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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 argue 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?’


‘Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to scare you,’ Raidus chuckled. ‘I was just talking with your friend over there and couldn’t help noticing such a beautiful girl out here on her own.’

‘He’s actually my brother. But thank you,’ Stars mumbled, brushing her hair out of her eyes with a hand.

As she looked around awkwardly, Raidus glanced back at Ka’harja and gave him a confused look, mouthing, she’s your sister?

Ka’harja nodded, frowning, and motioned to his throat. Raidus obviously understood the threat— But seemed to think it was funny as his grin reappeared, much to Ka’harja’s annoyance.

‘You look nice as well,’ Stars finally managed, bringing Raidus’ attention back to her.


2 little bits from the prologue of the second book in Don't Lose Hope! Ka'harja is 11 here. Just a bab!

I cut out the middle bit because I just want to show off these two scenes, specifically, of Distro being a better mother than Kay'oten.

cw: child abuse mention


‘Not that way,’ Distro let out a laugh. ‘It’s not time for bed yet.’

‘Ith not?’ groaned Ka’harja. He wasn’t sure what else there was to do; gathering firewood had been his last chore for the day.

‘Not if you want to learn how to make potions, it’s not,’ Distro winked at the boy.

‘I’m too tired to read,’ Ka’harja told her. ‘I’ll do twi-th ath much reading tomorrow. I promith.’

‘I was thinking about a more hands-on exercise.’

Ka’harja’s heart skipped a beat. ‘You’re going to let me make a po-thon?’

‘Unless you’d rather go to bed—’

‘—NO!’ Ka’harja didn’t feel tired anymore. ‘I WANT TO MAKE A PO-THON! What po-thon am I going to make? Invi-thability? Levita-thon? Explo-tionth?’

‘A herbal tea,’ Distro told him. ‘Cottonflower.’

Ka’harja’s heart sank. ‘That’th not a po-thon.’

‘Cottonflower tea is the most important potion you will ever learn to make,’ Distro frowned. ‘And it’s the one potion I expect you to never charge people for. Do you understand?’

Ka’harja gave a huff; and then, when he caught Distro’s frown, he nodded.

‘Do you remember what cottonflower tea is?’ she asked.

‘It’th the one for nurlakth,’ said Ka’harja. ‘When they get the thelf-feeding thickneth.’

‘Good lad,’ Distro raised a hand, hesitating when the child flinched. ‘Don’t be scared. High-five.’

Ka’harja swallowed, and slowly raised his own hand— And let out a loud giggle as Distro smacked their palms together.

‘That’s my boy!’ she cheered, ruffling his hair and giving his ears a playful tug. ‘Now, into the pantry with you!’

Ka’harja rushed to the kitchen, opening the pantry door wide and slipping inside.

He almost gasped; he’d never been allowed in the pantry before, and he couldn’t believe his eyes as they trailed along the shelf-covered walls. It was like a rainbow of plants and poultices.

~~~

‘What did I just say about talking back?’ Distro asked. ‘Did I say to do it? I think not.’

‘I know you don’t real-ly mind,’ Ka’harja grinned. ‘If you did, you’d hit me, juth-d like my real kekik would.’

‘No, I wouldn’t!’ Distro snapped. ‘Don’t talk that crock to me! And don’t you dare compare me to a Har’py.... And what’s this talk about “real” kekiks? As long as you live with me I’m your mother. Plain and simple.’

‘Not by blood,’ mumbled Ka’harja as he began to tear the leaves into small pieces. ‘You’re juth-d looking ath-ter me.’

‘Exactly! That means I’m your mother,’ Distro yanked the leaves out of Ka’harja’s grip and began to snip them into neat squares with scissors. ‘I don’t know what you think mothers are supposed to do, but I’m telling you now; a real mother is the one who loves you most. Nobody will ever love you as much as a real mother will.’

‘But my real moth-der doeth-n’t loth me—’

‘Nonsense! Of course I do,’ said Distro as she scooped the leaves into a ceramic cup. ‘Now, do you remember what to do after cutting the leaves?’

Ka’harja shook his head and Distro let out a heavy sigh.


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-


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.’


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!’


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)


‘It’s Distro,’ Distro corrected with a huff.

‘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.

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.


Little avio, little avio, for your second mother you must behavio


‘What?’ Scaychie was taken aback. ‘You want me to… babysit?’

‘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.’

‘Why me?’

‘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?’

‘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.’


‘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?’

‘Yep.’

‘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.’

‘Honey—’

‘—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.

500 words


‘So...’ Dale glanced to his office. He didn’t want to go in. He didn’t want to spend the day with a wall between them, when there was so much to say instead. ‘Work, huh?’

‘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.’

‘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.

‘So....’

‘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!

1326 words.

Download links can be found HERE if you would prefer it as a PDF, ePub, or .docx!

cw: violence || kidnapping/abduction || aliens/monsters


It had been two days, Kia guessed, since she’d been captured.

Rescued?

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.

Footsteps.

Anxiety.

Relief.

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?

Maybe.

Probably not.

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.

Footsteps.

Anxiety.

Pause.

They were outside, now, and Kia could barely hear their mutters over the beating of her own heart.

Keep walking.

Keep walking.

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.

Strange.

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.

‘Be patient.’

‘Look at us!’

‘Be patient.’

Kia dared another glance, and saw the small one scramble to the chair she’d never sat in.

‘Make her look!’ it demanded.

‘Be patient.’

She had a feeling it was young. Just a child.

‘Look at us!’

‘Be patient.’

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.

‘Gently.’

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.

She winced.

It still hurt.

She blinked.

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.

600 words.

cw for accidental misgendering


‘Good lad. … Tasuma, stop staring and go outside!

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?’

‘Yes?’

‘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.

‘Y-Yes sir.’

‘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.

360 words

cw: death


Setani’Selina made to follow, but Geoff’s mournful cry pulled her attention and she turned to see her brother pressing his hand against their father’s wound.

‘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.’

‘Maka.’

‘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.’

‘Basaka?’

‘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.’

‘Its, Q?’

‘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.’


‘I’m going to ignore you, now,’ said Ka’harja as he turned away. ‘Nothing personal, I just don’t want to hear you speak ever again.’


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:

‘Well, uh—’

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.

cw: swearing

‘Maybe I should get Coff something nice,’ Ka’harja mused. He held Little Demon under the arms and lifted him up against the sky. ‘What do you think, you scabby little fucker? Should I get him chocolate or flowers?’

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.

Shit.

‘Fucker.’

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

It wasn’t long before the cult began to test their boundaries, and Adoration did the unforgivable. The old sun set in orange and pink, and in the dimming light of the night she stole a nurlak out a temple’s window. A child, no more than a decade old, who was stripped of their skin while still alive and torn apart by the ravenous dragons. The blood and flesh of the young one was used to create a serum of change. Magic imbued into them from the gory ritual, the zokex shared the foul drink and called to the nurlak gods for their rewards. The serpents were disgusted.


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!

600 words

cw: death mention

‘I hate baths,’ he muttered. ‘I want to lie in the dirt!’

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!’

‘Uh-huh!’

‘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.’


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