Swooping to Landward

Editor's PickSwooping to Landward
by Thevina

Story Notes

Title: Swooping to Landward (from “Tristan and Iseult” by Matthew Arnold)

Pairing: Chithra/Lemuel (OCs)

Rating: adult/rooning

Word Count: 13,800

Warnings/Alerts: double penetration

Beta: Elfscribe. With this story in particular I’m indebted for her astute observations and recommendations. Thank you for your guidance so it became a more impassioned story.
Disclaimer: Were it not for Storm Constantine and her creation of the harish world, this wouldn’t exist and I’d be the poorer all around. I’m grateful to continue to play in the Wraeththu sandbox.

Summary: Opposites attract because they are not really opposites, but complementaries. (Sydney J. Harris) When a trio of Colurastes spend a few days in Orense, one particular Froia finds his life forever changed.

A/N: First and foremost, this is a gift for Rainwish, who was such an affirming anchor for me during this past spring and early summer when my life seemed to be imploding and/or exploding around me. I said I wanted to write something for her as a way of saying thanks, and she asked for a fic about the potential interaction between a Froia har (I began calling them Froian as plural) and a Colurastes. This is for you, my dear heart.

Lemuel, his hostling and father, and Cloudblaze are OCs who came to life in “Maelstrom and Mage, Desire Thine Darkling,” as did the location of Castlegar; they’re all in this story. If you’ve read that story, it will give this one a bit more depth, but it’s not necessary. This is set sometime in the Ai-cara 30s, I suppose.

I created several words in Froian vocabulary since it’s from a Froian’s POV. When Swift, Cal and Leef visit, mention is made to instruments and robes and the like, but without particular vocabulary. I’ll list them here so as not to be confused with Storm’s marvelous canon, though in fanon, especially Wraeththu, sometimes new characters and concepts do become part of the extended canon!

  • oulla= Froian traditional robes
  • barbol= a lute-like instrument (not included in canon, but I thought they’d go well with the flutes and drums)
  • surist= one of the musicians in the Braga’s court who plays for the theruna [and while we’re here, I created an additional theruna OC, and decided the plural is ‘therunans’]
  • nedbriar= outsider, non-Froian

Swooping to Landward

Rexines strummed and plucked at his barbol while I waited to hear a familiar tune. As the lilting, sinuous melody rose like incense smoke, I realized this was something new he’d been crafting. Given its sensuality, the modulations slithering one to another in a provocative series of quiet, daring combinations, I was certain that it would get transcribed and given to one of the surists. Still, it was just the two of us in this moment, both infected with the spirit of impromptu. I crooned a melody without words and let my body hold sway as I told a tale of aruna taken at dawn, a gold anklet given in affection. When Rexines brought the song to its close I ran my fingers through my hair, easing my hood back over my head and wiping at the beads of sweat that had formed at my temples.

“That was inspired,” Rexines said, taking a cloth to rub down the strings on his barbol.

“I could say the same,” I retorted, pouring us each a cup of sweet wine from a nearby jug. “Pity neither you nor I will ever actually get to perform anything like that.”

He looked over at me, one dark eyebrow raised. “And why do you say that?”

I fidgeted with one of my bracelets. “Because it’s too good. If you play it for Hephas, he’ll fall in love with it and only the therunans will get to dance to it. You know I’m right,” I said, strangely irritable given the joy I’d felt in our unchoreographed duet.

All at once the reed-door was pulled open and one of the young hara from the Braga’s court stood silhouetted in the mellow sun of mid-afternoon.

“There are some foreign hara near the southward docks,” he said excitedly. “The Braga sensed them three days ago, and he’d like for you two to go and bring them in. They seem to have much to trade, and are of a tribe he’s never seen before.”

I glanced at Rexines, trying to cover my disquiet. As Froia, we did have our share of hara from varying tribes — or hara without tribes — who wished for our assistance to navigate the swamps of our home. We’d not had visitors for a while, however, and my curiosity soon overcame my unease.

“Chithra, do you need to make any preparations?” Rexines asked me as he stood, putting his instrument in its handcrafted case.

“No. Well, I should get some water for the travel jug.”

The young har appeared to be satisfied with our response and he gave me a wide grin. “You’ll bring them directly to the court, of course,” he enthused. I didn’t doubt that the fact that it was an unknown tribe made him giddy with anticipation. Our people don’t interact with other Wraeththu all that often, so novelty of this type was exceedingly rare.

“Yes, we do know protocol well, Lunul.”

I noted the edge of irritation in Rexines’ voice, but the youthful court-har only made a gesture of thanks and closed the reed-door again. Rexines let out a sigh, adjusting his robes with the elegant fingers that could produce such evocative music from his instrument.

“You really don’t mind?” I said as I padded over to him.

“No,” he admitted, welcoming my lips to his with a low murmur of pleasure.

We shared breath for a short time, a token gift of flesh to accompany the gift of artistry. He was a not-infrequent rooning partner of mine, but neither of us felt drawn to become chesna. As we headed to the raft, I pondered that in silence.
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A New Life

A New Life
by Orleans

Story Notes

Characters: Ulaume, Lianvis

Rating: NC17

Beta: Steph, thank you.

Summary: My first attempt in this fandom. Ulaume’s life changed when he started his new life with the tribe of the Kakkahar.

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the characters; they all belong to Storm Constantine. No money is made.

A New Life

I was getting tired and all I wanted to do was lying down and sleep. For how long I had been waiting inside this pompous tent since my arrival I really had no idea. Not that I particularly cared, I just wanted to finally rest.

It was too hot for my liking, since it was barely past midday and the sun was directly at the zenith. I felt terribly sticky and the dried blood on my wrists and ankles made me want to scratch the skin from the bones there.

All I wanted – beside some sleep- was a nice bath to get rid off the dirt. That was indeed the worst thing of all, when I thought about it. I hated to be dirty like this! Dust, sand, blood and sweat covered me like a second skin; I couldn’t stand the smell of myself.

After some unknown hara of this new tribe had pulled the blindfold away, unceremoniously lead me into this tent and told me to sit down no one had bothered about me. I just had caught a glimpse at a tall, golden haired hara who was sitting in front of the tent with the leader of my ‘keepers’. That was all.

I was thirsty as hell too, licking my dry lips, I hoped that someone would think of giving me something to drink after the long journey I had behind me, but no.

No one entered the tent for a long time and I simply couldn’t make myself get up and look through the wooden cupboard nearby. And that was the famous hospitality of the notorious Kakkahaar? If so, then the stories were terribly exaggerated.

From time to time I heard soft murmurs coming somewhere from the left, where the entrance of this tent had to be. Words drifted through the fabrics, words I didn’t really understand. Only now and then I recognized the voices. The delegation of the Colurastes, ‘my’ tribe, I thought sourly, was obviously still trying to sell my hide. Perhaps the leader of this camp had no interest at all to buy me? Would be funny to see what they’d do then.

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Advent Treasures

Adventure Treasures
by Deathangelgw

Story Notes

Every year, I do ficlets for Advent up until and including Christmas. To me, they are a symbol of the best things and the not so great things for Christmas. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine. All of them are owned by Storm baby… Wah!

Rating: G/PG for innuendo

Timeline: HA! Who needs a timeline!

Warnings: AU, fluff, sap.

Part 1: Peppermint and Cocoa

The very soft sounds of humming floated through the halls of the Tigrons’ home as Caeru made his way towards the balcony with a cup of steaming cocoa that had an old fashioned candy cane in it. He grinned as he went out onto the balcony and tugged his cloak around him tighter against the cold wind that was blowing up with the snow that was falling softly to the ground. It wasn’t often that they’d get snow, but when it did, it was a sight to behold. The snow would glitter with the lights from the active city and would becoming almost like trimming on the bodies and hair of most of the hara that were wandering around the city, whether on errands or in search of enjoyment.

But for the Tigrina, it was a time to just watch the world change into a blank slate, wiped clean and white with each new flake that floated down from the overcast sky. In many ways, he found it heartening to know that even nature had a way of making things new. Whenever it began to snow for the first time, or actually at any time, he would wrap himself in his warmest cloaks and come out onto the balcony with a cup of traditional hot cocoa and a candy cane in it and would watch the snow fall. He was never cold for his thoughts and the cloak along with the drink would keep him toasty warm.

But this time, his ponderings were broken as his son peered out onto the balcony before coming out. “Caeru? What are you doing here?” he asked his hostling as he rubbed his hands on his arms in a weak attempt to warm up.

“Watching the snow fall. Care to join me?” Caeru answered with a grin as he patted the seat next to him on the wrought iron bench that he was lounging on. The cushion he patted was fairly hard, but it dipped a little in response to the patting.

Hustling over, Darquiel sat next to his hostling and grinned when Caeru opened the cloak he was wearing to share it with him. He leaned his head against Caeru’s shoulder as the cloak was tightened around them both and sighed happily. He felt so warm against his hostling as that hole in his heart was filled once more with the scent and feel of his hostling holding him close. “So, why are you watching the snow fall?” he whispered through his slightly chattering teeth and grinned when Caeru offered him some of his drink. “What’s this?”

“Hot cocoa with a candy cane. It’ll warm ya a bit,” Caeru explained with a chuckle before placing a kiss on his son’s head. “And I’m watching the snow fall because it’s peaceful,” he added in answer to the previous question.

“Yea I guess, but it’s cold too,” Darquiel pointed out and smiled when Caeru laughed. He didn’t hear Caeru laugh often enough he felt.

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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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Earthbound

Earthbound
by Kehryal

Story Notes

Title: Earthbound
Series: From Afar
Chapters: 9
Spoilers: First trilogy ending, glimpses of Shades
Date Posted: November 2004

Author: Kehryal
Contact: clefdecristal@yahoo.fr or crystalkey@gmail.com
Web site: http://andreso.free.fr/InnerRealm/yaoi_e.html

Disclaimer: Wraeththu and all characters, etc, associated with it belong to the wonderful Storm Constantine.

Credits: Well, a huge thank you to Storm Constantine for creating the Wraeththu books and for being generous enough to allow her fans to play in her world.

Earthbound

Part 1: The family

Miho liked to walked at dusk almost alone in the streets that were losing their colors to the night. Street lamps were being lit one by one by the guards ; they were still to be repaired, all broken down by the Shaking, like trees flatten by a great blow. That was weeks ago. But this was only the farthest outskirt of the great Immanion, and building up was done little by little. Miho had heard from some gossips that the center was almost back to normal now, back to its usual bustling life, be it day or night. It was like another planet entirely and one he was not so eager to discover.

As he went in view of the guards barracks, he turned to walk back home. He was wary of those hara, whose eyes always seemed to follow his every move each time he passed, boring holes of fire on his back. He still dreaded they’d come after him and try to beat him down or “play with” him… “You’re an adult now,” he chided himself… but memories were hard to let go.

He then decided to take the most direct way : it was later than he had thought and he didn’t want his father to worry. And little Ritsua. He quickened his pace. Ritsua would be crying by now, he was sure, wanting his bedtime tale. He wouldn’t go to bed without being told about the wondrous creatures his big bother would conjure up for him.

As he neared his destination, Miho noticed there were no light at the windows, no sign of life ; old terrors arose, gripping his stomach. He ran inside.

“Father?” he called. “Ritsua?”

He rushed through the courtyard, at the back of the house, and beyond, to his father workshop. Yes! There was light in there. He stopped to catch his breath – it was so easy now, fear has gone back, deep inside. Suddenly, the door opened and a cheerful little hara threw himself in his arms.

“Miho, I knew it was you!”

“It’s late, why are you here? Have you eaten?”

“Yes, Father gave me some cake.”

“Sssh, it’s ‘Solien’ for you, not ‘Father,’ you know that. Do you want the others hearing you and mocking you?”

“But…”

“No buts, we already talked about that. Now come back to the house, I’ll give something else to eat and then I’ll tell you what happened to the Shining Prince after he got lost in the Dark Forest.”

The face of the child lightened up at the last words and he ran across the courtyard to the house. Miho stepped into his father’s place; it was a little untidy, which was unusual. His father was looking at him with an apologizing smile.

“He was watching me. He got hypnotized somewhat.”

“No wonder,” Miho answered, smiling back.

He understood only too well his brother’s fascination, as he himself had spent hours, back then, watching his father molding vases and urns from the raw clay.

“Do you want something to eat too? I believe the cake you gave Ritsua is what I prepared for your lunch.”

“I was stuck with this merchant’s order, I didn’t feel like eating,” his father explained. “So when I was finally done, I had to do something to calm down. Ritsua showed up and … well, you know how it is.”

“You must eat properly.” Miho said, sweeping the scrubs from the table near the window. “What if Leeruan were to lose interest in you? He could take Ritsua from us and have us thrown away from Immanion.”

“You’re too harsh with him. Leeruan is a kind har. He knows Ritsua loves us and he would never inflict the trauma of such a separation to his son. And he’s genuinely fond of me too, it’s not only because of my looks.”

“If you speak so well of him, why don’t you accept his offer then?” Miho asked with anger. “Let’s move to his palace! Throw the past away like all those well-thinking hara.”

His father sighed and looked up at him with pained eyes. Miho turned away. He could not bare to see this sadness unveiled, though he had been the one to trigger it out.

“Is it really what you want? You’ve always been against it. You were the one who actually came up with the best reasons when I couldn’t find any. Leeruan respects you because of that.”

There was a silence. Miho hated it. He wondered why he had to speak about Leeruan.

“Do you really love this har?,” Miho asked finally. “Have you let go of Mother?”

His father’s hand went to the pendant hidden under his shirt. He stood up and smiled.

“Let’s go back to the house. Ritsua must be fretting by now.”

Miho had known it would be his only answer.

***

As if summoned by the previous evening conversation, Leeruan har Yseldis showed up in the morning, loaded with gifts. Ritsua was hiding behind Miho, always so self-conscious in the presence of his father, always yearning to go to him also, Miho knew. Leeruan was a sparkling entity, the typical god-sent angel of the Gelaming. He put down his parcels and took shamelessly Solien in his arms, lips locked in the sharing of breath.

His long pale hair upon Solien dark hair. Heaven and Earth. Embracing.

Miho shook himself. He turned to his brother and said with a loud voice.

“Don’t look, Ritsua, those are ill-mannered adults who can’t remember where they are.”

Leeruan let go and laughed. Solien smiled and stepped back. Then, the Gelaming opened his arms to Ritsua who cried with delight et ran to him. Miho knew he should rejoice Ritsua had such a powerful father, who could protect him, just by being what he was. He knew deep inside he would always be a little envious of his brother. How himself had needed this kind of protection when they had come to Immanion for the first time…

Leeruan had brought wonderful presents, clothes and jewels, but the most important for Solien was the authorization to travel to Megalithica. It was still a hazardous country, despite all the efforts of the Gelaming in sorting it out, and common hara were strongly dissuaded from traveling there. Solien wanted to go and find the special clay he had once found, a long long time ago. Leeruan and he had had heated arguments about it, and Solien had been in lots of places of Almagabra, just to prove his lover there weren’t such a clay on this continent. Leeruan suspected Solien wanted to escape far from the Gelaming. He told so to Miho once : it was before the Shaking, the two “children” had been invited to Selanium, his domain, not far from Phaonica, the imperial palace.

“I know your father only followed us for your sake.” Leeruan had said. “Do you remember? You were too young for your father’s tribe to incept you and too old for the Colurastes.”

“I don’t know of these things,” he had replied with cold anger. “You don’t either, you weren’t there. We left the tribe, we sought the Colurastes, we traveled a lot for us to find the right place.”

“It’s here the right place. You were incepted by the Gelaming, you are Gelaming.”

“I’m not, you all make it clear to me everyday!”

“That’s not true.”

“You only did it to win my father over!”

“And you are feeling guilty about that?” His voice had been so sly, it had sent shivers down his spine.

“You say you love my father. You know he’s not happy here, so why don’t you let him go?”

Leeruan had sighed through his nose, leaning back in the plump couch.

“I know a lot about you, your family, a lot more than Solien would want me to know. But I’m not Nahir-Nuri for nothing, although my mentors would certainly be affronted to know I could say I love somehar without a second thought.”

He had chuckled idiotically. Miho too had wondered how somehar like this could be Nahir-Nuri.

“Anyway, I know Solien is still cherishing the memory of his lost wife, back from his human life. He keeps her alive even in you, it seems.”

“I’m not ashamed of my past,” he had said haughtily, “I love my mother. Two blasphemies for you, Gelaming, love and mother.”

“You know so little, young one,” Leeruan said wistfully, looking up at the ceiling. “The Shining Prince weeps inside too.”

At this time, Miho knew very little indeed and hadn’t been able to understand all the things this simple sentence was referring to.

***

However, Leeruan had finally given up to his lover’s request. Solien was staring at the paper with shining eyes. Too shining?

“I made arrangements for us to travel with Sedim. This way it’ll be faster and safer.”

Solien’s face jerked up with a start. Miho realized Leeruan might have been right about his father’s real intentions.

“And Miho and Ritsua will be living at Selanium for the duration of our travel, my hara will take care of them.”

Miho had gone cold. Deep, deeper in the beast’s den!

“Ritsua will have more harlings to play with and you can’t deny his education will be better. And frankly Miho could make with more friends.”

Solien had a stricken face.

“I thought… I would be traveling with the children… show them the land…”

“Now… I hadn’t thought you wanted it that way.” Leeruan lied, his face rigid, a cold smile on his lips. “Maybe we could discuss that privately.”

He put his arm around his companion’s shoulders and lead him towards his bedroom. When the door closed, Ritsua made a distressed sound and turned to his brother, his eyes shining with unshed tears.

“Is Father sad?” He always had a different way of telling “Father,” be it Solien or Leeruan.

“Solien will be all right.” Miho sighed. “Let’s go buy fruits to make a cake for your Father.”

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