Welcome to my weird world.

The Third Wheel - A Cute, Kiddish Romance

Two notes before we begin. One, dragon laguz live to be super-duper old, so when Kurth says he's a big boy at the age of fifty-seven, he's really still a pipsqueak. Two, this is directly copy-pasted from my computer, and my siblings have been known to add weird things at the end of my stories. You've been warned.

The grass whispered in the breeze. The crickets chirped contentedly. An owl was hooting softly. The lake gently lapped against its banks, and the moonlight danced upon it.
“It's so... beautiful,” Ena sighed. She leaned on her companion's shoulder.
“Yes. Lovely,” said Rajaion, gazing fondly at her. His head came lightly down on hers, and he squeezed her hand a little tighter.
It was very romantic, just the three of us.

“It's getting late,” Ena eventually murmured. “Should we get him to bed?”
“I'm not tired,” I said, jerking upright.
“You were falling asleep on Rajaion's leg,” said Ena.
“Was not! It's just so nice and cushy that-”
“Cushy?” said Rajaion. He poked his thigh and sighed. “All this time, I thought it was muscle....”
“You screwballs ruin every tender moment,” Ena giggled.
“Sorry, sorry,” said Rajaion, scooting a little closer to her.
“Tender moment?” I said, nestling down in my niche between them. “What's tender mean?”
“It means romantic, Kurth,” said Rajaion as he tousled my hair.
“Ah,” I said. “Okay. Wait, does that mean you're gonna kiss?”
“Maybe,” said Rajaion.
“I don't think so,” said Ena. “Not in front of little boys like you.”
“Hey, don't call me that! I'm fifty-seven!”
“Well then,” said Rajaion, lifting his head, “if you're old enough to handle it-”
“No!” I said, holding my hand between their faces. “It's gross! ...Eww!” I said when Rajaion bumped against me. They both laughed.
“Definitely too little,” said Ena. She guided Rajaion's head back onto hers. I wiped my hand off and settled down too. We were all silent for awhile, just snuggled together by the lake.

“...I wish it could always be like this,” Ena said quietly. She must have thought I was asleep. I fought my drooping eyelids and listened.
“It could be,” said Rajaion. “You should move in with us. There's plenty of room in the castle.”
“But princesses live in castles. I'm not a princess,” said Ena.
“Not yet,” Rajaion whispered. “When we grow up, we could get married....”
“Could we really?”
“Sure! You want to?”
“Of course!” Ena whispered. I could feel her trembling a little.
“Awesome!” said Rajaion. “When we're older, we'll do that then. It'll be fun! And we'll be able to sit out here whenever we want.”
“...Oh... Rajaion....”
“I wanna come too,” I mumbled, rubbing my eyes. They didn't answer, so I looked up. “Ah! Stop it!”
Ena crossed her arms. “Every. Moment.”
Rajaion laughed. “Okay, time for bed, squirt.” He picked me up and followed Ena along the garden path, back toward the castle. I think that was about when I dozed off....

So I didn't see the ominous dark figure standing near the castle, his bald head agleam in the moonlight.

The Snowball Effect

Dheginsea watches as everyone he cares about is taken away from him, one by one.

“Our people need help,” my brother had pleaded all those years ago. “We don't have to fight – I'm not asking you to – but can't we do something? They're suffering so much at Begnion's hands.”
“If we get involved, we get entangled,” I said. “So much the more likely to be pulled into a fight.”
“Look, I know you're trying to take your vow seriously and keep the peace,” he said, “but this is for the peace of the rest of the world, too!” He stepped back a little, frail fists clenched in determination. “I'm going to do something about it, whether you help me or not. I just... hoped we could work together, as we once did.”
“...I'm sorry,” I said. “But Goldoa simply cannot be involved in-”
The door burst open. “Dad, we were wondering if- oh,” Almedha stopped short when she saw Lehran. “I'll just come back later.”
“No, stay,” Lehran said, scowling at me. “We had nothing more to say.” He turned on his heel and stalked out.

It had been a blow, but I'd held firm. I had to. For my people, for his. For the world.

“At least he had the will to change something,” my daughter had snarled a few centuries later. “Not like you. You just let everyone walk all over you, and our people, too. Some mighty dragon king you turned out to be!”
“We hold our peace to protect the world,” I said quietly. “Everyone else is so swift to warfare; if it weren't for our neutrality, the dark god would awaken in short order.”
“I'm not talking about war!” she yelled. “You don't just hold back from fighting. You hold back from everything!”
“Almedha, compose yourself. Someone will hear you losing your temper.”
“And what if they do?” she growled. “Maybe they'll all realize what a pathetic old man you are.” She turned and reached for the door handle. “Don't wait for me at dinner,” she said. “I'm leaving.”
“I'm going to find a more sensible country to live in, where people stand up for themselves.”
“Watch, you won't even be able to stop me!” She jerked the door open, and sprang back just in time.
“Father!” Rajaion shouted, rushing in past his sister. Ena was riding on his back, clinging to his shoulders, laughing, and blushing furiously. Rajaion skidded to a halt in front of me, positively beaming. “Father, I have an announcement!”
I glanced up at the door. In the commotion, Almedha had slipped away.

“Have I not instructed you well enough about the risks of meddling in others' affairs?” I'd asked a few years after this.
“Of course you have, Father,” my son said gently, “and I know your way is the right way. I don't want any trouble, either. I'm just worried about Almedha. All I want to do is check on her; if things look bad enough maybe help her get home, but not by fighting. I'd try to bargain or sneak her out, if that's what's needed. But maybe everything's alright. Maybe... I could help bring peace back to the family.” He sank onto one knee. “I'm not asking for your help – I'll be less threatening alone – but I do seek your blessing.”
I took him up by the shoulders, and embraced him. “You have it,” I said. “But be careful, Rajaion.”
“I will.” We broke apart and he headed for the door. He stopped there and smiled over his shoulder. “Until we meet again, Father.”
“Farewell, my son.”

About a year later, the door had been ajar, so Ena didn't knock. “Father,” she said, bowing. She'd called me that since she was young.
“What is it, my child?” I'd called her that since she'd entered the family.
“Before he left, did Rajaion say anything about how long he would be away?”
“No, Ena,” I said. “I doubt he knew how long his business would take him.”
“But... shouldn't he have returned by now? And he's stopped writing. The last letter I got was ten months ago, and it barely says anything.” She showed me a scrap of paper with a familiar scrawl on it:

Arrived in Nevassa. Haven't seen Almedha; will write when I find her.
Love to Dad. Keep Kurth out of my stuff. Say hi to Nasir.

“Perhaps he cannot write at the moment,” I said. “He said he might resort to stealth to get to his sister.”
“Stealth for ten months?” she said.
“That is not a very long time, in the grand scheme of things,” I said. “...Is something troubling you?”
“Well... well, no,” said Ena. “I just miss him. And I'm pregnant.”
“You are?”
“Yes,” she said, smiling. “Don't know how much longer I can stand not getting to tell him.”
I smiled too. “No despair, Ena. I'm sure he'll be home soon.”
But Ena had growing misgivings, and it wasn't long before Kurthnaga found a note on the mantlepiece:

Gone to find Rajaion. Be back as soon as I can. Ena

“Who's next, I wonder,” Kurth had groaned when he gave me the note. I wondered the same thing.

“My lord,” the night watch said, saluting as he came in. He looked grim.
“What news, Galahad?” I said.
“...Lady Ena has returned,” he said.
“She has?” I said, standing up from my desk.
“She wasn't long,” said Galahad. “Already she has left again, with her grandfather.”
“What did you hear from her? Did anyone return with her? Why did Nasir go? Answer me!” for Galahad had looked at the floor.
“She was alone, sir,” he said quietly. “She said she'd found both Almedha and Rajaion....” I heard an unspoken 'but'.
“Why did they not return with her?”
“They were unable, sir.”
“Why? Speak, man!”
“Princess Almedha is, practically, a prisoner in Daein. She is heavily guarded, both by soldiers and in her mind. She has a son, and apparently her husband, King Ashnard, is using him against her as surety for her cooperative behavior.”
Poor, wretched Almedha... at last, she'd found someone who could control her.
“Is my son also held captive there?” I asked softly, trying to keep the strain out of my voice.
“Yes, in a sense,” Galahad said hesitantly. “He's...” he mumbled something.
“Speak up!” I barked. Galahad flinched.
“He's a madman!” he blurted. I opened my mouth and closed it again. He continued very quickly, “Ena says that Daein has been experimenting with a drug that traps laguz in their shifted states, and reduces them to bloodthirsty animals. The king had Rajaion poisoned, and he's been his mindless slave ever since.”
I sank back into my chair.
“Lady Ena has not given up, sir,” Galahad said after a pause. “She's going to try to retrieve the prince, and Nasir went to help her.”
“...Good,” I said thickly. “He is cunning. But the two of them may not be enough.”
“We have a delicate situation before us, Galahad,” I said, standing up again. I began to pace, forcing my mind to focus on a plan. “Daein cannot be allowed to meddle any further with our people. Still, we mustn't risk a fight with them.”
“With all due respect, my lord, would this not be a fight in self-defense? Daein is hurting us.”
“The covenant was to have no war, just or otherwise,” I said. “We cannot do battle. But we can take my children back.”
So it was that Nasir left Goldoa, and soon, Galahad went after him, a troop of red dragons in his train.

Two decades later, Ena, Nasir, and Rajaion came back. They'd tried to get to Almedha and gave it up as a bad job. Rajaion was dead. Ena was broken and battle-scarred. So it fell to Nasir to tell me everything – how they'd been working for Ashnard to try to get closer, how they'd been thwarted at every turn, how they'd only gotten to my son when it was too late, and how the herons had saved his soul at the last moment. He told me Galahad and his men had been taken by the drug, and that Almedha's son had vanished into the aether without a trace.
I found Ena that evening out in the garden, burying my son. As she patted down the last of the earth, I heard her sniffle. She wiped her face with a grubby hand, hesitated, and suddenly fell to the ground with a moan. Her shoulders shook with every sob.
I would have said something... tried to restore her composure... at least told her to stop lying in the dirt... but I felt a lump in my throat. So instead, I knelt beside her and pulled her up into my arms. She clung to me gratefully, burying her dirty face in the folds of my robes. I sighed – a long, low sigh – and let my head sink down onto hers.
“...Peace, my daughter,” I whispered. A single tear leaked out of my eye.

Never again, we all agreed. Never again should a dragon leave Goldoa. The results were disastrous.

Smoke in the Eyes

Description: Tibarn comes to the rescue during the Serenes Massacre. I pulled my headband down around my nose to block out the smoke. It was so thick, I could barely see. I stepped over a body and charged ahead anyway. The...

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Sephiran's Sorry

An old lover returns... when it's too late.

Why do I like to write all the sad stuff?

There were so many flowers. Most were plants from nearby – Ribahn Lilies, Goddess Roses, even an iris from the royal garden itself. But there were some things that betrayed a wider circle of friends – a wreath of Gallian Orchids... a pot of fiery orange daisies that only grew in Goldoa....
So many magnificent gifts, and all I had to offer was a single seed.
I sank to my knees in the grass, gently lifted a handful of the freshly turned earth, put the seed down, and covered it up. “Sorry this is all I have,” I whispered, but I knew she would be patient. She was always willing to wait a little for her favorite flowers. Perhaps... in twenty years or so... it would spread out and bloom all over this place.
“I owe you another apology,” I went on quietly. “Sorry I was late last week. I just... didn't know if you'd want to see me, after everything. Sorry about your daughter; I hope she did alright, even after everything I put her through. I haven't asked, though, because, because I'm a coward. Sorry about that, too. It wasn't right to abandon you, no matter what Dheginsea said. We were one. It was beautiful, and I destroyed it. So I'm sorry for everything. That, and... I shouldn't have waited to say all this. I should've said this seventy years ago, when maybe you could've forgiven me. We could've... well, it doesn't matter now, does it? It's too late, because of cowardice.” My voice cracked. “I'm... so sorry, Altina.”

The sun was sinking below the trees when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“It's getting dark,” said a gentle voice. “You can't sit out here all night.”
“Yes, I can,” I mumbled.
“Well, I won't let you. It's alright to be sad – we are too – but catching cold won't do you any good.” She knelt beside me. “Don't make me sit out here with you.”
“You mustn't,” I said, looking up at her. “Don't put yourself – your child – in danger for my sake.”
Moira looked at me with her big, dark eyes. “Lehran... please.” She took my trembling arm with hers and helped me stand. Together, we left my sister – my love – behind.

How Path of Radiance Should Have Ended

Some days my willing suspension of disbelief hits a wall. Sorry. But not really. This story starts out with actual dialogue from the end of Path of Radiance... but then logic invades.

“You do remember me!” Ena gasped, cradling her mate in her arms.
“Ena...” Rajaion whispered. “You were made... to suffer... because of me. I'm sorry.”
“Rajaion, Rajaion!” she sobbed. She clung to him, pulling him ever closer, as if she could hold on forever, if she only had the strength. “Oh, Rajaion....”
“Let's go... back to Goldoa. Just the two of us... together.”
That was all Ena had wanted in the first place. No fighting, no scheming, no following wicked orders. Just Rajaion. Nothing else mattered as she gazed into those gentle eyes. “I will go anywhere, my love, as long as it is with you,” she said softly.
“Ena...” he said again. “From this moment on... forever...” he coughed. And then he understood.
He was dying.
He tried to speak again, but no sound came out. Ena read the words as they were formed: “Come here.”
“Ah...” she whispered, trembling. “Rajaion...” She leaned down and pressed her lips desperately against his. Her fingers dug into his tattered shirt, her tears fell and trickled down his cheeks. He gently put his arms around her and tried, weakly, to pull her even closer, not knowing, not caring, that so many were watching their farewell kiss.
“For goodness' sake, I've got melodrama coming out of my ears,” someone grunted. Ena heard footsteps coming toward them.
“Don't be so insensitive, Soren! He's dying,” said Mist.
“Not for long.”
At first, nothing seemed to happen, but then... Rajaion took a deep breath, and tightened his grip. Slowly, he sat up, and, still leaning against his beloved, looked at the boy with the Mend staff.
“Thank you... Soren,” he said, smiling. Never before had they met, but he knew his nephew right away.
He had his grandfather written all over him.