Happy birthday, Hachiko!!
gonna be editing this stream.
if i finish editing or get tired of it, i’ll continue writing the king of the fae + new prince story.
(mostly streaming so i stay focused on writing).
Cirrus woke right up from his nap. Excitement dissolved into disappointment as he looked around the room beyond his crib. His father wasn’t there like he promised! Mammatas was there, sleeping in the rocking chair. Head pillowed against her shoulder. Cirrus pouted. Mammatas was not Dad.
Cirrus pressed his face against the bars of his crib, wanting out. He’d just go meet his dad instead!
But Cirrus couldn’t escape. The bars were too narrow. They were all super close together like blocks forming a tower. If he was water, he could slip right through them…
Cirrus fell out of the crib. He landed on the floor with a splash??? He felt scattered everywhere. He couldn’t see or hear anything. And everything felt so watery. It was all very sudden and scary to him. He tried crying for Mammatas, but no sound came out! It just made Cirrus want to cry more. Why wasn’t his voice working? Why wasn’t anything working???
There were drops of water nearby. He couldn’t see them, but he could sense them. Cirrus felt very strongly that he should get them back. He slithered over to them. The more he collected, the more whole he felt again.
Once he’d gathered up all the drops, he could finally relax. He didn’t understand what he was feeling or why he was feeling these things. He wondered if he’d feel like this all the time: gooey and in pieces. He didn’t want to be watery anymore, he’d rather be soft like a puppy! Father was going to take him to see the new puppies. Maybe he was already there, waiting for Cirrus.
Cirrus felt… solid. And fluffy! He was on four paws. Puppy paws! Was he a puppy now? The mirror was too high up for him to check. He tried calling for Mammatas again. He was barking! And something behind him was moving. He whirled back. It was a tail! He really was a puppy! He kept barking at Mammatas.
Mammatas didn’t wake up.
Cirrus felt his ears flatten. He was disappointed once again.
He scampered over to the door. It opened right up when he pushed at it. There was a huge creak! Cirrus yowled. That hurt! He scampered away before he had to hear it again.
Out in the hall, he heard lots more noises. Heartbeats, talking, tapping, breathing. Some sizzling; someone must’ve been cooking! It smelled greasy and meaty and just like bacon. It smelled really good. Cirrus wanted some bacon. He started following his nose, but he remembered that his father and the puppies were waiting for him. He moved on.
Everything was a lot lower than he was used to. Usually, Father or Mammatas carried him through the halls. He was still just crawling as an elf. But he really liked moving as a puppy! He was on four feet instead of two. It was easier for him to balance.
He barked hello to all the people he passed. Warriors, staff, and a couple merchants too! They all sounded surprised he was out here.
“Oh, what a cute puppy!” one of them said.
“I just cleaned these floors!” said another when he scampered over a wet floor. He slipped onto his belly, but he got right back up!
“Looks like Lenti’s got a troublemaker on their hands,” laughed one with a very deep, very happy voice.
Cirrus whirled around. Father! He barked and his tail moved faster than ever.
“Let’s get you back to your caretaker, hmm?” Father said. He was still in his bright purple court robes. But Cirrus couldn’t see their colors very well. Was this what sight was like for a puppy?
Still, Father was taking him to see the puppies, just like he’d promised! So Cirrus was happy. He tried hugging and kissing his father, but it didn’t really work as a puppy. His puppy not-arms didn’t bend like his elven arms. And his nose got smooshed against his father’s cheek. Father just laughed some more.
“You’re a very affectionate puppy, aren’t you?” Father said. “I’m sure you’ll be a very loving companion for a warrior some day.”
Cirrus bark-huffed. No warriors! Only Father and Mammatas and Lenti and the puppies.
“You have quite a lot to say, don’t you?” Father said. “Someone talks to you a lot, don’t they?”
Father told him all about the boring people in court, and Mammatas told him lots of stories, and they both sang him lots of songs. Lenti didn’t speak much at all. Cirrus didn’t mind. Cirrus didn’t talk much either. Cirrus didn’t want to yet. There wasn’t a lot he could say right now.
Father set him down on the grass when they got outside. Lenti and the other puppies and the wolves were there! Cirrus darted over to play with the puppies.
Two of the puppies bounded right over to him. White Paws and Black Tail! They were bigger than him, all the puppies were. They tackled him. Cirrus flipped right over. He pawed at both of them. They all started barking.
Once White Paws and Black Tail were playing with him, the other puppies started coming over too! Cirrus was having lots of fun with his friends.
Cirrus hopped up when he heard his father speaking.
“So how did this little one escape you?” he said to Lenti.
Lenti gave him a confused look. Then they shook their head, “Not one of mine.”
“No?” Father also sounded confused. “Surely he must be. Unless he’s from the forest.”
Cirrus barked at his father. He wasn’t from the forest, he was from the nursery! Silly Father…
Lenti looked right at Cirrus.
“Very blue eyes,” they said.
“Some wolves do have blue eyes, don’t they?” Father asked.
“As puppies,” Lenti said. “None of mine. Not this year.”
“He must be from the forest then,” Father said.
Cirrus barked even louder. He was not from the forest. He was from the nursery! Why wasn’t Father listening?
“You don’t suppose he’s an orphan, do you?” Father asked.
Cirrus didn’t know what an orphan was. He barked again, hoping Father would explain it. Father knew all kinds of words! Like bioluminescent and bridge and palatial! Cirrus wanted to know all the words, too!
Father joined Lenti in watching Cirrus.
A kitty showed up! Cirrus bounded right over to it. He didn’t bark at it. Kitties didn’t like barking. Cirrus didn’t like lots of barking either.
The kitty stepped back from him. Maybe the kitty would be more comfortable if he was a kitty too? Cirrus focused really hard on becoming a kitty!
He soon felt smaller. More compact, Father might say.
He meowed at the kitty. The kitty watched him. Cirrus mewed, trying to prove he was safe and friendly.
The kitty picked him up and brought him over to Father and Lenti. The puppies stayed with their parents.
Both Father and Lenti looked at Cirrus like they were shocked.
“A shapeshifter…” Father said.
Cirrus meowed at Father. Silly Father, Cirrus wasn’t a shape! Cirrus was an elf.
Cirrus was hungry, he wanted food. Father was done with work, so it was probably time for dinner anyway. Cirrus hoped there’d be peaches tonight!
It was Mammatas! She’d come over in a hurry. She looked upset, so Cirrus tried to hug her, but hugs didn’t work as a kitty either.
Mammatas continued, “Your highness, the prince is missing!”
“What!?” Father said, sounding really scared. Cirrus had never seen his Father scared before.
Even Lenti was scared.
Cirrus started getting scared too.
“I put him down for a nap, and I must’ve put myself down for a nap too,” Mammatas sounded so sad. Cirrus really wanted to hug her. “When I woke up, he was gone! We’re all looking everywhere for him, sire!” Mammatas was crying. “I should’ve found someone to watch him before I sat down in that damn chair!”
“Mammatas, this isn’t your fault,” Father said. “Court has been stealing me away, I’ve been needing you for longer hours…” He turned to Lenti. “Lenti, if I brought you one of Cirrus’s toys, could the wolves track him down?”
Lenti nodded firmly.
Cirrus meowed again. He was right here! He stood up against his father’s leg.
Father looked at him.
“Cirrus?” he said.
Cirrus looked up at him. Cirrus started crying. He didn’t want to be a kitty anymore! Or a puppy and especially not water! He wanted to be an elf and hug people and be held by his father…
“The prince is a shapeshifter!” Mammatas said.
Lenti snorted, “Gonna need a new crib.”
“Yes, yes we will,” Father laughed. But it wasn’t a happy laugh. Father sounded scared. He picked up Cirrus and held him. Cirrus clung to him. He missed hugging people properly.
Then Father looked at Lenti. “Well, Lenti, thank you for preparing the wolves for a search. I’ll let you know when we need them again. And Mammatas?”
She looked right at Father.
“I do apologize for overworking you,” Father said. “I’m going to be spending a few days with my son. If you could let the people know I’m looking for additional caregivers, I would greatly appreciate it.”
“Of course, your highness!” Mammatas said. She tapped Cirrus’s nose. Cirrus was too tired to enjoy it. “You keep your father out of trouble while I’m gone, my prince. You’d think between parenting and the court, he’d have no time to make mischief, but he still manages to sneak some in! Did you ever apologize to that poor duchess for the toads in her chambers?”
“Not until she apologizes for insulting our wolf caretaker!” Father huffed.
“It’s not rude not to speak, and I won’t have lesser nobles claiming otherwise,” Father said.
Father took him home and then they ate dinner. There were peaches! Cirrus’s favorite! Father had grownup food and a whole peach instead of skinned, cut up pieces.
Cirrus was tired after dinner. He’d played a lot after his nap. And the moon was starting to peak out. Father held him and sang him lullabies. All this love and security made Cirrus fell right asleep.
“My son is a shapeshifter,” Father said. “My son, you’re the first shapeshifter in a hundred generations…”
Cirrus didn’t know what generations were. He’d ask Father in the morning.
[alright, i think that’s good. for that. i’ll check in with the chat and move on to our fairy tale.]
[oh. i never cleaned up that other draft welp…]
The King of the Fae simmered with excitement. Hand in and hand and over the threshold into Fairyland was the new Prince. His new Prince. It’d been so very long since he’d had one. A very long, very lonely time.
Then all of a sudden, he was right there! Living on the outskirts of a nearby Human town. Barely tethered to Human society. For the wooing, for the holding, for the taking.
[idk why i put that in brackets, that’s a good passage. this is why we sleep on drafts.]
And now, he was his. From an outcast of Human society to the most envied of the Fae Court. Aside from the King himself, of course.
[oh i see now. i prolly didn’t wanna repeat the word “outskirts”. well that’s an easy fix.]
[no i don’t like that either. it just seems a little… self-serving? non-intersectional to call a white autistic trans person the most hated of human society. ]
It was a marvelous morning. The river glistened with auroras, the bridge glittered with emeralds, and the wind sweetened with vanilla. And the Prince was experiencing it all with newly Fae senses as well. He’d told him how louder wind and birdsong was, how he now saw colors he’d never seen before. The King was eager to know how else the Prince’s body felt different. Those newborn tips of his ears, for instance. Short, lunar-fleshed, and soft like the rest of him. The King couldn’t wait to introduce him to the pleasure of that!
“We’re here?” the Prince asked.
“We are,” the King smiled, once more looking over the Prince’s new, Fae form. His wings were blue and brilliant, with the black fringes of an emperor butterfly. His hair was now onyx, his eyes were now sapphires.
[oh, another thing i’m considering is just changing them to fairies. we hardly ever see male fairies + it might make it a lil easier to come up with wonders to show the prince?]
[whoever decided the spelling of “emperor” is a hack fraud!]
And the confidence he now bore!
He was a treasure. The King’s treasure.
…Why was the King’s treasure turning around???
“You said you’d give me a body I can live in if I went with you to Fairyland,” said the Prince. “I went with you to Fairyland. See you tomorrow!”
“Where will you go?” the King refused to let his Prince come to harm! “The Humans hated you back when you were Human. They’ll never love you as a Fae! They’ll burn you on one of their stakes or drown you in a cage or cut you open in search of a heart that’s no longer there!”
The last Prince who returned to Humanland…
A fell wind chilled the King just thinking about it.
The Prince felt where his Human heart once lay. His eyes widened. It seemed he hadn’t realized until then. Perhaps, as he said, everything was so much louder that it distracted from the absence of his heartbeat.
“I refuse to see you harmed,” the King said, gathering that hand to alay the shock.
An unamused frown splayed across the Prince’s lips. Finally, he said, “And I refuse to be trapped.”
“Trapped!” the King spoke through a gust of laughter.
The Prince yanked his own hand away from the King.
“I seek a new deal with you, my Prince.”
It felt good to finally call him that aloud.
The Prince’s eyes quirked open. Cautiously curious. Just like how they’d met. Yet already, the King’s mind had replaced the Human he’d met with the Fae he’d made.
“If you smile at all today, you will stay with me in Fairyland.”
The Prince’s now black brows did that adorable scrunch of calculation. The King was happy to see that habit carry over from the Prince’s Humanity. He wanted to touch the narrowed space between them.
“I’ve already smiled today,” said the Prince.
The King was not merciless. The Prince had fielded endless complaints that he didn’t express himself as much as other Humans did. This was a game the Prince could win or lose if he willed. The King was determined to make him want to lose. That was where true victory lay.
“I would no sooner hold those smiles against you than I would hold a dehydrated being’s delight at a full cup of water against them. I will amend my terms,” the King said. “If you smile once more today, you will stay with me in Fairyland.”
“And if I don’t, I’m free to go.”
The King shook his head. The Prince had much to learn about deal-craft.
The King finally said, “I love you too much to let you sell yourself short. By the terms of our previous deal, you are already free to leave. If you do not smile once more today…” The King thought of a suitable offering, trying to avoid getting distracted by the Prince’s attention solely on him. “If you do not smile once more today, I will craft an illusion for you. A Human form that will not be called ‘woman’, or any derivatives or synonyms thereof.”
The Prince nodded, no longer frowning, but certainly not smiling either.
“Deal,” he said, holding out for a handshake.
The King smiled. He participated in the delightful Human gesture before leading the Prince onward once more.
[well fuck, now we have to write new things.]
[a lot of writing is just staring at a blank wall, wistfully sighing, hoping thoughts appear.]
[i’ve been noticing i’ve been struggling with eye strain lately. might try to limit how online i am this week. it’s not like i don’t have plenty of books to read (although i hear that strains your eyes too). like damn, what do people do that isn’t electronic or reading books?]
First came the bridge. [Translucent and a vivid green, cut and shaped by ancient builders.] Translucent and a vivid green, warping the waters and creatures below. In Humanland, waters were a dreadfully boring clear “color”―and tasting just like it, too. The waters of Fairyland outshone them in all senses. The King watched the Prince tilt his head to hear their song. [Each note dropped on the King’s ear like laughter.] Once more, confusion splotched his face. The King thought it was adorable.
“Is that the water?” the Prince asked.
“It is,” the King smiled during his answer. “What does it sound like to you?”
The Prince wedged himself deep into thought. He watched the water. The King could see him searching every word he knew for the ones he wanted.
Finally, the Prince said, “It sounds like laughter, I guess.”
“Laughter?” the King said. He could tell the Prince wasn’t satisfied with his own answer yet. The King offered up traditional Fae imagery, hoping it might help. “Most people call it a song.”
The Prince nodded. A moment later, he said, “Yeah! It’s like someone’s laughing during practice. A singer.”
The King couldn’t wait to show him the library. Well, not so much show him as… More like releasing the hounds after cooping them up inside during the rain.
[But they weren’t quite done with the river yet.]
But the river still had other senses to delight first.
The King took him across the bridge and down to the edge. He encouraged the Prince to feel the water in his own hands, against his face, and in his throat. He felt a bit overheated from their journey here.
While the Prince cooled down, the King could hear the people whispering. He waved at those who were brave enough to slow down and watch them. They chortled and smirked back at him knowingly.
“If you give someone a full cup of this water, I don’t think they’ll need to drink again,” the Prince said. The King wondered if he’d been aware of his and the people’s shenanigans. He did tend to concentrate on his current task.
He did notice the people once he was refreshed. With an arm ’round his waist, the King led him through some side streets and shadows. As much as he wanted to show him off, the King could tell he was lurching towards overwhelmed. The King didn’t want his first day here ruined by such agony. Plus, even the King desired rest from the journey.
Plus, the Prince hadn’t smiled at all from either the river or the bridge. The King needed to step up his game!
[elaborate more about the bridge when they’re at it?]
The King watched the Prince take in the palace. All the glossy blacks and greens of the materials. Each fractal cut by architects with skill mastered and remastered since time immemorial.
Several servants and other staff approached them, offering their introductions to the newcomer and greetings to their returning ruler. The Prince responded in minimal yet polite replies. The King took over socialization, sating the people―for now―while helping themselves escape as quickly as possible.
Once they were in more private chambers, the Prince felt safe enough to let the true extent of his exhaustion become apparent. This was another thing the King delighted in: being that safety for someone so private. [Having the intimate secrets that were the Prince’s emotions be revealed to him.]
[idk how many new words we’ve written so far, but we’re coming up on two hours. i think i need a nap or something, so i’m gonna raid somebody and i might stream later tonight / sometime tomorrow. thank you for coming out, everybody!]