The Tattoo

Title: The Tattoo
Author: youcantseeus
Contact info: youcantseeus12@gmail.com
Beta: Oshun
Spoilers: For books 1-4.
Characters: Flick, Seel, Pell, Cal, Orien
Word Count: 22,000
Disclaimer: The following story is a work of fan fiction based on the Wraeththu series by Storm Constantine. I am not the original creator of the Wraeththu universe nor do I own most of the characters and locations contained in this story.
Summary: Flick attempts to make a statement with a tattoo. Seel is not pleased.

Chapter 1

Sometimes, I could read Seel like a book.

For example, when Colt and Stringer came over and proudly showed us that they’d gotten rough tattoos of one another’s names across their arms, I knew that Seel was fuming. He may have smiled and made light comments through gritted teeth, but I knew that later that night I’d be the one who would have to listen to him ranting about how foolish it was to have somehar else’s name on your arm forever and how it echoed human possessiveness and human love.

As it turned out, Pell and Cal got to hear him rant as well. Seel barely waited until Colt and Stringer were out the door before he started in.

“Could you believe that?” he asked the room as I started washing the dinner dishes. “I knew that letting that har charge for tattoos was a bad idea. Now we have hara making stupid decisions.”

Cal looked up from where he was sharing breath with Pell. They were always hanging all over one another. I was surprised that it didn’t bother Seel more, given how he felt about Cal, but he seemed determined to show that he was above caring. “What are you going to do, oh mighty Seel?” Cal asked in a playful voice. “Ban tattoos?”

“Of course not,” Seel said, throwing himself into a chair across from Cal. “I just would have thought that Colt and Stringer would have a little more sense. It’s not like they’ve just gone through althaia. They’re old enough to behave seriously.”

“Maybe that’s why they did it,” I said.

Everyhar looked at me. “Well,” I said, quickly, “Colt and Stringer have been together a long time. They seem pretty solid.” I was receiving a patented Seel glare. Seel was very good at glaring. “Maybe they feel secure enough about their – their feelings,” I had almost used to word “love” which would have been a huge mistake, “that they think they’ll last.”

The glare was only getting worse. “It’s sort of sweet in a way,” I babbled on. “I mean, for some people.”

Not for Seel, obviously. “It is not sweet, it’s disturbing,” he said and then he pointed at Pell and Cal. “And I better not catch you two down there getting matching tattoos anytime soon.”

Pell made a face. “No way,” he said. “Did you see those tattoos? They were hideous.”

I rolled my eyes as I dried a plate with a dishtowel. Of course Pell’s main objection would be aesthetic.

“You can get them magically removed, you know,” Cal said to Pell.

“But it leaves a scar,” Seel put in.

Seel continued brooding long after Pell and Cal had gone to bed.

“Matching tattoos,” he muttered. “Can you imagine feeling so sick about somehar that you’d want his name tattooed on your body?”

I finished wiping down the counters. “No,” I said. “I can’t.”

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Racing in the Streets

Challenge SubmissionRacing in the Streets
by Lusa

Story Notes

Pairings: Seel/Cal

Rating: PG-13

Summary: A brief encounter between Seel and Cal shortly before Seel founds Saltrock.

Author’s Email: rhapsodyingreen@cox.net

Web page: http://www.geocities.com/lusa_thul/ecrirehome.html

Disclaimer: Storm Constantine is awesome. Also, so is Bruce Springsteen. I’m pathetically obsessed with both of them. But, yeah, her characters, his song – Racing in the Streets.

Racing in the Streets

I was 17 years old; I’d only been har for 4 years but it felt like a thousand lifetimes. I started out as Uigenna but I left them for the Unneah tribe not long after my Inception.

I might have a lot of anger and bitterness towards humans, but not that much. Not as much as Cal did. I wished I could blame what drove us apart on that but was far more complicated and most of the time I realized that.

We thought becoming Wraeththu together was the answer to all our problems, a way for us to be together without the condemnation and hatred that goes hand and hand with two adolescent boys being in love among humans. We didn’t really know what we were getting into, just that there was something different in the darkness on the edge of town, something that wasn’t human and that didn’t care who you were.

I remember being terrified of it, and looking back Cal probably was, too. He just hid it better than I did. But after the firestorm that broke when our parents figured out what we were doing in my room wasn’t homework, it was easy for him to convince me that they didn’t care, that I was better off leaving with him and finding a new future where none of this would matter. I believed him, like I always did, even though I knew how often he lied.

For a few weeks it was all worth it, too. But being Wraeththu gave him an excuse to finally unleash all that violent hatred I guess he always had bottled up inside him against humanity and life in general for having the nerve not live up to his expectations.

Two weeks after we’d been Incepted somehar gave us each a gun and told us we were attacking a human town in the morning. It was a chaotic mess of burning screams and rapid-fire shots. The humans didn’t stand a chance, and they knew it. Their fear was the worst part of it all. I killed that day, and I remember puking my guts out afterwards, feeling like it was the end of the world, or at least my world. Cal thought I was stupid and he didn’t really bother to hide it.

I left the next day for the Unneah, but it would be a lie to say I never looked back. Of course I did, and I spent a lot of time regretting leaving him like I did, ashamed and full of harsh words I couldn’t take back because that isn’t how life works.

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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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