by Gilda Mock
This is my first piece of Wraeththu fanfiction, the first part in a planned novel. I hope those who read enjoy it, and I also hope you’ll share your thoughts and suggestions.
This story was originally posted to the “Pinkboard” works-in-progress in Feb. 2006. This was the only chapter posted but I thought it was worth rescuing and posting here.
The dehar reached out to him with his hand. In his hand was a scroll of yellow vellum, tied with red ribbons. His feet stood on air. Rushing, ripping, whistling air as cold as the beginning of the earth. The breath at the top of the world. The dehara’s smile was serene as the sun’s and more warm. His voice laughed like a thousand streams as he beckoned; the wind buffeted his hair back and forth like a writhing mass of golden-scaled snakes. The har, his tremelous feet perching atop the pinnacle of the tallest rock he’d ever seen, smelled the sickly salty smell of the sea wafting up from the base, too far away for him to see. The dehara before him was silent, but his eyes spilled words like water. Esoteric messages and furtive whispers whipped around the planes of his body like something he could reach out and grab.
“I can’t.” The har screamed. “I can’t, I’ll fall!”
The dehara’s smile opened to the gleam of pearly teeth. He cocked his head and pressed the scroll towards him.
Rock sanded away under the har’s toehold. Panic scrabbled in his heart.
The dehara spoke: “Sometimes you must fall.”
The har whimpered deep in his throat and tightened the thin sheet to his body. Tears stung his eyes and made him blind. Panic closed a choking fist over him and he fell to his knees, scraped them to the bone.
“If I take it from you…” He blubbered, “If I take it, will you keep me from falling?”
The dehara’s eyes melted from dark to light, then back, like watching the scales of a brilliant fish from above the water.
“Sometimes you must fall. When you land you will be a god.”
The har, heart hammering, swayed to a stand. He could feel the electric rush of blood through every vein in his body. His pulse throbbed in his ankles and wrists like stars. His feet were bloody. He dropped the sheet. It flapped once with a great boom like a dragon’s wing and disappeared in a shooting wind. The har was naked, and reaching. The dehara had a divinely victorious expression on his face. His eyes were closed, brown eyelashes casting dripping shadows; his eyebrows swept back like sparrow wings. The ribbons on the scroll made a tiny, silky, gasp; slipped out of their knot and flew away. The parchment fell towards the har in a cream-yellow trail. The polished wooden handle bumped his hand. He gripped it with clammy fingers. The dehar let go of the other end. The har felt his stomach flutter to his throat. His toes left the rock and he leapt into the sky. Banshees of air screamed past him. Icy fingers reached to touch him as he passed by. He heard birds. He glimped the dehar above him, a steadfast beacon of energy, burning like a phoenix. Somehow he knew he was laughing, joyfully.
The har smelled frying meat and eggs.
He broke away from sleep like a nearly-drowned from water.