Down the Whispering Well

Down the Whispering Well
by Thevina

Story Notes

Editor\'s PickAuthor’s Notes: This is a sequel to Maelstrom and Mage, Desire Thine Darkling. Several of the original characters from that are prominent in this, as well as my concept of how Vaysh died the first time. Toward the end there are a few direct quotes from Enchantments; it would have seemed quite odd to ignore those pivotal scenes but I didn’t wish for it to be a retelling, word for word, of familiar scenes but from Vaysh’s POV. Storm wrote them eloquently already; this is only a different lens through which to see those scenes.

Novella summary: Being brought back from the dead doesn’t mean happily ever after, especially if you’re Vaysh. Life has its costs, and he pays dearly. An exploration of Vaysh’s character in the years before and through Pellaz’s transformation, and the burdens he endures, because he must.

Author website: http://www.thrihyrne.net

Author email: thevina33@gmail.com

Disclaimer: Ashmael, Vaysh, and the harish world all belong to Storm Constantine; I’m merely playing with great abandon in her sandbox.

Pairings: Vaysh/Ashmael (historic); Vaysh/Velaxis, Vaysh/OC

Rating: NC-17 (rooning, drug use, angst, off-screen character death)

Spoilers: Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit

Down the Whispering Well

Succor my skin, beloved,
in sizzling drops of musky happenstance.
Lick gauzy flames, sear my bones,
Bathe me in fecund tears of myrrh and exaultation—
gnaw, ravenous, on my transmogrified soul.

I’ll dance with you, my firebrand,
Down the whispering well.

There, enrapt, we libertines
Will sing the stars indivisible, you and I,
suckling on voracious delight.

My heart, my drum—
Immortal, beat in me the tattoo of forever.

The air was different that day. Unseen wings beat a thrill of anticipation into the usual stillness; the wind-chimes tintinnabulated in silvery agitation. I was lifted from my cocoon, held up for the duration of the short walk to the bath. I couldn’t stand unaided, my legs had transformed from slender but muscled to white spindles. I grimaced as I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, though my heart seized with anguished joy each time I was able to do so. I had died. I knew it. My brain hadn’t surrendered the memory of the excruciating pain of the branch as it had crushed me, my sight and feeling seeping away, of Ashmael’s voice, so wild and full of hurt…

I let the warm tears spill over, as they always did, now that I’d recovered enough for these new eyes to work. I was here, and not-here; the silent, efficient hara kept me drugged after my initial screams of agony had been too much for them and my other keeper to bear. Thiede would bring order to this impossibility. He would come in with a serving-tray of coral, he would drape an amulet around my neck, a chambered nautilus like my hollowed soul and he would breathe life into this husk, this miraculous aberration, my somatic re-creation.

“Why?” I asked the unspeaking hara through my tears, but they didn’t pause. They bathed my weak body, rubbing my near-useless limbs with oil before artfully arranging my hair with ribbons of white, and tiny opalescent beads. I begged for more drugs, for anything to slow the panicked tattoo which threatened to overwhelm my re-made heart. Pity me, for God’s sake, the Aghama’s sake, pity…?

A quicksilver slide of the needle and my breath no longer thundered in my lungs like a thoroughbred racing across a field. Perhaps Tassia could bear me away…

I was an abomination, and yet, as I drifted into the languid haze of disembodied thought, I couldn’t help but love myself and the demiurge who had made me again. Head lolling, I peered dazedly at my arm— tears meandered down my face at the sight of flawless, pale skin. No inception scar marred my forearm; no vibrant braid of ink to boldly proclaim my love for my chesnari remained. Apparently the voice of all physical flaws was to have been silenced. This body, this mute skin, this was Thiede’s doing.

Did I captivate him only when voiceless?

Soft footsteps padded through the open doorway. He stood at the end of the bed, his palms pressed together, his long, steepled fingers pressed against his cheek. With his head tilted as it was, he looked for an instant like a child about to say his prayers. His eyes— a thousand sunlit mornings glowed there; I flinched under the shimmering, proud lanterns that shone in his face.

“You shall be above all others,” he promised, approaching me with the lethal, captivating grace of a lynx. There was no softness in his tone; the words rang in the air, a regal pronouncement. I was brushed with the scent of saffron dawn as attendants removed his clothes and I was laid bare for him.

“Thank you,” I croaked, my voice an elegy in dust. I was un-dead. I was moulded clay. I lifted my eyes as his lips hovered above mine, the faint scent of his breath enough to kindle an explosion of sparks in my groin.

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Silver Tears

Silver Tears
by Morgana

Story Notes

Part 4 (last) of the Fairy Tale Endings series. Part 3 was Changes.

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com

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

Main pairing: Ashmael/Silver (OMC)

Side pairings: Velaxis/Caeru, Vaysh/Phade, Pellaz/Cal and Cobweb/Snake

Rating: NC-17

Summary: Ashmael tries to focus on his own recovery, but when a young and damaged har arrives, he finds it impossible not to get involved.

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.

Silver Tears

Cobweb’s nervousness showed clearly and Ashmael knew the reason why the other har was so upset. The skies had darkened with the ethereal lightning which announced the arrival of sedim. It must be Paran escorting Silver as promised.

Ashmael had decided not to get involved where the young har was concerned since he didn’t trust his reactions yet. At times, he still was in emotional turmoil and that made him the wrong har to be around Silver. Ashmael watched from the side as Cobweb and Snake walked toward the road that led to the house. Cobweb was fidgeting, but Snake seemed calm and in control of his emotions. Snake took Cobweb’s hand in his and lent his chesnari the strength he needed for the upcoming confrontation.

Cobweb tried to catch a glimpse of the har seated on the sedu in front of Paran, but he was wrapped up in a black traveling cloak to keep out the cold that attacked the travelers using the Otherlanes. This was it then. One of Terzian’s sons had found his way to Forever. Snake squeezed his fingers encouragingly and Cobweb drew in a deep, steadying breath.

Paran brushed off the ice that had formed on his clothes and sought out Cobweb’s gaze. He hadn’t been certain Cobweb would be interested in finding out that he had located one of the missing pearls, so when he had sent that message he had distantly thought that he might not get an answer. To his relief, Cobweb had replied almost instantly in offering the young har a home. Paran knew that a rocky road lay ahead of Cobweb, Snake, and Silver since the young har struggled with several issues which wouldn’t be solved in a day.

The har in his arms was motionless and fear poured from him in waves. “We have arrived,” he said. “Just one more minute and I will help you down.” He still had to inform Cobweb and Snake of the most recent discovery he had made where Silver was concerned.

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Changes

Changes
by Morgana

Story Notes

Part 3 in the Fairy Tale Endings series. Previous part was High Hope. Next (last) part is Silver Tears.

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com

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

Pairings: Velaxis/Caeru, Vaysh/Phade, Pellaz/Cal, Cobweb/Snake.

Rating: NC-17

Summary: Vaysh and Ashmael struggle with the aftermath of Vaysh being healed.

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.

Changes

Phade kept a hand at the small of Vaysh’s back as he escorted the other har back into the corridor. They had sat quietly for a while and Vaysh had managed to sort out his thoughts. Phade had then realized that it was time they joined Pellaz and Cal again. They ended up in the Tigrons’ rooms and Vaysh shuffled his feet as he saw the concerned look Cal was giving him. “Thanks for staying close,” he murmured. His words were barely audible.

Cal approached and came to a halt in front of Vaysh. “I gave you my word.” He smiled as he saw Phade maintaining physical contact with Vaysh. He had been afraid that Phade might not be inclined to continue their friendship after what had happened in Ashmael’s rooms, but he had obviously underestimated the other har. “You need to find your way, Vaysh and it is a good thing that you have Phade at your side during this trying time.”

Vaysh gave Cal a weak smile. “Phade and I talked about what happened earlier.” He simply couldn’t speak Ashmael’s name yet. “We have decided to give this a chance.”

Hearing that pleased Pellaz immensely. “Does that mean you are changing rooms again?”

Vaysh gulped. Phade and he hadn’t addressed that yet. “I am not sure about that.” The redhead tried to gauge Phade’s reaction to the question from the corner of his eye.

“He is staying with me.” Phade nodded firmly. Cheekily, he added, “Maybe the Tigrons would like having the bed to themselves for a change?”

Cal laughed warmly and then leered at Pellaz. “Maybe.”

Pellaz actually felt hot beneath Cal’s smug look. It was time to change the subject. “I expect the two of you to appear for breakfast though.” He wanted to keep an eye on Vaysh.

Phade started to turn Vaysh toward the doorway, but the red-haired har shook his head and reached for Pellaz’ arm. “I need to know what happened after I left…Please…”

Guiding Vaysh away from Phade, Pellaz took Vaysh into a corner of the room. It might be best if they had some privacy. “Ashmael left, Vaysh.”

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High Hope

High Hope
by Morgana

Story Notes

Part 2 in the Fairy Tale Endings series. Part one was Damnation Angels. Part 3: Changes.

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com

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

Pairings: Vaysh/Pellaz/Velaxis, Velaxis/Caeru, Vaysh/Cal and Vaysh/Phade.

Rating: NC-17

Summary: At Pellaz’ request Velaxis helps heal Vaysh.

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 Patricia and DA, thanks sweeties!

All remaining mistakes are mine.

High Hope

Part 1

The fact that somehar was knocking on his door surprised Velaxis. Lately, the members of the Hegemony had backed off, having finally understood that he was no longer available. So for someone to visit him was surprising. Briefly, he wondered if it might be Caeru, but then dismissed the thought. The Tigrina had decided to take Darq, Loki, and Geb out and would be exploring the city for some time. So who else would dare disturb him?

Curious, Velaxis opened the door and took a step back. Pellaz was the last har he had expected to seek him out. He inclined his head in greeting and gestured for the Tigron to enter. Pellaz and he had never gotten along and he wondered why the other har had come to his rooms that day.

Pellaz entered and the fabric of his green robes moved around him, giving the impression that he was floating, but Velaxis knew that it was just an illusion. He had to admit that Thiede had outdone himself when he had created Pellaz. At first, Velaxis hadn’t been convinced that Pellaz was the right har for the job, but the Tigron hadn’t let them down so far. In a way, Pellaz had earned his respect, even though Velaxis’ had never voiced that thought aloud.

“I am surprised,” Velaxis commented first as he closed the door. He had heard about the meeting that had taken place a few days earlier in which Pellaz, Cal, and Caeru had sided with him against the members of the Hegemony. He had won Cal’s respect during their journey back to Immanion and he had Caeru’s love, but he had never been sure about Pellaz’ support. “That you would visit me,” he added as he saw Pellaz’ surprise.

The Tigron opted for the direct approach. Coming there was already hard on him. “Rue told me you had healed him and for that I am grateful.” Pellaz made his way over to the window and looked outside so he didn’t have to meet Velaxis’ blue eyes. “I tried. Cal and I had both tried, but it had never worked. It had frustrated us to no end because we knew it was supposed to work. Cobweb had healed Snake that way.”

For one moment, his shoulders slumped and Velaxis saw the true emotions on Pellaz’ face. That the Tigron was letting them show unnerved him. Maybe he had underestimated the feelings Pellaz bore Caeru. “It only works with the right har. It is the combination that makes it work.” He felt it was safe to offer that.

Pellaz’ head whipped up and he turned to face Velaxis. “Thank you for what you did for Rue.”

Velaxis nodded to show his acceptance of Pellaz’ gratitude. “But that is not why you are here.”

“It is part of why I am here.” Pellaz felt uncomfortable, nervous even. He had thought about this ever since Caeru had told him that his consort had been healed and had rehearsed this speech many times in his head. But now that he was facing Velaxis, the words wouldn’t come.

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The Secret Is Out

The Secret Is Out
by Morgana

Story Notes

Author’s Email: morganalebeau@yahoo.com

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

Pairing: Vaysh/Ashmael

Rating: NC-17

Spoilers up to Book 6 “The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence.”

Summary: Vaysh has been keeping secrets from Ashmael.

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

Warning: AU of course.

Beta read by Patricia and DA, thanks sweeties!

All remaining mistakes are mine.

The Secret Is Out

Part 1

Normally Cal wasn’t that curious and certainly not where Vaysh was concerned, but for some reason the other har had piqued his curiosity that day. It was already late in the evening and all other hara had retired for the night. Vaysh however was sneaking through the palace and seemed to be headed for the stables. Cal pressed against the wall to avoid detection and soundlessly followed Vaysh down the corridor.

Vaysh had always remained something of a riddle to Cal. Ever since Cal had returned to Immanion with Darqueil and had been reunited with his ‘little family’, he had grown disinterested in matters of the state, which Pellaz and Caeru attended to most of the time. Thiede had kept a low profile lately and that meant life in Immanion had become a bit boring. Cal therefore craved a new challenge and Vaysh seemed to be providing him with one.

As he followed Vaysh into the stables, he considered the little he knew about the red-haired har. Vaysh was always at Pellaz’ side and was helping him, guiding him, and even guarding the Tigron at times. As far as Cal could tell the two hara had become close friends, but there was always something about Vaysh that made Cal wary on befriending him as well. Mystery clung to Vaysh and Cal wanted to know what secrets the other har was hiding.

“Be quiet,” Vaysh ordered as he guided the sedu out of his box. “I don’t want anyone to notice us.” It wasn’t strictly necessary for him to be this careful, but he wasn’t taking any chances with Ashmael staying in the palace as well. Ashmael seldom paid him any attention and that was just the way Vaysh wanted it, but he also knew that Ashmael had a curious streak within him and he didn’t want to wake that particular trait in his former chesnari.

He swung himself onto the sedu’s back and buried his fingers in the mane. Telepathically he told the sedu where to take him and a moment later they disappeared from the realm to appear on the Otherlanes.

Cal disliked that particular means of travel, but he had no choice but to make use of the sedim if he was to follow Vaysh. He selected one of them and hopped onto his back. Luckily for Cal this particular sedu was a pliant being and agreed to take the har to the Otherlanes. Telling the sedu to follow Vaysh, Cal kept his eyes wide open in the hope of catching sight of Vaysh on the Otherlanes.

***

Vaysh told his sedu to wait and headed for the tower that had materialized in front of him. A genuinely warm smile surfaced on his face and his whole demeanor changed with it. His gray eyes sparkled with joy and his lips curled into a warm smile as a glow appeared from somewhere deep inside his core.

“Vaysh!”

Vaysh laughed and caught the har that came running toward him. He buried him in a tight embrace and pressed him close. “I have missed you, Arjuna.”

Arjuna’s sky-blue eyes fastened on his hostling’s face and he returned the smile. “I’m glad you’re back!” Life in the tower always became boring after Vaysh left. He had his books to keep him occupied and he slept a lot, but he preferred for his hostling to spend time with him instead. That way he felt less lonely. “Come with me!” He started to pull Vaysh toward his room to show him a drawing he had made. Drawing was his newest passion.

Vaysh willingly followed his son and sat on the floor next to Arjuna so he could admire the drawing. It was a clumsy attempt at drawing Vaysh’s face, but he praised Arjuna nonetheless and his son radiated pride. Vaysh ran his long fingers through the blond hair and pulled Arjuna close. “I can’t stay for long.”

“Can’t you take me with you?”

Huge blue eyes pleadingly gazed into his and denying Arjuna broke Vaysh’s heart. “You can’t come with me. You wouldn’t be safe, but here, you are. I need you to stay here and be a good harling, Arjuna. I visit as often as I can.” Arjuna’s features contorted with disappointment. “I’m sorry, Arjuna. If I could, I would stay with you forever.”

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