Not Far From the Tree

Not Far From the Tree
by Mercredi

Notes

Like Wiebke, Mercredi got really wrapped up in the world created in Breeding Discontent, so much so that she kept on writing, putting together some sequels. Mercredi was particularly keen on following up on some of the minor characters in the story and seeing how things turned out for them. In Not Far From the Tree, she focuses on harlings.

Alternate Universe Note
This story was written when Breeding Discontent existed as an online fan fiction novel, essentially a draft. It was also written prior to the publication of Wraiths of Will and Pleasure and any new Wraeththu novels. Because of this, it’s become an “alternate universe” fic that’s not entirely consistent, and in fact contradicts, what is now “canon.”

Characters
Pansea and Lisia (original characters from BD), Ivy (original character who also shows up in Contentment) various other hara at Harling Gardens, harlings at .

Spoilers
Containers spoilers for Bewitchments of Love and Hate (Book 2) and Fulfilments of Fate and Desire (Book 3) in the Wraeththu trilogy. The story stands on its own but somewhat presupposes that you’ve read Breeding Discontent; it also has a nice tie-in with Contentment.

Author Contact
To reach Mercredi, you can email: madamemercredi@hotmail.com

Pansea’s Journal

I hate it when Lis and I fight. But he really brought it on himself this time. There’s some big shot, stupid rich har coming here next month looking for a consort and Lis put my name at the top of the list to meet with him! I can’t believe that Lis has gone and done something so controlling and insensitive.

I know he thought it’s what I want, but why can’t he see that I’ve changed. I’m not a harling anymore. I want different things. But Lis just seems to see me as the same old Pansea. Yes, I still want to take care of harlings and have my own one day, but now that I know more, being a consort just seems so boring and pointless. I admit that I haven’t exactly come out and talked to him about what I want, but it should be obvious. I haven’t said anything about being a consort since the Gelaming came – well maybe once or twice, but definitely not since my Feybraiah.

Lis said he honestly didn’t know how I felt. In a way that makes me feel almost as bad as anything else. I always felt like Lis really understood me – like we were close in a special sort of way. I understand that he’s had to be hostling to all of us and I’m glad for the others. I try not to get jealous, but I have to admit that I don’t like feeling like just another one of the harlings. Lis should be able to see that I’ve changed. Even if he can’t be bothered to see it, he should assume it. I’m twelve years old now; it’s really insulting that he thinks I have the same dreams as when I was seven.

I guess he does think I’m still immature. Of all the hara accepted to study high academics in Immanion, I’m the only one who opted to come back to Harling Gardens to complete my caste training. I know everyone thought I was crazy. I guess I can’t blame them. I really, really love Immanion and I’d love to go back one day and maybe even travel more. But I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be. Even though I was just a harling, I know that I helped Lis a lot back when we were all alone out here and struggling. Lis is special because he became hostling to everyone, but I feel a connection here too. I feel like I need to stay here and see everything running according to plan. And I know I can really do a good job. I’ve already got so many great ideas. I just wish that the hara would pay attention to me instead of worrying that they need to send me off and away to some brighter future.

Ivy’s Journal

I almost feel like it’s wrong for me to write this down, but I just have to tell someone even if it’s just a journal. Lisia is my hostling!!!!

I just couldn’t believe it when I saw the codes. I think I checked it over about five times to be sure I was reading it right. But it was Lis all right. And then I thought about how Lis has green eyes too and I figured it was probably really true.

Sure it crossed my mind before but I never, ever thought that he would be the one. I’m not even sure if I still would have asked to see the records if I’d known it would be him. I’m really glad to know, but at the same time I feel like I’m going to burst from being around him and not being able to say anything.

I haven’t been able to think about anything else all day. My Feybraiah celebration is next week and even though I’m supposed to be picking out the har to lead me through my first aruna, it just isn’t as important as it was before. I keep replaying every little thing that I know about Lis. It’s kind of sad that I really haven’t spent all that much time with him – not like in a personal way. There have always been lots of harlings here who are my age and so Lis would usually come and check up on a whole group of us at once.

Even if I did see Lis alone in the hall or something, I never thought to say anything important to him. Well, why would I. He was just Lis. He was my hostling but then he was everybody’s hostling. It was like his job, not personal. I’ve always loved Lis, but now I feel like I should have been loving him more all this time and I missed my chance.

But, it’s not too late. I still have as many as four more years here to do my training. And I can even come back and visit after that. From now on I’m going to be around Lis as much as I can and try to learn whatever I can about him. I guess I should have felt this way even before I knew the real truth about us. But it’s like this news bonked me on the head and got my attention. I’m not going to take Lisia for granted again.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Aghama’s True Form

The Aghama’s True Form
by Mercredi

Story Notes

Editor\'s PickSpoilers: Wraeththu, but no specific book

Date Posted: April 2004

Author: Mercredi

Contact: madamemercredi@hotmail.com

Notes:

In response to a challenge from Martina which was in response to my foolish declaration of boredom … I thrust upon the unsuspecting this Wraeththu silly involving Thiede.

Some additional inspiration during my research…

The Aghama’s True Form

A lovely spring morning dawned one day about 20 years after Pellaz Har Aralias had been installed as Tigron of Immanion. A multitude of birds sang in the gardens, which were perfumed with the scent of fruit blossoms offset by the tang of the nearby sea. The last vestiges of sunrise were fading in the eastern horizon of the otherwise azure sky.

A tall, regal har with hair more fiery than the newly risen sun stood leaning on the railings of a polished marble balcony. He sighed deeply – not the sigh of contentment, which anyhar would have expected from this most powerful of lords. Alas, this was a petulant sigh. For Thiede, having successfully directed the lives of all “his hara” for years on end could find little comfort in the peaceful dawn. Thiede was bored.

Thiede heard voices speaking intently in the antechamber of his living quarters. These were servants bustling to clear away the remains of a lavish breakfast. Irritated by the noise, Thiede slipped out of his rooms and accessed a secret stairwell, one of many conveniences he’d created for himself. As he slipped into the streets of Immanion, just wakening with morning activity, Thiede cast out his psychic awareness. Listlessly, he searched the town for something that might catch his interest.

Finding nothing but thoughts of work and profit and mundane domesticity, Thiede sighed again. He cast out again and this time his finely arched eyebrow quirked in interest. Someone out there was pondering the Aghama and that someone was a human woman.

Thiede cocked his head to one side and considered. He shrugged slightly and decided to seek out the woman. He was awfully bored after all.

Walking at a leisurely pace on perfectly formed feet that never tired, the lauded harish lord came to a lovely clear pond on the outskirts of one of the human districts. There he saw the woman whom he’d heard in his mind. She was fairly young and very short with close-clipped hair nearly the same shade as his own. Thiede recognized her as being a bit of a scholar – amongst the humans anyway. She was well known for gathering up trash from within Immanion – architectural remnants, half-buried artifacts from centuries past, and in rare cases pieces of real artistic merit. Of course, none of the hara wanted to mire themselves in the human past so these “treasures” were happily turned over to the woman. She assessed their value and affixed them throughout the human districts as a source of public pride.

Unable to recall her name, Thiede approached and said, “Good morning, woman.” The woman looked up from her work. Her cheeks were red from exertion and she was covered in grime. “Lord Thiede, what a surprise!” she said.

“I see you’ve unearthed quite a treasure,” Thiede continued, looking beyond her to a large marble statue that she had clearly just excavated.

The woman nodded vigorously. “Yes, but I am quite perplexed. Perhaps you would have some insight, tiahaar.”

Thiede examined the statue. It was life-sized and seemed slightly lustrous as the sun sparked against it’s surface, rough and pocked from ages of weather and misfortune. Despite the mud that still caked most of the nooks and crevices, Thiede was immediately drawn to what had perplexed the woman. Though clearly ancient and therefore a work of human hands, the statue was clearly that of a hermaphrodite.

But this work had no Wraeththu model. The youthful carved human had a womanly form, including prominent breasts. However, in addition to these attributes the statue sported a highly detailed human penis. There was no mistaking it. Clearly, the red-haired woman had examined the phallice thoroughly, as well, first brushing away all the caked dirt with a stiff brush.

“Can you explain it, tiahaar?” she asked. “It can’t be Wraeththu, can it? But – ”

Thiede grinned slyly, thinking that perhaps a tall tale was just the thing to ease his boredom. He squatted down next to the woman, careful to avoid getting any of the freshly turned earth on his pristine garments.

He spoke in a low, conspiratorial tone. “This was a work never meant to be seen by human or harish eyes. It was made in the earliest days of Wraeththu and then buried to conceal a somewhat embarrassing chapter in the infancy of our species.”

The woman’s mouth hung open for a moment in awe and then her brow furrowed as she processed what she’d been told. Thiede continued quickly.

“Surely you’re familiar with the legends surrounding the Aghama, the founder of all Wraeththu?”

“Of course, tiahaar, no one living in Almagabra is unfamiliar with the story.”

“What is known only to a few of the oldest and most high-ranking hara is that the Aghama, being born of human parents was not truly like the hara who proliferate around the globe today.” Thiede gestured to the statue.

“No, surely not,” the woman responded.

“Indeed. This was the form of the first Wraeththu and likewise was the form the first hara who were incepted from the Aghama’s mutated blood. Unfortunately, the result turned out to be somewhat frustrating. This prototypical hermaphroditic form did not have the divine organs needed to enjoy true aruna and reap its spiritual and magical benefits. They were likewise cut out from the magic of procreation. But being infinitely wise, the great Aghama foresaw what a superior blend of the ouana and soume elements could produce and he used his inherent powers to transform himself and all those he newly incepted into the godlike form that graces all Wraeththu to this day.”

The red-haired woman stared at Thiede with wide eyes. She blinked. She looked up at the glorified Gelaming lord, thinking surely he had more to say. When he remained silent, she cleared her throat timidly. “Lord Thiede,” she said softly, “that is so full of shit.”

Thiede laughed heartily. After a moment he asked, “What gave it away?”

“Aside from everything?” she jested. “Well, for one thing if that had truly been the way Wraeththu evolved, the Aghama would have been a fool to change the form.”

“Oh?”

“Of course. If the Wraeththu had breasts then there would have been no need to slaughter humans and carry off their sons for inception. The men would have come to them in flocks.”

The End