A Huntress is Born, Lives, and Stalks Through My Fantasies…

Tag Archives: Rachyl

It’s #WIPpet Wednesday again!

The purpose of  K.L,Schwengel’s brainchild  is to encourage writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

WIPpet Math:

Today is June 26,2013.

  • Adding the digits of the date (2+6=8) takes us to Chapter 8.
  • Adding the month and the last two digits of the year (6+1+3=10), means that you get ten paragraphs.

Today, we have our last bitof Chameleon’s Dish for a few weeks- it and Bounded by a Nutshell are taking a July hiatus, so that I can be bringing you, instead, my July CampNaNo projects (two more intertwined novels), as they are being created.

Beginning next week, we will explore Niaan and Spock’s childhoods, and how they came to be husband and wife, in the Trueborn Genesis WIPs, The Stars are Fire (Niaan), and Perchance to Dream (Spock).

They will be based upon the 26 flash fiction pieces I wrote for the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

But, for now, we return to our little girl lost in the woods, unsure of where and when she is…

This scene takes place before the injuries I referenced in After the Fall and Upon Waking. Tisira knows who she is, and her memory is intact, other than during times when she seems to be gripped by a fever she calls soulfire, and which she knows comes to her through Father, who is desperate to have her back with him.

As we join her, she is just awakening from one of these spells…

Tisira came back to herself in a rush that drove her to her knees. She was huddled, naked and trembling, in the snow, in the midst of a small clearing …nowhere she knew she had been.

There was a pit a tenpace before her, and it was rank with the scent of bear…she scented, very carefully, keeping completely still lest the animal was still there…but the scent was not fresh and vital. The faint decay of early death was upon it – it was below freezing now, but had not been, in the day.

It was a day she could not remember.

All her memory held was the endless round of feeling Father, feeling them all, through Father – and having them ripped away again, and again, until her soul could hold no more joy and sorrow.

And through it all had been the flames, always the flames, singing, burning, consuming, and leaving nothing of her own free will….

She came aware enough to Change, and the solace of fur was delightful. She was tempted to dig a nest into the snow and curl within it, nose tucked under a paw.

But there was the pit, and the smell of bear, and death, even stronger with her Change- sharpened senses.

There was a boulder at the edge of the pit, and it bore her footprints, half filled in with snow. She had waited here – but for what?

She returned cautiously to the boulder, crept up, and peered down, ready to leap up again at the slightest sound or movement from the animal.

But the bear was dead, along with the half-eaten sheep it shared the pit with…

Ahh, a mystery. Maybe even a cliff (or boulder, anyway) hanger!

How did the bear die? Why is Tisira there? What’s up with this memory loss and the flames…?

Tune in during August and September, when this WIP goes into edits, to learn more!

Want more WIPpets? Click the cute little blue froggy to read what other #WIPpeteers are writing, or to join in yourself!

 


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Jeniah could feel Shinjao and, more dimly, Rachyl. Kaivelt became less distinct; even though she had known that he would, that he must, to commune with the two healers, it left her feeling bereft, somewhat cast aside.

“You cast him away yourself, more than once, sister. There is no reason in now mourning such a small parting.”

“No, it doesn’t make sense.” She shrugged. “But then, neither does anything about what lies between he and I. Why should this be any different?”

~ Sima garo provides, my own. Even when you do not understand. So you have said to me, when I doubted.~

It was a distracted musing, but she took odd comfort in it, and in Vaara’s acceptance of their link.

She let his thought, his mind-voice, his presence, become as a glowing ember within her, to warm her as they Ran, and as he gave Rachyl what he could give her to help those who might be wounded by what his mind referred to as ‘energy weapons’.

To occupy herself, she allowed herself to sink into awareness of the Huntthread, and the deeper, richer, and far more elusive rhythm of Aletris herself. She needed to shift a great deal of her attention to perceive that low thrum – it was a deeper part of her, even older sound than bloodpulse or breath.

Generally, she lived her life, part of that deep rhythm without being truly present in it. Now, though, Kaivelt’s presence suffused her with his calm certainty, she began to feel Aletris, too, rising up through her; she began to vibrate to the pulse of her world.

This had happened before, but never so naturally, or so fully. She was herself,running along the ground, and she was also the earth, embracing the fleet feet of the Huntresses as they Ran, the tiny stumbles of the newly born, the cradle of Watersdeep and rivers and streams, and the sustenance of roots…

And there were the Wounds – the wounds her Trueborn children had inflicted- painful, but a part of the way of things – her children had need for these contests, sometimes, and there were ways of healing…

But the rending…the tearing…the raping! These things – unnatural, wrong! – these creatures from not-here, taking without offering, without balance, without leave. And the taking was infecting the world, and Aletris could not rid herself of them.

Her world needed her. Aletris needed help; Aletris was far from helpless. She would give her energy, her power, her wealth of resources, to aid in the ridding.

She ran, and leapt into trees where they still stood, here before they became barren skeletons that could no longer even harbor life, and flowed from branch to branch, knowing that, joined with her world, she could not fall…

And Kaivelt was a glowing warmth, within, blending with her, joining with Aletris, as he helped Rachyl learn what she would need to learn, becoming somehow a part of this world too, in his willing service to her and this planet she called home…

]

~Sima garo provides, my own. For you, and perhaps also for such as I – ~

She felt his fatigue. He was recovering himself, but it was arduous and slow -like a tenday hunt, thriceten over. And, beyond what they shared, he had had contact with no one. In truth, he had not yet left the Severed Ones. He knew he would go to his old friends as they ventured into Everdeep to search for the entity that still sought him, still sought its purpose.

But he had been so long away, so long from allowing and accepting emotions as part of him, inextricable. This renewed joining, begun involuntarily, almost reflexively, had shaken him, and left him raw.

Her needs, at the same time, strengthened him and made him vulnerable. He was coming to life – but with a woman he could not see, could not touch, could not claim in the way all he was yearned for.

It did not matter to her that she was the stronger in the arts of the mind. But, to him, there was an unspoken threat in it, and a fear, because she had Severed him so easily. So long as he had been unaware of her power, or thought that she was only fantasy it troubled him little, this contact between them.

But now –

~You could Sever me in a heartbeat – or kill me.~

His concern brought a wave of dark amusement. ~ As I have always been, fierce one. And as I will be able to, as easily, if we are truly together.~

He was fatigued from the sharing with Rachyl, which had required much of him. Soon, now, sleep would take him – but he resisted, needing to understand this new threat that she posed. ~It has always been so, my own?~

~Always. I cannot be other than what I am. ~

~No. As indeed I cannot…~ He probed her now, clumsily because he was so near sleep, searching for some comprehension. ~I have wounded thee, as badly, and still can and may?~

~You had no need to ask, Kaivelt. You know already the truth of it. We can and will hurt one another, as all who give of themselves, and open themselves, can and do. ~ She stopped herself so that she would not say the rest, but he stroked the place where she held the thought – a supplication, and an offer.

Jeniah returned his caress. ~ I give you my trust, Kaivelt, my fierce one – even in the face of what you have done, and what you may yet do. I trust that you do as you do with the best intent you are capable of, at all times, and that you will trust in me to the extent that you are willing and capable of trusting. I ask nothing of you that you will not freely offer – now and ever. You are your own, fierce one, and not mine to lead or command.~

~You offer so much…and I have nothing of value to offer you in return – not even myself. ~ After so much damage, so much change, so much exertion, he was feeling particularly bereft of self and anchor, in this moment. He wanted to hold to her, but could not as yet trust, and knew he might yet be swayed in another direction, and away from her.

Jeniah smiled. ~You are more asleep than awake, now, but hold these words in your dreaming, if you will. ~

~I will, my Huntress, my own.~ She knew well enough to smile at his flow of feeling – he held himself always wary of any such displays when well awake – but,as sleep neared, he softened as though he were a milk-drunk babe –

A half-dream, vivid, sensual – he lay with his skin bare against his mother, smelling her, gulping at her warm sweet milk. He watched the play of her face, the way her gaze made him feel as warm and safe as her milk, even though she was cooler than him.

And, somehow, he was also with her, holding her, surrounded by arytana and starlight, and all was feeling as he surrendered to the visions and sensations.

Jeniah could not join him, because Aletris was singing in her soul, too, and she was not now free to go where his dreaming led. Instead, she slipped her thought into his paired dreams and he sank deeply into them. ~You are enough, as you are. What you have to offer, freely, is enough. And those are all I have to offer you.~

He was the babe, his suckling slowing now, sleep coming for him, the milk escaping to drip into his ear, tickling, and he laughed a surprised infant laugh, still staring into the vivid blue of his mother’s eyes, as she laughed along with him…

Inspiration for Jeniah in Lynxform. Public domain image. Click for source.


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The children scampered ahead to the root cellar, along the path they had cleared with their many trips. Cerdin and Oskar had been helping Inura and Andas to learn to make shelters and fires; now, throughout the daylight hours,adults who wanted anything from the cellars had only to ask one of the children of the village; any child able to walk and understand was willing to fetch it.

Today, though, she had been invited to come see their handiwork, and would be permitted within. It was a rare honor.

Winter’s Knell was deep, nearing its midpoint, and the Tribed feasting that accompanied it. The air bit at her; she thought briefly of Kaitiiraan’s Keep, and how, when she lived there, she had seldom had reason or desire to set slippered foot outside.

Here, she wore sturdy boots such as the merchant women wore, and furs given to her as a gift by her sisters. But she did not like to have her face covered, and so the air stabbed into her throat and nose.

As soon as she gained the snug outer shelter, Inura gestured her to a fur draped rock.

“Will you sit for a halfglass, Mother, and take some tea?” She was young, but becoming a fine cook already – as Rachyl had been told Lyrin her mother had been.

“I’ll sit, and drink, and will welcome the warming.”

The other children gathered around her, and regaled her with stories and chatter while she sipped the excellent tea – it even had restorative qualities such as arytana, wakeroot, and amasberry. Rachyl had noted the bank of sensates, and now better understood why Andas had been so interested in the plants lately, and had asked for some seeds. “This is a very comfortable place,” she said. “It’s little wonder that you all so love to be here.”

When she had finished the tea, Oskar took the cup to a sand basin in the corner, washed it, and hung it back on the hook against the wall, where there were several other cups, all hung at child’s height. “Are you ready, Rachyl?”

Of all of them, Cerdin was the most reserved around her; as oldest, he’d had the most time with his own Mother, and she knew that she would never replace the person who had borne and nursed him.

“When you are.”

A babbling of young voices and all but Cerdin clutched at various parts of her, surrounding her like a cloud. She smiled, drawing as much joy from them as they drew comfort from her.

Cerdin lit a small torch for himself, and then led them, somewhat raucously, down into cellar – a hollowed space under a knot of Osiiraan’s massive roots. There was barely room for them all – but the walls were lined with shelves and hooks, and upon them were clay jars, woven baskets and bags, and large gourds and jugs. Mother would have frowned at the materials the storage containers were made of – she preferred fine ceramics and stoneware – but even she would have been able to find no fault in the cleanliness and order of the place.

Cerdin smiled at her exclamation of appreciation, and made a small Tacivaarii bow. Inura took the lead in explaining what the cellar contained – they had done more gathering than the adults had been aware of, and their additions showed a fine understanding of the needs of the village. They all beamed when she selected a few things to have brought to the village-tree, and were busily gathering them up when there was a commotion outside.

“Healer Rachyl! Are you yet within?”

“I am here, ”she answered, embracing the children, who looked up at her with wide eyes – no one had ever breeched this private space before, and they had all suffered the effects of chaos.

“It smells like fear, and maybe fury.” Cerdin scrubbed at his nose as though there was a putrid smell in it, and now he found a fold of her skirts, and half-lost himself within it.

“Shinjao has need of you, at once.”

A jolt of fear went through her. “Is it Salka?”

“No, Healer. The babe is well and bright and thriving. She has had a sending from the Trueborn, and wishes you to come as soon as you are able, to discuss it. There will be need of your services, in a pair of tendays, at most.”

“I will not leave the children.”

“No one would ask that of you, Healer. Only please come quickly.”

There was no need to tell the children that this visit was over. They grasped their prizes and led her back out of the small cellar, and sent her on ahead while they awaited the next need of their services…except for Oskar, who ran ahead and was on his way back before she reached the greatroom. He clutched the patch blanket, and his eyes were wide and serious in his pale face.

“May you find peace, small one,” she said, as he flung himself into her arms and buried his face in folds of the blanket and her shoulder. He murmured something she did not understand, and swarmed down again, and was gone three heartbeats later.

Shinjao, with Salka asleep in her soft hide sling, was waiting for her, to take her wraps and lead her to her withdrawing chamber where Rachyl had never yet been.

There were two of the comfortable wide couches the Tacivaarii preferred, the ones designed as much for their public and unreserved Matehunting, which could happen at any time and with no warning, as they were for sitting upon. There was a small hearth,  acrackle with a bright hot blaze, and a deeply padded chair that had the look of Mother’s Keep about it, and Shinjao gestured to it as she hung Rachyl’s furs on a rack where they could be warmed.

“Will you rest by the fire and talk with me, Rachyl? I have need of a plan, and more healing perhaps than even if all of Osiiraan and the Pridekeep were healers, and free to help.”

“Tell me”, Rachyl said, and noticed that Shinjao kept sensates near her tea preparation table, and that there was another small grouping in a wide wooden bowl set at the base of the table beside her. These were different than the varieties she favored; she decided to speak with Shinjao about them.

Salka whimpered softly, and stretched her tiny body,and then there was the sound of her greedy suckling, and Rachyl felt her womb and breasts clench and ache with wanting a babe of her own. Tears came to her eyes, unbidden, as she listened.

Shinjao half-turned from her herb stores and sensates, and said, softly, “Will you weave some warm clothes for Salka? She will want time on the ground, soon, I think, but she will take a chill while the earth is still cold.”

“I would be delighted,” she breathed, as she tried to make out the scents drifting to her along with stray wisps of smoke from the fire. Shinjao said, “There is a basket near your chair, on a shelf beneath the table. If you would prefer to weave while we speak, perhaps it could provide service to us both.” Rachyl was surprised that she had not yet noticed the basket, but now found in it an answer to the nervous need to be about something that almost had her going to where Shinjao was, even knowing how closely Tacivaarii held their personal spaces.

Public domain image that inspires thoughts of Rachyl weaving. Click for source.

She lifted the basket to her lap, and set to exploring the colors and textures while Shinjao finished with her adding of pinches and sprigs, then set the carved earthernware teakettle upon its swinging hook and turned it to heat over the embers.

She came to sit cross legged on one of the low couches, and met Rachyl’s eyes. “A mixed group of Canivaarii and Tacivaarii – perhaps as many as a thriceten, and likely poisoned since before the time of the Wounding – are moving into the Poisoned Lands, with the intent to kill those they find there.”

“Do they not know that the Trueborn are scouting?”

“They know. They feel that it has been too long – and they yet blame your sisters for the Woundingg – “

“And imitur poisoning does not allow them to trust.”



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