Sharpened Silk

Title: Sharpened Silk
Author: youcantseeus (youcantseeus12@gmail.com)
Characters: Ponclast, Aleeme, Abrimel, Pellaz
Summary: Thirty years after the horrors that Aleeme experienced at Fulminir, he seeks out Ponclast. Ponclast POV. (Ponclast/Aleeme, Abrimel/Aleeme).
Spoilers: Books 1-6. Also, possibly Paragenesis.
Word Count: 9000
Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of Wraeththu or any of the characters in this fic.
Warnings: Not a piece of rape fiction by any means, but there is a lot of discussion of pelki/rape. Self-mutilation. Ponclast POV.
Author’s Note: I’ve been working on this piece for a little while — it won’t leave my brain. Darker than some of my other stuff, but with an introspective bent that makes me fairly satisfied with the outcome. Reviews of all types are loved.

Sharpened Silk

Most days, I possess something resembling happiness.

I have so little and what I do own is granted by the grace of the Tigron. Several years ago, he deemed me fit to occupy the earthly realm. This does not mean that I was given my freedom – there are guards at my gates and watchers scouring my every thought for the slightest signs rebellion. But the Tigron gave me a cottage in the woods, far away from other hara, where I could meditate on my wrongs and spend time with my chesnari. I think that Pellaz did it more for Abrimel than for me.

This afternoon is like most and I go to my attic study to work on my memoirs. Writing memoirs preoccupies most first generation hara of importance. I am no longer important, but I was once and the ability to write about my life has not been stripped from me. On days when I feel rage, I find writing easy and my scribblings are full of angry recriminations and bitter regrets. However, my time in another realm imparted some level of calm to my being and on days when this is my dominate mood, I mostly stare out the small attic window. Our cottage sets on top of a hill and I should be able to see the surrounding forest, but the window is positioned so that I only see blue-gray sky unless I climb onto a chair.

I am still in prison.

I am staring out the window at that blue sky when there is a knock at the door. “Enter,” I say.

Abrimel comes in. This surprises me because my chesnari usually spends his afternoons in study. In many ways, the lonely, academic lifestyle suits him more than it does me. I enjoy gaining knowledge, but only as precursor to action. Abrimel loves reading, learning things about different tribes – so different from the typical Gelaming aristocrat who doesn’t want to learn about any tribe but his own.

“Somehar is here,” he says.

I give him a wan smile and he walks behind me to put his arms around my shoulders, a comfortably intimate gesture. There is a rumor going around Immanion that the Tigron comes to me for advice. For this reason, Gelaming aristocrats occasionally pay off my guards so they can get some advice of their own – normally about their inane love lives. The truly depressing fact about all this is that I am glad for the distraction.

“Did you tell him I wasn’t a seer?” I ask. Lately, they’ve gotten it into their heads that I can predict their futures. I am not a seer, though I can occasionally predict what might happen through common sense and a realistic view of harish nature.

“I told him,” Abrimel says. “He’s still there.”
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Return (Coming Home)

Challenge SubmissionReturn (Coming Home)
By Ninzini

Story Notes

Short summary: A song-fic based around “Return (Coming Home)” by the Cruxshadows. Off their great album Wishfire.

Character: Thiede, Velaxis.

Spoilers: Everything up through Ghosts.

Song: You can sample a bit of “Return (Coming Home)” on the Cruxshadows “Downloads” page — use the little built-in player to scroll down to “Return” and double-click. I’ve always loved the triumphal quality of this song.

Author’s Notes:  This little fic is strongly inspired by “And The Flowers Bloom Like Madness in the Spring” & “After the Rains,” a pair of exquisite post-Ghosts fics by Camille Sinesis, focusing in on Thiede and Velaxis. That relationship, which made instant sense to me, is filled with so much poignancy and bittersweetness, to the point I wanted to touch on it a little myself.

Return (Coming Home)

Thiede gazed out across the rooftops of Immanion, out towards the harbor and deep into the distance, where the sun was quickly sinking beneath the horizon. The balcony terrace was tinted with orange-pink light. Thiede idly tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair as he waited. Waited for Velaxis to come home.

I’ve seen the terrible hand of struggle,
And felt the pain that hubris brings.
I have tasted the wisdom of divinity
And the horror of its sting.

Velaxis had spent the afternoon with the Hegemony, which was in session, and afterward, Thiede supposed, had kept himself busy working out details with individual Hegemons, striking deals and smoothing out problems as only he could. Thiede, meanwhile, had taken one of his periodical walks through the city, having lunch in an ordinary, simple restaurant and sitting on one of the city piers to watch the boats come and go. Then he’d enjoyed  long bath and a glass of wine on the terrace. There was nothing else that needed to be done.

And though they tell you I am lost,
And their words report my death is come,
The Fates have left me breathing still –
And very much alive.

Thiede decided to cast out his mind in search of Velaxis. No, he was not yet in this wing of the palace. A pity. Thiede had finished a bottle of wine and had nothing to do but wait. Such a waste of time, really, he thought to himself, although how he was wasting his time, he really couldn’t say. It was just a habit of mind, thinking that he had things to do. The days of running Immanion, plotting intrigue, puppeteering – charting the fate of the Wraeththu race –  were over. Now it was his turn to simply enjoy life and its simple pleasure. Thiede was still learning exactly what that meant.

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A Trobadour in Ferike

A Trobadour in Ferike
by Angelo Ventura

Story Notes

Author e-mail: angeloventura@iol.it

Spoilers: Wraeththu histories and chronicles. Set after Ghosts of Blood and Innocence.

Canon characters: Panthera, Zack, Calanthe, Caeru, Pellaz

Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Not mine. These characters belong to Storm Constantine. No copyright infringement is intended.

A Trobadour in Ferike

First Chapter

As autumn regaled its lavish colours on the forests of Ferike, Loven was torn between the desire to wander in the woods of Castle Jael, feeling the carpet of leaves gently crushing under his feet, and the desire to roam the castle library. Jael’s was one of the largest in Ferike, comprising old volumes from the human era, even some centuries old .It was thus he learned of trobadours.

His hostling  Panthera didn’t know very well what they were.

“They were singers, I think.”, he answered one golden windy morning, leaves whirling outside the òiving room of he castle.

“Oh, they were more than that. They composed their own songs and they had a juggler who played an instrument, like a banjo or ukulele…oh, yes, a mandolin”

“Well, that would be very interesting”, said Panthera, who had never heard of those things. “But for now you’ve got to go to school”.

“Will they ever teach me how to play mandolin?”

“I doubt it.”

“Well, tell my preceptors I want them to teach me that, instead of that impossible “meditation technique”. It makes me fall asleep”

“Shh, don’t tell that to your grandfather .And hurry, now!”

“But will you give me a mandolin?”

“We’ll see, Loven. Now you go!”

Panthera was puzzled. What had Loven been reading?

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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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Advent Treasures

Adventure Treasures
by Deathangelgw

Story Notes

Every year, I do ficlets for Advent up until and including Christmas. To me, they are a symbol of the best things and the not so great things for Christmas. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine. All of them are owned by Storm baby… Wah!

Rating: G/PG for innuendo

Timeline: HA! Who needs a timeline!

Warnings: AU, fluff, sap.

Part 1: Peppermint and Cocoa

The very soft sounds of humming floated through the halls of the Tigrons’ home as Caeru made his way towards the balcony with a cup of steaming cocoa that had an old fashioned candy cane in it. He grinned as he went out onto the balcony and tugged his cloak around him tighter against the cold wind that was blowing up with the snow that was falling softly to the ground. It wasn’t often that they’d get snow, but when it did, it was a sight to behold. The snow would glitter with the lights from the active city and would becoming almost like trimming on the bodies and hair of most of the hara that were wandering around the city, whether on errands or in search of enjoyment.

But for the Tigrina, it was a time to just watch the world change into a blank slate, wiped clean and white with each new flake that floated down from the overcast sky. In many ways, he found it heartening to know that even nature had a way of making things new. Whenever it began to snow for the first time, or actually at any time, he would wrap himself in his warmest cloaks and come out onto the balcony with a cup of traditional hot cocoa and a candy cane in it and would watch the snow fall. He was never cold for his thoughts and the cloak along with the drink would keep him toasty warm.

But this time, his ponderings were broken as his son peered out onto the balcony before coming out. “Caeru? What are you doing here?” he asked his hostling as he rubbed his hands on his arms in a weak attempt to warm up.

“Watching the snow fall. Care to join me?” Caeru answered with a grin as he patted the seat next to him on the wrought iron bench that he was lounging on. The cushion he patted was fairly hard, but it dipped a little in response to the patting.

Hustling over, Darquiel sat next to his hostling and grinned when Caeru opened the cloak he was wearing to share it with him. He leaned his head against Caeru’s shoulder as the cloak was tightened around them both and sighed happily. He felt so warm against his hostling as that hole in his heart was filled once more with the scent and feel of his hostling holding him close. “So, why are you watching the snow fall?” he whispered through his slightly chattering teeth and grinned when Caeru offered him some of his drink. “What’s this?”

“Hot cocoa with a candy cane. It’ll warm ya a bit,” Caeru explained with a chuckle before placing a kiss on his son’s head. “And I’m watching the snow fall because it’s peaceful,” he added in answer to the previous question.

“Yea I guess, but it’s cold too,” Darquiel pointed out and smiled when Caeru laughed. He didn’t hear Caeru laugh often enough he felt.

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