Tarot

Tarot
by Morgana

Story Notes 

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com

Web page: http://www.paranoid.nl/avalon

Main pairings: Pansea/Skye, Tarot/Lunar

Mentioned pairings: Azriel/Aleeme, Snake/Cobweb, and Flick/Ulaume.

Rating: NC-17

Summary: Paran takes Aleeme and Ponclast’s harling to Lisia and Tarot starts shaping his own destiny.

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

Warning: AU of course.

Spoiler warning: Set after book 6.

Beta read by DA, thanks sweetie!

All remaining mistakes are mine.

Tarot

Paran shivered with disgust and tried to increase the distance between him and the harling he was taking care of. Cobweb had ordered him to take the harling to Lisia at the Harling Gardens because Cobweb refused to have a child conceived from pelki at Forever. During the last three days Paran had cared for the harling, but he would never have volunteered to do so. The child’s presence repulsed him.

The harling sat in front of him on the sedu’s back and Paran tried to keep his hold on the child as loose as possible since he loathed touching the abomination.

The harling was the result of Ponclast raping a helpless Aleeme, forcing him to host his pearl. General Aldebaran had told him how Ponclast had viciously abused Aleeme and had even forced Azriel to watch. As a result, Azriel and Aleeme had lost their minds, but Gelaming healers were doing their best to reclaim them. Cal had dropped Aleeme into a guard’s arms more dead than alive and had then left to get Moon and the harling out of Ponclast’s stronghold. As far as Paran was concerned, Cal should have left the harling there to rot.

The first time he had laid eyes on the harling, he had recoiled in disgust and with the knowledge that the child was Ponclast’s as well. The harling was ugly. There was no other way to describe his exterior *and* interior. His head was too big, the body emaciated, and the feline green eyes had seemed to stare right into his soul. His discomfort had grown the moment the harling had been entrusted to him. He had almost asked the General to reconsider, but in the end, he had remained quiet and reminded himself that this was just another order he had to carry out.

Long, raven hair peeked out from beneath the hood which Paran had pulled over the harling’s head so he didn’t have to look at him. He understood why Cobweb didn’t want the harling at Forever since he didn’t want the abomination close to him either. In a way, he pitied Lisia, who didn’t know yet that he was going to be the harling’s new caretaker.

~~~

Pansea was about to panic. Paran had arrived unexpectedly and had demanded to speak with Lisia at once. Pansea had shown the officer into a room and had then set out on a search for Lisia. It was noon and usually during that time, Lisia tended to visit with several harlings, but Pansea had no idea where he would find the hostling. He had been stunned to see that Paran wasn’t alone. A harling had accompanied the Gelaming. Pansea had wanted to smile at the harling, but the smile had frozen on his face when he had seen the harling’s pitiful state. He didn’t know the harling’s name or history, but it was obvious that the child had been mistreated. He was also malnourished. While searching for Lisia, Pansea made a stop at the kitchen and asked one of the househara to bring food and refreshments to Paran’s room.

“Lis! Wait for me!” Pansea caught sight of the hostling and started to run. He was short of breath by the time he arrived at Lisia’s side. The hostling gave him a worried look and the blond strand that streaked his brown hair swept into Lisia’s face. The hostling immediately tucked it behind an ear as Pansea grabbed hold of the hostling’s sleeve. “You need to come with me!”

Lisia wanted to calm Pansea, but then realized his aide was stressed for a reason. He fell into step beside the young har and asked, “What has happened?”

“Paran arrived with a harling. Oh Lis, the poor harling looks malnourished! He is emaciated and his eyes… You need to see him now!” Pansea was convinced that Lisia could help the harling. Lisia was his *hero* after all.

Lisia frowned. Why would Paran bring a harling to him? He realized there was a hidden story and probably a hidden agenda and he was determined to find out what it was.

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Of Harlings, Hostlings and Chesnaris

Of Harlings, Hostlings and Chesnaris
by Morgana

Story Notes

Editor\'s PickMain pairing: Chrysm/Lisia and Vaysh/Pansea

Rating: NC-17

Summary: A party from Immanion visits Harling Gardens. Among them are Chrysm and Vaysh. While Chrysm uses the chance to further his friendship with Lisia, Vaysh also finds a new friend.
Warning: Alternate Universe.

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com

Web page: http://www.paranoid.nl/avalon

Disclaimer: Not mine. No copyright infringement is intended. All characters belong to Storm Constantine. Spoilers for Breeding Discontent!

Beta read by Patricia and DA, thanks sweeties! All remaining mistakes are mine.

Part 1

Lisia awaited the new arrivals in the main hall. The news that a party representing the Hegemony was arriving that day hadn’t come as a surprise. If he was honest, he had to admit that he had been expecting them to check up on him to make sure he wasn’t breaking any rules. Lisia felt confident he could master any challenges the Hegemony would throw at him.

The former breeding facility had changed into a true home for all the harlings that lived there. Only a handful of very young harlings remained since no new pearls were being created. Only One through Ten were still young enough to be picked up and carried around and that wouldn’t last for much longer at any rate.

Pansea, Lisia’s trusted aid, hurried over to his side. “They’re here, Lis.” Unlike Lisia, he *was* nervous.

Lisia gave Pansea a reassuring smile and patted the harling’s shoulder. Pansea wouldn’t remain a harling much longer. He surmised the harling’s feybraiha would start shortly. “We did nothing wrong, Pansea. There’s nothing here that will displease them.” He had done his best to make his harlings happy. Lisia had overseen the arrival of the new staff and, once he had been certain they measured up to his expectations, they had started to work together. It hadn’t taken Lisia long to realize that they had a common goal, namely making the harlings happy. Once he had realized that, working together had become easy.

Several harlings scooted aside and Lisia drew in a deep breath. He had faced members of the Hegemony before and had stood his ground back then as well. He smiled as he saw at least one familiar face among the hara who made their way toward him. During his short stay in Immanion he had talked to Chrysm and they had gotten along remarkably well.

Chrysm returned the smile Lisia gave him. He had volunteered when the Hegemony had demanded a progress report where Harling Gardens was concerned. He had been ready to head the party when Pellaz had suddenly decided to add another har to the group traveling to Harling Gardens. Chrysm had been stunned to hear that Vaysh, Pellaz’ aid and confidant, was going to accompany them.

Vaysh remained at a distance and watched Lisia greet Chrysm. He had seen Lisia when the hostling had visited Immanion to plead his case, but had stayed in the background, like he was doing at the moment. He had no desire to draw attention to his person.

“Lisia, it’s good to see you again!” Chrysm boldly took Lisia’s hands in his and squeezed them. “You look well!” The last time he had seen Lisia the hostling had been thin, pale, and exhausted looking. But Lisia had gained a healthy color, put on some weight, and the caramel hair had taken on a shine.

Lisia returned the compliment happily. “And so do you.” All Gelaming hara possessed the power to dazzle and Chrysm was no exception with his ocher-colored hair and warm chestnut-brown eyes. Dressed in gold and orange textures, Chrysm looked striking and Lisia fought the blush that was about to color his cheeks. He had liked Chrysm during his stay in Immanion and wondered if there was something more where his feelings were concerned.

Chrysm regretted having to share Lisia, but etiquette demanded he introduced his traveling companion. “Lisia, may I introduce Vaysh to you? Pellaz asked him to report on the progress you have made here.” He hoped Lisia understood how important Vaysh was and that Lisia should try to befriend him.

Lisia turned so he could greet Vaysh. He had heard rumors about the har during his stay in Immanion and realized he had to be cautious. It was said that Vaysh was Pellaz’ spy and couldn’t be trusted. The har had a reputation of being haughty, distant, and arrogant. “Greetings, tiahaar Vaysh.” Lisia inclined his head respectfully and hoped he was making the right impression.

Lisia studied the other har and was surprised at what he saw. Vaysh reminded him of how he had looked once when he had been hosting his last pearl. Vaysh looked drained, too thin, and in general, unhealthy. And yet, the har possessed a phenomenal beauty. The high cheek bones, the pallor of his skin, the lively eyes, and the har’s posture gave him a noble appearance. But then the fiery red hair registered with Lisia and seeing it reminded him of a chance meeting he’d had in Immanion. He hadn’t realized it at the time, but he had been talking to Thiede on that balcony. “I hope everything here will be to your liking. We already readied a room for you and tiahaar Chrysm.”

The Harling Gardens was the last place where Vaysh had wanted to be, but he forced himself to reply. “I’m sure the room will be satisfactory.” The fact that he was surrounded by harlings made him nervous. Even when Loki had been growing up, he had made a point not to spend any time with the harling. It was too dangerous for he had feared he might have grown attached to the child. He would never have a harling of his own. Thiede had burned him from the inside and had made him barren. Hosting a pearl or siring one had become impossible. “I’d like to freshen up now.” The curious looks the smaller harlings were giving him made him uncomfortable. Contrary to Chrysm, who had sunk onto his heels and was talking to them, Vaysh stared straight ahead and pretended the harlings weren’t there.

Unfortunately for Vaysh, there was one harling who was determined to be noticed.

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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.

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