I think I've finally got a title. How does "The Clockwork Dog" sound?

Turnspit is an anĂºs, like the rest of the people who are kidnapped with him; however, when he and Iros go to human lands, the locals may consider him an apostate or a heretic, since he won't leave Iros. He remembers his own religion in bits, and tries to keep it up, but he isn't in contact with any other believers, has no religious texts, and has completely lost track of the calendar. Also, the aughisky and the local humans think he's *crazy* instead of not understanding he's trying to be faithful.

His relationship with Iros is something he's deeply ambivalent about. It violates religious laws -- against sex between men, against bestiality (they're *not* the same species), etc. On the other hand, Iros is his protector and the longer it goes on, the more intertwined they are; Turnspit knows that he'd be a lot worse off if Iros wasn't around. Also, the sex is *good*, when he lets himself enjoy it.

Iros shares a stud-farm with his sister Woodsmoke. She's human, he's aughisky. They have the same mother, different fathers (hers was human, his was a selkie) and are close enough in age that they were raised together by the same human wet-nurse. Iros considers Woodsmoke a friend (much more significant to an aughisky that a relative), and tracked her down when he finished his novitiate.

Woodsmoke is much better at day-to-day care of a stud-farm (or anything requiring more than 6 people, really) than Iros. She runs it, Iros brings home wealth in the form of horses, humans, or other livestock every year. She has several children, and is raising Iros' one child (aughisky only reckon descent through the mother, and Iros is only rarely female) because he, like most augisky, doesn't care to do it. They do a good business breeding horses, mules, and mammoth jackstock.

Aughisky are generally poor parents. Most babies are weaned quickly and dumped into the care of human nurses. This is an artifact of the Before-time, when the Queen lived and the aughisky had a *very* different function; they didn't usually raise their own children then, and mostly lost the knack for it.

They grow about the same rate as humans, but when they hit puberty, they go insanely combative and are driven out of the settlement by the adults. Then they spend the next several years in the wilderness (Wilders), basically wired on a hairtrigger and fighing each other; adults will shoot at them during this time, to keep them away from humans and livestock, which they will gladly steal and eat. When the hormonal storm dies down, an aughisky comes to the nearest settlement and becomes a novitiate; that's a period of learning how to behave around people again, and can last years. The novitiate usually ends at with the first pregnancy.

Twins are common, and have to be separated at birth -- babies are born with teeth and infant siblingcide attempts are usual. Since aughisky will often breed with humans (expanding the gene pool, which bottlenecked at the Queen's Death), the first thing checked is the sex of the newborn, and whether it has teeth. A girl with teeth is almost certainly aughisky; a boy, or a girl without teeth is probably, though not certainly, human (or whatever the father was -- selkie, or very occasionally Brock).

The 'sleeping world' is the way aughisky refer to death. Dreams are brief visits to the world of the dead, and the dead are only sleeping. The belief is in reincarnation -- the dead wake into a new life -- is part of the reason that aughisky are so fearless.

Aughisky take Dogs from the human workforce. The ceremony is simple, but needs two witness -- aughisky witnesses, though other Dogs will do in a pinch because they are considered to have be eyes and ears of their aughisky under common law. Not all aughisky take Dogs, but enough do that they are familiar. Almost all Dogs are female and 'tame' (humans living with aughisky for generations), if not actually descended from aughisky or previous Dogs. Male Dogs are rarer, because aughisky consider human males less reliable, less compentant, and more fragile. If an aughisky has two Dogs (rare, but Crowther is an example), the second Dog will usually be male.

Turnspit stands out because he's 'wild', male, keeps acting weird (keeps his religion) and a pale-skinned blond among people who are dark. The fact that he also very attractive by aughisky standards -- tall, hawk-faced, slim -- if you ignore the bizarre coloring makes him stand out like a white raven. Iros is sometimes thought as vain, as Turnspit is as showy as a palomino.

From: [identity profile] nugatorytm.livejournal.com

I think "The Clockwork Dog" is highly appropriate for this. And thank you for more background info. I've been enjoying the chapters, and this only cranks it up a few more notches. Great job you've been doing so far.

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

Thanks. I had to write the notes down, as the ideas are bugging me, but they are for bits far down the pike.

Feel free to keep commenting, as I miss hearing from you regularly.

From: [identity profile] nugatorytm.livejournal.com

I will try, though I am hoping to get Lappy fixed by Christmas so I can be on more often.

But while I'm here, a question: How does the clockwork work? Surgically implanted, magically implanted? And what does it actually do. Looking at the latest chapter (the one after this), it seems to be located either on the back of the neck or the shoulder blades, though I could be wrong and it's only part of a larger machine.

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

Clockwork is clockwork -- any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology. You can make it do all sorts of things, if you know what you're doing, and the Brocks have been using it for generations.

In Turnspit's case, it was wired into his food drive, and when he obeyed its directives, it made him feel good -- but because it was using his sense of hunger, he didn't eat right.

The visible, surface part of it is over his back and scalp. When the Brewster pets his head, she sees the clockwork through his hair.

From: [identity profile] murasaki99.livejournal.com

Ah, good notes, makes a lot of sense. Do Aughisky keep track of their parents or have any connection to them once they mature fully? What will Turnspit think when Iros switches over to female for a time? Er, if they had kids, would that be ok?

Palominos, good! :D

Babies with teeth would be interesting to nurse. Ow.

Harlekki view the Journey (dying) as a round-trip ending pretty quickly in rebirth. They tend to assume everyone else in the galaxy thinks the same way about the cycle of life and rebirth as they do. Only those who travel off Harlek, like Azraf, get to see other belief-systems.

Gads, what would an Augisky think of a Harlekki's looks with their metallic-shining hair and skin tone?

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

Aughisky know who their parents are, but the relationship is different from a human one.

Turnspit will be most freaked, even though he will know about it by then. It would be entirely normal (for aughisky culture) if they had kids together, but as I said, *freaked*.

Turnspit = pretty and oddly colored. The only way he'd stand out more if he was painted blue.

Yeah, ow.

Oh, the Harlekki would be very interesting to aughisky, especially the ones who were bronze or darker.

From: [identity profile] hlglne.livejournal.com

I missed this post earlier. It helps a lot.

I would like to know how you can tell a Brock. Selkie I assume would be like the Highland waterdwellers of folklegend. And they all can interbreed, which is still boggling my mind a bit, but I'll get over that.

Are aughisky the majority of the population and human cattle a minority, or is the aughisky some kind of ruling allele that keeps popping up in a majority of cattle and selkie and Brock? And from the cattle, Dogs are being chosen, and separately bred?

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

It's not unusual for fairies to have children with humans, at least in the British folktales.

The aughisky are not the majority, and they are not the ruling elite, though most of the human workforce doesn't actually interact with anyone higher up the food chain. Fairy blood can pop up after generations, though most of the population is intermixed -- anyone who expresses the blood is fairy, anyone who doesn't is human.

There are definite Dog bloodlines and families, yes.

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