for [ profile] mini_nanowrimo

Wow. This went fast. Stormbringer came out more Wodehousian aunt than I expected.


Turnspit followed along, noting the familiar arrangement of courtyards, covered galleries, and large rooms open to the air. The Lord Stormbringer's hall was more stone than timber or brick, but the shape of things was not different from the Brewster's hall. There should be a grand kitchen in the center of the complex, with surrounding herb and vegetable gardens.

They turned another corner, and Turnspit felt his skin creep. Memory stone! he realized. The shivery feeling was the same, and when he raised a hand, he could see the clockwork spill up from his wrist, where Iros' gift of rings had forced it. He stared at his hand, watching dark lines twist and twine up around his thumb.


He looked up, to see Iros peering around a corner. The aughisky had obvious went on and then come back for him. He held out his hand for Iros to see.

"It's come back."

Iros took his hand, and then his other, examining them. Turnspit could hear his clockwork, clicking and buzzing faintly.

"There's memory stone here?" Turnspit asked, trying to keep his voice steady.

Iros nodded. "In the great hall. It has always been there." The aughisky face was solemn. "Come. We'll greet the Stormbringer, and then leave as soon as we can."

Iros threw his arm around Turnspit's waist and walked him along. Their guide was waiting before an open doorway, stepping back and forth on her feet. Iros nodded to her, gave Turnspit a reassuring pat, and stepped forward. His back straightened and he jerked his head up, like a horse high-stepping on parade.

Turnspit tugged down his jacket and followed, trying to move as clean and neat as his aughisky. The Lord Stormbringer was obviously important, and Iros' dressing them both in their best implied that they needed to make a good impression.

The room was enormous, and opened to a gallery that overlooked the drop. Turnspit noted briefly there were other people, mostly women sitting along the walls, a few at tables, working on needlecrafts or reading over long folds of paper.

"Iros, dear child," came from the far side of the room. The voice was low and soft, like a great cat's growl. Turnspit almost gagged at the strength of influence that rolled over him. Iros had never pushed that hard at him, couldn't push that hard as far as he could tell; the Stormbringer's power surged like a flood wave, unfocused and terrible.

Iros stopped, his head inclined, and stopped in the middle of the floor. His hand flicked out at his waist, a sharp short gesture that had Turnspit at his side and kneeling almost before it was finished.

"Lord Stormbringer."

"Magpie reported you'd taken a Dog, and an unusual one at that. But the reality is quite a bit more interesting than the recitation." Turnspit heard quiet footsteps, and kept his head down.

A hand touched his head, fingered his hair. He refrained from flinching by focusing on the Lord's fine boots. There were leather, with swirls cut from different colors and applied in layers over a black base. Many days of work went into them, and the fact that the Lord had a leatherworker of such skill available said much for the wealth of this Holding.

"Look up, Dog," the Stormbringer said, putting two fingers under Turnspit's chin. "Do you have pale eyes to match your pale hair?"

Turnspit lifted his chin to look the Lord in the face. She was angular, middling tall, dark, and disturbingly familiar. Her eyes were insane yellow, framed by bronze skin. Surprisingly, her head was shaved, except for a hand-wide swath down the middle of her skull; the remaining hair was long, glossy, and decorated with beads and jingles. Her coat was velvet – impractical but gorgeous – and figured with thunderbolts and open-mouthed serpents.

She grinned as Turnspit met her eyes, and then cooed, "Pale eyes! How wonderful. He's like a ghost, Iros! A ghost Dog!"

"His name is Turnspit, Lord Stormbringer," Iros said, his tone soft and stiff. "Turnspit Dog Two-mankiller."

Turnspit risked looking over at his aughisky at that. When did I get that extra name? There was every possibility that Iros had just added it in the moment.

"Yes, I know about your little killer. You do choose to be difficult, Iros. Of course you'd choose a Dog who kills." The Stormbringer retorted, then looked down at Turnspit with a smile. "He's quite a pretty thing under the eerie color, so I suppose that makes up for the danger. How skilled is he, or shall I find out for myself?"

Iros stepped closer again, almost pushing Lord Stormbringer away as he stepped between her and Turnspit. He growled a little, soft but warning. His influence spread out, prickles on a hedgehog, but small against the ocean that was Stormbringer.

Turnspit felt foolish, but he let his hand creep up to curl around Iros' coat skirt. He leaned his head against Iros' knee and glared at the Stormbringer. His head was pounding abominably.

From the shuffling along the walls, the onlookers could also feel the two aughisky pushing their influence at each other, and were unsettled by it. Turnspit didn't blame them; at the Brewster's holding, when aughisky flooded the room with their power, it was often a prelude to a clawing fight. Iros is far outmatched, though, Turnspit realized, but his aughisky didn't back down.

The Stormbringer considered Iros for a long moment, then laughed, "You have grown, colt. And you," she said, turning and patting Turnspit's head, "you are fierce. A true terrier, aren't you?"

He tolerated her touch for a moment, but huffed when she took back her hand.

"Lord Stormbringer, I'm here, you've seen me, and Turnspit—"

"You're not free to go, Iros," she cut him off. Her finger went to her lips, a thoughtful gesture. "I want to see the clockwork. And I want the Brocks to examine your Dog. He's much too interesting to deny them, I rather think."

Iros shook out his hair, and huffed.

"Do you think he has Selkie blood?" Stormbringer asked. "If so, I'd love to incorporate him into the registry. Male cross-bloods are so rare. He's come out golden instead of silvery, but—"

"He doesn't have Selkie blood. He's just a Dog."

Stormbringer tsked. "I don't think he is, child. But I want the Brocks to see him. Sit," she pointed out to the gallery, "and wait."

Iros huffed, but put his hand down and helped Turnspit to his feet. "Come on, Turnspit. We have orders," he scoffed.

"I'll have food sent out. Explore the gardens if you want, but do stay within calling, Iros. And don't bite the girl with your meal, no matter how fetching you find her. I do have breeding plans for most of my stock, and you would mess things up by tupping some doe while she's fertile."

Iros snarled and stalked out to the gallery. He turned, and went down a set of steps that had been hidden from the inside. Turnspit followed after him down to a lovely, tiny garden, with thick walls, benches, and a fountain surrounded by topiary rose bushes.

"That went... fast," Turnspit offered.

"Crazy, vicious old sphinx!" Iros spat.


From: [identity profile]

Insane yellow eyes, eh? Is Iros going to go female now? I would. Spitting demon female. Doing droit de signeur on a fellow's new dog.

From: [identity profile]

Yellow eyes are an indication of rank. Iros' eyes are black to dark brown, Magpie and Bracken have tawny or amber eyes (and they both lead Slews) but Brewster and Stormbringer have yellow eyes.

To some extent, Stormbringer is winding Iros up.

From: [identity profile]

Well, well, Stormbring is one tough lady/person. Yikes. I hope she's more upstanding than Empress Livia or the Dowager Empress of China. 0_o

Yellow eyes... sounds like a relative of Dun. Whatta scary thought.

Good writing!!

Um, can Stormbring claim breeding-rights to Turnspit? Just wondering.

From: [identity profile]

Stormbringer is going to do what's good for her Holding. Right now, she's collected a lot of Selkie part-bloods for her own reasons, and the thought that Turnspit might have Selkie blood is making her calculate.

Well, funny you should mention being a relative...

Not really; it would be beyond her traditional authority, though she could push. She can certainly forbid Turnspit to breed with any of her people, as the Brewster did. She could also say 'only these people, but not these'. She is winding Iros up a bit. Pay attention to how *he* is acting around her.

From: [identity profile]

I'll have to color up the b/w sketch of Dun I did & posted last night. With her coloring, Dun looks like she could be a grandfoal. (Well, a grandfoal with maybe Turnspit's blood in her.) Dun's eyes are that bird of prey yellow. A lot of regular humans find them startling, while Azraf thinks they're cool. :)

Yeah, I kind of thought Stormbring was yanking Iros' chain. Looks like she's trying to see how much he has matured and how much he can be pushed. Iros is acting like a young stallion protecting his herd.

From: [identity profile]

Yes, bird of prey eyes.

Dun is cute, but not angular enough to be Stormbringer -- maybe one of her children by a human woman, though.

Stormbringer has an interest in seeing how Iros has grown up.

From: [identity profile]

Impressive. Iros did not back down in spite of Stormbringer's obvious power and authority. Once he matures, Iros is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Turnspit, however, seems scared spitless of Stormbringer. If she really wanted to bait Iros, she might consider giving Turnspit some half-hearted pinches and pokes, just because she could.

And I do hope you plan to continue this once the mini-NaNo is over, even if the chapters take longer to do. I'm enjoying the hell out of it. :)

From: [identity profile]

Iros might be a force to be reckoned with, if ever wants power. He's really quite happy wandering around with his Dog, and going to bug his sibling occasionally.

Turnspit is scared of her for a good reason. He's not got any way to stand up to a Lord of the Aughisky.

I'm thinking of making a separate livejournal for it, so that I don't drive my friendslist nuts with it.

From: [identity profile]

I'm thinking of making a separate livejournal for it, so that I don't drive my friendslist nuts with it.

I don't hear any protests so far... but if you do, por favor let me know where it's at.

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