Category: 100themes

Black Roses 100themes 3: Light

Here’s the thing about morality: sooner or later, no matter how rigorous your principles or how well-defined your code, you are going to find yourself in a situation whereby what you define as ‘moral’ and what you define as ‘right’ are not entirely in agreement.

Here’s another thing: you won’t necessarily see it coming.

Even if, for the sake of argument, you’re a several-hundred-year-old scholar with a wide breadth of knowledge, a decent handle on people and their motivations and, you think, a fairly thorough understanding of exactly how cruel sapient beings can be to one another, especially when those sapient beings are acting under the guise of so-called medical advancement.

And here’s the third thing about morality: if the choice between doing what is moral and doing what is right has anything to do with another emotion – say, for instance, love – then whatever you would have hypothetically chosen, in a vacuum, in a world where that emotion didn’t exist, has absolutely no bearing in any way on what you actually decide to do in the moment, faced with that sudden and terrible choice.

Archer certainly thinks what he did all those years ago was immoral.

He’s also still certain, in a way which goes beyond logic and into bone-deep instinctive knowledge of how the world should be, that it was right.

[Author’s note: Slightly more abstract interpretation of the theme here, but I’m still happy with it. Also, I swear I’m not using these as narrative breadcrumbs deliberately, and yet]

Black Roses 100themes 2: Love



“I… Um. I need to tell you something.”


“…You are listening to me, aren’t you? Because I really really need you to listen to me right now.”

“‘m listenin’, El. Keep talkin’.”

“I love you.”

“Mmhm- Wait, what?”

Kay blinked, rolling over and fixing the blanket-covered shape lying next to her with a blurry-eyed stare which was equal parts confusion and sheer bloody panic. 

“Say again?” And, when the other girl didn’t immediately respond, ” ’cause I thought y’said-“

Ella propped herself up on one elbow, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. “I said, I love you.”

“That’s- yeah, that’s what I thought y’said.” She bit her lip. “Fuck.”

There was a short, awkward pause. Then Ella said, very quietly, “I have to admit, that’s not entirely the reaction I was expecting.”

[Author’s note: Short and sweet, this time around.]

Black Roses 100themes 1: Introduction

She’s smaller than he expects, somehow. 

Logically he knows how big a newborn is – even if he’d not helped deliver a few back in the desert, he still remembers the sudden shock of seeing his own smallest sister for the first time. But, logic or no, the tiny shape nestled in the crook of his elbow still seems somehow mis-sized for the world she’s fallen into: when he holds her, he’s half afraid that even the slightest touch might shatter her fragile form.

It won’t, of course. He knows that, just as much as he knows that here, in the heart of the Duke’s power, is by far and away the safest place in Dusk for two outlanders to raise a child. Just as much as he knows that whatever power brought them here did so for a reason, and that, if that’s the case, it probably knows enough to stay the hells away from their daughter. And just as much as he knows that, despite all that, they’ve brought a child into the world in the middle of a warzone, and there’re very few ways that ends well for anyone concerned. 

Cionne, perhaps unsurprisingly, shares almost none of his fears in that regard. She carried their daughter in her womb for nine months, across two worlds and half a continent, and she knows full well how much resilience lies within that little body (if nothing else, she has the half-healed bruises still banding her ribs to prove it). She understands her husband’s feelings – even if she teases him about them, it’s in loving jest – but, as far as she’s concerned, they’ve little enough reason to fear how the world will treat their daughter. 

If anything, given how she came here, it’s the world that should be scared of her.

[Author’s note:

So! Way back in the mists of 2010/2011, when I was still writing primarily on deviantArt, I found a prompt challenge that seemed like a good fit for my at-that-time-very-new urban fantasy ‘verse. And, surprisingly for late-teenage me, I actually gods-damned finished it: 100 snippets (of, admittedly, very varied quality) set in the Black Roses universe.

8 years later, I went back to those stories… and, reader, they had not aged well. While the characterisation was, for the most part, still vaguely accurate, the stories themselves had a fairly bad case of my-first-darkfic syndrome, and the OOC bits were too damn OOC to be borne.

Which meant there was only one thing to do: take the originals down, and write 100 new prompt-fills using the same list. Because I make sensible life choices, apparently.

If you’re wondering who the hells these characters are, hang tight – things will be made clear in time. Or, if you’re curious/impatient, check the Black Roses tag on this blog for more fiction set in the ‘verse (though I own there’s not much there right now).]