After the Rains

After The Rains
By Camile Sinensis (Teapot)

Story Notes

Editor\'s PickThis is a sequel to “And The Flowers Bloom Like Madness In The Spring”

Characters: Thiede and Velaxis. Also Pellaz, Caeru, an annoying original character, blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Tharmifex, and the usual anonymous, hard-working serving hara, bless ‘em.

Spoilers: I tried not to give too much away, but the whole story revolves around a pretty whopping spoiler for “Ghosts”.

Summary: Thiede returns to Immanion after spending seven years in another dimension. Reflecting on his previous life and his long relationship with Velaxis, he attempts to pick up the threads and make a new future for himself as an ordinary har.

Author email: teapot@doramail.com

Website: http://red-shellac.livejournal.com/, http://www.mudsharks.org/stuff/

– 1 –

He had no memory of rain. In his mind, every day in Immanion had been sunny. Birds had sung and skies had been blue.

Common sense told him that this could not have been so – rain had to fall or crops would not grow and the lush gardens of Phaonica would not bloom. Even Immanion, with all its magic and strangeness could not defy nature.

But that was the past – a different world, a more ordered universe. Things were no longer as they had been. Immanion had changed, as all things do. As he himself had changed.

***

Rain droplets made their way down the window pane in orderly progression, each one leaving a thin trail behind it. Thiede watched them carefully, as if he fully expected one renegade drop to defy gravity, surface tension and expectation and crawl upwards back towards the heavens it had lately descended from. Nothing of the sort happened, of course.

The wet glass was bleary, but he could see through it to the hills in the distance beyond. The tops of those jagged, grey-green slopes were modestly shrouded in low cloud which seemed to be settling lower as the day progressed. Every so often a gust of wind would throw a rattling handful of drops against the window with a somewhat greater force, and an eerie whistle would inveigle its way through a gap in the window frame. Even Phaonica itself was uncomfortable with the current weather – its terraces and balconies abandoned temporarily as its occupants took shelter.

The mosaic floors and marble walls which kept the residents cool in the summer heat now seemed chilly and uncomfortable. With a slight shrug, Thiede turned away from the draughty window and the depressing scene outside and retreated to the far end of the room where a small but cheerful fire burned in the grate and the welcoming sofa with over-stuffed cushions beckoned. By the fireside, there was a large rug on the floor with patterns of red and rusty orange echoing the flames. It felt soft underfoot as he walked over it – a great improvement on the cold tiles. A low table had been set out in front of the sofa with a pot of tea and some freshly-baked delicacies. It was a scene to remind one that even rainy days had their unique pleasures.

Thiede sat down on the sofa, curled his legs up underneath him and poured some tea into a cup, carefully filling it almost to the rim. There was another cup and saucer on the table, but he left that empty for the time being. He relaxed back into the cushions, and sipped the tea from his own cup. A househar poked his head enquiringly round the door, but seeing that his master was apparently quite capable of pouring his own tea, he disappeared again without a word.

Phaonica. It was home, and yet somehow not. He had been absent for seven years. Obviously things would have changed. These were the very rooms he had occupied before, but all traces of his previous life here had been removed, at his command. Somehow it had seemed more fitting for him to start afresh. He had not even been back to some parts of the palace which he used to frequent… Thiede did not believe in ghosts, but if he did, he knew those rooms would be full of something resembling spectres. Strange and perhaps not-altogether-pleasant memories. Better to let them lie. A new beginning was required. A clean break from the past.

He leaned forward and set the cut down on the table. The delicate china rattled musically.

You know that isn’t possible, he told himself. The past cannot be tidied away as if it had never happened. It has to be confronted.

He sighed, and laced his long, elegant fingers together, gazing at them curiously as if he could divine some important truth from their contours. How was he supposed to deal with the past when there was so much happening in the present? Since his arrival back in Immanion, dramatic events had occurred. In a way he was almost glad for the intensity of the past few days – it had given everyone something else to focus on. When the world is shifting under your feet, even the return of a former God to mortal form can seem a mundane occurrence.

He knew it wouldn’t last. Sooner or later, explanations would be required. Discussions would happen, and he wasn’t entirely sure that he was looking forward to some of these. He refilled his cup thoughtfully. Pellaz…. Somehow he had blocked from his mind what his former protégé’s reaction to his return would be. Pell, surprisingly, had been pleased to see him. Of course, he had brought the royal family’s lost child back with him so obviously there was going to be rejoicing, but that wasn’t the whole of it. Pell had been pleased to see him because – well, simply because.

Thiede was not a sentimental creature. He knew he had interfered in Pell’s life and been responsible for a lot of his unhappiness. He also knew that he had protected and indulged his Tigron, and kept from him the true burden of what it meant to be responsible for an entire race. He wondered if Pell resented him for any of that. He wondered if Pell’s obvious pleasure at his reappearance meant that he now felt he would be relieved of some of that responsibility. Time would tell…

The truth of the matter was that it was not Pell, or even Cal, who were important now. Darquiel, Geburael, Loki, Lileem… they were the future of Wraeththu-kind.

The rest of us, he thought, will just have to get used to the idea of not being the centre of the universe any more.

His own ego still twinged just a little at the thought, but not as much as he expected.

It’s a freedom, of a kind. A new life. What am I to do with it?

He knew the answer to that. Or, rather, half of the answer. He knew what he was not going to do. He would no longer be a concept, a God, an idea, or a tool, whether of himself, his kind, or of those who had created him.

I will be a har he thought, with something approaching awe. I will be me.

He stared at the untouched plate of cakes in front of him realizing that he had no idea how he was going to achieve this, and it seemed suddenly laughable that he, a being who had created a new race, crossed dimensions of space and time and possessed powers that few could even imagine existed, should feel so inadequate.

Be truthful with yourself. If you cannot be truthful with anyone else, at least be true to yourself.

He picked up the cup again. It rattled slightly in its saucer. To his surprise, he noticed his hand was shaking slightly.

He looked thoughtfully at the other, empty cup still on the table. On the mantelpiece over the fire, a bronze clock ticked quietly. Its minute hand moved the last fraction of an inch into the vertical position, and it was 3.00 o’clock. At that very second, as he knew would happen, there was a knock at the door.

Velaxis was always punctual. Always reliable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

This Golden

This Golden
By Camile Sinensis

Story Notes:

Characters: Ashmael and Caeru

Spoilers: “Shades of Time and Memory”

Summary: After a military mission goes wrong, Ashmael has time to reconsider his opinion of Caeru

Author email: teapot@doramail.com

Websites: http://red-shellac.livejournal.com, http://www.mudsharks.org/stuff/

This Golden

Obviously, he is dead. It only remains to decide whether he has gone to hell or to heaven. Hell appears to be the odds-on favourite at the moment, because there are definitely demons torturing his body – he can feel their sharp-pronged forks and scratching claws and biting teeth tearing at his flesh, but then something calm and beautiful appears out of the red mist, something with golden hair and a halo of light around its head and for a moment he is sure it is an angel, which surprises him, because given how he lived his life he was really expecting the fire and brimstone option, but then his vision clears and he realises that hell has more subtlety than he gave it credit for, and possibly even a sense of humour, but that hardly matters now because he recognises the creature, and it is no angel, not in a million years. It is Caeru har Aralis. He is definitely in hell.

Then there is some more black, and red, and sharp-pointed things again. And when he opens his eyes once more it becomes apparent to him that he is not dead , which seems, on the whole, to be a good thing, and that Caeru har Aralis has not gone far, far away – the better to torment other souls – which is not.

For some reason The Tigrina is taller than him, which is wrong. Also at an unusual angle. He is pleased with himself when he figures out that this is because he himself is horizontal. Caeru has enough irritating traits without adding defying gravity to them. He decides to remedy this, and return the world to its natural order in which he is vertical, taller, and not in the same room (or preferably the same country) as Caeru. He regrets this decision instantly. The demons poke him with their forks again. Well – no. It’s all a bit more boring than that. That strange crunch is merely broken bones, and the hot, wet sensation just blood. Nothing to get excited about. That other noise is just his own voice, and if it sounds a bit like a groan or a scream, then who wouldn’t be traumatised by being stuck in a horizontal position with Caeru har Aralis looming above them.

Actually, he is looming a lot less now. Caeru has definitely got three feet shorter. Or is possibly kneeling down next to him, touching his hair, wearing an expression he has never seen on the face of the Tigrina of Immanion before, but that’s hardly surprising since Caeru’s default expression is one of blank stupidity.

“Don’t move,” Caeru says – and that somehow doesn’t seem to be an entirely stupid suggestion, so he doesn’t, and while it doesn’t actually improve his situation any, it certainly doesn’t make it any worse.

“Here…” A glass vial is shoved between his lips and something truly disgusting flows into his mouth, which he swallows, because he knows what it is, and sure enough, a few minutes later the demons pack up their pointed forks and set off to find someone else to poke. Things could hardly be better!

Okay, they could.

He gives Caeru an icy stare, which usually works a lot better when he is taller and more vertical and not drugged or whimpering or bleeding, but it’ll have to do for now.

“You can go now,” he says, in a voice which is usually more heroic and commanding, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Caeru blinks back at him. “No, I can’t.” he says, and while the expression is still not the default stupid, the remark more than makes up for it because plainly it is not true. All Caeru has to do is get up and walk out through the door. It’s very simple. Granted there doesn’t actually appear to be a door as such, but that’s a minor detail.

“Pell said I was to stay here” says Caeru, and suddenly all becomes clear. Pell said. Pell the Magnificent. Pell the Almighty. Pell the Centre of Caeru’s Universe. Pell said stay, so Caeru stays. What a relief to discover he isn’t here of his own volition.

Read the rest of this entry »

Frozen

Frozen
by Morgana

Story Notes

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com
Web page: http://www.paranoid.nl/avalon

Pairings: Vaysh/Ashmael, Pellaz/Caeru and Cal/Caeru (Pellaz/Galdra mentioned and Thiede/Vaysh as well.)

Rating: NC-17
Summary: Vaysh tells the story of his life and wonders if there is a happy ending set aside for him as well.

Disclaimer: Not mine. These characters belong to Storm Constantine. No copyright infringement is intended. If she wants my little story, it’s hers.

Warning: AU of course.

Major SPOILERS regarding book 6!

Beta read by Patricia and DA, thanks sweeties!

All remaining mistakes are mine.

Frozen

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You’re frozen
When your heart’s not open

You’re so consumed with how much you get
You waste your time with hate and regret
You’re broken
When your heart’s not open

Mmmmmm, if I could melt your heart
Mmmmmm, we’d never be apart
Mmmmmm, give yourself to me
Mmmmmm, you hold the key

Now there’s no point in placing the blame
And you should know I suffer the same
If I lose you
My heart will be broken

Love is a bird, she needs to fly
Let all the hurt inside of you die
You’re frozen
When your heart’s not open

Part 1

/Do happy endings really exist for people like me?

I, for one, didn’t believe they actually existed until I met Pellaz.

Pellaz…

Pell upended my life in so many ways. It started the day Thiede summoned me and told me I was to serve his newest creation, which would be his best yet. I had hoped he was right and that he had succeeded because I know what happens to the poor hara he subjected to the process in the past. I should know: I am one of those creations.

But I am a failed experiment and I know it. Thiede broke me when he tried to make me. I don’t want to remember that time. It is a time filled with pain, loneliness, panic, and a terrifying sense of helplessness. When Pellaz went through his ‘remaking’, he had me. I took care of him. When Thiede made me, I had no one except for a few silent, heartless hara that looked after me and Thiede, of course. But Thiede quickly lost interest in me once he realized that I had been ruined…and that I was barren.

Tears flow from my dead eyes and my hands turn into claws as I remember the pain he made me go through. The pain and even worse: the loss.

Pellaz lost Cal when Thiede took him. I didn’t just lose Ashmael. I had also lost the pearl I had carried. I never told Pell the real reason why I am the way I am…so cold and distant. He thinks he knows. He thinks it is because I lost Ash, but I could have dealt with losing my chesnari, and yes, I know the way that sounds. I would have tried contacting Ashmael once I had regained some measure of freedom in Immanion. But I couldn’t reach out to him…not after losing our pearl. And Ashmael never reached out to me.

I am dead to him. Pellaz told me that Ash had used exactly those words when they had talked. Do I blame Ash for declaring me dead? No, I don’t. I lost our pearl. I am responsible. I am to blame.

Ashmael is the only har I ever loved, the only one I ever wanted to take aruna with. Thiede forced himself upon me. I never wanted him to do those things to me. I fought him. I struggled, but to no avail. Maybe that is why the transformation went wrong. Maybe I wouldn’t have turned out wrecked and barren had I allowed him to do as he pleased. But I fought him all the way.

Yes, I know what you are about to say. I take aruna with Pell willingly while I declare I only ever loved Ashmael, but I was hurting. Do you understand the pain I was in?

I was hurting so badly. All I ever wanted was Ashmael back in my life, but he had declared me dead. What was I to do? Does anyone begrudge me finding momentary oblivion in Pellaz’ arms? If you do, put yourself in my position and maybe then you will understand my pain.

I lost Ashmael and our pearl because Thiede wanted to have his shot at creating a Tigron! He should have waited. Thiede should have waited to take me until I had delivered our pearl. Maybe then I wouldn’t have turned out barren. Maybe that’s it? Maybe the transformation went wrong because I was carrying a pearl? I lost it and, as a result, I became barren?

I should stop tormenting myself, but can I? I lost everything! Thiede lost nothing. He just waited for the next candidate to come along, which was, of course, Pell.

I have lived behind this mask of ice for the last few years and it served me well. Living in Thiede’s icy presence and becoming ice in turn was my only defense, but then Pellaz came along. I still remember how vulnerable he was after Thiede had burned him…how much he depended on me.

At first, I didn’t want to care for him. There was so much anger in me back then. There still is. But Pellaz needed me and, in a way, I needed him. While tending to Pellaz’ needs, I realized I *did* care about him. It was no longer possible to lock him out, to pretend I didn’t care.

And then there is Phade. I really like Phade, though I will never admit that aloud. He is every bit the rascal Ashmael used to be. Phade reminds me of Ashmael and, back then, it was hard to keep my distance. It would have been easy to return the bantering.

But I am no longer like that. I am no longer the Vaysh Ashmael loved. No, he did more than that – he adored me. He would have died for me. He tried… But that knife was meant for me and nothing Ashmael could have done would have changed the outcome. I would have died – if not that moment, I would have died the next day. Thiede wanted me and what Thiede wants, he takes. He is like a spoiled little child in that way.

Yes, the Vaysh Ashmael once loved is gone.

Dead.

Ash said it himself. I will never fall asleep in his arms again. I will never again wake to his sweet kisses. He no longer loves me.

The Angel of Immanion they call him these days… The first time I heard that I almost burst out laughing, but the mask was firmly in place and didn’t slip. But on the inside I laughed. They should know their Angel the way I know him. There is nothing angelic about Ashmael, save his looks perhaps.

I should stop thinking this way. It is making me melancholy and I don’t want to feel that way. I don’t want to feel at all. It is safer not to feel because then I won’t end up hurt again.

And it is not like I have to face Ashmael on a daily bases. Not any more. Ever since Thiede returned to Immanion, and Cal, Pellaz, and Galdra admitted their feelings for each other, I see less and less of Pell. And that in turn means seeing less of Ash because I no longer have to accompany Pellaz to any meetings. Oh, I am happy for Pellaz, don’t misunderstand me. He got Cal back and, on top of that, Galdra as well.

Pellaz has his own private harem these days, although I will be careful to phrase it like that. They all love him: Cal, Galdra, Caeru, Loki, Darquiel, and even Thiede himself, but who loves me?

I pity myself, you say? Yes, I do. But I hide it. No one will ever realize the pain that lies beneath the ice. My soul will remain frozen and so will my heart./

Read the rest of this entry »

Catch My Fall

Catch My Fall
by Morgana

Story Notes

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com

Web page: http://www.paranoid.nl/avalon

Pairing: Vaysh/Ashmael

Rating: R

Summary: Ashmael doesn’t take no for an answer and is determined to reclaim his former lover.

Disclaimer: Not mine. These characters belong to Storm Constantine. No copyright infringement is intended.

Warning: First attempt at writing Wraeththu stories.

Additional note: Imion pointed out to me that I missed addressing their wish to have a pearl. Well, somehow I never got the idea that they would obsess about that, and even if they did, it would happen *after* they rebuilt their relationship. So if it were to be addressed, that would happen in a sequel. So this is my interpretation of their reconciliation.

Beta read by Patricia and DA, thanks!

All remaining mistakes are mine.

Catch My Fall

Loud noises shattered the nocturnal silence which had long descended down onto Vaysh’s chambers. The Har was awoken and sat upright in bed, feeling startled and alert. It was dark in his bedroom and he narrowed his eyes in order to see what had caused the abysmal clatter.

“Fuck!”

Vaysh’s eyes narrowed further. He *knew* that voice! He pushed back the covers, placed his feet on the floor, and managed to locate the intruder who had come in through the window. “You are losing your touch, Ashmael.” There was no reason to pretend that he didn’t know who had invaded his rooms. There was only one Har foolish enough to not take no for an answer and pursue him any way.

“I should have known you would put a damn statue beneath your window!” Feeling indignant because his entry hadn’t gone as smoothly as he had hoped, the blond Har pushed himself to his feet. He kicked the bronze statue – which possessed an uncanny resemblance to Pellaz – and fixed Vaysh with a glare.

Ashmael would never grow used to Vaysh’s dyed hair. Red was definitely not Vaysh’s color. Ashmael dusted himself off in an attempt to compose himself. The truth was that whenever he saw Vaysh, he felt unbalanced. After all, this was the Har he had once loved – still loved. And this was also the lover who had died in his arms.

“What are you doing here?” Vaysh felt grateful that he hadn’t bothered to undress before going to sleep. If he had, he would be sitting there naked with Ashmael staring at him.

“What do you think I am doing here?” Ashmael cocked his head, stood with his legs spread for balance, and gave Vaysh a cocky look. “How much longer did you plan on avoiding dealing with me? Did you really think I would sit back and watch you ruin our lives?” He ran his hand through his hair and tapped his foot impatiently. “Well?”

Vaysh wanted to smile, but he forced himself to glare at the other Har instead. This was why he had once fallen in love with Ashmael. Ashmael was direct, forward even, but always in a caring way. “Our lives were ruined a long time ago. There is nothing left of them but bits and pieces.”

Ashmael laughed. “Did you manage to convince yourself of that or did Thiede do that for you?” He vividly remembered the first time when he had run into his former lover – by accident. Pellaz hadn’t even known that Vaysh and he had been Chesna. Thiede had never bothered to tell the Tigron.

Goosebumps formed on Vaysh’s skin as Ashmael was bringing up Thiede. “You can’t change the past – let it be.”

But Ashmael shook his head. “I thought you knew me better than that.” He drew in a deep breath and advanced on the bed. He noticed the way Vaysh tried to radiate remoteness and disinterest, but it wasn’t working. Once he stood in front of the bed, he came to a stop.

Vaysh felt at a disadvantage seated on the bed and got to his feet. He gathered his robes closer to his form and glared defiantly at his former lover. “You are an intruder. I could have you arrested for breaking into my rooms.”

Ashmael wasn’t impressed. “The harder you push me away, the more eager I become to break down your defenses.”

Read the rest of this entry »