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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Just A Pretty Face

Just A Pretty Face
by Wendy Darling (Wiebke)

Story Notes

This story was written as part of a round-robin several years ago. The concept was that there was a har named Alessi circulating a blank book around Fallsend so different hara could write out their life stories and/or spill their darkest secrets into it. The project lost steam but my two segments form a complete story, so I thought I’d might as well share it. I forgot to post it to my own fanfic site.

Summary: A har at rock bottom, given up on life after abuse by Varrs, is selling his body in Fallsend when a chance encounter changes everything.

Characters: Original Characters

Ratings & Warnings: R, for adult harrish content; angst; mention of physical, sexual abuse.

Spoilers: Fulfilments… but before Cal reached Immanion and Fallsend presumedly became a nicer place.

Note: I don’t know if the kind of procedure mentioned in this story is anatomically possible, but that was what I was thinking at the time. Just suspend your disbelief 🙂

Author email: wdarling@abraxis.com

Web site: http://www.metrogirl.com/procreation/

Part 1

I have a pretty face but a pretty face can’t get you everything you want, especially if that’s all you have. Don’t think I’m saying I’m stupid, some empty-headed bauble. I’m not. I’m saying I have a pretty face. And that’s all. Everything else has been taken from me.

Originally I come from the Froia tribe, though that life is far behind me, locked in a room far away in a place I will never find again. I exist now and dreams alone are all that can really bring me back. I could never make it there now and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. I couldn’t face it. Not anymore.

Because I am Froia and people know that, they do not question my long robes with their long sleeves and hem down to my feet. They don’t question the gloves I wear on my hands or my high collar. To them I am only a strange shy creature, beaten down like many of here in Fallsend.

Other hara do not ask me questions, just as I ask none of them. Although it is painful for me that they do not know the truth, I know in my heart that the truth would be even worse.

I don’t want to face the truth, but in this book, writing for Allessi, I will do it. I am not speaking to any particular har, but to all hara, and it makes me think that for one moment I can drop away my robes and show myself for what I am – a pretty face and something more, or nothing more, depending.

If I lifted up the hem of my robe you would see it on my legs. If I pulled up my sleeves you would see it. If I untied my belt you would see it on my chest, my back, every part of me, except my face, such a pretty face.

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