Iulia Linnea (iulia_linnea) wrote,
Iulia Linnea

Running the letters: nine Abecedarian Game prompt answers

The folx in my profic writers' group and I play the Abecedarian Game: any three consecutive letters can serve as prompt inspiration, and "running the letters" means answering nine prompt sets in abecedarian order (the final set is either a YZ or YZA one, depending upon preference). My group tends to select a specific dictionary from which we all pull prompts. Below, you'll find nine little stories using words that I took from Phrontistery's Dictionary of Unusual Words.

My first three prompts, abodement, babeldom, and candescent, inspired the double drabble,

Guarding Against Harm (G; Argus, Mrs. Norris, Severus, and Albus with implied Argus/Irma; 200 words): Argus knows what matters.

Argus stood, pale and stooped, clutching Mrs. Norris to his breast. "I tell you, sir, I had an abodement of something gone horribly wrong, and when I investigated, I found pure babeldom!"

"There's no one here," Severus said, glaring down the wandlit darkness of the corridor.

"But there was!"

"You said you saw a ghost, Argus?"

"No, Headmaster!" he exclaimed, earning him a nip from Mrs. Norris. "Sorry, girl. No," he repeated. "I said I saw a candescent—"

Severus's sniggering interrupted him. "No, I'm not dating a librarian, am I?"

"You shut it, Sev—er, Professor Sna—"

"It was hot, this glowing?" asked Albus.

"It was hot and loud and confusing, sir," replied Argus. "Hard to breathe, too."

"Oh, for the love of Merlin!"

"Er, where's he going?" Argus demanded, as Severus stalked off.

Albus chuckled. "Argus, I believe that you must have seen and heard someone carrying a cauldron of Firebright Elixir in its final stage of production."

"Is that harmful? To cats?"

"Oh, no," Albus replied, scratching Mrs. Norris behind the ears. "Not at all."

"Will the little shi—student get detention?"

"Given Severus' reaction, Argus, I imagine that whatever he gets will be quite unpleasant, indeed."

Argus grinned. "Good."

My second three prompts, disafforest, éloge, and fabaceous, inspired the ficlet,

In Their Natural Habitat (G; Luna and her boys, original magical creatures; 235 words): The Lovegood-Scamanders spend a great deal of time observing creatures in their natural habitat.

Lorcan and Lysander called the creatures who dwelt in this part of the wood "Beanies," and the tiny bewinged creatures did not live long.

"Spider webbing?" asked Lysander, pointing toward the procession moving through the disafforested area before them.

"Uh, huh," Lorcan answered.

"Her wings," said Luna, nodding in the direction of the fabaceous being, "have been forever stilled by Death, but the webbing keeps them neatly folded so that she'll ever look her best."

"You're making poems again."

"Dad, shh! The éloge is starting!" hissed Lysander.

At the same time, Lorcan insisted, "Don't be disrespectful."

A humming ripple shivered through the wings of the Beanies who bore the departed's bier towards her burial place, and the Lovegood-Scamanders fell silent.

The sing-song oration that followed was intense; the creatures fluttered their wings in time with eulogiser's emphases and shed irridescent dust upon their obvious dear one.

And then, quite suddenly, quiet fell, the crowd dispersed, and the dust formed a colourful, protective shell over the burial site.

"Beautiful," murmured Luna, as Rolf wiped away a tear.

"They loved her a lot, don't you think, boys?" he asked.

"Making notes!" Lorcan replied, busily scribbling.

Wide eyed, Lysander turned to his parents and said, "They're bigger than 'Beanies'."

"You're right, sweetheart," Luna agreed.

"Yes," Rolf said. "They do need a new name before we include them in the next edition."

"What do you propose?" they asked, together.

My third three prompts, gymnosophy, heresiology, and ivorine, inspired the ficlet, A Brief Study of Brothers

A Brief Study of Brothers (G; Bill, Charlie, implied dragons, implied past Charlie/Tonks; 350): Bill pays Charlie a visit during mating season.

"Why Charles Weasley, I didn't know you were an adherent of gymnosophy!"

Charlie, who was standing, legs apart and arms outstretched without a stitch on, laughed. "Just making sure the spell gets rid of all the dragon shit, my brother. Hand me that bundle?"

"You really did look quite peaceful and contemplative. If not for the odd smell, I'd've thought you were meditating or something."

"Yeah, well, we were moving Angus the 'Kind'—"

"Angus!" Bill exclaimed.

"—from one enclosure to another, one farther from the females, and he took umbrage. Shat all over the corridor and us. Thank Merlin for Bubble-Head Charms!"

"Aw, why deny Angus his fun? Isn't it standard procedure not to interfere in the mating process? I remember that from Draper's."

"Ha!" exclaimed Charlie, pulling something long and ivorine from his pocket. "I knew you took Draper's Dragonology!"

"Just to study! You weren't reading it as I recall."

"I was, er, studying something—"


"—else at the time," Charlie concluded, handing Bill the object. "And poring over Draper's would be considered an act of heresiology by the Preserve's new director. Look at that."

"The 'something' was Tonks?"

"Focus, Bill."

"It's a . . . bone?" he asked.

"Yes. Notice the awful crack running along its length?"

"Oh, ew!" Bill dropped the bone.

Charlie caught it. "That's right, it is a dragon's baculum! And the poor bastard wishes that he'd been penned farther away from Maeve the Mad. Would've saved his biggest bit, it would."

"Angus is all right, isn't he? Bill asked. "He's always been one of my favourites."

"He's fine, and he'll remain so as long as he doesn't worry the females. Follow me," instructed Charlie, walking towards the pens. "You see, despite Draper's outmoded ideas about dragon keeping, keeping too many dragons in one place isn't actually natural, so to prevent unnecessary death and dismemberment, we've got to monitor their breeding behaviour."

"Speaking of that," Bill said, "how's your love life?"

Charlie shook his head. "I knew you couldn't handle them. You've got it on the brain!"

"Handle what? And what do I have on the brain?"

"Sex. The dragons' pheromones, they affect people, too."

"But I don't want to fuck a dragon!"

"That's good, my brother, because you don't have a baculum!"

My fourth three prompts, juramentum, kith, and latrocinate, inspired the ficlet, Weasleys!

Weasleys! (G; various Weasleys, including a bonus Weasley/pairings; 715): For Riley Cross, it's the best Christmas ever, being amongst Weasleys.

"It's just another word for 'oath', you great twit! Just say oath."

"Be nice, Ginny," said Ron. "Percy's been at the dictionary again. He's very importa—ow!"

"You be nice," ordered Charlie, turning to Percy. "Why do you want us to swear a juramentum? We're all kith and kin here. We won't tell."

"Right," Riley Cross, Bill's best friend, said. "Why so secretive?"

Percy smoothed down his shirt and cleared his throat. "Because it's serious. We can't be caught. I paid that horrible man for Mum's Christmas present—"

"What did you buy? We never talked about—"

"Ginny," Bill said, interrupting her interruption of Percy, "let him speak."

Percy coughed again, and then continued, "He wouldn't give it to me. He said it would cost twice more what I'd already paid him!"

"He did what?" demanded Charlie.

"I didn't know he'd try to latrocinate me!" wailed Percy. "I spent all the money!"

"That thieving arse!" exclaimed Ron.

"We should pound the—er, I mean, go talk to the bastard," Riley opined.

"Oh, now I understand," said Ginny.

Ron cocked his head at her. "Understand what?"

"Why George and Fred aren't here," she replied. "They're off 'dealing' with him, aren't they?"

"Riley and I better go find—"

"No need, Weasleys!" Arthur announced.




"There's no need for that, but you might've employed an Extension or two in here." Arthur entered the shed.

"Yeah, crowded, isn't it?" asked Fred, or perhaps, George, as the twins followed their father. "What're you lot plotting?"

"Highway robbery," remarked Riley.

Bill laughed. "No, that's what the vendor was doing to Percy, highway-robbing him."

"Well, he was! Is! He did—"

"S'all right, Perce," said George, or perhaps, Fred. "Here." He handed Percy a small package. "I had the man Shrink it."

Arthur chuckled.

"What did you all do?"

"Oh, it was his idea," said Fred, or perhaps, George, pointing to George, or perhaps, Fred. "Never seen anyone so squeamish in my life!"

Arthur shook his head at Bill, mouthing, "It's okay."

"Well?" asked Ron, of Percy.

"Yeah, what did you buy?" said Ginny, as everyone leaned in.

"I, er, I know that we agreed on the sweeties, but . . . well, I saw these and—"

"Oh, Percy! We agreed!"

"Settle," said Bill, giving Ginny a quelling look.

Arther grinned. "Don't leave us in suspense, Percy!"

"I know she'll like them," Percy replied, opening the now restored package. "Look how shiny and sharp they still are! They're perfect, especially for second-hand goods!"

"Wow!" Riley reached out to touch the tools but pulled back his hand before he could. "Those are . . . ."

"Those are amazing, Percy!" Charlie said. "How'd you find such perfect clock repair tools?"

"And why?" demanded Ginny. "We agreed that—"

"Don't be mean to Percy!"

Everyone turned to Ron, who reddened. "It's nice, what he bought. Mum'll love 'em, Gin."

"But we said—"

"We said," said Riley, pulling Ginny into a hug, "that your mum should have something she'd enjoy."

"Yes, like sweeties!"

"Mum likes sweeties," Arthur told Ginny, "but she loves making and repairing clocks."

"Yeah," said Ron. "We can get our own sweeties."

"Won't have to," said Fred, or perhaps, George, as he pulled several bags of the same from his pockets while George, or perhaps, Fred, did the same.

"We got enough for everyone!" the twins said, as one.


Molly peered through a crack in the shed as Charlie helped Fred and George distribute their plunder—"plunder" because she knew very well they hadn't left the Burrow with enough Galleons to supply the entire family, bonus brother, Riley, included, in confections—and smiled.

I'll need to pop in to Honeydukes and make that right, she thought, already settling on a plan to punish George and Fred. They mean well, but they can't—

Her eyes lit on the little collection of clock repair tools and welled with tears. She couldn't help it, she opened the door. "You'd better not have liberated those, Percy Weasley!"

"Mum! Molly-Mum! Mollywobbles!"

A great laugh went up in the shed as Molly flushed fiercely and Ginny exclaimed in disgust.

"No, of course not, Mother!" Percy insisted. "We've been saving all year!"

"Oh, I know, I know, dears. Oh, thank you! I love them—I love all of you!"


Everyone hugged everyone else, and eventually, Bill and Riley found themselves a little behind the group hug.

"I never get tired of this, you know."

"Of what, Riley?"

"The pure fucking love."

From somewhere inside of the hug, Molly called, "Language!"

"Sorry, Molly-Mum!" Riley called, pulling Bill outside. "Thanks. You know, for . . . ."

"No worries. Chocolate Frog?" Bill smirked and handed Riley five of them. "Got to be fast in this family."

"Best. Christmas. Ever!"

My fifth three prompts, mortiferous, noctuary, and omnigatherum, inspired the ficlet,

Wand, Cloak, Stone (G; original character; 240): The Peverell boys were not the first mortals to possess the Deathly Hallows.

Such have been my travels that my "omnigatherum" is growing too large for the room in which it is held. I have always taken joy in collecting the interesting and the rare; indeed, the drive to possess has served me well by lining my pockets and filling my belly. Not that I keep my "visitors" long, you understand, or ever did, for that matter, but I am not devoid of charms, and the young and beautiful have ever sought my company. But I digress. I shall write more of my lovers another time; this night's entry into my noctuary is to be concerned with the Wand (now repaired), the Cloak (purchased from a Potter heir at great expense in the year of our Lord, two thousand two hundred seven), and the Stone (found through the magical prowess of a wizard admirer of mine). I highly prize these Hallows, no matter how mortiferous they may prove to most, but as a vampire, they are of precious little use to me. Shall I sell them or gift them? Destroy them or hide them for some hapless mortal to find? I know not how best to dispose of them, but I desire to record the various stories I know to be connected to them, and not the "story" parents tell their children.

I shall begin with the Maid of Londinium, who found, long before the Peverell boys, a means to cheat Death and . . . .

My sixth three prompts, philomath, quoniam, and rach, inspired the drabble/ficlet, Scenting Prey

Scenting Prey (G; original past groundskeeper, original past professor; 150 words): Hogwarts' young groundskeeper is naught but a dog.

Alice was a good rach and had run to ground more game than Alard could count.

But none better than this, thought he, as his dog buried her face into, essentially, the Charms mistress' quoniam. "Alice! You'll ruin Professor Brewster's, er, dress. Come!"

The lady flushed and demurred. "Oh, she's fine—so clean and . . . and friendly—and I am called Lettice, Mister Tait, as well you know."

"Ah, but she's knocked your sewing out of your lap," Alard told her, flicking his fingers to retrieve it. "And it's so lovely."

"It's nothing, just a simple pattern of the school."

"And how," said Alard, settlling with Alice into the grass by Lettice, "does one accomplish such work?" He peered more closely at the stitches, the obviously manual stitches. "I must know."

Almost red, Lettice asked squeakily, "Are you, sir, a philomath that you'd take such an interest?"

"I am but your humble servant, my lady, a dog at your . . . feet."

My seventh three prompts, sciomancy, thanatography, and ultimogeniture, inspired the drabble/ficlet,

A Young Witch with Her Own Estate and Entire Life Before Her (G; original Yaxley, original portrait; 215): Mistress Yaxley is the only one left.

"The house is mine through 'ultimogeniture'," Yaxley related, running her hand across the mantel and sniffing at the cloud of dust that arose. "I'm the only one left, you see."

"Do you want the place?"

Yaxley moved towards the terrace doors and looked out. "The grounds are lovely."

"Yes, but the house . . . ."

Giggling, Yaxley turned her gaze to the ceiling. "Do shut up."

The weeping ghost clutching her breast shrieked and disappeared through the wall nearest to her.

"Yes, one could indulge in long evenings of sciomancy here, couldn't one? Of course, I don't need any form of divination to understand what happened to my people."


"Greed. Stupidity. Inbreeding. That's the pureblood story, isn't it?"

"You may have left out one or two items of the essential narrative—a curse, perhaps?"

"Perhaps, but then," Yaxley murmured, "I'm not planning to commision a thanotography."

"No need."

Yaxley glared at the portrait. "What was that? What did you say?"


Stopping the rolling of his quill, the old painted gentleman with the sharpish smile replied, "Indeed, Mistress Yaxley, there's no need for you to do something as silly as that."

"Writing the story of my death?" she asked, glancing up to see that several familiar-looking spectres were clustered above her.

"Exactly. A young witch with her own estate and entire life before her, why on earth would you contemplate anything so grim?"

My eighth three prompts, verrucose, woodwose, and xenial, inspired the drabble/ficlet,

Nobody (G; Severus, original hag; 150 words): Severus' new (after)life gets off to a bumpy start.

The verrucose woman—no, the hag—did not appear kindly disposed towards him as Severus approached her, so he proceeded as he meant to go on.

"They don't pop, you know. You might as well stop trying to pull the warts off."

"Bite my cold left—"

"No part of my body shall ever touch any part of yours. Why are you here in my corner of the forest? I don't intend to become known for my xenial ways."

"I've me own magic, you foul woodwose!" insisted the hag. "I won't be moved by your inhospitality!"

Severus drew his wand, but the hag blew dust into his face before he could cast the first spell. Phlegmy cackling met his ears, and then, silence.


"It seems you've overestimated yourself, boy."

Severus frowned. "Fuck me, I didn't dream you."

"No, and I ain't here for wart removal. Wake up and start your new life, brewer, or I'll tell everyone where your body lies."

My ninth (and final) two prompts, yaffingale and zaftig, inspired the drabble/ficlet,

Under Advisement (G; Teddy, the Potter family, Scorpius; 240 words): That's not just any zaftig yaffingale, it's Lily Luna Potter's zaftig yaffingale!

"What a great fat bird!" exclaimed Teddy.

This earned him a smack from Ginny as Harry backed out of the room and James Sirius and Albus Severus, with Scorpius on their heels, dived into the fort of cushions they'd made.

"How dare you speak about Yaffy in that nasty way!"

Eyes widening, Teddy answered, "But Lils, it is—"

"She," said Lily Luna, "is magnificently zaftig, and after being trapped in a cage without being fed properly for almost a year, she deserves every ounce of her beautiful 'birdness'!"

Teddy's hair turned brown and slid down the sides of his face as if heavy with tears.

"Now that's ugly."

"Lily Luna!"

"Sorry, Mum."

"Apologise to Teddy this instant!"



"Oh, fine," spat Lily Luna, reaching into Yaffy's cage to retrieve the brilliantly green woodpecker. "I am truly apologetic that you, Teddy, failed to see the gorgeousness before you. Yaffy the yaffingale is a very. Pretty. Bird."

With those words, the youngest Potter took her bird and flew from the room.

Blushing, his hair now a riotous rainbow of curls, Teddy's face puffed out and reddened.

"Oh, go on, you can laugh, now," said Ginny.

"But, but, but . . . I didn't know she'd rescued her!" Teddy said, through his peals.

"Yeah, she's a good girl," Harry replied, "however intense."

"Very! Very intense!" came various masculine assertions from the cushion fort. "Merlin!"

Harry chuckled. "You might want to invest in some fancy birdseed, that is, if you want her to speak to you again anytime soon."

"Er, thanks. I'll take that under advisement.
Tags: abecedarian game: running the letters, albus dumbledore, albus severus potter, argus filch, bill weasley, charlie weasley, drabbles/ficlets, ginny weasley, harry potter, implied argus/irma, implied dragons, implied past charlie/tonks, james sirius potter, lily luna potter, lorcan scamander, luna lovegood, lysander scamander, original characters, original hag, original magical creatures, original past groundskeeper, original past professor, original portrait, original vampire, original yaxley, rolf scamander, scorpius malfoy, severus snape, teddy lupin, the abecedarian game

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