dianeduane: (New DD Av)

***With thanks to Ursula Vernon for a most magic moment: see under the cut***

Once upon a time (or indeed once upon another time, if that suits you better: there’s always more time lying around), in the lounge bar of a pub in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, a redheaded woman is kissing a pig.

Not just any woman, granted. And definitely not just any Pig.

In any case, none of this is as difficult as it might sound on first hearing, as the Pig is both graceful and light on his feet, and good at displacing his  own mass in such a way as not to wreck the barstool on which he’s perched. Nor (from the redhead’s side of things) is this particularly an unpleasant experience, as the Pig’s facial bristles are on the soft side, and due to being fairly silvery to start with, almost invisible anyway — as if he’s wearing a very subtle and discreet version of designer stubble, with a slight glitter about it.

“Chao, bello.” It is of course a pun, a terrible one. “Mwah. Mwah.”

The redhead gets a third “Mwah” from the pig, then straightens up and looks at him quizzically. “Three? What, are we in Switzerland all of a sudden? Or no, of course you are. By definition.”

“And why not? Besides, a three for one deal, I’d think you’d be in favor. Value for money. Very Swiss. Anyway, I hear you’re planning to be crying on the bar up there shortly…” He grins.

“Oh, don’t you start tormenting me now! I can get that at home.” She rolls her eyes. “Yet another way for the BBC to break my heart, who needed that…? Come on, get yourself settled.”

No one in the bar shows the slightest sign of having noticed a redhead kissing the Pig hello a la Suisse, or the two of them settling in their respective seats. This is partly because all this is happening in the woman’s head, but also partly because this is one of her locals. And even if they could see what was going on, the neighbors (who’re by now well used to seeing this particular redhead with a red wine and a mineral water and a netbook and an iPad and a notebook on the bar in front of her, working on them all at once) would never be caught actually remarking on whatever she’s up to this time. At least not until she’s left.

“You comfortable?”


“What’s your pleasure? They’ve got Ballygowan if you’re on the clock.”

“You kidding? I’ve been on the clock since the local Big Bang, and no one cares when I punch out. Or is qualified to judge what I’m doing, whether I have or not. If you’re buying I’ll have a Remy, thankyouverymuch.”

The dark-haired assistant manager, Louise, comes around and takes their orders without batting an eye. (And why would this be a surprise when you think how many jokes start with “A(n) [x] walks into a bar…”? They get all kinds around here; any place that routinely deals with Wicklow bachelor farmers has no problems with the occasional Yank-Irish woman or silvery-pink Pig.) Shortly the redhead has a fresh glass of a Spanish-bred Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Pig has an oversized snifter of XO, and they are clinking glasses.

“Mud in your eye.”

“Like there’s any on you. Ne’gakh emeirsith.”

They sip and settle back into the calm atmosphere. Halloween isn’t for another two weeks and change, but the decorations are up already: people here like Halloween, and in any case there’s not the inevitable groaning that comes with the appurtenances of Christmas (especially the TV ads) starting too fecking soon. The place is calmly busy, half-full with a subset of the place’s normal afternoon clientele — in the recently-redone front bar, guys who have bets on races or the football are escaping home life till teatime; here in the lounge to the rear, ladies and gents are cozied away in the U-shaped banquette booths, having tea or drinks and taking a break from the shopping with the kids in tow. Some of the smallest of the tinies are thundering up and down past the far wall in the enclosed play area.

The most important thing the pub has, besides a comfortable atmosphere and genial staff who know the redhead and her husband of old, and a good restaurant and lunch buffet, is working wi-fi—which the redhead has been exploiting for some time now to turn this general area into one of several Away Offices. Now, though, she shuts down the laptop and the Pad and silences the phone and takes a few other precautions against being interrupted. “Thought we’d have been having this conversation a bit earlier,” the Pig remarks, gazing around.

“Nope, we’re right on time.” She finishes putting the last of the various devices to sleep. “You know the guidelines. If you’re going to self-insert, don’t be shy about it, don’t let yourself off easy, and pay attention to the symmetry. Right at the beginning, right at the end, or smack dab in the middle.”

“Or all three.”

“Can’t have a resonance with just one thing, can you? You need two, minimum. But three’s a chord.”

“So tell me something I don’t know.”

She chuckles. “Bit of a stretch, that…”

“Well, I may be omnipresent, but that doesn’t necessarily make me omniscient.”

On the face of it, this is true, but the redhead suspects that the Transcendent Pig—due to his unique uncreated status—has certain positional advantages he doesn’t routinely reveal or discuss. Fine: so does she. “Let’s not play semantics games just now,” she said. “Got other business.”

“I assumed so. What’s on your mind?”

“Well… You know what I’ve been up to.”

“It’s more or less unavoidable. You mean the OTP thing.”



“Well… The spooning.”

Read more... )
dianeduane: (New DD Av)

Sometimes Nita wishes she could just open her eyes in the morning and be ready to leap right out of the bed and get on with stuff. Unfortunately, life doesn’t seem to have arranged itself for her that way.

She lies there this morning, staring at the ceiling, and wishes it again. What I need is something like in that Wallace and Gromit movie, she thinks. Where somebody pulls a lever and dumps you into your clothes and automates your putting-yourself-together and your breakfast.

She yawns and rubs the early-morning gunk out of her eyes (why is there always so much of this gunk?). She knew it had to do with eye fatigue.  Hilary the optometrist had told her so once, back in the ancient day—back when her folks were concerned enough to  take her to an eye specialist because all of a sudden she didn’t need her glasses any more.  Though it had always been a given that Nita’s astigmatism was of the kind that would clear up eventually by itself, having it happen so quickly—and take the nearsightedness with it—had freaked her mom and dad out. And unfortunately Nita wasn’t yet out to her parents as a wizard, and so couldn’t explain that she had slowly and carefully been talking her own eyeballs into changing their shape so that her eyes’ inner focus points would fall on the right place on her retinas.

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dianeduane: (New DD Av)

The staging room is two flights up from where something like three hundred people are crammed wall to wall into the downstairs space of the Liberty Bounds pub on Trinity Square at the City’s edge, drinking strange liquids with names like Old Speckled Hen and Waggle Dance and Theakston’s Old Peculier out of pint glasses, while pausing occasionally to roar in annoyance or cheer in wild approval at something happening on the big-screen TVs. The third-floor upstairs room, however, contains nothing but a scatter of hardwood tables and chairs, and its mostly bare walls are ornamented with nothing more interesting than a selection of framed eighteenth-century cartoon prints and various posters advertising guest beers, upcoming karaoke nights, curry days and eighties revival-band dates, and other locations in the UK’s big Wetherspoon pub chain.

In the middle of the room, some of the the tables and chairs have been pushed out of the way to make an empty area about twenty feet wide. In that space stand three people unusually dressed for the early twenty-first century: two men in their very early forties, and a tall young man of sixteen or so. In the middle of the room with them, a rectangular slice of air about three feet wide and seven feet high has been talked into solidity and coaxed into the perfect reflectivity of a mirror.

The youngest of the group in the middle of the room is standing in front of the wizardly mirror and muttering under his breath, more or less constantly, as he fiddles with his clothes. At last he says loudly enough to be heard, “You think they had a higher than usual percentage of wizards in the late eighteen hundreds?”

A pause. “Haven’t seen any numbers on that recently,” says Carl under his breath as he buttons up his dark close-fitting vest over a full-sleeved white shirt with high collar and strangely-knotted dark tie. “Can’t think why the stats would be above the planetary half-millennial median, though. Why?”

“Because it has to have taken wizardry to deal with all… these… fastenings!”

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dianeduane: (New DD Av)

Previously, somewhere in the main city of the Khe’tek continent on Rirhath B, just outside the Crossings:

“It’s not like it’s a bad look…”

“Mmmm… I don’t know. It’s—”


“No, not like that. It’s just that—”

“Just what?”

“I could kind of get used to it.”



“I mean, really really?”


“Take a leak first and then tell me that.”

Read more... )
dianeduane: (New DD Av)

The woman in the black jeans walks down a country road, in conversation with people only she can hear. Since she’s not using a mobile phone, anywhere else this would be seen as a dubious sign. Fortunately no one’s around to see except the people she’s talking to.

“There are only two kinds of people,” Nita says.

“Mmm?” Kit says. His mouth is full at the moment.

“Those who bite the ends off their ice cream cones when the ice cream starts melting,” Nita says, “and those who don’t.”

Read more... )
dianeduane: (New DD Av)

(Manual transcription, JD REDACTED XXXXXXXX.xxx - XXXXXXXX.xxx inclusive)

recording state: static | DYNAMIC
editing: locked | UNLOCKED
live context: off | ON
location: Sol IIIa
Illumination: 26%
Phase from primary: waning crescent
Coordinates: IAU: LQ11: 22.5° N / 18° W

regional designation: IAU: Montes Carpatus (old style: Lunar Carpathians)
microregion: no formal designation, no colloquial designation, reference coordinates; bookmark “Kit’s Rock”
Playback: flat text | CONTEXTUAL POV TEXT | audio | audio + view | audio + view + interior cognitive [more]
POV selection: static | dynamic | CONTEXT-DRIVEN | [more]
POV style: omnicient (total) | omniscient (need to know) | BLIND ITEM NARRATIVE | normal narrative | stream of consciousness [more]
POV narration: 3P | 2P | 1P | P-NEUTRAL [more]
POV depth: EXTERIOR | int. conscious | int. subconscious | int. preconscious [more]

(record begins)

CKR: You keep fiddling with that.

JLC: Yeah… the record settings are way more involved than I thought. Way more involved than they used to be, anyway. I messed something up the other day.

CKR: Anything serious?

JLC: Not really… got lucky that time.

CKR: ...Up here again.

JLC: Yeah, seems smartest. We’ll have some warning in case Certain People start looking for us.

CKR: Like we have the slightest chance of escaping notice—

JLC: Didn’t say that. Some warning, though.

CKR: Fair enough.

(break in record)
(record resumes)

JLC: It wasn’t, though.

CKR: It kinda was.

JLC: Uh, not really.

CKR: Look, it’s not like you were trying to hide anything about it. You told me you two were kissing. It’s okay.

JLC: But it wasn’t making out.

Read more... )
dianeduane: (New DD Av)

“I will kill her.”

“Oh, come on.”

“Kill. Her. Kit. Destroy her. When she gets home I will decimate her.”

“Uh, you can’t do that.”

“Yes I can. Prepare to watch me.”

“No, I mean you can’t decimate her. Decimating means killing one out of every ten of a bunch of people.”

“Thank you, oh great history freak.”

“I am not a history freak — “

“Oh yes you are. Increasingly. Even Mars is taking a back seat lately.”

“It is not! I just — “

“Kit, face it. Machiavelli has lured you over to the historic side of the Force. Don’t even try to pretend.”

“…So, all right, it is kinda cool. So it started sinking in finally. The way everything connects—”

“Fine. I don’t care. If I can’t decimate her, tell me a good word for how dead I’m going to kill her.”

Read more... )
dianeduane: (New DD Av)
Gili Motang is quite a beautiful island. Hot white sun, hot blue sky, warm blue water, beautiful scrub-forested hills over fascinating volcanic terrain: there’s a lot to recommend the place. Most of the beaches there aren’t great—way too rocky and North Shore-ish for the tastes of wizards raised closer to the pale smooth sand of Jones Beach. But there’s more to life than beaches, and Gili Motang has a lot going for it even where the beach is rocky and there’s driftwood and such lying around.

“So the Lone Power, the Michael Power and the Hesper walk into a bar…”

“Wait. No. Why would they even do that?”

“What, go into a bar?”

“No, walk into one.”

“Yeah, they’d just sort of appear, wouldn’t they? — ”

…Also lying around are five or six bored-looking komodo dragons, sprawled in the sun or hunched up in the shade of various boulders and gazing longingly about them at apparently unprotected creatures that they consider might be nice as prey. But the apparent lack of protection (as one or two of the dragons have discovered over the course of the afternoon) is deceptive. Now they sit about looking vaguely cranky at being disrespected, as no one’s paying them any attention any more.

This would be because the dragons have had their chance for the day with the one person here who is really interested in them. This is someone who looks very much like a dinosaur of the low-slung, heavy saurian type, and she’s finally finished having her regularly-scheduled temper tantrum over the stupid, stupid creatures who can’t see the advantages of being moved wholesale to another really lovely planet where all kinds of sentient beings who give a damn are just waiting to dance attendance on them twenty-six hours a day, the dimwitted, infuriating little—

“Ahem. Mamvish?”

“Yeah, Mamvish?”

“Projecting again!”

“Sorry. Sorry…”

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dianeduane: (New DD Av)

You’d have trouble getting a definitive estimate of how many people pass through the Crossings on any given day. For one thing, the management has some reason to obfuscate the stats, specifically for security purposes. But regardless of the exact transit numbers being hidden, no one would argue the concept that a lot of people don’t go to the Crossings just to go somewhere else. Many go there just to go, because it truly is a stunning tourist destination..

Others, however, go to shop. Some go there to help others shop. And some… are less open about their motives.


Two young women, one almost a head taller than the other, materialize together on one of the blue-glowing hexes of the Gate 330 area. This forcewalled region of the wide white-shining Main Concourse floor is a “hard” target set aside for legacy gates like the oldest ones on Earth, which is where these travelers have come from; a routing via a dedicated catenary system in the New York suburbs, linking (for energy-saving purposes) through the old high-powered gate at Chur, and popping out here.

Reflexively the young women, seasoned travellers both, glance around them for a second after they manifest to make sure that none of the adjoining hexes are live: a smart move, as even in a facility this sophisticated, it only takes one software glitch combined with one careless moment to leave a person literally and physically bridging two different worlds. Once they’re sure the neighboring hexes are dark, they stroll off and out into the Concourse: a girl in blue jeans and a couple of layered tops in rose and green, under a short denim jacket; her companion in layered skirts and a force-braced camisole with red chase-light embroidery, keyed to her pulse.

“So, the emmfozing….”

“Yeah? What about it?”

“You were going to tell me how you got into it.”

“Yeah, well, you know how it is. Once you start grenfelzing, one thing just kind of leads to another…”

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dianeduane: (New DD Av)

It’s a sufficiently unusual occurrence that you have to dig around in the Wizard's Manual a fair bit to find it.

Most potential practitioners of the Art make the acquaintance of wizardry through the direct and usually rather obscure action of the Powers that Be. The probationary-wizard-to-be comes across something unusual: an odd book or a peculiar computer or tablet, a voice that speaks to him or her alone, an object that somehow holds knowledge inside it and whispers it into the heart. Sooner or later the finder progresses through this initial discovery to the personal Choice offered by the presentation of the Wizard’s Oath, and (if it’s accepted) to the Ordeal that follows.

But sometimes matters go differently. Sometimes—for reasons best known to Themselves, normally having to do with something private but important in the potential wizard’s makeup, some situation making a personal touch the most effective—the Powers call in presently-practicing wizards to assist in the delivery of the Manual or “induction instrument”. These so-called assisted inductions can be (seemingly) very simple, or sometimes fairly complex.

The one presently in progress would probably qualify as the latter.

“Are you ready?”

“No, because I can not keep this hair under control!”

“Stop fussing. And hold still or the stealth spell’ll slip. No no, not that way!”

“I told you, the hair…! It’s all over the place, it’s trying to strangle me, I swear, did you forget an inhibitor variable on that routine?”

“Two secs, I’ll have a look — “

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dianeduane: (Default)

(Loosely rendered from the Speech: from the [archival] Open Access Intervention Circular section of the Wizard’s Manual, current recension)

Intervention KRNC18663-48293-beta-mawein-9964. Precis (full post-sitrep attached)

JD 2455642.104167: Participants were requested by Stationmaster CICWGF to intervene in ongoing gate transport management-normalization arrangement (finalization of local gate emplacement and positioning agreement with joint authority of civil authorities managing outsystem transport for Mazjerath (AB Can Ven IIa). After brief pre-intervention consultation period with CICWGF staff, participants engaged with Mazjerathint authorities via Manual dialogue and reached initial placement and augmentation agreement.

Participants then transited to CICWGF (1) via SO3GCT (2) to confirm necessary authorizations and complete social elements of agreement implementation...

“Oh, it’s no big deal, he said. Nothing at all difficult involved, he said. Just go there and be really impressive, they’ll fall all over themselves to meet you because they read the news, don’t they? — but even more than that because you’re from Sol III and have this big fat rep because Earth’s so full of legacy gates and you’re a perfect example of how easy Crossings-connected gates are to work with. He said.” A furious pause. “Then just get them to sign off on the agreement, he said. No big deal.”

“I don’t get it. They seemed like such nice people.”

“He tried to pull my head off! Did you see that!”

“It didn’t look like your head he was aiming for.” And Nita finds it hard not to snicker.

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dianeduane: (New DD Av)

“Remind me why we’re here again?”


A rather prolonged silence. Then: “…Yeah.”

“I mean, you did say…”

“I did.”

“Be hard to get much more private than this.” A point it would have been hard to refute, as they are sitting on a lone nickel-iron asteroid floating in utter darkness, and the nearest other matter was literally millions of lightyears away.

“Uh, yeah. How many universes over?”

“I didn’t ask. I mean, the transport subsidy is unlimited until the Invitational’s over…”

“A lot of energy to be spending…”

“Yeah. But all the small print said was ‘Don’t waste it.’ I don’t think this is wasted. And it’s the user’s call.”

Another brief silence.

“And anyway, it’s not like we did it in actual distance. We’re right where Earth would be. This is just a much smaller continuum. That’s this whole inhabited universe, up there.”

“No wonder it’s a little on the dim side.”

“Yeah, well, these are the cheap seats.”

Read more... )
dianeduane: (Default)
If (as some characters at the heart of other fandoms have been heard to suggest) a date is when two people who like each other go out together to have fun, then Nita and Kit have probably been dating for years. In fact, you could make a case that quite a lot of the elective type of wizardry could fall into this category. Human wizards have been getting together to do paired and grouped wizardly interventions for as long as humans have practiced the Art, and they haven’t always done it simply because a group would produce the best results in an intervention. They do it because (like so many other things) wizardry gains in value when it’s shared: or because they like the people they do it with, and want to do more of the same kind of thing.

But normally the concept of the date suggests something besides just going out to have fun. About the word, in English anyway, there hovers a sense that the fun itself is almost secondary. The real business of the evening is seeing the other person (or people) involved in the equation having that fun in company with you, and being in a position to share some of the overspill of their pleasure — but also, most importantly, to have the other person know that their happiness is making you happy too. And in the truly perfect date, this whole set of conditions is duplicated in the other person (or people), so that the exterior delight in the event itself, and the interior delight in the other person’s enjoyment of what’s going on, reflect back and forth as in a hall of virtual mirrors — seemingly increasing one another the way light, so remirrored, seems to increase light even when there’s been no net addition to the energy input. No one who’s ever been on such a date is likely to forget it...whether they're a wizard or not.
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dianeduane: (Default)

One couch. Two wizards. One bowl of popcorn (at the moment). One cranky and difficult entertainment system.

“Why this one?”

A shrug. “Everybody says it’s this classic, but I’ve never seen it all the way through.”

“Don’t think I’ve ever seen any of it at all.”

“Good. …God, was there ever a time when titles were so short?”

“Was that it? You’re kidding me.”

“…Wow, that is the cheapest looking globe ever. Look how the clouds are covering up the bottom so you can’t see what it’s spinning on.”

“Look at that poor guy juggling. How long do you think he had to do that while they were shooting? ‘Can I please stop juggling now? Please?!’”

“Look! Picchus on a stick!”

“It’s a basket, actually.”

“Basket on a stick!”

“Hey, there’s the monkey from Raiders of the Lost Ark!”

A snicker. “’Round up all suspicious characters!’ Well, that’s everybody we know.”

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dianeduane: (New DD Av)
For those of you who don't know what this is all about: It's a challenge to draw or write a piece of fanfic about your One True Pairing every day for thirty days. It started with this August 2012 posting at "One Hundred Suns" and started spreading around Tumblr after that. (You can use this link to see what other people are doing with the concept: at least the ones who've remembered to tag their posts.)

My interest was casually piqued by this some time back. But not until the other morning, when I saw what the very talented Reapersun had just done with Day 1 -- raising the bar quite high -- did I realize this might be something I wanted to do too. So: I'm in it for the 30 days. And here are the links to them:

1: Holding hands | 2: Cuddling somewhere | 3: Gaming / watching a movie | 4: On a date | 5: Kissing | 6: Wearing each other's clothes | 7: Cosplaying | 8: Shopping | 9: Hanging out with friends | 10: With animal ears | 11: Wearing kigurumis | 12: Making out | 13: Eating ice cream | 14: Genderswapped | 15: In a different clothing style | 16: Doing morning rituals | 17: Spooning | 18: Doing something together |  19: In formal wear | 20: Dancing | 21: Cooking / baking | 22: In battle, side by side | 23: Arguing | 24: Making up afterwards | 25: Gazing into each other's eyes | 26: Getting married | 27: On one of their birthdays | 28: Doing something ridiculous | 29: Doing something sweet | 30: Doing something hot

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dianeduane: (Default)

The Crossings Intercontinual Worldgating Facility in the evening can seem like a relatively calm place for those who don’t know the venue as well as Nita and Kit do. After sunset the elective daytime ceiling removes itself from over the worldgating facility’s vast shining interior and lets in the huge night sky of Rirhath B’s native cluster: the multicolor swell-and-shrink of a couple of hundred short-term variable stars, slow and placid as breathing. It could even seem romantic, if the place wasn’t exactly as busy in the evenings as it is when the ferocious system primary is up. The transit of three galaxies goes on untroubled through the place as it has for thousands of years now, and business goes on there as well, just as cutthroat as always.

It has a tendency to go on out in the open, as the Crossings management has (after some of the ructions of more recent years) taken a liking to the concept that there’s no harm in most of the place’s business being carried out in plain view. The ability to hear what’s happening, of course, is strictly controlled by the management, who determine what translation modules are operating at any given time and in any specific area, and whether sound waves (in species that use sound to communicate) are allowed to travel past the area where business is being discussed. The privacy of other modes of communication — light, gesture, various forms of expanded sensoria, thought — are managed by other means, either science or wizardry, depending on what makes most sense. In fact, wizardry is much more in evidence than it used to be, since the Stationmaster’s position passed to a wizard in the wake of the events of the Pullulus War.

This is the case on this particular evening, when a rather fraught business meeting is taking place out in the middle of the Crossings’ main concourse, hard by the Master’s office. That office has stood for nearly a thousand years on the same spot where the first worldgate spontaneously popped open in a muddy riverside cave. Of course now acres of polished white floor stretch around that spot on all sides—the main concourse area is about the same size as London inside the M25—and the office itself is an openwork construction of blue and silver chrome and self-programming hybrid management consoles. On-demand meeting spaces are erected around the Stationmaster’s office at need, and right now one of these, with a language-specific cone of silence erected over and around it, is mostly filled with an elliptical, centerless forcefield table.

On either side of the center of the ellipse stand a number of chairs shaped like unusually longlegged camel saddles: these are occupied by six two-meter-tall creatures who look like annoyed blue preying mantises. These are flailing their triple-jointed arms around and shrieking in a manner reminiscent of what rabid peacocks would sound like if peacocks could be rabid. At the far end of the table is a young Rirhait male with his shining, manylegged magenta self draped over a rack unusually plain and utilitarian for a being of his rank and seniority (especially the Master of this facility). At the other end of the table, inside a spell-ellipse whose broad arcs and inner detail are faintly visible through the topmost layer of the polished white floor, are two hominid wizards, one male, one female, both past latency age but not so far so as to be less than extremely dangerous should the mood move them. If the shrieking blue aliens keep looking at one of them and shrieking more loudly than even these circumstances require, this will be the reason. One of these two wizards has reason to bear them a grudge, and the five-minute discussion they’ve just had with her is making them nervous...

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dianeduane: (Default)

Two teenagers are sitting together on a big dusty grey rock: a boy and a girl, admiring the view. Mostly.

The rock is on the Moon. It’s on the peak-ridge of one of the Lunar Carpathians, which is a young and jagged mountain range rearing up over the pale rolling highlands that run down toward the Apollo 12 and 14 landing sites. The rock is the topmost fragment of a boulder the size of a suburban house, cracked off the body of the mountain’s uppermost peak a millennium ago in the wake of an impact by a fragment of an “earthgrazer”-class asteroid. Bits and pieces of the old peak lie strewn all down the mountainside, mingled with older, smaller rubble and assorted displaced regolith. But the girl and the boy are long familiar with this old vista, and pay it no mind at the moment.

They’re mostly looking at the Earth right now, not least because this is one of the best times of the month to view it from up here. Since the Moon as seen from Earth is presently a crescent barely three days old, the Earth is just a shade shy of its full—a hot blue-blazing cabochon jewel in the night, burning green and dun and desert-pale, glowing white with weather. The light of it, this close to perihelion, blots out the view of the nearby stars and shines ten times brighter than a full Moon would anywhere on Earth. That blue-green light, so intense in hue as to seem warm, is washing across the lunar surface and drowning everything in an almost-undersea luminescence. “The old Moon in the new Moon’s arms”, they call it at home: Earthshine. Wizards, of course, have other names for it. But these two aren’t considering those at the moment.

“Things are changing…” the girl says.

The boy nods. “Well, we’ve known for a while it was coming.” He raises his eyebrows in annoyance at the Shuffle, shakes it.

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May 2017

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