So can you make MidJourney / AI art generators illustrate your stories for you? Yes and no–not yet. Will you be able to? Yes, soon. Did it draw me a picture of a caracal in a trench coat? Yes. Lots. (“Oh, that’s nice, that’s a lynx.” “That’s a caracal.” “Oh.” “That one’s a lynx.” “Ok, ok, ok, I see, I see, so, now, just for my benefit, Riders?” “Yes?” “In the future, how do I know which one’s a lynx and which one is a caracal?”) Did it also put eyepatches on them? No, for some reason it completely refused to put eyepatches on them, weird.Can I describe an isolated scene or mental image and have it 100% fulfilled?
“But we aren’t human.” Sam cut him off, still cold and controlledly furious, and under the coldness he threw a sneer into his voice as well. “We aren’t even alive. Consider that, when you think what lives–all of your lives–are worth to us.”
It really was a good thing Sam was handling all the talking. I wouldn’t have been able to deliver that threat without bursting into tears.
Yasmini said: “I grieve because I fear this marriage shall bring me no honor. I will not be a first wife. My children shall be merely a concubine’s children and get no good inheritance, and I foresee no joy in my new husband, or he in me.”
“These are hard thoughts,” said the stranger. “Is there none whom you might be pleased to wed?”
“None, for I have learned that the companion of my youth, whose father was friend to my father, has died in battle with the northerners.”
“What was his name?”
“Zabra of the Hawk’s house, son of Adron.”
“…just so,” said the traveler.
Then he strung his harp, and played many songs. The maidens sang and clapped their hands so that the silver and the beaded bangles on their wrists rang like bells. Even the Lady was for a time made merry by the music; she leaned close to hear, and smiled.
When they near to the town, the traveler slung his harp and would go from them. Although they pressed him to stay, and promised him to play at the prince’s table, he but bowed and begged leave. Yasmini stopped the carriage to bid him farewell. No coin had she to give, but she gave him with her own hand the rings she wore.
The traveler bowed low, and said no word; but for a while as the dust was fading he stood still by the roadside, weighing those jewels in his palm.
Sam threw open the door and stalked in without bothering to make himself nonthreatening. I’d already seen him coming up the stairs, and the way he carried his shoulders had braced me for trouble. But now, Jurt slid away from the wall to stand half in front of me, and Edris threw a big-eyed glance at him over her shoulder. That was what made Sam stop in his tracks and reset his expression, I think.
Then she went straight back to smiling at / psychologically wrestling with her offspring. He was smearing food on my countertop in lieu of eating it.
“It’s always trouble….hey, Allie.”
Alice Preston vibrated to a halt. “Cass, are you in?”
“Yep, the, uh, the Protector said we needed to go help you out.”
Alice did not reach out and grab his face between both of her hands, but she looked like she wanted to. “It’s going to be perfectly simple and perfectly easy and I just need three things from you, okay? Three. That’s it. Three.”
“Three, yup, sure–”
“Don’t die before Wednesday.”
“Okay? Just don’t. Okay?”
“Show up on Wednesday.”
“Okay, yup, show up on Wednesday.” “Do not. Forget. The bolt cutters.”
“I love you so much,” said Alice Preston, reassuringly.
“I do have a question,” said Cassidy, not reassured.
“What about the big giant dog?”
“We will deal with the big giant dog.”
“I have no more questions.”
Alberich smothered a rejoindering sneer from Jehan by saying lazily, “The women among the Pastless ride into battle some times with their men. They carry long knives. There is no greater fear for a wounded man.”
Vay flicked a glance at him from averted eyes, unsure whether this constituted support.
“They are barbarians.” Alberich said, and went mute again. He appeared, as usual, entirely ready to say nothing more for the rest of the evening.
Vay gathered up her, well, courage. “Sire–then you will say it is not a matter of courage.”
“Is it any less dangerous to bear a child? This thing that you do for love alone?”
Then the winds awoke in vengeance,
Traitors, but to treason faithful
Like hounds lept, let loose from leashes
Or like hunting hawks were driving;
After fleet prey they were speeding:
After hare the hounds were chasing,
On the sparrow were they plunging.
On the shore and in the waters
Under sky the sea was rising
And its head was lifting higher:
Nine great waves had risen wrathful—
Mighty children of the Sea—
Ad the ninth of them rose highest,
And the last of them was greatest:
Iron-Bearer of the Sea.
Iron brought she from the oceans,
From the deepest ocean carried
From the far abyss recovered,
From the deep-delved caverns brought it;
Iron cast she to the shores;
On the sandy shores she set it;
On the broken shores she brought it
To the peoples gave she Iron:
Gave to warlike kindreds sword-blades;
To the feuding kindreds, arrows;
To the weeping, she gave ingots;
To the vengeful, she gave steel.
Then the best of them were heroes
And the worst of them were wolves;
Then the greatest got them kingdoms,
And the lesser served as slaves.
Fell swords made and cast them heedless
For the strongest hand to seize them—
Black swords called to black hearts going—
Made for Elfe, thrice-drowned, the Rider,
Shining spear with heavy handle;
Many heroes gave their helpmeet--
Iron arms and shining armor—
Many more received their bane,
If the dark swords met a greater
Or the black swords’ might was broken:
In the wolf’s-feast, served as poison
And the ravens got their gain;
And the iron shards, well-reddened,
Washed away to join the sea.
Jurt may have said something. I wasn’t listening. All I could see was the Fence and the gate in it, getting closer and closer but somehow no larger as we walked towards it. I twisted my cold fingers in Ajax’s mane. Contact was getting easier now; all I had to do was subvocalize the words. “Ajax, baby, are you sure? Are you sure?”
Ajax twisted an ear and his whole attention towards me. It felt like a puppy’s breath and the strum of distant thunder while the sun was still warm. “Are you afraid, Telzey?”
Of course he wouldn’t believe I could know fear, or doubt, or be wrong. Sam and I were still gods to him.
Old gods, primitive, little gods. Not the lofty ones of marble Olympus–lesser, nameless, one bare step above the mortals they taught how to use fire, or language, or how to kill with implements of metal and take someone else’s crops. Gods that could bleed and die, and revenge and betray.
We had raised him from a cub, and he was mighty–but he was not full grown yet. He still worshipped his gods, his little, strange, half-sighted gods of the field and the farm and the sky.
“Ajax, if you die, you’ll break my heart.”
Ajax threw his head back and his mind-voice roared out like a chord of deep music. “I will not die, I cannot die. Songs I still have that are not yet sung!
The captain continued to study him. “Then why?”
“There’s a girl,” Jack admitted. “–she thinks I’m a hero.” Despite everything, he found he was smiling, just at the memory, just at the thought. “She thinks there is nothing I cannot do.”
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