September 19, 2015 at 5:41 pm (Aruna, Conception, Death, Freygard, Freyhella, Harling, Major OC, Thevina)
I thought I’d posted this back when I wrote it, but apparently I didn’t! This is a sequel to my story contained in Paragenesis, “The Rune-Throwing.”
Title: Death Gifts the Unimaginable
Word count: 6,044
Death Gifts the Unimaginable
Ottar cursed his friend under his breath. Hroth had gone off on another vision quest, deep in the woods near a fjord a couple of leagues away from Freygard. It wasn’t that Ottar was worried per se, but usually Hroth sent at least a whisper-light thought his way, a picture or glimpse of the places he was travelling in the far reaches of harish dreams and mysteries. He kicked against the sides of his horse as he called out repeatedly to Hroth via mindtouch. His cries went out into a vacuum, and that worried him more than anything else. He guided his horse, anxiety creeping insidiously in his blood as he began calling Hroth’s name aloud. After cantering through a particularly dense copse of trees, Ottar saw the edge of the water. He let out a sigh of relief. Hroth was there.
As he drew closer, Ottar’s dis-ease returned. Something was wrong. He hurried his horse along and then hastily dismounted. Hroth sat in his usual crossed leg position, but he was far from still.
“Hroth? What’s wrong?” he asked with rising panic.
Hroth’s fingers dug into the cold earth around him, muttering all the while. Ottar listened intently, but whatever Hroth articulated, it wasn’t a language that Ottar recognized. It was guttural and seemed ancient. But for all Ottar knew, it was total gibberish.
He gently ran his fingers through Hroth’s hair. His thick braids were dishevelled, and sacramental ink was smeared across his strong features. He’d drawn symbols on the back of his left arm, and his one hand was in a state of constant motion, scrabbling at his stump, then the pebbles on the ground, then in his hair. It was Hroth’s eyes that made Ottar gasp aloud and his hands tremble like aspens. Hroth’s warm, ageless eyes were glassy, though he seemed to be focusing on someone or something not far in front of him. There was nothing to be seen save the dark water of the fjord, ambitious fingers of ice stretching greedily from the shore.
“What do you see? Where in Thor’s skies are you? Talk to me!” he begged.
Hroth’s muttering went on. He turned to look at Ottar, whose smile approached his lips and then slunk away. Hroth did not appear to recognise him, instead he continued to speak in some language that seemed to Ottar like some ancestral human tongue.
“I’m getting you out of here,” Ottar murmured fervently.
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September 7, 2015 at 9:30 am (Amanda Kear, Gelaming, Humans, India, Short, Thiede)
by Amanda Kear
Characters: Thiede, OCs
Word Count: 4830
Summary: An old man discovers that he has skills that Thiede wants to make use of.
Old Mr Murthy was toiling back to his home with a load of firewood, when the Wraeththu came. One moment he was alone in the ruined street, wondering if his neighbour Santosh might have spare eggs to trade. The next the sky split open with a crack and the street was full of armed hara on huge white horses.
The old man cried out with fright, certain that he was about to die under pounding hooves or in a hail of bullets. The community of humans that lived here had thought that their crumbling quarter of the town was of no interest to the Wraeththu. Apparently they had been wrong.
But guns did not fire, nor horses charge. Most of the riders took up positions looking outwards from where the trembling Mr Murthy stood; warriors alert to threats that were more distant and dangerous than one old man with a basket of firewood on his back. One of the riders dismounted and strode up to him.
“You are Rhaghavendra Mahesh Murthy?” It was less a question than a statement, spoken in American accented English. The Wraeththu was unnaturally tall, with the pale skin of a European and hair of such a vibrant red-gold hue that it surely must be dyed. His – her? – clothes were neat and clean, a dazzling white in the sun.
Mr Murthy gave a mute nod. This apparition knew his name?
“I am Thiede. Which house is yours? It will be more pleasant to talk out of the sun, hmm?”
This flame-haired Wraeththu had materialised from nowhere and wanted to talk to him? Was he dreaming? Was this a hallucination brought on by a stroke?
The apparition looked at him expectantly. Mr Murthy hesitantly pointed further up the hill, to the tumbledown apartment building where he and his neighbours lived. Horses wheeled and riders pounded in that direction. He trembled. What had he just unleashed on his neighbours?
The one called Thiede walked towards the building, the white horse ambling along in his wake. Mr Murthy paused, wondering whether he should run…? Then wondering where on Earth he could run to, to escape horses that materialised out of thin air?
Talk. The red-haired one had said talk. If he was lying, at least he’d die in his own home. Mr Murthy trudged wearily up the hill in Thiede’s wake.
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September 7, 2015 at 9:21 am (Amanda Kear, Aruna, Bewitchments, Cobweb, Death, Galhea, Short, Terzian, Varr)
By Amanda Kear
Characters: Mengk/Terzian, Cobweb
Word Count: 3127
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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July 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm (Ashmael, Bewitchments, Cal, Enchantments, Fulfilments, Gelaming, Immanion, Intrigue, Kyme, Long, Major OC, Nagini, Pell, Politics, Rue, Shades, Sulh, Teapot, Velaxis, Wraiths)
Title: Over The Hills And A Great Way Off
Author’s email: email@example.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”
“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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