jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
“It’s been a week.”

“Yes.”

“I’m not as tired as I was when we first arrived.”

“Yes.”

“I think I’m ready.”

“Yes.”

“Are you just going to keep saying ‘yes’, Nick?”

“No. Ow! Now I know you’re feeling better,” he said, rubbing his bicep where she’d punched it.

The first steps are always the hardest )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
“I know we’re out in the sticks but come on,” Nick muttered to himself as he stared at his phone in dismay.

“What’s up, Nick?” Tommy asked, coming from inside to look over Nick curiously on the front porch.

“Need to get a Zuber ride to pick some protein from the store, but there’s no service in this area,” he replied.

“Around here Zuber is called ‘Y’all got room in the back for me?’” Tommy said with a chuckle. “I’m headin’ into town anyway to pick up some shop towels from Burrow Depot. You can come along if you want and we can swing by the Feed Lion.”

Friends and Partners )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
His ears weren’t as big as a certain bunny’s, but Nick was started out of his doze in the hammock, as he heard the squeak of the screen door towards the front of the house. He rolled out of the hammock and landed lightly on his foot pads, checking the time on his phone briefly. It wasn’t even 4:00 AM yet, early even by farmer bunny standards. Can’t be a burglar, he thought. The house was a good mile away from the main road, making it a fair jog for potential thieves. The Hoppses didn’t even lock their doors. So if no one is going in, someone must be going out. One guess who.

Gut punch behind the cut )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Wrote a up prologue to The Visitors, which I want to try and finish before beating my head against a potential For Your Safety novel.


***


“You know, vacations are usually for relaxation,” Melanie observed dryly. Rolas’ wife was dressed in Commoner culottes and a crop top shirt, sitting in half-lotus atop a workbench in the car barn, one leg dangling idly over the edge. The wooden barn held a small steam tender Rolas had been puttering over for the past week, the large doors propped open to let a breeze into the un-air conditioned space.

Rolas was finishing lowering a superheater tube into the boiler of the small, colorfully painted narrow-gauge steam engine, his shirt off, dressed only in his shorts and a pair of heavy leather foot protectors to save his toes from being sliced off by errant bits of iron.

“This is relaxing,” he said, biceps straining under his brown pelt, paws holding on tight to the chain running through the block and tackle. He lowered the tube down the last few centimeters into its waiting slot, and then secured the loose end of the chain to a bolt set in a nearby pillar.

“It’d be more relaxing if you used a proper tractor-pressor unit to save you from all of that work,” she pointed out.

“I’m trying to use original materials and techniques while I restore this,” he replied proudly, slipping the foot protectors off and setting them on the workbench.

“The original Mr. Puff is sitting in a museum back in town. The one you’re working on is a replica that was built two hundred years ago using modern techniques,” Melanie said, hopping off the bench and pressing up against him. Rolas smelled very male today, sweating from the work and summer’s heat, with a perfume of machine oil.

“Principle’s the same,” he replied, voice a bit muffled as he nuzzled her neck. She let out a pleased purr, her tail waving happily as he pushed her back against the workbench, feeling his paw reach under her shirt to stroke her back. Yes, with just the two of them here, without even servants at this small country estate in the deep woods, well away from the nearest town, this was the most privacy they’d had since their children had gone to visit their aunts on Greenholme.

Mmmm, hmm. Less engineering, more sex,” Melanie advised, nibbling his ear tip.

Rolas snorted a laugh into her pelt. “Not even advanced hydraulics?”

“Well that I could get into…”

We interrupt this scene for a bit of family history. )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Planning the assault had taken two years, and that was after spending three years carefully examining the transmission patterns of morphs all across the Ring, proving Professor Kurylkin’s theory that the Groupmind had to have a central processor controlling the morphs. From there it had been another year of reconnaissance, finally locating the Central Tower, in the middle of what had been wryly named OZ, for the location was an green oasis surrounded by a hundred kilometers of searing desert.

Getting past the desert had meant infiltrating the high security of the Ring Transit System, then walking that last hundred kilometers in tunnels designed to accommodate morphs, not men. Tyler has lost three of his twelve man team, snatched by morphs or like Jansen just disappearing around a corner, gone in an instant by the time the next man came round.

Then of course they’d had to climb the Tower, a windowless, two kilometer tall structure, encased in black Ring metal ten meters thick. The air had been freezing cold, keeping the computers that lined the tower’s wall functioning. The climb, without elevators, only access ladders and stairwells, had taken nearly a week as they dodged security morphs, or more often didn’t. By the time they’d reached the penultimate floor, Tyler’s team was down to three.

By the time he reached the top, the only one left was himself.

Sometimes the Groupmind is kind of a dick. )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
A short little scene from my unwritten Batman '42 serial script that's been brewing in my head, riffing off the original really, really racist and awful WWII era Batman serial.

With apologies to [livejournal.com profile] siderea for having a character do a psychological analysis without directly interviewing the subject...

* * *

SCENE: In the Joker’s lair after his latest defeat by Batman.

Joker: I can’t believe it! Who does Batman think he is, anyway?

Harley: Pewsonally I think he’s Bruce Wayne.

Joker: (blinks in surprise) How’dya figure that one?

Harley: Well think about it. Batman has that car and all those fancy gadgets, and the martial arts training. Bruce Wayne has the money t’ pay that sort of thing, and he disappeared into the Orient for several years, plus he likely suffers from deep-seated trauma and possibly a psychotic break due to his witnessing the murder of his parents at a young age. I’d also conjecture that he has deep-seated issues with his sexuality, what with never marrying and the string of girlfriends he never seems to get past second base with, and the fact that Batman runs around all night wearing a black rubber suit.

(BEAT, as everyone in the room stares at her like she’s grown a second head)

What? I am a certified psychologist, after all.

Joker: (looking uncomfortable) When you put it that way, that makes his relationship with the Boy Wonder a bit disturbing.

Harley: Not necessarily. Given Batman’s usual reaction to sexual abusers, I’d conjecture that their relationship is strictly platonic, with any feelings in that direction severely repressed.

(Joker looks at her cross-eyed for a LONG BEAT)

Joker: (exaggerated patience): Harley dear, why don’t you go feed the hyenas?

Harley: Okay! Tra-la-la-la-la!

(she skips cheerily out of the room.)

Joker: Harley thinks Bruce Wayne is Batman? Sheesh! Sometimes that girl makes me look normal!
jeriendhal: (Grumpy)
OK, for those of you who didn’t know, I’m in the process of putting together The Complete Red Vixen Adventures, which have all of the primary RVA stories (Captive of the Red Vixen, Shadow of the Red Vixen, Shadow of Her Sins, Shadow of Doubt, and The Red Vixen at Sea), in addition to the side stories I Fought the Claw and the Claw Won, Solstice Gifts, The Parable of the Glassblower and an appendix with several of the worldbuilding articles I’ve written over the years, plus possibly interior illustrations if I put together a Kickstarter for the audiobook and add them as a stretch goal.

Currently the ebook version of this monster is going to be a hair over 450 pages at 12 point type.  Big, but perfectly reasonable. It’s not like it’ll add any weight to your Kindle.

Going with the same type size (to save my already terrible eyesight) in a trade paperback size, that will work out to over eleven hundred and fifty pages. Cheating and reducing the typeface to 10 point will drop it down to just over seven hundred and eighty pages. That’s frigging Stephen King and GRRM territory.

So, yeah.

Just wondering if I should still go through with this, give it up, or blind everyone with an 8 pt. typeface... 
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Just some long delayed world building.

* * *

The major dominant religion among the foxen for the past eight to fifteen thousand years has been that of the Mother Goddess, a monotheistic creation deity that reinforces the foxen cultural norms towards matriarchal practices. As a spacefaring technological race, outsiders might expect that the foxen would be mostly atheistic or agnostic, but a surprising 65% of them express at least some religious belief, and most of that is directed towards the Mother Goddess. [1]

World Building Ahead )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Scene: Bob, a Vin Diesel-ish “Nice and Built Like a Brick Wall” kinda guy gets a call on his cellphone.



Bob: Hey, Sarah. What's up?

Sarah (at a loud party): My friend Angie needs rescuing from a creep at our office party.

Bob (nodding in understanding): Okay. Does she need a husband, boyfriend, or a brother?

Sarah: Brother would be best. There's another guy here she actually wants to date, but he hasn't figured it out yet.

Bob: Got it. Do you want Angry, Concerned, or Mom Called and It's Important?

Sarah: Why don't we go with Concerned, with a side of Looming Intimidatingly?

Bob (grins): I can do that.

(ten minutes later Bob has extricated a grateful Angie from El Creepo)

Angie: Thanks. That was really smooth. Have you done that before?

Bob (takes a bow): Oh, yeah. One thing the girls could count on at my college was that I was always available for a rescue and that I'm as gay as a rainbow unicorn.
jeriendhal: (Dies!)
Ahem. In honor of the New Year, allow me to sing you a brief ode to the events of 2016.

Music: "Oh, Christmas Tree"

Oh, 2016,
2016.
How I...

Hated you! Hate, hate, HATEY, HATE, HATED YOU!

Eat it, 2016! If there was a compost heap at the corner of history's garden, you would be at the BOTTOM!

Except that compost heaps are actually useful and you served no good purpose WHATSOEVER except maybe allowing David Bowie to transcend his Earthly form just so he could that much more far out.

The rest of you was 364 days of absolute CRAP!!

Ahem.

Thank you.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
“The Mother Goddess bless Her children on this day. On this darkest day, Winter begins. On this coldest day the sun hangs low. In the Cold and Dark we tremble, and in the Cold and Dark we see the Mother Goddess’ warming fire, and know that She and it preserve us.” the Countess Matri Darktail intoned, as Melanie watched with her husband Rolas, from the circle of witness standing around her, in Darktail Manor’s holy arbor. As was traditional, the ceremony was held in the pre-dawn twilight, witnesses from the Houses of vassal lords, from the various professions of the Service caste, and Commoners both notable and chosen at random, all watching as the Countess conducted the ceremony in nothing more than the fur she was born with, demonstrating both her piety and that they all appeared the same in the Mother Goddess’ eyes. It made Melanie grateful for the heavy coat she wore, over the curve of her gravid belly.

A time to forgive. )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Working on this again now that I've put The Red Vixen at Sea to bed, at least until I can get cover art made.

Part One

“Sir,” the mousemorph said gently, “you haven’t looked up yet.” It reached over and closed the lawn umbrella, letting him see the sky as he tilted his head back, grabbing the edge of the table even as the little morph steadied the chair, keeping him from falling backwards as a wave of vertigo overwhelmed him. Oh, God. The bastard really did it.

The Earth loomed in the sky overhead, appearing to be over eight times the size of the moon, visible through the blue haze of the sky and clouds, a blue and brown giant looking like it couldn’t possibly hang in the air,. He started hyperventilating, his mind overwhelmed as it tried to reorient itself to understand what he was seeing. He was looking down at the Earth, not up, despite what his inner ear was telling him, pinned by centrifugal force to the inner side of the Ring. Still gripping the edge of the table to hold himself steady, he turned his head, finally seeing how the ground rose up miles away to his left and to his right, and the curve of the Ring formed into an impossibly tall arch, wrapping itself all the way around the Earth and back again.

More behind the cut. )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Bellwether blinked, as the black cloth bag was pulled off her head. After she'd been grabbed, coughing and crying, out of the van by that huge wolf, she'd been stuffed, still pawcuffed, into the trunk of a sedan and driven around the city for almost an hour. Then the car had stopped and she'd been pulled out into a totally dark room, had the bag plopped over her head and moved up several flights of stairs to wherever she was now. She could smell comforting scent of old, dusty books, driving out the lingering smell of tear gas in her wool.

The world came into focus. She was in a library, or at least secure book depository, the shelves around her surrounded by a chain link cage. Standing in front of her on the other side of the cage was the tall wolf, mask removed, revealing penetrating gray eyes. Next to him was a shorter Persian leopardess and on his other side a small bespectacled marten leaning on a cane, and looming behind them a tall, furry bear. The leopard had a soy steak, or least Bellwether hoped it was soy, speared on a wicked looking combat knife, and was chewing on it idly. The bear, by contrast, seemed to be happily munching on a paperback copy of I, Robot.

You are being stalked... er, watched. )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Chief Bogo stared the two officers, both sitting on the curb a few yards away from the wrecked police van, resting nose first against a cast iron lamp post. Wilde was sitting still, except for the occasional wince as a paramedic picked bits of glass out of his fur, while Hopps was breathing unsteadily into an oxygen mask, trying to clear her lungs out. “Are you up to this, Hopps?”

“I'm... kaff! I'm fine, sir,” she said, eyes red with tears, her small chest heaving up and down as she fought to catch her breath. “Gotta get our statements in before... kaff... the memories get blurry.”

Wilde, eyes also red and still tearing, looked only marginally better than his partner. “She's right, Chief. We need to get this done.”

He nodded. “Start from beginning then. What happened after you picked up Bellwether?”

“Everything seemed all right, at first,” the fox said. “I pulled out into traffic, heading towards the on ramp. But it looked like it was blocked by construction, or something. Must have been a set up, herding us into the ambush.”

“It was a Persian leopard, female. Maybe in her late twenties, early thirties I...” Hopps bent over coughing again.

“And your attacker?” Bogo prompted.

“Definitely a wolf,” Hopps said, regaining her breath. “Taller than average, black fur, wearing a gas mask and a suit.”

“A suit?” Bogo asked, eyes narrowing.

“Yeah, I thought it was weird too,” Wilde said, a ghost of a smile passing over his face. “Seriously, if you're going to ambush somebody, you should wear some practical coveralls. Much cheaper dry cleaning bill.”

“Nick, don't make me...” Hopps tried to raise an admonishing finger, and bent over in another coughing fit. Wilde looked her in concern, gripping her paw until she was able to talk again. “Anyway,” she said, “he fired a grenade right at us. Smashed a hole in the windshield. Tear gas.”

“I jammed on the brakes and tried to serve out of traffic, right into the damned lamp post,” Wilde continued. “Couldn't see anything between the gas filling the compartment and trying not to puke and cry my eyes out at the same time.”

“Did either of you fire your weapon?” Bogo asked.

“Didn't get the chance,” Wilde admitted. “By the time I fell out of the driver's seat and was able to see, the suspect had already pulled Bellwether out of the van and into the SUV that pulled up. Driver was a bear, I could see that much.”

“Polar bear?” the chief inquired.

“Brown,” Hopps said. “I think. Definitely not one of Mr. Big's I'm sure.”

“How did the wolf get the doors to Bellwether's compartment open?”

“My fault, Chief,” Hopps admitted. “I... I just couldn't breathe. I started hyperventilating, and then I threw up and started choking.”

“Sorry, Judy,” Wilde said, looking down at the sidewalk. “I didn't even see you were in trouble.”

“Not your fault, Nick,” she reassured him. “You were already out of the driver's compartment and blind as well.” She turned back to Bogo, her breathing slowing down, lung finally clearing of the gas. “Anyway, the wolf grabbed me by the scruff and pulled me out of the passenger seat. I had my dart gun, but I was too out of it to try and fire.” Hopps, being a bunny, was too small and light to use a proper pistol, or at least not a very large caliber one, so she habitually carried an optional reguation air pistol with tranquilizer rounds. “He disarmed me and pulled the keys off my belt. I'm sorry, sir.”

“Were you able to get a good look at him?” Bogo demanded.

“A little,” she said. “His pelt was black, like Nick said, but with some salt and pepper, gray hairs I mean. Couldn't see what color his eyes were through the mask. He was... very polite.”

Bogo leaned forward. “Wait, do you mean he spoke to you?”

She nodded. “Yes. He said, 'Sorry about this, Officer Hopps. Now please stay down.'” Hopps blinked, “Wait, how did he know my name?”

Wilde's ear perked up in interest. “Could have gotten it off your uniform tag.”

“Maybe, but by then I was face down on the ground where he'd dropped me.” She frowned. “No, not just face down. He made sure to set my face over the edge of side walk, so when I threw up I wouldn't choke. He could have just left me in the passenger set and grabbed my keys there. I'm pretty sure I would have suffocated though.” She shook her head in disbelief, “I think he saved my life.”

“One last thing,” Bogo said. “That suit he was wearing. Did he have a tie on?”

Wilde blinked at the question. “No, come to think of it. It was very stylish though. Italian I think.” The fox officer looked at the chief in curiosity. “Do you think you know this guy?”

“Not directly, but I've heard reports about him,” Bogo told them. “Almost urban legends. A few years ago in New Yak City, there were sightings of what they called 'The Wolf in the Nice Suit.' Black, salt and pepper fur, stylish suit with no tie, and tended to speak very softly and carrying a helluva lot of fire power. He and a few unidentified compatriots managed to shed light on collusion between the police and the local mob. Big scandal.”

“So he's a good guy?” Hopps asked, ears perking up.

“I wouldn't say good,” Bogo rumbled. “He's a vigilante who left a few bodies in his wake. Though most of them were criminals, or cops so dirty that they probably bathed in a pig wallow. Even then, most of his targets ended up with just bullets in their kneecaps. And at least twice, he took out armored cars with the same MO used here.”

“So what's his motivation for grabbing Bellwether?” she wondered. “She was already on her way to be tried for her crimes.”

“That's what we need to find out,” Bogo said. “From this point forward your top priority is to find the Wolf in the Nice Suit and Bellewether, and bring them both in for justice. Is that understood, officers?”

“Yes, sir!” they both replied.

“Good. Now get to work!”
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
“Dispatch, Van Three is 10-76 to Zootopia Penitentiary,” Judy said crisply into the mike in the seat beside Nick, as he guided the van out of the police lot and into Zootopia's early morning traffic. “ETA ten minutes.”

10-4, Van Three, Clauhauser replied back at Precinct One. Have fun!

“Oh, oodles,” Nick said, once Judy had clicked off. “Can't wait to see Smellwether's face when she finds out the chief chose us to transfer her over to the feds.” The fox grinned over to his bunny partner.

This fun won't last )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
The sun was falling into the sea when rescue finally arrived. Rolas remained face down in the sand, exhausted from his ordeal, the remains of the ardalian’s tentacle hanging from his spine like an obscene second tail. Melanie left him briefly to grab the first aid kit and walk up the stairs for the fifth bloody time to check on the wazagan. It was still shuddering and otherwise unresponsive, though it had stopped crying and muttering to herself. Melanie gave it a shot of a universal anti-shock medication, and the poor creature finally fell into an exhausted sleep.

Letting go of old pain. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Fourth time's the charm, Melanie thought to herself, looking at the stairs again with distaste. But there were four tentacles in the sand, curving around the bay where the ardalian had to be hiding, leading up the stairs to the altar. She had to wonder at that. Surely there was no real reason why attaching a puppeteer tentacle to a victim had to be done at the highest point of the island. Perhaps it was a tradition. The presence of the stone altar slab certainly pointed to that.

She decided to worry about it later. For now, Melanie had a task. Even better, she could do it at the bottom of the stairs instead of climbing all the way to the top to confront the ardalian’s puppets. So she set her improvised spear into the sand, and drew out her real weapon from her pocket.

Any tool can be a weapon, in the right hands. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Prisoners of War my erotic dieselpunk furry novella is now available for purchase as a POD paperback through Amazon for $6.00.


This is something of an experiment for me. If it turns out to be worthwhile, I may offer an omnibus of the Red Vixen Adventures once The Red Vixen at Sea is finished.

Note: POW is an erotic BDSM story featuring bondage, S&M, femdom, non-consensual sexual situations, and bad German accents. Not suitable for readers under the age of 18.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
The worst was the bit with the reef. The lifejacket’s little AI was bound and determined to keep her facing tail towards the the water, snout in the air, which made it difficult to watch and time the waves, and start kicking in a one armed backstroke as they crested the reef. She only barely managed it, feeling her tail catch in the sharp coral as she swam clear, managing to avoid by some miracle of the Mother Goddess ripping her back open on it. The retreating waves threatened to carry past the boat itself, but she managed to tangle her arms with the sail’s lines, then wrapped her arms and legs around the mast itself.

And now for the really stupid part. Feeling her fingers already growing stiff in the cold surf, she yanked at the manual release catches for the lifejacket. It let out an electronic wail of protest as she slipped off, its complaints soon carried with it away in the waves.

Diving for Chekov's Gun )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Sheer terror propelled Melanie back the way they had come, running away from the bay, past the dock, and back around again to Windskimmer’s next to the last resting place. She stopped there, falling to her knees by the tree with the boat’s anchor rope still wrapped around it, dislocated shoulder aching in pain.

They had captured Rolas. He was going to be turned into one of the ardalian’s puppets, unable to control his own body, his mind free to watch in horror as the creature used it. She had a horrible vision of him coming towards her, tentacle leash dragging behind him, arms outstretched, only his eyes betraying his terror as he was used to hunt her down.

No plan, no tools, no hope. )

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