Author: saranadosfiction

Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 35 (draft)

Could always be that Avebury’d nicked off with Fest’s journal. Wouldn’t match with his usual methods, as far as Sabbat was aware, but didn’t mean it wasn’t a possibility. Hells, could even be that the red-eye brat had dropped it here after doing some snooping of his own – wouldn’t be the stupidest thing Sabbat’d seen a would-be spy do, and the kid was definitely scatter-brained enough to have managed that kind of fuck-up.

But, looking around at the rest of the gear strewn across the floor, the piles of penny-dreadfuls, and the cut of the clothes in a heap in the corner, there was only one explanation which seemed in any way fucking plausible.

Wrong room.

Wrong pissing bastarding cunting room. He’d spent gods-knew how long on that fucking lock, and what did he have to fucking show for it but time wasted that he couldn’t afford to fucking waste, and-


Louder than he’d meant to be – loud enough that if anyone was out in the corridor he’d almost certainly given away his position – but it was that or punch the wall, and putting a dent in the plaster’d be harder to cover up even if he didn’t end up breaking his knuckles in the process.

“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!”

Stupid. Too much noise, drawing too much attention, might as well stand up and announce yourself as a fucking thief. But it worked enough to clear his head, drive back the red, let him actually think for long enough to put together a new plan.


Because information about binding should be easily accessible

And because, frankly, I am fucking sick of certain portions of the media in my country (looking at you, a certain right-wing paper whose editorial staff are apparently obsessed with trans people to a frankly somewhat unsettling degree) deciding that the information that stopped me fucking killing myself as a teenager is in some way dangerous or evil and shouldn’t be shared.

So, binding guides (don’t use ace bandages, don’t use tape, don’t sleep in your binder, make sure you’re keeping an eye on pain/rashes/etc, be very careful of your breathing if you’re doing vigorous exercise):

Scarleteen guide to binding (and other gender expression gear)

Rainbow Project binding guide

Hudson’s Guide on binding

A small sample of places to buy binders/compression gear:

Underworks (if you’re in the UK, you can also get Underworks binders from Trans Shop)


Spectrum Outfitters

Shapeshifters (custom fit/fabric stuff, so pricier, but very good quality)

If you have an LGBTQ+ cafe/bookshop/network in your local area, it’s also worth looking into whether they have a binder swap program – a lot of them either do or will be able to put you in touch with an organisation who does.

I aten’t dead

Just very burned out, it turns out (apparently six months of [now-sorted] consistent hobby-level stress and going on three months of [in the process of being sorted] work-level stress will do that to you).

This weekend is set aside for trying to get back into the swing of things writing-wise, so hopefully that chapter will be out sooner rather than later, but I’m not going to burn my brain and body out any more than they already are to force things to happen.

No chapter this week

Pretty much what it says on the tin – I don’t have Chapter 35 finished yet, and don’t want to rush it and put out something I’m not happy with/something I’d have to pull down to edit later.

Things have been a wee bit… fraught for the last couple of weeks (dayjob ramping up, hobby-related stress, broken dishwasher, broken laptop, illness/disability flare-up, and then, on top of all of that, managing to do something deeply painful to my back/left leg a week or so ago which is only just starting to ease off), so writing has been trickier than I’d like, hence not having managed to keep ahead of my backlog.

At least a few of those stressors are now fixed or in the process of being fixed, and that should help with the others, so this shouldn’t wind up being a long hiatus, but I’ve just hit the wall of ‘no, not managing to get this done before deadline’ and I’m not forcing myself to push through it when what I’d create would be sub-standard.

Don’t worry – I’m not going anywhere, and nor are the Argentum crew (not least because we’re climbing the lift hill towards the climax of Silver in the Ashes, and there’s a good deal more story to come after that). But, as I’ve said above, I want to make sure that I’m putting out chapters that I’m happy with, especially with where we are in the story and what’s going to be happening in the next few in-world days.

Laptop woes (again)

So, because it never rains but it pours, not only am I having fun and exciting hobby-related stress (all will be well and all manner of things will be well, it’s just going to spike my anxiety until it’s sorted) and dealing with a broken dishwasher (rented house, so hopefully fixed sooner rather than later, but not what we needed right now), but my laptop is currently experiencing all the symptoms of ‘expensive piece of tech which is about to fail and cause a Large Amount of Distress’ (because of course it is).

I can scrape stuff out of my savings to get a replacement, but if anyone feels like tossing a coin to their storyteller to make that a wee bit less of a strain, I’d not say no:

Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 34 (draft)

Despite what he’d told Archer and Cervanso, Sabbat had no intention of heading back to bed. He felt like seven hells, but he’d be damned if he was going to waste the rest of the day sleeping, not with that fucking hourglass counting down the hours and the sixdamn box gnawing at whatever remained of his magic (and if Archer didn’t think he’d realised that was what was going on, he was slower than Sabbat’d given him credit for).

Problem was, he was feeling shit enough that marshalling his thoughts into any semblance of order felt about as possible as keeping up with the other two on their hunting trip would’ve been – in other words, not.

Hit of Smoke might take the edge off that.

Almost certainly wouldn’t, but it’d at least mean that his head was full of fog for a better reason. And, given what was currently happening, Archer’s worries about what the Smoke was doing to him could take a running fucking jump as far as Sabbat was concerned.

Pretty fucking sure he’d agree with me on that as well, and ain’t that a fucking sign of how bad this is?

His Smoke pouch was back in the room, which meant heading back up the stairs – easier said than done, when the climb felt like scaling a fucking mountain, but he managed it with only a couple of stops to rest along the way when his lungs felt like they were halfway to catching fire inside his chest. The pouch was still where he’d left it, tucked away under the side of the bed, and the motions for lighting up a pipe were so familiar he could do them in his sleep – which was good, given the fact that everything felt as though he was fucking sleepwalking at the moment.


Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 33 (draft)

Viola hadn’t slept well.

Not surprising, really, given the fact she’d spent half of the last night hiding from a sodding Turned. She might’ve managed to evade him in reality, but he’d worked his way into her dreams, hunting her through a twisting maze of rooms and corridors which somehow managed to be both horrifyingly familiar and completely alien. She’d woken up drenched in sweat and halfway out of bed, her legs tangled in the few remaining blankets which weren’t strewn across the floor, and it’d only been luck and long practice that’d saved her from an embarrassing and ignominious disagreement with gravity.

As it was, once she’d worked her way free of the bedclothes and managed a hasty wash (though less hasty than she was planning, thanks to the unexpected and very welcome discovery that the Hall somehow had hot water even in the servants’ quarters), she’d pulled on her borrowed clothes and made her way downstairs to the kitchen where she and Mortimer had shared their dinner the previous night, hoping against hope that she’d be able to scrounge something from whoever was on duty down there to fill the growling void in her belly.

What she’d found when she got down there, however, was a full breakfast spread, easily the equal to anything the Luciels could manage (though more slanted towards the kind of food which could be hunted or harvested from the nearby forest or bought from local villages than the broader selection found in the city). And, when she’d stopped in the doorway with her mouth hanging open, trying to work out a polite way of asking what (if anything) she was allowed to take from the spread, the human woman who’d been standing at the stove had turned around, smiled at her in a way that reminded her almost painfully of some of her older aunts and uncles back in the clan, and told her in no uncertain terms that she was to eat as much as she wanted and to come find her in the servants’ quarters if there was anything else she needed.


Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 32 (draft)

The next morning dawned grey and stormy, enough so that when Fest first awoke he was fairly certain that he’d somehow managed to wake himself up several hours before dawn. It was only when he overheard the sound of clattering crockery and footsteps on the floor below that he realised that it must be at least seven or eight in the morning, and that the complete lack of light was less to do with the time of year (though that was definitely a factor) and more to do with the thick blanket of clouds covering the sky from one tree-lined horizon to the other.

Judging by the noises he could hear coming from the next room, he wasn’t the only one to have slept in a little later than intended: from Avebury’s side of the wall, he could hear the kind of thuds and clatters that tended to result from someone trying to get dressed in a tearing hurry and managing to put half their gear on upside down and backwards as a result, accompanied by a litany of swearing which would have been impressive if it hadn’t been Avebury saying it (and therefore, by definition, incapable of being impressive in any way shape or form).

Ha! Not so bloody poised and proper when you think there’s nobody listening, are you?

He’d left his own clothes and boots relatively neatly folded by the bedroom door after his adventure last night and, by comparison to Avebury’s apparent struggles, his own attempt at getting dressed as fast as possible went about as smoothly as he could’ve wanted (barring a brief moment of confusion when he wound up trying to put his left boot on his right foot and wondering why it wasn’t going on properly).

See? I can play you at your own game, too. Now who’s the model student, huh?

Admittedly, he was having a silent argument with someone who almost certainly wasn’t even thinking about him at all, which wasn’t exactly a stunning testament to his ability to stay focused on his studies, but apprentices were allowed a little rivalry, and he was still going to beat Avebury downstairs to breakfast.


The Ecosystem of Sacaan

[Note: This was originally posted on my Patreon back in January]

So it’s been a while since there was a worldbuilding post on here, huh? With many apologies to Lizzie, since it’s taken me quite so long to get around to this question:

What is the ecosystem like in the sense of plants/animals/crops? Bonus question: What’s most likely to kill you / is the apex predator?

So some of this ties back into stuff I’ve already discussed with regards to food, inasmuch as a lot of crops and animals wind up on the tables in Sacaan – in terms of crops, we have root vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, rhubarb, rye, barley, wheat, rice (though that’s a more common staple further south), and a whole passel of berries of various sweetnesses; in terms of food animals (as opposed to fish), we’re talking sheep, goats, yak, deer, reindeer, moose, boar, rabbits, chicken, geese, porpoises, smaller whales, and seals (not all of which are domesticated, obviously).


Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 31 (draft)

“So,” Mortimer said, once he’d finally managed to drag the conversation back around to Viola’s question, “let me double-check this. Someone came to the door with a letter for Viola, right?”

Amelia nodded. “He said he was a courier, but Seb said he wasn’t one he recognised, and he didn’t act like any courier he’d ever seen. Seb thought he might be Order, but he didn’t recognise the passphrase.”

“Sinnlenst, then,” said Viola. She shifted position, rubbing at her injured leg, and scowled. “Avebury did say something about wanting me to deliver some letter or other, now I come to think of it.”

“That’s the thing, though!” Amelia said. “It wasn’t a letter. Or rather, it wasn’t just a letter. It was a whole packet of papers.” She reached into the satchel beside her and pulled out what looked like one of the folders of legal documents he’d seen on his father’s desk in the past. “Here. I’ve already looked through it-“

“You’ve what?”

“It wasn’t sealed, Vi, and the person who delivered it was clearly up to no good. And besides, I didn’t know where you were or when you were coming back, so you can’t be too mad at me for opening your post.”

“That’s not the point!” Viola growled, exasperated. “The point is that if someone had hidden something in there – like, say, a contact poison or a powder or any number of curses – you could have been seriously hurt. Killed, even. You know better than that, I know you do.”

This is between the two of them, Mortimer told himself, sternly, and bit his tongue. He wanted to defend Amelia, of course he did – but then, he also shared Viola’s concern, and gods, but he could wish that she’d think before she acted sometimes, and… 

And that’s a conversation we can have in private when we’re both in the same place. Not right here, not right now, and not when we’re trying to work out what in the hells the Sinnlenst are up to, which is a damn sight more pressing a concern than my fiancĂ©e’s occasional tendency to leap before she looks.