Quick Note – Matteo Ricci and Alternate History

In the real-world timeline, Matteo Ricci died in Beijing in 1610.

In an altered timeline with medical cultivation, this may not have been the case.

Anyone have suggestions for good sources on the Jesuit mission in China, preferably from the 1500s on? My plotbunnies are poking that as “where to start to find out how European history changed in this Alternate History”.


Worldbuilding: A Problem of History

Okay, first off, I want to tell anybody who wants to read up on scientific research but may not already know this neat trick: if you go to the main JSTOR site and sign up as an independent researcher, you can get access to 100 free articles to read a month. It still costs you money if you want to download an article to print, but you can at least read them. And bookmark them to re-read later, if – like me – sometimes you just have time to run a search, not to read right that minute. And you can search the heck out of the whole site, with small previews available that are generally enough to figure out if the article is worth reading for what you want. On top of that a few of the articles are “Open access”, meaning you can download and print them without any fees.

(If writers don’t qualify as independent researchers, I don’t know who would.) Continue reading

Not a Princess Ficbit – Unfamiliar Ceilings

Still slowly working on Track battle, so… have a bit of something I’m working on in tiny scribbles at wee hours of the morning.

A/N: AU where Private John William Bancroft did not disperse with the Incarnate Unit just because Cain said so; not with their captain and doctor both missing. It’s amazing what a dragon can overhear from tired medics, even when he’s not trying to be stealthy.

…Time for a dragon-napping.

Hell, Hank Henriette thought blearily, looked an awful lot like a worn wooden ceiling. Sounded like summer birdsong and cicadas, and smelled like tea, sun-dried cotton, and the warm breath of a sleeping girl.


His side and arm both twinged as Hank started. The arm was almost expected, the tug of a medical drip – if he could expect anything, past Cain went mad, he shot her, he went mad and we never knew-!

The side was surprising. It hurt. Like a… healed bullet wound.

He’d been shot since the transformation. It’d always healed in days, or less. This hurt like it’d been healing a while. Like he’d been made a frail, vulnerable human again.

Worse. Even the worst gut-shot still let you move. What did Elaine put in those bullets?

He’d dipped the bed, trying to sit up. The girl slumped in a simple wood chair at his bedside leaned further onto her arms, pink lips pursed in sleepy annoyance as her headrest moved.

Not Elaine.

No. Too young, and Elaine had never worn dark hair in a tight, no-nonsense braid. Not to mention after years of war, Elaine hadn’t had the sheer joy it would take to wear that brilliant blue butterfly clip.

Elaine. Elaine is… gone.

And I’m alive.

Hank drew in another breath, trying to tease as much information from the scents as he could. This didn’t make sense. He ought to be in a military hospital, or under guard, or – if Elaine had told their superiors what she suspected – not waking up at all. If all the Incarnates would eventually go mad….

Cotton. Bread baking somewhere not too far away. Children; boys and girls, he thought, all younger than his exhausted nurse. Green growing things on the breeze from the sunny window, a scent of scales and smoke that said dragon

A massive blue eye peered through the open window. Blinked. Huffed, with just the faintest trace of smoke.

“Will?” The sight of brown scales was enough to get Hank moving, a little more gingerly this time. Ow. “What’s going on?”

Oh hell, why was he even asking, William couldn’t speak anymore-

A claw lifted a chalkboard into view, chalk a bright white line where someone had harnessed a piece onto one massive talon.

“Take it easy, Captain. You’ve been out cold two months.”