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

Tag Archives: Weft Series

Hi there! Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday –K.L. Schwengel’s weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

 I’ve taken a bit of a breather from the revision process, the last couple of days – because I’m learning how to use my brand-new computer! I haven’t added Scrivener yet – Eden Mabee bought me the program as a gift a few years back, and there was a bit of a licensing tangle-up. I hope to get it set up later tonight or tomorrow; I’m eager to get back to it, and finish up on my fancy new machine…I’m thinking that the tablet and touchscreen features may really help in the process…I’ll let you know, after I play a little…

For now, let’s get back to Chameleon’s Dish, (Trueborn Weft Series), companion volume to Bounded by a Nutshell (Trueborn Warp series Star Trek fan fiction):

 In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk her lost identity.

I’m moving through the novel in a non-linear fashion, for this pass, so my WIPpets are bouncing around. This week, I’m offering a snippet from Tisira’s point-of-view. This is a new scene, and takes place just before the accident that causes her amnesia, which I’ve shared in these previous posts:

A note:

As the revision progresses, Tisira and Henry seem to be telling me they’re older than they were in the rough draft. I’ll be paying attention as I move through this first revision pass –

 And you can help!

Do you have a sense of these two characters’ ages? How old do they seem?

There will be some variance – for different cultural norms, and taking into account that Tisira isn’t human; but it will be very helpful to know what age impressions others are getting from the story…any and all input, so long as it’s considerate, is valued!

And now, on to the WIPpeting!

WIPpet Math:

Today is March 19, 2014.

  • Today’s math is a bit tricky…
  • 19 (for the date) -3 (for the month)=16; 2+0+1 (the first three digits of the year) = 3; 4(the last digit of the year)-3 (the previous total)=1; (16 (first total)+1 (the third total)=17
  • Voila! 17 sentences!

I reached up on my toes, pressing into him, ever more tightly. He tensed, as if to pull back, as if to hide his body from me, in shame –

Don’t,” I whispered. “Let me feel you.”

We are too young- it be a sin – ”

For bodies to do what they will, Henry? How can that be wrong, or we too young, if we feel it?”

He seemed to have no answer, and our wanting was a live thing, between us, binding us. I wanted all – he wanted to resist, but could not. His lips pressed into mine, and my mouth opened for him, sharing breath, sharing life…

It felt as nothing we had known, as though we could drown in one another – and, within me, there was another awakening – one of heat and minerals, reminding me of the desert, and of Father…

But I wanted Father not, now.

All was Henry, his eyes wide and surprised, but also bright with wanting and dawning joy.

Our hands were like wild birds, now, upon one another, greedy to taste the first shoots of spring. Every touch awoke new flamelets, and sharpened breath, until we moved to a single rhythm, breathed as one, and the dancing held us in thrall –

“What be you about?!”

A woman’s shrieking voice, piercing the weaving of our dancing, shearing through our sharing –

 

What led up to this moment? Who is the shrieking woman? What will happen next?

Stop by next week…I can’t promise answers, but I can promise more questions! =)

For this week, I offer a sweetly evocative song that may well have inspired this scene…I had never seen this video before, but it feels perfect!

Want more WIPpets?


 It’s #WIPpet Wednesday –K.L. Schwengel’s brainchild which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

WIPpet Math:

Today is January 22, 2014.

  • Today’s math: (22-1-7=14). I began with the date (22), then subtracted the month (1), and then the digits of the year (2+0+1+4=7).
  • Today’s WIPpet is 14 sentences.

Henry and Tisira have a bit of a fan club amongst the #WIPpeteers, so we’ll stay withTrueborn Weft series fantasy WIP, Chameleon’s Dish– at least until we get to a place where sharing might give too much away.

In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk her lost identity.

We find Tisira awakening alone at the cottage, and confused…

This snippet occurs immediately after my last WIPpet, At the Cottage Chameleon’s Dish is the companion volume to Bounded by a Nutshell (Trueborn Warp series Star Trek fan fiction).

Nockatee half-awoke, and for a thirtybreath,she hovered between worlds, Burning with Father’s soulfires, chilled through to the marrow. Then, a nightbird’s sharp trill roused her, and she was awake,huddled and shivering on cold, damp earth.

A tenbreath later, she recognized the scent, and knew that she was on the floor of the cottage, lengthening shadows her only covering, for she was naked. She did not remember coming here. Had she not been Hunting?

But Henry was not here, and hadn’t been, since they left, by the scent. In the bond, she could feel him -all worry for her that he tried to cover – that she would find where she belonged, and leave him behind; that she had come to some terrible harm in the woodlands.

His fears tangled with her own – the words, that were old, heard in Father’s deep, calm voice as she fell asleep in the cupboard in his office, but new-writ in the book Henry had given her. And the stars – the wrong stars, she knew, without knowing how the stars could be wrong, or what was wrong about them.

She lay, without moving except for her body’s trembling, and waited for the answers to come, for another hundredbreath

Sima garo will provide. There are always possibilities.

So whispered the voices of her parents in her soul. Perhaps they were true whispers; for memory began to form around her presence here, in the cottage she and Henry had shared. She had come to these Huntlands, alone,with herself her quarry.

Nockatee is finding answers, but each seems only to bring more questions. Will these prove the same, or will she finally be able to put the pieces together, and puzzle out an answer?

And here’s a song that might offer Nockatee some hope, as she wrestles with all she remembers, and all she doesn’t know…

Want more WIPpets?


 

It was always the smell of the vines, even before the blooms, that spoke to me of the Huntlands. The flowerswere everywhere in Kaitiiraan’s Keep – the scent of the blooms floating in tubs, sitting in delicate porcelain vases, wound around beds and the columns in the grand hall…..nay, there was no way to miss the stink of them, even those planted up into pots seemed dead, rotting flower corpses that blocked up my nose to all other scents…

“Maybe why my baths always reek of rosewater, and the dinners are so drowned in sauces, the story of the meat is befouled along with the taste.”

I spun around, heart battering my breastbone with the warning that came, always, too late…

But I could smell the vines, now – green, alive with leaves and buds that had no place in the Keep, roots sunk into lush forest soils, cushions of moss, powdering remains of bark, composting scat. So long as I could smell this life, I was safe to speak such thoughts aloud.

Freedom ran and skipped through my feet, carrying me to my favorite place, in the thicket just off the Merchant’s Road, where only a small body could easily fit….my place to shed the bindings of Mother’s world, and settle into the wild life of the Tacivaarii, before I joined them.

Only here was I in my own place, where I could simply be as I was, without the pulls of Tribed and Untribed tugging me two directions, at once, feeling forever part of each, and yet, neither….

“I want to simply be MYSELF!”

Again, my thoughts escaped my errant lips…but it was true. What matter if I was Trueborn, or Kaiess? Why did those things have to hold and pull at me?

“Am I not more than those things? Am I not myself, and my own?”

~You are, my daughter.~

I listened…the voice was within me, but from everywhere, too, sighing through me, carried in the breeze, the birdsong, the buzz of the nectarflies as they sipped at the arytana that grew afresh, quick as a tantaa bird’s strike – nay, quicker! – surrounding me, cocooning me within my lair as though I was a caterpillar readying for my Change….

“What is happening?” This morning’s overcooked and overspiced stew mixed with the lingering scent of rosewater from the forced bath, twisted my belly and threatened to climb up the back of my throat with stinging clutches and grabs.

Curiosity danced through fear; my soul alive with new, wilder energy, drawing me at once into the embrace of Aletris, the motherworld, and, at the same bloodpulse, flinging me away to soar through the always-night of Everdeep….

“Aletris?” I asked, although I knew it was she, however impossible it might seem.

The blooms’ fragrance caressed me, as the glittering dartwings came to feast and fight one another for the choicest blooms….

~Yes, Niaan my daughter. Rest, now, and know that you are enough. Just enough, just as you are. And that you are not alone, so long as I am here, and he is there.~

I grew sleepy, of a sudden; odd – I had been ready to Run, less than a sunlength, since….Now, though, the vines shaped themselves, the blooms stroked my bare skin to trembling life, and I was gentled down into my furs…

“He?” I yawned, mind muddled with arytana, with wanting, with the songs without and within me….”He who?”

~ Your body is safely sheltered here, daughter. Follow where your soul leads….~

And then, I was Running across the rich darkness of Everdeep, the always-night and dancing lights playing along my senses, filled with tantalizing awareness….how can I be Running, here?

But what matter?

A scent among many, twitching and tingling into my nose, exciting me, drawing me….to a hot, dusty, red place….a place such as my tutors in the Keep called “child’s nonsense”, with their minds full of creeping old terror they wanted to unfeel….in that strange place with its sharp-edged, gritted smells and tastes….a boy.

He lay upon sand, hidden by rock, sleeping. There was the spore of rotten fruit about him, but, on his lips, in the breath he breathed softly and hotly at me, only the freshest, sweetest juice…

His mind lay untended….beckoning me, singing in harmony to the music, his notes strange, and yet, not…without knowing how, I slipped within his mind, his soul….

Dark eyes reflected me, tiny, but aglow against his strange red night. He was almost as still as a waiting Hunter – or the fearfrozen ferndeer.

I set myself to wait, for whatever sima garo provided…and then, between one breath and the next, in the vulnerable waiting instant, our souls flowed together, as though we were two streams merged, blending, swirling….

We belonged, as we never had, to each other, in the next breath.

“This is our home.”


I took this picture of a runoff creek along the Hudson River in my hometown of Stillwater, New York. I imagine Henry and Tisira’s stream looking something like this….

Henry was heading to his lean-to from the cottage, traveling along the stream that ran like an echo of the road. He was laden with empty packs he must fill with his winter’s meat, when he first caught sight of the faerie-kin.

She wore nothing but her skin, her young body strong and darkened by the sun in a way he had seen sailors, or those who lived in places far closer to the center of the world.

Or else people from mythical places he had heard of, around the bawdy houses and theatres of Southbank, where people were said to be so dark they seemed made of earth, or even night.

He’d seen women and men of her shadings, but none were from here, where the sun shone as though through water, dimly…

She moved as one who was meant to be in wilder places than this little bit of common woods, scarcely two days’ walking in any direction, and set aside for freedmen to hunt within.

She seemed to have the born wariness of a wild beast, now, listening, scenting at the air, and blending into shadows so that, if Henry had not known these woodlands even better than he knew the walls of his own cottage, he would not have seen her at all.

He knew he should move along -he had need still of meat, groundnuts, and furs for the coming cold. And nymphs and their ilk were known not to suffer well the intrusions of mortals, no matter their reasons.

If that be what she was.

It was said, though, that such creatures were enchanted, that once looked upon, there was no looking away, no returning to the life that had been. Henry had never believed it, not truly.

Now, though, as the small creature stopped to sit quietly upon the bank, her gaze lighting everywhere, then fliting away again, he was not nearly so certain, for he could not leave off staring at her, even at the risk that she would see him.

She half-turned, and Henry forgot even to breathe, lest she see him – yet the fading sunlight danced with eyes that were as blue – nay, bluer! – than the sapphires he’d seem on the bedecked ladies the morts and their men favored for the purse -cutting, and her hair a shining flow dark as night. Of a sudden, he wanted to see those eyes smile and laugh, to touch that hair, which looked softer than even the finest of ladies could boast. He wanted to know all there was to know of this lovely, rare creature.

It seemed that she must have seen him, must know he watched, but she gave no sign of it. The wide bright eyes – eyes that seemed to belong to a child perhaps three years less aged than he – kept moving, in the way of wild animals who must look, and she was still scenting the air.

But Henry knew how to become part of the woodlands. He had used the musk of a rutting fallow deer to mask his own scent, and he knew how to be still and silent, so that even his breath could not be seen. Even though she was only off twenty paces or so, she did not show any knowing that he was there.

She stayed as she was a moment more, before fixing her gaze on the water in a way that bespoke a wildcat far more than a faerie. She leapt lightly from her place to crouch upon a sunwarmed rock, and went still – still in a way that Henry knew he could not, even with a lifetime to practice it, the way schoolboys studied sums and letters. His pride in his own stillness faded – she was as the trees, or the rock beneath her…

After the sinking sun had moved nearly to the edge of the bank, she brought her hands up to her head, where a long strand of ebon hair had fallen into her face. She pulled it back, and with a twisting motion, she secured it all in a knot at the nape of her neck.

And Henry bit his lip hard to keep from gasping at the sight of her delicately pointed ear…an ear that said, beyond all doubting, now, that she was not as he was, that she was not a girl as he was a boy…not human.

It terrified him, and excited him, to have this sudden proof that such things did exist, and he wondered what manner of fey creature this was. Or was she a witchling, else demon-spawned?

He could not think so, watching her watch the water, leaning carefully forward so that she could see, but not so far that she cast any shadow below. No, she did not have the feel of wrongness about her. Otherness, for certain, and he would not deny that. Yet, still- she belonged to wild places, was a part of them. Henry could feel that.

But would Satan announce the guise he used to steal souls?

He wanted to go now, to flee, to pretend that he had seen no such creature, that he was just as he had been when he set out this morning.

But he knew that he would not leave while he could see her. He could not; he was ensorceled by her…no, there was no leaving her. He knew he would follow her, if he could, and learn all he could of her.

Inspiration for Tisira in her elemental Huntress state….

The girlchild-creature began to – to become something else, something that came in bits and pieces, stuttering forward only to retreat again, and then the other way, until, at last –

An animal that looked very like a young lynx kit crouched, slowly sinking belly to rock, so slowly lifting a paw, holding, motionless, as the sun dropped lower, drawing shadows over the water…

The paw shot out, the body uncoiled, and, before Henry was fully aware of her motion, she had flipped a leaping fish up out of the water, bitten through its backbone, and tossed it behind her on the bank, settling at once back to wait, as though she had not moved…

But the fish was there behind her on the rock, twisting in its death dance.

 


https://i2.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/-LjAYlnVDiLU/ULVx34HWaJI/AAAAAAAAGnE/GYhSHa200zY/s1600/lynx_in_snow.jpg

Inspiration for Jeniah. Public domain – click for source.

Jeniah had gone into the trees, and remained there, as they skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands. She was lost in her awarenesses, Aletris and Kaivelt winding together, becoming more and more a part of her being, with first one and then the other dominating.

Vaara wondered if this was a great danger, or a blessing, but she could not know enough of the variables to begin to formulate a useful equation.

Since it was quite likely that she would be seriously mind-injured if Vaara or anyone else interfered before she was done, there was little point in attempting to take her attention.

~Sima garo provides.~

It was a sleepy, half-dreaming thought, and she wasn’t sure Kaivelt meant to send it to her, or even if he knew he had thought it. But there was a certain peace in it, and Vaara knew he would not feel so if there were danger to Jeniah in this sharing with Aletris.

So she settled into wary ease…Jeniah’s presence in her mind was at once highly attuned to her surroundings, and vague with the depth of the new sharing, and the fire-traced edges of Kaivelt’s dreamings.

She could feel that things were being shared, between her sister and the planet herself- for Aletris was indeed self-aware, and, moreover, utterly certain of her ever-shifting places, in Everdeep and in the lives of her diversity of children. But she could not spare all the focus that was needed to be fully aware of these strange Otherworlders, and she couldn’t know them as she did her own children, born of her earth and sustained by her.

As she skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands, where the snow was still as it had always been, Vaara kept her focus outward, on the details Jeniah might easily miss, during her joining.

They had had no plan – there were too many Tribed, and too maddened by the poison they might have been ingesting for many sunrounds. They could not contain them all, not in the time they had to them.

But Aletris had a plan. She would use Jeniah to sense the Otherworld interlopers, and the poisoned Tribed. Then, she could direct her strength outward through the Tacivaarii Trueborn, and prevent her children from being wantonly killed.

That would be the beginning, but there was more – much, much more – in the sharing than what she could sense, beyond knowing that she, too, had her part to play in the rescue of her world.

And so, she patrolled the edges of the blasted lands, pointing her nose first to the directions from which the maddened Hunters would come, and then into the Poisoned Lands, where the dust- streaked snow thinned from the unnatural heat, and where the small sounds and scents of life abruptly ended, because none could live long in this inhospitable place.

Joined to Jeniah, and so sensing her deepening ties to the consciousness of their world, she could feel something of the depths of anguish and rage for ever life lost, every grain of earth taken by the invaders.

She had been searching for three sunlengths when she caught the scent of the approaching Hunters. There were not as many as there had been; their madness had caused them to fall upon one another, and some had not survived.

Aletris knew it too, and there was a wave of sorrow, and a deepening of rage,from the echoes of Jeniah’s mind. There would be an accounting, from the planet, for all the damage and death that had been wrought as a result of the invasion and rape.

And her part in it was to find the poisoned ones, to know just where they were, because the taint of the deep poisons made them other, and hard for the world to sense. In some fashion, the were no longer wholly of this world, because they held the poisons born of the Otherworlders’ violent attacks.

She would undertake that duty willingly – Vaara was beginning to sense that Aletris, too, had equations which governed her, and that these equations had become, with the arrival of the Otherworlders, dangerously imbalanced. Life was becoming a skewed and dangerous affair, and, if nothing was done to bring that equation back into balance, the consequences might prove deadly, not just for the poisoned ones, but for all life everywhere, and for Aletris herself.

The scent was still thready and weak in the crisp midwinter air, and unmoving, now – the poisons so long in their systems had kept the hunters from eating as they were intended, and they were grown weak and malnourished, and in need of frequent rest. They would not reach the edge of the Poisoned Lands this day; and perhaps not on the morrow –

“They will not reach them, kelaan.”

Vaara started – she had clearly been dangerously preoccupied, that she had not sensed Jeniah’s approach.

Her sister smiled, clearly reading her reaction – but this was and was not Jeniah, and, at the same bloodpulse, was and was not Aletris. There was deep power and knowing in her.

“How will they not, Jeniah? We do not have the strength to stop them, without further breaking the world.”

“I am the world, child.” Deep run of amusement and affection in the scent, as though her answer had been a private joke. “You need only find just where they are, and I will see to the rest. There are ways of breaking that are natural and helpful to me, and these I will use to protect my children, to offer them up to you for healing, and to prevent their untimely death at the hands of those who abuse me.”

“I will go ot them at once-”

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Inspiration for Vaara – photo by Wikipedia – click for source.

“No.” The single syllable held echoes of Tacivaar, and Kaitiiraan, and Jeniah at her most imperial – but, beneath that, there was a deeper command, and a kinder – Aletris herself was opposing. “You need rest, child – and you are near enough to your next dosing – and this one through whom I speak cannot hold my thoughts without rest, and time to be with he who is her Chosen.”

“Then what would you have me do?”

“You will come to our shelter. The poisoned ones will not approach it, if we’re within, or nearby – they are maddened enough to believe that they can avoid our detection if they do not, and their blood boils not against us, but the Otherworlders.”

“But, if we are taking shelter, can they not elude us, sister?”

“There will be a blizzard, this night, lasting a tenday. We will alert the runners coming from Osiiraan, so that they can be prepared and sheltered. The maddened ones are not moving, they will be protected as well as they are able to be – but no one will be able to travel, and all will have suitable rest.”

“And what then?” Vaara felt the equation shifting, moving back towards balance, and harmony. But she could not see the shape of it.

“There will be time for planning, as the storm rages.” And Jeniah Changed, and leapt back into the trees, heading at once for their lair, leaving Vaara to follow, alone with her hope and her questions.


Curious? Click here!

Jeniah circled the widest perimeter of the diggings, knowing that Vaara was doing the same thing, moving in the opposite direction. They would stop, when they reached the cliffs, and double back, and the link between them was open and allowing them both to experience not only their own scouting, but also one another’s.

 

 

 

She was also aware that she could feel the echoes of Kaivelt more strongly since Vaara’s arrival. There was some meaning to that, but she did not try to divine it.

 

 

 

~~Sima garo provides.~~

 

 

 

The chorus of voices rose in her mind, more often each passing sunlength. The voices were still a blend, and she still made no effort to untangle them. No, it was enough that she could feel them, that she was beginning to be able to believe in it again.

 

 

 

She did not share her impressions of the Otherworlders and their doings with Vaara. Something she had learned while still a kitten was that one’s impressions, shared too soon, would poison their own way for seeing. So they had decided, before they set out, that they would share impressions and thoughts and sensings after they returned to the small cave lair, in time for Vaara’s next dosing.

 

 

 

And so they shared what they saw, without making any conclusions about it. They each stopped when they desired, studied what they chose, and moved on when they chose.

 

 

 

She noticed that the Otherworlders were less active today than they had been at her last visit, and there were fewer of them, and those wearing bulkier clothing. That would be good to share with Vaara, later, but, for now, she merely noted it.

 

 

 

~Perhaps they are adversely affected by cold.~

 

 

 

Just that one simple thought – but it was Kaivelt’s mind, beyond question. She could not mistake him.

 

 

 

~How?~

 

 

 

But, for that, there was no answer given. He was there to share the thought, and then he was gone, again, almost as though he had never been there.

 

 

 

But she was sure it had been him. And that meant that there was still some chance that she would be able to connect with him again, and explain why she had done as she had.

 

 

 

~~You need not explain.~~

 

 

 

Again, he was there, and then not. There was nothing left of him that she could touch, or hold to, or form any type of bond with.

 

 

 

But sima garo provides, and she would be thankful with what was provided, and not seek out more than what was offered.

 

 

 

It was not in her nature to be patient, but, when the hunt demanded it, she would be patient as was needed, to take her prey.

 

 

 

And so she shifted her focus back to the diggings, to the small swarm of Otherworlders who spread out across the gaping wounds they had inflicted upon Aletris.

 

 

 

And so she was watching when the roof of one shelter, a huge building that made Osiiraan seem like a sapling by comparison to its size. She found a tree by which she could see down into the sunken vastness of the chamber.

 

 

 

What she saw was nothing that made sense to her, but there was a certain insistence within her that she look, and notice every possible detail, and then remain to watch.

 

 

 

In a sunlength, she could see Otherworlders moving about the devices kept within, but there was no door through which to move the machines. That was a mystery, too, so she would not leave off watching until the roof closed, she found understanding, or it was time to return to the lair for their dosings.

 

 

 

~Sima garo provides. You need only be open to it.~

 

 

 

So she waited, and, then, two sunlengths beyond, in the rising fog of the evening over the waters, she heard a new sound, one that she had never heard before, but that was somehow akin to thunder, Watersdeep, and the machines that dug into the planet’s skin.

 

 

 

With tremendous noise and a glow that cut through the fog as though it were not there, three of the machines lifted into the air, through the open roof, and then away, very quickly, out of sight in the skies above.

 

 

 

Jeniah could still feel the heat and scent the acrid stench of their leaving – like the digging machines, and yet not.

 

 

 

She watched again as the roof slid closed, hiding whatever was left within.

 

 

 

~ Sima garo provides.~

 

 

 

~It was I who first told you so, Kaivelt my fierce one.~

 

 

 

There was surprise, sharp and clear for a breath, and wonder, and joy. It faded quickly, and she resisted the urge to try to hold it, or him.

 

 

 

She waited until full dark, but, wherever the craft had gone, she did not see any sign that they were returning.

 

 

 

She felt the pull toward Vaara, now, and knew her twin had slipped off for a while, to allow her to be with what she was seeing and feeling. But now, Vaara was with her, urging her to return to the lair, where they could be as they were, together, and share what they had seen.

 

 

 

Vaara was already there, with a groundhen spitted at the fire, and two large fish cut into strips and drying – a welcome addition to their combined larder, because they could not Hunt in the Poisoned Lands. She had brewed tea, and made grain cereal rich in nuts and berries fattening in the bubbling water. There was also stew simmering.

 

 

 

“How long have you been here?” Jeniah asked, a little incredulously.

 

 

 

“Since dusk fell – I wished to leave off my looking before I grew so full of it that I could not hold more, or have space to think on what I have seen.”

 

 

 

“I saw something new, today, as well -”

 

“I know,” Vaara said. “But that is not what you most want to talk about, sister.”

 

 

 

Jeniah smiled. “You’re right. I’d forgotten how you don’t care for chatter. Something you share with my Chosen.”

 

 

 

“You have begun to feel him.”

 

 

 

“Yes. I dreamed of him, before you came. There was a decision he needed to make, and I dreamed it. Since then, I have felt him more and more -” Something in Vaara’s scent spoke to her, and she said, “You are not surprised by this.”

 

 

 

Vaara looked at her and said, “No, I am not. Shinjao and I supported him with the Huntthreads, so that he might resist your efforts to Sever him. When you succeeded, he sheltered the outer link with us. In some sense, he has been with me since.”

 

 

 

Jeniah was not certain, at first, what to think or say about this.

 

 

 

~ Sima garo provides, my own.~

 

 

 

And then he was flowing into her, as though he had never been gone, and Vaara was settling her in bed, bringing her food, and then ducking out of the lair, to begin a circling watch …all of which Jeniah was only vaguely aware of as they began to flow together, in a way that she had thought lost to her forever.

 

 

 

All became bliss and joining and Attunement and what lie beyond…there was no choice in the matter – the joining, after so much struggle, was involuntary…

 

 

 

She could feel that he had suffered trauma, that there had been a danger to his life, during the time that they had been apart, that he had tried to join, instead, with that entity, which had, as she had known it would, turned out to present grave danger to many worlds.

 

 

 

But now he was safe, and whole, and his being pulsed with new life and understanding as he traveled once more with his friends, roaming Everdeep…

 

 

 

And he was open, not caring, now, that she could offer no proof. But still, she knew that it could not last forever, and that she could not expect him to believe what she could not prove.

 

 

 

~Watch the stars, my own. If you, and Vaara, will watch them, and give to me what you see, it will be a path by which I might one day find you…~

 

 

 

Then there was more joining, and, in it, they shared what she had seen, and what it seemed to indicate, and, slowly, plans began to form…

 

 

 

 

 


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The dancers crept along on their bellies, stalking, each of the twelve in Lynxform. Suddenly, in their midst, without any clue in wind or wood, beings were – created. From nothingness, they came, and, before they grew solid, they were pointing arcing flashes of light –

Osiiraan went dark, and everyone filtered outside, to the empty pyres. They would burn symbolically, as the Dancers wove around and through the twelve fires, and the Tacivaarii Final Welcoming was seen to.

She watched the children, brought as close to the pyres as they chose, each given the choice, if they wanted, to set torches to the pyres.

They were all Tacivaarii children, and most could remember the time of the Wonuding. Those who couldn’t had heard the stories, and been taken to places where the scars were still raw, even eight sunrounds later.

All knew death, and had seen it come to Osiiraan.

But that made it no easier to bear the sudden and permanent ending of a life, to know that there would be no more embraces or smiles, or even words of anger, shared.

It minded her of the day that had begun the long trail to the Wounding – the day when she had watched from the woodlands as Jeniah leapt and tore out Kaittiraan’s throat, in less than a bloodpulse robbing Vaara of any chance she might ever have had of answering the questions she would have asked, of understanding why the woman who bore her would have trapped her for so long in a room with only a caretaker, hidden her existence as though she were a shame, then, at last, freed her, never to choose to see her again.

Even all these surrounds later, she did not understand how Kaitiiraan had done what she did. And that had led to the Wounding, as she sought to find succor for her feelings in attacks on Jeniah and her people, and the Untribed of which her dam had been a part.

After the Breaking, there had been no one left for her to speak to regarding her feelings – until, in desperation, she had come here, to Osiiraan, and seen what was being wrought here. Helping her sisters had given her an understanding of their peoples that she had not had, before.

Rachyl approached, with Larys, Oskar, and Cerlin. The small boys each held a torch- stick – the ends wavered as they sobbed.

“They wanted to be here with you, Varaa,” Rachyl said, softly. “They say that, next to Selind’s, yours are the sweetest embraces.”

Vaara felt the tears that had been lodged at the back of her Breathsource break free, as she settled on her haunches and opened her arms to the boys, who seemed to pause a moment, then, together, flung themselves against her, small wet faces pressing into her breasts, sticks jabbing forgotten into her back.

“I am sorry that you didn’t have a chance to say your farewells, and sorry that I can’t return her to you, as she was this dawning.” She whispered, not certain they could fully understand the words, but knowing to her soul that often, it was the tone of the voice and the touch of the soul that truly offered healing.

They sobbed against her until they were spent, their fluids bathing her skin in the heat of the mid summer night.

Then they stood, on either side of her, as their torch-sticks were lit, and they touched them with gentleness to the empty pyre that had been given to their mother, and watched as it took the flame, sending snapping bits of life into the darkened sky…

After, they settled with her onto a low, flat stone, curling against her in the way of their people. A blanket was brought, and they were covered together, as they watched the dancers weave their way through all the pyres, enacting a vision of What Lie Beyond for the Hunters – what game would they find there, what scents, what joys…

“Vaara, will you come within?” That was Shinjao, and Vaara realized that she had dozed off with the children, who were now soundly asleep.

“Will they be well tended-?”

“Rachyl will take them to be with her and Jeniah’s children, and Larys will remain with them at least this night, so they will be secure. I wish to discuss your journey, and your sister.”

Vaara looked into the embers that were all that remained of the pyres, and realized that it had been more than a nap that she had taken. The night was half gone, already. “Why did you allow me to sleep so long? I intended to leave after the pyres were well aflame, and the Dancing done.”

“The sensates spoke truly, sister. They said that you needed rest, before you could safely enter the Huntlands, and that you needed time also for grieving, and finding peace. And, even if you had not, the children had great need of you.”

Her mind was still foggy, and her emotions far closer to her surface than she would have thought they would be. “I do not believe that I have done with sleeping.”

Rachyl chuckled. “No, you haven’t. But there are things you must know, so that you may dream on them.”

“ And, this night, you must have a proper bed, and my companionship in it.” Nisyn rubbed against her in that sensuous Tacivaarii way, and, despite the sleepiness, Vaara felt her center begin to moisten and throb with wanting.

“Will you come within, Vaaraa? We will share tea, and meat, and then you may go to Matehunt and your rest.”

“But Jeniah -”

“Within. Only within, we will speak on it.” Shinjao’s voice was firm and strong, and her scent said that there were things not to be heard by most of the inhabitants of Osiiraan.

“I will come.” She roused herself, and was pulled at once into Nisyn’s welcome embrace, her skin coming newly alive at the scent and feel of her Solemate. “May it not take longer than is needed.”

When they got to the inner chamber from which Shinjao conducted the more private matters any leader must tend to, there was already stew and roast stuffed groundhen waiting. The arytana tea was of a particularly arousing variety; clearly, it was intended that she and Nisyn would thoroughly enjoy one another, and then rest until they were ready to rise.

A plate was brought to them although she, by habit, usually served herself, and a comfortable couch was given them, where they could stretch out together.

Shinjao upon a couch, with Arys, and opposite them said, “Jeniah has taken more than a full dosing of the poison.”

Vaara only stared at her for a moment. “I sense nothing of that in her,” she said, finally.

“No – and you will not, until we sleep. I placed a reflection in your mind, my lovely, to allow you to remain with the boys.”

“When?”

“Two moonslengths after the pyres were set for the Welcoming. She strayed too close to the diggings, and through a patch of strongly affected imitur.”

“Where is she now?” It had been many sunrounds since she had had any need of that question – there was a way of sensing that told each of them where the other was, even when neither of them willed it.

“She has been stopped by her Severed who drove her to Matehunt, and they found Attunement together, and more…but, when she discovered it, she Severed him once more, and now is preparing to attack the Otherworlders.”

“They will kill her!”

“No, they will not, for she prepares in her dreams alone. Her Solemate, though Severed, cares for her deeply and has given her the sense that she prepares. But he is not here in Aletris’ embrace, and so he cannot see her body to safety. She must be moved, before he loses the ability to affect her mind, else she will die.”

“How long can he hold?”

Shinjao shook her head. “Even he cannot say. He si not strong in such arts, as we measure things, and his kind have no true version of the Huntthread. He can sense only a narrow array of what we send…and yet, he is able to use Jeniah’s mind as a locus. I have released as much of the Huntthread as he can manage to him. He is quickly learning to adjust, and to ask for more.”

Vaara could smell that there was more, but that Shinjao found the saying of it a difficult thing. “Please tell me. You will not cause offense if you have my sister’s well-being in your soul – and I know that you do.”

Shinjao took a deep breath, and nodded as Arys stroked her shoulders, and Nisyn hers, both Solemates providing the support of companionship and touch.”Will you join your Huntthread – as much as he can manage,at least, to ours, so that he will have the full richness of what Alretris offers?”

Vaara didn’t need to hesitate. “I will. He may have all he needs, if it will keep our sister safe until I can arrive.”

She started to get up, but her body was suddenly far too heavy, and her limbs and sinews would not obey her. Nisyn was above her, straddling her, bringing wanting back with a pulsing surge. “We will go later, my lovely. Before, we will seek Sating together, you and I, and then sleep until we are rested. And then, we will go to the Huntleader.”

She made the beginnings of a protest, but then Nisyn kissed her, her tongue cool and sweet with pure arytana nectars, and then there was nothing but the melting sensations of Matehunt…

The dancers crept along on their bellies, stalking, each of the twelve in Lynxform. Suddenly, in their midst, without any clue in wind or wood, beings were – created. From nothingness, they came, and, before they grew solid, they were pointing arcing flashes of light –

Osiiraan went dark, and everyone filtered outside, to the empty pyres. They would burn symbolically, as the Dancers wove around and through the twelve fires, and the Tacivaarii Final Welcoming was seen to.

She watched the children, brought as close to the pyres as they chose, each given the choice, if they wanted, to set torches to the pyres.

They were all Tacivaarii children, and most could remember the time of the Wonuding. Those who couldn’t had heard the stories, and been taken to places where the scars were still raw, even eight sunrounds later.

All knew death, and had seen it come to Osiiraan.

But that made it no easier to bear the sudden and permanent ending of a life, to know that there would be no more embraces or smiles, or even words of anger, shared.

It minded her of the day that had begun the long trail to the Wounding – the day when she had watched from the woodlands as Jeniah leapt and tore out Kaittiraan’s throat, in less than a bloodpulse robbing Vaara of any chance she might ever have had of answering the questions she would have asked, of understanding why the woman who bore her would have trapped her for so long in a room with only a caretaker, hidden her existence as though she were a shame, then, at last, freed her, never to choose to see her again.

Even all these surrounds later, she did not understand how Kaitiiraan had done what she did. And that had led to the Wounding, as she sought to find succor for her feelings in attacks on Jeniah and her people, and the Untribed of which her dam had been a part.

After the Breaking, there had been no one left for her to speak to regarding her feelings – until, in desperation, she had come here, to Osiiraan, and seen what was being wrought here. Helping her sisters had given her an understanding of their peoples that she had not had, before.

Rachyl approached, with Larys, Oskar, and Cerlin. The small boys each held a torch- stick – the ends wavered as they sobbed.

“They wanted to be here with you, Varaa,” Rachyl said, softly. “They say that, next to Selind’s, yours are the sweetest embraces.”

Vaara felt the tears that had been lodged at the back of her Breathsource break free, as she settled on her haunches and opened her arms to the boys, who seemed to pause a moment, then, together, flung themselves against her, small wet faces pressing into her breasts, sticks jabbing forgotten into her back.

“I am sorry that you didn’t have a chance to say your farewells, and sorry that I can’t return her to you, as she was this dawning.” She whispered, not certain they could fully understand the words, but knowing to her soul that often, it was the tone of the voice and the touch of the soul that truly offered healing.

They sobbed against her until they were spent, their fluids bathing her skin in the heat of the mid summer night.

Then they stood, on either side of her, as their torch-sticks were lit, and they touched them with gentleness to the empty pyre that had been given to their mother, and watched as it took the flame, sending snapping bits of life into the darkened sky…

After, they settled with her onto a low, flat stone, curling against her in the way of their people. A blanket was brought, and they were covered together, as they watched the dancers weave their way through all the pyres, enacting a vision of What Lie Beyond for the Hunters – what game would they find there, what scents, what joys…

“Vaara, will you come within?” That was Shinjao, and Vaara realized that she had dozed off with the children, who were now soundly asleep.

“Will they be well tended-?”

“Rachyl will take them to be with her and Jeniah’s children, and Larys will remain with them at least this night, so they will be secure. I wish to discuss your journey, and your sister.”

Vaara looked into the embers that were all that remained of the pyres, and realized that it had been more than a nap that she had taken. The night was half gone, already. “Why did you allow me to sleep so long? I intended to leave after the pyres were well aflame, and the Dancing done.”

“The sensates spoke truly, sister. They said that you needed rest, before you could safely enter the Huntlands, and that you needed time also for grieving, and finding peace. And, even if you had not, the children had great need of you.”

Her mind was still foggy, and her emotions far closer to her surface than she would have thought they would be. “I do not believe that I have done with sleeping.”

Rachyl chuckled. “No, you haven’t. But there are things you must know, so that you may dream on them.”

“ And, this night, you must have a proper bed, and my companionship in it.” Nisyn rubbed against her in that sensuous Tacivaarii way, and, despite the sleepiness, Vaara felt her center begin to moisten and throb with wanting.

“Will you come within, Vaaraa? We will share tea, and meat, and then you may go to Matehunt and your rest.”

“But Jeniah -”

“Within. Only within, we will speak on it.” Shinjao’s voice was firm and strong, and her scent said that there were things not to be heard by most of the inhabitants of Osiiraan.

“I will come.” She roused herself, and was pulled at once into Nisyn’s welcome embrace, her skin coming newly alive at the scent and feel of her Solemate. “May it not take longer than is needed.”

When they got to the inner chamber from which Shinjao conducted the more private matters any leader must tend to, there was already stew and roast stuffed groundhen waiting. The arytana tea was of a particularly arousing variety; clearly, it was intended that she and Nisyn would thoroughly enjoy one another, and then rest until they were ready to rise.

A plate was brought to them although she, by habit, usually served herself, and a comfortable couch was given them, where they could stretch out together.

Shinjao upon a couch, with Arys, and opposite them said, “Jeniah has taken more than a full dosing of the poison.”

Vaara only stared at her for a moment. “I sense nothing of that in her,” she said, finally.

“No – and you will not, until we sleep. I placed a reflection in your mind, my lovely, to allow you to remain with the boys.”

“When?”

“Two moonslengths after the pyres were set for the Welcoming. She strayed too close to the diggings, and through a patch of strongly affected imitur.”

“Where is she now?” It had been many sunrounds since she had had any need of that question – there was a way of sensing that told each of them where the other was, even when neither of them willed it.

“She has been stopped by her Severed who drove her to Matehunt, and they found Attunement together, and more…but, when she discovered it, she Severed him once more, and now is preparing to attack the Otherworlders.”

“They will kill her!”

“No, they will not, for she prepares in her dreams alone. Her Solemate, though Severed, cares for her deeply and has given her the sense that she prepares. But he is not here in Aletris’ embrace, and so he cannot see her body to safety. She must be moved, before he loses the ability to affect her mind, else she will die.”

“How long can he hold?”

Shinjao shook her head. “Even he cannot say. He si not strong in such arts, as we measure things, and his kind have no true version of the Huntthread. He can sense only a narrow array of what we send…and yet, he is able to use Jeniah’s mind as a locus. I have released as much of the Huntthread as he can manage to him. He is quickly learning to adjust, and to ask for more.”

Vaara could smell that there was more, but that Shinjao found the saying of it a difficult thing. “Please tell me. You will not cause offense if you have my sister’s well-being in your soul – and I know that you do.”

Shinjao took a deep breath, and nodded as Arys stroked her shoulders, and Nisyn hers, both Solemates providing the support of companionship and touch.”Will you join your Huntthread – as much as he can manage,at least, to ours, so that he will have the full richness of what Alretris offers?”

Vaara didn’t need to hesitate. “I will. He may have all he needs, if it will keep our sister safe until I can arrive.”

She started to get up, but her body was suddenly far too heavy, and her limbs and sinews would not obey her. Nisyn was above her, straddling her, bringing wanting back with a pulsing surge. “We will go later, my lovely. Before, we will seek Sating together, you and I, and then sleep until we are rested. And then, we will go to the Huntleader.”

She made the beginnings of a protest, but then Nisyn kissed her, her tongue cool and sweet with pure arytana nectars, and then there was nothing but the melting sensations of Matehunt…

Public Domain image. Click for source.



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