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Authors: Storm Constantine

Tags: #fantasy, #magic, #constantine, #wraeththu, #hermaphrodite, #androgyny

Student of Kyme

BOOK: Student of Kyme
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Student of Kyme

A Wraeththu Mythos Novel

 

Storm
Constantine

 

SMASHWORDS EDITION

 

Student
of Kyme

© Storm
Constantine 2008

Smashwords edition 2009

 

This is a
work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this
book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people, or events,
is purely coincidental.

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This
ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may
not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to
share this book with another person, please purchase an additional
copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book
and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only,
then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own
copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
author.

 

http://www.stormconstantine.com

Cover
Artist: Ruby

 

An
Immanion Press Edition published through Smashwords

http://www.immanion-press.com

info(at)immanion-press.com

Immanion
Press, 8 Rowley Grove, Stafford ST17 9BJ, UK

 

********

 

Introduction

 

We must be thankful for all lessons that life bestows upon us.
In grief and hardship, in pain and conflict, lies education of the
highest order. When we can rise above ourselves and affirm our
tragedies, so we grow more into our potential. Weep not in the
moment, but face towards the future, when you can look back and see
the lesson for what it was.

Aghama gives to us that which we need; everything we
experience is for our highest good, even if it does not seem so at
the time of tears. We simply have to be wise enough to realise the
truth of it.

Velisarius har Kakkahaar, from ‘We Who Are Stars’ ai-cara
120

 

I began
this account a long time ago, and reached a point with it when I
could no longer continue. It was simply too painful. The quote
above is set there for a reason. It was only later, after I had
moved to Immanion and worked there for some time, that I found the
heart to finish it. And the Tigron Pellaz himself is partly
responsible for that.

There is
great store set upon the fact that Wraeththu are superior to
humankind, but the truth of it is that we have the potential to be
greater. We derive from humanity, and even those of us who proudly
call ourselves ‘pure born’ or ‘second generation’ still carry
within us the material of our forebears. There have been great
conflicts in our short history, many dramas enacted upon the stage
of the world, and it is these that scholars use as illustrations in
their discourses on how we can progress as a species. But to me,
the smaller conflicts are just as important. While tribes might
clash, and the lessons learned from these wars be world-changing,
our personal battles are of equal value. These are the dramas we
encounter in everyday life, in our small corners of the world; in
work, in play, in love.

After a
silence of years concerning these very intimate matters, I spoke
with Pellaz har Aralis, simply because I knew he had firsthand
experiences of the destructiveness of love. In the summer, I had
been lucky enough to attend a gathering at the palace Phaonica with
my employers, and near the end of the evening found myself in a
group with the Tigron himself. We were sitting on a wide balcony
overlooking the city. I remember the smell of the night, the heady
perfume of night blooming jasmine, and for some reason it took me
back a few years. In my head and my heart, I was in Alba Sulh
again, smelling flowers that had died long since. Thoughts weighed
heavily upon my mind, and I found myself wondering whether it is
possible ever to forget.

Gradually, for one reason or another, the company drifted
away, until it was just Pellaz and I sitting there. I did not feel
uncomfortable; he has a way to put you at ease.


What’s on your mind?’ he asked me.


Oh, nothing important,’ I replied, embarrassed my wistfulness
had been so obvious.

He
laughed softly. ‘Why not tell me the truth?’

I
realised then he was probably the best har to speak to about it.
His history was common knowledge, because he was one of the most
famous hara in the world. Therefore, he was allowed few
secrets.


I was just thinking back,’ I said. ‘I was thinking… I was
thinking of a lost love.’ I shook my head. ‘Why do I still dwell on
it? It is a long time finished. I’ve worked very hard to rise above
it all, create my life as I want it to be, yet still the memory
steals upon me sometimes.’ I grimaced. ‘It still feels like a
battle I did not win.’

Again,
Pellaz laughed, louder this time. He said to me, ‘Never doubt it is
a war, but perhaps the trick is to discern who the combatants
really are. Is it you and another, or is it simply parts of
yourself: one the wiser self, the other a mean little sneak
sabotaging all its better’s plans and intentions? Our goal in life
is to understand ourselves, nothing more, nothing less, because all
other work and progress springs from that endeavour.’ Then he
smiled at me. ‘Just write it down,’ he said. ‘It’s what I did.
You’ll find it helps.’

Pellaz
wasn’t the first to give me that advice, but he was the har who
gave me the courage to complete the work. The account that follows
was begun at the start of my time in Kyme. I finished it last
night.

Gesaril
Har Sulh

 

Lunilsday, Flowermoon 7

 

Kyme is a
town that has never been young. Even when humans lived in it, I
know that the dust of antiquity swallowed their dreams and muffled
up their memories. It’s not that I don’t like it here, I do, but
it’s a strange, heavy place. I’ve been here four days and it feels
like being in prison, even though I can go out if I want to.
Codexia Huriel has given me a room in his house, and it’s very dark
and creepy. The furniture is old, the floorboards slope, and there
are noises in the walls after dark. Every time I get into the bed
it makes a single long groan, then never speaks again all
night.

Huriel
has told me I must write about my experiences, and that this is
part of the healing process, but I can’t think of anything to say
about it all just now. I don’t even want to think about it, but no
matter how much I say that to myself, it consumes my every waking
moment. I am haunted, and maybe I’ll always be haunted. Nohar else
can see the ghost, and it doesn’t stand at my shoulder; it’s some
distance away, but always at the edge of my vision. I know: I sound
insane. So perhaps writing about it will be an exorcism. I’ll start
my story, if story it is, just before the journey here.

Huriel
interviewed me in Jesith, in the phylarch Sinnar’s office, although
Sinnar wasn’t there. I didn’t know what to expect from the Kymian,
and I know I was pretty defensive. I could tell he thought I was a
brat. Sometimes, these words just come out of my mouth, and there’s
a voice in my head yelling at me to stop, but it does no good. So I
bratted the poor har for over an hour, and we didn’t get anywhere.
I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, whether I’d be
punished or seen as mad, whether I’d be sent home or on to another
teacher. My time in Jesith was over, I knew that. Hara believed I’d
fouled everything. Really quite disgusting. My parents had sent me
there to get an education, but I’d simply gone faintly insane and
acquired a bad reputation instead. Part of me hated myself, another
part felt indignant, because it really wasn’t all my fault. But
nohar would believe me. It was my word against that of a har who
was greatly respected around these parts. I was in so much pain, I
couldn’t even feel it any more. All I could do was scratch and
spit; it was my shout against the injustice I felt.


Your future is really up to you,’ Huriel said to me
patiently.

His
patience especially infuriated me. ‘What do you mean?’ I
snapped.

He placed
his hands on his crossed knees. ‘Well, you can go home if you wish,
or continue your education.’

I
laughed. ‘Or you could lock me up.’


What is your choice?’ Huriel enquired. I noticed with
gratification that his teeth were gritted.

I
shrugged. ‘Whatever.’

Huriel
breathed out through his nose. He wanted to be any place but in
that room with me. ‘We know about your problems,’ he said, ‘and, to
be frank, in your position I would want to address them and move
on. It’s clear you need supervision, and I suggest you come back
with me to Kyme.’

Again, I
laughed. ‘What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know what I’m capable
of?’

He fixed
me with a look that said so much. I lost about half of my swagger
in an instant. ‘You will be quite… safe with me.’


You don’t want to do this, so why bother?’ I said. ‘Will your
charity make you feel good?’


I hope so,’ Huriel replied dryly, again saying so much more
than the simple words implied. He got to his feet.
‘Well?’

I thought
for a moment about going home to the Shadowvales, and my willowy
father drooping all over me, asking why I’d come back. I thought of
my hostling, who is so far away with the fairies, I swear the
concept of reality is less real to him than dreams. Whatever might
happen in Kyme, it had to be more tolerable than that. My skin
itched all over. I felt fierce and restless. ‘All right,’ I said.
‘But I’ve addressed my problems, as you put it. What can I do in
Kyme?’


Continue your training, but in a more academic manner,’
Huriel said, gathering up his notes. ‘I have a lot of old texts I’m
working through. You could help me with that. I could do with an
assistant.’


Will you continue with my caste ascensions?’

He
nodded. ‘It’s desirable for hara of our community to advance,’ he
said. ‘The library at Kyme is the biggest resource in Alba Sulh.
We’re called upon by phylarchs for our knowledge and expertise. We
undertake magical commissions, and offer education. Under the
circumstances, your phyle will not be charged for your
education.’

And that
was that.

The next
day, we began the long journey north. There was no har for me to
say goodbye to, and we left Jesith just after dawn. All the
previous night, I’d lain awake wondering whether my erstwhile
teacher would come to me, at least to say farewell. (I can’t even
write his name yet, not without flinching away as if from a blow.)
I wondered whether I should leave a note for him; an apology or an
embittered rant. I wrote so many of them in my head. There was a
sick sticky lump where my heart should have been. He probably
wasn’t even thinking of me. So, as my horse followed Huriel’s from
the town, I didn’t look back once, didn’t think. I looked
ahead.

Huriel
didn’t like me, and it was impossible to use my wiles on him. He
was faintly attractive to me – I liked his dark auburn hair – but I
might as well have been a rat he’d picked up by the tail from a
rubbish dump for all the attention he sent my way. He clearly
thought his immense wisdom and experience was way beyond my ability
to comprehend. He barely took care to guard his thoughts and on one
occasiononce I picked up the impression he considered my head to be
full of air. He just hoped I was capable of putting things in
alphabetical order. Strangely, none of this offended me. I quickly
realised his non-attention was actually a relief. Usually, the
looks hara give me make me light up like a flaming torch, and I
become this thing that sort of smoulders and claws. Sometimes, I
really don’t want to do that, but I just can’t help it. My dreamy
parents cursed me with beauty, but Huriel wasn’t impressed by it. I
was glad for this change. It meant I could be myself – my real
secret self - and be quiet. We hardly conversed at all.

The
dehara who organise the weather must have looked kindly upon us,
because the cold spring rain kept away. I enjoyed seeing new
places. As we moved further away from Jesith, the pulsating hurt
inside me would sometimes fade a little. I found balm in the raw
landscape. Occasionally, moments passed when I did not see his face
before my inner eyes, when the wound where my heart used to be
didn’t hurt quite as much; but these were temporary respites. One
time, as I watched a hawk hovering high in the cold blue sky, I
realised that I had no idea how long it would take to recover from
this grief I felt, or if I ever would recover. I still feel that
way. Is grief to be my constant companion now? I just can’t imagine
life without this hungry ghost.

BOOK: Student of Kyme
5.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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