My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton
Elli meets Scaychie for the first time
‘She sends her love,’ Linzor said with a frown and a nod of the head. ‘Or her version of love, anyway.’
Elli sighed. ‘She’s not coming?’
‘Why would she?’
‘I thought she’d like to see me again,’ Elli said sheepishly. ‘I’ve missed her.’
Linzor laughed loudly. ‘Oh, dear Elli,’ he said, taking a deep breath and grabbing her by her cheeks. ‘Sweet, naive Elli.’
Elli pulled away from Linzor and frowned, rubbing her now-sore cheeks as he walked away. As he did, he was trailed by a tired-looking dassen woman and a young boy. For a second, Elli’s heart stuck in her throat. The dassen woman was young, and looked … like. …
Sensin stepped beside her and wrapped his arm around her waist. ‘That’s your friend?’
‘He was, yeah,’ Elli gave an anxious grin. ‘He hasn’t changed a bit.’
‘Yeah. Yeah. I was just hoping to see Keeyata as well.’
The dassen woman stopped and turned to stare at Elli.
Sensin’s grip on Elli’s hip tightened, and Elli knew he saw it too.
For a moment, the dassen woman stared. Then a wide grin spread over her face and she rushed over to Elli.
‘You must be Elli!’ she exclaimed, thrusting her forehead against Elli’s with a painful thunk. ‘My name’s Scaychie! Keeyata’s told me everything about you— Is it true that your son is going to be king of Sapious? And are you really a dream walker?’
‘I hope Centy’s doing alright with her,’ Liamara mumbled. ‘I hope she’s not too hard to handle.’
‘Centela loves her,’ Geoff said gently.
‘Good. She deserves that,’ Liamara sighed and rolled over. ‘I’m glad that she can get it from someone.’
‘Why not from you?’ Geoff asked.
‘It’s hard,’ Liamara rolled back to look at him. ‘Whenever I look at her I see. …’
‘You said he was nobody important.’
Liamara sat up. ‘Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to think about it.’
Geoff hugged her. She hugged back so tight it hurt.
‘If we ever do go back to Heck’ne, point at him and tell me who he is,’ Geoff mumbled. ‘I will break his neck for you.’
‘Thanks, Geoff,’ she sniffed into his shoulder. ‘You’re the best.’
Mingan and Centela reunite, first draft
‘He was clearly having a breakdown,’ she stated so matter-of-factly it made Centela blush.
‘And what I said... about...’
‘Do you love me, Centy?’
‘Do you love me?’
‘Yes. Yes of course I love you— How could I not?’
She put her hand on his, and smiled warmly. ‘Then it’s okay. You’ve never lied to me— Only kept secrets. And remember that I said it was okay? That you were allowed your secrets?’
‘I do,’ his shoulders dropped, and he seemed to relax. ‘But I still feel... I still feel guilty.’
‘I know,’ she said, gently. Then she took a deep breath, and sat up straight. ‘Centy... I think you should stop keeping secrets. At least from me. Is that okay? I know it’s hard, and scary, but no more secrets.’
Centela nodded. ‘No more fear. I like the sound of that.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with looking after your children, Tru’man.’
‘I know— But this is why she teases me. I don’t do as I should.’
‘Who cares?’ Scaychie replied. ‘You’re being a good father; that’s more important than anything anyone could ever say about you.’
Tru’man looked stunned for a moment before giving Scaychie a weak smile. ‘You’re too kind to me. But I don’t think you know how we do things here. Kekiks sing. Zelkins sing. And reks sing.’
‘Then what do fathers do?’ Scaychie asked. ‘Sons and brothers?’
‘We listen, and we let ourselves be soft,’ he replied as if it were a simple fact. Then, when Scaychie didn’t stop frowning, he sighed and shook his head. ‘It’s hard to explain to an outsider. Maybe if I could tell you in Har’py it might make more sense, but I can’t say it properly with these words.’
Another brilliant paragraph from my series' early draft:
Almost as soon as he’s touched her, Hayt raises a hand and slams it into his chest. A loud CRACK is heard, and a light flashes from where her hand made contact with his chest. He goes flying backwards over the top of the crowd. As he disappears over the crowd, someone is heard yelling “YEET!” Luana can’t see him, but she hears a loud THUNK and a scream in the distance, and the sound of glass shattering and metal clanging.
‘Your life’s been pretty interesting, hasn’t it?’ she asks. ‘You could write a book like this.’
Luana nods, then laughs. ‘What would I call it?’
‘How about “Bisexual and Sneaky”?’
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.’
‘Don’t you dare ignore me Da—’ Talia was cut off as Dale put a piece of chicken in her mouth. She frowned as she spat it into her hand and Dale slipped past her into the house. ‘I bloody hate you.’
‘You’re just hungry,’ he replied nonchalantly.
Once a friend,
Now it is not.
It is pale,
And it smells of rot.
It will disappear if left too long,
But to move it you must be strong.
What do you think it is?
(this is a riddle Geoff makes up after staying in I’reka for a while. The native avio are rightfully horrified)
‘Hey,’ I manage. ‘You slept yet?’ ‘Nah,’ Joal shrugs. ‘Usually only go to bed around 6, unless I have to be up early like yesterday. Besides, Serena showed up. Gotta be there for my friends, you know?’ I nod and watch as Serena nervously brushes the hair out of her face. As she does I get a glimpse of filed-down horns. I didn’t think girl deer had horns? Oh. I think I know. She notices me staring and blushes. ‘Oh— These? They’re—‘ ‘—Transgender?’ I blurt. I give my best attempt at a warm smile when she nods. ‘Same as my brother.’ Serena visibly relaxes. Which makes me relax. ‘Come sit!’ Joal blurts. ‘Both of you! We have pizza and beer and TV!’ ‘What about pants?’ I joke.
Joal's brother ditches him to take care of the new roommate (Carla) on his own, while Carla nervously watches from behind the neighbour's fence.
>>Carla Coggs 11:53 AM >hey >joal?
I hear a ping from the yard and Joal lets out a frustrated sigh as he drops the bins to check what I’d sent.
>>Joal Palamor 11:54 AM >Hey! What’s up? Did you get where you needed to go?
>>Carla Coggs 11:54 AM >yeah i did >so hey uhh >are you wearing a blue button-up and tracksuit pants?
>>Joal Palamor 11:54 AM >Holy shit >What >How did you know that?? >Are you a ghost?????
>>Carla Coggs 11:54 AM >uhhh no >i can see you though
I don’t feel brave enough to look into his yard as he lets out a confused exclamation. I can only imagine he’s looking around trying to spot me.
>>Joal Palamor 11:55 AM >Where are you?
I can’t bring myself to respond. Instead I bury my face in my lap, and ignore the next few messages he sends me. Then the fence gives a jolt, and I look up to meet Joal’s eye as he perches above me. ‘Fuck, you look wrecked,’ he blurts.
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.’
Gala’sha, talking to Scaychie about his regrets and knowing he’s going to die but not when or how.
‘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.’
‘—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.
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.
Dellor’s introduction in the main series
He regretted it instantly.
A familiar face glared up at him. Or, half a familiar face. The other half of the face was so scarred it was unrecognisable. Long slashes tore down the entire right side; pulling up what little was left of the lip into a disfigured, smile-like snarl that showed the yellow-stained teeth and too-red gums.
The good side of the face was pulled into a scowl as ugly as the other. The single eye seethed with a hatred Toro had never seen in it before— Bloodshot and sore, it met his own and dared him to act out. Even if he hadn’t remembered the face, the eye was something he could have never forgotten.
‘You!’ Toro nearly choked. ‘What—’
‘—Great job, Toro!’ Fali called, rounding the corner. ‘You got the bastard!’
Toro broke eye contact and turned to watch as the rest of the guards joined them in the hall.
‘What’s you’re name, you scum?’ Fali snarled.
‘Ask him,’ the man looked back to Toro, his tangled hair falling over his bad eye; making him look even more crazed than before.
‘Toro?’ Fali asked. ‘What—’
‘—Great Scara, his face!’ Krish exclaimed, interrupting Fali. ‘What happened to his face?’
The scarred man turned to the guards; letting his gaze fall on them slowly, one at a time, until it rested on Krish. ‘I take that you haven’t met his wife before, have you?’ he snarled. ‘Nasty people, harpies.’
Toro yanked the sickly man forward. ‘She was protecting me from you!’
‘I never should have let you bring her home with you!’ he snapped. ‘Then maybe you would have behaved like a normal son.’
Coski had a nightmare about his grandfather, & went to his parents for comfort. This is the conversation that follows.
Excuse the roughness; another super early draft!
cw: violence mention / implied child abuse
‘I don’t know,’ Toro replies. ‘I don’t think he’s coming back.’
Ell’ian shrugs. ‘I HOPE Dellor comes back. I’ll kick his arse. You two wanna watch me beat up grampapa?’
‘Rip out his other eye!’ Rogie exclaims, jumping up and down. ‘Rip it out like the first one!’
Coski looks anxious and grabs his dad’s arm, nuzzling into his underarm. ‘I don’t want him to come back,’ he whispers fearfully. ‘He was awful.’
‘If he comes back I’ll kill him,’ Ell’ian hissed to her son. ‘He won’t lay another hand on this family. He won’t even have the chance. I’ll shred him.’
Rogie claps excitedly.
First draft of a scene that happens at Talia’s birthday party, feat. mention of a conflict that happens in a different book!
‘—You’ve already apologised,’ Meg interrupted.
‘Yeah but …’ Rose sighed. ‘I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like enough.’
‘Just do better next time,’ Meg meets eyes with Talia, an lets out a sigh and gives a tired smile. ‘You know, this is the Talia that Trish is always talking about.’
‘Oh?’ Rose turns and blushes. ‘I didn’t realise. I thought— Kladstone’s so big I didn’t think I’d just bump into you.’
Talia chuckles. ‘You know Trish?’
‘Yeah. Online,’ Rose replies. ‘She’s … helping me get through some stuff. I … feel really awkward. I’m gonna go. …’
The two girls nodded as Rose hurried away, to talk with William and Richard.
Talia glanced to Meg. ‘Sounds like you two had a conflict?’
‘It’s over,’ Meg shrugged. ‘Trish talked to her and she apologised. I’m not going to hold it against her.’
‘Ah,’ Talia nodded. ‘So she’s one of Trish’s new recruits?’
‘Yep, little baby lesbian,’ Meg let out a laugh. ‘From a suuuper Christian family. Trish is teaching her how to not be a fuck-wit. Wonder what she’s doing here.’
Talia couldn’t help laughing, herself. ‘She came with Richard. Well, she came with Richard’s ride home.’
‘Friend of a friend of a friend?’
‘Something like that,’ Talia rolled her eyes. ‘So Trish still talks about me?’
‘Of course she does, you’re like, her best friend,’ Meg shouldered Talia playfully. ‘She’s always going on about you and Gavin. She did stop trying to get you blind dates after she found out about Dale, though. And I mean like, before you were dating him sort of thing.’
‘Ah, yes,’ Talia nodded. ‘Her and her impeccable match-making skills.’
‘I mean, eight times out of ten,’ Meg shrugged. ‘And, being fair, you’re the outlier, Spiders Georg.’
‘Fucking spiders what?’
‘Internet meme,’ Meg replied, raising her brow and sipping her drink. ‘Sorry. Forgot you were ancient.’
‘Coff?’ Sken’s gills twitched curiously. ‘He’s alright. Koko reckons he works too hard. Which is saying something, considering she pushes people more than I do! But I think. …’
‘It’s to distract him from something,’ she finished. Then she cracked open another bottle of drink. She drank this one slowly. ‘He’s always looking for something to do; when he runs out of work he’ll tear down his shelves and rearrange them just to keep himself busy. … I keep telling him it’s fine. But he doesn’t know how to stop. Complete opposite of you. You don’t seem to start anything.’
Ka’harja’s Journey - Chapter 7