Friday 28 July 2017

FictionFriday - Waking in the Night

His breathing tickles the hairs on the back of my neck again. The warmth of it, so comfortable, so familiar. 

Something isn’t right. I lie there, still as a stalking cat, the weight of his arm a comfort against the fear and yet not dispelling it. Not entirely.

It’s that nagging feeling like you’ve left the back door open or forgotten to take the laundry in or something equally mundane. Something important has slipped my attention and I don’t know what it could be. My breathing quick and cautious, his slow and deep.

I do ache. So alert now, I am aware of it. All over my body, like I’ve danced too much. No, that’s not right. Across my gut, like I’m hungry. No. Not a physical ache. More an anguish. My eyes feel fuzzy, and my brain behind them. There is a spider’s web around my head, the familiar tautness of a headache. Like I’ve been crying too much.

I did cry myself to sleep, I remember as he rolls over with a slight snort and his arm slips off me. I snuggle closer, wanting his comfort. Very afraid now, yet not sure why. A frozen rabbit. There’s no reason for this. Eyes wide like a fruit bat. He moves further away; I chase. A sudden bolt of anger unfurls, shivers through me like a snake; filling me like the veins of a leaf. So many nights I have woken and so many nights he has slept through my fear and I have accepted this to let him sleep. Not this time. Tonight I want comfort.

He sighs, relents, an arm back over me. A soft feeling over me, a kitten’s purr in my chest. The arm moves, slips under the cover and caressingly returns to my naked stomach – skin on skin. I realise he’s awake. Or part awake. It’s enough. I am still again but it is not fear or alertness that pins me this time. Now it is anticipation. And sure enough, that arm – cool against my duvet-warmed body – pulls me closer so his warm, warm lips can nibble at my ear. His breathing is cautious now, mine calm. I pretend to sleep but the insistence of his body soon overcomes my charade. A pouncing lioness, I roll over and run my fingers through his mane. Hungry kisses and we soar like albatross.

I know this dance. It ends and leaves me peaceful. Nagging doubts dismissed by love. I sleep.

I wake. The warmth of his body lingers. 

But his toothbrush has  gone and my tears return.


'Fiction Friday' was started by +Icarus Anne Riley over on her blog. I liked the idea and am nicking it with her blessing - feel free to do the same. We'll take over the world!

Friday 14 July 2017

Kally Hopebringer - Pathfinder Cleric of Iomedae

Our Pathfinder (and Aberrant/Exalted) GM has a birthday coming up (happy birthday Rich!) and to celebrate he's running a one-shot set in the world of our other Pathfinder games, but after our other characters have had to leave - the main party to fight in the War Wound and the secondary group having gone off to the Starstone Trial. It's a "possible ending" situation, where the demons won and have burst from the War Wound, sweeping across Golarion. We're playing a team dedicated to the service of Iomedae, members of the 'Knights of Ozem', sent out on various missions to try and slow their progression. 3 humans and the angelic equivalent of a tiefling, whose racial name eludes me right now. He's the only one old enough to remember a world before demons, and is played by my Aberrant/Exalted fellow, so we've decided to give our characters a closer connection than the others - we're really enjoying playing twins in Exalted. Here's my character. 

Kally, aka 'Kally Hopebringer', Lawful Good Cleric of Iomedae (level 16), Mythic Heirophant (tier 4)
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 15, Wis 32, Cha 21
Skills: Appraise 2(8), Diplomacy 3(12), Heal 5(20), Knowledge arcana 2(8), history 2(8), planes 3(9), religion 16(22), Linguistics 1(7), Perception 16(28), Ride 5(6), Sense Motive 1(16), Spellcraft 16(22), Stealth 3(4), Survival 2(14), Swim 2(5), Use Magic Device 1(7)
Feats: Armour proficiency (light, medium, heavy), Combat casting, Combat expertise, Divine protection, Legacy of Ozem, Mythic Spell Lore (x2), Protective channel, Shield proficiency, Simple weapon proficiency (all), Solar spell, Warrior priest, Weapon focus (longsword)
Traits: Beacon of faith, Ozem-inspired
Gear: +5 mithral heavy steel shield, +5 mithral full plate (am loving no arcane spell failure!), +1 holy undead-bane impact living steel long sword, type 2 bag of holding, belt of physical might (con/str) +2, cloak of resistance +5, golden holy symbol, headband of mental prowess (wis/cha) +4, dusty rose and pale green ioun stones with a 'wayfinder of the planes', a bunch of adventuring gear and a diamond worth 10,000GP (just in case someone dies...)
-- sorry for not going into more detail on any of the above, but it's late and I've just got back from circus and want a bath but wanted to finish this first. I might add links later, or I might leave you to look it all up ;-)
-- Rolled for hp and ended up with 190, which is insane!

Kally doesn't remember much about her early childhood - snatches of sunshine and laughter, fear and hunger, but not even her full name ('Kally' was what people called her, and 'Hopebringer' is a name she's given herself, a promise to live up to). She grew up in an isolated village well loved by her family, but had visions - vacant seizures in which Iomedae would talk to her. No one in her village doubted it - her warnings had protected them from demon attack more than once. And so no one was surprised the day the tall, gold-bronze-skinned, gold haired man showed up. He was a paladin in the service of Iomedae, and on meeting Kally and realising she was the real deal, Sanrin Pavi knew he had to take her with him where she could be trained properly. Her parents and the villagers were reluctant to let her go, but Sanrin's huge wings and angelic bearing made it hard for them to argue. Also the demons he'd slaughtered on his way there. He pointed them in a safe(ish) direction and swore to raise, love and protect Kally as he would his own child, and that was that. She never looked back, but assumes her parents and brothers are still alive. Now 24, Sanrin and the order is the only family she feels she needs.

Monday 3 July 2017

Character A-Z: A is for Alanna

Alanna of Trebond, from The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

This was a series I read in my early teens and adored, and worry about rereading because I don't think it'll live up to my memories. Because I loved Alanna and I suspect the books aren't as well written as I'd prefer, and when I got the above image from Goodreads I discovered I'd forgotten a lot of the story and she didn't marry the person I thought...

So backing up a bit! Alanna is a red-headed, purple-eyed teenager who's being sent off to the convent to learn to be a young lady... Meanwhile her twin brother Thom is meant to be sent off to train to be a knight. The thing is, she wants to be a knight and is much better at riding, running and fighting than he is. He wants to be a sorceror, which conveniently enough means going to the convent. They look very alike, so convince the master-at-arms travelling with them to help them switch places and forge letters from their father. And shenanigans and danger ensues.

The story focuses on Alanna in a setting where it makes sense that she's basically the only girl: she has to pretend to be a boy ('Alan') because women aren't allowed to be knights. (That's why I don't mind that Thom wants to be a sorceror rather than a lady: sorcerors being trained in the same place always felt a bit lazy, but him being a lady would change that focus.) It was satisfying to read a story where there was a real reason why she was the only girl.

The storyline isn't great, but she's fierce and determined and has the courage to do what she wants, something I envied.