to ignore either one. Today was supposed to have been peaceful. I mused again over my failed bath, the rest and sleep of which was being replaced by the Shadowsong’s soft singing. “Rori…” So that was his name. Maybe his offer was worth considering after all…

{Writing} Rori's Tale: Chapter One.

Cool water slipped off my fingers, the scents of many flowers and herbs permeated the air, the sweeping trees rained their falling blossoms on the water and my hair. I smiled, and waded deeper into the cool pool I sought solitude in. This place was healing to me, welcoming after the trial I had just faced. I was clad in nothing more than a light flowing white linen gown, a bathing gown reminiscent both of my Grecian ties and my elvan heritage. I was not modest tonight, I feared no intrusion, and the gown in question scarcely covered my breasts and back, though its skirt was long. The woods of this place had a way about them…rarely did any intruder unwanted by the grove keeper reach their destination unharmed. And so I sank into the pool, breathing in the scents of the place.

As I lay, I braided the night blooming jasmine into some fallen wisps of the flowering weeping tree, and added in sprigs of the herbs nearby, to form a long rope. I was careful with my choices, and it was rare that I took of the plants of this place. I never did so for pure pleasure; I planned to use this rope for a couple who had a handfasting soon to come. And I sang in my native Elvish language to the grove, softly thanking them for sheltering me once again.

A soft chuckle floated through the back of my mind, a rough dusky Irish brogue, and I sent a smile back where it came. My deities usually watched me here. They rarely saw me at peace. I finished my song of thanks, and the rope with it, but started singing again. I was unusually vocal tonight, and I hoped to craft something of it. The works I made here were always unique amongst all their fellows. But I must have slipped asleep in the water, because my song was cut off mid-note when I was jerked awake by the sense of someone unknown approaching me. I was alone unarmed, unarmored, and effectively naked in a pool of water.

My first response is to always assume that anyone unknown may need defended against. It took me a fraction of a second to realize my disadvantage, another second to catch sight of movement shining purple-black in the trees, and one more to leap out of the water towards my traveling cloak, hung on a branch about fifteen feet away and containing my short thin traveling knife. I reached half the distance before I was greeted with a huge pair of gaping jaws full of fangs and erupting in a rather deafening roar.

I cried out, waking myself up again. I was covered again in blossoms, the water was still. I was disoriented, and so could not read the patterns of the wind…had I not just woken up and gotten pretty soundly put in my place by a rather large dragon? I shook my head, trying to clear it, dismissing it as an odd dream-in-a-dream. It was clear that the rest I would find in this grove had passed, and so I sat up, moving to stand. I was halfway upright, water streaming down my chest, arms, and back, when I heard footsteps. “The same direction as the dragon in my dream…strange.”, I thought. No sooner had I become aware of that fact did I realize that also like the dream, I was at a distinct disadvantage…and that this time, I couldn’t move. I was frozen, as if I’d been turned to stone or blown glass, staring at the space in the woods next to my cloak. “Wha…what? This is my grove, this shouldn’t’ be! This doesn’t happen!“ I was starting to get distinctly nervous. The footsteps had stopped, and I felt watched.

Suddenly I could move. I felt like those waify little helpless princesses in little girl’s bedtime stories, held under a spell by an evil sorceror. But this one intrigued me…the presence was unknown but not evil. Paranoid though I still was, my reasons for moving slowly revolved around not wishing to give away the location of my only weapon, which this person was unfortunately closer to than I…but it gave me the ability to read what I felt. I didn’t know whether or not to trust my senses, but this one didn’t radiate the animosity many others had. I was confused…and curious.

As if in answer to my thoughts, I felt a smile, and a gentleman emerged from the dark under the trees. Not as tall as I’d expected, but certainly much taller than my five-foot-two self, I was greeted by a striking male, lithe and trim, pale with flowing black hair, in a remarkably beautiful twilight colored robe concealing a dusky grey set of pants and a smooth tan shirt. He was smiling, with his eyes and not his mouth, and his eyes…I turned pink, in both slight embarrassment and indignation. They were the same eyes as the dragon from my dream. It had to be another leg of the same, I’d wake up soon. Oh gods I’d better wake up soon, with what I’m wearing!

He chuckled at me, the same chuckle I had heard when I entered the grove, revealing how long he’d watched me-that wasn’t a god of mine at all!

“Ye know…were I to hurt ye, I’d’ve done so already. An’ I’m not lookin’. So ye can stop tryin’ to hide yerself.” He spoke tightly, as if despite his amusement he was irritated and attempting to conceal it. He extended a hand, offering to help pull me out of the pool, but I backed away. I didn’t know who he was, and if this was real and not simply more of a dream, he was good enough to confuse my mind without touching me. Who knew what he’d do to me if he DID?

The attempt at self preservation failed utterly. I retreated too fast, and slipped on the pool’s bottom. It was merely a sort of water moss, but it takes care to tread soundly on: it is slippery. I fell backward, which would have been highly dangerous: the pool was surrounded in sharp rocks. He leapt for my hand, caught it, and yanked me back in the other direction. I yelped, thinking how ridiculously I’d sounded like a kicked hound, and thumped onto his chest. It disoriented me-people are not supposed to be that HARD!-and by the time I’d gotten my senses back in order I found that I was lying on the sweet-grass staring up at what looked to be a concerned pair of deep black eyes. I fought to get away, but only for a second. I didn‘t have much energy and I was still woozy from the impact. Slamming my head into his chest had felt like slamming my head into a brick wall. He touched my forehead, surprisingly gentle, and instantly I relaxed. I stared, highly nervous despite his effect, trying to fight the flashback that threatened to consume me. The last time that I had been on my back with a stranger I had been bound to a table, long needles thrust into my veins, cut apart and open like the frogs for dissection in middle school science classes.

He watched me for several minutes as I tried to control myself. I was failing. Hyperventilating, sweating, my temperature rising, and whimpering in my fear, I almost felt the binds and needles and knives again, and I started to see more of the memories and less of my grove. I could hear my screaming in my mind and it threatened to bubble to the surface. His eyes went wide with first shock and then understanding, and to my utter incomprehension he started stroking my hair. It reminded me of my lover, waiting for me back at home while I was here, healing so far as he knew…but I felt no obligation despite the similarities. Wait…what, how…those were memories! He shouldn’t be able to see those!

The hands at my hair helped me calm enough to keep my control, provided me a distraction, and his lip twitched in what could have almost been a smile. “Aye, they be memories. An’ I can see ‘em.” His voice was harsh, hard, rough by nature, but it softened at my surprised sputter at him hearing my thoughts again. “An’ I told ye…ah won’t hurt ye. Ah came to speak with ye. An‘ if I weren‘t real, yer trees wouldn‘t be wailin‘ at yer blood.” He nodded at my arm, which I had cut, presumably on one of the rocks that lined the pool. I looked behind me, and indeed…there was blood in the water, dripping from one of the rocks on the opposite side of the pool. I must’ve cut it while falling. He moved his hand over my arm, and I felt a brief searing pain. I winced and whimpered in surprise at it, and stared at him now in shock than out of fear. My arm looked as if it had never been cut, excepting a fine white line where it had been. What…why had he healed me? What would I be expected to owe? I was newly reminded of the wet clothing I was wearing, which could barely be called as much. He smiled and shook his head, amused again it seemed, and moved his fingers moved over my forehead to lie over my brow. Images branded themselves to the back of my eyes.

I saw a woman singing, smiling, braiding foliage in the pool. Her hair had pooled around her, bright red curls floating on the water. I felt an admiration of the beauty of the place, and murmured in a language long forgotten, and I saw her fall gently to sleep. I stayed there until her sleeping song was close to finishing, and I shifted shape. I looked down to see smooth purple-black scales, felt a large long body with a sliding tail behind, and I felt quick movement as the woman woke, eyes startled and wide with fear. I cursed softly but unspoken in the same forgotten language, and I turned quickly and roared at her as she leapt from the pool to get to her cloak. I quickly put her to sleep again, saw her fall to the ground. I shifted again, and looking down I recognized the robes worn by the man sitting next to me. His memories…he could do that?

I saw him pick what I now recognized as me up, place me back in the pool where I was, trace fingers over my forehead to alter my memory. He cleaned his tracks well enough to hide them from my first glance, retreated back into the dark of the trees…and I felt him smile as he spoke words to wake me. “Ye know the rest.”

I gasped, coming back to myself, and stared at him. The images were not the only thing that he had shown me. I felt what he did, heard what he did…the memories included vivid sensations as well. “How…how do you do that? I thought I was the only one.”

This chuckle was becoming far too frequent for my liking. “It be the nature of our kind.” He helped me sit, bringing me to eye level with him. I looked at him, suspiciously wary. “Our kind? I am no dragon.” He smiled at me, the kind of smile that an elder gives upon hearing an unknowingly foolish statement from the younger generations, rearranged himself to mirror my seating. He slowly reached to take my head in his hands, courteously accounting for my paranoia, now that he understood. I still didn’t trust him…but it didn’t do to think of battle in a neutral ground where spilt blood is forbidden. I allowed it. He merely leaned his forehead against mine, and whispered, “You will be.” He closed his eyes, and while I was confused, and now doubted his sanity-I was no dragon, and how can one’s species be changed? and that is what it seemed he implied-I followed suit.

Once again, I was rewarded with images branding the back of my eyes. Not as complete as the last, these were broken flashes. Soaring dragons, scales glinting in the sun, fellows traversing the grounds nearby the watcher. Apparently these ones were pack creatures…not like many dragons of lore I had heard. The place was beautiful…I had thought my elvan kind were lovers of beauty, but this…this put my elvan-home to shame, made it look like a town of poorly made thatched huts. I gasped as I watched…it was beauty almost painful to see. I felt a deep and swelling love for the home which could only have been his.

The flashes changed. Brief images of war, screaming, blood of kin, pain, grief. And then another…of fear, pursuit, the pain of flesh and muscle being ripped and bleeding…consciousness flickering, but then the sight of safety reached. Crying, the pain of the loss of one’s beloved home, of trying to create another fast enough, despite being broken.

I gasped again, and I looked at him wide eyed. My emotions were a turmoil even without what I had seen…too many homes I had lost to such things, and I relived the agony and feeling of betrayal mixed with compassion and sympathy for him. No one should have to live through that…I had hoped, futile though such hope is, that I would not find that any others had. The last echo in my mind was that of a scream, but I felt impressions of skill, tastes and sights of patterns of talents I had thought long gone, or indeed had never known. The sense of hope, a sight of potential…hope that his line and arts could live on, that his breed did not need to die. “I can teach ye.” I heard him in my mind this time. “Yer one of my kind long gone, I can smell it in yer blood. I can teach ye…if ye ask.” 

He released me and drew back his hands, but only after tracing his fingers over my third eye yet again.

“Jeweled one…”

“What did you say?” I eyed him sharply. I was protective of my names and picky about those who I would allow to give them to me, and I could have sworn he had just done just that. My gown was now half dry, which meant it concealed enough of me for me to consider myself decent, and we had stood. We were now several paces apart, I wringing out my hair, him watching me…now with an impish, almost feline grin about his face. “Oh, nothing’...” He turned to leave, and looked back at me. “I’ll be watchin’. An‘ ye‘ll come.”

“Don’t be so sure.”

He merely smirked at me, half bowed, and backed silently out of my little grove. Five minutes later I saw a large dark form take off in flight in the near distance. I couldn’t help feeling like he was laughing at me from the sky, daring me to take him up on his offer.

I shook my head in exasperation. “Fucking Irish. Fucking men. Fucking DRAGONS. He didn‘t even tell me his name!” I huffed out loud to myself, fairly sure that I was now alone…and not caring if he heard me. I finished braiding my wet hair, whipped my cloak and hood around me, and headed the small miles home.