Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Skies Were Opened

It was against Thor's nature to skulk, to lie in wait, but finding his wayward brother demanded it.  He had made himself to look like an ordinary human--insofar as he could--and lingered as a traveller among the people of this remote village in Vermont.

It had taken time, but at last, loitering about the supermarket, he had spotted a familiar cascade of sun-golden hair.  There was Sigyn, dressed well--better than most women he had met in this realm--and pushing a shopping cart with a little baby, decked in furbelowed pink finery, seated in it.

He had followed her to her vehicle, and had he doubted his brother's survival before, those doubts were now ended.  For there was Loki in the flesh--lean, dark, quiet, discussing political affairs with other men of the village.  When Sigyn approached them, he immediately lifted his daughter from the cart and tossed her up as she squealed with merriment.

At last, they departed, and Thor began the task of asking after them.  "Logan King" was the name Loki used now, he discovered.  When he asked where they lived, the villagers immediately declared themselves late for supper and departed, each to his own home.

After some searching, he did find them, and that very night he determined to bring his brother to justice.

Amid a storm of his making, he arrived in armoured glory.  No sooner did his feet touch earth than all of the lights in the house went out.

"LOKI!" Thor boomed out.  "I WOULD HAVE WORDS WITH YOU!"

"Oh, do stop that tiresome shouting," Loki's voice said from behind him, and he turned.  Loki, in full armour, stood there, looking quite weary.  "If you wake the baby, you will have to contend with the wrath of her mother."

"Loki, I have come to--"

"'Bring me back to Asgard that justice may be done upon me'," Loki yawned.  "You say that every time.  And how do you mean to evade the same justice for your own part, hmm?"

"I have learnt better," Thor said, "and I know you well enough now that your illusion does not fool me."  He turned his back on the image, to the house again.  "Loki, come out!  We will settle this business of your meddling with Marvel at once!"

There was a sharp, ripping pain in his back; the illusion--it was not an illusion!--had crept up behind him and stabbed him!  "Very well, do let's settle accounts," Loki hissed into Thor's ear.

Thor elbowed Loki in the gut, and as the smaller man staggered back, he whirled about with Mjolnir in hand.  Loki dropped to all fours, then spun on his hands and swept Thor's feet from under him with his legs.  Both were standing again in a trice, circling cautiously as rain began to fall, and then went to it.

Loki was every bit as fast as Thor remembered, but the last time they had fought, Loki had been trembling on the brink of madness.  Now, his eyes were clear and awake, and he was less aggressive and more thoughtful in his attacks.  He was on defence, dodging, weaving, moving out of Thor's reach and striking at range.  Thor realised that Loki was leading him deeper and deeper into the woods, away from the house, but there was no helping that; Loki was his objective.

They did mighty battle, which must have awakened the whole countryside, and it was good.  A dark shape loomed out of the trees: a barn, its far end collapsing under the weight of its age.  Thor saw an advantage and took it; he struck the side of it with lightning, exploding it and spraying Loki with splinters.

"So you've improved your aim," Loki panted, his face streaming dark blood--and fainted suddenly, falling down through a pair of broken doors and into what looked to be a cellar.  Thor heard the sounds of his tumble down the stairs, and then there was horrifying silence.

"Loki?" Thor called out tentatively, peering down into the cellar.  This was, like as not, a trap; Thor knew it.  Loki had certainly had plenty of time to lay a trap.

"Come out of your stable, you mare," Thor tried.  "Come out and be broken to harness!"

There was yet no sound.  Thor began to be convinced that Loki was injured, unable to answer--and whether he would decide on mercy or vengeance, neither would be served by leaving the man down there.  Thor took a firmer grip on Mjolnir and, slowly, descended the stair.

"Loki?" he called once more, at the foot of the stair.  Darkness yawned before him.  Loki could not have gone far...He stepped forth into the lightless reach.

Not but a few paces in, and a metal door clashed shut behind him.  Thor shouted wordlessly and brought Mjolnir to bear against it.  There was a ring of unyielding metal, and the cage remained undamaged.

"Now, now," Loki said, suddenly appearing in the light of a lantern he uncovered, "that will avail you nothing.  So shall we skip the bit where you try to escape and go straight to explaining why you are trespassing at my home?"

Thor was in no mood to parley, gathered Mjolnir's energy to strike--

--and there was naught.

"It is called a Faraday cage," Loki said.  "It would take much too long to explain to you, but suffice it to say you'll not be 'zapping' your way out.  Nor beating your way out, either; I made it of quite stern stuff."

"What do you mean to do with me?" Thor demanded.

"Do?  Don't be absurd."  Loki paused.  "I would say, 'Don't be stupid,' but you can hardly help that, can you?"  He chuckled.  "So, what brings you here?"

"You lied to me, and you insulted me, and now I am degraded before the men of this realm thanks to your meddling."

"Tut," Loki said.  "Now you know how it feels.  Now you understand how it burns, how it grates to endure those endless slanders about my manhood, that I would ever dwell in a woman's form!"

"I never said those things of you."

"You permitted Marvel to say them.  You permitted Marvel to publish them.  They made me to be a woman and you did nothing!"

"I did not know!  And that does not give you the right to answer in kind!"

"No, it gives me the right to kill you for allowing it."  It was not the threat that troubled Thor, but the tone in which it was delivered.  Loki spoke coldly, without emotion--and Thor knew well that when Loki was beyond feeling, he was beyond restraint.

"So that is your game," Thor said, swallowing down his fear.

Loki laughed, his teeth bared in a smile like a shark's.  "What?  To slay you?  Oh, not right away.  No, I think I shall keep you here for a time, until I may savour the experience."  He put his hand close to the cage wall, and it hummed faintly.  "I would not recommend you touch this, by the bye.  Might give you a nasty shock."

Thor scowled.  "You will not get--"

"Away with this, of course not.  We shall see."  And with a grand whirl of his cape, Loki went up the stairs and left Thor alone in utter darkness.

Thor took up Mjolnir again, and began pounding on the walls of his cage, roaring out his anger.

Loki blew out his lantern and summoned his "mortal" clothing.  From the pocket of his jacket, he drew an electric torch, and made his way back to the house.

Of course, he was not going to stay to put an end to Thor and his incessant stalking.  He was leaving as soon as he had gathered a few things of value.  Sigyn was long gone, with Tessie and Fenris in tow, and the house was silent and empty, so he moved quickly.

A few texts ensured that a car would collect his family and take them to Outpost Four, and that, three days hence, a few local minions' sons would explore the barn and "discover" Thor there and help him to escape as well--if Thor could not find the convenient weakness Loki had left in his trap.

Villain he may be, but he was hardly a monster.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

We Interrupt This Broadcast...

It seems appropriate right now to update you on some things about the blog in an out-of-character post.

We're both going to be updating our personal blogrolls over the next while.  There are some sites we visit now that we've found edifying and full of goodness, and some we stopped visiting because they became, um, less than edifying and full of foolish talk--or, at least, enough so that it's not worth rummaging through the foolishness to get to the goodness.  Some we stopped visiting for other reasons.  It's not personal, though, despite how much some people would dearly love to make our disputes personal.

We've been updating the pages in our sidebar, too.  We've added the page "Tales of the Trickster", which links you to the various storylines LoA has written here.  (While we talk out our dialogue, he does most of the writing.  You probably noticed.  I'm good at telling you what's good and bad writing, but I can't write well to save my life.)

My reading list has been updated over time, so if it's been a while since you looked at it and you're interested (though I can't imagine why), go have another look.

We have a backlog of posts we've been meaning to write, so once this particular storyline goes where it's going, LoA has some interesting things to share.  He promised you all a post on why he opposes the wholesale adoption of Game by Christians, and he says that's what he plans to do first, unless something comes up.

So that's where it's at.  Please enjoy the rest of "Reaping the Whirlwind"!

Friday, August 22, 2014

First Rumblings

Last night, he had taken his consort shopping.  She had been most secretive about some of her purchases, refusing to show him.  It troubled him; she had been withdrawn of late, closed away, unwilling to tell him what ailed her.

But tonight, ah!  He had come home from his efforts to gain status in the community to find her...more herself than ever.  She met him, wearing a very small garment and her face artfully made up, fed him a magnificent feast of all his favourite foods, and then "entertained" him.  She gave herself to him with wilder abandon than ever, and now he lay, utterly spent, with her cheek resting upon his bosom.

"You make me sorry I must go," he said at last.

"I'll do this any time you want," she promised.  "Any time.  And I'll start always looking like this, okay?"

"Mmm, I can't say I care much for the look."

"Why not?"  She drew away from him, and in the candlelight, he could see bafflement writ clear upon her face.

"Because that is the look of an harlot.  Not suitable for the bride of a king."

"Men like harlots," she pouted.

"Not for wives, no."

"Then explain why I was single way past my peak."

Loki sighed in annoyance.  "Very well.  Men who are fools or cowards prefer harlots for wives, and most men are fools and cowards.  There.  Now lie down; I miss you."

Sigyn lowered herself back to his waiting arms.  "Better a harlot than ugly," she said softly.

"Ugly?  What?"

"You said so."


"At Vox Popoli."

"I should remember saying that, I think."

"I said that so many girls being fat didn't improve pickings for plain, homely girls like me, and you were all like, 'If you were plain or homely, your experience would be relevant.'"

He laughed.  He could not help it.  So this was why she had moped and fretted and sighed all these days!  "Pet, I meant that you are beautiful."

"Are you a rotten liar."

"I am being honest."

"Then you need glasses or something.  If I was beautiful, I'd have had to go into hiding to get away from all the men after me.  They never wanted to be anything but friends with me.  I wasn't even female to them!"

"Those are called 'beta orbiters', Pet.  You had many of them while my secretary, hence the name 'Office Princess'.  Ugly women do not have them."

"Okay, never mind," she said suddenly, sharply, wildly.  "Never mind!  I'm okay.  Stop saying this stuff to me.  I'll be all right, I'll be okay, stop trying to make me believe things that aren't true just so I'll feel better!  I'm ruining the evening with my self-pity!  Please, let's just be quiet and forget this whole thing, okay?"

"Woman, I will not countenance you calling me a liar or stupid."

She froze, stiffening, and then he felt her begin to tremble.  "Yes, my lord.  I'm sorry."  She stretched up and began kissing his face and ear, and he let the matter go.

There was a peal of thunder, close to the house and loud.  Sigyn turned away to peer out of the window, at the rain slashing against it.  "There wasn't a storm in the forecast," she murmured.

Loki's blood ran cold.  "Pet," he said, forcing his voice to remain even, "dress yourself and Tessie at once.  We have company."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wednesday: All Downhill From Here

Life went on.

Loki informed her that he would be taking another trip to "advance the collapse".  Yet again, she was seized by the intense, unshakable fear that he would spend at least some of that time with someone female who was not her.  It was worse this time, though; she was sure that, if a woman made advances to him, he wouldn't be able to refuse--and wouldn't want to.  Men were like that, programmed to be unfaithful.  So said the Red Pill.

She was still feeling ugly.  Reading on the Internet had convinced her even more that the reason why she had never been truly courted, only approached by bottom-feeding cads (and then hustled into her current situation), was because she wasn't even attractive enough to register on male radars.  The only attention she had ever gotten was at that New Year's party, dolled up and made up and done up until she no longer looked like herself, and stuffed into a gaudy dress that revealed more than she was used to.

Oh, she'd gotten attention in spades, which was the point of the exercise; she was meant as a distraction while His Lordship did his work.  But as she had said then, and began to feel again now, those men had been attracted to Revlon and Vidal Sassoon and her dress's designer, not to her.  And given that so many of them were older, married men, she knew there'd been no value in the attention.*  She had felt dirty, and spent the night ashamed that she was disrespecting those men's wives--made worse because she knew that her whole appearance was a great big lie, so she was cheating.

But right now, things were different; all was fair in love and war.  She added a few things to her shopping list.  If that was the only way she could be pretty, it was the only way she could keep him from finding someone better...

Her work:

Made coffee
Fenris Walkies
Squish care (all day)
Greenhouse maintenance, part one:  Opened it up, watered, weeded, picked two cucumbers
Made breakfast and washed dishes
Stripped and remade crib
Folded a bunch of towels that didn't get folded yesterday
Cleaned master bathroom:  shower stall, tub, toilet, sink
Cleaned baby's bathroom:  tub, toilet, sink
Made lunch (spam**, rice, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce)
Took a break
Stripped and remade master bed
Baked bread
Washed lunch dishes and bread dishes
Made supper (tea and toast, nothing elaborate)
Greenhouse maintenance, part two:  Vinedressing, closed it up
Worked on scarf for piggy bank

Laundry:  Crib sheets, master bedsheets and blankets

* ((We may write out that story some day.  As you can see, our roleplay is much more complex than what you see even across all the websites where we carry on.))

** That was what he wanted.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday as Usual

Sigyn got up very early, before sunup.  It was pleasant to be up when nobody else was, enjoying the quiet hours before the world itself became a busy place.  If she got up late, she always felt rushed through the day, as if she'd lost the morning and had to make up for everything in a hurry.

Because Squish was sleeping longer in the mornings now, Sigyn could get out to the greenhouse and do the things her plants needed.  This morning, she planted some hot-pepper seedlings where once there'd been lettuce.  (A kind commenter had mentioned that Boston lettuce tended to bolt in hot weather, so now she knew what kind they'd been and why they had betrayed her.  She'd have to look for a different breed of lettuce for hotter temperatures next year, and make sure she'd gotten through the Boston stuff before they went all crazy.)

The cuke vines were now covered in tiny gourds; she'd been mistaken that they weren't fruiting.  She was glad to have been wrong!  There were still hundreds of yellow male flowers, but there were now plenty of females to balance them.  The bees were cheerful over them--which was why she tried to get out to the greenhouse before it got too late in the morning.

Her tomatoes were problematic, though.  They should have yielded loads of fruit by now, but they were progressing slowly and the fruits were green and small.  A little research showed that tomatoes don't redden or ripen in temperatures from 85 degrees F and up, and her greenhouse might be getting up to that temperature still.  Well, at least they'd ripen as temperatures cooled; she'd just have to be patient.

Her work:

Made coffee
Fenris Walkies
Squish care (all day)
Greenhouse maintenance, part one:  Opened it up, vinedressing, planted hot peppers, watered
Made breakfast
Baked bread
Washed dishes
Bathed Fenris
Peeled and chopped potatoes for supper
Took apart whole ham and froze most of it
Made lunch (ham-and-cheese omelets)
Felt crummy again and took a break*
Washed dishes
Minding her own business
Ominous music
More ominous music
Ninja husband attack!!! Hands everywhere oh God help
Dragged away off-screen, lots of screaming and begging ensued
Well, that was fun 
Finished dishes
Made supper (pork chops, mashed potatoes, carrots)
Too lazy to do anything else 

Laundry:  Baby towels, grubby towels, bath towels, changing-table linens

* ((Yes, it's a distinct possibility.  We'll keep you posted.))


Well, maybe that's a little harsh.  This is more like it:

Or maybe I'm just in a bad mood today.  I've been kind of depressed lately, so maybe being able to be cranky is an improvement.

What gets my goat is that, for all that time, I was accused of playing for male attention by writing and saying the things I did.  If I'd done something like the "I Don't Need Feminism" thing before it became popular among barely-legal hotties in tiny belly-showing cleavage-smushing tops, that would have been considered proof of it.

But now, because women are putting up things like this...

Well, never mind; I can see why some of the boys of the Manosphere would be thinking #WomenAgainstFeminism is the awesomest awesome ever to awesome.  *eyeroll*

Keep in mind that women will do whatever it takes to get male attention.  If they were really concerned with the truth of the matter, they wouldn't be troweling on the makeup and stripping down to their undies (or less) to "help out".  As soon as something else comes up to get attention, they'll be doing that.

They're not allies; they're useful idiots.  You're welcome to pretend otherwise for as long as you like, though.

A bit of elder-brother envy?  Not really; the father in the parable didn't call the elder brother a "bitch" for his pains in doing the right thing, and I'm sure the allies of the WAF will continue to call me one long after the WAF have moved on to the next big Alpha Magnet.

Domestic Monday

The cucumber plants had picked up, over the weekend, and now there were cucumbers everywhere.  Sigyn would be up to her elbows in brine for weeks.  For now, though, she had some old pickles to do up.
It was still unusually cold, though, and she had to leave her greenhouse closed up.  With the lettuce gone, she pondered what to put in its place.  Hot peppers?  She could take the prunings from the apple trees and use them to smoke jalapenos for chipotle peppers, she supposed; applewood was the traditional wood for the job.  Now to find a recipe for adobo sauce...

The Little Squish had definitely inherited both parents' ambition and her father's curiosity in full.  Now that she had solved the Riddle of Crawl, she was all over the house and into everything her pudgy little hands could reach.  Sigyn would have to rethink safety measures; it was only a matter of time before Squish figured out how to stand.

Her work:

Got up and made coffee
Fenris Walkies
Greenhouse maintenance, part one:  Watered, vinedressing, pulled the bolted lettuce, potted a new parsley plant
Squish care (all day)
Made breakfast and washed dishes
Sliced and salted cucumbers for pickles (5 lbs!)
Worked on making the house safe for crawly-babies
Swept kitchen floor
Swept dining-room floor
Made lunch (salad with the last of the homegrown lettuce)
Felt tired and nauseous; took a break
Canned pickles
Scrubbed out sink
Cleaned toaster oven
Cleaned microwave, removing and washing turntable and cleaning every surface
Cleared out old leftovers from fridge and washed up those dishes with the other dishes
Made bolognese sauce with homemade Italian sausage 
Finished up supper (spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic toast, and a previous batch of pickles)
Bathed Squish! 
Greenhouse maintenance, part two:  Checked plants, closed it up
Worked on blanket and piggy bank

Laundry:  Baby's burp cloths and bibs, kitchen towels and linens