Copyright (C) 2018 Ashlyn Nafina

Summary: An elite, shape-shifting agent takes on a mission that has even the big brass scared. A series of surprises leads to a change of perspective for the agent, and the beginning of a revolution for the world.

Notes: The amusing back-story of this story: Me and a group of friends were planning to release an RPG (video game) and spent a while coming up with a world and characters for it. We never did get our act together to build the game, and I was a little lukewarm on where the story was going anyway. Later on this emerged based roughly on the world, so I guess you say that it’s fan-fiction for a game that never was. It takes place a thousand years after the RPG would have.

Timeline note: This story was actually written around 2006 or so, but it’s never actually seen the light of day. So I’m going to go ahead and leave the date for this post as today, to avoid confusion about what’s new on the site.


Five minutes, thirty-six seconds. It’s all the time I’ve got to make a decision which could be the most important decision I’ve ever made in my long, long life. Could be the most important decision that any of us has ever made. It shouldn’t be me making it. But here we are, and here I am.

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Meta: Site Relaunch

Hallo, everyone. I’m happy to announce the relaunch of the site into its newest mutation.

The big change that’s happened (well, it’s a complete rewrite, essentially, but on a conceptual level) is really in my expectations for how the site will work and why it’s here. In the past, I’ve had expectations, or at least hopes and dreams, that one day I would have my work published in a traditional format. It’s possible that may still happen one day, but I’ve come to understand that it’s probably not going to fund me any time soon. And in the meantime, I’ve got this giant pile of stories I really just want to share with people.

That is what it boils down to, for me. I like creating, I like writing stories, and I like letting others read them and get enjoyment from them. What I was building before was more of a marketing site for traditionally published work. What we have here, now, is something more like a library of stories for everyone to read. There are a few big, book-sized stories (like Soar), but my plan going forward is to focus on writing short stories elaborating on the various worlds and settings I’ve created.

It is my intent to pull in my entire writing back-catalogue here, to be readable online with both mobile and desktop browsers. That’s a tall order, considering how many different tools I’ve used over the years. I’m focused now on Markdown, but it may take some time to get it all converted to that toolchain. Eventually, my hope is to have my Markdown be the source for many other formats that might be pullable by Patreon subscribers. But that’ll be a bit later. For now, I will slowly be bringing in stories from other collections/formats, so you’ll see more appear here over time.

Please enjoy and share and link to others. Also feel free to talk with me — I’d love to hear from you. Check the sidebar for links. (No, I am not offering up links to any of the “big” social networks, for specific Reasons, which is another post for later.)

Primary contact is Mastodon now:

(Also: The old posts from the old site have been pulled in for historical purposes, but recategorized for the new site structure.)

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home
Copyright (C) 2018 Ashlyn Nafina

Summary: Two sisters, a quiet engineer and a famous e-sports space pilot, go together on an investigation of a routine maintenance issue on their world’s networking infrastructure, only to find themselves on a strange adventure that will shake their whole understanding of their world.

Notes: This one has been bubbling up in my consciousness for a while. Part of why I like to write stories is that it lets me explore topics important to me on a deeper level and share that exploration with others. I hope everyone finds something to like in this one!

One – Society

— Tai —

Often it is said that the young feel old, or the old feel young. I’ve lost track of what “age” means, myself. All I know is that, when the world, with all of its loves, hates, fears, wisdom, folly, laughs, and cries… when the world suddenly and abruptly brushed its closest yet with death, the books said I was 24 years old.

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Meta: Updates

It’s been quite some time since I wrote anything here, perhaps inexcusably long. (Three years!) A few things have happened since then, though:

  • A new short story compilation has been completed: Tales of Alchemy. It still needs editing and some cover art, but beyond that, it’s basically ready to go.
  • A new short-ish novel: Fractured Harmony. This is a sci-fi story about a future society with a collective consciousness, and modern-day Seattle. This is pretty much in the same state as Tales of Alchemy. About 80% of it is a NaNoWriMo novel.
  • A new co-written comic is beginning soon if I can manage to keep up with the drawing. I’ll post more about that as it comes up.

If anyone is interested in reading/editing Tales of Alchemy or Fractured Harmony, feel free to toot …

Meta: NaNoWarmUp wrap-up

I’m sad to say that I only got about half way through, due to Circumstances. 🙂 A combination of sudden busy and sudden de-inspiration on the story I was working on. I still want to finish it though; I may turn it into another piece for the I’ll-finish-it-some-day compilation of short stories. It was on its way to becoming something more like a novella, but I already have at least one of those lined up for the short story book.

I hope everyone out there is having a happy holiday season. ^^

Meta: NaNoWarmUp

This is a cool idea by YA authors Kat Zhang and Savannah J. Foley. I’m going to try to participate 🙂

You can follow my progress on the bar graph on the right side bar.

I think I may also look at some options for allowing comments on here. I haven’t really wanted to deal with spam in the past, but it feels kind of curmudgeonly. ^^;

The Conjunction of Colour

This is a really lovely piece of Soar fan fiction by my friend Niya. Enjoy!

A long long time ago, even before the Na’aulele walked about, Hunea was a beautiful land for many Tanau, but, despite how lovely a place it was, there were no colours.

You may ask, how can a place be beautiful if there were no colours, but that is because you live in a Hunea with colours. If there were none, you would not know to miss them.

One day, however, a pair of twin girls were born, Alulalei and A’uwai. And everyone knew right away that there was something different about them. There was a spark in their eye that was just a little bit different, and whoever listened to, and felt, their Song said it sounded a little bit different. Felt a little bit different.

Some of those heard their Song and thought that it was not right. They said, we must teach them to respect the Song. Variation, they said, was important, but this had gone too far.

But even when they tried to sing the Song the way the others tried to teach them, there was still something different. Still something there which they sang that the others did not understand.

The two girls were the closest of friends, but they had very distinctive personalities. Alulalei would dart from moment to moment, flying across the field like the wind and caressing wide swaths of grasses with outstretched limbs.

A’uwai, on the other hand, found the greatest of joy in contemplation. She would sit in the fields and speak with a single tree, or even a blade of grass, for hours.

This went on for years, but then everything changed in a moment.

Alulalei and A’uwai awoke one morning with her hearts so full of the Song that they could no longer contain it.

Alulalei burst forth and flew with a speed that none had ever known, and as she cried out her Song, countless colours spilled over everything.

Everywhere Alulalei flew was becoming coloured, but as she left, the colour vanished as quickly as it came.

A’uwai watched in awe at the sight, and she knew what she wanted, what she must do.

And so A’uwai began to walk throught the world, singing her Song to all she met, and within all things, and all Tanau, the colours found a place to rest.

The sisters were never seen after that day, but the effects of their Song changed the world, and even those who felt that their Song was not right, grew to see the beauty in the world of colours.

They say that, even today, you can hear the echoes of the twins’ melodies in the Song.

A Sky Full of Stars

I have something nice for you all, in the last moments of this year’s Valentine’s Day: a short story about love. And related to this story, I want to say that I may sometimes use the name Anafina. It is song, and it is feathers, and it is an homage to two good friends, one of them lost to me. Also a play on words. 😉

I hope you enjoy!

©2013 Ashlyn Anafina

A lone figure sat on top of a log next to a fire, chewing some trail jerky, and occasionally taking a sip from a canteen. This person, for personhood is typically known by smarts and wit, had a name that couldn’t really even be pronounced in a human tongue, perhaps even fully understood in a human mind. But for the sake of argument, let’s call that person Lee, or maybe Leigh. Or perhaps we can split the difference and go with Li. That syllable might’ve figured in the unspeakable name, anyhow…

Li sat on the log, legs stretched out, legs pulled back, wings spread, wings tucked in. Long flight took a lot out of a body, and Li had flown a long way today. Not merely across cities or countries, but through worlds. And given that travel was not always predictable — even taking the same route may produce very different scenery and a very different schedule — there might be quite a wait.

The fire crackled, and the watcher waited. It wasn’t a bad kind of wait, nor a boring watch. Outside of the little cubbyhole of red rock where the fire and watcher were cradled, a magnificent view spread below. Quite some distance down — enough to rightfully call this space an eyrie — a canyon floor spread out in the distance before being bounded by a far canyon wall. It, too, was made of red rock with patterns of lighter and darker stone running through, but the moonlight painted it a dim blue. A lonely wind pushed through the plants below, briefly creating a sound almost like water. The canyon floor was filled with brush: sage, mesquite, cholla. And the call of a coyote at one end, followed shortly by the howling of a wolf from the other, showed that it was not uninhabited by animals, either.

Li’s ears pricked up in pleasure at a sound that would have hardly been recognisable by even canine ears. Far in the distance, the light rush of wind, and the occasional sound of wing flapping. Another person could be seen in the sky, coming closer and closer.

And then there were two.

“Howdy, Li,” the newcomer might have said.

“Hey, stranger.”

The two quickly closed the gap with smiles on their faces and hugged, their arms wrapping around each other’s torsos, and their wings wrapping around each other, blue and black feathers enclosed by yellow and white.

The newcomer had a name as complex and lyrical as Li, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it was Erinn, or Aaran, or perhaps we can split the difference and go with Aerin.

Aerin sat on another log across the fire from Li, and the two spent some time catching up.

“How long has it been?”

“Oh, eons, I’d say.” A smile. Time had less meaning for these two than for most.

“And how goes the Song?”

“You know as well as I” — another smile — “as harmonious as I’ve heard in years.”

“Please tell me you brought your typically stupendous fare for us to dine upon.”

“Yes, of course!”

A parcel was unwrapped, and something that a human would probably see as the most delicious and desirable food imaginable was revealed to sight; the moonlight shone upon it, and as it was wrapped into foil and placed near the base of the fire, a smell that might cause the heavens to weep wafted upon the breeze.

Li inhaled with closed eyes, and then sighed in contentment. Aerin nodded, feeling the same way, as it cooked.

As the two ate and reminisced, laughing, smiling, occasionally looking down in sadness, small shapes began to creep up the slope leading to the back of this cheerful eyrie. Wolves, coyotes, rabbits, deer; all crept up quietly, with heads bowed, in an obvious sign of peace and friendship. Neither wolf nor rabbit expected to fight with each other this night, in this place, and none did.

“Come, little one,” Li called out quietly when the animals were seen. “This is a feast of plenty.”

Each animal that came to the fire as called was given a piece of food. Li and Aerin rubbed their heads and scratched their ears, sometimes tricking the animals with an empty hand, then surprising them with the real thing. Somehow, the food didn’t diminish from this giving, and it seemed to last exactly as long as the animal was hungry. The wolves would curl up by the fire’s warmth briefly, and the deer would lay down, staring at its crackling embers without fear. After a time, one by one, they would nuzzle Li or Aerin, and then walk away quietly.

When the animals who came had had their fill and walked away quietly, and the fire was starting to burn down, Li said, “It feels like you’re so far away, and I’m getting cold without the tall fire.”

Aerin smiled fondly and walked around to sit on the log next to Li. The two embraced, head on shoulder, wings wrapped ‘round like blankets.

Tears ran silently down Li’s face. “Why does it have to be like this? Why does it have to be an occasion?”

Aerin’s voice caught briefly as well. “I don’t know… I don’t know. It doesn’t seem fair.” Aerin’s head shook briefly. They both knew it had to be this way. There would be a time, a glorious time when all things would change, when everything was possible, that the distance would not be there. But it was not now.

Li reached over gently, but not hesitantly, and ran a finger lightly along the top of Aerin’s wing. Aerin shuddered lightly, a shudder of pleasure. The gesture was returned, and then Aerin started kneading the skin and down around Li’s wing shoulders. A kiss was joined hesitantly, then not so hesitantly.

A Song of blinding beauty rang through the valley, bringing rings and waves of colour, and the animals who had paid them kindness earlier howled, hooted, chirped, and sang.

When the two were once again still inside, having shared and loved as only liminal, luminous beings of whimsy, magic, and glory can, when silence fell upon the valley but for the lonely coming and going rush of wind below, Li and Aerin sat upon their log once again.

The fire had long since burnt to embers, and the moon had passed on to another part of the sky, invisible to their sight. They stared up at the sky full of stars, nearly infinite numbers, far away, burning brightly, far away. The two knew that they would have to go on their way soon. They would have to return to their paths, their journeys, looking forward to the next meeting.

But there was still time, yet. They snuggled tightly and warmly. Still time for one more story.

Meta: Soar soon to fly free

When I wrote Soar, it was a journey of exploration and creativity for me. It’s an enjoyable story (IMO :)), but it is also something that I’d hoped would inspire and help, that would be thought-provoking and give an uplift to the oppressed outliers of society who simply want to be themselves, be they bird-people, trans people, or even just people who are afraid to be who they are in a more subtle way. I’ve heard a number of comments from friends and others (and others who became friends through reading Soar!) that it was a profound story for them.

I thought it would be neat if it could be used as a way to let me write instead of code for a living, but nearing the one-year anniversary of its release, I have to admit that this isn’t happening. And my primary purpose in writing and releasing this story is to serve those people, not to make money.

I am working on giving Soar away for free. I still have to work out the logistics, but it should be happening in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Meta: Saul Williams in the Paris Catacombs

The Stone Bench | Saul Williams in Paris Catacombs

Someone sent me this video, and it’s soooo so powerful; and parts of it feel almost like they were written for Soar. Watch and get a taste of Aile’s journey. I hope some day I can see this with my own eyes.

Somewhere beneath bone catacomb teeth
Through underground rivers where diggers dug deep
These underground diggers dug hallways and tombs
They built beneath cities, they carved new rooms
They carved in the rock, they chipped away stone
They carved routes and highways, they built a new home
They forged a safe haven with thoughts to convene
Where life could live freely, where rebels could dream