My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton
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.
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!’
Stars can be very manipulative. Everyone keeps underestimating her because of her disability, so she said "screw it, I'mma use this" and learnt how to twist words around so nobody can argue with her.
Luckily, she (mostly) uses this power for good; like stopping her grandfather using her stepmother's old name.... This time it's pretty obvious what she's doing (she's usually at least a little bit subtle)
‘Distro, yes, sorry,’ Rorlbar sighed. ‘I still don’t see why you changed it.’
‘I just liked this name better,’ said Distro. ‘There’s nothing wrong with changing your name.’
Rorlbar simply shrugged.
‘I changed my name!’ Stars beamed. ‘And I love my new name a lot. It’s very nice. Kekik Distro’s new name is also very nice.’
‘It’s just hard to get used to,’ Rorlbar shrugged. ‘I’m her father, I’ve used Koktansi for years—’
‘—My kekik started using my new name the day I asked her to,’ Stars cut in, sounding a lot less pleasant than before as she put down her fork and rested her hands on the table. ‘You’ve had over ten years to get used to kekik Distro’s new name. If kekik Distro wants you to use her new name, you should use it. It’s very uncomfortable to be called by your old name when you don’t like it. And if you’re her yalfit, you should want her to be as comfortable as possible. You want kekik Distro to feel comfortable and loved, right?’
‘Well, yes of course—’
‘—Good,’ Stars said firmly, her ears flicking up as her eyes narrowed. ‘So you agree? Using her new name is best and you’re not going to use her old name anymore?’
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.
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.
Little avio, little avio, for your second mother you must behavio
‘Yes. I would appreciate it,’ he said sweetly, nipping Scaychie’s cheek. ‘It has been quite a few nights since Eish’lee and I were able to be alone together. Setani’Selina is asleep in her resting place, try not to wake her when Geoff’Selulu gets tired.’
‘No other girl is making milk,’ Tru’man replied with a shrug. ‘At least, none I trust with my children.... And I thought you would enjoy a night away from Linzor.’
Scaychie couldn’t argue. A night away from the Orange Beast sounded like a gift from the gods....
‘Milk!’ two voices cried out from Scaychie’s arms, and her gaze shot down to look at the wiggly little boy.
‘Oh, yes, he’s figuring out how to use his speaker,’ Tru’man chuckled, nipping his son on the nose. ‘You’re very talented, aren’t you? Behave for kekik Scaychie.’
‘Yalfit!’ Geoff’Selulu responded, his voice echoing as if he was speaking for two people as he tried to grab his father’s hair. ‘Kan!’
‘Yes, kekik Scaychie will let you kan,’ Tru’man dodged his son’s tiny hands and grinned at Scaychie. ‘He wants to eat.’
‘I’ll feed him,’ Scaychie reassured. ‘You go.’
Tru’man nodded and turned, putting his arm around Eish’lee as they wandered into the distance.
‘Kekik?’ Geoff’Selulu’s voice broke. ‘Kekik kan? Milk? Kekik going?’
Scaychie tapped the bump on his throat gently. ‘Scaychie gives you kan.’
‘Milk!’ he said, in his usual voice. Then he opened his mouth wide and a second voice, higher than before, escaped him. ‘Meelk!’
‘Yes, milk!’ Scaychie replied.
‘Milk!’ Geoff’Selulu cried out before nuzzling against Scaychie’s shawled-covered chest with enthusiasm. ‘Now!’
‘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?’
‘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.’
‘Whoa,’ Gavin leant back against the car seat. ‘There’s a lot about dating I don’t know yet.’
‘Well, you’re only eleven,’ Dale comforted. ‘Give it some time, and you’ll figure it out. No reason to rush.’
‘Right, you’ve had a lot of practice, haven’t you?’
‘Good,’ said Gavin. ‘You can teach my mum, then! She’s never dated anyone! Not since she had me! So she’s not very good at it and will need a lot of help.’
‘Gavin—’ Talia cut off with a sigh and eyed her son through the rear-view mirror. ‘Honey. Please. I’m not completely useless.’
‘Mmm,’ Gavin pulled a face, and Talia wasn’t sure whether or not she should have been offended. ‘When it comes to dating you kinda are.’
‘—I think you’re just bad at talking to people,’ Gavin continued. ‘Like. In general? It’s not something you’re very good at. Even with Trish and Anna you can get kinda weird and mean.’
‘Hey, Gav, keep the roasts for dinner,’ Dale cut in. Then he eyed Talia and gave her a cheeky grin. ‘Just because something’s true doesn’t mean you need to say it.’
‘Dale!’ Talia snapped, feeling her cheeks flush hot. ‘You boys— I swear to god! I will get out of this car right now and walk home if you don’t watch your mouths!’
‘We’re on the highway,’ Dale commented. ‘I’m going eighty.’
‘You think that’ll stop me?’ Talia put her hand on her seatbelt buckle and raised her brow. ‘You think I’m afraid to prove a point?’
Dale didn’t reply. Instead, he reached for the dashboard— And Talia heard the car doors lock as he pressed one of the buttons under the radio.
‘Smart choice,’ Talia commented, resting her hands on her knees.
‘Well, I want you alive,’ Dale chuckled. ‘You know. On account of the whole, loving you thing.’
A quick exerpt from chapter 13 of A Man Worth a Million! Dale and Talia are FINALLY getting together!
This is one of my favourite scene changes in the book so far shdhd.
‘Mm,’ Talia tapped her foot anxiously, her eyes still on her paperwork as her hands found their way behind her back and her glasses slipped forward to the end of her nose. ‘Work.’
‘Work,’ Dale repeated. Then he gave a shrug and turned to his office. ‘Well, then. I guess I’ll just....’
He’d barely taken two steps before Talia’s hand found his arm and he turned back, just in time for her to lift herself onto her toes and peck him on the lips. He felt his entire body stiffen as she dropped back down and looked away again.
‘We’ll talk after work,’ she muttered. ‘I just need some time to think about things.’
‘Yeah,’ Dale gave her a nod. His knees were so weak he thought he might collapse as he swallowed and licked his lips— Tasting that lipstick again. ‘I understand. Just... after work, right?’
‘Right,’ it took all of Dale’s effort to turn back to his office. And his heart stopped when he saw Aiden standing awkwardly in his doorway, half-filled bag of garbage in one hand, broom in the other.
‘Oh... Uh,’ Aiden looked past Dale, and Dale could only guess that Talia was glaring daggers at him as he blushed and rushed to the elevator. He pressed the button too many times, both while waiting for it to arrive and waiting for the doors to close.... And then, as they were closing, Dale saw him drop his things and pull out his phone.
Probably to gossip to Meg. Who would tell Trish. Who would call Talia.... And who knew how that would go?
Dale certainly didn’t— So he hurried into his office and closed the door.
Talia was furious at Aiden. The bastard had slunk off home after telling Meg about the kiss, and Talia hadn’t been able to strangle him to death in the break room like she’d been hoping to after she’d gotten off the phone with Trish.
Smart idea he had, fucking off after a stunt like that.... But he had to come back to work someday, and when he did.... She was going to kill him.
Dale pulled up into the pickup bay of Gavin’s school and Talia let out a heavy sigh. She knew it was coming. He hadn’t said anything the whole drive, and they had to talk about it before they picked up Gavin.... He’d ask questions about that morning. And Talia had no idea how to answer any of them.
Dale’s fingers rapped against the steering wheel for a moment before he leant back in his seat and let out a sigh of his own.
‘So,’ he started.
‘You want to talk about what happened?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Talia. ‘I guess we have to, don’t we?’
Look at Us
A short story, based on a dream. Supposed to be vague and make you feel uneasy. Hopefully it achieves that!
Download links can be found HERE if you would prefer it as a PDF, ePub, or .docx!
cw: violence || kidnapping/abduction || aliens/monsters
Should she say rescued?
It didn’t feel like she’d been rescued.
They’d saved her life, she supposed. But it felt more like she’d been captured.
The never-ending waiting was consuming her whole and the feelings of loneliness and boredom were only broken by the bouts of anxiety she felt when she heard footsteps approaching her room.
But of what must have been hundreds of times, only twice did they come in.
Two days. Two visits. Two meals.
She was hungry. And not just for food.
She needed more than this.
At least the bed was comfortable. If she could call it a bed.…
It was more like a nest. Round, with a lip on the edge.
Definitely not designed for a creature taller than it was wide, but big enough for her to stretch out.… Just.
She let out a breath.
They were just passing by.
The thought of one of those… things, coming into the room again was enough to make her hair stand on end.
She wasn’t sure what was creepier.
Their pulsing gelatin bodies? Or their writhing tentacles limbs?
She shivered when she thought of the one that had returned her smile.
Their teeth weren’t pleasant, either.
Whatever they were, they terrified her.
She rubbed her arms and sat up, looking out the window into the yawning black beyond the metal wing.
Could it be called a wing?
She spied speckles of light in the distance. Barely there.
If they were stars or other ships she couldn’t be sure. But when she looked at them her skin crawled and they made her sure the worst part of the creatures were their eyes.
Their eyes scared her most.
There were so many, and they never stayed in the same place for long.
Should she sleep again?
She was bored.
They were outside, now, and Kia could barely hear their mutters over the beating of her own heart.
Oh, please, keep walking!
The door spun open, and Kia swallowed down her cry and buried her face into her misshapen pillow so she mightn’t see the creature’s face.
She could hear as it approached, its slimy long limbs slapping the ground with fast and heavy steps as it came to a stop at the bed.
She dared to peek, and caught a glimpse of a second one as it came into the room. It was smaller than all the others she’d seen so far. It would probably only have stood up to her shoulder, if she’d had the courage to face it.
But she didn’t want to think about it.
‘Look at us,’ the words were garbled, like static from a radio, and Kia wasn’t sure if she was hearing or hallucinating.
She felt as if she shouldn’t have understood it— As if it wasn’t speaking the words she heard. But thinking about it made her skin crawl so she looked away and pushed her face deeper into the bed.
‘Look at us!’ a second voice snapped, scratching like a skipped record.
‘Look at us!’
Kia dared another glance, and saw the small one scramble to the chair she’d never sat in.
‘Make her look!’ it demanded.
She had a feeling it was young. Just a child.
‘Look at us!’
Kia turned her head a little more. Just enough to see the larger of the two had turned its back to her. But then as she stared, welts bubbled on its skin and eyes appeared from nowhere, and Kia let out a cry and buried herself back into the bed.
‘Don’t look away.’
She didn’t dare look back.
Something curled around her wrist and she could only guess it was a tentacle.
‘What are you?’ she whispered into her pillow. ‘What do you want?’
‘I am the sagman,’ it replied, its grip tightening as it pulled her closer. ‘And I want you to look at us.’
She knew she had no choice.
Trembling, she turned, and caught sight of the child’s staring eyes.
As soon as she saw it she felt a stabbing pain burst through her skull, like a hundred fingers had been jammed into her brain.
She heard screaming.
Deeper and deeper the fingers pushed, forcing their way into her.
She realised she was hearing herself.
‘Gentle,’ the sagman said. ‘Not so deep. Not so quick.’
‘But it’s in there! I can find it!’
She was still screaming.
She couldn’t stop it.
She couldn’t look away.
And she was still screaming.
‘Enough,’ the older creature shifted, moving in the way of the child.
As soon as its gaze was broken the fingers pulled out of Kia’s head and she was left with a throbbing feeling that would have made her sick if she hadn’t been so hungry.
Her head was spinning as she fell back and hid under the blankets.
‘Look at us.’
A whimper escaped her as the creature found her ankle.
‘Look at us.’
‘No!’ she cried, yanking her leg away.
‘And you’ve made her resistant,’ she heard the sagman say. ‘You have to be gentle.’
Kia felt her blankets being lifted away, and she let out a cry and turned her face to her pillow— But that was removed, too, and she was left with nothing to hide in.
‘Look at us,’ the sagman ordered.
‘Please. No,’ she breathed. ‘No.’
‘Look at us.’
She didn’t want to.
But a tentacle wound around her and she swallowed as she was pulled up and made to sit.
‘Open your eyes.’
She didn’t want to.
‘Look at us.’
The tentacle was around her neck now. Softly lifting her chin and stroking her cheek as if trying to be tender.
‘Look at us.’
She dared to peek, and felt the child’s fingers back in her head.
Not so deep.
Not so quick.
But still there.
And still painful.
Kia struggled, closing her eyes and letting out another cry as the sagman let her go and she fell to her side, her empty stomach heaving nothing onto the bed.
They let her catch her breath before she felt the tentacle on her arm again.
‘Look at us.’
‘It hurts,’ was all she could manage.
‘Look at us.’
She couldn’t stop trembling as the creature held her up again.
‘Look at us.’
It took all of her effort to do what she was told.
She met the large one’s eyes, this time, and felt softer fingers in her head.
It still hurt.
The fingers disappeared. Then came back.
‘Keep them open,’ the sagman told her, and she could tell now that the voice was inside her head like the fingers.
She could feel the creature shifting her thoughts around. Memories flicked in and out of her vision like bright lights as it went through her mind, memory by memory.
What was it searching for?
She tried not to blink again.
If it found what it wanted, maybe it would stop.
She hoped it would stop.
Then it grabbed something in her mind and she felt a hard tug before the fingers disappeared from her head. As it left her it pulled something out with it, leaving her dizzy and sore.
Her entire body ached.
The sagman put her down carefully and she groaned.
The pillow wasn’t soft enough for her aching head, and the blanket that was laid over her wasn’t warm anymore, but she was glad it was finally over.
‘Did you find it?’
‘Yes. I found it.’
Footsteps, from the bed to the door, and something clicked and spun. But she didn’t dare open her eyes to check what it was.
‘What do we do with her, now?’
The sagman hesitated.
The door whirled shut.
And the footsteps started down the hall.
‘I’m not sure.’
I already posted a short bit from how you find out Krish is trans if you read my project in series order, but here's how you find out if you read it in chronological order! It's got a very different feel to it because Toro and Krish don't know each other very well, yet, and Toro's still very undereducated. His heart's in the right place here, he's just dumb as a brick.
cw for accidental misgendering
Toro narrowly dodged the queen’s shoe and hurried out with the rest of the crowd.
He was met by a few older looking guards, who motioned to two tents.
‘Men on the left, women on the right.’
‘R-Right,’ Toro gave a nod and hurried to the left line. He got in place behind a human man, who looked back with a snort as Toro took a step too close.
There was a deep scar across his neck and shoulder, like he’d had boiling water thrown on him, and Toro tried not to stare.
‘What?’ the human grunted.
‘That scar’s, uh, pretty nasty,’ Toro managed.
‘That scar’s, uh, none of your business!’ the man snapped before turning his back to Toro.
‘Right, of course not,’ Toro nodded before glancing around and realising Krish had stepped up behind him. ‘Krish?’
‘I thought that the, uh— The women—’
Krish gave a heavy sigh, putting her face in her hands, and Toro stopped mid-sentence.
He felt the overwhelming urge to apologise. Had he said something wrong? He couldn’t think what he could have said wrong— But the look on Krish’s face told him he had, and he opened his mouth to ask what it was, but was cut short as Sands came out and motioned for everyone to be quiet.
He started walking up the line of men, marking each name off on a clipboard, until he came to Krish. He barely glanced up as he mumbled, ‘I think you’re in the wrong line.’
‘No, I-I’m not,’ Krish stammered. ‘I’m not a woman.’
Now, Sands looked up. Then quickly flicked through his paperwork. ‘What’s your name?’
‘Krish Galia,’ voice trembling, Krish stood up straighter. ‘I’m a transgender man.’
Toro only half understood that meant— He had no idea what a “transgender” was, but at least he knew now why Krish hadn’t been happy at being called a woman.
A transgender man?
‘A transgender man?’ Sands echoed Toro’s thoughts.
‘Well, I’m sorry for the confusion, that was my mistake,’ Sands quickly made a note on his paperwork, then looked back up to Krish. ‘These lines are only for uniform measurement. Will you be comfortable being measured by another man?’
‘I’d rather not be measured at all,’ Krish replied, his voice cracking with anxiety. ‘I already know my measurements. I-If I could just write them down. …’
‘If that makes your more comfortable,’ Sands gave a nod and motioned to the tent ahead. ‘Go in now and tell Hajir. Just make sure they’re accurate or I’ll be the one he throws a fit at later.’
‘Th-Thank you,’ Krish nodded, and took a step out of line and made towards the tent as Sands continued down the line.
As Sands passed, the human man from before turned to Toro and whispered, ‘You got any idea what “transgender” is?’
Toro shook his head.
‘I thought it was a seces thing,’ someone else whispered.
‘Y’all are fucking idiots!’ hissed a voice behind Toro, and he glanced to see a felinic rolling his eyes. ‘Read a fucking book or something! By the Goddess!’
The rest of the men in front of Toro turned back around and grumbled, but Toro nudged the felinic man to get his attention.
‘What books?’ he asked.
The felinic shook his head and sighed, the annoyed look fading into fatigue. ‘Gods, you serious? You ain’t just a transphobe trying to fuck with me?’
‘Yeah, I’m serious.’
‘Kazani: a History and Biography,’ the felinic answered. ‘It’s in the royal library. Foxen culture section.’
The start of Tru'man's death scene. Trying to get that balance between believable use of their native language, and it being actually understandable to the reader? Actually a lot of fun, tbh.
‘You will be okay,’ Geoff whimpered. ‘I will— I will fix you. You will be okay.’
‘Geoff,’ Tru’man managed. ‘This is too deep. Even for you.’
‘No!’ Geoff’s wings stiffened, the feathers trembling as if they were trying to escape him as he lifted them up. ‘No! No! No no no!’
‘I’m sorry,’ Tru’man let out a deep, heavy breath. ‘I’m so sorry, Geoff’Selulu.’
‘No!’ Geoff repeated, pushing onto his father’s wound harder before letting out an anguished squeal— Setani’Selina recognised it as something seces, and though she wasn’t sure of the exact word, she understood the meaning.
‘Gorg,’ she said as she gently kneed by her brother. She ran a hand over his back and ran the other down his arm to meet his own at their father’s wound. ‘Kosson. Tasa less now. You’re hurting yalfit.’
‘No,’ Geoff whined, not moving. ‘I will fix him.’
‘I am not lying! I will fix him!’
‘Maka,’ Setani’Selina repeated. ‘You maka. Yalfit is in the mup bakti. You know.’
‘No! No!’ Geoff snapped, his worried face now half a scowl. ‘Do not say hakalika things to me! You are the maka! I will fix him!’
‘Geoff’Selulu,’ Tru’man’s hand found its way onto his childrens’ and he looked to them both weakly. ‘Setani’Selina kizza maka.’
The words were barely out of Tru’man’s mouth before Geoff let out another mournful cry and doubled over, pushing his face into his father’s. ‘No, yalfit! No! No! I will fix you!’
‘You can’t,’ Tru’man told him. He took a laboured breath … then smiled. ‘I’m proud of you. You and all your zelkins. You make my world less sharami.’
‘Halki, katka,’ a tear rolled down Tru’man’s cheek. ‘Halki.’
Setani’Selina felt like her heart was being squeezed by a tight hand. ‘I’m sorry, yalfit.’
‘You have no reason to be sorry,’ Tru’man said. ‘Kosson, my rek. Kosson. … Where are your zelkins?’
‘We’re here, yalfit,’ a voice came from behind Setani’Selina, and she didn’t need to turn to know it was Ta’kora. ‘All of us.’
‘What was their name, Q?’ Coi’Lili lent heavier on the fence, leaning forward so he could look Jaisa in the eye. ‘You are smiling now.’
‘Its name is Batni.’
‘Yes, that’s its pronouns,’ Jaisa responded, a humoured snort escaping through xer gills. ‘We don’t all use xie and them, you know. The whole point is we’re not some sort of binary. He, she, fae, hir, sie, ve, its. … There’s hundreds of options. Xie and them are just common and easy to use in front of land-dwellers, that’s all.’
‘I see,’ Coi’Lili gave a nod and ruffled his feathers. ‘And xie is what you prefer, Q? There is nothing else, Q? Because if there is something else I am more than happy to use it for you.’
‘Yeah, nah,’ Jaisa shrugged. ‘Xie is fine. I don’t think you could pronounce my pronouns in Seces.’
‘I am part avio, my sweet lovely one,’ Coi’Lili responded. ‘And I have my speaker. I would be able to pronounce anything. Maybe even better than you.’
Jaisa let out another gill-snort before turning to Coi’Lili. ‘Alright,’ xie said. ‘Try this one, then.’
A short whistle came from xer gills, echoing like it was being whistled twice as xie opened and closed xer mouth. Then xie clamped xer gills gown down with a wet slapping noise and grinned.
‘That is your pronoun, Q?’ he opened his mouth and the noise echoed out of him, perfectly mimicked. ‘That is not to hard to say, my dear.’
‘Works as both personal and possessive,’ xie said. ‘But I doubt the wolvens around here could pronounce it without bordering on offencive, so I prefer to just use xie and xer on land.’
‘If that is your wish, I will respect it,’ Coi’Lili gave xer a gentle nod. ‘But if you change your mind do not hesitate to let me know. It is nothing hard for me and I am more than happy to do it.’
‘Thanks,’ Jaisa replied, resting xer chin on the fence and staring into the pond longingly. After a moment xie eyed Coi’Lili. ‘Do you think I would get in trouble?’
‘For your pronouns, Q?’ he gasped. ‘Oh, no no no! Queen Distro would never allow that!’
‘I meant if I jumped into the pond,’ Jaisa clarified. ‘Do you think I would get into trouble if I went for a swim?’
‘I think if I’ve learnt anything, it’s that Gavin likes food regardless of flavour,’ Dale joked. ‘I think he’d eat clay if you’d let him.’
‘He used to,’ Talia replied, the edge gone from her voice. ‘He didn’t grow out of it until he was eight. Eight years old and he was eating dirt.’
‘To be fair, I think I can recall you doing the same!’
‘Oh please; it was the worms I was interested in, not the dirt.’
Though sexual dimorphism in harpies is often used to quickly identify the biological sex of a harpy, it is common to be corrected on pronoun usage by niritaka (transgender) or haykafica (intersex) harpy. Haykafica harpy make up roughly 3% of the known Heck’ne population, and niritaka make up almost 10% of the population. Niritaka are most common in harpy families that socialise with the local seces people, though they are found across Heck’ne and their high population in areas with seces is simply put down to having a better education of gender identity.
Ka'harja's Journey, Chapter 7 excerpt:
Before he could get the words out of his mouth, Annanyn plopped herself between the pair and offered them both fish from her complicated-looking platter. As she turned to Ka’harja her face pulled in a grimace. ‘What’s that smell?’
‘What smell?’ Sken asked.
‘Smells like mouldy cloth,’ Annanyn muttered, sniffing at the air. ‘I think someone’s cast magic here recently.’
‘What?’ Ka’harja laughed. ‘What are you talking about?’
Annanyn was too busy sniffing to respond, so Sken answered for her. ‘She’s an aura sensor. She can smell magic.’
‘Smell magic?’ Ka’harja echoed. ‘I though aura sensors … sensed magic.’
‘Smell is a sense,’ Sken scoffed, rolling her eyes and grinning playfully. ‘Every aura sensor is different. Annanyn smells it. … What sort of magic is it, puddle-hopper?’
‘I DON’T WANT TO PUT ON PANTS!’ the screech from downstairs was followed by a loud crash and doors slamming.
He stood to respond, but before he could even open his mouth he heard Ell’ian yell a response.
‘YOU WILL PUT ON YOUR PANTS WHEN LILTH TELLS YOU TO OR I WILL PUT THEM ON FOR YOU! DON’T MAKE ME COME INSIDE!’
Screaming followed, and more doors were slammed, but after a few moments Toro heard his daughter yell about wanting “the blue ones” and let out a loud sigh.
Putting on his own pants, he stumbled to the door and shouted down the hall, ‘ELLOW’HEN! YOU TREAT AUNTY LILTH WITH RESPECT OR YOU’LL LOSE YOUR LIZARD PRIVILEGES!’
The shouting grew into a loud cry, which cut off when Toro yelled back that he meant it.
‘YOU WON’T BE ALLOWED TO EAT LIZARDS FOR A WHOLE WEEK IF YOU DON’T BEHAVE!’
There was no response; which Toro knew was a victory.
Little Demon's first word.
Little Demon gave a gurgle, and Ka’harja laughed and pulled him back against his chest.
‘Hah, idiot,’ Ka’harja teased. ‘That’s what you are, aren’t you? Stupid!’
‘F. ... Flu!
‘That’s a new noise,’ snickering, Ka’harja adjusted the wiggling infant until he was more comfortable. ‘You trying to say flowers? Flowers. Can you say that?’
‘F. ... Fuck.’
Ka’harja felt his blood ice over.
Oh Eighth Child of the Ninth.
‘Uh, right,’ Ka’harja smacked his lips together and stood straight. ‘Right. Right. Baku? Baku!’
Baku stuck his head out of the caravan he’d disappeared into. ‘Yeah?’
‘Hold this for me,’ he didn’t wait for a response before thrusting Little Demon info Baku’s arms. ‘I have to— I gotta go.’
‘Ka’harja!’ Baku called back loudly as Ka’harja disappeared around a corner. ‘Hey! No! Stars asked you to look after him! I’m busy! Sken said. ... BY THE GODDESS KA’HARJA WHAT DID TOU DO TO HIM?’
The Dassen Origin is a story known by both dassen and zokex races. It’s a tale that took place before the awakening of The Goddess Scara, back when Das was still whole and unshattered by the Island Mover. It’s the tale of a shape shifting zokex, named Adoration, who started a nurlak-worshipping cult. The cult did a lot of morally questionably actions during their formative years and, after being banished from zokex society, moved on to outright horrible acts. Their most famous crime was the mutilation and murder of a young nurlak child whose body they used to create a form-changing potion. This potion was supposed to turn the members of the cult into nurlaks, but due to the brutal nature of the murder, the ancient nurlak gods punished the zokex and their potion only half-worked, leaving them stuck halfway between nurlak and zokex; the first dassens.
[also my fave paragraph from the story's below the cut]
cw: gore / death
Little Centela is a good Har'py which means he is NOT a liar and will get VERY upset if it's implied he's not telling the truth.
Kaka mia mal sasao! Don't whisper what you won't scream!
cw: death mention
Sensin shrugged. ‘You’re going to have to have a bath when you’re done in the dirt. You won’t be allowed in the dining hall like that.’
‘I can get my own food,’ Centela declared, jumping at the base of the tree and digging. He scrabbled until he was able to pull out a small root, and began chewing. ‘Mmmfee?’
‘Spit that out!’ Sensin exclaimed.
‘Mno,’ Centy grumbled, clambering around the tree so Sensin couldn’t grab him. ‘Itf mimne!’
‘Papa, he’s so clever!’ Mingan exclaimed. ‘I wish I knew how to find food like that!’
Centela felt his scales warm with pride, and felt his chest tighten as he instinctively stood up straight. He pulled the root out of his mouth and quietly stepped out from behind the tree.
‘I can teach you,’ he told her. ‘It’s not so hard. You got to be careful not to eat poison stuff. That’s all! If you eat poison stuff you’ll die and be thrown into a ga’oa so goblins get to eat you!’
‘No you won’t—’ Sensin lunged for Centela, just barely managing to catch him. ‘You’ll go to the healers until you get better.’
‘If you get better!’ Centela exclaimed. ‘If you don’t throw up your whole stomach and have your lungs explode! I’ve seen it! It’s gross and you won’t even make it to the healers before you die!’
Mingan gasped, and hid behind her wings as her father hefted Centela off the ground.
‘Stop scaring her, Centela,’ he grunted.
‘Stop lying to her!’ Centela retorted. ‘If she thinks poison’ll not kill her then she’ll eat poison and die and you’ll have to live knowing you killed your zelkin! I’m helping you not be a murderer! You hakalika balak!’
Sensin hesitated, then let out a deep sigh and pulled Centela into his chest to keep him steady. ‘You don’t need to be so graphic about it.’
‘But it’s what happens!’ Centela defended. ‘It’s as bad as a spider sting!’
Sensin sighed. ‘Again with spiders. You really don’t like them, do you?’
‘Why would I?’ Centela exclaimed. ‘They’re big and mean and eat us whenever they can! With lots of stingers and legs and big big fangs!’
Mingan let out another gasp. ‘Like in your drawing!’
Centela nodded. ‘Uhuh! Only I’m not a good artist like you, so I can’t draw them right! They’re BIGGER than my drawing! So big they could swallow your stepapa Sensin whole!’
Mingan whimpered, and collapsed backwards into her chair. ‘Not stepapa!’
‘Nuh-uh,’ Sensin replied. ‘There are no spiders that eat people.’
‘YEAH THERE ARE!’ Centela shouted. ‘I’M NOT A LIAR! IF YOU THINK I’M A LIAR THEN YOU CAN GO TO HECK’NE WHEN MY YALFIT PICKS ME UP INSTEAD! THEN YOU CAN LIVE WITH THE SPIDERS INSTEAD!’
‘Stop that,’ Sensin sighed, dumping Centela into the wheelchair beside Mingan.
‘No!’ Centela pouted. ‘I’m not a liar! Apologise for saying I was a liar!’
‘I didn’t call you a liar—‘
‘—YES YOU DID AND YOU HAVE TO APOLOGISE OR I’LL HAVE TO FIGHT YOU IN GRA GA’HOO DA!’ Centela screamed. ‘AND I REALLY LIKE YOU SO DON’T MAKE ME HAVE TO KILL YOU BECAUSE I WILL WIN! AND THEN YOU’LL BE SORRY BUT IT WILL BE TOO LATE BECAUSE YOU’LL BE DEAD! I DON’T MAKE UP STORIES! KAKA MIA MAL SASAO! KAKA! MIA! MAL! SASAO!’
‘Alright,’ Sensin gave a heavy sigh, and pet Centela’s head until he quietened down. ‘I’m sorry for saying you were making things up.’
Centela crossed his arms and turned away. ‘Don’t call me a liar again.’
‘Hello! I am Keemi’Keemi! I am serving drinks today!’ the avio gave a happy flap of her wings.
‘I’m Stars!’ Stars’ face lit up. ‘And this is Koko, Baku, Lif, Trat, Sken, Annanyn, Coborn, and my best friend— Ka’harja!’
‘Oh best friend!’ Keemi’Keemi beamed. ‘I have seven those! They very fun have! Lots and lots of love!’
Stars nodded. ‘Is it okay if I ask what keemi means, Q?’
‘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.
Ka'harja's Journey, Chapter 9 (WIP)
Ka'harja falls in a river and is pulled out by Sken. The following conversation is as awkward as those two always are when put together.
Sooo I'm writing up summaries for Don't Lose Hope, to show how all the books are supposed to flow together. I'm only about halfway done, but have been on it for about 2 hours, so I'm gonna stop it there for now. Will edit this post and reblog it again once I finish! I've added up to book 12.5, and only have 6 more summaries to go!
There's going to be 2 reading orders for the series; main series order, and chronological order. Main series order skips all the middle books (x.5) and focuses on major plot points, while chronological order includes a book between every other book that are not needed to understand what's going on, but will provide more content, character backstories, and less-plot related events.
2,400 words / cw for dark themes
Book 1.5 - The Runaways Sister book to the 1st book; from Stars’ perspective. Happens along the same time-line as book 1 but gives a different perspective to similar concepts.
Book 2 - The Self-Feeders Ka’harja, now living with his grandparents, finds out he is royalty. This book puts Distro in the position of heir to the throne, which leads onto future books. It also shows the difference between the “everyday” life of Sentients, and the life of royalty. Introduces a few more basic concepts that were missed in book 1, including old gods and illnesses. It also shows something is up with a newly-emerged cult group, and how severe their attacks on the world are becoming.
Book 2.5 - Stargazing Focuses mainly on Ta’lak and Timamisa, and how they met and decided to find Stars. It shows as the nurlak are recovering from the effects of the self-feeding sickness. You also find out Cor’Bala almost died during the outbreak.
Book 3 - Prince Nigelle Ka’harja is now the heir of the Canis throne, after his heroics in book 2. Though it’s mainly character-based it introduces a few final base world concepts and starts the study of soulstone. Reveals Kay’oten as the leader of the terror cult as Lah’kort comes back from the dead and murders Ka’harja and his grandfather, starting a war between Canis and Sapious.
Book 3.5 - Harmony From the POV of a Sapious human who worked in the king’s palace when Lah’kort took over. Detailing the horrible things that happen at the castle that lead the king to abandoning it after Ka’harja’s murder.
Book 4 - Queen Kekik Distro learns about her father and son’s deaths, and is the heir by default after her mother’s suicide. In grief, Distro steals the old god’s fallen stars and flees into the Canis wilderness, intending to use the stars to contact Ka’harja. She’s followed by Stars, however, who keeps her from secluding herself completely and eventually convinces her to go to Lah’kort’s castle and defeat the spirit.
Book 4.5 - The Harpy Bride A prequel book to book 5 that shows how Toro met his wife and started his family. If read chronologically, it’s intention is to make us question our perceptions of the Har’py culture, and we learn alongside the characters about the past corruption that Heck’ne has been through. If read after reading book 5, it gives more information on the morals we’re made to question in that book.
Book 5 - The Canis Guard A few hundred years after Distro is crowned queen, book 5 follows the life of one of her personal guards, Toro. The main focus of this book is to show the changes to the world due to the constant state of war, and also throw away our previous understanding of the Heck’ne and Har’py culture and force us to reconsider our initial misconceptions of there being an inherently “evil” race by showing the issues presented in the previous books were not the norm of the culture but a few specific people leaning into the racist propaganda against the Heck’ne to get away with vile behaviour. Distro makes an alliance with Heck’ne’s Prophet. This book also shows Kay’oten is still recruiting people to try and fight Distro. Ends with Toro being captured as a prisoner of war.
Book 5.5 - Untitled This book is about Toro’s family as they get older and recover from the loss of their father/husband/friend. The main focus is Coski meeting Apple’Cloud and it is supposed to be a funner book, but it also covers some of the issues that come up with Krish and his grief.
Book 6 - A Necklace and a Lullaby This book follows Toro’s young daughter, Lua’ana, after Ell’ian is murdered by a group of Distro’s guards on her way home from work. Lua’ana is saved by a group of teenage thieves who are in the middle of a large score and take cover in an old house. Overnight, Lua’ana’s memories are stolen by Kay’oten, who starts to groom her into being one of her cult members and filling her head with hate for Distro. As this happens Lua’ana, now Luana, becomes a member of the group of thieves and makes a rivalry with the dassen girl Marias. Ell’ian is haunting her daughter the entire time and trying to guide her away from Kay’oten’s manipulation.
Book 6.5 - Untitled Luana growing up, bonding with Mairas, and constantly being on the cusp of finding her family but never quite getting there. Focuses on introducing a few of the Sentient races that haven’t been introduced yet, and showing pieces of their culture. Shows that she’s susceptible to Kay’oten’s manipulation and has started to commit crimes against Distro.
Book 7 - The Thief and the Witch Focuses on Luana as a young adult. Kay’oten’s manipulation is getting worse and has stuck with Luana, and there is a plan to murder Distro. This plan goes wrong when Ell’ian stops Luana. Kay’oten turns her anger on the thieves and attempts to kill Luana and all of her friends. Only a few of them survive, and flee to the streets. Eventually they are taken in by the Taruntan family, who are later revealed to be close with Queen Distro and accidentally reintroduce Luana and the queen. After some misunderstanding, Distro takes Luana on as a guard trainee and the two learn to trust each other.
Book 7.5 - Homeland, Not Home Ell’ian’s book, Homeland not Home. It carries on directly from the end of the previous book, when Luana and Brandon start to read the book. Includes her poetry, and is a rather unconventional book in the series.
Book 8 - Untitled Luana has risen through the ranks of Distro’s guard and become the highest ranking officer in Distro’s army. She takes on an old girlfriend as a trainee and, without realising it, is also given command over her nephew. This book focuses more on the war than previous books, and starts to lead onto the war’s resolution. However, Luana goes off on her own and is captured by the human king. As the book ends she’s set to be tortured for information. It’s also revealed what happened to Toro.
Book 8.5 - Untitled About one of the guards Luana met when captured. She told him to find Mairas and ask for shelter, and he takes his family and tries to find safety. He misses Mairas but finds a different general, who brings him to Canis and helps him and his children be safe.
Book 9 - Lost and Found This book focuses on Mairas, after Luana’s been lost in the war. The first part focuses on Mairas using her grief for Luana as her drive for continuing to fight, and once Luana is returned the book slows down in pace and the girls leave the army to aid Luana’s recovery. Many issues from previous books begin to resolve at this point, such as Luana being reunited with her family and finding out about her past. Both Luana and Mairas have children near the end of the book, both under less-than-ideal circumstances. After their birth Mairas rejoins the army and fights in the war again.
Book 9.5 - Untitled This book takes place during the time skip between book 9 and 10. It’s about Mairas’ children, Linzor and Keeyata, and their childhood. Mairas is pretty absent as she’s constantly going back and forth between her children and the war. It shows the abuse Keeyata goes through from her father and Linzor, and how much trouble her mother is having protecting her. It also introduces soulbinding and shows the relationships between Mairas and Luana’s children.
Book 10 - Untitled Mostly about Mairas’ return to the army to fight in the war. Showcases Mairas and Luana’s children as young adults, and starts the setup for the focus to shift onto them. The Canis is making progress on winning the war with Sapious. However, news comes that there are issues arising within the Heck’ne. The alliance that Distro and the old Prophet made is broken when it’s found Heck’ne has started kidnapping people. They don’t have too much time to address this though, as Mairas is given the opportunity to take down the Sapious royal family. She kills the king, but can’t bring herself to kill his (too-young) wife and infant son (Jared) and instead rescues them and brings them back to Canis. The king’s wife gives up Jared, who Elli adopts as her own, and returns to her family. A plan is made among Canis and the allied kingdoms to return Sapious’ land to Jared once he is of age, if he proves he can be a good and moral leader. There is a celebration of the end of the war, and Mairas is asked to be a speaker. During this celebration she feels ill, and Linzor takes her away from the crowds. She’s set on edge by Linzor’s behaviour in the last scene, but the reader is not shown the resolution.
Book 10.5 - A Dassen in the Heck’ne One of the darker-themed books in the series, this book focuses on a new character, Scaychie, and her strong determination to see the best in people. It opens in a dassen settlement with Scaychie and her husband Taldurl relaxing and excited about having their second child. There is mention of a storm being an omen, and a close friend of theirs passing away and leaving her daughter orphaned. As they talk their settlement is attacked by a group of harpies and Scaychie and her husband are separated as Taldurl takes their firstborn to safety and Scaychie fights off the attackers. She’s captured by the harpies and forced across the ocean to the Heck’ne where she meets the Prophet Ali’ka, who gives her to Linzor as a wife. It is now the full extent of Linzor’s actions comes to light. Throughout this book we learn that Keeyata, Ali’ka, Ali’ka’s son Tru’man, and several other characters are all being manipulated by Linzor on behalf of Kay’oten. Scaychie, though physically powerless against Linzor, is able to become respected among the Har’py people and struggles to protect herself, her friends, and the innocent Heck’nerians that are threatened by Linzor’s lust for power. She even seems to help guide the paranoid Ali’ka into being a better ruler, before the Prophet dies in an almost-accident that gives Linzor almost complete power of the Heck’ne through the kind-hearted but gullible Tru’man. We also learn that Linzor murdered his mother and has plans to murder Distro.
Book 11 - Political Engagement This book takes us to Luana’s daughter, Elli, during a messy breakup with her boyfriend (and heir to the Canis throne) Ykelt. We learn that Mairas has died, as she was poisoned at the dinner celebrating the end of the war, but nobody knows who did it. Then, Elli is in an near-fatal accident where she meets Ka’harja’s spirit. Ka’harja tries to tell her of Kay’oten’s plans but is cut off as Elli is revived. All Elli knows is that Kay’oten is planning on causing a war between the allied countries and the wolven kingdom Konde. Elli tells Distro of this plan, and Distro seeks to create alliance with Konde to prevent the war. Elli offers herself up as a bride to one of the Konde princes, to help make the alliance appear more credible to other kingdoms. There is a lot of personal drama in this book, such as Elli having an affair with her sister’s husband, but a lot less action than the previous books. This book will feel very different depending on if it is read in series order or chronological order. If read chronologically, Linzor’s actions and manipulations are more obvious. If read in series order, he comes off as an unpleasant creep whose wife hates him, but the full extend of his dangerous actions remains unknown.
Book 11.5 - Untitled A fun book of Jared’s travels throughout the world. Introduces species and cultures that haven’t been featured very heavily.
Book 12 - Little Kiita Focusing on Linzor’s young son, Centela, this book shows series-order readers just how terrible Linzor is, and cements Linzor’s actions for those reading chronologically. Centela and Elli’s daughter Mingan are being encouraged to becomes friends, with the plan of having them marry in the future. This is done under the guise of creating an alliance between Heck’ne and Konde, but a few select characters know that Linzor’s intentions are far more sinister. It goes back and forth between Heck’ne and Konde from the perspective of a child who thinks of Heck’ne as his home, and of Konde as a terrifying new and different land. Centela’s sibling-relationships with Prophet Tru’man’s children are shown, and we learn a lot more about Heck’ne culture and honour. In the end Centela and Mingan agree to marry, and Linzor leaves Centela to be raised in Konde under Elli’s care.
Book 12.5 - Glow-Glow This book follows the perspective of a character only mentioned in previous books, Linyata (nicknamed Glow-Glow). Linyata is a dassen/seces girl who grew up alongside Scaychie’s firstborn daughter, Jolanti, after Scaychie was taken to Heck’ne. Linyata’s horns have started to grow in, and so in dassen tradition she leaves her home settlement. She decides to look for her biological father, and after a series of events manages to find him. Her father introduces her to a valenor, who helps her contact her late mother’s spirit. Alongside her father and the valenor she meets a felinic man and his adopted son, Hiroson— Who she discovers was Scaychie’s second born, saved from Heck’ne by the felinic and raised on stories of his mother’s strength. Linyata takes Hiroson to meet his biological father. Upon returning to her home settlement, Linyata is greeted by a tearful Jolanti, who admits her romantic feelings for her friend and begs her not to leave again.
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