Over The Hills And A Great Way Off

Title: Over The Hills And A Great Way Off
Author: Camile_Sinensis
Author’s email: teapot@doramail.com
Website: http://red-shellac.livejournal.com/
Characters: Starring Caeru, Cal, Pellaz, and a noisy and intrusive Original Character. Supporting roles by Tharmifex, Ashmael, Velaxis and other members of the Hegemony, plus An Innkeeper of Kyme and Various Other Hara Of That Town.
Spoilers: The story takes place just after the end of “Shades”, so the gentle reader is assumed to have a working knowledge of all the shit that has gone down up until then.

Over The Hills And A Great Way Off

“I lost somebody once, I know how it is…” – Caeru Meveny, “The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit”

Chapter 1

“I assure you, Tiahaar, the package is on board. I myself saw to its loading, and I have been keeping a close eye on it throughout the journey. A very close eye indeed! It will be found any minute now, I’m sure. There is absolutely no need to worry.”

The Captain forced a weak smile, which was obviously intended to reassure Ashmael, but which had precisely the opposite effect. A long and interesting career in both the Gelaming army and as a member of the Hegemony had led Ashmael to the conviction that any announcement regarding the lack of need for worry was an indication that worry was almost certainly exactly what was called for.

Ashmael gave a dissatisfied grunt, which the Captain took as permission to leave, and he hurried back to his ship, the Despina, which was currently moored at the harbour edge, tight ropes wrapped around stanchions holding her firm against the stone sides, while her white sails were neatly furled and stowed in the masts above. Her crew were currently swarming over and beneath the decks, like so many busy ants, searching for the missing cargo. The Captain shouted some choice insults at them as he approached, with the presumed intention of motivating them to increase their efforts, although Ashmael found himself wondering exactly how casting aspersions upon the dimensions of a har’s male aspect would spur him on to greater things.

The Captain and his crew were, of course, not Gelaming. No Gelaming would resort to such base and unproductive methods. If the Despina and her crew were Gelaming, their best efforts would be assured by their own desire to elevate their personal spirituality and work for the common good of the city of Immanion and the entire Gelaming tribe. It was a wonder, Ashmael occasionally thought, that any of these object examples of selfless virtue ever stooped to anything so coarse as actually being paid.

He realised that there was nothing for it but to wait until the ship’s crew located what he had come for. The ship was a good-sized vessel, but not so large that searching it would take forever. He sighed heavily and sat down upon a capstan, pushing his hair out of his eyes and squinting at the ship, as if staring at it would speed up the process.

It was a beautiful morning, although beautiful mornings were entirely commonplace in Immanion, so this one did not announce itself as being in any way outstanding, rather it stood modestly in line with all its predecessors and contributed to the general air of loveliness in and around the city in a manner that was somehow self-effacing yet inviting of open-mouthed admiration. It was a very Gelaming morning.

The only unusual thing about the morning was its short-lived duration. It had not been morning for any great length of time and the air still carried the coolness bequeathed to it by the recently-departed night, although that would change as the sun rose higher over the hills surrounding the city to the landward side. The city itself had not yet fully awoken from its slumber; shops and stalls and businesses still awaited their proprietors and customers; sleepy hara were still rising from their beds, or not, depending upon temperament and an unusual peace lay over the harbour, normally a busy, bustling area during the daytime, full of comings and goings and noise and activity.
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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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The Tattoo

Title: The Tattoo
Author: youcantseeus
Contact info: youcantseeus12@gmail.com
Beta: Oshun
Spoilers: For books 1-4.
Characters: Flick, Seel, Pell, Cal, Orien
Word Count: 22,000
Disclaimer: The following story is a work of fan fiction based on the Wraeththu series by Storm Constantine. I am not the original creator of the Wraeththu universe nor do I own most of the characters and locations contained in this story.
Summary: Flick attempts to make a statement with a tattoo. Seel is not pleased.

Chapter 1

Sometimes, I could read Seel like a book.

For example, when Colt and Stringer came over and proudly showed us that they’d gotten rough tattoos of one another’s names across their arms, I knew that Seel was fuming. He may have smiled and made light comments through gritted teeth, but I knew that later that night I’d be the one who would have to listen to him ranting about how foolish it was to have somehar else’s name on your arm forever and how it echoed human possessiveness and human love.

As it turned out, Pell and Cal got to hear him rant as well. Seel barely waited until Colt and Stringer were out the door before he started in.

“Could you believe that?” he asked the room as I started washing the dinner dishes. “I knew that letting that har charge for tattoos was a bad idea. Now we have hara making stupid decisions.”

Cal looked up from where he was sharing breath with Pell. They were always hanging all over one another. I was surprised that it didn’t bother Seel more, given how he felt about Cal, but he seemed determined to show that he was above caring. “What are you going to do, oh mighty Seel?” Cal asked in a playful voice. “Ban tattoos?”

“Of course not,” Seel said, throwing himself into a chair across from Cal. “I just would have thought that Colt and Stringer would have a little more sense. It’s not like they’ve just gone through althaia. They’re old enough to behave seriously.”

“Maybe that’s why they did it,” I said.

Everyhar looked at me. “Well,” I said, quickly, “Colt and Stringer have been together a long time. They seem pretty solid.” I was receiving a patented Seel glare. Seel was very good at glaring. “Maybe they feel secure enough about their – their feelings,” I had almost used to word “love” which would have been a huge mistake, “that they think they’ll last.”

The glare was only getting worse. “It’s sort of sweet in a way,” I babbled on. “I mean, for some people.”

Not for Seel, obviously. “It is not sweet, it’s disturbing,” he said and then he pointed at Pell and Cal. “And I better not catch you two down there getting matching tattoos anytime soon.”

Pell made a face. “No way,” he said. “Did you see those tattoos? They were hideous.”

I rolled my eyes as I dried a plate with a dishtowel. Of course Pell’s main objection would be aesthetic.

“You can get them magically removed, you know,” Cal said to Pell.

“But it leaves a scar,” Seel put in.

Seel continued brooding long after Pell and Cal had gone to bed.

“Matching tattoos,” he muttered. “Can you imagine feeling so sick about somehar that you’d want his name tattooed on your body?”

I finished wiping down the counters. “No,” I said. “I can’t.”

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A Calanthe By Any Other Name (is still Cal)

Editor's PickA Calanthe By Any Other Name (is still Cal)
by Thevina
(thevina33@gmail.com)

Rating: General

Canon Characters: Seel, Swift, Cal

Summary: Cal may be an enigma, but he always arouses strong reactions in the hara closest to him. In seeking his rescued son, Swift finds new patience to deal with his chesnari’s bitterness toward the har who has profoundly shaped them both.

Author’s Notes: I wrote this as a gift to the dear Heartofoshun as a thanks for her exceedingly helpful copy edit and evaluation of Maelstrom and Mage before I sent it to Storm for further edits. She asked for a story that dealt with how differently Swift and Seel perceive Cal and how very different their relations with him are. Set at the end of The Shades of Time and Memory at Imbrilim, after Swift and Seel have seen Cal and discovered that he rescued Aleeme and Azriel from Ponclast.

A Calanthe By Any Other Name (is still Cal)

Swift finished his second glass of wine in a contemplative silence, waiting for his chesnari to return to their tent. It was ridiculous for them to be staying, in some ways, since their home wasn’t that far away, especially by sedu. He didn’t trust the Otherlanes right now, however. Plus, his beloved son was here. Cal had saved him. He’d rescued Azriel from Ponclast’s filthy clutches…

He felt Seel’s presence and straightened up, hearing successively the outside and then the inside flaps of their tent thrown aside. Seel clomped in, his maelstrom of emotions so obvious Swift imagined he could see the conflict swirling around him. His hair was wildly messy, almost moving of its own accord as Aleeme’s hostling’s did.

“That walk doesn’t seem to have helped much,” Swift noted as Seel continued to pace.

“Too many hara,” Seel complained bitterly. “I want to get out of here.”

“You mean Cal’s around, and you wish he’d never reappeared.”

“Would you stop being so fucking insightful?” Seel said explosively before clawing at his scalp. “And it’s not just him. There’s Lianvis, who’s scary and creepy at the same time, and the Gelaming contingency— I’d forgotten how fucking superior they act.”

“I thought you were glad to see Ashmael.”

Swift pushed himself up and out of the chair and retrieved a brush, determined to take care of Seel’s hair. It was something that usually soothed him, but given what all had gone on in recent days, Swift realized it might well take a potent sedative to get Seel to simmer down.

“Yeah, I am,” Seel admitted grudgingly, scowling at Swift when he approached, hairbrush in hand.

At another point Swift might well have told Seel that he was acting like a harling and he could pout and sulk all he wanted, but he’d be doing it alone. But since Azriel and Aleeme had been rescued, and he knew they were alive and whole and healing — though the healers were being frustratingly vague — Swift was more magnanimous than usual.

“It’s good to see Ash again,” Seel said, half to himself as he brushed out the tangles. “Out of all of them, he’s he most down to earth. When he talks, he makes sense.”
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As Kinshar Met

As Kinshar Met

by Thevina (thevina33@gmail.com)

Story Notes

Spoilers: Wraiths

Canon Characters: Seel, Ashmael

Rating: Adult

Summary: At the end of chapter 12 after Seel saw Pellaz in his re-generation tank, Thiede is very specific with Seel and after telling him he’s *going* to move to Immanion within a month, says, “You will be pleased to know I’ve allocated a sedu to you. Your training in controlling it begins in two days’ time. I’ll send a teacher to Saltrock with the animal.” Seel isn’t particularly grateful.

As Kinshar Met

Seel was a mess. His feelings were a succession of storms: hot winds of anger, driving rains of futility, lightning bolts of anguish. Ashmael had asked him to kill this horrific re-creation of Pellaz, and in the moment, Seel hadn’t been able to do it. Thiede had known it all, of course. That thought was a red-hot poker of fury, one he took out on one of the few remaining glasses left in his room.

“FUCK YOU!” he roared, hurling the glass against the far wall where it shattered with a satisfyingly loud smash. “Fuck you!” he declared a second time, his voice more measured, the ‘you’ encompassing a roster of hara at this point.

He lifted the bottle of sheh to his lips, sickened by the knowledge that he was a pawn just like everyhar else. Could he ever act as unpredictably as Cal, enough to break free from his own marionette’s strings? The thought of Cal made his mouth sour, and he took another swig. He felt a shift in the atmosphere, and his skin prickled as though suddenly tuned into approaching static. A sedu and rider. Ashmael had arrived. Or he certainly hoped it was Ashmael— other Gelaming had visited Saltrock, but he wasn’t as attuned to them.

Dispassionately going through the motions, Seel cleaned up, sort of. He combed his errant hair, tucked in his shirt, and then walked to the bathroom and washed his face. He looked like he’d recently come back from the dead himself, and then wished that analogy hadn’t come to mind.

“Damn it all,” he said to his reflection, easing away from the cracked mirror when he heard the unmistakable sturdy thumping of Ashmael’s leather boots. What surprised him was hearing a second set.

“Ashmael?” he called out, striding to the head of the stairs, his heart rate slowing slightly at the sight of the General’s blond hair.

“The natives tell me you haven’t been out of this house in two days,” Ashmael said by way of greeting.

“Yeah, well…” Seel wasn’t particularly articulate, not when faced with the friend he’d just failed and a stunning golden-skinned beauty behind him. Seel looked steadily into Ashmael’s light and calculating eyes, seeing compassion there he honestly hadn’t expected after he’d botched things up.

“I couldn’t do it,” Seel said, his voice a pained sigh. “He had self-awareness. It flickered through and then went away. It’s so unnatural, so grotesque,” he spat, the turbulent feelings sparking to life again.

“I don’t fault you,” Ashmael reassured him. “Thank you for trying. I’m not sure that I’d have been able to do it either.”

“Thiede knew anyway. All of it. Your part in goading me to ask to see him, too.” Seel chewed on the bitter words, surprised when Ashmael merely made an affirmative noise.

“I should have predicted that.”

“I don’t suppose you’re the one Thiede sent for my sedu instruction?” Seel interrupted.

Ashmael gave him a provocative smile. “No. I weighed in with my preference, and you’ll get to work with Parallax, here. Before that, though, we’re going to bring you back to the land of the living. Least we can do after what you went through.”

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