MENGK

MENGK

By Amanda Kear

Characters: Mengk/Terzian, Cobweb
Word Count: 3127
Rating: 15
Spoilers: The Bewitchments of Love and Hate
Summary/Author’s Note: I was intrigued as to who Mengk was and how he ended up looking after Terzian.
Disclaimer: The world of Wraeththu belongs to Storm Constantine.

 

Lord Terzian was dead.

 

Mengk sat on the bare, scorched earth where the pyre had been. The smell of charcoal was in the air, and nothing but that remained of his Lord. The fire had been encouraged to burn fiercely – hotter than any wood fire had a right to burn – and no fragments remained. No hunks of charred wood, no cremated bone, not even the metal of a ring or belt buckle. There had been ash of course; the flaking residue of flesh and bone indistinguishable from that of timber or clothing. Yet that was now gone as well. Cobweb had taken the scant handfuls left from the fire’s hunger, powdered them in his hands and had thrown them one by one into the wind. All that was Terzian erased from existence by the breeze.

 

His Lord’s family had ordered the huge pyre to be constructed in the farmland out beyond Galhea. Mengk had thought at first that choice of location might be to permit all the hara of the town to attend the funeral, but that was not the case. The mourners were few: Terzian’s blood relatives, his consort, a few house hara and some high-ranking soldiers who had remained with the garrison at Galhea. Of course, there was that one Gelaming there too – he might call himself Seel har Griselming, but he was of the Gelaming mould and mindset. So a Gelaming was permitted to be present, yet of the ordinary hara that Terzian had ruled, and the rank and file of the army that he had commanded, there were none.

 

No, the location of the pyre had not been chosen to celebrate Terzian’s life, but because the place was isolated and undistinguished. There was to be no memorial to his lord. No gravestone, no statue, no plaque. Terzian was to be quietly forgotten. The Gelaming had no doubt insisted upon it. That seemed to be their style; to edit the universe and the hara in it until they conformed to the Gelaming ideal of perfection. Terzian’s name would undoubtedly be erased from history as smoothly as those of the myriad human rulers and warriors that Wraeththu had already forgotten.

 

Mengk would never forget. His grief was raw and sharp and burned as hot as the flames of the pyre. Every day he would remember Terzian’s name.

 

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Ring out The Old, Ring in The New

Ring out The Old, Ring in The New
by Heartofoshun
(Heartofoshun@aol.com)

Pairing: All about Swift, Seel, Cal and Pell (in a foursome)
Words: 27,431
Rating: R
Summary: I began writing this Wraeththu fanfic story as my Christmas present to myself. It reflects self-indulgent time spent with some of my favorite characters, an AU resolution of an aspect of the original story that is unlikely to ever be covered in canon, and a nod to possible festivities and traditions of the winter holidays.

Ring out The Old, Ring in The New
(A Story of One Winter Solstice in Immanion)

Prologue

Almost any harling can tell you the tales of the four of us. Our love stories are the stuff from which Wraeththu legends have been constructed. People cherish the story of how the Tigrons had been separated for decades and yet each held the other in his heart until they found one another again. Cal’s journey from Megalithica to Almagabra, from murderer to beloved, finally restored to their adored Tigron Pellaz’s arms, has titillated and fascinated hara since the first rumors of it. The narrative of Calanthe’s quest for enlightenment rivals those of the ancient legends of humankind with its colorful supporting cast, the details of its twists and turns, tragedy, passion, exotic locations, and his unquenchable love for Pell.

Many even know the story of Seel and me, of how a wise and beautiful Gelaming intellectual, know for his reason and sound judgment, fell madly, inexplicably in love with young Swift, a rash, handsome, inexperienced Varrish prince. Together this oddly matched pair created by means of an amazingly potent Grissecon the magic elixir that would bring down the defenses of Fulminir and stop the bloodthirsty Ponclast in his tracks.

Fewer knew that Seel and Cal had been lovers even before they were incepted and remained chesna for some short time afterwards. Their early attachment had survived Cal choosing to stay with the Uigenna and Seel leaving him to join the Unneah. It even endured Cal taking another chesnari, the wild and dangerous Zack, and then turning up a short while later, no longer with Zack, but completely besotted by Pell. What their affection had not had not been able to survive had been that Cal, mad with grief and paranoia at the death of his beloved Pellaz, had blamed his friend and Seel’s mentor Orien and brutally murdered him.

By the time of that winter solstice, Seel and Cal had outwardly accepted one another for years. Yet they still watched each other with wary hawk eyes, afraid of discovering disapproval or mistrust lurking under a veneer of tolerance. Those who loved either or both of them knew that the continued estrangement was unnatural and ought to have ended years earlier. Other hara had long ago forgiven and pushed aside far worse crimes and betrayals dating back to those early days of cataclysmic upheaval. After Cal had passed through the crucible of suffering that burned away his anger and his guilt, after he discovered that Pell lived again, re-born and re-made, he would have welcomed reconciliation with Seel. It was Seel who could not let go of the past.

I had not the vaguest idea of how to break the deadlock. Seel refused to acknowledge the unbreakable ties of their ancient bond. Their festering lesions scarred over, leaving a dull constant aching. I understood that those wounds must be excised, cauterized, and salved in order for either of them to become completely whole.

Pell and Cal, occasionally accompanied by Rue, traveled to Forever from time to time. Cal adored Forever, the closest thing he had to a home in his life before reuniting with Pell in Immanion. Yet the effort Cal exerted to avoid a confrontation with Seel and not to impose upon him, made their sojourns tense. Only rarely, I think, did Cal completely relax during those visits to Galhea. Perhaps he almost did when he and I took long horseback rides together. As much as I loved Cal, I felt no guilt for bringing Seel there. Seel was my heart and my soul mate. But the few times at Forever when I saw Cal’s eyes light up with mischief, or heard him laugh, I could not but think it should always be that way and not only when he was safely out of Seel’s sight.

Sometimes Cal would tease me the way he had in my youth or call me “pretty Swiftling” and I would remember all that he had done for Forever, everything he meant to Cobweb and me. I suppose that the long afternoons that Cal spent tucked away with Cobweb and Snake, the three of them chatting over endless cups of tea or sheh, were a respite for him as well. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I wished Forever could be a refuge from the politics and protocol of Immanion for Cal. Cobweb’s irruptions of irritation with Seel over ridiculously inane things when Cal was around told me that my hostling felt the same way. To his credit, Seel did put forth a sincere effort to be considerate of Cal, especially after his rescue of Azriel and Aleem.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon one’s perspective, Cal and Pell never stayed with us for long, only a day or two. Less frequently Seel and I traveled to Immanion. When we went there, we often stayed for several days, commonly for a week or even two. It was easier for Seel to re-adapt to Almagabra and lose himself among the multitude of hara and projects demanding our attention than it was for Cal to feel at home again in Forever.

It was to be Pell who at last would take action.

Not long before twilight, we arrived in Immanion at the beginning of the winter solstice. At Pell’s urging we had agreed to stay for two weeks, throughout the extended Natalia celebrations. As long as Seel and I had been together, we had always spent Natalia in Forever. But I liked the idea of leaving Forever completely under Cobweb’s care during those festival days for once. He would enjoy organizing the holiday gatherings again without the need for consultation or negotiation with Seel or me. Cobweb could act as the host of Forever and re-create the nostalgia of good times past however he chose to remember them. Natalia is one of those holidays that seem to place hara under a compulsion to romanticize their past.

* * * *
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Desert’s Fierce Kiss

Desert’s Fierce Kiss
by Thevina
(thevina33@gmail.com)

Rating: Adult
Pairing: Cobweb/Lianvis
Summary: Potentially set canonically at some point not quite a decade post-Bewitchments, Lianvis visits Forever (in search of Ulaume) and spends some memorable time with Cobweb.
Author’s Notes: Written for Gingerspark (former Niennaainur), who requested this pairing.

“So. How long before the scorpions arrive?” Cobweb asked, picking up a cup of tea with steady hands.

Ithiel raised a tawny eyebrow. “A few days yet. Our scouts intercepted them on the very southern borders. Their leader is with them.”

Cobweb shuddered, gooseflesh washing along his forearms despite being covered by layers of silk. “Him,” he muttered, looking into the cup all at once to see if there were messages to be read, but the leaves were silent. “Why did he come?”

“He didn’t say much to the patrol.” Ithiel gave Cobweb a sympathetic look. “Lianvis, much like you, is a force unto himself. We are allies, as you know.”

“We’re overrun,” Cobweb snapped. “I’ll be courteous. I always am, even when— after all that… Gelaming,” he finally concluded with a venomous hiss.

“I believe he’s coming because he’s looking for someone. A har that used to be close to him but vanished a few years ago. He hadn’t been told about Terzian’s death, so now he wishes to give his condolences in person on top of his true purpose.”

Cobweb fixed his old friend with a brittle stare. “I can’t imagine that desert sorcerer could miss anything going on in his tribe, much less an actual har.”

Ithiel took a deep breath and let it out again, his gaze flitting around until it alighted on a bottle of sheh. “I’m only telling you what’s been told to me.” With an agile hand he poured himself a drink and helped himself to two green olives from a plate sitting between them.

“Thank you for that,” Cobweb said gloomily. “At least Swift and Azriel aren’t here.”
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Break Open the Massive Dark

Editor's PickBreak Open the Massive Dark
by Thevina

Story Notes

Author email: thevina33@gmail.com

Spoilers: Shades of Time and Memory

Canon Characters: Aleeme, Azriel, Cobweb, Moon, Vaysh, Cal (all others original characters)

Summary:

Now language escape, fugitive of forgiveness
Leaving as trace only circles of rust
– “Drought,” Vienna Teng

There are many casualties in the second assault on Ponclast that happens in The Shades of Time and Memory. This is a possible telling of Aleeme and Azriel’s story after their liberation from Fulminir.

Author’s Notes: Firstly, my huge thanks to my two betas, Elfscribe and Wendy. You have both helped tremendously in making this story as polished as it is— and thanks for pushing me to write Cal! Hopefully there aren’t any mistakes, but if any remain, they’re mine. My gratitude also to Persephone for being an advance reader and for sharing your enthusiasm and thoughts. One of my original characters makes reference to a Chickasaw legend; I found the story here initially.

Break Open the Massive Dark

Drifting into wakefulness felt like slowly rising to the surface from the bottom of a lake. Aleeme suddenly thrashed around, terrified that there was ice above him; he was trapped, he couldn’t breathe— he would drown if he opened his mouth to take a breath and his limbs were so heavy. He began to sink again, letting out a strangled cry despite the panic of expecting a rush of icy water to fill his lungs. He pulled in a deep breath of air, hearing an awful rattling sound that, with a shock, he realized was his own hoarse throat. There was a sound of canvas flapping, somehar muttering under his breath, approaching Aleeme at speed while with agonizing effort he forced his eyes open. He couldn’t even speak, he just gaped, fish-like, his mouth opening and closing as he struggled to figure out where the hell he was, why he was lying down, the source of the glowing soft light. Something horrific had happened; it lurked patiently in Aleeme’s mind, off to the side like something glimpsed in his peripheral vision, uncertain and shadowy. Whatever it was, it was really, really bad.

“Aleeme. Please look at me.”

The har’s voice was steady, but Aleeme could hear the worry in his tone, betraying his calm demeanor. With tremendous will, Aleeme turned his head to gaze heavy-lidded at the har standing at his bedside, clad in healer’s robes. He had porcelain skin and cat-like eyes that slanted slightly upward. He seemed to be struggling with emotions that he managed to keep in check, reaching down to brush some of Aleeme’s hair that had instinctively waved feebly toward him.

“Please don’t try to sit up or move around,” the healer said kindly. “You’ve done very well, but you’ll still be with us for quite some time. You’re safe now.” He held his hands suspended above Aleeme’s body, walking slowly around him, his lips moving silently.

Aleeme felt a soothing warmth in his torso when the healer passed over that area, but the sensation stopped as the har traversed above his pelvis, down his legs and up again. Not until he was above his stomach did Aleeme sense the heat and strange feeling that his blood was singing, responding to whatever energies the healer was channeling toward him. He tried to move his legs, managing only to wriggle his toes a little bit and feel a terrible ache in his inner thighs.

“What happened?” he asked the healer who had pulled up a chair and slipped his hands under the warm blankets to knead at his thigh.

The touch was professional, not at all erotic, but just as the exotic har opened his mouth to reply, Aleeme was assaulted by a memory of somehar else’s fingers gripping his shoulders in a bruising hold, a battering ram of an ouana-lim slamming into him over and over as he screamed and tried to escape, only to be hit in the jaw by a hideous-looking creature—

“NO!” he shouted, shaking with the abject terror, powerless to escape as his innermost chamber was wrenched open. “YOU FUCKING BASTARD!”

Aleeme swung with his fists, screaming and screaming, trying to kick, snapping with his teeth when he felt warm hands trying to pin him down.

“AZRIEL!” he sobbed, struggling against his would-be captors like a wild thing. There was a stinging in his left thigh and an icy sensation; hara with expressions of anxiety and concern came into his line of vision as he pulled against restraints they’d managed to attach to his wrists.

“Azriel!” he choked out of a raw throat, resisting the soothing waves of energy that radiated toward him. It was a trick— Ponclast had moved him, was going to do unspeakable things to him; Aleeme was too weak to fight it. He cried, the bitter, angry tears burning his eyes as he thought about another harling starting life in him, another harling created in hate.

“Just kill me!” Aleeme raged, though his mind was getting fuzzy. “I’ll die before this harling is born!” he yelled, gasping for breath. He began to feel as though his body had been filled with heavy cotton, becoming still even as he continued to struggle against whatever drug had been injected in him.

“Aleeme, you’re safe,” a voice said to his right; he sounded like he was trying to convince himself of that. “You’re with the best healers there are. Please believe me.”

Aleeme tried to spit at him, but his body no longer wanted to cooperate and instead he succeeded only in flinging spittle on his pillow. “You’re with him,” he moaned. “It’s a trick. Azriel…” The word tasted like blood. He wheezed pitifully, clawing at consciousness, desperate to stay awake. “Ulau…”

The world went black.

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Reap the Wild Wind

Reap the Wild Wind
by Thevina

Story Notes

Author email: thevina33@gmail.com

Spoilers: None exactly; set pre-Enchantments, in the early, early years of Wraeththu

Canon Character: Cobweb (all others original characters)

Summary: Níl gach uile fhánaí caillte— Not all who wander are lost. (J.R.R. Tolkien) Kelp, a newly-incepted har and his companion, Blackspur, journey from an outer island of Alba Sulh to find others of their kind. Adult. Adventures, aruna, and an occasional warning for violence.

Author’s Notes: The title is from a song by Ultravox.

Reap the Wild Wind

Again and again, as powerful as the churning waves that hurl themselves against the frigid strand. Again and once again, an infinite dozen poundings of arunic tides that his lover had learned so deftly to navigate, the near-sole adventurer to chart a course in his grasping waters. The visions were blissfully vague, mere phantoms held at bay as they shared breath, filling Kelp to bursting with pewter dawn and thorns. Blackspur gripped his hands as he thrust deeply into Kelp; Kelp writhed, clenching his muscles to draw Blackspur in as deeply as possible. Kelp had liked boys before; he’d been out to the monument and fucked other men back when he was human, but now, this…

Blackspur was voracious, feeding on Kelp’s neck as though he were starving. He kissed and sucked at the skin before sharing breath again: he shared a torrent of thoughts and feelings, desire and lust and solidarity pouring into Kelp like water from a broken levee. Kelp throbbed; he could taste his completion, tingling at the base of his feet and roiling upward until it was a heavy, molten ache.

Blackspur, he begged via mind-touch, another new ability Kelp had discovered since shedding his human skin.

Then it happened — the flare snapping deep within Kelp’s body from Blackspur’s ouana-lim, tonguing the coal that insistently burned. Kelp cried out as jolts of pleasure wracked his body, spreading out in waves from deep within himself to his fingertips that tingled in his sated afterglow. Blackspur shouted, his stocattoed adulations punctuating the cold air, echoing in the room of their small cottage. He was buried in Kelp’s body, Kelp’s ankles locked together over the small of Blackspur’s narrow waist. Kelp let out a deep breath he’d not known he’d been holding, easing his legs apart and sliding them down the bed.

Blackspur seemed troubled, so Kelp rubbed his back and send him reassuring thoughts via mind-touch.

What’s the matter? he asked, smoothing away the tendrils plastered to his lover’s skin, his freckles gleaming despite the dim light.

Blackspur shrugged, then drew up his legs, hugging himself in a foetal position, his forehead pressed to his knees. “What are we?” he asked mournfully. “We’re so alone. D’you think we should try to go to the mainland? I’m sure there are boats,” he went on, raising his head and running slender fingers through his auburn hair. Olive eyes gazed at Kelp, begging him for reassurance.

“We’re Wraeththu now,” Kelp murmured  against Blackspur’s clammy skin, trying to pull him close. “And yes, we should row across and get off this island. Maybe we can find a boat with a motor and petrol; everyone left so quickly, or died, so I bet if we make a methodical search, we’ll find a motorboat. There are bound to be other hara over the waters.”

There had only ever been a few thousand people, out in what had been the outer islands of Scotland. Most humans had fled, or died from a plague, and then two Wraeththu had appeared, terrifying and compelling. Kelp and Blackspur had been incepted through tears and paralyzing walls of fear. The pain had been less than Kelp’s vivid imagination had promised, and then there was aruna, sealing his bond to Wraeththu-dom in a manner he could never before have contemplated. But they seemed to be alone, and Kelp knew that they needed to find others of their kind.

“Let’s go south,” Blackspur suggested, spooning next to him like a snake on a warmed rock. “We should find guns, too. We’ll be considered freaks, until we’re with our own kind. We may need to defend ourselves.”

Kelp took a deep breath, running his fingers along the angular planes of Blackspur’s back. “You’re right,” he said, massaging at the knots he found under his skin. “But I’ve never used a gun before.”

“Hopefully we won’t need them.”

“I wouldn’t count on that.”

With a last embrace, Kelp moved away from his lover. They reclothed themselves and began to pack their bags; they were canvas, army-issue looking things that Kelp had found; they would do the trick.

“Just the necessities,” he said, though it was a given. Both he and Blackspur knew they weren’t infallible; the world could reach out at any moment and snag them, hence the guns they needed to procure. Quietly they got their meagre belongings together and began walking to the southern part of the island, a tenacious drizzle and stormy clouds their relentless company, step after step.

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