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Yumi's Adventures

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So, this is the proposed cover illustration for the story I've been threatening to write. It is subject to change as I get more goodies from DAZ (font and render itself, not the title). Those who have been following my other blog entry (More DAZ Fun) will be somewhat familiar with most of the characters and bits of the story itself. However, I need to point out that I've made quite a few changes as time has passed. I've discovered some scenes just didn't work, and some elements of the story were either unnecessary or downright silly (Ellie will be gone entirely, for instance, as well as Yumi's "screen/modeling career"). I've changed some names, but you should still be able to figure out who they are (were?...used to be before I grew a brain?).

I'll try to include a glossary of terms in each chapter for anything I feel you might not be familiar with (things like "yokai" or "Daione Sidhe"). These might not (probably won't) be the definitions you expect, but the result of my admittedly faulty memory and/or any skewed ideas I have of what they should be. The stories themselves will not be in chronological order, but written as they occur to me. I'll attempt to at least let you know where they should be time-wise. Hopefully, this won't be too confusing for newcomers...or those who have a passing knowledge of the story from the hints I've already given. I'll try not to make too many continuity errors.

The first thing you need to know is the word "caerbhallain." Memory tells me that this is a Celtic word that loosely translates as "the king's impregnable fortress." That memory is over forty years old and might not be accurate. If it's wrong, blame me and not C. J. Cherryh (it comes from one of her novels). It's also the root for my real first name. Pronunciation of caerbhallain is pretty much hit-or-miss since Celt is one of the "dead" languages. Some dialects of Ireland or Wales come closest to how it sounded (it was, by most accounts, a very musical language). I've heard it pronounced variously as "curve (or carve) a line," "curve (or carve) a lane," and my personal favorite "curvy lion." Breaking the word into its component parts might make it easier. "Caer" (this word, though not widely known, is still in use in some parts of the world)--a fort, primarily one that dominates a hill. It's pronounced "kur" or "care." "Bha" (or "bhal")--pronounced "vah", it usually denotes a possessive state (belonging to or from). "Lain" (both the vowels are pronounced, giving us lah-een)--denotes a royal possession when placed at the end of a word.

I'll try to get the first episode which concerns the fateful meeting of young Yumi and the Ogre up by the end of the week. Things you need to know for it--
Yokai--one of the catch-all words from Japan that describes supernatural creatures.
Kitsune--a fox spirit. Foxes were among the more powerful of Japan's mythological creatures. How powerful they were was denoted by the number of tails they had. A nine-tailed kitsune was almost god-like in power.
Oni--another Japanese term. It translates (usually) as ogre. In the story, it's used by various yokai to denote "The" Ogre, Aodhan MacLlyr, who during the time of this chapter is the current Caerbhallain.

That's all I can think of for now. Once I put everything in print, I'll probably need to expand the list.

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Updated 01-31-2017 at 06:04 PM by Cdpierson5

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  1. HobbesED's Avatar
    Alright, CD! I'm definitely looking forward to getting totally confused by the terms and timeline! But me good at seeing picture - me like picture.
  2. Cdpierson5's Avatar
    Child of the Kitsune



    Okinawa, July 12, 2034

    She lay as still as she could, feigning sleep. She had learned that the yokai would talk more freely among themselves if they thought she slept. Their whispering sounded like the rustling of leaves, except for the one she thought of as the Beautiful Mother, the one who had been charged by the Foxy Lady to protect her. Her voice was like the gentle sigh of a summer breeze, though at that particular moment, it was more like the angry howl of a storm. She wished the Foxy Lady would return. The Foxy Lady would make everything safe again.

    As the voices droned on, the child's mind began to wander. She, once again, pieced together her disjointed memories of how she had come to this juncture in her life, searching for answers that wouldn't come. There was the shaking earth, then the great wall of water that threatened to sweep everything out to sea. She caught the sigh of frustration before she released it. There were no memories from before the shaking earth. No memories of family. No memories of self. Her first clear memory was of the Foxy Lady stopping her from drinking from a pool of crystal clear water she had found. The Lady had been angry. No, not angry, afraid. The child wondered about that fear. It was just a pool of water, after all. Nothing to be afraid of. She didn't understand the Lady's sigh of annoyance.


    She was startled out of her reverie by a sudden hiss of rage and pain from the Mother. The petite woman had taken a defensive, shielding posture in front of the child. Blood flowed from her right arm. Misshapen shadows danced around the room they were using as shelter. The others had, it seemed, decided to make good on their threats to kill and eat her, but it wasn't fear that made her leap to her feet.


    "How dare you!" she cried, embarrassed that her voice came out as a squeak and not the roar she intended. "The Foxy Lady will punish you for hurting the Mother!"


    "The Kitsune isn't here, and we will be long gone before she returns."


    It was the weasel-faced one that spoke. The complainer. The one who demanded all the food the Foxy Lady had left for them. The troublemaker who kept the others stirred up.


    The Mother touched her shoulder, gently drawing her back to safety. Her voice was a sigh.


    "The Kitsune seeks the Oni. Do you think he will let you live when he finds you broke the Covenant?"


    Frightened whispers broke out at her calm statement. The child knew that word. Oni. Ogre. Monster. She couldn't imagine something so terrible that it would give these creatures pause.


    "I do not fear the Oni. It is a myth told to frighten children. I am stronger than the Oni could ever be!"


    "Ah! Do you hear, Great Oni?" The new voice was liquid gold, musical. "Here is one who would challenge you."

    All eyes shot upward, and in the rafters, there she sat, the Foxy Lady, calmly smoking her long-stemmed pipe. Sweet smelling smoke drifted down as the Kitsune languidly blinked. The child tore her eyes from her Foxy Lady and looked to the only entrance to the room. Any questions on how she had entered with them all unaware disappeared as something massive filled the doorway. Waves of Power rolled off it and filled the room. The girl trembled, not in fear, but in excitement. This Oni, if that was indeed what it was, felt very ancient and immensely strong. The glowing eyes of a predator swept the room as it entered. The yokai had gone still and quiet, knowing better than to move when something more deadly than they could comprehend walked among them. The Oni seemed to shrink as it came further into the room, becoming almost human-sized though it seemed to the child it was still the largest thing she had ever seen. It was tall and slender. Black hair tied into a warrior's knot made it seem taller. It, no he, for the Oni looked to be a human male, but then all yokai looked human unless she glanced at them from the corner of her eye. She had seen all their true forms, even the Foxy Lady. The child had seen her red-gold fur, her sharp ears, and her nine tails. Only the Beautiful Mother had remained human to her sight, and she wondered at that because the Mother didn't feel human. She turned her head and glanced sidelong at the Oni. He, too, remained steadfastly human in appearance. It was probably only her imagination that he winked at her.


    The Kitsune dropped soundlessly to the floor beside her and gave her a quick hug.


    "Are you well, little one?" Then, before she could answer, "Oi, you lot! No one gave you leave to move!"


    "The Mother got hurt."


    "The Mother? Who...ah, Mei. Come here, Mei. Let me see."


    The child was chagrined. She had never thought to ask the Mother's name, had never even considered that she might have a name. As the Kitsune fussed over the other woman's injury, the child stepped up to them and bowed deeply.


    "My apologies, Mei-sama. I have been very rude to you."


    "No, child. If any are at fault here, it is I. I should have told you my name long before this." She smiled and reached out to her. "My name is Mei Lin."


    "It is an honor to know you, Mei-sama. My name is Yumi."


    And she froze, motionless as a myriad of emotions waged war within her. Finally, her face scrunched up and great tears rolled down her cheeks.


    "I'm Yumi," she whispered. Then louder, "I'm Yumi!"


    Eventually, she cried herself to sleep in the Kitsune's arms.


    "Aodhan," the Kitsune said softly, "could you come here for a moment?"


    The Oni rose and started toward her. He paused briefly and spoke over his shoulder to the other yokai.


    "If any of you move, I'll rip out your livers and feed them to a pig."


    He resumed his silent walk and knelt by the Kitsune's side.


    "Could you be a dear and see to Mei's injury?" she asked. "I don't want to disturb the little one."


    He nodded, and with a questioning look, reached out to the other woman. After a moment, Mei raised her right arm. She didn't fail to notice his quick flash of surprise as he touched her. His fingers gently stroked the skin around her wound, and she felt herself beginning to blush. The sensation was akin to a caress between lovers. He bent over her arm and his breath was a cooling balm. She grew agitated as she felt herself respond to him.


    "Stop that, Aodhan," the Kitsune chided. "Give the poor girl her hand back and flirt on your own time."


    She held her arm protectively against her breast, marveling that it was no longer in pain. When, at last, she looked, there was no longer any sign that she had been cut save for dried blood. She started as the Oni spoke.


    "You should rest. I used your own body's strength to fix it."


    He leaned toward her and kissed her forehead. She would have protested, but she was suddenly too tired to care about him taking liberties with her. She couldn't even open her eyes when she heard the other two whispering to each other.


    "Did you know she's dragonkin?"


    "Of course, silly boy. You suckled at my breast when you were a babe. Did you think you could know a thing I could not? She will go with you and the child when you leave. Her heart and soul have been greatly wounded, and I will take it poorly if you add to that hurt."


    "I see you've not changed your habit of foisting your strays off on me."


    "It's only because, of all my fosterlings, you are my favorite, dearest Aodhan. Now, what shall we do with those who would openly speak of breaking the Covenant?"


    "Your territory, your decision."


    "Your Covenant, Great Caerbhallain. Your job to enforce it. Here's another bit of news you need to know. The waters of Lethe leaked through during the earthquake. The child touched them before I could find her."


    "Lethe? How does she remember her name, then?"


    "She's a riddle, that one is. You were good at riddles when you were her age. Solve this one, and I believe you'll solve a great many others at the same time."


    Mei struggled to stay awake, wanting to hear more of their conversation, but sleep overtook her. She fell into dreams of titanic forces struggling with each other. In them all, the Caerbhallain loomed large. She wasn't surprised that the champion in her dreams wasn't the Oni, but a young, raven-haired woman with violet eyes whose beauty took her breath away. When she awoke, she was alone except for the Oni and Yumi.


    The Oni, the Monster That Protects The World, lifted Yumi in his arms and reached for Mei with his free hand.


    "Let's go home," he said.


    Mei placed her small hand in his, then looked into the child's eyes. Why had she not noticed until this moment their unusual violet color.


    "Yes. Let's go home."


  3. Cdpierson5's Avatar
    Stuff you need to know:
    While I'm not 100% sure on pronunciation of some names and terms, these are my best guesses based on what I've managed to glean over the years. All mistakes are mine, but since I'm the author, there are no mistakes.

    Kitsune sounds like key'-snay. Not exactly, but close. I've seen a variety of pronunciations for Aodhan. The one I'm using sounds like Evan. Ah'-oh-dan, Ow'-din, or even Owen would have been acceptable, but I'm going with Evan...so there. My famously faulty memory says that it means "trickster", which fits into the mythos I'm trying to establish. Every mythology has a trickster. In early stories they're portrayed as helpers of mankind, but the advent of most religions relegate them to positions of villainy or portray them as fools.

    The waters of Lethe appear in Greek and Roman mythology. Drinking or bathing in them takes away your memory.

    I decided against too much characterization for this chapter. It just serves as an introduction for some of the major players anyway...and I don't see the point in getting invested in a lot of characters who might end up dead soon. I'm hoping to do a few side stories that focus on background for Mei Lin and a few others.

    By the way, Mei Lin is the subject of that last picture. I call it Dragonkin.
    Updated 01-26-2017 at 07:07 PM by Cdpierson5
  4. HobbesED's Avatar
    I've long since given up trying to pronounce unusual names of things when I read. I just say "Oh, that's the C-longname-with 2 l's person. Or just think that's "Kit" instead of Kitsune.

    I have a history of terrible pronunciation of unique names dating back to when I was a kid. Cherokee was chur-OH-key and Alachua was al-ah-CHEW-ah. (Obviously I found out later that they were CHAIR-ah-key and ah-LATCH-you-ah.)

    So, young Yumi starts out with fragmented memory and the Ogre (easier to remember than Aodhan) gets to take care of her.

    Interesting start, CD. You've got my interest.
  5. Cdpierson5's Avatar
    I often find that I've been mispronouncing things for years. My usual reaction is "m'eh", followed by a shrug.

    I started the next chapter last night. It will introduce Kori. After that will probably be a massive time jump involving an incident shortly after Yumi takes the mantle of the Caerbhallain. Not sure where I'll be going after that. There's a lot of nebulous ideas swirling around in my head concerning Mei's tragic backstory and Yumi's hostile relationship with the Fae Council. One of those will bring Olympia into the story.

    It occurred to me that I hadn't shown what the Kitsune looks like yet, and since I plan on her returning at some point, here's a shot of her in a playful mood.

    Updated 01-31-2017 at 06:08 PM by Cdpierson5
  6. Hokieman's Avatar
    Interesting start CD. I'm looking forward to where you'll take the story.

    HM
    Updated 01-30-2017 at 07:06 PM by Hokieman
  7. Cdpierson5's Avatar
    The next chapter's going to be delayed for awhile...at least until we get some of the mess the site's in fixed. In the meantime, here's a couple of pictures of Dandy.



  8. Cdpierson5's Avatar
    Making a Family (Part 1)


    Near Joplin, Missouri, July 12, 2036

    Yumi sat on the top rail of the wooden fence that led to her home, swinging her legs and practicing saying, "Welcome to my home." Her home! The Ogre had said so! Her little heart swelled with pride, and she drew in a deep breath.

    "Welcome to MY home!" she yelled.


    "Yumi, a little less enthusiasm," Mei called from the front door.

    "Yes, ma'am," Yumi replied.

    She sighed dramatically and cupped her chin in her hands. She didn't understand why Mei wouldn't let her call her Mama. She had been so happy the day the Ogre told her she could call him Daddy, but when she asked Mei if she was now Mama, Mei had said no. Yumi had been crestfallen and embarrassed for Mei. She was pretty sure that Mei and the Ogre did "that thing" that mommies and daddies did. She wasn't exactly sure what "that thing" was, but she thought it must have involved exercise of some sort. Running or something similar, because it made you all sweaty and out of breath. She was also pretty sure you had to do "that thing" without any clothes on, though she felt that was just silly. She certainly wasn't going to take off her clothes and exercise with some boy! No, sirree! Of course, her only evidence of this was once, when waking screaming from a nightmare, Mei had come running into Yumi's room trying with little success to pull her nightgown closed. The robe had fallen open as Yumi snuggled into Mei's arms, and Yumi caught fleeting glimpses of the older woman's bare flesh. The hard nub of a nipple, her tight muscular stomach, and the dark patch of hair where her legs met. Mei had held her close and rocked her until Yumi began to fall asleep. "You smell like Daddy," she told her. Things were awkward between Mei and the Ogre for a few days after that. She didn't understand and no one would tell her why when she asked. Grown-ups were strange. That was for sure. Yumi sighed again.

    Well, one thing she did understand was that today was her birthday, and the Ogre said she could have a party! Her first ever! There hadn't been time after Okinawa for things like parties. They had traveled around the world for over a year, getting to know each other when time permitted. Everywhere they went people came to see and speak with the Ogre. It didn't take long for Yumi to figure out that these were Very Important People. It made her proud that they sought the advice of the Ogre, but she didn't care for the way they looked at Mei or the things they said when they thought no one could hear. On one occasion, she had asked a group of men why they wanted a piece of Mei's ass. She was delighted when the Ogre threw them into the hotel's pool and told those that remained he would speak with them when they learned to be civil around his companion. She was not so delighted with the lecture Mei gave her, the gist of which seemed to be she shouldn't say "ass." She did notice later that, when the Ogre said he could understand why they would want a piece of Mei's ass, Mei blushed prettily and giggled.

    When they finally came to the Ogre's home, the Very Important People still came to see him until he put a stop to it. Yumi thought that was Mei's idea. She thought the party was Mei's idea, too.

    A car horn honked, and Yumi leaped up to greet the first of her guests.

    "Welcome to my home!"
    Updated 03-26-2017 at 09:43 PM by Cdpierson5
  9. Cdpierson5's Avatar
    The preceding post was part one of the second chapter. I've had it ready to post for quite awhile, and I decided to quit lollygagging about posting it. It concerns, of course, Yumi's birthday, which is celebrated, not on her actual birthday because nobody knows when that is, but on the date she first met the Ogre. The next part of Making a Family (when I get around to writing it) will be about Mei and her interactions with the mothers of Yumi's classmates, particularly one Sumiko Sakurahana (who has a daughter named Gogo). Part three will introduce Kori.
    Updated 03-26-2017 at 09:45 PM by Cdpierson5
 

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