In the End

Monthly Challenge SubmissionIn the End
by Ophelia

Story Notes

I suppose I must say that I have a strong and healthy love/obsession with Cobweb, so there is a lot of Cobwebness in this story, hehehehe… But, I just hope it makes sense and people like it. I have never written a story with Seel before, so I hope his characterization is all right. Anyway, thank you for the opportunity!

In the End

These dreams are agonies that gnaw at my mind incessantly. They scrape my intellect raw with their blinding righteousness. My past, my present, my future…all are mixed up in these nefarious dreams that haunt me to an extreme. Swift doesn’t really understand but I don’t expect him to. So many things have occurred between us and around us that this one minor smudge in my life can not compare to the blights that have elsewhere occurred.

In all my dreams, there is red. Red fire, red light, red water. It is night and when I open my mouth, fire hurls out in streams of red. Raw, gaping wounds where fresh blood flows out incessantly, coating everything in a fluorescent scarlet. Open, wanton mouths where gums are as pink as a freshly hatched harling and the lips are achingly red, bitten and ravaged by others. Images race through my mind, and I never understand why.

Well, perhaps I am not being too honest here. I had grudgingly asked Cobweb for help one day and to my surprise he actually put up with the horror of speaking to me. His marvelous eyes, so liquid and shiny, seemed to peer straight into my mind, and straight into the horrible place where the dreams were born. Long strands of soft mossy brown hair clung to him as he walked, some hiding in the voluminous folds in the silken light green robe he wore.

“Does Swift know?” he asked in his soft, all-too-wise voice. I couldn’t meet his gaze, so I looked outside the window. We were standing in the red room of Forever (incidentally Swift’s least favorite room; he liked to remark that he found it altogether too stiff and unwelcoming) and the sun was falling down the sky, leaving a strand of fiery light in its wake.

“No.”

Cobweb lifted one thin eyebrow, so like a crescent moon. “Doesn’t he notice?”

“Notice what?”

Cobweb had the grace to turn away. “When you move around the bed at night. Can’t he feel the tremors in the sheets?”

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Lessons of Fragility

Monthly Challenge SubmissionLessons of Fragility
Written by Kane
Illustrated by Kami

Story Notes

Written by: Kane
Homepage: http://kamukaneo.deviantart.com
E-mail: kamuikaneo@yahoo.de

Illustrated by: Kami
Homepage: http://turtlenishi.deviantart.com
E-mail: niku_shimi@yahoo.de

Lessons of Fragility
Click to view full-size story and illustrations


Mine

Monthly Challenge SubmissionMine
By Persephone

Story Notes

Author:  Persephone100

Author’s email: persephone10034@yahoo.com

Characters:  Seel and Swift

Beta:  Thevina/thrihyrne Special thanks!  All remaining mistakes are mine.

Rating: G

Spoilers:  Up to and including Wraiths of Will and Pleasure

Synopsis:  Seel explores his feelings and events since his arranged pairing with Swift.

Disclaimer:  All the characters, their world and all things Wraeththu belong to Storm Constantine, to whom I am very grateful.

Mine

There was a whispering, tranquil quiet pervading the evening as Seel looked upon his infant harling.  Azriel slept soundly, making little noises and looking so peaceful and angelic that Seel’s heart overflowed with love and pride.  He stared at this small, entrancing creature, thinking incredulously, This came out of me. All memories of pain and trauma faded as love and awe replaced them in his heart and mind.

He heard the door open and looked to see Swift enter; Swift, his chesnari. No longer did he think of him as Swift the Varr, as he’d done before. At first, Seel had so opposed Thiede’s plan for him to be Swift’s consort, outraged and believing it to be a personal insult.  After all, he had founded Saltrock.  He was a har to be reckoned with, not some pearl-bearing consort.  He had imagined himself to belong in the Hegemony in Immanion, not in a nursery in Galhea.  Knowing his undeniable, strong attraction to the young lord was contrived by Thiede, he’d felt completely manipulated, making him rebellious, obstinate and angry.

How things had changed.  If left to his own devices, Seel felt he would have found Swift attractive, enchanting and totally desirable.  He was pureborn and there was just… something… about that.  In Swift he saw pure, perfected Wraeththu; a generation further removed from humanity’s frailties and failings.  He appeared young and innocent, yet strangely wise and mature at once. The pureborn were living proof of Wraeththu’s future and potential.  And Swift, himself, Seel found irresistible.   But the fact that Thiede arranged their pairing made Seel resistant.

Seel’s thoughts inevitably then turned to Thiede.  How ridiculous that the first of all Wraeththu would resort to the arcane, even by human standards, practice of arranged pairings.  Even though he’d sweetened the experience by giving them a longing for each other, manipulation and force were still just that.  In his conflicted mind, Seel had thought everything about his chesna bond with Swift a sham.  Thiede had stated in no uncertain terms that Seel was to be Swift’s consort, and that Seel was to host Swift’s pearl. Thiede had told Seel that he’d put him into Swift’s mind and heart before they’d even met, so to Seel, nothing about their relationship was real.  It was all a contrivance of Thiede’s.

Or was it?  It started that way, but was it the same now?  Seel really cared for Swift, at least he now truly believed he did.  He really desired him and wanted him.  Or did he?  Was it still all a trick of Thiede’s?  Seel rubbed his hands over his face, How will I ever know? he fretted, anguished.

“What’s wrong?” Swift asked, his young, lovely face full of concern.

“Nothing,” Seel answered feebly.

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All That Is Left Of Us Is Love

Thevina Editor's Pick

All That Is Left Of Us Is Love
by Camile Sinensis

Story Notes

Title:  All That Is Left Of Us Is Love
Author:  Camile_Sinensis
Author’s email:  teapot@doramail.com
Website:  http://red-shellac.livejournal.com, http://www.mudsharks.org/stuff.htm

Author Notes:

Characters:  Seel, Swift, Thiede, Cobweb, Pellaz.   Terez, Raven, Caeru and Darquiel. Spear-carrier-har No 2 (they also serve who only bring plot devices from Immanion!).  And Cal.  Even though he’s not actually in it…

Spoilers:  Some for Shades and Ghosts.  And the story assumes that the reader is familiar with the… er… more interesting aspects of Seel’s career, as detailed in Wraiths.

Disclaimer:  All characters belong to Storm Constantine, and she writes ‘em so much better too, dammit!

This story was was written for the Forever Wraeththu Fanfic Challenge.  When Wendy posted the theme, my black little fanficcing heart rejoiced!  Seel and Swift’s Big Sparkly Romantic Interlude At Imbrilim has always been one of my favourite bits in Bewitchments.  It is a well-thumbed chapter in what is undoubtedly a well-thumbed book.  I have read it and re-read it many times, delicately dabbing the corner of my eye with a tiny handkerchief each time, and being positively drenched in Warm And Fuzzy Feelings. (At least, I assume that’s what it is…)

And yet…  -wavy lines, indicative of the passing of time – much later,  it occurred to me that there was something very wrong with the whole scenario.  That it was not at all the sparkly, sugar-coated True Love of which girlish (harish?) dreams are made. And that instead of being a lovely tale of love and romance, there was actually a great black gaping hole at the centre of it, waiting to swallow the protagonists whole.

Which is actually a lot more interesting than sparkly romances, when you come to think about it!

All That Is Left Of Us Is Love

Once, it must have had another name, but now the house was Forever.  Cobweb had named it so, through some arcane and mysterious circumstance that Seel had never quite understood, and if he could not find it within himself to give Cobweb credit for anything else, he could at least acknowledge that Swift’s monstrous hostling had bestowed a fitting title upon the mouldering pile.  The house had an air of stubborn permanence; its roots and foundations had burrowed deep into the ground, and it clung there tenaciously.  It had outlived its human masters, and Seel was in no doubt that it would outlast him too.

He was not, in any case the house’s master.  Neither had Terzian – dead these thirty years and more – been able truthfully to claim that position, although Seel was quite sure that the late Varrish leader’s pride and egotistical nature would never have conceded such a possibility. Nor even his son, currently encumbent as head of the Parasiel tribe. The house obeyed one har only.  Forever belonged to Cobweb.

The house reminded Seel of a particular horse that he had once had the misfortune to encounter.  A beautiful, thoroughbred creature, a long time ago, in a place called Saltrock.  The horse had been bred in captivity, but some strange throwback or quirk of nature had given it a wild temperament.  Whenever anyhar approached the creature, its eyes would roll and flash wickedly and it would lash out with hooves and snaking neck and unexpected teeth.

Only one har could approach the horse.  The har’s name had been Colt – a fitting name, chosen to invoke the horse-nature of his soul – and when he came close to  the stallion, the wildness and the fear in its eyes would vanish, and its restless  movement become still. Colt could ride the horse.  It permitted him to mount upon its back and would gallop for miles, tireless under the hot sun.  Any other har who attempted this would either find himself with bruised and bleeding shins for his pains, or lying face down in the dry, salt-crusted dirt, having been summarily ejected from the horse’s back.

Seel knew that this house did not want him any more than the horse had.  The horse would be dead now, its bones lying bleached by the sun somewhere, but Forever endured.  Sometimes, when he was sleeping, he dreamed of riding away from Galhea, on the back of a tireless horse, on and on, towards a horizon that would never come any closer, his long braids flying freely behind him, but then he would wake and it would be early morning, just after dawn, and the house would be still and quiet, filled with a cathedral hush as its occupants slept on.  Seel would listen for the clock in the hall to strike the hour – which it always did, unless Cobweb forgot to wind it up, which he never did – but he could not rise from his bed.  The house did not want him.  It wanted to be alone, in these private, early hours.  Only after the clock had struck again, and the house-hara begun to stir, and the sun had risen over the roof of the gatehouse at the lower end of the grounds would the house grudgingly allow him to occupy its inner space.

Seel knew that Cobweb could walk the corridors of Forever at whatever time of day or night he chose, and the house would tolerate his presence; more than that, it would cocoon him and protect him, like a hostling caring for a harling. In fact, Seel harboured suspicions that Cobweb prowled the house nightly, casting runes and protective spells to ward off evil spirits and repel malign influences – such as himself.

Swift had laughed at this notion, calling it fanciful, but then Swift always sided with Cobweb.  No – that was not quite true – Swift attempted to be impartial, and sometimes even succeeded, but it was difficult for him, caught between two warring factions.  Cobweb and Seel ground together like heavy millstones.  Sometimes Swift could be the chaff and grist that would keep them separate.  Sometimes the weight of it all simply crushed him.

Seel heard the clock in the hall strike.   He turned over carefully, closing his eyes and patiently hoping for sleep.  Beside him, he could feel the warmth and solidity of his consort’s body.

At least you don’t snore, he thought.   Cal had snored.  Especially when he was drunk. Which was often.

He knew he wouldn’t sleep again now.  The very though of Cal was enough to set his teeth grinding and his blood pressure rising.  There was no har in the entire Earthly realm that he despised more than Cal.  Cal, his erstwhile lover, murderer, seducer, iconoclast, usurper, and, currently, Tigron of Immanion.

You don’t deserve that, he thought, bitterly.   You deserve to be locked in a dungeon, or a tower, and tormented by the very demons of Hell for the rest of your unnaturally long life.  You deserve to be strung up by your guts, humiliated, destroyed, abandoned and crushed.  You deserve to have the one thing you want most in life taken from you.  You deserve all of these things, and more, and I… I sold my soul to God or the Devil, or whatever he is or was, in order to inflict some of these things on you.  To let you know how it felt.  I sold my soul, and I got my reward.   I lost my soul, and you gained Immanion.   You won, Cal.  You always do.

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The Dawning

The Dawning
by Persephone

Story Notes

Author: Persephone100

Author’s email: persephone10034@yahoo.com

Characters: Cal is featured throughout in flashback, memory and focus of my primary original character. There are also several other originals.

Rating: NC17

Beta: Thevina/thrihyrne. Thank you so much for all your help and hard work! Any remaining mistakes are mine.

Spoilers: Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, Bewitchments of Love and Hate, Fulfillments of Fate and Desire

Synopsis: A har who has had a several month relationship with Cal tries to deal with their inevitable parting and tries to heal his broken heart.

Disclaimer: All the characters, their world and all things Wraeththu belong to Storm Constantine, to whom I am very grateful.

This is the sequel to my first fic, Inception, Inc. You don’t have to read the first one for this one to make sense, but I hope anyone who is interested will read the first one, too. Many thanks to anyone who reads either one! Comments are very welcome!

Ch.1

Ilana sat at the window watching the droplets of rain collect and trickle down the window pane. His thoughts, as usual of late, ran to Calanthe. It had been over a month since he had left; he’d traveled onward following the guide of his heart and soul, continuing his journey to Pellaz, his chesnari and soul mate.

Ilana had so enjoyed his time with Cal, and had tried not to fall in love with him. But as many a har before him had found, it’s hard, if not impossible, not to fall in love with Calanthe. Ilana was no exception. Even though Cal said he’d felt love and had even given part of his heart to Ilana, his heart and soul belonged to his true, forever love, Pellaz. Ilana had known that from the first, for Cal had told him. He’d known that Cal had to find his chesnari and had to go to him and that it was his destiny.

Ilana had decided to take whatever time he could have with Cal and enjoy it to the fullest. They had been lovers, companions, friends and so much more to each other. But now Cal was gone and Ilana felt empty. He wished only good things for Cal and prayed that his dream of reuniting with his soul mate would bring him happiness and an end to his wandering.

Ilana was lost in thoughts of Calanthe when he remembered that he had an appointment. He was going to initiate another newly incepted har into Wraeththudom. He would be his partner for his first aruna; the one to complete the inceptee’s transformation. The har in question wasn’t a friend of Ilana’s. He was a client.

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