Fic: A Bird of Paradise 25/39 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin and Gwen
versaphile
Title: A Bird of Paradise 25/39
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 178k / est 250k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

Gwen has listened in silence for years as Morgana's muttered nightmares have proved true again and again, and her latest are terrifying visions of people with glowing red eyes and the destruction of Camelot itself. When Camelot loses its only protection against the devastation that is to come, Gwen must find a way to rescue Merlin from Arthur before it's too late.


( "Quick thinking," Gwen said, smiling, and Morgana smiled back. Gwen couldn't help but remember their kiss under the dungeons, and wanted to kiss Morgana again. But they weren't alone, and Merlin reminded her of that by jumping off her shoulder and hop-flapping around the room in amazement.

Gwen turned and finally took in their surroundings. Gaius had told them that there was a secret room where many books of the Old Religion had been hidden, to save them from the fires of the Great Purge. But this was was so much more than she could have hoped for, or even imagined. This was a whole library of books and scrolls, statues of the gods and goddesses, objects of ritual and magic. It didn't matter that they were covered in cobwebs and dust. This room held irreplaceable treasures. That it had survived this long without discovery and destruction, at the very heart of Camelot...

"Gwen," Morgana said, softly. "You're crying."
)


Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2022366.html.

Finally!
Busy Busy Writing Writing
versaphile
Chapter 28 is done: 8k / 25pp. As you can see, it ran rather long. I even had to cut one last scene that I was going to include because it worked better without it. It shall now be sent on to the betas to poke over.

Shall post the next ABOP chapter tomorrow. Right now I am off to bed. *thumps*

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2021998.html.

*engine sputters to life*
Merlin Sword
versaphile
After a small eternity of procrastination, I finally got started on Ch 28 today. Once again it's going to be longer than anticipated, so despite writing 15 pp/5k, I still have one big scene to finish and one smaller one after that. But Merlin and Arthur are talking again! Talking is a good thing. It's to each other and everything. Though of course they're being difficult. What else is new.

Also, my sleep cycle is totally borked right now. Which is why I'm pretty much wide-awake at 5:30am. Ugh. And I have a work trip this week, which means I'll have to jam myself back to getting up at 7:30 for an 8:30 meeting (ugh ugh ugh x infinity). I blame naps. Stupid naps.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2021886.html.

Taking a break...
BB Fran Cool and Literary
versaphile
...from Doctor Who. I was really hoping I'd enjoy Twelve and the new season, but all the things that annoyed me about the last couple of years of Eleven are still present if not moreso. So I'm going to save the eps in case the rest of the season ends up being amazing and I can give it another chance then. My Doctor Who spoiler ban is officially lifted, as I no longer care about being spoiled. I'll continue to hope that the BBC finds another showrunner sooner rather than later.

For now, this marks the end of DW for me. I burned out on the fandom a long time ago, and lost the writing bug some time after that. Eleven's era didn't click for me the way Ten's did, and Twelve plus Moffat has turned out to be actively less appealing for me than I could have imagined. I just don't feel like I have way into the show anymore and I don't enjoy it. Which is a shame. But it's more of a relief to let it go, which says it all really.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2021298.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 24/39 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin Arthur Excalibur
versaphile
Title: A Bird of Paradise 24/39
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 172k / est 250k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

( "We're almost there," Arthur told him. "I'll take you right to Gaius. He'll know how to fix this."

Merlin ignored him and began trying to work himself free, but Arthur easy pushed him back down. This, of course, earned him more complaining.

Arthur shushed him. "Do you want to stay a bird for the rest of your life? The Sidhe who did this to you are in there. The last thing we need is for them to see you."

His answer was a disgruntled silence. It was remarkable that as a bird, Merlin could be just as stubborn and sullen as he was as a human.
)


Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2020807.html.

Snailing along
Busy Busy Writing Writing
versaphile
I finally overcame my Arthur block and got cracking on ch 27 today. I reached 15pp/5k before bedtime, and I have one last big (and fun) scene to write before it's finished. I should have time tomorrow to sort it, and then I can post the next chapter in the queue. Arthur was being quite a tough nut and my progress was seriously slow, but I dragged the words out of him at last.

Next I have a dinner party to write involving eight people plus various servants, and I have almost no notes worked out for the scene. Fortunately everyone involved has a lot of opinions so it should work out OK. Also there is no end of ways for Elena to be gross, Morgana to be snarky, Uther to be annoyed, and Arthur to despair.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2020440.html.

TGIS
BB Fran Scruffy Layabout
versaphile
The weekend could not have come soon enough. It turned out to be a heck of a week, mostly due to work, and I am very glad to be done with it.

*breathes out*

I haven't had much time/energy to poke the fic this week, for reasons above, but I did actually make progress in one area. I've started fleshing out ideas for the first chapter of Birds of Passage, the next story in the Falconry series. This is a very good thing, because it means I have Merlin and Arthur's emotional and relationship arcs sorted out through the end of A Bird of Paradise. I already know what the first scene of the story is going to be, and man is it nice to be back in Merlin's POV. Thankfully, whatever additional POVs there are in the rest of Falconry, Merlin's will always be there from that point forward. Passage is Merlin and Morgana, and then after that it might be more open, though I do enjoy limited POV. But then, after Passage the main cast is going to expand, so it will make sense to open things up. (Lancelot! Gwaine!) But Merlin is absolutely my favorite.

But back to Paradise. I expect to have enough writing time this weekend to finish hashing out ch 27's outline, and to finish writing the chapter proper. I'll be on vacation later this month, so my goal is to get 27 and 28 done before I leave, since that will leave me at a good break point. 27/28 are both Arthur POV, and 29 is Gwen. I won't have time to work on 29 until at least the 27th, and maybe not until October. My plan to get four chapters done in September has been quite foiled, but if I can get at least two out I'll be happy. And October is more promising for writing time. Though it does seem that I'll still be finishing this fic come January...

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2020135.html.

Moving along
Busy Busy Writing Writing
versaphile
Between finishing 26 early and the three days weekend, I was able to get a full 4pp done on 27. I also wrote out the rough for the second scene of the chapter, which should be another 3-6pp, and it's ready to go as soon as the writing battery pings back into green. Some familiar facing being brought back into the fic, after being offscreen since the early chapters. It's like, oh yeah, these guys exist! I should use them.

Also, summer made a surprise reappearance! Clearly the weather is trying to encourage me to focus on writing by making the outside work inhospitably hot and humid.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2020002.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 23/39 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin Arthur Excalibur
versaphile
Title: A Bird of Paradise 23/39
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 165k / est 250k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

( Arthur had been wrong about magic. He had been lied to his entire life. That was the plain fact of it, and he had seen too much over the past four days to pretend otherwise. He still didn't understand why his father had lied or why he had begun the Great Purge in the first place, but that was secondary to his other concerns. He had tried to force Merlin to choose between his magic and his life, and Arthur saw now that that truly was an impossible choice. They were one and the same, just as Merlin had insisted. Given the choice between Camelot and magic, Arthur suspected that the situation was similar. He had so much yet to understand, but at least now he was no longer shutting his eyes to the truths before him.

He wished he felt better about any of it, but along with some small relief he gained only a host of troubles.
)


Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2019722.html.

Ch 26 is done
Busy Busy Writing Writing
versaphile
Early start paid off nicely. Chapter 26 is done, 16pp / 5.7k.

*sends it off to betas*

*kicks back*

*leans forward again and pokes at outline for chapter 27*

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2019525.html.

Writing time
Merlin and Gwen
versaphile
I managed to clear away some time and oomph for writing tonight, as I wanted to get a head start on 26. Did a little brainstorming with [personal profile] cerianite, did a little cleanup on the leftovers from the mitosis, and then got to writing. Total for ch 26 so far is 8pp/2.7k. Another character interaction-heavy chapter, lots of dialogue, but this is the last "quiet" chapter of the fic. Starting with 27, it's plot and action all over the place.

I do suspect that I'll need to go over the chapter a few times to get it right. There's a lot of tricky emotional stuff happening, and it's heavy lifting. I'm rewatching bits of Merlin eps for inspiration. Also, Merlin's rant is always fun to rewatch.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2019203.html.

Get your act together, come on.
WTF?!
versaphile
Jesus frickin' Christ, why does the Tumblr message system have to be SO HARD?

*headdesk*

It's no wonder Tumblr is full of people who can't even. Right now *I* can't even. All I want to do is reply to a single message, but apparently that is just asking too much.

I will continue to periodically rant about Tumblr's atrocious message handling until they fucking fix it, OMG.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2018856.html.
Tags:

Looking for a beta
BB Fran Cool and Literary
versaphile
I'm looking for a new beta for Falconry. Workload is roughly 1-3 6k chapters a month, plus the occasional sounding board/brainstorming chat over IM. (I tried merlin_betas, but the only responder so far has vanished on me.)

Preferably someone who has read the series or is willing to read what's already posted. Merlin/Arthur canon setting (S2 era) with a side of Gwen/Morgana.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2018747.html.
Tags:

Outline Revision 2: Electric Boogaloo
BB Fran Cool and Literary
versaphile
This time, it's serious.

I went through the huge, mad pile of notes that was the outline for the rest of ABOP, and rewrote the entire thing until it made sense. I was able to keep a lot of stuff, but had to rejigger almost everything. Major changes in the dynamic of who wants what, choices made etc. All for the better.

The result is that the current chapter plan is for 39 total chapters, with 13 chapters (plus WIP ch 26) pending based on a 41 page outline. I was able to preserve the 10 day timeline. I have a pretty solid plan for all the chapters, with a few still high-level as I have a lot to figure out for them. They're the big actiony bits, of course.

Plot has solidified. Character arcs are finally sorted. Political stuff is sorted. Timing is set. There may even be 1-2 bits of smut towards the end. (This fic is so barely NC-17 it's hilarious.) This last third of ABOP is going to be a beast, but it'll be a fun beast to write. It may be even more jam-packed than the rest of the fic has been so far, which is saying something.

There is a chance I might actually be able to finish this monster by the end of the year. *knocks wood to unjinx self* I put the rough estimate for the total of the whole thing at around 250k. Which means I have about 80k to go.

Is there a term for doing a marathon's worth of marathons? Because that's what this feels like.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2018432.html.

Unexpected success
Food (Hamster Eating) (cheesygirl)
versaphile
I finally managed to make a proper chicken tikka masala sauce. It actually tastes like my local Indian restaurant made it. Of course, part of the trick was that Trader Joe's has a good Masala base sauce. But still! Victory is mine! \o/ I caramelized the hell out of a couple of big sweet onions, added fresh garlic, simmered the sauce with chicken, then added heavy cream. Om nom nom.

Other weekly cookery tonight: black rice (to go with the chicken), a lamb roast with those teensy potatoes, cous cous with more caramelized onion, lox on challah, brie with prosciutto, and tomato bisque with parmesan toast. I was feeling bored with my food recently and decided to mix it up a bit.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2018226.html.
Tags:

Recalculating
BB Fran Cool and Literary
versaphile
Did some light editing on ch 25, and considered how much is yet to go for the chapter, and mitosis occurred. Chapter 25 is officially done at 17pp/5.5k, and I'm 4pp/1.2k in on ch 26. Ch 23 will go up once I finish 26.

I also did a bit of cleanup on the rest of the outline for A Bird of Paradise, and the total expected chapter count is up to 35. I pruned a day that no longer fit into the current revision, so the total in-story timespan is now roughly 10 days (Ch 22 is on day 4; ch 26 is on day 5). Of course, the last chunk of outline is still in the rough stages, so further mitosis and time recalculation may occur. Once I finish 26, I need to do some serious outline formalizing.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2017923.html.

Almost there
Busy Busy Writing Writing
versaphile
Phew! Just finished a solid writing streak of 20 pages / 6.7k. Unfortunately, there's still another 2+ (longish) scenes to write for chapter 25 before it's done. On the plus side, if it goes on long enough, chapter mitosis will hit. But I'll need another good chunk of writing time to get there. OMG so much character interaction.

Tomorrow I'm going with [personal profile] cerianite to see the Oddball comedy festival, which should be awesome. Which means tomorrow is not a writing day. Will see if I can carve out some time during the week. Otherwise it'll be next saturday.

Oh, and I finally watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And it was solid AWESOME. *two thumbs up* Now I see why Tumblr has been flooding my dash with Cap/Bucky stuff. Also Black Widow totally deserves a stand-alone movie, seriously Marvel get your thumb out.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2017751.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 22/31 (Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana NC-17)
Merlin and Gwen
versaphile
Title: A Bird of Paradise 22/31
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 155k / est 200k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

Gwen has listened in silence for years as Morgana's muttered nightmares have proved true again and again, and her latest are terrifying visions of people with glowing red eyes and the destruction of Camelot itself. When Camelot loses its only protection against the devastation that is to come, Gwen must find a way to rescue Merlin from Arthur before it's too late.


( From the shadows came a low, menacing laugh. "The witch asks me for help."

Morgana stiffened at this -- if not because of his words, than because of his sneering tone. It was clear that the dragon held her in disdain, and yet they had never met. "Show yourself. Or are you such a coward that you can only shout insults from the shadows?"

The dragon growled, and then abruptly lunged forward into the light. He was a monstrous beast, with huge wings and sharp teeth and claws. Both women jumped back, and were relieved when the dragon's chains kept it from reaching the ledge. The dragon settled back on a large outcropping and glared at them. It snorted smoke.

"I will never help you, Morgana Pendragon," snarled the dragon.
)


Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2017341.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 21/31 (Merlin/Arthur, NC-17)
Merlin and Gwen
versaphile
Title: A Bird of Paradise 21/31
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana
Rating: NC-17
Length: 148k / est 200k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

Gwen has listened in silence for years as Morgana's muttered nightmares have proved true again and again, and her latest are terrifying visions of people with glowing red eyes and the destruction of Camelot itself. When Camelot loses its only protection against the devastation that is to come, Gwen must find a way to rescue Merlin from Arthur before it's too late.


( Morgana turned back to Gaius. "If my mother had magic, why on earth would my father have taken Uther's side? Why would he teach me that magic was something to be afraid of? He had to know that I would inherit."

"Some lines remain strong, or strengthen through the generations. But in others, the magic dies out. Most children do not manifest their magic until they come of age, and the earliest is puberty. Your father could not have been certain about your powers until that time."

But Morgana was not assuaged. "He asked Uther to take me in as his ward in the event of his death. He had to know that could mean sending me to mine."
)


Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2016450.html.

And done!
BB Fran Cool and Literary
versaphile
Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote a complete chapter in a weekend. Ch 24 rounded out at 18pp / 7.2k. Which means I can move this to the final document, and post chapter 21, which has been waiting patiently in the queue.

Whee! Next up: chapter 25 outline.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2016086.html.

Ch 24 progress
Busy Busy Writing Writing
versaphile
Writing day success! Chapter 24 is now up to 13 pp, 5.3k. Not bad at all, especially as I had a slow start. One more good chunk of writing time and I should be able to polish it off. Lots of confrontations in this chapter, though it's a bit of a bridge between the second and third arcs of the story. After this it get plotty and complicated again, so I'm enjoy the relative lull.

Ah, the satisfying glow of a solid writing jag. It's been a while. It's nice to be back.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2015979.html.

Good riddance
RTFM OMG LOL (Networking Guinea Pig)
versaphile
I just dusted off my website FTP in order to remove a previously-innocuous widget from all of my hosted archives. It's called AddThis and it's this little bit of script that makes it easy to share links to the pages that the widget is embedded in. But in the years since I set it up, the AddThis company has turned evil. They're creating something called canvas fingerpriting:

A new, persistent web-tracking technology developed has been used to track web users across many of the world's most popular websites, including those of the White House and even wholesale smut platform YouPorn.

The canvas fingerprinting technique was described in 2012 by University of California researchers (PDF) as a means to silently track the web sites users visit. Surveilled users watched over by canvas attacks cannot defend themselves by clearing the tracking mechanism by normal browser flushing nor guard against infection using apps like AdBlock Plus.


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/22/canvas_fingerprinting_is_privacy_pirates_new_web_weapon/

If you use AddThis in any of your websites, make sure you remove it ASAP. This is nasty stuff if you care at all about your privacy (or the privacy of whoever visits your site). Also, check out Ghostery, a browser plugin that blocks widgets like this.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2015636.html.

Fic: A Bird of Paradise 20/31 (Merlin/Arthur, NC-17)
Merlin Arthur Excalibur
versaphile
Title: A Bird of Paradise 20/31
Author: Versaphile
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana preslash
Rating: NC-17
Length: 144k / est 200k
Genre: Adventure, Angst, Romance, Magic Revealed
Summary: Merlin is Arthur's lover, his manservant, his knight, the grain of sand that will make Camelot into a shining pearl. But the one thing he cannot be is a sorcerer. After Merlin confesses, Arthur is determined to find a way to remove Merlin's magic, to remove the corruption without killing him, and before it can destroy his soul. But magic can only be fought with magic. Without Merlin's powers, Camelot will be defenseless against the next magical attack. And that's not all Arthur has to worry about, because there are visitors to the court, alliances and enemies, and a princess he may have no choice but to marry.

( The path was gone.

At first he thought that he was looking in the wrong direction, confused by Avalon's topsy-turvy nature. Then he thought that he wasn't seeing it because it was so narrow and overgrown. But no, there were the trees he had passed, the rotted stump, the copse of hazels. Everything was exactly the same, except that the path was no longer there, as if it had never existed at all.

There was more giggling, and Arthur knew at once that he had been tricked. The creature had lured him from the path, and now he was even more lost than before.

"You got me into this," Arthur muttered at the creature. "You're going to get me out of it."
)


Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2015323.html.

Ch 22 done!
Busy Busy Writing Writing
versaphile
Yes, you read that right: summer is here, and with it 90+ degree days, and that means I have finally been chased out of the garden and back to the keyboard. I was able to pick right back up from where I left off, and finished writing chapter 22. Total is 18pp, 7.2k, which I am quite pleased with.

*takes a moment to bask in writingness*

Even better news: now I get to post chapter 20, which I have been sitting on for AGES. And this weekend I'm having a good old fashioned story hash-out with my beta [personal profile] cerianite to sort out chapter 24 (23 is already done) and get back to Arthur and Merlin.

Two photos of the garden in full early July flush. Loads of daylilies, lilium, daisies, cranesbill, agastache, liatris...






Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2015044.html.

*is baffled*
Bones - Booth Askance (angdelia)
versaphile
It is just me, or is the whole Tumblr messaging system completely confusing? Sometimes I get notification about messages, which I can sometimes reply to, and sometimes I can't, and sometimes only in public, and yesterday I got a notification for a message that does not seem to exist anywhere.

Crossposts: http://versaphile.dreamwidth.org/2014937.html.
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