My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton
‘Do you want me to do the frown?’
Distro snorted with surprise and turned back to the young felinic. She’d forgotten she was having her portrait painted. ‘If you like, Penel. As long as I look gay.’
‘You always look gay, your majesty,’ said Penel. ‘You exude it like an aura. I admit I’m jealous. How do you do it?’
‘Years of practice,’ Distro felt herself grinning. ‘But perhaps I can give you some pointers?’
‘Perhaps,’ Penel’s eyes flashed impishly as she washed the paint from her brush. ‘Anyway, seeing as you’ve moved around, now seems like a good time to take a break with this. I’ll go get some food and then we can continue?’
‘I think I’ve had enough for today,’ Distro replied. ‘I’ve got a few things I need to do.’
‘Serious things that make you frown?’ Penel asked, giving a playful shake of her head and clicking her tongue. ‘Tsk, tsk. That’s not very swag of you.’
‘Don’t tell me what’s swag!’ Distro retorted. ‘I’ve been swag for over two thousand years!’
‘You’ve been a lot of things for over two thousand years,’ the girl teased as she scooped her things into her bag. ‘But swag is not one of them. Should I come back tomorrow or. …’
The queen’s twitched an ear as Penel’s gaze shifted and she fell silent. There was a raspy whimper and Distro turned to see a wide-eyed seces shivering in the doorway.
‘Good evening, Jaisa,’ Distro greeted gently. ‘I’m glad you’re awake. Are you alright? Do you want to sit down?’
From Ka'harja's Journey, chapter 6
‘You gonna get dressed?’ Ka’harja scoffed. ‘Or at least dry off?’
‘Nah, I’m alright!’ Distro grinned, starting back towards the camp. ‘I’ll just drip-dry.’
Ka’harja watched the two mothers leave with Little Demon. They talked happily between themselves; like old friends who’d known each other for years. Ka’harja felt almost jealous that Dena and his mother had bonded so quickly in the past month. Especially when he considered the cold looks Dena gave him.
He shook his head. It wasn’t Dena’s fault; she’d lived with Kay’oten for … who knows how long? He could only imagine what she saw when she looked at him. He thought it must be for her like it was for him when he was young, and first saw himself in a mirror. … That horrible, familiar face that wasn’t quite his parents’ but close enough to make him sick.
He sighed. He just had to be patient with Dena until she saw him as himself, and not a reminder of the Heck’ne.
‘That’s not fair,’ Stars mumbled, swimming up next to Ka’harja. ‘Everyone gets to be naked except for me.’
‘You’re naked now,’ he pointed out.
Elli, a Canis diplomat, married one of Konde's princes to help make a peace treaty. Then she goes and screws it up by having an affair with the prince of Canis. Needless to say, it's a drama that causes a very serious meeting between the two kingdoms.
Distro, though, knows how to diffuse a room.
Nirine stared at her son in disbelief as her court muttered disapprovingly. Elli could feel their gazes boring into her. As well as the gazes of the Canis diplomats. The only eyes she could see that didn’t look like daggers were Ykelt’s— And Distro’s.
Distro was shaking her head, but her gaze was soft and forgiving. Then she took a deep breath and addressed the room. ‘He’s right, and I’m willing to forgive you, Nirine.’
‘You— Excuse me?’
The room began to mutter, and Elli was stunned. What?
‘I’m willing to forgive you, for the actions of your daughter-in-law,’ Distro clarified, grinning widely. ‘She seduced my grandson, you see. And now we’re caught in this slurry of political drama. And I just want you to know I forgive you. And I especially forgive your son for not keeping her satisfied— If you know what I mean!’
The comical wink Distro gave made the room fall silent.
Then Sensin’s mother laughed, and shook her head. ‘You forgive him for. ... Oh, Distro! Oh, Goddess, Distro.’
‘Ah, yeah, I didn’t think those two got along much,’ Ka’harja replied. ‘Did something happen between them?’
Coff shook his head. ‘N-No. They just— They just— Just—‘
‘Just don’t get along?’ Ka’harja offered.
Coff bit his lip and nodded. ‘Y-Yea—’
‘—HAH!’ Distro’s laugh cut in from above, and the boys turned to see her, Denni, and Dena staring down at them from the top of the hill. ‘GAAAAY!’
‘THAT’S THE POINT!’ Ka’harja shouted back as his mother began her way down towards him. ‘Aw, no, what does she want— THIS IS A PRIVATE CONVERSATION! GO AWAY!’
‘YOU SKIPPED BREAKFAST!’ Distro pointed to Denni, who brandished a loaf of bread high above her head. ‘BUT IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE UNGRATEFUL, THEN FINE! DENNI?’
The loaf of bread sailed in a perfect arc through the air and Ka’harja didn’t have time to respond before it hit him full in the face.
‘Ow!’ Ka’harja exclaimed, dramatically motioning from his face to the bread. ‘Seriously? SERIOUSLY?’
‘LOVE YOU!’ his mother called back. Then she headed back up the hill and put an arm around each of her friends, leading them both back towards camp.
‘Gods! I swear! Sometimes she’s just— UGH!’ Ka’harja flopped onto his back and gave a groan. ‘Sorry about her.’
‘Hey— No, no!’ Ka’harja leapt to his feet and raised his hands defensively. ‘You guys can’t bully me!’ ‘Crock!’ Distro gave a wicked grin and made to stand up. ‘We can absolutely bully you!’ ‘NO!’ Ka’harja didn’t mean for it to come out as a shriek, but the entire room had taken cue from his mother and suddenly advanced on him— And he was only half out the door before he felt his mother leap onto his back and whoop like she was taming a wild horse. He nearly slipped down the last step as her weight slammed into him and stumbled along the damp grass for a minute before Distro’s arms wrapped around his face and he couldn’t see where he was going. ‘Git ‘im, Distro!’ ‘No! Stop getting me!’ Ka’harja exclaimed. Then he tripped and fell, the weight on his back pulling him down sideways. ‘Aw, FUCK!’ Distro exclaimed as Ka’harja landed on her. ‘Elbow— ELBOW!’ Ka’harja rolled off her and she let out a gasp, gripping her stomach and rolling over to catch her breath. ‘Y’kay, Distro?’ Denni called. ‘Yeah, fine,’ Distro replied. ‘Serves you right,’ Ka’harja joked, rolling to his feet and offering his mother a hand. ‘I’m a sensitive boy, you know!’ Right as he said it he met eyes with Coff, and felt like an idiot. But then Coff smiled and he felt a little less like an idiot. … And then his mother yanked him onto the ground again and started sticking her fingers in his ears, and the shriek he let out made him feel stupider than ever. ‘Let me go!’ he cried. ‘I’m fragile! I’M FRAGILE!’ ‘Crock!’ Distro retorted before making a throaty snort— And Ka’harja screamed as spit made its way down the back of his neck. ‘DISGUSTING!’ his voice rose so high it hurt his ears. ‘YOU’RE DISGUSTING!’ ‘You’re the one with spit on you.’ ‘Get off me!’ wiggling as much as he could, Ka’harja managed to escape his mother’s grip and fled through the caravans towards the river. He couldn’t hear her following him and he slowed as he made it to the incline, turning to see nobody behind him. ‘Oh, thank the Eighth child of the Ninth,’ he breathed, stumbling down the hill. Then he slipped and tumbled the whole way down before splashing into the river with another loud cry.
Ka'harja is good at one thing and one thing only... And that's being hungry
‘Ka’harja and I use fresh herbs all the time,’ said Distro. ‘Let me see them.’
Ka’harja watched his mother stand over the healer and point. ‘The moon’s leaf is fine, but the cortcor berries are a little underripe, see the orange colouration? Put them in some sugar-water until they’re a bright red.’
‘W-Will that w-work?’ amazed, Coff put the berries aside and wrote a quick note.
‘For cortcor berries it does,’ Ka’harja chimed in, leaning over the two and brushing some pale green berries away from the rest. ‘Not for the julijun, though, the sugar makes them lose their potency. You need to pick them ripe or they’re useless for anything but replanting.’
Coff nodded and scribbled down another note. ‘Wh-What about the a-acorns? I’m not s-sure if they’re o-okay or— Or if they’re going bad.’
Ka’harja picked one up and bit into it. ‘Tastes fine to me.’
The healer looked at him, horrified. ‘You’re n-not even go-going to. …’
Ka’harja swallowed. ‘Not going to what?’
Ka’harja frowned. ‘You only shell them if you’re using them for potions, I thought?’
Coff put his face in his hands and let out a long, pained sigh as Ka’harja ate the rest of the acorn, cap and all.
‘He’s like a squirrel,’ Distro snickered.
‘Squirrels do-don’t eat the sh-shells,’ Coff corrected. ‘He’s like a. … A. …’
‘Hey, I’m right here, you know!’ Ka’harja snapped playfully, finishing the last bowl of soup. ‘Dammit.’
‘Still hungry, bin-boy?’ Distro asked. She grinned when Ka’harja nodded. ‘There was a lot more leftover. I don’t think anyone will mind if you have another bowl.’
‘You— You just had s-seven bowls of soup!’ Coff exclaimed. ‘How are you st-still wanting m-more?’
Ka’harja shrugged. ‘I always eat this much.’
The following is the tale of Klict and Gagoo’galornga, as recorded by Klict’s blessed: Immortal Queen Distro Nigelle. While Distro’s version of the story is similar to other known versions of the story, she stays adamant that Gagoo’galornga was not evil; that was trying to save the Heck’ne and not forcibly take over. Though this version comes directly from Klict’s blessed many foxen people do not believe it to be the true version and instead argue that, as Distro’s mind is connected to Klict’s, Distro is as infatuated by Galornga as Klict was. … Distro takes great offence to this, referring to Gagoo’galornga as an “ugly sod” who she has no interest in.
In 11,629 AE Canis La’Can’s Queen Distro assaulted a Lakua diplomat; holding him down and drawing multiple penises on his face. Her only reason (“he was a little bitch and had it coming”) was agreed to be an acceptable defence by the majority of those in the alliance and she suffered no official consequences, though trades between Canis La’Can and Lakua stopped for over 400 years.
‘I expected her to come sooner,’ Distro explained. ‘After Ka’harja told me what she did to him. I’ve been wanting to break this bitch’s neck since she broke his leg!’
Sken glanced to the scar on Ka’harja’s leg, then looked up with awe. ‘You really care about him, don’t you? Even though he’s not really—’
‘—That sentence better finish with “very bright,”’ Distro hissed. ‘Because if anyone else dares to imply he’s not my son, I’ll kill them, too!’
Sken’s gills pressed down in shock and she gave a curt nod.
‘Seces … seces …’ she muttered, then clicked her fingers. ‘Toro, you know a seces right?’
‘Yes?’ Toro frowned. ‘Why?’
‘Could you get xer to put some of her mucus in this for me?’ Distro handed him a phial that was far too dusty to be usable.
‘Um … I can try,’ he muttered, taking the fragile glass and cleaning it on his shirt. ‘But—’
‘—Thaddaboy. It’s gotta be fresh, and preferably full of hormones.’
‘—Tell xer its for Kazani. Xie’ll get it.’
Two figures sat alone under the light of the moons. Over a hundred years had passed since the day they had met. For one, nothing had changed. For the other, death was coming near; the misty clouds that spun out of her mouth were so small it seemed as though she was scarcely breathing.
Thin, ancient hands grasped weakly at woollen blankets, but couldn’t hold them still. The older of the two —the one who hadn’t aged— pushed the falling blankets back over her daughter’s shoulders and smiled as best she could. ‘How are you feeling?’
‘Tired,’ was the reply. ‘I think tonight’s my last night, kekik Distro.’
‘Don’t say such things,’ Distro told her.
The woman shook her head. ‘I’m alright with dying now. I’ve lived a long time. A hundred and twenty four years. … I’d not have lived that long back in Heck’ne. Most people die before they’re thirty. Did you know that, kekik Distro?’
Distro shivered. ‘Yes, I know.’
‘Where’s Ka’harja? Is he back yet? He’s been gone an awfully long time.’
Distro put her face in her hands and took a deep breath. She sat up straight beside her daughter and held back the tears that were trying to escape her eyes. ‘He’s not coming back, remember? He died.’
A confused look passed over the old woman, just for a second, before she looked up at the sky and sighed. ‘I remember.’
This scene is mostly a break from all the sad stuff; it’s a silly arguement that both develops the characters and shows off some of the world building!
It also helps to lift the mood so that when it drops again, you feel the drop and it has more impact, so instead of you feeling like “ugh they’re STILL sad?” you (hopefully) feel more like hugging then and saying “baby no its okay!”
‘Fireproof charms were ten percent off,’ she mumbled. ‘And I was already getting the invisibility enchantment put on.’
Ka’harja laughed. He felt guilty about taking the things, but he was happy to know that none of it was damaged. Perhaps he could sneak it back into Coff’s caravan when everyone else was busy.
‘Hey, don’t laugh, I saved twenty gold on that enchantment—’
‘—WHAT?’ Ka’harja knew that a fireproof charm wasn’t worth fifty gold— And that Distro must have paid at least three times that much for a ten percent saving to be twenty gold. He quickly tried to calculate it in his head and nearly slapped his mother when he figured it out. ‘You paid two hundred gold for a fireproofing enchantment?’
‘No, I paid one hundred and eighty!’ Distro snapped. ‘You’re forgetting that I saved twenty!’
‘Saving twenty gold on a fireproofing charm should mean you get it for free!’ he retorted. ‘You could have gotten a cheaper one somewhere else—’
‘—And have the enchantment wear off after a week? No thank you!’ Distro snapped back. ‘Lifetime guarantees don’t come from cheap enchanters!’
‘Lifetime guarantees don’t come from cheap enchanters,’ Ka’harja mocked. ‘Great Star, mum, no wonder we’re always broke!’
‘You mean: no wonder we always have things that work properly!’ Distro put her hands on her hips and shook her head. ‘Imagine if I used cheap ingredients for the potions? They’d not be half as good!’
Ka’harja just laughed and walked back to the ashes of his house.
‘Don’t you walk away from me!’ Distro called out, following her son. She nearly ran into Baku as he came out of the pantry. ‘You! Baku, was it? Tell Ka’harja for me— Tell him that it’s better to pay more for something that works, than pay less and have to replace it later!’
Baku looked stunned. ‘I— Ah— Wha— Huh?’
‘She paid two hundred gold for a fireproof enchantment on a canvas sack,’ Ka’harja explained.
‘How much?’ Koko’s voice called from behind the burnt wall and she poked her head out of the pantry. ‘Scara in the High-World, who pays that much for an enchantment that’ll wear off in a month’s time?’
‘Well, I’ve had the enchantment on it for five years, and it hasn’t worn off!’ Distro huffed. ‘And if I was paying ten gold every month for five years, I would have paid … uh … a lot more than two hundred by now!’
Baku shot Koko a look, as if asking her to say something, but Koko just shrugged before retreating back into the room.
After-effects of a high-risk fight scene where Ka’harja’s two mothers (biological and adopted) fought to the death over him.
The fight introduced an important piece of world-building, dragonshifting, and gave us some more info on what abuse Ka’harja went through before he ran away.
Though this scene focuses more on Distro and Ka’harja’s bond; and how they help each other heal after traumatic experiences.
Distro flinched as he sat beside her. She turned her face away and shifted awkwardly, scratching at the scales that had grown over her freckles with an anxious energy. Ka’harja elbowed her hand away from her neck before holding out one of the bowls of soup, which he had figured he was lucky not to have spilt on his way down the hill.
Distro sighed as she took it, staring at it rather than eating it, and Ka’harja had to lean over and kiss her before she realised it was food.
She smiled at him with her uneven jaw and her new teeth clanked together as she tried to pull back her underbite into a more comfortable position. Her uncomfortable smile faded into a frown and she flicked her too-long ears in frustration.
Ka’harja was intrigued by the fluff that now spilled out of his mother’s ears and fell under its own weight like decorative hair extensions. But when he reached out his hand he found that, instead of following his first instinct to playfully tug on his mother’s hair, his palm met her cheek and his thumb wiped away a lone tear that had found its way under her eye.
Her skin barely felt like her own, but he didn’t care. No matter what she looked like she was still his mother, and nothing —not even turning into a dragon— could ever change that.
Ka’harja slid his hand over his mother’s face and he rested a finger on her nose. He grinned and pushed against one of her nostrils. ‘I bet I could fit an entire finger in one of these bad boys.’
Distro snorted a laugh and batted his hand away from her snout.
‘Guess what?’ asked Ka’harja as he poked his mother’s nose again. He continued when she met his eye with a tired grin. ‘You’re great.’
Distro’s laugh was louder this time. ‘No, you are!’
‘You’re greater though,’ barely noticing the new deepness to her voice, Ka’harja poked her again. He stopped and looked down at his food as he turned the day over in his mind. ‘You saved my life.’
‘You’re my little boy,’ Distro rasped. ‘What else was I meant to do? Have that bitch take you back to the Heck’ne? I’d rather die than let that happen.’
Ka’harja smiled and drank his soup. It was hard to figure out what he was feeling; the last two days had been pretty hectic. He knew, though, that he was relieved Distro was still alive. He couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to lose her. Whenever he tried to think about what he would have done if she’d lost the fight or died in the fire, his mind shut off and all he could imagine was a bird flying into a window. Maybe he was supposed to be the bird? He wasn’t sure what his brain was doing.
‘I love you, mum,’ he finally managed. ‘I love you more than I love anything else.’
‘Even more than that sexy werewolf calendar you got on our holiday to Bonark?’
Ka’harja nearly choked. ‘At least twice as much. You didn’t see me pulling that out of the fire, did you?’
Distro’s smile seemed to stick on her now, and even when she looked away it didn’t falter. ‘How’s the soup taste?’
‘As salty as Koko’s attitude,’ Ka’harja laughed. ‘I think you’ll like it. Give it a go.’
Distro lifted her bowl and blew over the soup; mist flowed into the air and it almost looked like she’d exhaled white smoke.
Ka’harja grinned at his mother as she turned back to him.
‘No spoon?’ she joked.
Ka’harja shrugged. ‘Since when were you the sort of loser to eat soup with a spoon?’
Distro laughed. She put the bowl to her mouth and tried to drink, but the ceramics clinked against her teeth and hot soup spilled down her front.
Ka’harja’s shirt ripped in his hurry to get it off. He forced it over his head and wiped the steaming soup off his mother before urging her towards the cold river.
‘It doesn’t hurt at all,’ said Distro as she pulled away from her son. ‘It feels … comfortably warm.’
‘But it was steaming!’ Ka’harja exclaimed. ‘You’d have to be a dragon for it to not … burn. … Right. I get it. Stop laughing.’
Still giggling, though covering her mouth to muffle it, Distro shook her head at her son and gave him a shove. ‘Did you not notice?’ she asked with a grin.
‘Look, it’s been a long day,’ Ka’harja plopped down next to his mother and sighed. He watched as Distro started to scratch at her new scales again. ‘Itchy?’
‘No,’ mumbled Distro. ‘Just different.’
Distro is stubborn, Coff’s her doctor. Obviously, they butt heads a bit lot.
‘Go to bed!’ Coff demanded, pointing back to his caravan.
‘Coff—’ Coborn started, then cut off. She rubbed her hand along her collarbone and blushed. ‘Coff she. …’
‘She’s awesome!’ Baku exclaimed. ‘Did you see that!’
‘Y-Y-Yes I did!’ Coff replied, still fuming. ‘I d-don’t c-care how ama-ama— How amazing it w-was! Sh-She’s st-still sick! Bed!’
‘I’m fine,’ Distro protested.
‘Oof, alright,’ rolling her eyes, Distro turned to Coborn. ‘Cook fast so I can come back out sooner?’
‘Bed!’ Coff exclaimed, stepping between the two girls. ‘N-Now!’
‘Alright, I’m going!’ Distro raised her hands in a submissive gesture and shrugged. ‘Back to bed— Ka, Sweetheart, come get me when dinners ready?’
‘Stop stalling,’ Coff grunted, stepping around Distro again to get between her and her son. ‘And g-g-go—’
‘—I’m not stalling!’ Distro huffed and headed off the way she’d come before. Coff trailed her closely as she continued complaining. ‘Do you think I would stall?’
‘Y-Yes! I d-do!’ Coff’s voice exclaimed as the pair disappeared behind one of the caravans. ‘You— You would st-stall not st-starving if you thought some-someone was t-telling you what to do!’
‘I eat on my own terms.’
‘You look an awful lot like …’ Distro muttered.
‘L-Like what?’ Centela squeaked.
‘Like a yummy little boy!’ she teased, opening her snout wide and snapping it shut right by his arm.
Centela let out a shriek and ran to his mother. He hid behind her, and let out a snarl that he knew sounded cowardly and not at all brave.
Scaychie just gave a weak, tired smile. ‘She was just joking, Centela. She’s not going to eat you.’
‘Then she shouldn’t say it!’ Centela cried. ‘Kaka mia mal sasao! Kaka! Mia! Mal! Sasao!’
Distro let out a hearty laugh and slipped off her throne. ‘A true Har’py at heart, isn’t he? I haven’t heard that saying in a long time. Alright. I won’t make up whispers anymore.’
‘Come on, Ka,’ Distro shouldered Ka’harja and grinned. ‘It’s going to be fine. I haven’t coughed in ages!’ ‘Three days isn’t that impressive,’ Ka’harja said tentatively. He didn’t mean to be so weary, but he was scared to be optimistic. ‘And tomorrow, it’ll be a full week,’ Distro snorted. ‘So it’ll become impressive— Ah, fuck hold on.’ For a second Ka’harja wondered what his mother was doing as she leapt off the bed and headed for the caravan door. She yanked it open and made a guttural snort like she was sucking something out of her throat— Then she spat. ‘AH, DISTRO! That’s feral!’ cried Lif. ‘It didn’t hit ya!’ Distro called back. ‘Get over it!’
Distro you are disgusting...
‘Why are wolven homes so ugly?’ Ell’ian asked, loudly turning to the queen. ‘Dellor’s rooms were hideous before we repainted, and this castle isn’t much better!’
‘Excuse me?’ Distro scoffed. ‘It’s called minimalism—’
‘—Your purple rugs are fugly,’ Ell’ian said plainly.
‘What?’ gasped Distro.
It’s been almost 200 years since anyone has had the AUDACITY to insult Distro’s interior decorating.