Beautiful Things

BEAUTIFUL THINGS
by Amanda Kear

 

Characters: Thiede, OCs
Word Count: 4830
Rating: U
Spoilers: none
Summary: An old man discovers that he has skills that Thiede wants to make use of.

 

Old Mr Murthy was toiling back to his home with a load of firewood, when the Wraeththu came. One moment he was alone in the ruined street, wondering if his neighbour Santosh might have spare eggs to trade. The next the sky split open with a crack and the street was full of armed hara on huge white horses.

 

The old man cried out with fright, certain that he was about to die under pounding hooves or in a hail of bullets. The community of humans that lived here had thought that their crumbling quarter of the town was of no interest to the Wraeththu. Apparently they had been wrong.

 

But guns did not fire, nor horses charge. Most of the riders took up positions looking outwards from where the trembling Mr Murthy stood; warriors alert to threats that were more distant and dangerous than one old man with a basket of firewood on his back. One of the riders dismounted and strode up to him.

 

“You are Rhaghavendra Mahesh Murthy?” It was less a question than a statement, spoken in American accented English. The Wraeththu was unnaturally tall, with the pale skin of a European and hair of such a vibrant red-gold hue that it surely must be dyed. His – her? – clothes were neat and clean, a dazzling white in the sun.

 

Mr Murthy gave a mute nod. This apparition knew his name?

 

“I am Thiede. Which house is yours? It will be more pleasant to talk out of the sun, hmm?”

 

This flame-haired Wraeththu had materialised from nowhere and wanted to talk to him? Was he dreaming? Was this a hallucination brought on by a stroke?

 

The apparition looked at him expectantly. Mr Murthy hesitantly pointed further up the hill, to the tumbledown apartment building where he and his neighbours lived. Horses wheeled and riders pounded in that direction. He trembled. What had he just unleashed on his neighbours?

 

The one called Thiede walked towards the building, the white horse ambling along in his wake. Mr Murthy paused, wondering whether he should run…? Then wondering where on Earth he could run to, to escape horses that materialised out of thin air?

 

Talk. The red-haired one had said talk. If he was lying, at least he’d die in his own home. Mr Murthy trudged wearily up the hill in Thiede’s wake.

 

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Over The Hills And A Great Way Off

Title: Over The Hills And A Great Way Off
Author: Camile_Sinensis
Author’s email: teapot@doramail.com
Website: http://red-shellac.livejournal.com/
Characters: Starring Caeru, Cal, Pellaz, and a noisy and intrusive Original Character. Supporting roles by Tharmifex, Ashmael, Velaxis and other members of the Hegemony, plus An Innkeeper of Kyme and Various Other Hara Of That Town.
Spoilers: The story takes place just after the end of “Shades”, so the gentle reader is assumed to have a working knowledge of all the shit that has gone down up until then.

Over The Hills And A Great Way Off

“I lost somebody once, I know how it is…” – Caeru Meveny, “The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit”

Chapter 1

“I assure you, Tiahaar, the package is on board. I myself saw to its loading, and I have been keeping a close eye on it throughout the journey. A very close eye indeed! It will be found any minute now, I’m sure. There is absolutely no need to worry.”

The Captain forced a weak smile, which was obviously intended to reassure Ashmael, but which had precisely the opposite effect. A long and interesting career in both the Gelaming army and as a member of the Hegemony had led Ashmael to the conviction that any announcement regarding the lack of need for worry was an indication that worry was almost certainly exactly what was called for.

Ashmael gave a dissatisfied grunt, which the Captain took as permission to leave, and he hurried back to his ship, the Despina, which was currently moored at the harbour edge, tight ropes wrapped around stanchions holding her firm against the stone sides, while her white sails were neatly furled and stowed in the masts above. Her crew were currently swarming over and beneath the decks, like so many busy ants, searching for the missing cargo. The Captain shouted some choice insults at them as he approached, with the presumed intention of motivating them to increase their efforts, although Ashmael found himself wondering exactly how casting aspersions upon the dimensions of a har’s male aspect would spur him on to greater things.

The Captain and his crew were, of course, not Gelaming. No Gelaming would resort to such base and unproductive methods. If the Despina and her crew were Gelaming, their best efforts would be assured by their own desire to elevate their personal spirituality and work for the common good of the city of Immanion and the entire Gelaming tribe. It was a wonder, Ashmael occasionally thought, that any of these object examples of selfless virtue ever stooped to anything so coarse as actually being paid.

He realised that there was nothing for it but to wait until the ship’s crew located what he had come for. The ship was a good-sized vessel, but not so large that searching it would take forever. He sighed heavily and sat down upon a capstan, pushing his hair out of his eyes and squinting at the ship, as if staring at it would speed up the process.

It was a beautiful morning, although beautiful mornings were entirely commonplace in Immanion, so this one did not announce itself as being in any way outstanding, rather it stood modestly in line with all its predecessors and contributed to the general air of loveliness in and around the city in a manner that was somehow self-effacing yet inviting of open-mouthed admiration. It was a very Gelaming morning.

The only unusual thing about the morning was its short-lived duration. It had not been morning for any great length of time and the air still carried the coolness bequeathed to it by the recently-departed night, although that would change as the sun rose higher over the hills surrounding the city to the landward side. The city itself had not yet fully awoken from its slumber; shops and stalls and businesses still awaited their proprietors and customers; sleepy hara were still rising from their beds, or not, depending upon temperament and an unusual peace lay over the harbour, normally a busy, bustling area during the daytime, full of comings and goings and noise and activity.
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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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Ring out The Old, Ring in The New

Ring out The Old, Ring in The New
by Heartofoshun
(Heartofoshun@aol.com)

Pairing: All about Swift, Seel, Cal and Pell (in a foursome)
Words: 27,431
Rating: R
Summary: I began writing this Wraeththu fanfic story as my Christmas present to myself. It reflects self-indulgent time spent with some of my favorite characters, an AU resolution of an aspect of the original story that is unlikely to ever be covered in canon, and a nod to possible festivities and traditions of the winter holidays.

Ring out The Old, Ring in The New
(A Story of One Winter Solstice in Immanion)

Prologue

Almost any harling can tell you the tales of the four of us. Our love stories are the stuff from which Wraeththu legends have been constructed. People cherish the story of how the Tigrons had been separated for decades and yet each held the other in his heart until they found one another again. Cal’s journey from Megalithica to Almagabra, from murderer to beloved, finally restored to their adored Tigron Pellaz’s arms, has titillated and fascinated hara since the first rumors of it. The narrative of Calanthe’s quest for enlightenment rivals those of the ancient legends of humankind with its colorful supporting cast, the details of its twists and turns, tragedy, passion, exotic locations, and his unquenchable love for Pell.

Many even know the story of Seel and me, of how a wise and beautiful Gelaming intellectual, know for his reason and sound judgment, fell madly, inexplicably in love with young Swift, a rash, handsome, inexperienced Varrish prince. Together this oddly matched pair created by means of an amazingly potent Grissecon the magic elixir that would bring down the defenses of Fulminir and stop the bloodthirsty Ponclast in his tracks.

Fewer knew that Seel and Cal had been lovers even before they were incepted and remained chesna for some short time afterwards. Their early attachment had survived Cal choosing to stay with the Uigenna and Seel leaving him to join the Unneah. It even endured Cal taking another chesnari, the wild and dangerous Zack, and then turning up a short while later, no longer with Zack, but completely besotted by Pell. What their affection had not had not been able to survive had been that Cal, mad with grief and paranoia at the death of his beloved Pellaz, had blamed his friend and Seel’s mentor Orien and brutally murdered him.

By the time of that winter solstice, Seel and Cal had outwardly accepted one another for years. Yet they still watched each other with wary hawk eyes, afraid of discovering disapproval or mistrust lurking under a veneer of tolerance. Those who loved either or both of them knew that the continued estrangement was unnatural and ought to have ended years earlier. Other hara had long ago forgiven and pushed aside far worse crimes and betrayals dating back to those early days of cataclysmic upheaval. After Cal had passed through the crucible of suffering that burned away his anger and his guilt, after he discovered that Pell lived again, re-born and re-made, he would have welcomed reconciliation with Seel. It was Seel who could not let go of the past.

I had not the vaguest idea of how to break the deadlock. Seel refused to acknowledge the unbreakable ties of their ancient bond. Their festering lesions scarred over, leaving a dull constant aching. I understood that those wounds must be excised, cauterized, and salved in order for either of them to become completely whole.

Pell and Cal, occasionally accompanied by Rue, traveled to Forever from time to time. Cal adored Forever, the closest thing he had to a home in his life before reuniting with Pell in Immanion. Yet the effort Cal exerted to avoid a confrontation with Seel and not to impose upon him, made their sojourns tense. Only rarely, I think, did Cal completely relax during those visits to Galhea. Perhaps he almost did when he and I took long horseback rides together. As much as I loved Cal, I felt no guilt for bringing Seel there. Seel was my heart and my soul mate. But the few times at Forever when I saw Cal’s eyes light up with mischief, or heard him laugh, I could not but think it should always be that way and not only when he was safely out of Seel’s sight.

Sometimes Cal would tease me the way he had in my youth or call me “pretty Swiftling” and I would remember all that he had done for Forever, everything he meant to Cobweb and me. I suppose that the long afternoons that Cal spent tucked away with Cobweb and Snake, the three of them chatting over endless cups of tea or sheh, were a respite for him as well. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I wished Forever could be a refuge from the politics and protocol of Immanion for Cal. Cobweb’s irruptions of irritation with Seel over ridiculously inane things when Cal was around told me that my hostling felt the same way. To his credit, Seel did put forth a sincere effort to be considerate of Cal, especially after his rescue of Azriel and Aleem.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon one’s perspective, Cal and Pell never stayed with us for long, only a day or two. Less frequently Seel and I traveled to Immanion. When we went there, we often stayed for several days, commonly for a week or even two. It was easier for Seel to re-adapt to Almagabra and lose himself among the multitude of hara and projects demanding our attention than it was for Cal to feel at home again in Forever.

It was to be Pell who at last would take action.

Not long before twilight, we arrived in Immanion at the beginning of the winter solstice. At Pell’s urging we had agreed to stay for two weeks, throughout the extended Natalia celebrations. As long as Seel and I had been together, we had always spent Natalia in Forever. But I liked the idea of leaving Forever completely under Cobweb’s care during those festival days for once. He would enjoy organizing the holiday gatherings again without the need for consultation or negotiation with Seel or me. Cobweb could act as the host of Forever and re-create the nostalgia of good times past however he chose to remember them. Natalia is one of those holidays that seem to place hara under a compulsion to romanticize their past.

* * * *
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Of Gems and Pebbles

Editor's PickOf Gems and Pebbles
by Gingerspark (formerly niennaainur)

Title: Of Gems and Pebbles

Author: gingerspark (formerly known as niennaainur – LOL now I feel like Prince ;P)

Pairing: original non-canon characters

Rating: PG-13

Summary: In relationships – communication is key!!

Disclaimer: All the pretty Wraeththu, as well as the world they live in, were created by, and belong to, Storm Constantine, who (bless her!) is gracious enough to allow fans like me to take them out and play with them occasionally. No copyright infringement is intended, and I promise to wash them off and put then away neatly.

Warnings: none really… a wee bit of angst

Beta read by: bigunen

Of Gems and Pebbles

My name is Kess and I am beautiful, really beautiful; in fact I am drop dead gorgeous. I hate being beautiful. It is a curse. Being beautiful is the most isolating of existences. Everyhar assumes that being ‘a looker’ should make ones life superior, but they are wrong. I had thought that by becoming a har things would be easier, but I was wrong. Both humans and hara react very oddly around beauty; to hate you because of it, and to desire you because of it, sometimes at the same time, are indeed odd.

I shifted the pack I carried. It held everything I owned. I did not own much. The recent rain had made the mountain road muddy and slick and, in certain steeper sections, the run-off had carved deep channels in the loose gravel. There would be more rain soon judging by the tang in the air borne by the chilly wind. Summer was ending, harvest time was in full swing, and the nights were getting cold.

I was hopeful that whatever town I wandered into next would have employment of some kind. I hoped I could smile fetchingly, tilt my head in ‘that way’, and charm myself into a job. There wasn’t much I couldn’t do; farmer, thief, bartender, courier, shop clerk, temple dancer, blacksmith – I had done it all. I might hate being beautiful, but I do know how to make it work for me.

“They just hired somehar at the pub so I don’t think they’ll be looking for help…” the blond’s voice trailed off doubtfully. “Oh! But you might want to try The Corner Café… it’s down there,” he pointed, “on the corner – you can’t miss it!” he giggled. “I don’t know if Corvus is looking for help but he really needs it!”

The Corner Café was closed. I stood in front of its locked doors weighing my options.

“Café doesn’t do dinner!” a passing har with a harling on his hip called out.

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