Ebony and Ivory

Ebony and Ivory
by Angelo Ventura

Story Notes

Originally written Sept. 20o5.

I was waiting for somebody to do this, but… guess I have to do it myself.

Featuring: Panthera and Zack

Ebony and Ivory

My chesnari Panthera, Crown Prince of Jael, urges me to try to write a story.
Here at Ferike all hara are very learned, almost nohar is without an artistic skill, be it pictorial, poetic or musical. Panthera is a very good painter, and he urged me to try that, too. Well, my efforts were labeled “interesting and original” by my beloved. I know what those words mean. He’s the most thoughtful and gentle har I’ve ever known. An exquisite person, who doesn’t want to hurt me with a frank appraisal.

Where do I begin, then? My inception? I don’t remember it very well, some white guy called Orion (or something like that) telling us we will finally rise over stupid white men who despised us.He seemed something of a white man, but he was more than a man..He seemed to glow with an inner light. He was beautiful, kind and gentle, more than any white man I’d known before.

Unfortunately, it was not he who incepted us. He left us with our already incepted leader, who shortly succumbed in an attack led by a brute called Wraxilan and his goons. His tribe was a motley very cruel band of a cruel tribe, called the Uigenna. The juice of Gehenna, they were, apt name. Their blood infected me, I was possessed by a savage lust for blood and revenge against white men. Still, a white har caught my young fierce heart.

Ah, Cal! Fair as I’m black, savage and fierce, my soul mate…at least so I believed.. I suffered exile from the Uigenna with him, and then it was only two of us, alone against a maddened, crumbling world. Cal, my lover, my addictive, poisonous pleasure.

I wish it had been different… Read the rest of this entry »

October

October
by LoLL

Story Notes

Author Contact: loll4000 (at) gmail (dot) com

Beta: marchwarden23

Series: Wraeththu (AU, sort of)

Pairing: Panthera/Caeru

Rating: NC17

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Wraeththu Universe and its characters belong to Storm Constantine.

Inspiration:
– Autumn, my favourite season
– U2’s struggling “October”
– Peter Greenaway’s movie “The Pillow’s Book”
– Edgar Allan Poe’s beautiful poem “Annabel Lee”

October

October
And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care

October
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on

And on

U2 – October 1981

He had never belonged there. Never. Not when Cal was just a ghost hanging over his heads, even less now that he was back in all his flamboyant and carnal essence, throwing tantrums and whispering alluring images of a perfect threesome.

Not that he had ever fed himself some sort of illusion, but it had been nice, at the beginning.
But now, now that Pell had accepted to host Cal’s pearl, they had cut him out. Completely.
So he had begun to travel. Representation trips, they called it. Keep Rue away, he had secretly renamed them, but yet, he had obliged without a single complaint.

He was the Tigrina and nobody, especially his two so-called consorts, would have rejoiced at his discomfort.

In the last month he had visited more tribes and met more rulers than he thought possible: first Megalithica, with a brief stop in Galhea, then around to the Kakkahaar’s camps and then back to Jaddayoth, visiting the Natawni, the Kamagrian of Roselane, the Emunah’s markets, the Maudrah and his Archon, the Gimrah and now, the Ferike.

Compared to some utterly uncivilized and rough tribes, the Ferike and, in specific, their leader Ferminfex Jael and his enchanting consort Lahela were a regenerating and refined company. So he decided to extend his stay for a little longer, enjoying the relaxing ambience of the palace, the music, the art and the good wine.

It was the incoming of autumn, not his favourite season at all. He loved the sun, the warmth and the scent of the sea. Summers in Ferilithia where cherished and valued memories he still clung to desperately, especially during some bad days.

But this first October’s sunset was breathtaking. From the huge window facing the garden he could see the explosion of reds, infinite reds, dark like a stormy sky or bright like droplets of fresh blood, stained in yellow, or green, or orange, or purple. Hundreds and hundreds of leaves dancing all around in the orange light of the twilight, carried by the wind, tore apart from the trees that only few days ago had nourished them in proud luxuriance.

A sudden wave of melancholy enveloped him like a possessive embrace. Longing…and not just of summer in Ferilithia.

And suddenly he was crying. Not a dignified silent weep, but shattering sobs, that made him hiccup and cough.

It was in this pitiful state that Panthera, Ferminfex and Lahela’s son, found him.

“Missing home already?” he asked, throwing himself over a sofa just in front of him.

Rue shook his head, sniffing hard, and wiped his puffy eyes, hoping that the ground would open under his feet, swallowing him away from the irreverent and persistent stare of the young Ferike.

“No, it’s just…” He opened his arm and moved it, embracing the landscape behind the window, as if that explained everything.

The puzzled expression in Panthera’s eyes told him that, probably, the Ferike thought him insane, at best.

“They don’t deserve you.” Muttered the black haired har, and then “May I paint you?”

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Of Fire and Ice

Of Fire And Ice
by Mischa

Foreword

In the far north, the wind never ceases to blow. In winter it howls down from the mountains, a blinding blast of certain death. In summer, it dances deceptively across the plains of waving grass, spins and dips through the valleys of habitation, carrying with it the spore of death from the Wastelands. The inhabitants of the north are hardy folk. They need to be.

But the Wastelands is also the birthplace of the people. Long before the Sons of the Morning came to this harsh land to show the people the True Light, they had danced at the Citadel to celebrate their creation.

Now they knew the Truth. That they were gajin, white devils, and not truly people at all. Even so, some of the customs of those times remained. When their duties to their Masters and Mistresses were discharged, the campfires lit and the tasks of the day completed, they would gather and tell the stories of the beginning time. Of the days when the first of their people, the Pareah, had crawled from the pits of fire and come to live on the land with their tents and their horses.

For many years they had wandered, until the Gracious Day of Salvation when the Sons had come to Teach and they had seen the Truth with their own eyes. For the Sons and Daughters were divided into two as should be, while they themselves were incomplete, neither one thing or the other. The True God had made man and woman with his own hands, and, crushing together what was left, melding it into a ball of dirty clay, had discarded it over his left shoulder, where it had fallen into the pit and emerged as Pareah, the servants of the Sons.

They knew this was Truth. Every living thing had another. Horses had mares, dogs mounted bitches in the welcome warmth of the spring, even some plants had male and female of their own species. Except the Pareah. Gajin. White Devils. Man and woman combined, birthing eggs as reptiles did, raising young that grew as fast as beasts.

The Masters had tools and knowledge and learning which they would share with the Pareah, if only they would serve. And so they had, and the Masters protected them from the deadly dust, from their own ignorance, from the crazed wanderers who sometimes still staggered in from the Barrens, mouthing blasphemies in strange languages. These strangers were taken away by the Masters so that their ranting did not frighten the very young. The Masters promised to heal these poor souls, sending them back into the Wasteland so that the bright sun might bake their brains sane. It was a comfort to be protected and the Pareah were grateful, doing their utmost to live as the Masters demanded.

But some old customs remained.

Chapter One

Summer: ai-cara 37

Lucien cut around the side of the tent, avoiding the main encampment. The dust oozed up between his bare toes, his hair, refusing as always to be confined to its proper braid, flicked across his face as he ducked under a tent pole.

At the rear of the rows he stopped, looking up and down the back street, in search of Fawn. Usually, Fawn avoided his chores by hiding here, away from the adults stern gaze and propensity for finding work for idle boys. But he was no where to be seen. Disappointed, Lucien squatted down on his heels, resting his back against a water cask.

Today of all days, when he had such momentous news to share with his best friend, he was missing and Lucien had no idea where he could be. He’d searched everywhere he could think of.

Lucien tried to still his rapid heartbeat by taking deep cleansing breaths as his teacher had instructed. But this was too important for calmness. His Change was coming!

Ever since Spring he had felt the eyes of his parents upon him, studying his look and temper, searching for the telltale signs. Janin had even spoken briefly on the forbidden subject, one night as he lay in his bedroll, eyes already drooping shut.

You must tell me when you feel it come, Lucien. It is very important that you do.”

Janin’s kohled eyes had stared down at him fondly, the parent who had borne him, the one to whom he was most attached. Lucien never called Janin his ‘mother’ as the Sons said he should. He refused to even think of Janin that way; both his parents were the same! Lucien kept these traitorous thoughts strictly to himself. He did not want to end up having his brains baked sane on the Barrens in correction!

But he hated it all the same. All of it. The long ‘dresses’ the ‘females’ were made to wear, the codes of conduct that said he must call Janin mother and Aren, father. The laws that forbid Janin to appear in public with hair uncovered or to speak directly to a Master. How could his hostling stand to be so constricted!?

Why should the Pareah aspire to be the same as the Sons? Why did they try so hard, neglecting the old ways of the People?

Lucien drew his finger through the dust. Almost a man, he thought. The Change has come. The Corruption, he corrected himself, forcing the horrid word the Sons used into his fevered brain. I am becoming Corrupt. Imperfect.

Born almost perfect, despite the shell and the disfigured symbol of maleness, the Pareah grew more impure each year until the Corruption came and stained them irrevocably. Only through prayer and obedience could they ever hope to cast out the devil inside them and return to the proper state of Grace. This is what the preacher taught, the Truth that Lucien found so hard to believe in. Especially since last summer.

A yell from down the dusty road broke into his thoughts, scattering them. Fawn came pelting down the street toward him, his russet hair flying behind him like a tent pole flag. Lucien rose and went to meet him, a broad smile creasing his delicate features, remolding his solemn expression into something more boy like. Skidding to a halt beside him, Fawn rested his hands on his knees and bent over to catch his breath.

“Where’ve you been?” Lucien asked impatient of Fawn’s exertions. “I’ve been looking and looking. Master Lui almost caught me.

“I was. . . ” Fawn gasped out, “watching Hanna birth her new foal. Forgot the lesson altogether.”

“You’re gonna get it.” Lucien warned him. “Master Lui noticed you weren’t at class.”

“Don’t care.” Fawn grinned up at his friend cheekily. “I’m gonna Change soon. No more class. Just horses.”

Lucien looked about to make sure they weren’t overheard. “That’s what I wanted to tell you, Fawn.” He dropped his voice to a whisper, “My Change has started.”

“What!” Fawn yelped, his voice rising and falling. He fought to match Lucien’s tone, “Are you sure?”

Lucien nodded. “Night sweats. Shivering all of a sudden. Janin hasn’t noticed yet. I’ve been careful. But he’s gonna. And then I’ll have to go.”

“Aww.” Fawn kicked the dust, raising a small cloud that soon dissipated in the rising breeze. “I was hoping I’d be first, dammit!” He looked toward the mountains, visible over the top of the furthest tent. “We’d better get inside. Wind’s changing. My lodge is empty, Caleb is still down at the pens.”

They went to Fawn’s lodge, weaving across the irregular line of tents, so placed as to cut the afternoon winds and protect the communal area in the center of the tribal circle. The lodge was indeed empty and the two boys made themselves comfortable on the skins with a small bottle of watered cordial between them.

“So,” Fawn burped, swigging from the bottle and handing it across. “Where are you gonna go?”

Lucien lowered his voice again, unwilling to take any chances on passers-by with big ears. “South.” he whispered.

The astonished look on Fawn’s face said more than his clabbering mouth could in that moment. “Are. . . are you still going on about that?! You can’t go South! There’s nothing South except the Barrens and more Barrens. You’ll die for sure!”

Fawn knew, as all the elder boys did, that the expulsion from camp while the Corruption was upon them and the subsequent ‘romin’ they were required by tradition to undertake, were mere formalities. No one did a true romin anymore. Most went further North and visited secretly with relatives and friends in the alpine camps. Other, more adventurous souls went West and East, picking out the artifact they were required to bring back as proof of their travels from the carts of traders who used the trade roads in those regions. No one actually went! And no one ever, ever went South!

“I won’t.” Lucien declared, perhaps with a little more bravado than he felt. “The Barrens do end, they must. Else, where do the strangers come from, eh?”

Fawn favored him with a long, pitying look. “We talked about this last summer, Lucien. You know as well as I do where they come from, don’t be a fool! They’re ghost devils from the Citadel come to lead us away from the True Path! They’re not real.”

“They are real! I know they are!”

Fawn shook his head in mock sadness for his friend’s folly, snatching back the cordial and taking another long swig. Lucien knew his friend was only teasing, well, half teasing anyway, but still it hurt not to be believed.

“It’s all about that devil you met last summer, isn’t it. He fooled you, Lucien. When are you going to wake up? ”

Lucien stood abruptly. “Well, if you’re going to be like that about it, I might as well go home. Tell Janin and get this ‘ceremony’ underway. I don’t care what you say, Fawn. I’m going South and nothing you can say is going to stop me.”

He made for the entrance, stopping and turning as a thought occurred to him. Fawn sat where he had left him, his mouth opening and closing as he looked for words that he could not find.

“Remember your promise, Fawn.” Lucien warned him. “You swore not to tell.”

“But. . . but. . . I thought you were joking. Nobody goes South!”

Lucien shrugged. “I shall. And you promised, under blood bond, to keep it to yourself.”

Gathering the shreds of his dignity, Lucien left the tent before Fawn could respond. It hurt him to think that Fawn had not taken him seriously. He was determined to go South, to find the Citadel and the answers he needed to the questions that had been fermenting in his mind since his encounter last summer with the wanderer, the Wayhu .

I will find my ancestors, he told himself as he walked slowly back to his tent to tell Janin. I will find them and question them about the old ways. Find out if the Truth the Sons teach is the real Truth, or if there is another, like the Wayhu man said.

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