Sharpened Silk

Title: Sharpened Silk
Author: youcantseeus (youcantseeus12@gmail.com)
Characters: Ponclast, Aleeme, Abrimel, Pellaz
Summary: Thirty years after the horrors that Aleeme experienced at Fulminir, he seeks out Ponclast. Ponclast POV. (Ponclast/Aleeme, Abrimel/Aleeme).
Spoilers: Books 1-6. Also, possibly Paragenesis.
Word Count: 9000
Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of Wraeththu or any of the characters in this fic.
Warnings: Not a piece of rape fiction by any means, but there is a lot of discussion of pelki/rape. Self-mutilation. Ponclast POV.
Author’s Note: I’ve been working on this piece for a little while — it won’t leave my brain. Darker than some of my other stuff, but with an introspective bent that makes me fairly satisfied with the outcome. Reviews of all types are loved.

Sharpened Silk

Most days, I possess something resembling happiness.

I have so little and what I do own is granted by the grace of the Tigron. Several years ago, he deemed me fit to occupy the earthly realm. This does not mean that I was given my freedom – there are guards at my gates and watchers scouring my every thought for the slightest signs rebellion. But the Tigron gave me a cottage in the woods, far away from other hara, where I could meditate on my wrongs and spend time with my chesnari. I think that Pellaz did it more for Abrimel than for me.

This afternoon is like most and I go to my attic study to work on my memoirs. Writing memoirs preoccupies most first generation hara of importance. I am no longer important, but I was once and the ability to write about my life has not been stripped from me. On days when I feel rage, I find writing easy and my scribblings are full of angry recriminations and bitter regrets. However, my time in another realm imparted some level of calm to my being and on days when this is my dominate mood, I mostly stare out the small attic window. Our cottage sets on top of a hill and I should be able to see the surrounding forest, but the window is positioned so that I only see blue-gray sky unless I climb onto a chair.

I am still in prison.

I am staring out the window at that blue sky when there is a knock at the door. “Enter,” I say.

Abrimel comes in. This surprises me because my chesnari usually spends his afternoons in study. In many ways, the lonely, academic lifestyle suits him more than it does me. I enjoy gaining knowledge, but only as precursor to action. Abrimel loves reading, learning things about different tribes – so different from the typical Gelaming aristocrat who doesn’t want to learn about any tribe but his own.

“Somehar is here,” he says.

I give him a wan smile and he walks behind me to put his arms around my shoulders, a comfortably intimate gesture. There is a rumor going around Immanion that the Tigron comes to me for advice. For this reason, Gelaming aristocrats occasionally pay off my guards so they can get some advice of their own – normally about their inane love lives. The truly depressing fact about all this is that I am glad for the distraction.

“Did you tell him I wasn’t a seer?” I ask. Lately, they’ve gotten it into their heads that I can predict their futures. I am not a seer, though I can occasionally predict what might happen through common sense and a realistic view of harish nature.

“I told him,” Abrimel says. “He’s still there.”
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The Wind that Broke the Door

Challenge SubmissionThe Wind that Broke the Door
by Chantress

Author’s Email: chevron6@gmail.com

Rating: R (non-explicit aruna and descriptions of past abuse)

Spoilers: The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire

Characters: Astarth, Flounah, and various cameos

Summary: A look into Astarth’s mind and later life after the end of Fulfillments. Sometimes, the more things stay the same, the more they change.

Disclaimer: The concept of Wraeththu and all characters and situations pertaining thereto are the property of Storm Constantine, who has very graciously allowed her fans to play with them; no money is being made from this story, and no copyright infringement is intended or should be implied.

Author’s Note: My first Wraeththu fic. (Eeek!) I’ve only read the original trilogy and about a third of The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure, so bear with me if I inadvertently commit canon murder because of my ignorance of something that happens later on in the series. Arsche and Roz appear courtesy of my good friend Mr. Powell, just because. 😉

The Wind that Broke the Door

Chapter One: Preparations

“I thought I’d never have to do this again,” I complained to my reflection as I finished applying my makeup.

Damn Quince. Of all the nights he could have decided to get fed up with everything and leave, he had to pick this one. Fallsend was packed with foreign hara (mostly from Jaddayoth, but a good number from as far away as Megalithica), and most of them seemed to have descended upon Piristil. They were mostly here for the tour, of course, followed by a late supper and a rehashing of the delectable horror of having been in the very room where the inimitable Panthera had been chained, but there were always some who’d pay the extra few spinners for a night with a genuine Piristil kanene. (Not that there were that many of us left from the old days, but most hara only cared about the brand name, so to speak, so who was I to miss out on an opportunity to profit from this?) With twelve kanene currently living in the musenda (not including myself), plus four alternates who could be called in at a moment’s notice, there were usually more than enough to fill the demand, even on busy nights—until now, that is.

I sighed and scowled, blotting away a bit of excess lipstick. Quince, who I’d been relying on to entertain whichever of the Gelaming showed up that evening for the yearly audit, was probably halfway to Jaddayoth by now, fueled as he was by alcohol and self-righteous indignation; Semiru was due to deliver his pearl any day now; Yasmeen had broken his leg the day before and was staying in the House of Healing for the rest of the week; Roz was having one of his “episodes”; Ezhno was visiting relatives in Jasminia and wouldn’t be back for another two months, at least; it was Flounah’s utterly sacrosanct night off; and there was no telling where the hell Kelis had wandered off to this time. So with only nine kanene and a full house, I was going to have to pick up the slack.

“Woolgathering, Astarth?”

I spun around. Flounah was standing at the door, watching me with folded arms—not quite inside my room, just far enough to be mildly insulting without giving me any real reason to object.

“How does it feel to be one of us again?” he continued, then narrowed his eyes and added in an all-too-audible undertone, “Not that you ever weren’t, of course.”

“Shouldn’t you be packing?” I said, pointedly turning my back on him again.

“I have a month; my things aren’t likely to run off before then, you know—unlike yours. Speaking of which, Ezhno hid your favorite earrings under that utterly tacky stuffed dragon of his. There’s probably a bunch more of your things in his room, too, but that’s where he usually stashes your jewelry. I’ll just put these here, shall I?”

He set the earrings down on my dressing table; the gold and rubies glittered up at me invitingly. I stroked them, sighing with regret, then put them back in their place of honor in the top tier of my jewelry box. I wouldn’t be able to wear them again unless I got my ears re-pierced, and I dreaded the pain.

Ah, what price beauty? my hostling’s voice whispered mockingly in my head—a ghost from the past I’d thought long-banished. I gritted my teeth against it. I can’t remember, I thought desperately. Not now. Not like this.

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Along the Line

challenge_winner_april09Editor\'s PickAlong the Line
by Thevina

Story Notes

Author email: thevina33@gmail.com

Spoilers: The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure

Pairings: Cal/Orien, but that’s not the focus

Rating: R

Word count: 1412

Warnings: Murder, quite dubious sanity

Disclaimer: The characters, plot and setting all belong to Storm Constantine. Thank you!!

Story Notes:
Initially mentioned by Cal to Swift in Bewitchments (I think that’s the first time it’s mentioned!) and then described in more gory details in Wraiths, Cal’s murder of Orien in cold blood, after taking aruna, to me remains one of the most inexplicable things Cal ever does. So… I decided to try and go there, in his head. It was, thankfully, a very short visit. I want to thank Elfscribe for beta’ing and Persephone for her feedback. Any remaining or added errors are my own. The inspirational song, source of the lyrics Cal sings as well as the title of this story is “All Along the Watchtower,” penned by Bob Dylan.

Along the Line

Cal hummed under his breath, a song from his human days. It hadn’t made sense back then, but now it crescendoed in his blood, a call to arms, a shift in the kaleidoscope to create a pattern that shimmered with truth and resolution. The night was fragrant and sticky, saturated with prophecy. He’d seen fear in Orien’s eyes earlier, all blinds of pretense pulled up and away as Cal had slammed him against the wall. Orien knew Cal could turn into a dervish of revenge, hate spinning and flashing from him, a self-contained tempest of destruction. And still, Cal also knew he would come; he’d summoned him and Orien would answer the call.

The hour had arrived for Cal to offer himself to the one he was convinced had led his beloved to the slaughter. Orien was a shaman, but also a skilled guide in the arunic arts. What could possibly be a more perfect ritual oblation before the sacrifice than aruna? With sanity fading as surely as that of a dying star on the cusp of going nova, Cal awaited him. Feet propped on a dusty dresser, he combed his hair, gazing sightlessly at the revenant with its hypnotic violet eyes that were reflected in the mirror.

“‘There must be some way out of here,’ said the joker to the thief,” he crooned softly, the old tune as fresh and clear on his tongue as though he’d just heard it on a radio. “‘There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.'”

With a steady hand he poured himself more wine and took a swallow. Just then the energy shifted; he’d not heard the front door, but he could sense Orien’s presence in the house, silently ascending the stairs with hesitation. Cal felt it all. Hyper-aware, he was a note plucked by mocking forces in the universe, the catastrophic overtones ringing through the ethers, a threnody for Orien.

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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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Panthera

Panthera
by Elenien

Poem Info

Author: Elenien

Website: http://www.freewebs.com/vampireengel

Acknowledgments: El, Thanks for convincing me to send it in 🙂

Contact: hlssyn@hotmail.com   (not private)

Panthera

The light flickered
Upon the sleeping cat
His face moving to follow
The light

His muscles tighten
His eyes flash open
Cat’s eyes in human form
The door knob rattles

The chains around the cat
Echo through the eternity of his mind
Years spent imprisoned
Awaiting the door knob
Forced to live for it

The big cat twitched with energy
A Har steps into the cat’s den
Slowly, frightened
Through the slits of those cat’s eyes
He sees….and waits

Har to Har
Cat to Mouse
The big cat lets out a primal scream
The ephemeral Har recoils
The bonds snap the cat back
His laugh is a low rumble

This Har would get no rooning tonight
Too afraid of the wild cat
He lays back into his nest of chains
One eye still upon the strange Har
The Har who would spend all his money
Only to watch this feral figure
Until his time runs out
Until another takes his place with this Kanene

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