Archive | May 30, 2012

Being the Monster

For rix_scaedu‘s Commissioned continuation.

Addergoole has a landing pagehere.

After Cursed.

Barypos ended. Ended, in a way he had never imagined possible, Ended, Name and name and soul and memories. He ended in a twist of pain and a gut-punch, air lost, while the world burned around him.

He dreamt of death, of spears, of the lamentations and screams of women following him through the years. He dreamt of blood and pain, and of fire, and more fire, and more.

When he awoke, Barypos was gone. He woke to consciousness of a sort, remembering nothing but pain and fire.

Slowly, he stood, and brushed the sand off of his skin. White skin, skin like a dead thing, rippled with muscle and lined with scars that were, as he watched, vanishing into the whiteness. He looked around; sand, and the long-gone remains of buildings. To the north, sand, to the east, sand. To the south, sand, and to the west, sand and the sun.

That was a direction, at least. Not knowing what else to do, he walked into the sun.

A caravan found him, some endless time later, coated in dust and parched. “Where do you come from?” they asked, and he could not tell them. They gave him water, and asked his name.

“Buh-” was all he could remember, so Buh he became, for the few moments before the women brushed the sand off of him, before the men saw what he was.

“Monster,” the youngest woman screamed. “Beast, corpse-eater!”

Those who had welcomed and rescued him drove him off again, screaming monster, beast, creature! and, confused, Buh ran off into the dessert.

Baram woke sweating and swearing and reached across the bed for the girl. There was a girl there. That was the deal; there was always a girl there.

The girl pressed against him in her sleep, stroking his back, her hands firm. Viatrix. Vi’s hands were the strongest. Like Etheldreda. Like Joan.

The memories were beginning to sneak back in, around the edges, when he was sleeping or nearly so, when one of the girls was holding him, and, sometimes and most painfully, when he was holding one of the children. Ethldreda, who had been able to stand him the longest of anyone before these girls, who had stayed with him when the torches lit, stayed with him until the very end. Joan… Joan who had gritted her teeth and tried.

That wasn’t him. That was some other guy, some monster in his nightmares.

He looked down at his body, at the slabs of muscle, at the pale, corpse-like skin. This didn’t change. He died and was born again, died and died and died again, and this returned, white and death-looking. Monstrous.

“I’m here,” Via whispered in his ear, and he clutched her closer. He had never understood what had brought them to show up on his doorstep, Jaelie and then Via and Alkyone, nor what, aside from his protection, drove them to stay, but he knew their warmth and their – he wouldn’t call it love. Nobody could love him. He’d never Kept anyone, that he could recall, to not force the imitation of affection – their friendship seemed to push back the dark.

He knew he would die again. But until that death came, he could be their monster.

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Addergoole Year Nine Character Profile: Timora

Addergoole Year Nine won the reader poll for “Next Year’s serial;” the story proper will begin the first full week of September.

In the meantime, please enjoy the second of twenty-something character profiles: Timora.

Timora is a shy, uncertain girl who reached her height (5 foot 7 inches) quickly and the rest of her growth more slowly, making her awkward and uncertain around her classmates. Added to a generally retiring nature – in a family full of loud and boisterous people, she has always been the quiet one – this generally led people to misunderstand her name as a pun for “timid.”

As a child, she was fond of books, animals, and farming, with a propensity for spending a good deal of time in the local dairy and goat farmers’ barns, helping out or getting in the way. She was not, perhaps surprisingly, much into horse fantasy, although she did love the Narnian centaurs, preferring the fauns, dryads, naiads, and such.

Her introversion, her choice of reading material, and her preference for outdoor life rather than playing games or going to the mall, all added up to her being a rather ignored, unpopular child in school. For many years, she hardly noticed, until boys started becoming interesting to her.

She spent her last two years of high school before Addergoole in a state of embarrassed frustration, uncertain how to deal with boys, what she was supposed to say, or why the romance-novel-inspired dresses and skirts she loved so much were suddenly giggle-worthy and inappropriate. A more attentive mother may have been able to put her on the right path, but Douglass Dark-Water is not known for being all that involved in her children’s lives.

Timora is a slender, willowy, coltish girl with long sandy brown hair that tends to wave and curl. She has a pointed chin and hazel eyes, and wouldn’t know what to do with make-up if somebody gave her step-by-step directions. She wears her hair loose, or with the front braided back.

Her brother, Smitty, tried to tell her about Addergoole. He was hampered by first the geas, second by the fact that his experiences at the school were some of the mildest around, and third by their six-year age gap and his long absence from home during Timora’s formative years. She is left understanding that there is a family legacy relating to the school, and that there are animals to spend time with there.

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