Imprint

Title: Imprint
Author: youcantseeus, youcantseeus12@gmail.com
Characters: Tyson, Seel, Swift
Word Count: 3,589
Spoilers: Books 1 and 2.
Summary: Tyson finds himself wanting Seel as his first aruna partner. But he hates Seel! Tyson/Seel.
AN: I wanted to try writing this pairing for some reason. I love feedback.

Tyson stormed down the hallway and threw open the door to Seel’s study.

“I hate you!” he exclaimed before Seel even had time to look up from his papers. “I hate you!”

Seel put down his pen and gave a wry half smile. “What for this time, Tyson?”

Tyson seethed. He didn’t know how to explain all the churned up things inside of him – anger, lust, bewilderment, resentment. Feybraiha was a tumultuous time for any young har and Tyson’s celebration was only a day away. Perhaps, after it was over, he’d feel better. But every time he thought of it, he felt a sense of dread and a nagging in the back of his mind. He’d only recently figured out what that nagging feeling was about. He wasn’t scared of aruna – in fact, from the descriptions, he found himself quite excited by the idea. But the feeling that his feybraiha was going all wrong just wouldn’t go away.

Tyson felt tears sting his eyes. He realized that he was going to cry like a tiny harling in front of Seel, of all people, when he was supposed to be a day away from adulthood. It was too much to stand. “You’ve done something to me,” he said. “It is supposed to be Rin; not you, never you. Rin has been chosen for me and everything has been arranged – and then you slink into my head and you won’t leave me alone. I don’t want you. I don’t!”

Seel seemed fairly surprised, but he merely sipped at his coffee. The morning sunlight streamed in through the window and gleamed off his tawny hair. “I see,” he said at last.
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Sojourn of the Spirit

SOJOURN OF THE SPIRIT

Author: persephone100 (persephone10034@yahoo.com)

Characters: Mostly OC’s

Beta: thrihyrne {Thanks again!} All remaining mistakes are mine.

Rating: NC17 (but only in a short section)

Spoilers: Enchantments, Bewitchments, Fulfillments

Synopsis: This is a story about a young pure born har going through feybraiha and his first aruna, including all the mixed feelings and embarrassing moments that always seem to go with coming of age, with the added twist of a mysterious houseguest next door with whom the young har is fascinated. It is set in a time period when most of the first generation incepted hara are nearing the end of their life span.

Disclaimer: All the characters, their world, and all things Wraeththu belong to Storm Constantine, to whom I am very grateful.

SOJOURN OF THE SPIRIT

The sun shone on my brother’s dark hair as he spun faster and faster, giggling, egged on by my two cousins, my best friend and myself. Soon he stopped and staggered around, out of breath and laughing until he tumbled to the ground in an exhilarated heap. My friend jumped on him and started tickling him, adding to his dizzy state.

“Stop! Stop, Coral! I’m going to pee myself!”

He finally quit and flopped down lying on the grass beside my brother, as my cousins and I began to twirl ourselves around playing the game we referred to as “getting drunk.” It was so called because we imagined that was what it would feel like to be high on sheh, wine or liquor. Not that we all hadn’t tasted it on special occasions, but we were certainly never allowed, at our ages, to get drunk. Being the oldest of our little clique, I would probably be the first of us to do so for real. Doubtless it was something my parents wouldn’t be too proud of me for looking forward to, even though they enjoyed it themselves with fairly recurrent frequency.

As we all lay on the grass catching our breath and letting the self-induced vertigo subside, my thoughts, as they were wont to do of late, turned to my parents’ almost constant admonishment that I would soon be approaching feybraiha. From all I’d heard from my parents and older cousins and friends who had gone through it already, it wasn’t something I was in any particular hurry to experience. I remember my cousin Solstice turning red, itching and crying at the drop of a hat. And then there was aruna. Of course I was curious and all the families in our community were completely open about it, but still as harlings not yet deflowered, we giggled, joked and speculated about it quite a bit.

The first inkling that maybe my coming of age was approaching faster than I’d thought, had happened only recently. Coral and I were playing near a small run, trying to catch dragonflies. We got heated from the sun and sought out a shady tree. Coral climbed onto a low branch and hung upside down by his knees. He giggled as his auburn hair hung down, almost touching the ground. His loose shirt had gone down over his head exposing him from below his hipbones to his neck. As I watched him I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off his golden skin. I wanted to smooth my hands over it and I had a strange sensation inside like I had fireflies in my stomach. The feelings surprised and embarrassed me and I was grateful that Coral’s face was covered so he couldn’t detect anything. I ran off into the bushes, feigning a need to pee and sat, trying to get myself together. Soon I heard Coral calling and searching for me. I took a deep breath and walked toward his voice. He didn’t hear me approaching him from behind so I tapped him on the back with both hands and yelled, “BOO!” He gave a cry of surprise, laughed and then chased me all the way back to the run. I’d escaped being found out–at least that time.

My hostling’s voice, calling my brother and me to dinner, abruptly ended my introspection.

“Willow! Wren! Dinner!”

“Come on!” Wren called, his whole face a smile. “Arrana’s making grilled chicken, remember? Race ya!”

We got to our cottage, exhilarated and out of breath.

“I win!” I shouted.

“You always win,” Wren said, pouting.

“Willow is two years older. That’s why he won,” our hostling said. “Sit down. We’re eating out here tonight.”

We sat at our outside table, near a grilling pit. The aroma of the grilled chicken was mouth-watering. Our hostling marinated the meat in his own concoction of honey, a spicy sauce and red pepper. It was my brother’s and my favorite meal. As Arrana, our hostling, turned the meat, our father came out of the house. He smiled at Wren and me but headed straight for Arrana. He pulled him into an embrace, kissing him. Wren rolled his eyes and I snickered. My father and hostling were obviously still very much in love which embarrassed my little brother but not me. I’d come to the age where I could appreciate their relationship to a degree.

“Gin,” my hostling murmured. Our father’s name was Ginseng but almost everyone we knew, including our hostling and my brother and I, called him Gin.

“I’ll get the drinks,” my father said as we all took our places at the table. He came out with a pitcher of iced tea for Wren and me and a bottle of wine for him and Arrana.

Arrana had prepared grilled summer vegetables and tomatoes with dressing as well as the chicken. Being that it was mid summer, we had an abundance of fresh produce, grown both as a community to share and in our individual gardens. Our little community was self sufficient, growing our communal gardens, raising sheep, goats, cows and chickens. We also had horses for transportation. We cultivated many fruit and nut trees and several varieties of berries and tubers. My parents and all the others knew how to preserve and store all the things we could grow for that purpose. My brother and I never wanted for any of the necessities of life and enjoyed many things we considered to be luxuries as well.

When we’d finished our feast, Wren and I helped to clean up and then went out to the table once again for dessert. Arrana brought out bowls of various seasonal berries with cream and sugar. Wren and I delighted in the summer sweets. All through dessert my parents made eyes at each other as we joked and talked about what we’d done that day. My father was a sort of overseer for a lot of the various workings of the community, but he was also still a very hands-on contributor when necessary. Our hostling mostly took care of our family and house, but was also available to help hara who were giving birth. All was going well until Gin suddenly asked me a question that put a damper on my contentment.

“So Willow, have you given any thought as to who your first aruna partner will be?”

I stared speechless as my hostling said, “Gin, don’t push him. He’s got plenty of time to think about that. He’s not even shown the first signs yet.”

“I know but he needs to prepare himself and choose the right one.” Then turning to me he asked, “Do you want us to choose for you?”

I gulped hard.

“I…I don’t know. I don’t know what I want. I…I…”

“See?” Arrana interjected. “He’s nowhere near ready. Just leave him alone for now.”

I wanted to kiss my hostling. He at least partly understood my suffering.

“Let him be a harling. His puberty will be upon him soon enough.”

Gin shrugged, letting the subject drop, much to my relief.

When our parents went into the house after dessert, our cousins, who lived in the nearest house, came over to us and sat at our table. Kaia and Luna were only a year apart in age, Kaia being a year younger than I was. Their older brother, Solstice lived close by with his chesnari. Our hostlings were brothers.

“What shall we do tonight?” Kaia asked.

I shrugged.

“We could catch fireflies,” Wren offered.

“We could go for an evening swim in the creek,” Luna suggested.

We were mulling over our choices when I noticed some movement in the yard on the other side of ours. Two hara who were my parents’ friends lived there. They didn’t have any harlings but they had, for about a year now, had a mysterious houseguest. I didn’t know if he was related to them or not, but it was rumored that he was at least a hundred years old and incepted, a term I wasn’t even sure I understood the meaning of. He kept to himself and spent most of his time in the small Nayati in the backyard that he’d constructed. We had a lovely big communal Nayati, but he never availed himself of it, preferring instead his own private one. The other harlings didn’t pay him much attention, but I found him fascinating. I watched as he made his way from the house to the Nayati. He strode with strength and confidence, his long blond ponytail neatly bound with a black cord. He carried himself with the stature of a warrior, not like I imagined a har of advanced years would. Of course I had no knowledge whatsoever about these things. The only aged creatures I’d ever seen were humans, and only then in pictures in books.

“Hey! Willow! So what do you want to do?” Kaia said in my face.

“Huh? Uh, I don’t know–a swim, I guess.”

Wren looked disappointed.

“Okay,” Luna said. “We’ll catch fireflies and then take a swim.”

Wren brightened and we set off for some midsummer evening fun.

When Wren and I returned home later, just after sundown, I noticed flickering candlelight in the small Nayati next door. I stood staring when my brother yelled from the back door.

“Willow, come on!”

“In a minute. I want to sit outside for a while.”

Wren shrugged and went into the house.

I sat for a few moments wondering what it was the mysterious har did in there. I looked around and seeing no other hara in the vicinity, I decided to find out. The Nayati was fairly far from the neighbor’s house, located at the very end of the yard. It was shaded by some large trees and surrounded by shrubs. I crept into the bushes and tried to approach without cracking any sticks. The Nayati was an open structure, something like a gazebo, so I had to be very careful and quiet. I finally scrunched myself between a bush, which hid me from the house, and a window, which if I knelt, I figured I could probably just peek over the bottom. Holding my breath, I slowly raised up to peer inside. It was fairly dark in the Nayati, lit only by a few candles but I had a side view of the har sitting cross-legged in front of a table with the candles, some burning incense and a few deharan statues on it. He sat perfectly still. From my vantage point I couldn’t even see him breathing. Had he been sitting there like that all evening? I assumed he was meditating or communing with the dehara or whatever extremely religious hara did. My parents took Wren and I to the community Nayati fairly regularly and they’d taught us about the dehara, our Wraeththu beliefs and mythology and all of that, but we usually only stayed a half hour or so. That’s all Wren could stand without fidgeting.

I noticed the strange har was clad only in some loose trousers and he was wearing something on a cord around his neck, but I couldn’t make out what it was. Once when the candles flared up, I thought I saw a tattoo on his left shoulder blade but I couldn’t be sure. He had several scars, including one very large one on his forearm and two on his chest. I guessed the rumors about him having been in battles were true. If he really was over a hundred, he’d probably had to do a lot of fighting in the early days of unrest amongst the different tribes. As I studied him, I couldn’t help noticing that he was actually very handsome. I found myself wishing he didn’t keep so much to himself. If I had the chance to talk with him I would have so many questions to ask. Or was I just–attracted to him? I rubbed my hands over my face. What’s wrong with me?

Suddenly I heard Wren calling me.

“Willow! Willow? Where are you?”

It startled me and I stood up. I looked into the Nayati to see the har staring straight at me, his face expressionless. I was so scared that I turned to run away and fell right into a bush. I struggled to free myself and ran, stumbling over my own feet until I got to our yard. I ran to the back door and into the house. Read the rest of this entry »

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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Maelstrom and Mage, Desire Thine Darkling

Maelstrom and Mage, Desire Thine Darkling
by Thevina

Story Notes

Editor\'s PickAuthor’s Email: thevina33@gmail.com

Web page: http://www.thrihyrne.net

Pairings: Ashmael/Vaysh, Ashmael/OC

Overall Rating: NC-17

Word Count: 49,000

Spoilers: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit

Summary: Genesis. Paradise. Illumination. Exodus. Before they went to Immanion, before Thiede manipulated their destiny, before death and despair, Ashmael and Vaysh knew and loved each other. This is one way their story may have been told.

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

Author’s Notes: I fell in love with the tragedy that is Vaysh/Ashmael; the desire to write a gap-filler from Ashmael’s POV up through the point of Vaysh’s death became overwhelming, and these are the fruits of that obsession.

Sequel: Down the Whispering Well

Maelstrom and Mage,Desire Thine Darkling

Vaysh burned.

I’d watched him ride into our collective, and steered away as any sane sentient being, whether human or har, should do around open flame. He would burn and scorch; he was seared into the very marrow of this mutant blood that flowed in my veins; from sight alone my cells were branded. Of course I briefly tried to keep my distance, knowing as instinctively as a plant turns to the sun, or a drowning man clings to anything to keep him from dying in watery depths, that to get close to him would cause an elemental transfiguration.

I was stone: solid, yet porous when necessary.

But you know what happens when rock is punished by relentless heat. Lava. Liquid, destructive, transient.

Could anyone ever look back at our lives and not marvel at our exploits, our so un-refined, un-controlled, Wraeththu-anathema love for each other?

* * * * *

My first thought when the small entourage came riding in was that some har, somewhere, had made a grave error in judgment. All of us, we Wraeththu, are this mutated amalgam of the sexes, two combined into one, yet presumably not both at once. Ever the enthusiastic pioneer, however, I’d vowed to myself to try and find out, which I did, successfully.

The hara who approached wore leather of rich chestnut, designed scored into them that resembled constellations. They looked heavenly, quite easy on the eyes, but also as haughty and distant as the stars, radiant and far off. We’d known they were coming, as the one who seemed to be their leader had sent out a thought-call. Our clan head, Monarch, had replied and warily bid them approach. Wraeththu hadn’t been in existence all that long then. We were still actively hunted down though of course we fought back with deadly vengeance.

Their horses were as well fashioned and groomed as their masters. I wondered if they had some kind of occult or spiritual connection to equines. Each tribe and splinter group I’d come across or heard about appeared to have taken on its own unique personality, passion, and/or perversion. I didn’t know, philosophically, what I thought of that, as it reeked of humanity to me. We all came from different backgrounds, though, had been incepted in myriad ways with tales of bliss and horror (or both), so I supposed it made sense that each small stronghold would have a very different culture shaped by their respective leaders.

A willowy har with long hair the colour of burnished sand dismounted, his presence commanding despite his fetching, sinuous body movement. Before I had become har, I’d of course been a human male, with raging hormones that had churned and bruised me though I’d not had an outlet aside from solo release. My fantasies hadn’t involved men, back when the decaying world still boasted of its male and female polarities. I’d had a love affair of sorts with the insatiable creature between my legs, dreaming of burying it in a silken heat of some secretive, foreign darkness. A flare of my former self, the insipid human part I’d hoped had been scoured away forever, raised its regressive head when confronted with Vaysh, as I soon learned this compelling har was named.

“He’s flaming.”

The ancient slur blindsided me, some dormant, pre-har wire in my brain tripped by the sight of him. Perhaps back in the past this Vaysh had favoured his own gender, and been flamboyant about it. It wasn’t for me to ferret out of him, or care. We were Wraeththu now, beyond such banal and reductive concepts of she and he. This har evoked more of the feminine in outward display, but I soon discovered he had balls of steel. Vaysh was a sword, clothed as a sylph.

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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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