The Entrapments of Passion and Pride

The Entrapments of Passion and Pride
by Tessa

Story Notes

Editor\'s PickAuthor contact: Tessa Rae tessa_5000@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: All characters, the universe and concepts belong exclusively to Storm Constantine. I receive no profit and no gain from this amateur story. No harm is intended in any way.

Rating: NC17 – For adult themes and m/m content. Profanity. Violence. Please be warned. If you are under age in your area, or this subject matter offends you, please press the ‘delete’ key now.

Note – this story was written before ‘Seducements of Chaos andOrder’ – and is more light-hearted, and silly Sap alert -huge SAP alert, so please be warned.

Warmest thanks to Storm Constantine for creating these wonderful novels and characters.

Please Enjoy.

Additional Note from Web Site Editor:
Despite the “sap alert” given by the author, this story contains some very disturbing content, including violence and torture.

CHAPTER ONE

There’s an orchestra of voices trapped inside of me,
With a storm approaching both of us spilling out blinding voltages of memory,
And I am reaching out, hunting out and digging up every skeleton in front of me.

BCO.

Calanthe woke as the cool breeze caressed all the way down his barely covered side. The large, high ceilinged room was airy and touched with a faint chill as Cal blinked sleepily up at the muslin canopy of the sumptuous four poster bed.

The large glass doors had been opened, probably by the over attentive Attica or Cleis, the identical twins who serviced the Tigron’s rooms. Cal could never keep their identities separate when they fussed around his dark counterpart.

The cool breeze feathered across his chilling skin a second time as the silk curtains moved sluggishly in the westerly wind. The doors faced the sea and the only disadvantage Cal could find with these rooms had been that the morning sun never touched them. Just another flaw in the greatly overrated Phaonica.

Flexing his spine and wriggling his toes, Cal stretched his chin up as he contemplated the dark muslin. Lying with his arms over his head in his customary position, he suppressed the exhaled sigh of regret and growing frustration as he thought about last night. They could – no should – have so much, yet in some ways now they were further apart emotionally than what they had been six months ago.

Thinking about it, he scowled. The last six months had moved so fast and he had learned so much. His confrontation with Thiede had resulted in him becoming Tigron with the illustrious Pellaz, and Thiede becoming the Aghama he had always subconsciously craved. His coronation had followed immediately and the Gelaming had accepted him wholeheartedly, pushing Pellaz at him as if on a plate.

Theoretically it was perfect, and the Wraeththu, as a young nation would ultimately benefit from their union, but intimately and emotionally. Cal pulled a face at the thought, shunning it.

As a unit they worked as one, hand in glove, perfecting their spiritual communions until he had mastered the channels of power so now they flowed as easily as breathing. Even Caeru, Pellaz’s headstrong Tigrina, had succumbed to his charms, accepting his place next to Pell and bending to the Aghama’s will.

The problem lay in their personal lives, and Cal tried to view the trouble through unbiased eyes. Pellaz was his soul mate, as he was Pell’s. They both knew it, yet when he looked at Pellaz he still sometimes saw a Har he didn’t know and worse, didn’t want to know. It was as if a monster inhabited the mind and body of the Har he loved and desired. It was confusing and he didn’t miss the hurt that washed through the large, dark eyes as he turned away again and again, unable to cope with the suffocating surge of power Pellaz aimed at him. It disorientated and scared him. Scared him shitless if he was honest, so that he ran, choosing to lose himself in another’s arms. Hoping to avoid the painful memories and images of what they had – could still have – if only they lowered their barriers to each other. Barriers that had become like forged steel.

If Pellaz was possibly having the same trouble with him, Cal was unaware of it. Yet his counterpart seemed to go out of his way to make life for them both difficult at best, or an unbearable hell at worst. They argued over little inconsequential things, and Pellaz would always go on the defensive as soon as he appeared. It was unnerving and always guarantied to infuriate him and their verbal arguments would escalate. Then the backlash of mental anger would cripple him. What it did to Pell he didn’t know, but the amount of damage they could do to each other was phenomenal as they were permanently locked soul to soul. Desired – and hated.

Lying in bed as he was, Cal shuddered at the thought. Last night had been a perfect example of the potential danger. What the bickering had originally started over he didn’t know, except Caeru had walked out on them both in disgust. Pell had then retreated to his bedrooms, sulking and studiously ignoring him and that had angered Cal further.

He had then brooded for the next couple of hours, allowing the anger to eat at him until he couldn’t have stopped his actions if he had tried. The air between them, as he entered Pellaz’s bed chamber, had been electrically charged and both house Hara had vanished. Pell had been sprawled on the bed, sensually appealing and half drunk, hiding behind a facade of indifference. Cal’s control had snapped. They were killing each other emotionally, and it hurt. Hurt painfully.

Cal sat up in bed abruptly, fists clenching at his side as he banked down on the deep seated pain. They needed each other. It was as simple as that. His body itched to touch and meet Pellaz’s and the physical ache built each time they saw each other. Why Pellaz denied the need, he couldn’t guess.

At the twisting knife-like pain in his center, Cal screwed his eyes shut and bent his legs up, taking large gulps of breath. Did Pellaz feel like this? He wondered. Or was it only him? Did Pellaz even care that they were destroying each other slowly?

Shaking his blonde head, he looked at the bed next to him. The silk sheets were cold now, but last night they had embraced them both. Pleasure and pain. And the nightmares returned.

Having been unable to hold back the driving need any longer, he had entered Pellaz’s bed chamber knowing his dark haired lover was awake. Not saying anything, he had slid beneath the sheets, blocking the mental waves of anger that had hit him from his silent bed mate. They’d embraced, and if there had been anything else coming from Pellaz he had ignored it, as their coupling had become urgent and brutal.

It was not what he wanted from Pellaz, not what he needed or desired. But the mental, emotional and spiritual exhaustion, was bone deep and Cal’s instincts had taken over, knowing and finding what he needed and taking it.

That Pellaz was nowhere to be seen this morning was mute testimony to the fact that they were still poles apart in understanding.

“Would you like to dress before breakfast or after my Lord?”

The quiet hushed voice startled Cal and his head snapped up. One of Pellaz’s house Hara stood nervously at the side of the bed. He had to suppress a grim smile as the little, blonde Gelaming took an instinctive step back. If it was Attica or Cleis he couldn’t tell, didn’t care really as he took a deep breath. He wondered absently if he looked as haggard and drained as he felt. “I’ll dress first.”

“Yes my Lord. Would you require assistance?” The voice faltered a little and Cal toyed with the idea of accepting the offer.

“Where’s Pellaz?” he asked instead.

“I do not know my Lord. He was not here when I woke this morning.”

Cal grimaced and swung his legs over the side of the bed feeling all the muscles pull. He didn’t need to look at the house Har to see the disapproval, he could hear it and it annoyed him. So he ignored the servant and wiggled his toes.

Where had it all gone so terribly wrong, he wondered. Aruna should not be a battle, not like rape, or as the Gelaming would call it, pelki and chaitra. Aruna was about making love. Oh that forbidden word! Cal chastised himself mockingly. The Gelaming had a lot to learn and he didn’t care what anyone tried to tell him, love still existed in this world. He had felt it, tasted it, embraced it wholeheartedly once, and he would not let anyone convince him it no longer existed. It was what he and Pellaz had once felt, still felt, and he knew that aruna should be about desire and love. Last night had been far from that. He wondered how Pellaz felt this morning after their embrace had turned into a struggle of wills with him winning and forcing his tormentor’s submission. The memory of it sickened him, reminding him too much of Fallsend, and his stomach soured.

Standing abruptly, he looked up remembering the silent house Har and saw the servant hovering uncertainly. “You may go.”

Pellaz’s attendant still looked hesitant.

“Just go,” he said tiredly as he rubbed the back of his neck, not surprised to feel bruises there.

Alone again, he stiffly made his way into the bathroom and stepped down the stone steps into the large, round hot tub. He pushed the floating lilies out of the way and sighed as he submerged into the welcoming water’s warmth. It eased his stiff muscles and went a long way to improving his temper. Looking around, he admitted he adored this room, liking the way the sun warmed the alcove through the oval window, and the plants climbing the lattice. Like its owner, Pellaz, the room was exotic. His own bathing room was no way near as nice and if he and Pellaz could only work out their problems, then they could share these chambers. He sighed at the thought. If only Pellaz would be reasonable, it was a wistful thought and brought a sleepy expression to his face.

If only.

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Of Fire and Ice

Of Fire And Ice
by Mischa

Foreword

In the far north, the wind never ceases to blow. In winter it howls down from the mountains, a blinding blast of certain death. In summer, it dances deceptively across the plains of waving grass, spins and dips through the valleys of habitation, carrying with it the spore of death from the Wastelands. The inhabitants of the north are hardy folk. They need to be.

But the Wastelands is also the birthplace of the people. Long before the Sons of the Morning came to this harsh land to show the people the True Light, they had danced at the Citadel to celebrate their creation.

Now they knew the Truth. That they were gajin, white devils, and not truly people at all. Even so, some of the customs of those times remained. When their duties to their Masters and Mistresses were discharged, the campfires lit and the tasks of the day completed, they would gather and tell the stories of the beginning time. Of the days when the first of their people, the Pareah, had crawled from the pits of fire and come to live on the land with their tents and their horses.

For many years they had wandered, until the Gracious Day of Salvation when the Sons had come to Teach and they had seen the Truth with their own eyes. For the Sons and Daughters were divided into two as should be, while they themselves were incomplete, neither one thing or the other. The True God had made man and woman with his own hands, and, crushing together what was left, melding it into a ball of dirty clay, had discarded it over his left shoulder, where it had fallen into the pit and emerged as Pareah, the servants of the Sons.

They knew this was Truth. Every living thing had another. Horses had mares, dogs mounted bitches in the welcome warmth of the spring, even some plants had male and female of their own species. Except the Pareah. Gajin. White Devils. Man and woman combined, birthing eggs as reptiles did, raising young that grew as fast as beasts.

The Masters had tools and knowledge and learning which they would share with the Pareah, if only they would serve. And so they had, and the Masters protected them from the deadly dust, from their own ignorance, from the crazed wanderers who sometimes still staggered in from the Barrens, mouthing blasphemies in strange languages. These strangers were taken away by the Masters so that their ranting did not frighten the very young. The Masters promised to heal these poor souls, sending them back into the Wasteland so that the bright sun might bake their brains sane. It was a comfort to be protected and the Pareah were grateful, doing their utmost to live as the Masters demanded.

But some old customs remained.

Chapter One

Summer: ai-cara 37

Lucien cut around the side of the tent, avoiding the main encampment. The dust oozed up between his bare toes, his hair, refusing as always to be confined to its proper braid, flicked across his face as he ducked under a tent pole.

At the rear of the rows he stopped, looking up and down the back street, in search of Fawn. Usually, Fawn avoided his chores by hiding here, away from the adults stern gaze and propensity for finding work for idle boys. But he was no where to be seen. Disappointed, Lucien squatted down on his heels, resting his back against a water cask.

Today of all days, when he had such momentous news to share with his best friend, he was missing and Lucien had no idea where he could be. He’d searched everywhere he could think of.

Lucien tried to still his rapid heartbeat by taking deep cleansing breaths as his teacher had instructed. But this was too important for calmness. His Change was coming!

Ever since Spring he had felt the eyes of his parents upon him, studying his look and temper, searching for the telltale signs. Janin had even spoken briefly on the forbidden subject, one night as he lay in his bedroll, eyes already drooping shut.

You must tell me when you feel it come, Lucien. It is very important that you do.”

Janin’s kohled eyes had stared down at him fondly, the parent who had borne him, the one to whom he was most attached. Lucien never called Janin his ‘mother’ as the Sons said he should. He refused to even think of Janin that way; both his parents were the same! Lucien kept these traitorous thoughts strictly to himself. He did not want to end up having his brains baked sane on the Barrens in correction!

But he hated it all the same. All of it. The long ‘dresses’ the ‘females’ were made to wear, the codes of conduct that said he must call Janin mother and Aren, father. The laws that forbid Janin to appear in public with hair uncovered or to speak directly to a Master. How could his hostling stand to be so constricted!?

Why should the Pareah aspire to be the same as the Sons? Why did they try so hard, neglecting the old ways of the People?

Lucien drew his finger through the dust. Almost a man, he thought. The Change has come. The Corruption, he corrected himself, forcing the horrid word the Sons used into his fevered brain. I am becoming Corrupt. Imperfect.

Born almost perfect, despite the shell and the disfigured symbol of maleness, the Pareah grew more impure each year until the Corruption came and stained them irrevocably. Only through prayer and obedience could they ever hope to cast out the devil inside them and return to the proper state of Grace. This is what the preacher taught, the Truth that Lucien found so hard to believe in. Especially since last summer.

A yell from down the dusty road broke into his thoughts, scattering them. Fawn came pelting down the street toward him, his russet hair flying behind him like a tent pole flag. Lucien rose and went to meet him, a broad smile creasing his delicate features, remolding his solemn expression into something more boy like. Skidding to a halt beside him, Fawn rested his hands on his knees and bent over to catch his breath.

“Where’ve you been?” Lucien asked impatient of Fawn’s exertions. “I’ve been looking and looking. Master Lui almost caught me.

“I was. . . ” Fawn gasped out, “watching Hanna birth her new foal. Forgot the lesson altogether.”

“You’re gonna get it.” Lucien warned him. “Master Lui noticed you weren’t at class.”

“Don’t care.” Fawn grinned up at his friend cheekily. “I’m gonna Change soon. No more class. Just horses.”

Lucien looked about to make sure they weren’t overheard. “That’s what I wanted to tell you, Fawn.” He dropped his voice to a whisper, “My Change has started.”

“What!” Fawn yelped, his voice rising and falling. He fought to match Lucien’s tone, “Are you sure?”

Lucien nodded. “Night sweats. Shivering all of a sudden. Janin hasn’t noticed yet. I’ve been careful. But he’s gonna. And then I’ll have to go.”

“Aww.” Fawn kicked the dust, raising a small cloud that soon dissipated in the rising breeze. “I was hoping I’d be first, dammit!” He looked toward the mountains, visible over the top of the furthest tent. “We’d better get inside. Wind’s changing. My lodge is empty, Caleb is still down at the pens.”

They went to Fawn’s lodge, weaving across the irregular line of tents, so placed as to cut the afternoon winds and protect the communal area in the center of the tribal circle. The lodge was indeed empty and the two boys made themselves comfortable on the skins with a small bottle of watered cordial between them.

“So,” Fawn burped, swigging from the bottle and handing it across. “Where are you gonna go?”

Lucien lowered his voice again, unwilling to take any chances on passers-by with big ears. “South.” he whispered.

The astonished look on Fawn’s face said more than his clabbering mouth could in that moment. “Are. . . are you still going on about that?! You can’t go South! There’s nothing South except the Barrens and more Barrens. You’ll die for sure!”

Fawn knew, as all the elder boys did, that the expulsion from camp while the Corruption was upon them and the subsequent ‘romin’ they were required by tradition to undertake, were mere formalities. No one did a true romin anymore. Most went further North and visited secretly with relatives and friends in the alpine camps. Other, more adventurous souls went West and East, picking out the artifact they were required to bring back as proof of their travels from the carts of traders who used the trade roads in those regions. No one actually went! And no one ever, ever went South!

“I won’t.” Lucien declared, perhaps with a little more bravado than he felt. “The Barrens do end, they must. Else, where do the strangers come from, eh?”

Fawn favored him with a long, pitying look. “We talked about this last summer, Lucien. You know as well as I do where they come from, don’t be a fool! They’re ghost devils from the Citadel come to lead us away from the True Path! They’re not real.”

“They are real! I know they are!”

Fawn shook his head in mock sadness for his friend’s folly, snatching back the cordial and taking another long swig. Lucien knew his friend was only teasing, well, half teasing anyway, but still it hurt not to be believed.

“It’s all about that devil you met last summer, isn’t it. He fooled you, Lucien. When are you going to wake up? ”

Lucien stood abruptly. “Well, if you’re going to be like that about it, I might as well go home. Tell Janin and get this ‘ceremony’ underway. I don’t care what you say, Fawn. I’m going South and nothing you can say is going to stop me.”

He made for the entrance, stopping and turning as a thought occurred to him. Fawn sat where he had left him, his mouth opening and closing as he looked for words that he could not find.

“Remember your promise, Fawn.” Lucien warned him. “You swore not to tell.”

“But. . . but. . . I thought you were joking. Nobody goes South!”

Lucien shrugged. “I shall. And you promised, under blood bond, to keep it to yourself.”

Gathering the shreds of his dignity, Lucien left the tent before Fawn could respond. It hurt him to think that Fawn had not taken him seriously. He was determined to go South, to find the Citadel and the answers he needed to the questions that had been fermenting in his mind since his encounter last summer with the wanderer, the Wayhu .

I will find my ancestors, he told himself as he walked slowly back to his tent to tell Janin. I will find them and question them about the old ways. Find out if the Truth the Sons teach is the real Truth, or if there is another, like the Wayhu man said.

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