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‘Are you real?’ she asked.

Scaychie hesitated. ‘What?’

‘Are you real?’

‘I.... Uh, yeah.’

‘Oh, good!’ the woman stood up straighter, tucking her wings behind her back and pushing her hair out of her eyes. ‘Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You know?’


Old characters from a comic I drew as a teen and never finished

Just wanted to draw some canine characters and work on face differences :3


The Goddess, looking down on a mortal & trying to decide what to do with him. Zen'efay will *happily* take him.


The Taking

Another short story I finished not too long ago. I wasn't originally going to post it here but why not? If you want the properly formatted version (w/ italics and all) you can get that >>here<<

A little under 2,000 words :)

cw: violence


It had been a long, long time since the nameless one had been in the presence of Ashta Low Mountain.

When they had first met she had been too young to remember his face; just a babe, fresh-born from her mother, Ishkin Sky Watcher.

It had been far too easy for Ashta to steal her. Her mother was weak from the birthing and her father, Kamker the Stray, had been crippled from his fall off High Cliff. And from what the nameless one had heard the soother had been young and without a protector.

Ashta had killed the adults and taken the newborn before she‘d been given her name; and with no remaining family there was no one to read her name in the stars after she’d been saved.

She was was glad she remembered none of her time with the man. The four months had left her skin too scarred to hold Sky Watcher ink, though soothers from Sunrise Beach had come to help with special pigment purchased from seces. They had travelled the entire territory to bring her the dye after her tribe’s own didn’t hold.

It had been a gift the Sky Watchers had never been able to repay; though the people of Sunrise Beach had never asked them to do so. It was a kindness without expectation of return. And now, thanks to that kindness, the nameless one’s tattoos marked her as a maker; and though the ink had faded from black to grey over the thirty years she’d served her tribe it still held its pattern firm and strong.

She was grateful for that.

There was a shout, and the crowd looked up to watch as protectors strapped Ashta to Caller Ziat’s judgement stake.

He had finally been caught while stealing poultry from the people of the Red Forest. A pathetic crime to end his reign of terror.

But at least it was ended.

Fearful gasps and mutters rippled through the gathering as Ashta slowly raised his head and the nameless one pushed her daughter, Inntin Sky Watcher, safely behind her back and away from the evil man’s gaze. Luckily his glare didn’t fall on the nameless one or her family. Instead it dug into Caller Ziat’s own scowl.

‘Ashta of the Low Mountain,’ Caller Ziat spoke loudly, their voice projecting over the cliffs so that those standing lower would hear. ‘You stand before the five hundred and eighty-three leaders of the Lim’tar tribes and their people, at the peak of Caller’s Mountain where the Ancestor stars may pass their judgement. There is no tribe on Lim’tar that you have not wronged. Your crimes are many, and you have yet to deny a single one as your own. Do you wish to deny them, now?’

Ashta responded with a snort and turned away from the Caller. The crowd flinched as he looked them over, and the mutters started again.

‘You have left deep scars on my people,’ Caller Ziat continued, their voice a hiss. ‘Scars I can never forgive. You understand what is to happen to you?’

‘I’m not scared of the Taking,’ Ashta smiled, now. ‘There is nothing you could take from me that could kill me. Not truly. I shall live on, forever remembered. Forever feared. A whisper parents tell their children to keep them placid. I will have power. And I will have legacy. Strip me of my belongings, and strip me of my flesh. Strip me of my life. I will never die.’

Caller Ziat bowed their head and whispered a quiet prayer to the Ancestors. The nameless one didn’t hear all the words, though she was sure she’d heard it before.

‘Temela of the Deep Valley!’ Caller Ziat raised their head, speaking loud enough to make the crowd jump. ‘You may Take, first.’

The crowd parted down the middle, and Temela Deep Valley stepped forward. The nameless recognised him, she realised; found on the edge of the Sky Watcher’s territories years ago, bloody and bruised and terrified into silence. He’d been a child, then. Much like her. It had taken over a year before he’d finally muttered his birth tribe’s name to a soother and been taken home.

The nameless one had missed his company. They understood each other in a way not many others were able.... As she caught his eye they shared a solemn nod and she knew he was thinking the same of her.

He looked better, now, after near-forty years. He bore the marks of a protector and he no longer limped or flinched. Instead he stood strong over Ashta, and looked down at the man with a glare that did nothing to hide his anger.

‘Aah, I remember you,’ Ashta’s grin grew all the more wicked. ‘Your mother’s name was Kitkin, wasn’t it? Her and that familiar of hers put up quite a fight.... But they both tasted wonderful.’

‘You’re disgusting,’ Temela responded, stepping forward and pointing an accusing finger when Ashta simply shrugged. ‘You’re a vile creature which is only pretending to be alk. And I want your wings, so you can never be mistaken for one of us again.’

Ashta laughed, then. And stretched his wings wide. ‘Well, then. Come and take them!’

Temela drew his knife, and as he did the nameless woman felt Inntin squeeze her hand. She turned and quickly ushered her daughter through the crowd and down the rocky incline. She felt her Chosen, Breen Sky Watcher, trail behind closely; and when they finally made it to the back of the crowd the nameless scooped her daughter up and pressed her into Breen’s arms.

‘Papi,’ Inntin muttered, burying her face into her father as Ashta let out a agonised shriek.

‘I know. I know,’ Breen kissed the girl’s head. ‘We can go home soon. I promise.’

It didn’t seem a promise likely to be fulfilled, the nameless one thought as she turned towards the screaming. She could see Caller Ziat, standing on their platform, but Ashta was hidden behind the crowd. Just as well; the Taking was only just beginning, and Ashta had harmed many people. This was not going to be a pleasant thing to watch. The less Inntin saw of it the better.

The woman would have left her child behind, if she’d been able. But until Ashta was dead she couldn’t bare to let her daughter leave her sight.... A feeling that was shared by many, she realised, as she glanced around the crowd and saw others pull their youngsters close.

Ashta’s death would ease the anxieties of parents from every tribe in the territory. And perhaps it would help those from the Low Mountain regain their footing in the tribe hierarchy. It wasn’t their fault Ashta had become such a monster; they had tried as hard as the other tribes to stop the man, and had done more than anyone to help those he had hurt.

She sighed, bowing her head as Ashta let out another scream. She would be asked forward soon, when the Caller Ziat thought it was her time. And then she could Take retribution. Though, she didn’t feel she needed it. She was old, almost retired, and she’d made peace with herself long ago. Whatever she took from Ashta wouldn’t heal her. No piece of severed flesh could bring back her family or heal her scars.

Though, she raised her head again, peering over the crowd. Perhaps there was something else she could take....

A whimper from her daughter, and the nameless one turned back to her family.

Inntin was more important than revenge.

‘Come, love,’ she sat on a nearby stone and beckoned her daughter to join her. When the girl crawled into her lap she pulled twine from her pocket. ‘Let me show you another tassel knot.’

~~~~

It was long past sunset when Caller Ziat raised their hand and beckoned to the back of the crowd, where the nameless one sat in a circle of children.

‘The maker without name, from the Sky Watchers in the far mountains,’ they called, drawing the attention of the group. ‘Step forward. It is your turn to Take from Ashta, and to seek healing from the Ancestors.’

A kiss to her daughter and her Chosen, and the nameless rose to her feet. The crowd parted to let her through as she walked, and she made it to Ashta quickly; though she didn’t rush. There was no need to. She knew what she wanted, now.

‘You,’ Ashta breathed, smiling through bloody lips. ‘Do you still drink goat’s milk? Or did they wean you?’

‘They weaned me,’ she responded, returning Ashta’s smile with one of her own. ‘Though, I do still indulge myself during spring, if there’s left overs after milking.’

Ashta snorted, and glared up at her with his one remaining eye. ‘I found your family just in time, don’t you think? Another day and they may have named you.’

‘Probably.’

She caught a twitch of Ashta’s lip as he scowled, and she was satisfied to know he hated her indifference. ‘Was it hard, growing up without a name?’

‘Yes,’ she responded honestly. When Ashta smiled again she crossed her arms and returned it. ‘Don’t think to mock me, old man. You don’t know what I’m here to take.’

‘Oh? What is it, then? Tell me,’ he laughed, and looked around the crowd. ‘Tell them all! What do you wish to cut from my flesh? My ear? My foot? My heart?’

‘Your name.’

The man’s face fell. ‘My... what?’

‘I want your name,’ she repeated, standing tall and addressing the alk around her. ‘I Take Ashta’s name as my own, and forbid it to be used in mention of his crimes. When our descendants remember Ashta, they will remember painted pottery and alpaca-fur tapestries. And when they speak of this nameless man’s acts, they will forget they were that of one man. His horrors will be mistaken for the acts of many, and so will seem like simple crimes.... I Take his name.’

‘You bitch!’ the nameless man pulled against his post and let out a hideous hiss.

‘So be it,’ Caller Ziat announced. ‘You have chosen to Take his name, and so it is yours. You may step back, Ashta Sky Watcher.’

‘No! I’m Ashta!’ the man on the post screamed. ‘Ashta Low Mountain! Give me back my name!’

Ashta bowed her head low to the Caller, and stepped back into the crowd without another word.

‘Give me back my legacy!’

‘Leep of the Sunrise Beach?’ Caller Ziat ignored the man below them. ‘Come. Take justice from the nameless, and seek healing from the Ancestors.’

Leep Sunrise Beach stepped forward, now, and Ashta recognised her as one of the soothers who had helped to tattoo her. And she remembered the man’s crimes; two murdered sons. And as Leep glared down at the man, Ashta knew she would not be kind to him.

‘Doesn’t he ever shut up?’ she growled, yanking out her knife and gripping the nameless one’s face in a hand and forcing open his jaw. ‘Lets see how well you scream without your tongue.’

-End-


another warmup doodle

if you remember this character, you may be eligable for a senior citizen discount


A little rough, and I definitely want to fix it up a little, but I'm glad to finally be writing the scene where Gavin comes out to Dale ;u; Dale hesitates for all of 5 seconds before his Good Dad Insticts kick in.


Things had been going so perfectly since his birthday that Dale could barely believe it. He couldn’t believe Talia had said yes. Especially when he’d only asked her twice, and on the same day.

But that second time... it had just felt right to him. And he supposed it had to her, as well.

She’d cried on the way up the stairs that day.

It was strange, how things had turned out. Everything was so different— But also, so much the same.

The biggest difference, really, was that Talia had been happier.

Their relationship hadn’t been a magical fix and she was still having a lot of trouble being open with him.... But she was definitely happier. And right now, that was all he could ask for.

This was only the second time she’d let him stay over in the three months since they gotten together. He’d have stayed over every night, if she’d let him. Or had her stay at his house— Which she still wasn’t comfortable with.

Dale was distracted from his thoughts as Talia stretched and stole the blanket, and he had to bite back his laugh as he stole it back. He tugged her close against his chest, catching a glimpse of the alarm on her bedside table and quietly cursing that he only had another ten minutes with her before it went off. Though, as he heard Gavin’s feet hit the floor in the other room, he realised he wasn’t going to get it.

Dale had barely let out his sigh before Talia’s door creaked open and the light from the hall shone in.

‘Gav, it’s not even seven yet,’ Dale muttered. ‘Don’t you want to sleep a little longer?’

‘No, I’m awake,’ Gavin replied. ‘I.... I want to talk to you about something, Dale. It’s important.’

‘Alright,’ Dale took a deep, throaty breath, and forced himself out of bed. He stretched, then stumbled down the hall after Gavin. ‘Guess I’ll make breakfast for everyone, huh?’

‘That’d be nice,’ Gavin said, pulling a chair from the table to the kitchen. ‘And we can talk while you do?’

‘Yeah, course,’ Dale yawned as he went through the cupboards. ‘Bacon and eggs?’

‘Yes please. Scrambled?’

‘Sure,’ Dale pulled out what he needed and, with another yawn, started cooking. ‘So, what did you want to talk to me about?’

‘Well... it’s about...’ he hesitated. Then sighed. ‘Dale, you had a lot of girlfriends before my mum, right?’

‘Yeah, a few,’ Dale replied. ‘Why?’

‘Well... I want to know.... How do you ask someone out?’

Dale felt himself chuckling. ‘You have a crush?’

Gavin gave a nod, a blush creeping over his cheeks as he looked to his feet and kicked out at the wall. ‘I’ve been watching you and mum, and I think how I feel is the same.’

‘Ah,’ Dale gave his own nod. ‘I see.... That’s cool. What’s her name?’

‘No— Not a girl,’ Gavin admitted. ‘It’s Jacob.’

‘Jacob?’ Dale paused. ‘Connor?’

Gavin nodded, though he still didn’t meet Dale’s eye.

‘Oh, well, that’s fine,’ Dale shrugged, and quickly scraped the food out of the pan and onto a plate. He headed to the table, ruffling Gavin’s hair as he passed. ‘Jacob’s pretty cool, isn’t he?’

‘Yeah,’ Gavin gave a smile, and finally looked to Dale as he dragged his chair back to where it belonged and started serving himself breakfast. ‘Yeah he’s cool.... Do you think I should ask him out?’

‘Why not?’ Dale turned to the hall as he heard Talia’s alarm go off. ‘He seems nice, what have you got to lose— Hey, save some eggs for your mum, right? She’s mean when she’s hungry.’

‘She’s mean anyway,’ Gavin giggled.

‘Yeah, but you’re not spending the day at work with her!’ Dale retorted, gently smacking the boy’s hand away from the food. ‘Eat what you’ve got already, you little brat!’


Hey! Just added chapter 13 to A Man Worth a Million! :D Dale and Talia have FINALLY gotten together!

Ya'll can read the draft so far here: https://cjadewyton.com/my-writing/kladstone-romances/

It was good to hear him laugh so much.

And just as she thought about it, she heard him start laughing, and wondered what joke she’d missed as Dale turned into the apartment’s parking lot and slotted into one of the spots.

She’d only half-undone her seatbelt before Gavin leant over the seat and planted a kiss on her cheek.

‘I’ll meet you inside!’ he decided, reaching into Talia’s pocket for her keys. She didn’t have time to suggest otherwise before he was out of the car and halfway into the stairwell.

‘Gavin wai— Ugh,’ Talia leant back in her seat as her son disappeared.

‘There he goes,’ Dale’s voice floated into the car as he pulled open Talia’s door for her. ‘Fast little bugger, isn’t he? Nyoom.’

‘Nyoom,’ Talia repeated, though a little flatter than Dale had said it. ‘Sometimes I wish he’d slow down. Just a little bit.’

‘Aw, but then he wouldn’t be Gavin, would he?’ joked Dale. Then he offered Talia his hand. ‘Come on. You alright?’

‘Yeah, I...’ Talia hesitated, then took his hand and let him pull her up. ‘I’m fine. I just....’

She lost her train of thought.

And when Dale waited patiently for her to continue she felt her cheeks start to burn, and she looked away and pulled her hand back.

‘Talia?’ Dale’s voice was soft as his hand took hers again and gave it a squeeze that trapped butterflies in her stomach. ‘Hey.... Look at me?’

She dared to turn back, and as she met his soft, kind eyes she felt the butterflies trying to push out of her throat.

‘Talia,’ Dale managed, his voice cracking with the same emotions that had paralysed Talia. ‘Please be my girlfriend?’

And the butterflies escaped her as a laugh.

She didn’t mean them to.

But they escaped her, and she found herself choking on giggle after giggle as she collapsed back into the car and covered her mouth with her hands.

She had known that the question was coming, but she hadn’t expected it to sound like that out loud. She hadn’t thought he would say it like that.

So simple.

So straightforward.

She couldn’t breathe.

It was too much.

‘Yes!’ she managed. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes, Dale! Yes!’


‘Are you real?’ she asked.

Scaychie hesitated. ‘What?’

‘Are you real?’

‘I.... Uh, yeah.’

‘Oh, good!’ the woman stood up straighter, tucking her wings behind her back and pushing her hair out of her eyes. ‘Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You know?’

‘N... no,’ Scaychie answered, feeling her brow furrow at the strange woman.

‘Oh, well...’ the woman’s ears flicked back. But then, they flicked back up and she smiled. ‘I’m Keeyata. What’s your name?’

Scaychie just eyed her.

When she didn’t reply, Keeyata’s ears folded back down, and she stepped forward, gently placing a hand against Scaychie’s shoulder before pulling back and letting out an anxious laugh. ‘Oh, ah— Hah, you are real!’

‘I said that,’ Scaychie grunted.

‘Yes, but you may have been lying.’

Scaychie just shrugged.

‘Uhm...’ Keeyata shuffled again. Then offered another nervous grin. ‘I’m Keeyata. What’s your name?’

Again, Scaychie stared. And again, Keeyata edged forward.

‘Am I speaking?’ Keeyata asked. ‘Out loud?’

Scaychie sighed, and nodded. ‘Yes. Yes you are. My name’s Scaychie.’

‘Oh, that’s a nice name,’ Keeyata’s grin grew, before she held out a hand.

‘What do... do you want something?’ Scaychie asked. ‘Why are you...’

She trailed off as Keeyata slowly took her hand and gave it a timid shake.

‘What... is this?’ Scaychie asked.

‘Hello,’ Keeyata said, giving another shake. ‘Mother Tarasi said this was polite.’

‘How... is touching my hand polite?’ Scaychie grimaced. What kind of... weird custom was this?

‘I’m not sure,’ Keeyata responded. ‘I never understood it. But Mother Tarasi said to always do it when saying hello. Because it’s polite.’

‘Mm,’ Scaychie felt herself frown as she pulled her hand away. Then she leant forward and butted her head against Keeyata’s. ‘Well, uh.... Hello. I guess.’

‘Wh—‘ Keeyata’s eyes widened and she stumbled back, as if Scaychie had butted her hard. ‘What the fuck?!’

‘I was saying hello,’ Scaychie snorted. ‘That’s how dassens greet each other. Were you raised felinic or something?’

‘No, no, Mother Mairas was dassen,’ Keeyata replied. ‘But my brother and I are from Canis! With wolvens?’

‘Yes. Wolvens,’ Scaychie grunted.

‘Was that really how you say hello?’

‘Yes...’ Scaychie trailed off as she spied Linzor a little ways off.

Keeyata seemed to notice her tense, and glanced to see what she was looking at.

‘Oh! Linzor!’ Keeyata ran to her brother. ‘Linzor!’

‘What?’ Linzor growled.

‘Scaychie showed me how dassens say hello! Can I show you?’

Linzor rolled his eyes and gave a huff. ‘Fine.’

She headbutt Linzor so hard he fell over.


Ancient characters of mine, redesigned for my current style! :D They're just a couple of sweet teens.


‘Oh, yes! Very okay!’ Keemi’Keemi nodded. ‘Keemi when you small, and parents give you three kisses on nose to make giggles!’

‘So your name is...’ Ka’harja hesitated.

‘Six giggle kisses!’ Keemi’Keemi beamed.


That's the thing with having a kind heart as an immortal. You love & then you lose them. & then you love again. & you know you should stop loving but you just can't help it, because the world is beautiful. Though sometimes, late at night, you wonder if love is worth the pain...

(but then, you wake up, & the morning is beautiful, & you can't help but let your heart soften, & feel love, & be kind. Even though you know it will hurt all over again)


‘You want to talk about what happened?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Talia. ‘I guess we have to, don’t we?’

‘I suppose we do,’ Dale replied. ‘Well.... First things first; do you like me?’

Talia looked away, focusing her gaze on the school yard and scanning the building for signs of students. ‘Yes.’

‘Do you want to date me?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘You don’t know?’ Dale asked, his fingers tapping on the wheel again.

‘I’ve been trying to decide all day,’ Talia admitted. ‘That’s why I didn’t want to talk about it sooner. Because I’m just not sure. It’s... overwhelming. And I’m sorry. I wish I had an answer.’

‘Hey, it’s alright,’ Dale replied, and she felt his hand rest on hers. When she turned, his gaze was soft, and kind, and full of love, and it made her heart wrench sideways and upside down. ‘You don’t have to be sure, yet. You can think about it.’

‘You’d wait for an answer?’ Talia almost scoffed. ‘That’s.... I don’t know how long it’ll take me. What if it takes me a week to decide?’

Dale shrugged. ‘Then I’ll wait a week for the answer.’

‘God, I want to strangle you! Stop being so sweet!’ Talia groaned. She caught a glimpse of Dale’s grin as she turned and dropped her head against the window with a huff. They both sat for a while, staring at the nearby buildings, before Talia let out an exasperated breath and turned back. ‘Dale?’

‘Yeah?’

‘Thanks,’ she managed. ‘For being patient with me. I appreciate it.’

‘It’s alright,’ he replied.

Then the bell rang, and less than a minute later students were pouring out the doors into the yard.

‘Here they come,’ Dale said.

‘Oh, no, is that Jacob?’ Talia groaned— And then felt herself relax as Jacob waved goodbye and veered off in another direction. ‘Oh thank god. I did not want him being involved in this conversion.’

‘Yeah, talk about awkward,’ Dale gave a half-hearted laugh, which became much more genuine as Gavin pulled open the car door and leapt in. ‘Hey, Gav, how was school?’

‘Was alright,’ Gavin replied, throwing his bag in the foot-well and pulling on his belt. ‘What were you doing in mum’s bed last night?’

For god’s sake, Gavin! Talia almost screamed as she watched her son through the rear-view mirror. Have some tact!

Thankfully, Dale chuckled. Though it was awkward. ‘Just chilling.’

Gavin’s brow furrowed, and he looked confused as he stared at Dale. ‘Chilling?

‘Yeah, chilling!’ Dale repeated. ‘Nothing wrong with two people just, you know, hanging out!’

‘In bed together?’

‘Yeah!’ said Dale, his voice cracking as he blushed. ‘Just two good friends. Hanging out.’

Gavin looked at his mother. Then to Dale. Then back and forth again before he rolled his eyes. ‘You asked her out, didn’t you?’

‘Yes,’ Dale admitted.

‘Like you said you would.’

‘Yes.’


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