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‘SLUT.’

Dale slammed the breaks on the car, stopping in the middle of the quiet road. ‘Where did you learn that!’

‘Trish said it while babysitting me,’ Gavin beamed. ‘She gave me five dollars not to tell mum.’


The first draft of a fight that Linzor starts. This time he's being blatantly manipulative with people.

And even though it's blatant, and she KNOWS what he's doing, it still works to make poor Elli doubt herself.

370 words

cw: abuse / manipulation / fighting / violence

‘You’re scared!’ Linzor growled. ‘You’re scared that Elli and I are going to run off together!’

‘No I’m not I just— You’re a creep!’

‘Zen’efay! I knew it! You don’t trust her, but you can’t admit it!’ Linzor hissed. ‘So of course I’m the villain! Never mind that I’ve been her only loyal friend for years! Her sister and her boyfriend run off together, her mother marries her off, her husband neglects her so much she turns to another man— Who stabs her in the back and blurts about it to everyone!’

Elli could feel her heart racing as Linzor stepped closer to her husband. She could barely breathe as Linzor continued.

‘If I was with Elli I would never have her stray!’ Linzor declared. ‘I’d treat her as she deserved and make sure she behaved! Unlike you!

Sensin’s fist met Linzor’s jaw with a loud crack, and the dassen stumbled back a pace.

The room gasped, as did Elli. She was so shocked by Sensin that she almost forgot to be surprised that Linzor was still standing.

Almost.

But then he looked up at the wolven, his eyes burning with the same seething hatred that Elli had only seen the night he’d almost killed Ykelt, and when he lowered his head Elli felt herself screaming as she leapt between the two men.

‘NO!’

To her surprise, nothing happened.

Slowly, she dared to wink open an eye, and saw as Linzor’s horns —which had stopped only millimetres from her throat— were pulled away. She felt Linzor brush the tips along her cheek as he moved to stand straight, his anger seemingly gone as he gave Elli a familiar look. It was cool enough that people who didn’t know him might think it was reserved, or indifferent. … But Elli recognised it. It was the same look he’d given Keeyata after she’d burnt herself on the stove. … The same look that he’d given Ziu after her favourite glass eye had gone missing from her room. …

He was entertained.

He was having fun.

He made it physical,’ Linzor said plainly, his voice echoing through the silent room as he turned and made for the door. ‘I pray that’s not how he is when you two argue.’


‘Hey, I know someone else who knows Trish—’ Dale quickly stepped away, and Talia and Tiffany were left giggling together until he came back with Zoey. ‘This is Zoey, she went to … uni? With Trish. Zoe, this is Tiffany. She’s a friend of mine, and I also found out she’s friends with Trish.’

‘You gay?’ Zoey asked, so suddenly that Dale choked on his drink.

‘Bit bisexual, yeah.’

‘Girls in suits, am I right?’

‘Consider, girls in summer dresses.’

‘Girls in leather jackets are pretty great.’

‘I have a leather jacket.’

They fist-bumped, and then walked off together, chatting.


Swear I posted this before but I can't find it, so I guess not.

Early draft of a fight between Elli and Sensin, after Sensin finds out about the affair with Ykelt (but before Elli realises she's pregnant). Sensin's not usually an angry person, but he's feeling very hurt and betrayed in this scene.

840 words

‘I don’t deserve it,’ Elli mumbled.

‘What’s happened?’ she asked, putting a hand on Elli’s shoulder.

‘I’m a horrible person, that’s what happened,’ Elli sobbed. ‘He doesn’t deserve someone as terrible as me.’

Before the young girl could reply, Sensin’s feet met the floor with a thump and he marched over to his wife. The woman backed away as he snapped at Elli.

‘I’m tired of this! You made a choice!’ he hissed. ‘I trusted you! You were my closest friend— And look what you did to me!’

‘I’m sorry,’ Elli flopped limply on the couch, drained before she’d even gotten up. ‘I didn’t think. … It’s been so hard. … I feel like I’ve lost everything—’

‘—I’ve made just as many sacrifices for this marriage as you have!’ Sensin snapped. ‘I try and try and try to make you happy, but it’s just not good enough for you, is it? Is it!’

Elli buried her face in the couch and started sobbing violently as Sensin continued.

‘I was the twelfth son of the king! I could have had any life I wanted— But I gave up my dreams to serve my people! And you know what, you haven’t ever asked what I wanted to do! What I lost from all of this! You’ve been too wrapped up in your own misery to even consider that this has been just as hard for me as it has for you! I mean, do you even know anything about me? My favourite food? My favourite colour? Do you remember what I wore on our first date?’

Elli didn’t reply. She just kept her face buried in the worn fabric and sniffled.

‘Would you even care if I died?’

The door shut behind the servant with a hurried bang, and Sensin flinched, seeming to realise how quiet the silence was in comparison to his yelling.

‘If you would just learn instead of making the same mistakes over and over, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,’ he said softly. ‘I’m sorry I’m so angry, though I think I have the right to be. I want to try and fix this. Fix us. But I can’t if you don’t try as well.’

Elli sniffed. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘Being sorry doesn’t make it better,’ Sensin sighed.

Elli knew he was right. She knew. And he hated it.

She hated herself.

‘I’m sorry,’ she didn’t mean to say it. But they were the only words she could find.

A slow, sad breath found its way out of Sensin; his entire body seemed to deflate for a second and he collapsed against the back of the chair.

Neither said anything as the silence lingered between them, and Elli had to hold back the tears as she scanned her belongings on the floor beside her— All of them, she realised, had been gifts from Sensin. … Every single thing.

He’d spoilt her. So much. And she’d ruined him like everything else she touched.

‘I’m sorry.’

‘I know,’ Sensin replied, letting an arm fall over the couch so the tips of his fingers brushed Elli’s ear. ‘I know.’

Elli closed her eyes as his hand slowly moved away from her, and she almost flinched when she felt him lift her legs and slide under her so he could sit with her on the chair. He ran a hand over one of her talons —which she resisted the urge to withdraw— and rested the other gingerly on her hip.

She felt guilty. And not just for the affair.

He was right.

She knew nothing about him. She didn’t have an answer to a single one of his questions. His favourite food? Favourite colour?

She’d tried to learn them. She had.

But her memory. … Her head. … She couldn’t think of them, as stupid a person she was.

She squeezed her eyes tighter, trying to think.

Blue was all she remembered. Blue lace. And a flower not-quite-hiding a hole in a ripped breast pocket.

‘Your blue suit,’ she managed.

‘What?’

‘The one with the hole in the pocket. You wore that on our first date. I think. Did you?’

She felt him squeeze her talon, running his thumb along one of the toes as he pushed the tension out of her muscles. ‘Yes. I did. I— I shouldn’t have. … It’s okay that you don’t remember things. It’s not your fault. I’m sorry I implied that. … That. …’

Elli sniffed back the last of her tears and wiped her eyes. ‘Are you angry at me?’

‘Yes,’ Sensin’s voice was scarcely a whisper.

‘Do you still love me?’

‘Of course I do,’ his voice was louder now. But still soft. ‘Do you … still love me?’

Elli finally looked at him and her sore, red eyes met his. ‘I think so. I think that’s why it hurts so much.’

Sensin sighed.

‘I’m sorry that I ruined us.’

‘Come to bed, Elli.’

Elli shook her head. ‘I don’t deserve it.’

‘Elli,’ both of Sensin’s hands were on her talon, now. ‘Please. I can’t sleep without you.’


Found this really stupid piece of dialogue in my first draft, of Linzor talking to Kay'oten (in a scene I've been debating deleting)

‘I’ll marry Ali’ka!’ ‘And if she doesn’t marry you?’ ‘Her daughter’s available.’ ‘Not to you lol’


Gala’sha, talking to Scaychie about his regrets and knowing he’s going to die but not when or how.

450 words

cw: violence

Scaychie wasn’t sure what to say. She didn’t know Gala’sha could be nice. He’d always been such a beast to her it was hard to wrap her brain around how gently he treated had Tru’man.

‘Dassen,’ Gala’sha motioned for her to come closer.

She dared slide over.

He gripped her arm tightly and stared into her eyes. After a long moment of quiet he spoke.

‘I don’t know how long I have.’

‘What?’ Scaychie blinked.

‘Until I die,’ he clarified. ‘But I know it’s soon.’

‘How—’

‘—Setani’Selina said it, and so it must be so,’ he said. ‘She is the mala’kala’s katka-zelkin, and has never been wrong before.’

‘About rain,’ Scaychie tried to pull her arm away from Gala’sha, but he squeezed it tighter.

‘Listen to me, dassen!’ he growled. ‘There’s something wrong. There’s something very wrong in this world. I feel it every day. I can’t place it, but I feel it. In the rocks and the sky and the clouds. In the children crying in hunger and the warriors dying with dirt in their wounds. …’

Scaychie swallowed as Gala’sha pulled her close.

‘You, though,’ he whispered. ‘You don’t feel wrong. You feel like … like an old heartbeat come from an ancestor.’

‘You’re insane!’ Scaychie snapped, finally managing to tug her arm away.

Gala’sha grabbed her by the throat and growled— Then a strange look passed over him. Scaychie had never seen it in him before.

Regret.

He released her and turned away. ‘The Heck’ne’s gone wrong. I tried to fix it. I did. But I took the wrong side,’ slowly, he lowered his face into his hands.

‘Why … are you telling me this? Scaychie asked.

‘Linzor,’ Gala’sha growled. ‘He fears you, you know. You speak out against him. You change minds. You make wrongs into rights. I don’t know how —I wish I understood— but you do it. You. You fix things.’

Scaychie swallowed. ‘I just do what needs to be done.’

Gala’sha turned, so quickly Scaychie didn’t have time to respond before he grabbed her hands in his and squeezed them so tight his nails drew blood. ‘I beg that you never stop. Please. When I’m gone, you must care for my people. Guide them right. Fix my mistakes.’

‘I— I don’t know if I can—’

‘—I beg you to try.’

For a moment, Scaychie hesitated. Then she nodded. ‘I will.’

‘You’re a Har’py at heart,’ Gala’sha grinned, his fangs reflecting a sparkle of sunlight. ‘The right kind.’

‘Thank you,’ Scaychie replied. And she meant it. Being called a Har’py would usually make her … feel different to this. But the way Gala’sha spoke— It was in earnest. And it had meaning. Even if she didn’t understand it.


‘Why won’t you talk to me?’ she cried, grabbing her wife around the waist.

Sken froze in place, and for a long moment she just stood there.

‘Please talk to me,’ Annanyn sobbed. ‘Why don’t you trust me!’

Then Sken turned, and put her arms around her wife. ‘I trust you.’

‘Then why does how Stars feels matter?’

‘I don’t want to lose you,’ Sken’s gills clamped, and she let out a sob. ‘She has everything I can’t give you and it makes me so scared I can’t breathe.’

‘You’ve got more than she could ever offer me,’ Annanyn said softly, leaning into Sken’s chest and hugging her. ‘You will never, ever lose me. I promise.’

‘She’s everything I want to be,’ Sken said, her voice quivering. ‘And she. … I know it’s stupid, but I feel like she’s going to take everyone from me. Like Koko and— And you.’

Annanyn’s lights lit up; though for once, it wasn’t a happy glow. She threw her arms around her wife and squeezed her tightly. ‘I would never leave you.’

Sken shivered, and looked away. ‘Even if it meant you could have a child?’

‘No, not even if it meant I could have a child,’ she replied, her voice calmed and her lights dimmed. ‘Because if I couldn’t raise them with you— Well … what would the point of it be?’


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