My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton
I swear I posted this before but,, can't find it. So I guess I thought about posting but didn't
Goose questions Centela about her biological family, and finds out things that Centy would rather have forgotten.
cw: kidnapping mention // implied abuse/incest mentions
Centela looked away; refusing to meet his daughter’s eye. ‘Biologically … yes.’
‘And what does that make you and me, biologically?’ Gusilina asked, stumbling over the word.
‘You’re … my sister,’ Centela admitted. ‘Look I— You’re too young to hear this. It’s hard to explain—’
‘—I want to know,’ Gusilina interrupted. ‘It’s not fair that I don’t know. I want to know why people look at me like they do. And I want to know why I’m so sick. And I want to know why my real ma didn’t want me. If it’s because of something that man did then I want to know. It’s not fair that I don’t know!’
Centela took a deep breath. For a while he didn’t look back at Gusilina. But when he did, she saw hurt in his eyes and almost regretted asking.
She tried to stay firm, but out of the corner of her vision she saw her hair changing from red to blonde and knew she wasn’t hiding how scared she felt.
‘Your mother …’ Centela stopped and took a deep breath. ‘Our father hurt her. A lot. So bad that her horns grew wrong and she can’t talk without feeling sick.’
Gusilina thought for a long moment. Then sighed. ‘It’s aunty Liamara, isn’t it?’
Centela didn’t answer with words; but the way he deflated with his face in his hands told Gusilina she was right.
‘So Keeyata is my grandmother?’ Gusilina asked. She sighed when Centela nodded. ‘And Harnlix is my uncle. Not my cousin?’
Centela nodded again.
They were quiet for a while before Gusilina bit her lip and pulled on Centela’s sleeve.
‘Thank you for telling me,’ she said. ‘I won’t tell anyone else that I know.’
Elli tries to be nice to a stressed-out Scaychie, then Linzor enters and is his usually manipulative self.
cw. implied abuse // swearing
‘—Scaychie, honey? Are you okay?’ Elli put a hand on Scaychie’s shoulder, and Scaychie let out a shriek and whirled around. Elli jumped back when she did, narrowly dodging a slap that was aimed at her.
Scaychie stared for a second, her mouth hanging open, before she glanced at the jacket-covered chair and blushed. ‘I... I’m sorry. I thought that was you.’
Elli tried not to grin as she picked up her jacket and threw it over her shoulders. ‘I was just coming to grab it. ... You really thought it was me? Even when it didn’t reply to you?’
Scaychie gave a timid nod and rubbed her arms. ‘I thought I might’ve done something to piss you off.’
‘Oh, honey, no,’ Elli shook her head. ‘I would never treat you like that. Even if I was angry. You know that, right?’
‘Oh— Uh ... yeah. Sure.’
‘Are you alright?’
‘Do you need a glass of water or—‘
‘—No,’ Scaychie dismissed. ‘I’m fine.’
Elli didn’t believe her. She watched the young woman scratch anxiously at the tight choker around her neck, and for a second thought she caught sight of a bruise on her shoulder— But before she could ask the door flew open and Scaychie hurriedly adjusted her shawl as Linzor strode into the room.
‘Where have you been!’ he demanded. ‘I’ve been looking for you everywhere!’
‘—She’s been with me,’ Elli chided back. ‘Honestly, Linzor, calm down. What would your mother say if she heard you talking like that?’
Linzor’s lip twitched as he stared at the girls, but then he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. ‘Elli, perhaps you shouldn’t spend so much time thinking about the dead.’
‘This is literally a funeral, Linzor. My grandfather. Or did you forget?’
‘I didn’t forget. I just don’t care,’ he retorted, lifting a wing and motioning Scaychie out the door. ‘No offence.’
‘“No offence”?’ Elli choked. ‘You can’t just— You can’t just tack “no offence” on the end of things you giant cunt!’
Linzor’s raised wing turned on Elli, brushing over her heavily and nearly sending her to the floor as Linzor grinned wickedly. ‘Honestly, Elli, calm down.’
First draft of Scaychie talks to the goddess who shows her visions of the future. This leads to Scaychie’s decision to stay in Heck’ne with Linzor, even after the kidnapped dassens are set free.
cw: implied kidnapping, abuse, & drugging // vomit
A sad look passed over the spirit’s face and she slowly blinked her third eye.
Another image sped through Scaychie’s head; bubbling water and a storm, screaming, and her own face as she desperately tried to reach her sinking son in the impossible to fight ocean.
‘You would survive,’ the spirit finally said. ‘He would sink to the bottom. You’d have more children with your husband— But you would miss this one forever.’
‘And if I stay?’ Scaychie sniffed. ‘What would happen if I stay?’
The spirit blinked her eye, and a white flash flared in Scaychie’s mind.
A wedding and a young wolven girl holding hands with her son as their own children crowded in the garden; and a high, happy voice as Keeyata read her vows, her tail flicking so excitedly she knocked over a pot of petals and sent a flurry of pink and blue into the wind.
But it hurt. Scaychie gripped her chest and gasped as it spread across her body and made her tremble in agony.
‘The ache will never truly leave you,’ the spirit told her. ‘It may lessen, in time, but if you sacrifice yourself you will never stop hurting.’
‘What do I do?’ Scaychie sniffed.
‘No choice you make is wrong,’ the spirit told her, crossing her legs and slowly lowering herself to the ground beside the dassen. ‘They all lead to hurt. It is not selfish to choose the path that will stop yourself from hurting; it’s not wrong to look after yourself.’
‘But the others—’
‘—They will suffer too. No matter what you do. … You can make it easier for them. Shield them with yourself. But it will hurt you so much you might lose yourself,’ the spirit blinked slowly.
Scaychie braced herself for another painful vision. But it didn’t come.
Instead she felt light. Her chest not so tight and her worried thoughts faded to a numb feeling in the back of her head.
A bitter, metallic taste washed over her tongue as she stared at her husband.
Out of place.
She couldn’t tell what it was.
What was happening?
She watched him as he stood beside her, trying to place the thought.
He was everything.
Everything was his?
She’d forgotten something.
She had to remember what it was. …
What was she meant to know?
Then Linzor faded from her vision and the weight of reality slammed into her like her memories of storms. Her stomach lurched and she felt so sick from the feelings that had overcome her that she threw up, barely missing the long hair of the old woman as her stomach emptied itself on the ground beside them.
‘I will not fall in love with him!’ bile dribbled down her chin as she stared at the dirt. She felt her chest heave as she held back her building cry. ‘I will fight him! I swear it! I won’t ever feel that way about him! I won’t let myself!’
‘Then leave,’ the spirit said simply. ‘Or he won’t give you a choice.’
‘I can’t!’ Scaychie exclaimed. ‘I can’t leave! Not without the others!’
‘It’s the only way to save yourself,’ said the spirit. ‘If you don’t leave he will change you and your thoughts until you lose who you are. You can fight him, but he will poison you until you love him— And I do not mean that as a metaphor.’
Scaychie hesitated for a long moment. Then she whispered, ‘Do I ever get away from him?’
‘And if I stay, it will save the others?’
‘Then I’ll bear it. As long as I have to.’
The Runaways - Prologue
cw: implied abuse
Neg’an felt a shiver run down her spine and she gripped her mother’s hands tightly as Kay’oten stalked away. She wondered if she should tell her mother that she had let Ka’harja go herself— But what good would that do? He was gone now. She’d only get in trouble.
‘Come on, little carrot,’ Dena’cosa sighed and gently led her daughter toward their sleeping hovel. ‘You heard Kay’oten. Stay close to me tonight.’
‘I’m not ababhi,’ Neg’an rasped. ‘Am I?’
‘No, carrot,’ Dena’cosa comforted, sitting her daughter down in their bed. ‘You’re not ababhi.’
‘Definitely not,’ a voice muttered from the corner of the small shelter. There was a sniff, and Neg’an’s older sister sat up from under her tattered fur blanket. ‘You’re hakalika at most.’
‘Ta’lak, don’t …’ Dena’cosa sighed. ‘Don’t say that.’
‘Why? We’re all hakalika,’ Ta’lak replied. ‘If we weren’t we wouldn’t be here. And if our yalfit wasn’t completely ababhi maybe I’d not have been born.’
‘—I know,’ Ta’lak sighed. ‘I’m sorry, kekik. Maybe I’m ababhi.’
When the seces pirates first find Candi, alone and scared in Tarork’s room, and know they can’t just leave her there.
cw: implied child abuse / implied csa
Candi felt herself screaming as a seces, as green as the castle’s rose bushes, shoved the broken door aside and turned to her.
She saw the blood-covered sword in their hand as they stepped toward her and she let out another dry-throated scream. She tried to cram herself further into her hiding place, but she was already so far back she could barely move.
The seces put a hand on the bed’s head and bent down to peer at her. Their gills made a popping sound as they sighed and stood back up. They motioned to another seces —who Candi hadn’t seen come in— that had begun ransacking the room.
The second seces stopped rifling through Tarork’s drawers as the first discarded their sword onto the bed and crouched down at the opening to the gap.
The pair motioned to each other with their hands, as if having a silent conversation, before the second gave a frustrated grunt and joined the first.
The minute they laid eyes on Candi their gills clamped down hard and they gave a disgusted hiss.
The first seces edged forward and reached out a hand to Candi. ‘Come out. We won’t hurt you.’
The blood smeared over their clothes said otherwise, and Candi didn’t believe them. She pressed back further into the gap and shook her head. She could barely breathe.
The second seces sighed, and quickly pulled off their shirt and offered it to her. She didn’t take it, at first, but when they placed it on the floor in front of her and backed away she slowly —carefully— took it and slipped it over her head.
It was awkward. The space was so cramped she could barely lift her arms. And the shirt was so big it fit her like a dress. … Though, being covered to her knees was a relief. Even if the shirt was covered in a sticky, salty slime from the seces.
‘Come out,’ the first seces urged. ‘It’s okay. We won’t hurt you. Will we, Pexziz?’
Pexziz shook their head. ‘Nos. We’ses won’ts. Youses ares too smalls.’
Candi shook her head again.
‘What’s your name?’ the first seces asked, edging closer to the gap’s entrance. ‘I’m Kei.’
Candi didn’t dare answer. Not that she would have been able to if she’d tried, her throat was so sore and dry.
‘Come on, sweet,’ Kei carefully slid towards her. They barely fit into the gap with her, but after a bit of wiggling they managed to ease close enough to put a hand on her knee. ‘We’ll help you.’
Candi wasn’t sure she believed them. They were twice her size, and covered in blood. And had scars that made them look like they’d been in a hundred wars.
She swallowed, and knew she was shivering.
‘I’mses movings the beds,’ said Pexziz. ‘Justs a littles bits. Don’tses gets scareds.’
She couldn’t help it. Her heart was already pounding— And when the bed shifted a few inches away and Kei moved closer she let out another dry-throat cry and instinctively kicked out at them.
Not that it did much. She was too weak to fight as they brushed her flailing legs to the side and wrapped their arms around her.
‘Shh,’ Kei breathed.
For a moment she didn’t know what the seces was doing and struggled. … But when she felt them begin to rock her back and forth she felt herself relax, and leant into the embrace and closed her eyes.
‘It’s alright,’ they whispered. ‘You’re alright.’
‘Captains ises goings to’s wants to’s hearses abouts this,’ Pexziz muttered. ‘I’lls goes tells him.’
Candi heard the seces’ footsteps as they hurried out of the room and toward the commotion on deck. She lost track of them when Kei pushed back her ears and kissed her forehead.
‘It’s okay,’ they told her. ‘Don’t listen to what’s happening up there. You’re safe here with me.’
She didn’t know why, but she actually believed them this time.
She couldn’t believe she believed them. But she couldn’t help it. She shivered as the seces cradled her against their chest— Their heartbeat was calming and she was sure her own was slowing to match it.
Centela stole a bunch of stuff as a kid and got caught. One of the things he took was Elli’s diary- but only because his father had taken it first, and Centy didn’t want him reading it.
cw: implied abuse / implied stalking (sort of??)
‘No!’ Centela exclaimed. ‘I only took it so that—’
Elli stared as Centela cut off. Slowly, she prompted him to continue, ‘So that what?’
‘Nobody else would read it.’
Elli sighed out her nose. ‘It was in my room, Centela—’
‘—No it wasn’t!’
‘No?’ Elli asked. ‘Then where was it?’
Centela clamped his mouth shut.
‘Centela,’ Elli said firmly. ‘Give me an answer.’
‘Because I don’t like lying to you!’ Centela replied. ‘And I can’t tell you where I found it. So I’m not going to answer you.’
Elli was quiet for a long moment. Then her ears flicked back and she scowled. ‘Linzor had it, didn’t he?’
Centela covered his mouth and turned away.
‘Don’t worry, I won’t tell him,’ Elli tucked the book under her arm and sighed. She gently turned Centela back so she could kiss him on the cheek. ‘Thanks for keeping it safe.’