The Handmaid's Tail
The Handmaid's Tail is a story written and illustrated by Iron Eater. It ran in Special Issue 11 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/331068.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/the-handmaids-tail/.
A feudal lord must deal with nasty weather and an unexpected complication with the castle staff.
Lord Anise, spear in hand, came up behind Naveesha, though she strained to keep her expression as neutral as possible. You didn't get to be a hero without hearing about shapeshifter mischief, and you didn't get to be an old hero without being constantly ready for things to never be what they seemed. When things got weird and mystical you brought in someone who was weird and mystical to evaluate them, and that was what Lord Anise had done. The fewer witches she pissed off in the process, the better.
It was difficult to describe what all the wavy-shadowed woman looked like. She was person-shaped, with a face, and hair, and probably some eyes that were a color; the most distinctive thing about her was the handmaid's uniform that fit much better than those of the servants standing next to her. Lord Anise squinted. She couldn't even determine what the unfamiliar woman's expression was like, save for a vague sense of wonderment. The lord's hand tightened around her spear. Even if this was an entirely unrelated affair, how long had there been a hanger-on in her castle without anyone really noticing? There were supposed to be safeguards against this sort of thing!"Glamour bullshit," muttered Naveesha, and she blew out the ember keeping her censer smoking. The hard-to-remember woman's shadow puffed away like dandelion fluff, leaving something decidedly more memorable behind.
The Handmaid's Tail was written solely to poke fun at the weird "handmaiden/feudal lord" conversation that originated within Avatar: the Legend of Korra fandom. It has nothing to do with the show that inspired the concept.
The Handmaid's Tail has no related links.
This was a story whose name and basic premise were decided on before the actual plot, which is not how this sort of thing usually goes for me. It started out as 4,000 words written in one very productive day shortly after Mimeo Killed the Radio Star, languishing for weeks, then being revised and fleshed out into its finished length in the space of two furious days of typing. This was the situation I'd been explicitly trying to avoid, but when life gets busy, life gets busy...
The principality Lord Anise watches over isn't based on anywhere in particular. She was designed to be a retired adventurer who had dropped out of the questing game for reasons other than injury, trauma, or scandal, and I mentally place her somewhere in her late 40s or early 50s. She'll probably live to be a million even without the influence of magic or otherworldly gifts. She and Naveesha were fun to write together since "old friends with benefits with obvious chemistry" is a great recipe for banter that writes itself and sex scenes that could probably fill an entire story providing the author doesn't run out of gas (it was a busy typing session, sorry).
Ylvhilde's name is based on actual Norse naming schemes but this doesn't make it any easier to type.
I originally wasn't meaning to not include any male characters in this story, but when I noticed what was going on I opted to just roll with it. It's a femslash issue, after all, so why not go full Themyscira in the text? There's presumably some men (and non-binary people, by law of averages alone) milling around elsewhere in the village, castle, etc.
Yet again I have a fantasy protagonist in a position of authority who gets righteously angry if something is screwing around with the local agriculture. Is this my brand? Do I have a brand now?