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An Evening With Sings-to-Trees
Sings-to-Trees had hair the color of sunlight and ashes, delicately pointed ears, and eyes the translucent green of new leaves. His shirt was off, revealing the sort of tanned muscle acquired from years of healthy outdoor living, and you could have sharpened a sword on his cheekbones.
He was saved from being a young maiden's fantasy—unless she was a very peculiar young maiden—by the fact that he was buried up to the shoulder in the unpleasant end of a heavily pregnant unicorn. Bits of unicorn dung, which was not noticeably more ethereal than horse dung, were sliding down his arm, and every time the mare had a contraction, he lost feeling in
"Night""Night" is the longest running show in the universe.
It started off quite a few years ago, and while some of the original cast have retired, cooled off, (and in one embarassing incident, mostly hushed up, collapsed in on themselves to form a naked singularity, although some of her co-stars were heard to mutter that she'd ALWAYS been a singularity in one form or another) for the most part, it's still going strong.
It was hard going at first. The first billion years was pretty dead. However, to be fair, there hadn't been much in the way of advance advertising, no posters anywhere, so really, you couldn't expect much. The rat stagehands that h
Elf vs. Orc 8Celadon woke up in the elf's arms.
This sounded a lot more romantic than it actually was.
For one thing, learning to sleep in proximity to another person is an acquired skill. You learn what to do with the arm that always seems to get stuck between you and where to put your feet and whether they mind having a leg draped over theirs and who can use whose arm as a pillow without nerve damage or a sore neck. Then there's the whole complex negotiation of blanket treaties and sheets and who gets what and who needs layers and who has to stick their feet out.
Without acquiring these vital habits, you wake up pretty much like Celadon—stiff, sore,
Elf vs. Orc 9Sings-to-Trees' head shot up. He knew Fleabane's barks like the back of his hand. Short, rapid barks, not grating, hysterical ones--somewhere between a greeting and a warning. Fleabane knew the person approaching, but he didn't really like them.
That meant it was either one of the humans from down the road (excepting Matilda, who brought cheeses and always had a tidbit for a hungry coyote) or the rangers.
"Shit!" Sings-to-Trees leapt to his feet and began kicking Celadon's armor under the bed, followed by the extra blankets.
Celadon got unsteadily to her feet. "What is it?"
"Company. Might be rangers."
She could have asked questions, lik
Elf vs. Orc 6He got a nasty start a few hours later, when he came in to check on her.
He'd tied her hands, her feet, thrown a loop or two around her waist, and roped everything to the bed, the chair, and the fire iron, just for good measure, He'd done everything short of hog-tying. She wasn't going to get loose in a hurry.
He wasn't sure why he was bothering, really, since he had a horrible feeling that if she said "Will you untie me?" he might do it, and if she said "please," he'd definitely do it.
Still, she didn't seem to be a threat conscious, so maybe that was okay.
Then, because his feelings were still churning and there was nothing for emotiona
Quick the Donkey
The donkey's name was Quick.
His front hooves were neat and dexterous and opposable, and his back hooves were the size of dinner plates and had unassuming steel shoes. He had a pale grey hide and pale pink nostrils, and ears like enormous fringed fans, and if you lifted up his cowl far enough, you would find large, slightly worried brown eyes, with the devastatingly long eyelashes reserved for beauty queens and large ungulates. He was a small, neat-footed donkey who kept his elbows tucked in and could vanish into a crowd much more easily than a bipedal donkey wearing a yellow robe with checkerboard edging had any right to do.
He had a goldf
Elf vs. Orc 3Sings-to-Trees was being strangled.
He'd always expected a patient to kill him some day, but he'd thought he would be a lot older, and it would be an angry bull or a careless moment with a manticore or something along those lines, with an outside chance of being crushed under a nearsighted troll. He really hadn't anticipated anything like this.
The orc had been giggling to herself for a few minutes, and when he tried to talk to her, she only giggled harder. He didn't know if she could speak any of the languages, or if she was so delirious that she wasn't even hearing him. He had no real idea what the normal temperature for an orc was, but h
Saints of San AxolotlEcho birds are as common as muck, and about the same color. Theyre found only in San Axolotl, where they scurry along the paving stones and under the tables of the street cafes, through trash-clogged back alleys and down the walks of rooftop gardens, looking for scraps and seeds. Once you leave the city, though, the echo bird population tapers off within five miles, and the only specimens anywhere else in the world have glass eyes and are wired to their perches.
Echo birds are not mimics. There are all kinds of mimics in the bird kingdom, from the pygmy mynah to the rare and savage Cassowary Macaw, whose repertoire generally consists o
Elf vs. Orc 4She let him go. She couldn't do much else. He was an elf, sure, but there were rules, and you didn't kill healers and you didn't kill priests.
The rage had to go somewhere. You couldn't go from halfway to gnawing your shield back to normal just like that. Celadon swallowed it, bitterly, the stone shattering, the red sea pouring through the wreckage. She threw her head back and snarled with the pain.
The elf lay sprawled on the ground beside the bed, holding his throat, his eyes closed. He was breathing in tight little gasps. She could have stomped on his head, but of course she wouldn't.
She was furious. Mostly at herself, truth be told. I
Elf vs. Orc 2Celadon Toadstool was delirious.
The funny bit—uproariously funny, it seemed to her—was that she knew she was delirious. The world was billowing around her. It looked as if someone had meticulously painted the inside of a cottage on silk, and then hung it in a gentle breeze. The corners floated inward and collapsed back out again with a sigh.
That someone would go to all that trouble, painting a cottage on silk, was hilarious.
She knew she was wounded. She couldn't quite remember how she'd been wounded. Imagine not remembering a thing like that!
This also struck her as hilarious.
Her name, in Orcish, was Urrsharruk-gah, and she had skin
Elf vs. Orc 7This was easier said than done.
She gave him some very practical suggestions about how to tie the ropes. A bit of slack between the feet, enough to shuffle, not enough to run. A rope around the neck as a kind of leash in case she attacked him. He could tell she'd done this sort of thing before.
Sings-to-Trees, at that point, would have been happy just untying her completely and pointing her in the direction of the outhouse, but he had a horrible feeling he'd disappoint her if he didn't at least try to hold up his end. So he steeled himself to stay awake a bit longer and got the ropes set up, and hauled her out of the bed.
Then she wound up
Elf vs. Orc 5Sings-to-Trees's primary thought through the whole violent encounter was Not the throat again!
His neck hurt. He felt like a troll had used his esophagus as a dance floor. This could not be healthy. If he lived through this, he swore he would be nice to his throat for the rest of the year. Hot teas. Scarfs during winter. Anything.
For awhile, he didn't think he was going to live to see sunrise, let alone winter.
Then she'd apologized. The orc had stood there, with a distinctly sheepish expression on her face, and she'd apologized.
None of his patients ever apologized. Most of them couldn't talk, and it didn't seem to occur to the ones who
SuckerP.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."
Then again, so did Joe Bessimer.
And David Hannum. And Michael McDonald.
(The politician, not the soul singer.)
No one really knows for sure who said that magic phrase, so it depends on who you're asking.
Now, I'm no math major, no stat slinger, so I won't say Barnum's right.
I can offer this, though:
There's a sucker born every period.
You're reading this, aren't you? That makes you a sucker here. And here. And here, too.
After all, I can tell you anything and you'll just have to believe it.
Who's gonna argue with me? Who's gonna say otherwise?
Notes from the Devil Tree... and you brother, what have you done?
I have given this young man a poisoned apple: an unconsiderable life. It has fed him myriad hungry little dreams, like grubs they burrow at his soul. A big house and a green lawn and a white picket fence. They seed doubts in the hollows where proud visions once stood. Bitter at his loss, he has begun to blame those who love him the most. He feels trapped and he lashes out, alienating the world that would help him. He was once a magician, and is now little more than a puppet. He knows that he is losing something, that he is being fed poison, but he does not know how to stay his spoon. He feels himself
Nothing Like the Sun?Shakespearell spout roses,
rattle off Romeos and Antonys,
pluck the sparkle from those dew-eyed, darling buds of May
and toss it, flicked wrist,
into your aspect and your eyes.
That Bardll blind you with his eloquence
and knock you onto solid earth.
How very local.
I have seen,
too well for worthiness,
your mortal majesty:
the grand and glorious waves,
rolling, curling, crashing
on the surface of your ocean eyes,
Fie upon you, fathoms!
Thou shalt never know,
with intimate conclusion,
my capes and caverns,
the depths that
and smother it with fever dreams
of beauty grasped
Mollie's Ribbons I grew up in a small town just a few dozen miles from the closest water sourcea slowly shrinking aquifer that squatted underneath the seat of Thompson County, our neighborly border. Fortunately, we hadn't yet been quite as devastated by our annual droughts as those in Oklahoma and Texas. Rumors would occasionally drift in with a tumbleweed traveler about how bad the deep South had dried up into nothing but an old dusty lake bed, but these flashes of news were too few and too far between to be counted on as up to date or even true.
Once, I heard one of my distant cousins, a boy by the name of Harold, was said to have been caug
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More