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Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13th, right after midnight:

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A1119.3
Origin
of sea's unpleasant odor.

Victor had to pull most of the weight that last half mile up to the cliff. Jonny 's hand at the back of the wheelbarrow was almost nothing, though he could keep it from rolling, blocking with his slender body. Carrie had gotten in to ride back at Tully Rock. She slept now, chubby legs curled under her in the sun in the barrow beside Mama's corpse.

It was a helluva long way in this heat, up this slope, and it gave Victor time to resent the task and then feel the hot shame of such thoughts and try to get back to numbness.

They passed two other families headed downward. By now there was nothing to say. Nice day, how's the garden, who died this time?

At the top, the Cliffkeeper met them. She lifted Mama with practiced skill. Victor woke his sister and held her. He told the Cliffkeeper Mama's whole name and saw Jonny's knuckles whiten. He couldn't hear the words she said, the official words, everything was a blur, but he heard Mama's right name reflected back.

Then Mama was tumbling, falling, flying through the air to the sea and it was so steep that they could not see her land. That was a blessing.

The Cliffkeeper lady said some more words, questions, and Victor ignored them. He set Carrie back in the barrow and he and Jonny each took a handle, side by side, back down.
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13th, about 3AM:

C114.1 Tabu: son seeing mother perform sex act.

At midnight on the hottest night of the year, where was I going to be other than in the water? Moon was just rising all orange and the lake was flat calm. It's nice to go in quietly, it feels courteous to be as quiet as the water, know what I mean?

Also, at midnight on the hottest night of the year when you think you're the only person awake - possibly the only person in the world - who bothers with clothes? Do you bother with clothes? I don't.

So I'm moving all slow and careful and it turns out that someone else not only exists but went out for a moonrise paddle? Two someones? I just glide under the dock into the shadows and wait for them to pass.

But that wouldn't be the night I was having. Nope, it was my mothers, out for a romantic paddle in the canoe. How nice. I'm going to have to stand here under the dock while they get out and pull the boat up...

Nope.

It was a very romantic canoe ride.

So by the time I'm a raisin and actually too chilled and some fish has been bumping my foot and I've been trying to sing "la, la, la, I can't hear you" silently inside my head (it doesn't work) - I know far more than I ever wanted to. Ever.
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13th, 6AM

K481 Demi-coq by means of his magic animals and magic water collects money.

"If only our mistress had a fine spinning wheel and loom," the animals said, "she would be the finest of weavers and we would have the finest of grain."
Up spoke the ram, "But how do people acquire fine spinning wheels and looms?"

"I know that on the grand market day, the people trade coins for pretty things," said Demi-Coq the half-chick. "What we need is coins. If you will each do as I say, we will enact a Clever Plan and get coins for our mistress."

Well, the animals each agreed to abide by Demi-Coq's plan. Turtles positioned themselves under the watering trough, doves composed a Song of Thirst and Despair, and two white hens took up their watch.

"Excellent!" said Demi-Coq. "Now all we need is for the King of France to ride through the village."

Within minutes, the King of France rode through on his fine grey mare. The doves began their Song of Thirst and Despair, flapping from one bush to the next beside the steed. By the time the King approached the farmstead, his mare's head hung heavy and her steps were unsure. Seeing the fine, full, white-washed water trough beside the gate, the King turned his horse and let her have her head at the north end of the water therein.

Immediately, one white hen pecked at the turtle beneath the cross-bar at the north end of the trough and the good reptile stood up, lifting that end of the trough. The water sluiced away from the thirsty mare. She followed it to the south end of the trough.

The second white hen pecked the more southerly turtle, who immediately stood as his compatriot to the north hunkered back down.

Whoosh! away slid the water right out from under the thirsty mare's nose.

"What mischief is this?" cried the King of France, who was, after all, quite fond of his grey mare.

"No mischief but magic," answered a young voice from the ground. The King espied Demi-Coq and goggled. "This farm has magic water in its well, and the water will only suffer to be drunk by those who have paid. So fine is this magic water that when your mare has drunk it, she will be well as though she had never really been thirsty!"

Well, the King gladly paid a shiny golden coin, tossing it into the water trough. At a signal from the hens, the doves ceased their song, the turtles settled down, and the King's grey mare drank her fill.

The tale of the magical cloth woven by the good animals' mistress is a tale for another day, but if I may make so bold as to say it, the King was repaid ten times over for his shiny coin.
 

Daroc Alden

New Member
The origin of the Sea's unpleasant odor:

"Charles," I said, "this doesn't look right."

He just grunted, before setting down his work and trudging to the edge of the boat.

"Yup." He replied, "That's a very surprising island for our supposed location."

"... It's not a sea monster, is it?" I queried fearfully.

Charles seemed to consider this for a moment, before patting me on the shoulder and stating "Nah. I reckon whatever they did to all the dragons will have taken out the leviathans too. Maybe that's the problem."

"What?"

"Well, they say all the dragons just fell from the skies when the mages did their great binding. But what do dead things do at sea?"

Oh. They floated, of course. Now I felt silly for having asked.

And that did explain the smell of dead fish that was beginning to spread out across the waves.
 
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Daroc Alden

New Member
Tabu: Son seeing Mother perform a sex act:

Have you ever wondered why it is that there is one Tide that flows towards the moon, and one Tide that flows away?

Listen, as I tell you of la djacu and la jaclur, the two Tides.

Once, when the world was smaller, the moon was close enough to walk along the sand. Every day, the moon admired the sea's beauty. So much did she admire the sea that one day the moon called out to her.

"Oh Sea! Great and powerful body of water! Tell me your name, that I may court you."

And the sea replied "I am la djacu. But who is it who dares to court me, when she has seen less than a tenth of a tenth of my smallest shore? You do not even know me."

Hearing this, the moon became dismayed. "I am la lunra, and I will go around the world, and see you at every point, to prove my love." So saying, she vaulted into the sky, and began her circles around the planet, which she continues to this day.

After almost a year (and this is why the lunar year is 354 days, you see), la djacu was satisfied that la lunra had seen her from every angle. She called out "Well! Now that you have seen me, and now that we have spent this year dancing, do you still love me?"

Well, I'm sure you can guess la lunra's reply, and I'm sure I don't need to go into details about what they did from there. It wouldn't do to embarrass the sea - she might stop giving us fish.

Anyway, 9 months later, la jaclur was born from his mother the sea, and grew up happily playing in the estuaries and fjords. He played and frolicked between his mothers, but eventually he grew up (At least - he grew up a little. Children never quite grow up.), and became wise in the ways of the world. And, as all teenagers do, he started to find any display of affection, no matter how small, between his mothers to be disgusting. la djacu and la lunra, however, refused to stop _leaning_ on each other. Or intertwining the tufts of their waves with the beams of their moonlight. So la jaclur ran. He ran right around to the other side of the world, and sulked.

That, my friends, is why there are two tides. One where la djacu leans towards la lunra, and one where la jaclur flees from his mothers' mutual affection.
 

Daroc Alden

New Member
Demi-coq by means of his magic animals and magic water collects money:

I shouldn't be telling you this.

I mean, it is probably going to get me it trouble with . . . the Coq. But I need to spread the word, someone needs to know.

No one really knows where the Coq came from, or what its powers are. What we do know, is that the trouble all started up Highburry way.

The Highburry farm, see, always raised some mighty intelligent pigs. So when the townspeople started disappearing, and pigs appeared in their place, some terrible rumors started. But pigs weren't the only animals on the farm! Oh no, soon the whole villiage was turned into cassowaries and sheep, foxes and frogs, and all other sort of nasty things.

Anyway, that's about the time that Coq came here to the city with some demands. It said, that unless we paid it $1,000,000 dollars, it was going to do the same thing here that it had in Highburry. Well, that put the city council in a very bad position - no one knew if the Coq was even responsible for the disaster in Highburry, and the city was already in debt as it was. Long story short, they paid.

Well, the Coq turned around, and used the money to build a dam in the stream that flows from Highburry down our way. Re-routed the river right into the sea. Now, that made a lot of people angry about the loss of that water. But the Coq said that Highburry was contaminated, and that we needed to avoid the water, or the same thing would happen to us. That was years ago, though, and the outrage has died down.

Anyway, the reason that this is important is because I'm a civil engineer, and I know something that the Coq hasn't taken into account - ground water.

The aquifer near the dam has been rising for years - and the contamination is going to leak through. But the Coq just sits pretty on its invested money - and won't do a thing about the real problem.

So please, you've gotta help me convince the City Council to ban groundwater taps, and bring in a pipeline from out Iggleham way. Otherwise, well . . .
 

Daroc Alden

New Member
Tabu: Plowing with Ox and Ass together:

Inéz stared at the LaTeX editor.

They were almost finished laying out this section on animals used in medieval Europe to plow fields, but they couldn't get the side-by-side comparison of Oxen and Donkeys to line up properly.

They had tried inserting more `hboxes`, they had tried using `tabular`, but nothing would make the bullet points line up correctly.

With a sigh, heavy with regret, Inéz placed their hands on the keyboard, and typed the dreaded incantation. "\begin{tabu}"

(Author's Note: That's right. I went for a LaTeX joke.)
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13, approximately 9AM
Tabu: plowing with ass and ox together.

Here I was, minding my own business, getting on with work. I swam over to the plough, hitched up the striped bass and yellow box-fish - and wouldn't you know, a B-thief comes along??!
 

Daroc Alden

New Member
Ogress assumes frightful guises to frighten messengers:

"No, I'm telling you, they had this great idea." Glinda said.

Esther just gave her a skeptical look.

"It's a simple modification you can make to your ordinary routine for visitors - and the best part is, that it works on plunderers and tribute-bearers alike. 'Trick or Treat', as they say."

Esther sipped her tea.

"The basic idea, right, is that you make your castle spookey - and make sure to dress up as something spookey yourself - and then use the fact that that puts your visitors off-balance to control the direction of the encounter. If they are trouble-makers, you've already got them spooked and ready to flee. If they are visitors you actually want, you give them some candy, and their relief at something bad not happening makes them laugh and open up to you."

Esther quirked an eyebrow, and placed her tea back on the tray.

"What do they call it, you ask? I think they called it 'Halloween'. But I must say, it sounds like a great method. I'm definitely going to try it out when I get home ..."
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13 - noonish
H1401.2 Ogress assumes frightful guises to frighten messengers.

Each day began with new hope, new vigour, new commitment to making the kind of change that would be sung of for decades. Each night the nine teens dropped into bed like exhausted puppies, bone-weary, sometimes too tired to eat, feeling vulnerable, small, inadequate to the task. There had been twelve at the beginning - twelve students learning the routes, the codes, the badges and colours, the theories and histories of conflict in their land. Now they were nine, and there were no more theories and history was made every day.

They rotated the Entreaty Run.
The only good thing about the Entreaty Run was that it heralded one day off. Take dictation every morning, encode, map the delivery points, divide up the routes and run the messages and replies through encampments, swamps, town, even enemy lines and make it back to quarters and report for seven days straight; then make the Entreaty Run; then sleep as deeply as possible for one precious day.

Drucilla pulled on new socks gratefully, laced snug boots. She tossed a casual salute to her bunkmates and reported to the Chancellor for the courier pouch. Water, food, message. "There have been revenants lately at the gate, Squire," they told her. "Not every day, but be aware." She knew. Her friends talked among themselves when they could. She began running as false dawn approached.

This was her tenth Entreaty Run. Downhill by the good road for an hour, across the farm lands, up into the foothills, up to The Cairn. If she was climbing before mid-morning, it would be a good run. She could ignore the pain in her fingertips and cramping feet by imagining that today would be different. Today the gatekeeper would let her in to deliver the King's Entreaty. Today the Ogrofno Boglarka would read the king's plea, accept his offer, assemble the hundreds of chaosites under her ogrish rule, and come to the rescue of Drucilla's people. Today. Today.

She found herself at the top of the climb just as the sun peaked noon.

Rejected, dejected, Drucilla forced herself home the last miles on jellied legs. She stumbled into the Chancellor's presence and handed him the courier bag, message undelivered. "Two-headed troll at the gate today. Looked like nothing I've seen before." She held herself up by the edge of his writing table. "It's so damned quiet, my lord. No matter how many different gatekeepers we've seen, I've seen nothing, heard nothing of the hundreds of monsters who have got to be there. It's as though there's only one - one gatekeeper, no one else, and the keeper changes skin every day."
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13th - midafternoon
F511.0.1 Headless person.

Actually, it's not that bad. My kid put my brain function on a snazzy hard disk (they call it a head drive). I felted myself some very jaunty neck hats. Nutrition intravenously - do you realize how much time we *waste* with meal planning, shopping, preparation, and clean up? Lots. With all my extra time I finally became a children's author. Cams and audio pickup on my iBracelets... Now, I get pretty stupid away from wi-fi, but that's what smart cars are for.
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13, early evening

G303.9.1.15 Satan builds another world.

Legos everywhere. Little Yahweh still used the larger blocks, but Satan had his first set of real, big-kid Legos and the two of them were playing quietly for once, side-by-side, each with their own toys. It was heaven.

Satan worked right through dinner - some things are more important than warmed-over chili, and a good homeschooling Ma needs to help her children set their own priorities. "I need a flat green one!" I heard now and then, so I glanced over through the doorway and pointed at the piece he was missing. Just before ice cream (strangely enough), he was done and showed me proudly. "These four things are elephants!" he explained. "And I'm changing c to a thousand kph!"

Metric. I'm so proud.
Aren't kids just little angels?
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
Dear friends, I'm very tired and it's time for bed - I will miss the last Mythologybot Tweet of the Day, so is it OK to do it in the morning?

Sweet dreams -

S
 

Sparrow

Hestia of the Hearth
August 13th - after bedtime

F451.5.1.20 Dwarfs help in performing task.

Fimbulvetr.
It had been winter for twelve months without reprieve. Snow every day, from every quarter.
Light puffy snow, blizzards, slush.
The firewood piles were gone and those of us made from humus had long since begun to die in droves.
By all eddaic accounts, twenty four more months of winter - and then the wars would rage across the surface and depths and oceans and atmosphere of Earth and it would all be over. The trees would die, the gods would die.

I dreamed much more lately - there was nothing else to do, no food to prepare - and the dreaming came to me. They were beings of strength, of skill. Engineers of delicate, lacy strands of DNA and engineers of great mountains, and something had turned their hearts from a plain and simple lack of hope to a fervent desire to live.

I want to know that story, but I do not.

In my dream, they called to one another. A great moot. Allthing. A great walking northward and southward. In my dream they all leaned, together, perfectly aimed, on great poles North and South, their feet on something other than the ground - a scaly green something. They pushed with all their strength along an exactly calculated vector, against magic, against prophesy. The dwarves heaved with a mighty strength and pushed the Earth back into her orbit, her tilt, her seasons.

Winter has ended. We have so very many to bury, so very much to rebuild. But winter has turned to spring, at least this time.
 
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