Friday, October 31, 2008

Random project progress

My mom came for a weekend and we produced a table. It still needs to be painted.

Max was tired.

I have finished sewing together my quilt top.

I've also sewn my quilt top to its fleece backing and done the actual "quilting" part. I've also made my binding for the quilt, which is the red ribbon-looking roll shown below. It will edge my quilt.

My plants are doing well. Go thiomotropism.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

jamie and eric-33-alternate universes

Eric was in fact sitting in the hall of the South Tower. He had walked sheepishly down every hall of this level twice. Feeling that he had just overlooked a door that would reveal the hall that would take him closer to Jamie. But the doors were only labeled with numbers. Some with welcome mats before them. And small daily life sounds filtered into the hallway when Eric stood still.

He was hugely aware of how he might appear to the inhabitants of this structure. But he had only seen two tower entrances from the main lobby. And having climbed up and down the stairs past this level a few times, he was sure Jaime was at this height above the ground. Eric now sat in front of a window that brought him the closest to Jamie as possible. He could see another tower out the window to the west. It was almost like looking through a portal into a parallel universe.

Maybe Jamie had stumbled upon some ancient spell in the library archives that he accidently cast that took him to that other universe. It would have to be activated just by reading it. There weren’t many spells like that. It look a lot of work and energy to create a text that circumvented normal incantation preparations. But maybe if Jamie was in a mysterious parallel universe, it granted Eric a window into that universe because they were bonded. Most spells, though, didn’t include handling of special cases. Instead the energy chose the least energetic path for unspecified variables. That’s what made it dangerous to try out spells in old forgotten spell books.

So dangerous in fact that most people stuck to the canon spells. Through generations of use the same spells had resulted in a large body of published articles detailing their effects and what factors were most important and how to deal with them. Everything. Thick tomes with decision trees, so dusty that Eric sneezed just opening them. New spells barely have a chance. That was another thing that bothered Jamie. Unnecessary loss of information because all of the federal funding went to researchers developing new spells. And most people have innate abilities that they can develop without needing elaborate incantations every time.

Like Eric’s telekinesis.

Eric reached his hand towards the other worldly building, to help focus his concentration, and tried to move something on the other building. He felts the mental whack connect but nothing moved. A large maple tree stood serenely in front of the building and Eric settled for moving its branches. Surely if the building was in an alternate universe the tree would be as well. But the branch clearly moved towards Eric’s universe as if being cocked back, and then sprung back as he let go, slapping the side of the building.

Monday, October 13, 2008

jamie and eric-32-Jamie makes it through the pain

The pressure of the windowsill returned to Jamie’s awareness. The pain starting to give way to shakiness. Shakiness and that gentle tug. If he could move he should leave, Jamie decided. His body felt achey and numb as he continued to climb the steps. His head lowered, his hair falling into his face, Jamie thought about the position of his body. He kept his back straight and his step swift. In case his gait gave away the discomfort he was feeling in his body.

But it wasn’t just physical. Jamie felt drained, almost in a good way. It left like huge weights had been lifted from his chest. Tears wanted to follow. But Jamie wasn’t so weak as to give into tears. He swallowed, but his throat felt tight. Jamie could only think about what would come. Think about when Master Brown found out what he had done. Think about what Eric would say the next time he saw Jamie. Or do…

Jamie did pass a student rushing down the stairwells at unsafe speed. She was actually wearing stiff white student robes. Students usually only wore their white robes during ceremonies. Jamie turned to watch her bright red hair bounce after her as she raced down the steps. Besides being itchy, they were hard to keep immaculate. Jamie didn’t remember Master Brown mentioning any auspicious events, and there certainly weren’t any graduation ceremonies going on this time of year. As the girl rounded the stairs below him she sped out of view and Jamie let the distraction of wondering about her purpose leave him too.

The bond strength test was in two hours roughly. Jamie had seven more flights of stairs to climb, but his pace was picking up. The youngest, least prestigious masters were housed at the top of the four towers allowing the older more profitable professors the easily accessible suites. The lower suites were also larger.

Jamie planned to meet Eric at Master Dragonbreath’s classroom for the test. Although he wasn’t entirely sure that Eric would remember where to go. Eric was never completely awake in the morning when Master Brown told him the things he was supposed to remember that day. He was so asleep in fact that this morning Eric put his boiled egg into his oatmeal and mixed it in. Eric seemed to register that his oatmeal didn’t taste quite right, by the grimace that had been on his face, but that didn’t stop him from finishing the bowl.

Five more flights. Jamie felt mostly back to normal, physically. He could climb the stairs at his normal pace at least. If he showed up on time to Master Dragonbreath’s room without Eric, that would raise suspicion. As much as Jamie wanted to put off dealing with the consequences of once again being bonded to Eric… Maybe Eric would play Jamie’s game of pretending everything was normal. That nothing big had happened. Then Master Brown and Dahlia and Bridgett would never say anything.

But really what was the worst that could happen? It’s not like Master Brown was going to punish him. No worse, she would want to have a heart to heart with Jamie to discuss his psychological scarring. She would want to know why he did it. Eric will want to know why…

* * *

Jamie was trying to settle into his work, but his eyes kept nervously twitching towards the clock. He had finally admitted to himself that he needed to bring his research back to ground zero. That no matter how many pretty graphs or complicated transformations he made from his data there still weren’t any distinct trends. And ground zero meant more research. Being fairly caught up with the leading edge of bond related publications, Jamie decided it would be worth his time to reread some old “favorites” for anything that he might have missed the first five times. It was either that or pick a new subject to devote his life to.

Forty-five minutes until Master Dragonbreath was expecting them. When should Jamie leave? It would only take fifteen minutes to walk there, but he would have to find Eric first. Or at least he should. But if Jamie was any judge of distance and position based on the tug of the bond, Eric was at the same height above the ground, but too far away to be in the West Tower. And he hadn’t moved position significantly for awhile… Could he have gotten confused?

“Eric? Wher-“ But before Jamie could finish the thought message to Eric the echo interrupted him, “Ee-er-ri-ri-ic… W-wh-wh-er-“

Jamie’s whole body froze.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

afghan and quilt progress

So I've completed another section of my afghan. The sky looks a little funny where I'm starting to introduce the lighter colors, but other than that I'm happy with it.

I'm also working on a quilt project made entirely of worn-out pant material (I chose not to use pants that were still good enough to be given away). Below you can see all of my squares arranged on top of their eventual fleece backing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

jamie and eric 31-the last moment

Five (or six, I need to make some cheat sheets for myself) Jamie had woken up in the hospital.
It was silent then to, but a different silent than the Masters’ quarters. The Masters’ quarters was like a library, sectioned off with beds. The energy buzzed, was tense, was impatient. People were constantly shifting even if any individual would spend hours at one task. The hospital was the land of eternal dusk, where time meant nothing even when the curtains were drawn back.
But his first thought in the hospital was panic. Bolting straight up in bed his first thought was of Eric. Eric had been bleeding so heavily in the forest. Lady Miranda had cut their bond close to Jamie, hoping that he wouldn’t be affected by the whiplash, but instead it had felt like he was bleeding. Bleeding his soul.
Vaguely he remembered the insane asylum. Like a bad dream. Remembered Bridgett’s voice. Later to find out that Bridgett had been a real hero saving both himself and Eric.
But Jamie only began to wonder about his circumstances after he had seen Eric’s sleeping face. Jamie wasn’t sure how long he had been out, but Eric seemed okay. Well… The color had come back to his face and his breathing was deep and steady. Monitoring devices gave soft little chirps. Feeling a little light-headed, Jamie he swung his legs around to hang off of the bed. The cold metal frame of the bed bit into the back of his calves. Jamie realized he was wearing a hospital gown, and nothing else, leaving him feeling rather naked. But even in his culture, hospitalized patients were reduced to this humiliation. He slid down until his feet touched the floor. He felt weak. But it was only one step to Eric’s bed.
Jamie brushed hair out of his face and felt his fingertips tingle. Jamie contemplated his fingertips. Contemplated his internal awareness of Eric. Lady Miranda had cut the bond, and it had not reformed yet. They were both so weak.
He couldn’t let himself think about what happened next. The guilt was too much. He made himself picture Eric’s face peacefully sleeping. Picture the last moment that he had meant anything to Eric.
The pressure of the windowsill returned to Jamie’s awareness. The pain starting to give way to shakiness. Shakiness and that gentle tug. If he could move he should leave, Jamie decided. His body felt achey and numb as he continued to climb the steps. His head lowered, his hair falling into his face, Jamie thought about the position of his body. He kept his back straight and his step swift.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

jamie and eric-30-Jamie's reaction

* * *

Later Dahlia regretted having brushed Daniel off so quickly. It was just she had to get to class. If he really wanted to talk to her, he should’ve given her his cell number so she could text him. Maybe he didn’t have a cell. Whatever, Dahlia would she him tomorrow. Still she felt a little hesitant to tell Eric that his brother, who he apparently hadn’t seen in ages, was in her class, but she had no idea how to contact him otherwise.

* * *

Jamie knew that pain would come when he touched Eric. Six months without touching Eric. At first it had been hard. He was so in the habit of squeezing his shoulder or tussling his hair in passing as he worked around the lab. But then it became just an issue of avoiding accidently bumping into Eric.
Jamie didn’t know that the pain would come so completely, so quickly. He was only up one flight of stairs before it became difficult to move. Even though the hallways were typically empty, Jamie wanted to avoid embarrassing questions. Using the hand-rail to pull himself up, Jamie decided to sit on the windowsill of the next landing. He could pretend to be deep in thought while holding his pained body still.
But he was still shaking a little bit. Jamie could imagine a intensely-focused Master striding up the stairs not even seeing Jamie, not hearing him even. An old musty man in dusty black robes muttering to himself, or nose buried in a book, as he climbs the stairs. Crazy, except for that boyish curiosity bubbling, burning, flaring, in his eyes. But that man was so lost in his internal world that only out of habit was he able to safely navigate the stairs back to his suite. Jamie wasn’t afraid of scholars like that.
Jamie was afraid of their students. He was afraid of their students. Students who were still new enough to the world of grown-ups to want to conquer all problems. Including a solitary figure shaking with pain on the windowsill.
Jamie’s vision began to fuzz over. Before he had been sitting sideways, looking out the window to hide his face, but he was afraid that he may lose control of his body completely. He brought his feet up sinking his weight into both sides of the window frame. Nausea turned his stomach, he felt feverish but his body was chilled with sweat, and invisible needles he could not brush away pricked his skin. He willed himself to stay quiet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

jamie and eric-29-classroom discussion

The boy said something to Professor Turntable (and yes it is a goofy name, but coming up with a bilzillion names is hard so I’ll change it in the final version) in a soft voice that didn’t carry.
“This is Novice Daniel (…don’t remember Eric’s last name…),” her professor announced to the class.
So it was Eric’s brother! Dahlia swept her papers into a neat pile before her, so that the unoccupied space next to her would look more available.
“Ah, it looks like Dahlia would like you to join her table.” Professor Turntable said pointing towards her. Dahlia turned bright red. Someone giggled. Nat, who sat across from Dahlia, shrugged when she looked at him.
The administrator gave Professor Turntable some papers and rushed off. Daniel, Eric’s brother, shouldered his book back and headed to the back of the room, to the empty spot that Dahlia had cleared for him.
Sitting down Daniel flashed Dahlia a winning smile, before extending his hand, “Dahlia, was it?” He kept his voice down as the class had generally quieted down again.
Dahlia blinked. Was this Eric-copy hitting on her. He cocked his head at her trying to reestablish the handshake.
“Oh.” Dahlia shook his hand, “Yeah. Yeah, Dahlia.”
Daniel pulled a notebook and pencil from his book bag. The notebook looked old and tattered. Dahlia watched out of the corner of her eye, pretending to turn back to her essay, as Daniel opened his notebook and flipped through a couple of pages to find an empty one. The thing had more doodles in it than words. Daniel began coping the prompt from the board.
Nat looked incredulous, “Have you even read the book?”
“Yeah, actually, I read it at my last school. I guess they mixed the curriculum up a bit.” Daniel replied.
“Where are you from?” Alex asked eagerly.
Dahlia realized she was watching the speakers, so she began writing non-sense words on her paper to disassociate herself, “Book, book, title, written written and now for the main topic. Blah blah topic book.”
“Back east. It was a small town. There were like two hundred people,” Daniel responded. His body was turned as if he was talking to all three of his table mates. And Dahlia kept catching his gaze out of the corner of her eye.
“The main character’s struggle was exemplified by her inability to leave the situation,” Dahlia wrote furiously.
“So what, did your family move out here?” Nat prompted the conversation.
“No… actually I ran away from home. I’m staying in the orphanage right now, but they’re going to move me into the dorms when something opens up.” Daniel was almost bragging. Nothing like Eric, Dahlia told herself. True, she had been annoyed by Eric’s cold shoulder behavior as of late, but he had always been modest. Always shrugged off his accomplishments. Always able to laugh at himself.
“Intense.” Alex mused.
“Are you really Eric’s brother?” Dahlia demanded. Demanded perhaps a little too loud because Professor Turntable spoke up, “Settle down class.”
Daniel didn’t miss a beat. He pulled Dahlia notebook away from her grasp and scribbled into the margin, “You know Eric?”
Dahlia grimaced and wrote back, “Well ofc I know Eric! Y else would I ask??” Daniel shrugged.
“How do you know him?”
“We live together.” Dahlia scribbled authoritatively and Daniel looked surprised this time. Dahlia shot him a dirty look. “Not like that. We have the same Master.”
“What???” Daniel made each consecutive question mark bigger than the last.
“explain later.” Dahlia wrote and pulled her notebook away from Daniel and resumed work on her essay. Reluctantly he turned back to his paper and finished coping the prompt.