Originally posted to raythoo in Oct. 2005.
So I took a stab at writing my own Wraeththu fanfiction… it’s a one-shot, combining Caeru with a Grimm’s fairy tale. The fairy tale in question is The Sea Hare, by the way. I love it muchly and I’ve been looking for something to do with it.
Long ago in the early days when Wraeththu and Kamagrian mutated from human stock and the Aghama walked the earth, the first Tigron, Pellaz-har-Aralis, had a consort of legendary beauty. The lord Tigrina, a har named Caeru, complemented the dark loveliness of the Tigron with white-gold hair, deep blue eyes, and skin pale as milk. The Tigrina enjoyed wealth, power, comfort, everything he could possibly desire above and beyond what most hara could only imagine. Despite this, he was not happy, for his heart always quivered in his chest.
The Tigron despised his consort and would have nothing to do with him or their son. The Gelaming did not understand the coldness toward their Tigrina; however, those who lived and worked in Phaonica knew the Tigron loved another har named Calanthe, and they saw the Tigrina as a selfish gold-digger who usurped Calanthe’s place. Whatever the world thought, the Tigrina loved the Tigron with all his heart and would not give up his position in hope that someday the Tigron would forget Calanthe and love him in return.
In the palace, only the Aghama had the Tigrina’s trust. After all, the Aghama had raised him to this position, performed the blood-bond ceremony against the Tigron’s will, and intended to keep him there, so he believed unfailingly the Aghama would protect him against competition from the Tigron’s erstwhile chesnari. The Aghama assured the Tigrina that Calanthe would never find his way to Immanion, but even so, the Tigrina worried. Time passed and the Tigron would show him no affection; even during aruna a part of his soul would fly far away in search of the har he loved. Eventually the Tigrina would take no more promises without proof; not even his blood-bond could still his shaking. Surely Calanthe’s soul flew around the world as well, and when he found the Tigron, he would come and ruin everything.
One day, the Aghama took pity on the fretting Tigrina and gave him a gift. He led the Tigrina to the highest room in the tallest tower of Phaonica. The door to this room pushed up from the ceiling of the room below, for a door in the wall would have spoiled the effect. The Tigrina came up through the floor to find a room with twelve large windows in twelve walls, looking out in all directions, filling the room with light and providing the best view of Immanion. But the windows had a greater appeal than that.
“Go to a window, Caeru,” the Aghama told him with a smile. “Tell me what you see.”
The Tigrina hated above all things being made to look a fool, and so he resisted the urge to pounce on this interesting situation with childish hope and enthusiasm. He held his head high, face cool as he sauntered to the closest window and looked down his nose through the glass. Yet when he looked out and saw something unlike the familiar view of Immanion, he gasped and flittered from window to window, looking out in disbelief. And the silver-tongued Tigrina could produce only one pathetic syllable, “Ohhh…”
Here, the Tigrina’s weak eyes became the strongest of all Wraeththu, for through these windows, he could see not just all of Immanion, but the entire world. From the first window, he could see all of Almagabra, from the second he could look across the sea. From the third he could see into Thaine and Jaddayoth and so it went on until from the twelfth window he could see the entire earth.
“What trickery is this, Thiede?”
“Whenever you feel threatened, Caeru,” the Aghama said, “look out these windows. As long as Calanthe is without Phaonica, you can see him and know you are protected.”
Still skeptical, the Tigrina demanded proof. “Show him to me,” his eyes blazed. “Who is he?”
The Aghama came forward, knowing precisely which window to peer into. He lifted a graceful hand and gestured. “That har there. He is Calanthe.”
Eagerly the Tigrina looked out, scanning the scene before him. He hoped feverishly for a brute with a harsh, hawk-like face; it would make hating him that much easier. He could see several hara, but he knew at once which one he hated and put a hand to his throat. This har indeed had lived a hard life of travel and toil. His skin brown from the sun, his mouth twisted in a bitter smirk, but his white-gold hair, those blue eyes so deep they almost looked violet… He knew Calanthe’s face so well. It was his own.
The Tigrina soon memorized every part of Calanthe’s body and developed an obsession with watching him. What was so special about this har that the Tigron forever looked away from his consort? He had to know. He needed this to find peace. And so he watched the house We Dwell in Forever, shaking his head in compassion at the rage of the master’s consort, a black-haired soume-har. Here was someone who understood the pain of living as the consort of a har who longed for another. Here was someone who hated Calanthe for all the same reasons he did. He wanted more than anything to speak to his visions, but the Tigrina could only silently watch an equally silent display. Still, sometimes he swore the soume-har in Forever looked right back at him.
When he learned he was to go to Imbrilim, the Tigrina could hardly restrain himself. In a short time, he might find himself face to face with his rival. He obsessed over the moment. What would he say? Would he beg for answers as to why the Tigron hated him so, or would he stand aloof and demand Calanthe’s head on a bed of blossoms with the same name? The thought made him smile.
Oh, but when he found the flower had been plucked and carried away, his anger knew no limits. Instead he had the son of Forever’s soume-har, and only this knowledge kept the Tigrina from tearing out the young har’s eyes with his lovely nails. Those same great, dark eyes that looked into his soul so sadly. When he tried to ask about Calanthe, those eyes turned his resolution to water. He learned nothing, took nothing, surrendering all of himself, and for that one night, he could let his heart weep properly.
For some years after the Imbrilim incident, the Tigrina settled down. The Aghama had taken Calanthe into custody and every day through his windows, the Tigrina saw him in his cell. He watched the Tigron’s precious flower wilting, and it soothed his jealous heart and stilled his shaking. Over these years as Calanthe drooped, the Tigrina blossomed, turning from an unpopular, sulking bitch into a radiant figurehead for the Gelaming. His beauty, his charm, his grace won over the populace even as the Tigron continued to push him away. He went to the windows less and less and soon stopped visiting his high room all together.
It would be many years before he recalled the promise and the windows when he finally met Calanthe in Oomadrah. It stung him, a horrible poisonous sting that he nursed for a long time after, that he should only meet his worst enemy by accident when his best efforts in Imbrilim came to nothing. He howled at the Aghama when he returned to Immanion, but the lord Aghama merely smiled gently and shook his head.
“Calanthe will never come to Immanion, so long as I live to keep him away,” he said. “Never fear.”
The Tigrina did fear, but many years of life without Calanthe stilled it. He went to his windows high above the city and looked out all twelve of them out of habit, but he knew he would always find Calanthe somewhere. So he thought it would stay forever…
One morning, just after he’d risen, the Tigrina went to look out his windows as he always did. He should have known it would happen someday, whether it took thirty years or a hundred. Pushing back his hair carelessly, the Tigrina passed in front of the glass and lazily looked out into the world. When he passed the eleventh, however, he froze, realizing something.
Calanthe wasn’t there.
No doubt now the Tigrina grew pale, very pale, as he approached the last window and gripped the sill with shaking fingers. Blue eyes searched frantically for any sign of a face just like his. Only one har looked so like him. Only one. And these windows would find him as long as he was without Phaonica. Anxiety stole the Tigrina’s breath and made his heart pound until he thought he must surely faint, but no desperate hope would make his rival appear before him in the glass. A scream tore from his throat.
A sound caught the Tigrina’s ear, and he turned to see the windows beginning to break. At first just tiny cracks appeared in the glass, but agonizingly slowly they grew longer and longer until they could no longer take the pressure. The first window shattered; Phaonica began to shake. Frightened, the Tigrina retreated to the center of the room away from the breaking glass, and all around him through the fractured window panes, he saw the fright, the confusion, the awe of hara all around the world before the windows one by one around him exploded into thousands of sparkling slivers that slashed at his clothes. It seemed like an eternity before the palace stood still again. By that time, the Tigrina lay helplessly on the floor, staring up at the ceiling with empty eyes. He knew not how long he lay there; in that time he fell asleep and dreamed. He dreamed of Calanthe, beautiful Calanthe, rushing to the Tigron. He dreamed of the Aghama rising to heaven.
It should not have happened. He should have stood up, reached the Tigron before Calanthe did, but in the end, he would not fight. He could not fight. Only then did he realize he spent the last thirty years of his life hiding and running, and it had weakened him. Bitterly, he had to admit he’d earned what he had now.
His son came to him later; he did not know when. “Rue…” he murmured. “Tell me what I can do for you.”
The Tigrina closed his eyes and shook his head. “Oh, Bree… He is so much stronger than I.”