In A Dark Place

Thevina Editor's PickIn A Dark Place
By Camile Sinensis (Teapot)

Story Notes

Characters: Cal, Velaxis.

Spoilers: At least Fulfilments.

Author’s email: teapot@doramail.com

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

In A Dark Place

In the heat, he finds it impossible to sleep.

Inside the cabin it is claustrophobically dark. There is a window – a porthole, to be accurate – but no light enters though it. Outside the full moon is hidden behind cloud.

He swings his legs carefully over the edge of the narrow bunk, hearing it creak with his movement, and sits on the edge. He is naked, but the still, dead air within the cabin does not cool his skin. He can feel the slight but ever-present motion of the ship traveling through the wooden structure, like the vessel’s own heartbeat, up through his feet, his groin, his abdomen, his chest, his head, making him feel slightly giddy and off-balance.

He would open the window if he could, but it doesn’t open. A practical measure designed to keep the ship from being swamped by a high wave if some careless passenger were to leave it open, but tonight, on this calm ocean, on this airless night, it seems pointless and vindictive.

You’re an idiot, Cal, he tells himself, and his self does not disagree. You didn’t have to be here in the first place.

Since he has nothing better to do, and he feels he deserves it, he decides to torture himself by dwelling on the fact that it was his own insistence which has put him in this situation. There is no need for either him or his traveling companion to be making this journey by boat. They are both capable of travelling via more exotic means, either with or without the help of a sedu.

You thought it would be fun. An adventure. Excitement. You’re a fool. He takes a calculated delight in rubbing his own nose in his stupidity, enjoying the process of humiliating himself. And you’re a masochist too, he concludes savagely, but his inner humiliated Cal does not reply. He sighs. He knows himself too well these days.

He wipes a hand down his own throat and chest, There is a thin trickle of rank perspiration running down his breastbone, and he smears it over his skin, feeling a moment of coolness before the stifling heat returns. He could do with a drink, but in the dark he cannot see where the flask of water is.

“Some light would be useful,” he mutters up at the dark circle of the porthole, and as if on cue, the clouds part and the full moon makes its triumphant appearance. The cabin is filled with a cold, silver light. Cal grins slowly. Even the universe loves him.

He reaches over to grab the flask of water, which he sees tucked down between the two bunks. He gulps down about half the contents, and pours some of the remainder over his head, feeling it soak gloriously into his short, sleep-messy hair.

Belatedly, he wonders if he should offer some to his companion, and he looks across at the other bunk, but its occupant is sleeping soundly.

Of course, thinks Cal sourly. A Gelaming is never bothered by trivial things like heat or cold or physical discomfort. They are above all that. Smug bastards.

Cal looks at the har lying on the bed. He is naked also. Plainly he is not completely impervious to the cabin conditions. He is lying on his back, with his hands folded lightly over his stomach, long silken hair draped fluidly around his body. Cal can see no movement to indicate breathing. He could be dead, for all the signs of life he is exhibiting. He reminds Cal of one of those marble effigies atop the coffin of someone who had been important in life. An unexpected memory surfaces – a graveyard at night; himself and another har; the fierce passion of aruna, the smell of the damp earth, the stone slab under him, and the marble angel looking impassively down at them, all blind, carved eyes and petrified wings. Aeons ago. He cannot even remember the har’s name, but that is true of most of his couplings.

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October

October
by LoLL

Story Notes

Author Contact: loll4000 (at) gmail (dot) com

Beta: marchwarden23

Series: Wraeththu (AU, sort of)

Pairing: Panthera/Caeru

Rating: NC17

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Wraeththu Universe and its characters belong to Storm Constantine.

Inspiration:
– Autumn, my favourite season
– U2’s struggling “October”
– Peter Greenaway’s movie “The Pillow’s Book”
– Edgar Allan Poe’s beautiful poem “Annabel Lee”

October

October
And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care

October
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on

And on

U2 – October 1981

He had never belonged there. Never. Not when Cal was just a ghost hanging over his heads, even less now that he was back in all his flamboyant and carnal essence, throwing tantrums and whispering alluring images of a perfect threesome.

Not that he had ever fed himself some sort of illusion, but it had been nice, at the beginning.
But now, now that Pell had accepted to host Cal’s pearl, they had cut him out. Completely.
So he had begun to travel. Representation trips, they called it. Keep Rue away, he had secretly renamed them, but yet, he had obliged without a single complaint.

He was the Tigrina and nobody, especially his two so-called consorts, would have rejoiced at his discomfort.

In the last month he had visited more tribes and met more rulers than he thought possible: first Megalithica, with a brief stop in Galhea, then around to the Kakkahaar’s camps and then back to Jaddayoth, visiting the Natawni, the Kamagrian of Roselane, the Emunah’s markets, the Maudrah and his Archon, the Gimrah and now, the Ferike.

Compared to some utterly uncivilized and rough tribes, the Ferike and, in specific, their leader Ferminfex Jael and his enchanting consort Lahela were a regenerating and refined company. So he decided to extend his stay for a little longer, enjoying the relaxing ambience of the palace, the music, the art and the good wine.

It was the incoming of autumn, not his favourite season at all. He loved the sun, the warmth and the scent of the sea. Summers in Ferilithia where cherished and valued memories he still clung to desperately, especially during some bad days.

But this first October’s sunset was breathtaking. From the huge window facing the garden he could see the explosion of reds, infinite reds, dark like a stormy sky or bright like droplets of fresh blood, stained in yellow, or green, or orange, or purple. Hundreds and hundreds of leaves dancing all around in the orange light of the twilight, carried by the wind, tore apart from the trees that only few days ago had nourished them in proud luxuriance.

A sudden wave of melancholy enveloped him like a possessive embrace. Longing…and not just of summer in Ferilithia.

And suddenly he was crying. Not a dignified silent weep, but shattering sobs, that made him hiccup and cough.

It was in this pitiful state that Panthera, Ferminfex and Lahela’s son, found him.

“Missing home already?” he asked, throwing himself over a sofa just in front of him.

Rue shook his head, sniffing hard, and wiped his puffy eyes, hoping that the ground would open under his feet, swallowing him away from the irreverent and persistent stare of the young Ferike.

“No, it’s just…” He opened his arm and moved it, embracing the landscape behind the window, as if that explained everything.

The puzzled expression in Panthera’s eyes told him that, probably, the Ferike thought him insane, at best.

“They don’t deserve you.” Muttered the black haired har, and then “May I paint you?”

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Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice
by LoLL

Story Notes

Author Contact: loll4000 (at) gmail (dot) com

Title: Fire&Ice

Beta: ts5000 and tolliel

Pairing: Ashmael/Vaysh

Rating: from Pg13 to NC17

Summary: Ashmael and Vaysh’s back story (Ashmael POV)

Chapters: 2

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Wraeththu Universe and its characters belong to Storm Constantine. Except Jay who belongs just to Jay.

Thanks to: Jay who graciously agreed to play a delightful cameo; to marchwarden23, you know why ;-), to all the people reading this story.

Note: You can consider The Pan Within as a sort of sequel of this story

Fire & Ice

Part I

I had been observing him for three days now. My orders were plain: wait and be sure that nobody else is in the house, than take him, and DO NOT TOUCH HIM. Thiede had been very clear about that.

As if I was vaguely interested! An eleven or twelve year old boy, all skin and bones, with waist long, chestnut hair that made him look like a girl. Why Thiede was so obsessed with him to the point he would send a whole contingent of hara, was still a mystery to me. But I was not inclined to discussing orders and even less to disobeying.

So, I waited patiently, hidden in my secluded spot on the hill to see if any other soul ghosted the house. But after three days of careful observation, I came to the conclusion that the boy was the only inhabitant.
At dawn on the forth day I descended the hill following a path which was well hidden from the house. A misty fog made everything surreal and evanescent, drenching clothes and hair, and once again I asked myself if all this effort was worth the prize.

The house was silent and dark, and I imagined the boy was still sleeping. I snuck inside and found myself in a huge kitchen. The kitchen was perfectly tidy and clean, with a scent of cooked food still lingering in the air. I sniffed, realizing that I was starving, then instinctively I moved my hand to the hunting knife at my side. There must have been someone else in the house, for the child couldn’t have done the cooking or cleaning.

I blinked. I was incepted a little over two years ago but some strong memories still cluttered at my mind. At twelve, the only things I had in mind was to hang out with my friends and listen to loud music. I was not a spoilt child but neither did I have to take care of household duties!

Beside, this house needed a huge staff of servants to keep it running. It was a very rich house full of very rich people.

With caution, I began my exploration. Heavy curtains forbade the first rays of light to enter, but I was used to moving in the dark and my over-developed senses helped me where my sight could not. After a while my eyes began to adjust to the dark and the house revealed herself in all her magnificence.

The rooms were wide, all well furnished, with marble floors, elaborate carpets and crystal chandeliers. The walls were decorated with tapestries and paintings.

A particular painting caught my attention: a family portrait of an incredibly beautiful Lady and a severe but handsome Lord. The Lady was holding a child and it didn’t take me long to recognize the sad child in the painting as being the same boy I was looking for. It was not a happy family: nobody was smiling.

Suddenly, a cold breeze hit me and I felt the hair at the base of my neck stand on end. I turned slowly, grasping my knife, ready to strike, and in the doorway I saw the boy of the painting. He was a still and ghostly image, with pale skin and dark circles under feverish amber eyes. I stared at the apparition and waited for it fade away, but then the ghost spoke.

“So finally you came. Why did you take so long?”

The voice was melodic, neither male nor female, the voice of an angel, I thought. My eyes rapidly scanned the room while my mind processed the boy’s words.

“Don’t worry, there is nobody here but me. And I have no intentions of going anywhere.”

There was a slight mocking in the way he spoke and it annoyed me. “Do you mean you live here alone?” I tried to keep my tone even, as if this was routine.

“Yes, don’t you already know? You have been spying on me for four days.”

The statement left me dumbfounded. The little shit was far smarter than I thought. Once again, I decided to ignore his question. It was me who was to make the interrogation, after all.

“Where are the others? Your parents?”

“My parents left for a business trip two months ago and never came back. And the servants ran away like foxes after the first raid on our neighbour’s home.”

“And they left you behind… alone?”

He shrugged. “I could have gone with them if I wished, but I didn’t.” The detached tone was disturbing. The boy seemed to lack all feelings. “Beside, I knew someone would come to fetch me sooner or later. I’m ready.”

“Do you mean… you won’t try to escape? Don’t you fear us?”

The boy shook his head vigorously and, for the first time, he looked like he truly was: a kid who thought he knew everything, but in reality knew nothing.

“So what exactly do you think I’m supposed to do with you?” I asked with amusement.

“You’ll take me to your boss.”

“To my… boss. Ok, and then?”

“And then he’ll make me become a Wraeththu!”

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