A Modern Knight Or Errant Fool
idol season ten | week 22
Turn Back or Forge Ahead?


One Thursday in June, Harry Hargrave came home after a typically awful day at work and found a message waiting for him.

Or, not exactly waiting, more along the lines of carved into the dining room table in blazing ten-inch letters:
A Quest is in Store
Huh? Harry thought. What quest? I work in an office.

He put the fire out, and looked around for some sort of additional message. There was a scroll on the mantel, which he unrolled to read the following:

Greetings, Noble Gentleman.

Terrible times are upon Us, for the King's Daughter has been taken by Thieves from another Realm. The King now calls upon his greatest Heroes and Warriors to rescue her.

You have the Honor of having been Summoned to take up this Quest.

This must be some kind of prank—probably those jokers over in accounting. Harry read the opening again, with its pompous language and random and excessive use of capital letters.
The Princess cannot long survive so far from the Kingdom. Her Vile Captors have offered Three Indications of where best to begin the Search:

~ Meet the Monster of the Middle Forest
~ Consult the Wizard of the River Temple
~ Journey to the Underground Chambers of the Tournament Hall

His Majesty implores You to come to his Aid and embark upon the Path of your Choosing.

Well, this is ridiculous. Harry dropped the scroll on the kitchen counter. What Kingdom? We have a President, not a King, and as far as I remember he has two sons and no daughters. Is this some kind of "Nigerian prince" scam with a twist?

He was tired, he was hungry, and whatever the whole scroll thing was about, it was the last thing he needed right now. On the other hand, if someone had kidnapped his mother or his baby sister, he would be out of his mind with worry, and hoping someone—anyone—would help him.

What to do, what to do?

  • Go to the forest and search for the "monster"?

  • Find the wizard and see what he knew?

  • Locate the tournament hall, whatever that meant, and its underground chambers?

  • Or just forget about all of it and get something to eat?

  • If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

    Turned Upside Down (Chapter 6)
    By [personal profile] dreamlittleyo
    Pairing/Rating: Hamilton/Washington, Explicit, Noncon Warnings
    Wordcount: 1,300 Words (22,600 Total)
    Summary: Alexander Hamilton has always been devoted to his captain; he never intends to admit just how deep his devotion runs. When an away mission goes intimately wrong, both men are left reeling. Hamilton knows there's no going back. But how can he make things right if Washington won't even look at him?

    Or: the one where Washington is a starship captain and away missions are terrible.

    Read Chapter Six on AO3…
    (Read from the beginning on AO3...)

    Or read Chapter Six below the cut… )

    21 June 2017 @ 01:46 pm
    108o today and humid, and tomorrow is likely to be 111o. I suspect I will be biking in the garage again tomorrow. Today is a rest day, and I'd hoped to hit the pavement tomorrow. That dream may already be dead. :(

    Monday, I went shopping with our daughter (IN the heat) to look for some work blouses for her internship in DC. I did not realize were were looking for a unicorn, for crying out loud. I thought she was struggling because she was being too picky. Her hatred of both buttons and adornment is really limiting, and while I understand the second one, I keep thinking she'll get over the first. Regardless, we were looking for simple short-sleeved blouses in rayon or polyester—like the kind I used to wear to work in my radio days. I have five of them right now that are exactly what she's looking for, except that they're too big. Basically, like this, except without the pockets. And yet, no one wants to sell those anymore! Not online, not even at places like Macy's, unless you want to pay about $60 for the single example of that style Macy's has. It's all t-shirt material, trampy cuts, split-shoulder stuff (why is that fashion so widespread?), other variants on really unsuitable clothing for professional women, and some really highly fitted button-down tops that might actually work except... buttons. We found three sleeveless tops that were acceptable (after giving up on short-sleeved ones!), and my online search was fruitless (that sample blouse above is for retailers to order, not individual customers). I think she's going to be mostly wearing dresses this summer, even though skirt/blouse separates are much more practical. Ten or more years ago... \o?

    Okay, end of rant. How about a meme, a little stale around the edges but good for some croutons?

    Give me a fandom and I'll tell you:

    The character I least understand
    Interactions I enjoyed the most
    The character who scares me the most
    The character who is most like me
    The character with the hottest looks
    One thing I dislike about my favorite character
    One thing I like about my most hated character
    A quote or scene that haunts me
    A death that left me indifferent
    A character I wish had died but didn't
    My ship that never sailed

    My fandoms include anything I've written or talked about, which are also in my profile interests. Fair warning that I've abandoned a few of them, so there might be a "cut-off date" for the content of my answers.

    Hit me!

    20 June 2017 @ 11:51 pm
    First, there's this. And? Last Friday hit 99o and every day since then has been 100o or hotter. Our first projected break is next Monday, when it may "only" be 96o. I biked outside Saturday morning, and an hour earlier on Sunday... still too hot. The last couple of days have been in the garage, and still a slog. If I were a morning person like HalfshellHusband, I'd be up and sunblocked by 6:30 or 7:30, and could go out really early. But my Sunday ride started at nine, and I pretty much crept back from the turnaround point.

    Stupid weather! This is one of those horrific periods where anything you need to do outside or away from the house has to be finished by 10am, because you will not want to go out after thateven just to drive to somewhere air-conditioned. You'll be soaked in sweat just from riding in the car. Argh. Sacramento, home of summertime cabin fever!

    I drove down to San Diego last Wednesday so I could move our daughter home from college. The drive down wasn't too bad, though I caught part of LA's rush hour and the beginning of San Diego's. AND, the hotel where I was staying... was last year's hotel that I had vowed not to return to! But the online picture is totally misleading. I frankly can't imagine from what angle they could photograph the hotel so that it looks like it's next to a sidewalk with the ocean behind it. In reality, it's wedged into a semi-industrial area on an oddly shaped lot, and there are cement walls surrounding it on all sides. Did they just photo-shop out the walls, and the surrounding buildings? This hotel is also six miles down the freeway from where the San Diego traffic really picks up, which is to say, about 40-60 minutes farther than you really want.

    After driving all day, I went to the hot and badly appointed gym for about 40 minutes, then back to my room to shower, eat, and finish my Idol story. That had to be done Wednesday night, because I knew I'd be out and then on the road all day Thursday and would have no time to post. :(

    Thursday morning, I got lost on the way to my daughter's part of the campus again (but recognized where she'd lived last year! Too late). The campus must be more than a mile across, with several roads through the middle. So, after arriving about 45 minutes later than intended, we set about the project of collecting and moving stuff into her next year's apartment. Fetching the desk, which was the sole reason I'd driven the SUV down (the desk top was almost as big as a door). Then waiting for the used dresser to be delivered, only to discover that the seller couldn't get it into her car and we would have to go pick it up. Plus, ferrying around heavy boxes containing lots of dishes, pots & pans, etc. that will just stay in San Diego over the summer. The new apartment is in a huge and really pretty complex that is fancier than it needs to be, and much farther from the campus than my daughter would like (she let her roommate do too much of the finding, and the roommate has some princess tendencies). The complex also doesn't allow you to park any closer than an illegal fire lane, from which you have to carry everything half a block, up some stairs and through a security door, and then up the elevator and to the apartment itself. /o\

    Needless to say, all of this took hours. Hot, sweaty hours in which my daughter finally regretted that dresser (I hadn't been able to persuade her over the phone how heavy it would be, and she'll only be able to use it for about 1 1/2 years. Rolling plastic craft cartthat's the way to go! But noooOOOOOOOooooo...) When we finally left for home, it was after 2:30, so we knew things would not go well. You need to leave SD no later than 1pm to avoid the L.A. rush hour bottleneck, though we were not prepared for the traffic jam to start in San Diego and cover the next 30 miles. We stopped for an early dinner in Santa Ana, rather than sit on the freeway all that time. Her choice was a highly festooned Mexican restaurant ("That place is lit!"), where even the rear parking lot was decorated. Also, there were large Nutcracker figurines inside the restaurant. Sadly, the food was kind of bland.

    Back on the freeway about 7pm, trading off driving because we were so tired. Some smelly stops in the lower central valley. Dead stereo about 3 hours from home, though at least it didn't die during my solo trip down there. \o?

    Finally home at about 2am on Friday. *thud* Geez, what an ordeal. But we made it safely. And now we just have a couple of days left with her, as she flies out to D.C. early Thursday morning. *cries*

    18 June 2017 @ 02:29 pm
    Not With A Bang...
    idol season ten | week 21 | 1035 words
    Current Events


    Why it started in the first place was a mystery, but it did. After just a few weeks, it became the law.

    One stray limerick or even a haiku could cost you big. The message was clear: poetry was not for amateurs. It had nothing to do with talent, either. It was about regulation and control.

    Or maybe it was about someone who had heard one Dr. Seuss parody too many.

    It brought out the rebellious streak in some people, which was never the answer. They would infiltrate shopping malls and kick out random piece of hipster trash—mostly for the attention:
    Sick, baby, sick,
    You love to cry and cry and cry.
    Your love is thick like a brick,
    Makes me so high I wanna die.

    Sick, baby, sick,
    You love the pain, you love the hurt.
    You want the slick of my di—

    "All right, that's enough!" and boom—the cops would be all over them. "License, please."

    "I don't need a license for art!"

    "That wasn't art, and we don't make the laws—we just enforce them. So either you show us some credentials, or you pay the fine."

    Just like that, the rebels and their greenbacks would be parted once again.

    The restrictions did not apply to original poetry alone. The number of citations for unauthorized renderings of Auden's Funeral Blues could have funded several small nations, and preschools were going bankrupt over the use of nursery rhymes in books, games, and décor.

    The people who did have licenses were often smug. They might commandeer a street corner, or even a stage:
    We have known the good, the bad,
    The everyday,
    And come through it together.
    Shoulder to shoulder we will stand
    Today, tomorrow, forever.

    I'll always have your back.

    The cheers and groans from the crowd would compete as certain onlookers grumbled that the poet was a worthless hack.

    "He's licensed, and he works for Hallmark!" someone would be sure to point out.

    "So what? He has the soul of an accountant!"

    Frustrated baristas and dog-walkers who didn't earn enough money to buy their way into the system tried to keep their artistry under wraps. They muttered free verse into their phones when they thought no one was listening, or wrote secret longhand odes in loose-leaf notebooks while hiding in closets.

    Poetry circles cropped up in basements, protected by locked doors and ever-changing passwords. Would-be squealers knew they'd lose any hope of a free audience or helpful artistic discussion if they ratted out one of the groups, but it still happened:
    —know the sins of ghosts
    Who bear our faces.

    And in those distant mornings
    There are stories
    Formed of broken words
    And the lies of long-dead men.

    They are the cruelest,
    The hardest to forget.


    "All right, hands up everyone, stay right where you are! We're the government, and this is a raid!"

    The poets all had the same question about the laws, the fines, the arrests: "Who is unregulated poetry hurting?"

    "That's not for us to say," the police would reply. "You don't like the law, talk to your council members."

    Those who did were rarely satisfied with the answers. "Oh, I don't know," Councilman Buzz Haxell said. "Seems like a pretty good idea to me. Have you heard some of the crap people try to pass off as poetry?"

    Before long, almost everyone had.

    Some would-be poets talked about moving to other areas, where they could release their inner bard.

    Several mayors of neighboring counties and states suggested such a move might tempt them to release their inner thug. "I don't want that kind of thing going on in my jurisdiction," one said, under condition of anonymity. "You let that kind of thing start up, and pretty soon you've got candle shops and goats' milk vendors on every corner."

    "I don't get what the big deal is," another one said. "I mean, say you don't let all those Shakespeare-sniffing stiffs pen their little rhymes whenever the mood takes 'em, so what? Is all of that 'artistry' gonna back up inside 'em until they blow a gasket or something? I don't think so…"

    A few unlicensed poets thought that was exactly what might happen, but what could they do? Pen a satirical ode to a friend for his birthday, and you might spend the next three years on a watch list. A few were forced to pick up extra work after-hours so they could afford to buy a license. It was definitely better than going crazy.

    The licensing fad spread to other states and other countries. After a couple of years, worrisome side-effects became evident.

    "Hey, that thing I just heard—"

    "The one with Roses are red, Violets are blue?"

    "Yeah, that one. Was it any good, or was it terrible?"

    "I thought it was okay. Say, have you seen the latest from Morrie Moneymaker, the Greeting Card guy?"

    "Oh, he's good!"

    "The best. I totally 'get' his work, you know?"

    "Yep. It's like what you meant to say, only better."

    "Exactly! Say, can you change the radio to the Easy-Listening station? That one's my favorite."

    Soon, real poetry went the way of classical music and ballet. Fading away into obscurity, it went too quickly for the general public to notice or mourn.

    "So, like, my teacher wanted us to read these, like, sonnets or something, from like, a million years ago? I couldn't even. I mean, like, what was the guy trying to say? It was all so pretentious, and like, totally long. Ugh."

    "Well, pumpkin, I guess it was a good idea to cut down on that stuff by licensing it. Who did all those people think they were, anyway?"

    "I know, right? We got a homework assignment to write some of our own under the school's license, but that's okay. I’m ready."

    "Really? That's amazing, Mindy! I didn't know you had that kind of talent."

    "Oh, yeah, and it's not even that hard. Everyone makes such a big deal out of it."

    "Well, of course, honey. It's art!"

    "Yeah, art, right. Whatevs, Mom, it's cool. Just give me about ten minutes, you'll see—I've got this killer limerick forming in my head!"


    One of the side-effects of aging eyes is misreading things, especially when just glancing at them. On the other hand, the results are often more entertaining than the actual version! The inspiration for this week's entry came from misreading the online headline for this news story and parsing it the same wrong way three different times. And yes, this was definitely more fun than the real point of that article. :D

    Voting this week is a Gatekeeper round, so no poll. But all of the entries are posted here in the comments. Lots to read and enjoy. :)

    17 June 2017 @ 09:46 pm
    Anyone else obsessed with Orphan Black? The final season just started and I've been obsessed since Day 1. But, I just realized, have the ever answered the WHY? of it all? Why were the clones created? What does Dyad want with them? Just a general WTF is going on with it all? It's been so long between all the seasons and so much other TV happens in between I may have just forgotten if it was ever actually said in the show.

    So, anyone have any answers?
    17 June 2017 @ 12:34 pm
    Dear creator, thank you so much for this! I appreciate everything you'll do for everything. I have some specific prompts but you don't have to follow them and can go your own way if you have other ideas.

    General likes: fluff, family fics, fix-it fics, wedding fic, pregnancy/baby fic, families of choice, angst, happy endings, post-series, AU

    General dislikes: (Permanent) major character death, dub/non-con, character bashing, unhappy/sad endings

    That '70s Show:


    - Fix-it reconciliation fic set post season seven or the series finale is fine with me.
    - After they reconcile, Hyde starts becoming more affectionate with Jackie in front of their friends and even surprises her when he tells her he loves her in public
    - Their friends trying to fix their relationship "because they belong together"
    - Edna and Bud unexpectedly return shortly after Hyde meets WB and Jackie confronts them.
    - Jackie's pregnant (either after their break-up during season seven or season eight, to create angst, or post-series after they reconcile). How do they handle it? She thinks he won't want the baby and much angst ensues.



    - Bryce surprisingly returns post-series and the three of them struggle with their feelings for each other.
    - Maybe season two goes a different way with the triangle?
    - Another post-series idea where they're together but a relationship is hard to navigate after Bryce's unexpected resurrection and Sarah's memory issues (most of them are back but not all)


    - They're engaged and the fact that he's going to be Casey's son-in-law is freaking everyone out a bit


    - Anything fluffy post-series



    - Sam thinks he might have fallen in love with her when he was still Owen and is having a crisis about it
    - They're both panicking because they want a relationship like Nikita and Michael but don't think it's possible


    - Post-series, Nikita finds out she's pregnant and worries she won't be a good mom. Meanwhile, Michael is excited but the news of her pregnancy brings back his grief over his wife and daughter's deaths.

    Teen Wolf:


    - Stiles and Scott are having a hard time dealing with the fact that their parents (and Chris Argent) are together
    - The three of them realizing they have feelings for each other
    - The three of them struggling to adapt to this change in their relationship
    - A surprise pregnancy for Melissa, maybe


    - Melissa finds out she's pregnant, which throws her and Chris for a loop. Scott is freaking out a bit that he's going to share a sibling with Allison, his late ex-girlfriend
    - Anything where they explore their relationship post 6A


    - Scott and Malia are falling in love with each other but he's hesitant to do anything about it because he doesn't want to hurt Stiles. Malia takes matters in her own hands by going to her ex-boyfriend and talking to him about it.
    - They're together in secret because they don't want anybody to know about them yet

    Once Upon A Time:


    - Anything where Emma realizes she's in love with him, not anybody else
    - During the time jump, Emma's marriage breaks apart and she seeks solace in one of her best friends

    White Collar:


    - They actually talk about the proposal that got a little too real and decide they want a future together
    - Reconciliation and reunion post-series
    - Neal worries he won't be a good father when they find out Sara's pregnant



    - Anything where she survives season twelve
    - Dean and Castiel try to play matchmaker



    - Roz is in love with Frasier and that's why she she such a problem with Julia. She and Frasier try to figure things out
    - Alice refers to Frasier as "Daddy" and throws them for a loop
    - Anything where they admit their feelings for each other post-series


    - Anything where they reconcile

    The Mummy:


    - What happens with them between the first and second movie
    - Their life after the movies

    Baby Daddy:

    - Naming their son. I'm a little mad the show ended with him nameless and I want to see them come up with something
    Title: It Could Be Worse
    Rating: G
    Wordcount: 900
    Characters: Anakin Skywalker
    Prompt: #27 - Pressure at [community profile] starwarsflashmeme
    Summary: It's not a bad arm, all things considered. But Anakin cannot gauge the pressure in his own fingers and that is unacceptable.
    A/N: While not graphic, this does deal with Anakin immediately after he lost his right arm - and there is a significant amount of pain in getting a replacement.

    Anakin gritted his teeth against the bright rich agony that radiated out from his arm. )
    Current Mood: thoughtful
    Current Music: This is Gonna Hurt - Sixx: A.M.
    Turned Upside Down (Chapter 5)
    By [personal profile] dreamlittleyo
    Pairing/Rating: Hamilton/Washington, Explicit, Noncon Warnings
    Wordcount: 6,500 Words (23k Total)
    Summary: Alexander Hamilton has always been devoted to his captain; he never intends to admit just how deep his devotion runs. When an away mission goes intimately wrong, both men are left reeling. Hamilton knows there's no going back. But how can he make things right if Washington won't even look at him?

    Or: the one where Washington is a starship captain and away missions are terrible.

    Read chapter five on AO3…
    (Read from the beginning on AO3...)

    Or read Chapter Five below the cut… )

    14 June 2017 @ 05:46 pm
    So, for those of you that have been around here long enough and remember the birth of my son (referred on Social Media sites as Martouf), he's now 7. I know, right? Anywho, that's to catch you up. He's 7. Just finished first grade and is returning to the local Y for camp this summer. He said something the other day about why he had to go to camp during the summer and one of the reasons I gave was that daddy and I work, so it's a safe place for him to go while we're in the office and stuff. He goes, "Wait. You have to work in the summer?!?!" Like, he thought we got summer off like he did with school. Oh, if only, buddy. If only. LOL