Organization!

I have been organizing my writing-life for the past three weeks. I realized I had a jumbled mess of scraps, writing, worldbuilding, and art in random places online, and very few of the places even had the same amount of stuff.

I just finished adding all of my Scenes to all of my online profiles. They aren’t all always in the same order, but all 17 of the current Scenes are up (including the first scene from Larkspur, which I realized I might as well add as a ‘Scene’). From now on they should be in the same order, bypassing any ‘spoiler’ Scenes that Patreon may receive before anyone else.

So choose whichever platform you prefer, this blog included, to read the Scenes. There are no differences in the stories (unless I fix a spelling error in one and forget to update the rest…). They are considered soft-canon: canon, but I may change the fine details if I realize something is off with a date, or a term (which, frankly, I do with my published work too. Things slip by and you notice them later on). I will do my best to go back and change them when I notice a mistake so they are basically right though.

This blog: https://vmjaskiernia.com/category/scenes/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/vmjaskiernia

deviantART: https://www.deviantart.com/vmj

wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/VMJaskiernia

There are some differences in that dA will have cover art and other art as well. Patreon will be getting ‘spoiler’ future Scenes, and cover art and commentary as well. Wattpad will just be the stories, but maybe you use that and comment on it most, so it’s there for you too.

Larkspur Promo (Clandestina)

Buy the story on Amazon for 99¢, or grab it on Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J7H9JIG

***
She caught his eye that evening. It was a coincidence that hers was the first gaze he saw upon entering the ballroom as he had not even known that she would be attending, but at every hint of deep blue he turned his head in hope of it being her gown. They had not seen each other in years, and oh he missed her. He moved politely among the guests (the party was, after all, in his name and honor) but kept her in view. The longer he stayed the more he desired to be in her company.

Etiquette dictated he should have taken another to dance, but he did not wish anyone else on his arm. Instead, he spoke with fellow gentlemen about his studies whilst waiting for Lady Elizabeth Anne.

Conversation was spirited. Many among the noble houses were knowledgeable in the healing arts, which is after all what Clandestina was famed for. With the completion of his own medical degree — one of the reasons for this party — there was much to discuss. He would have enjoyed the celebration more had other things not been on his mind.

“Principicule?”

“Hm?” He turned from where her dark blonde curls had his attention, taking note of the title of address. A duc’s son by birth, he had been fostered by Roi Edgard and some at court indulged him by calling him princeling.

“Yes, Margrave Bastoni?”

“Who shall be given the honor of your care?”

“Whoever is ill,” he replied. “I may not be able to open my own practice with the duties of my land taking precedent, but I will make the rounds at local hospitals and care for those of my household.”

“If that is the case, then you are always welcome to my mountains, with full privileges.”

“That is most kind, Bastoni.” Before he could say more her perfume caught his attention. Honeysuckles. Memories of summers spent at play filled his head. He turned again in search of her and found her smiling, aware of how they circled each other.

She hid behind the fan in her right hand—follow me. His heart fluttered, and his breath hitched. He took a step toward her to ask her to dance, but she was already being led away by another. Her dance card hung full from her wrist. It seemed the comte’s daughter was occupied for the evening, and it would not do to pursue her.

Yet, the duc excused himself and did just that, only paying enough attention to those around him to avoid suspicion of his intentions. He was near enough that when the dance set changed, he could ask for her.

Their eyes met again. She was ignoring her partner in his favor, keeping strict form and looking over her partner’s shoulder rather than into his eyes. Her fan was closed, but as she was turned away, she dropped it open—ask me to dance.

He cut in at her request, and the other noble graciously let his duc have the young woman’s attention.

“Lady Elizabeth,” he said, wrapping an arm around her, “Do you fear we may not see each other again?” He was awash in the scent of summer though it was barely springtime.

She blushed, realizing the situation she had put herself in, but was unable to look away. To flirt with the principicule from a distance was entirely different from being in his arms.

“Your Graceful Highness,” she replied. “It is a pleasure to catch your eye.”

“One as beautiful as yourself should be accustomed to catching the eyes of lords.” Her smile now accompanied the blush which reddened further. He squeezed her hand and began to lead her away, going against the wave of dancers. His were not the only eyes on her; several were interested to know for whom the duc had been so impatient as to ignore decorum.

“You are not a lord, Your Grace.”

“Then am I merely someone to flirt with from afar?”

“No, monsieur. I have just never quite had your full attention.”

“Oh? And when you and I were younger, the times I plaited flowers in your hair—at your request?” he tucked a loose curl behind her ear as he spoke. She felt the once familiar touch of a stem and leaves as he left a bloom that seemed to come from thin air.

“I was a child then, monsieur,” she replied, reaching up to touch the flower and the tips of his fingers. “It was some time ago. And we were in a field, not your ballroom.”

“It is hardly my ballroom.”

“The gala is in your name, making it yours,” she pointed out, and when he could not dispute this, she felt more at ease.

They danced with freedom, the crowd blending as the music took people to their fancy. The waltz was a dance between only those two who were partners, and not a choreographed dance for everyone in the room. Pierre guided her across the dance-floor, one hand on her waist and the other holding her hand in the air. A few of his steps were imperfect.

“And what do you think of my formal attention thus far, Elizabeth?”

The young woman repositioned her form, blue eyes moving away from his grey. He tightened his grip.

“You are taller than I remember,” she said. “But you know your steps well enough for someone who has had all of their time taken up with studies.”

“The next time we dance will not be after such a time that height becomes an issue. And thank you, there are few ladies to partner with at a men’s university.”

“So have you forgotten ballroom etiquette as well, Your Grace? You took me to dance outside of turn.”

“You asked, my lady.”

“After you had already begun pursuing me.”

“Ah, true,” he said, giving in to her. “Seeing you after all this time brought forth more feelings than I had expected. Your brother speaks of you often.”

“Only because he visited his lands between semesters. This is your first time home in years.”

“And suddenly I regret never taking up Piers’s offers to accompany him.”

She was silent a moment before saying, “You did not write this past year.”

“It was a very busy final year. I apologize for not being in contact.” He squeezed her hand to accentuate the apology, guiding her into a twirl with a press to her waist.

She had first written him in his second semester away, and for a while their correspondence had been frequent. Then, other matters became more important.

“The flower, monsieur,” she said after returning to his arms. She finally recognized it from its scent and touch. “Do I seem fickle in your eyes that you give me larkspur?”

“It is the royal flower,” he reminded her. “Deserving of a noble lady, to keep away things of dread. You have never been fickle, Lizzy. It was my fault entirely that our communication stopped. I do believe last summer you sent Piers to the dorms with so many baked goods solely to force him to share with me.”

She did not deny this, unable to hide a smile, though said, “Eglė helped as well,” referring to her brother’s wife. “Do things of dread follow me about?”

“Perhaps now they never shall.” Another spin and a change in posture brought them so close together it would be improper in any other context. They were to then step in unison, but he let her go entirely. He stepped back and stumbled as if about to fall.

“Monsieur!”

“Forgive me,” he said, trying to regain his balance while not interrupting the dancers around him. A hand in the air stalled those that would have rushed to him. “I seem to have forgotten those steps,” he mumbled as an explanation, not meeting Elizabeth’s eyes. He was pale, the little color in his skin seeping away so that his cheeks matched his black-and-grey attire.

“Monsieur, Pierre, perhaps…” She reached out to him.

“Were you not born during Iovilios?” He caught her hand in the air. “The larkspur, if nothing else, is your flower, my lady.” Pulling her towards him, he whispered, “I have not forgotten about you.”

She broke their gaze. “If I may beg of you a drink.” If she was truthful, this was more for her worry of the duc than her own wants.

“Of course, Elizabeth.” Their hands remained clasped, and he led her to the edges of the ballroom. Several tables around the perimeter had been laid out with food and drink.

“How long shall you be at court?” he asked, handing her a glass of watered wine. He took none for himself.

“My mother thinks it best we return home soon. Eglė’s time is near, and she wishes to meet her first grandchild.” Ah, yes, he had forgotten. No doubt this was why Elizabeth was here instead of her brother.

“And your thoughts, Lady Elizabeth?”

She took another sip. “Monsieur, it is rude to speak during a gala.”

He grinned. “Yet until this moment you forwent that rule yourself.”

“I do believe it would be even ruder to deny the guest of honor.”

“In that case—” He held out his hand to her, asking for another dance. She put the glass aside and placed her hand in his. They walked through the ballroom together as the orchestra changed sets.

They had not even returned to their previous spot when he tripped again, pulling her off balance. He caught her but landed hard on a knee. This time, he did not straighten and ignore what had happened. He held her as they recovered. “Forgive me, Lizzy.” His pale cheeks were now flushed. Others around them began to watch. A few whispered.

“I did return just this afternoon,” he said, half to the young woman in his arms and half to everyone around them. “I must still be tired from my journey. Perhaps I took ill along the way.” When he stood everyone was occupied again.

Pierre squeezed her hand once more before letting go. She stepped back, curtsied, and bowed to him as a means of goodbye.

“Oh no, my dear.” He lifted up her chin. “We’ve danced tonight as partners. You may not bow to me.” His thumb rested at the corner of her lips. He was half-bent over her. Elizabeth felt the heat of his hand through his glove, and for a fleeting moment, she wished he would kiss her. Instead, he stroked her cheek and took back his hand.

She curtsied again and inclined her head, but did no more. He in turn bowed from the waist. “Good evening, Lady Elizabeth.” Without waiting for her reply, he slipped through the crowd and out of the ballroom.

It was only after he left that she pulled the flower down to see its color and remembered the meaning of purple larkspur: first love.

Intimacy (Clandestina)

He walked to his first patient and saw a woman standing by the side of the bed. Though she wore the uniform of a nurse at this hospital, he knew she was not. The spirits of death and illness flocked to her instead of away. He glancing about the room— they were the only two there beside the patient and he had closed the door after coming in.

“My Lady,” he said, offering a bow. Mora turned to him with a smile and then back to the dying young man. She reached out to stroke his cheek. He took one last breath, a gasp, and stilled beneath her fingers,

Ophion bowed his head in respect.

Mora continued to study the body for a time, playing with the young corpse’s hair. His eyes were open and she made no move to close them. She then stepped back and held out a hand to Ophion. “Come.”

“My Lady?”

“It is not his time yet. His soul is too restless and does not wish to leave the body, much less enter my plane. Settle it.”

“Thank you.”  

Her suitor walked over to her and she stepped aside to make room, but nevertheless did not stray far. She waited while he took off his dark grey gloves and cut into his palm, then took his hand before he could transfer the blood and magic from himself to the body. Mora kissed his wound, and as if she was his Familiar, healed it for him. With his blood on her lips she then turned and kissed the corpse.

Ophion felt the young man’s soul, as well as Mora’s, both humming as if in his own chest. He clenched a fist against his heart, closing his eyes and willing himself to breathe against the weight.

Mora turned back to him, reaching up and placing her hands around his fist. She shushed him gently and he opened his arms and gathered up the goddess into his embrace, but did not relax, finding himself taunt as he stretched up on his toes. He worked her cræft in his hands, against a new scar that signified peace and a returning home, resurrecting the man he had watched die. The anxious soul settled and Ophion slumped forward.

His Lady held him up, strength in her body that was not from muscle, and when he looked up to meet her eyes she smiled, kissed him, and vanished.  

Ophion took a deep breath. He stood up, licking his own blood from his lips, straightening his jacket and pulling on his gloves. It had been quite a time since Mora had been so intimate with him, having moved her affections to Pierre in recent years, but it was not unusual. She loved her suitors and they her. 

“Eglė sends her love,” he said. Feeling bold, he added, “and as do I.”

A cool wind brushed his cheek.

Young King (Lanceophor)

She sat on her throne, alone in the chamber that was her power, and might well soon be her grave. The revolution had invaded and was now in her royal city. Her husband had been slain two days past and with His Majesty’s demise there came a weakening of the already weary troops. With her death the usurping would be complete.

She had sent away her ladies-in-waiting, not wishing their blood on her hands. Perhaps they would be able to flee, or would be spared. And so there was no one to comfort her and she let her tears flow. Who would dare call it weakness at this time even if there were witnesses?

They were trying to break into the room. A large bang hit against the great barred doors and made everything shake. She swallowed, took a deep breath, and smoothed her skirts. Her hands shook. As calm as she tried to appear, she was still the queen, it was all false. Her heart hammered in her chest and if she did not focus on breathing she would pass out.

She was going to die. She and—

The doors burst open. A swarm of bloody soldiers filled the room and she saw the bodies of her guards on the floor behind them. They seemed to expect more here and for a moment looked around before all turned to her. She raised her chin and stayed seated on her throne. The man in command began to walk to her, but did not sheathe his weapon. She could not stand it and cast her eyes down to her lap—she knew his face, he had been one of her guards a year ago before civil unrest turned into civil war.

“Stop!”

At the voice all in the room obeyed. The queen looked up to see a boy standing in the broken doorway, his hand was outstretched and commanding the men, even the captain. He was young, fourteen if a day, the queen thought, and yet there was blood on his clothes. Had he held a dying friend or caused a spraying wound in another?

“Father has fallen,” he announced, and with that the queen knew who he was. The young lord, son of the rebelling baron, she had thought him too young to have come with his father and their men to this last stand.

In reply the men turned and bowed to him, many falling to bent knee including the captain. The boy seemed surprised but quickly shook himself of the feeling, nodding as if he knew what was expected of him.

“You will end this immediately. Any more death after this moment will be considered murder. We have won. Go spread the word, now.” Weapons were sheathed, or dropped, and the group of men that would have killed her left without giving her another glance.

He saw her then. His eyes widened again in surprise, but he tried to school his emotions after a moment. The time he would have been learning about politics and decorum was instead dominated by harsh war.

He swallowed and stood up straight, beginning to walk through to the room. He stopped before her throne and bowed to her from the waist. “My Lady Korë.”

“Lord Aidoneus,” she replied.

He straightened, wincing, and for the first time she wondered if the blood on his clothes was his own.

“For the sake of our kingdom,” the boy said, “my father began this war against the king. We have slain kith and kin. But now he and His Majesty are both beyond this world. We no longer need shed blood or sow hate. I will be crowned in the upcoming weeks. To ease this transactions and help our people would you do- do me the honour of being my wife?”

She blinked at the boy. She was more than twice his age. In another life he could have been her son.

“Of-of course,” he continued, stammering but not pausing, even as he blushed, “you will need time to grieve—” And you time to grow, she thought, “—nothing shall be asked or forced upon you.”

“I accept.”

She finally stood and stepped down from the dais. The relief was apparent on his face and even a small smile touched his lips. He made to speak, but instead swayed dangerously, and more of his clothes began to stain as blood continued to seep from an unseen wound. She rushed to catch him.

Busy bee 🐝

I finally have gotten my shit together. Well, some of it. It’s in a messy pile at least.

Today I sent out a newsletter, the first one in over a year (and I received *two* responses from fans who missed me! ❤). I also updated Patreon, got back onto deviantART and Facebook, fixed some covers, figured out what to write next, and am now updating this blog!

Whew

I forgot that I loved this crazy-rush of marketing and writing and being so sunk into my world and work.

It began two weeks ago when I realized that the wiki format was *not* working for me. That is, it’s fine as a wiki for fans, but I was making a separate one with spoilers for myself as a series bible, and the hassle was not worth it. So I mostly used that as an excuse not to do work, and then went back to video games and anime.

BUT I then realized that I had OneNote. A program I had used before, but never to its full extent, and so I began moving over my spoiler-wiki over. And it fits perfectly. I can make small comments and links, and even paste images that I can also add links to. It opened up my brain and got me super into worldbuilding again.

So I also had to get back to writing. Chapters I had been stuck on now had answers, and I *enjoyed* writing again. First time in a long time.

And then came all the rest of that 🙂

I went a little nitpicky for a bit with my work and went back-and-forth with some silly changes, some stayed, and others were erased after I went through with it 😛

(For a little bit I thought about changing the word ‘plane’ to ‘demesne’ to make it more fancy. I even went through and changed the word in the manuscript and the Scenes, and then I realized it didn’t look quite right. So I went back and changed it again 😛 I don’t think anyone bought a copy of Larkspur for the 4 hours I had changed the word in one spot, but if you did- congrats! Rare copy.

I did see another small thing and tweak it in Larkspur though, just how I phrased a sentence. And in the Scenes here I also changed a name that I realized was not what I wanted (Morgaine’s full name changed from Morgaine Ophélie to Morgaine Ophelia)).

But beside those nitpicks, I am still working on Delphinium. I’m at 98,200 words, and not done yet. For a good frame of reference it’s going to be about the size of Prisoner of Azkaban (107,253 words). Or, almost seven times as long as Larkspur.

For those of you who are on deviantART, I also came back to a really old account! I’m uploading the varying covers I’ve made, and adding my Scenes there too 🙂

https://www.deviantart.com/vmj

Mothers (Clandestina)

It was a dying wish. The Duchesse of Piques was over seventy years old, having outlived her husband by several years, but she seemed even older in her weakened state. She had never recovered from losing her child in her youth, the young heir snatched by the fée while out in the woods on the day of Springfinding about fifty years past. She had never lost hope either, though along with that she gained anger, grief, and fear that she carried for the rest of her days.

So, in these last of those days, a plea had been given and the order spread: Find Félicien by any means. 

In reply Elwin made his way into The Duc’s Forest. Many entries into Faery opened in these wood, and it was where the young Félicien had been taken from. Usually private land, those caught on it without permission lost almost a year’s wages, it was with Her Grace’s blessing that he set foot in one of the best wood in the realm. What he did not appreciate was that the wood was private for the safety of those who would venture in and not for noble’s greed. 

He left his dogs behind with the chief huntsman, who had not wanted to let Elwin off work, but as it was the duchesses’ desire there had been no choice. The huntsman had managed to claim that the dogs were Elwin’s to train, but not to take, and so he would have to make due on his own, perhaps thinking it would deter him. It did no such thing. In a pack Elwin carried traps and a spare set of clothes, some twine, flint, and a couple of knives, enough that he could survive in the woods by himself for a few weeks. Even if it would have been easier with a hound, the late spring would mean there was much to choose from in both flora and fauna. 

Finding the heir would a great boon and mark to his name, he would be able to do whatever job or task he pleased for coin and not be under the watch of others, but he thought that unlikely given all the time that had passed. This was more a vacation of pleasure and adventure.

He hiked deep into the woods until late afternoon, enjoying the day and the forest until he found a spot to set up camp near a river. He would have enough time to catch some fish for dinner and turn in for an early night before beginning again on the early morrow. The trees were thick and in some places it was hard to see the sky or even work out where the sun shone from. He could follow the river for a time and he would make sure to find a clear patch of sky for tomorrow night to check the stars.

A cool wind sent a shudder up his spine as he brought out his fishing equipment. He felt as if eyes were watching him, and so along with the net and rod he brought his favorite knife to the edge of the riverbank- a gift from his father, made more for a fight than for utility. The feeling did not lessen, it only intensified, and he left his net and rod out but returned to his chosen spot to build a fire and begin building a crude shelter. It should not be a cold night, but that wind’s chill has sunk into his bones.

By the time he was finished it was close to dusk. He returned to the river but froze when he saw someone sitting in his place. A boy, Elwin’s fishing rod in his hand and several dead fish on the grass beside him. 

“There was a fish on the hook, I took it off and then you caught another one. Or, well, I did. But I’m not hungry and you’ve been walking all day, so you can have it.” The boy spoke without turning around.

“Oh, thank you,” Elwin replied. Had this boy been the eyes he had felt? A curious child had put him on edge. With a laugh Elwin sat down beside him. He was young, a dozen years at most, wearing clothes that were a bit too pristine for where they were in the woods, and a little too fine as well. But their value did not seem to matter as the boy’s feet were already in the water, the ends of his trousers soaked. 

“I have not checked the net,” the boy continued. “But the fish are usually too smart for nets here. Maybe you’ll catch some overnight though.” He pulled at the rod and another fish joined the rest on the grass, trying to throw itself back into the water but being too far away.

“Why are you out here all by yourself?”

“My mother is around,” the boy replied. “We live nearby. And even if she were not, I am old enough to be by myself.”

Perhaps he had not wandered straight into the heart of the woods but was near a village? If the Duc’s Forest was open perhaps he was not the only one who ventured in.

“And how old are you?” Elwin asked. Should the boy be even thirteen he would not think it very wise to let him wander far.

“I don’t know, exactly,” the boy replied with a shrug. 

“You don’t know?” Elwin repeated.

“I have been here for quite a time, you see, years and years and look, I’m still quite small!”

The chill returned. Had he walked into Faery without even realizing it? And this boy, if he lived nearby, then he was fée.

“I would like a small favor for helping you fish,” the boy said after a moment. 

“I do not have much I can give you. Though with the amount of fish you are catching we can certainly share dinner.”

“No, thank you, I am not hungry.”

Elwin shrugged, standing up to go and start putting the fish in a bag. The latest one was already dead. He would have to cook them quickly, the older ones had been laying out for quite a bit.

“What do you wish?”

“I want to keep what is in my pocket.” 

Elwin paused in putting the fish in a bag. His net was still tied to shore and the rod in the boy’s hand. 

“Well it is in your pocket. Surely it is already yours?” he asked carefully.

“Wonderful!”

The boy placed aside the rod and stood up, brushing his pants before pulling out Elwin’s favorite knife.  

“How… no, return that to me!” He had thought perhaps that boy had taken the hook or some of the wire, but his knife was precious. 

The boy laughed and danced away from him. “A deal is a deal, your words hold meaning among these leaves.” 

He had found his way into Faery. He counted his blessing that he had been fairly careful.

“A deal is a deal,” Elwin repeated. “And words hold meaning. I never said the knife was yours, merely implied that something in your pocket would likely be yours, not that it was for certain. Return my knife.”

The boy’s grin faded and he thought about what Elwin has said exactly. Finding nothing he could exploit he stomped his foot and swore.

“Fine!” He held out the blade, handle first, and with a huff added. “But I want your name. I wish to know who tricked me.”

It was habit that made him speak his whole name.“Elwin Pierrick.”

The boy laughed and his good cheer returned as quickly as it had left. “Well, Elwin Pierrick, you should know better than to give me your full name. I shall not be as hasty. But I know my manners and so my name—” he paused here to give his full attention and half a bow. “—is Félicien.”

It was the heir! He had found him. Elwin almost jumped in excitement, the transgression forgotten. It did not matter that the physical body the boy had made no sense, whenever had Faery made sense in the first place?

“Félicien, then, a pleasure! Come with me then. I wish you no harm, but your mother is dying and wishes to see you. She—”

Félicien’s grin and color faded at that and a seriousness that gave way to his true age filled him.

“What do you mean she is dying? Tell me this instant, Elwin Pierrick!” 

A magic that he had never felt before wrapped around him, forcing his tongue to move and words he had meant to hold back spill forth.

“The duchess of Piques, your mother, who lost you when you were a child. She is quite elderly now, dying. Your father is already dead. She wishes more than anything to see you before she passes. She has sent an order for you to be found and brought to her. I wish to do this.”

The look of relief was not what Elwin expected.

“Oh,” Félicien said, leaning against a tree. “Oh, good.”

“Good! Your mother—”

“My mother is not this duchesse. Perhaps she bore me, but I do not remember her face or name. I will not leave my real mother to see this false one.”

“Who is your real mother?” 

“Her name is not an honor you have been deemed worthy of.”

“Oh, I dare say, Félicien, he bested you with a turn of phrase, I do believe I may be kind enough to share part of my name with him.”

A woman stepped from the trees. She was tall, her dark eyes meeting Elwin’s without having to look up. Light blonde hair that caught all the colors of the forest was tied back in a tail, and her gown was a spotless white with trim of gold. A sword at her left and dagger at her right were her only decorations. They, unlike her clothes, were worn and well used.

“You were watching,” Félicien muttered under his breath and the woman nodded, eyes never leaving Elwin. The chill was suddenly replaced with a warmth and he found himself more terrified and drawn to her.

“You may call me Rhianu. I heard you speaking with my son. He has watched you for most of the day and says you are interesting. You say his human mother still lives and wishes him?”

“Yes, oui, mademoiselle Rhianu. She is the Duchesse of Piques. He was lost almost half a century ago. There has been a task sent, to find him and bring him to her side before her death. I came, more for the forest than the boy, I thought it almost impossible to find him.”

“And yet you are here, not a day into this adventure, and already your prize is before you. Are others coming?”

“Yes. It is quite the talk among those who wish fame or adventure.”

“I found him almost fifty years ago,” Rhianu said. She finally turned to her son and walked over to him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. “He was lost, wet, having fallen into the river and sprained his ankle. He was crying and cold. Barely more than a babe, he knew his name and could tell me little more. I took him and nursed him, intending to return him, but as days went by I loved him. I decided he was mine to keep if Faery brought him to me. That said, I am certain his parents loved him too. That after all this time she waits and wishes still, I must admire it.”

She looked down at Félicien. “Do you wish to see her?”

“I do not know. Perhaps? I did not know she still lived. I have not thought of those who bore me in many years.”

“At Midsummer, then,” she replied. “So that I do not lose you just yet, little fay. You will decide then and go, but return quickly.” She had forbade him leave until his majority, feeling in her heart that on that day he would leave her for possibly forever, but this would be allowed.

“And you, dear Elwin Pierrick,” she continued, looking up to him. “Shall come with us after dinner.”

“Come with you?”

“Oui. You will stay with us until your Summerfinding, our Midsummer, as a guest. Then after you escort Pierre to and from seeing his birth-mother you may go and do as you please. You say others are coming to take him, then defend your prize.”

There was no magic to make this a command. There was no physical force. He could easily say no and then try and leave, but it was only a little over a month. He had enough supplies that he could live for that amount by himself, why not stay in a home with some comforts while having already finished his job.

 Elwin nodded and a then offered a bow.

“If I may invite you to dinner?”

He held out an arm and Rhianu took hold of it. 

‘Bittersweet’ romances

(Semi-Spoilers for a bunch of shit, GoT included, mostly in reference to romances. Endgame spoilers too, Avenger’s fans)

I’m sick of these ‘bittersweet’ endings. Game of Thrones, Samurai Jack, True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, probably more I can’t think of right now. They keep pulling this shit in romance stories and expect me to be happy ‘because the romance was really the scenes along the way’ and we don’t get a HEA.

(IMHO) You cannot have a main couple, the main relationship, the hinge of so much of the story… and then decide ‘they don’t end up happy, yay, bittersweet.’

(I’m not against Tragedy. I understand tragedy. But these try and have their cake and eat it too- they give us an unsatisfying ending that’s makes us feel mostly meh and call it a win because it’s not quite tragedy, so they call it bittersweet.)

Game of Thrones: I don’t follow it too much, but I read some of the books, watched a few seasons, and was mostly waiting for it to finish before investing myself emotionally. And I’m glad. I hope GRRM has a different ending in mind, or a better way to reveal all this, because the showrunners cocked it right up. Jon and Dany were, for many people, the end-game. The Ice and Fire. And I was pumped when they hooked up (never let a little incest get a Targ down after all). It was finally canon! And then the politics started:

Jon has a better claim than Dany. But they love each other. A marriage was even suggested.. and that would have tied it up all nice, even a little too nice, but really, didn’t they deserve this by now? But noo, they had to give me crazy!Dany, and have Jon kill her before fucking off North.

Maybe if he killed himself too- make it a proper tragedy. Have it ALL burn if you must. But don’t give me this, tell me everyone will be better off with King Bran, and leave it. Especially with so little foreshadowing and straight up telling us that Dany is not her father and she isn’t mad.

Samurai Jack: Similar thing. Last season, a love interest is introduced. We have 3 or 4 episodes of straight relationship building. We are told the ending will be bittersweet. For those that haven’t seen it. Jack was a Samurai who was taken to the future and his whole goal was to return to his time and kill the demon that imprisoned his land and people (the demon that is still in power and messing up lives in the far future) … but while being in the future he meets many people and has adventures and gains dear friends.

I, and a lot of fans, assumed the bittersweet ending would be that he defeats Aku and can’t return to the past. He stays in the future, having never saved his people, but saving the future and continuing his life. I would have loved that and it would have been bittersweet. What we got though? He does go to the past again, he defeats the demon and all of his future adventures were essentially annulled.

I could even kind of live with that, but no, they fucked with my emotions: that love interest I mentioned? She is the main baddie’s daughter. Born in the future. She went back in time with Jack, and after they defeat her father they plan a wedding. We have lovely scenes of feudal Japan, traditional wedding clothes… and AT THE WEDDING Ashi suddenly goes “wait, if we killed my father in the past, I shouldn’t exist…” and she DISAPPEARS.

WHAT. Maybe, *maybe* if she disappeared right at the start after her father was killed because duh. Maybe if Jack mourned and took the loss as a tragedy, and we could all feel what he had to give up. Given the mythic nature of the show it’s even possible that gods could have brought her back or let her live! But no. We get jerked around by a whole wedding sequence before ‘lol, timelines.’ ARGH.

True Blood / Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries: These both sort of go in the same direction in that the main relationship is messed up in them, but two different ways! We get double fucked!

Sookie starts out with Bill. We assume that’s the main couple and for the first two books/seasons it kinda works that way. But then we start getting more and more Eric and we realize that Sookie and Eric are the main couple. In the show it teases her needing to ‘pick’ back and forth, even (because it’s Showtime) going with a threeway-relationship fantasy… in the books she’s actually with Eric for many books, marries him, and they do love each other properly.

And she ends up with neither in either series. In the show Eric leaves and starts doing some shady business things, Bill dies, and Sookie sort of goes ‘fuck you all’ to the supernatural in terms of boyfriends and ends up with a random human that isn’t even pictured. We just get ‘she has a husband, she’s pregnant, and that’s all that matters.’

In the books? It’s worse. She ends up with Sam. The man she thought of as a friend, who was often an ass about her relationships with vampires, who had several bad relationships in the books because he makes bad choices… at one point he’s shot and he dies. Sookie, having a magic fairy bobble, uses her one wish to save Sam. After this there are some vampire politics going on, yada yada, Eric has to go and marry a vampire queen because of something his sire did, after keeping that to himself, not talking to Sookie about it, and just ruining all character development. Oh, and he can’t contact her at all ever again. They remain separated until Sookie’s death. The ‘epilogue’ book says that Sookie marries Sam, has kids with him, and is happy. Eric stays with his vampire queen, learns to respect her, and fullfills his contract with her.

So… we had *13* books about Sookie and her relationship with vampires to have it end with… she stays with the guy that she went on one date with a few years ago and decided AGAINST being with him. Then she falls in love, had wacky adventures, becomes a whole new person, learns to be herself in a supernatural world… and then goes back to the best friend who was always ‘the best friend’ and she specifically rejected romantically before even the first book.

With all this ranting, what’s a good bittersweet ending, you ask? I can tell you: Tony and Pepper in Endgame. Cap and Peggy. I even love the ending to the Vampire Knight manga which has a ‘twist’ that I could see myself doing.

Avengers: Tony and Pepper are engaged. Thanos comes and fucks up the world, and half the population disappears, included Tony’s mentee and pseudo-son. The next 5 years are hell. But Tony and Pepper stay together, they get married, they have a daughter. They pull through. And when there’s a chance to save people they take it– but Tony doesn’t want to risk his daughter by messing up the last 5 years, as horrid as they were. They work a way around it. In the end Tony has to sacrifice himself but both Peter is back, and Morgan gets to live. Pepper is with him in his last moments, tells him it’s ok, he can rest. Iron Man did his duty to his team, to the world, to his family, to his love.

Steve is a man out of his own time. Captain America was frozen and reawakened years after his first love is dead and even attends her funeral. He kisses her niece as it’s the closest thing he has to Peggy. But beside that he does not have time for romance, as much as the rest of his team tries to hook him up and make fun of his likely-virgin self.

Now the war is over. There is finally peace. And there is another chance. He can go back, back to Peggy, back to the past with the burden of the future in his mind, but a chance at some happiness. And he takes it. He lives out his days with Peggy and we get a glimpse of Old Man Steve.

Vampire Knight: Vampire Knight is a manga and the romance is very tangled. It’s something of a triangle, the main heroine Yuuki unable to choose whether to be with Kaname (her brother and a Pureblood vampire) and her foster-brother Zero (who is a bitten vampire and will eventually descend into madness). Of course at first she knows none of this and the story is as much about vampire politics and similar issues (Hunters, bad vampires, good vampires, etc) as just romance. Eventually she is also a Pureblood vampire (she was locked away as a human for her protection… it’s complicated, just go read it).

But the end– ah the end I love. Because in a way she picks both. And if I’m honest it’s the kind of ending I would hope to write. At first she picks Kaname (who, if I had to pick, I am team Kaname). She sleeps with him in the last volume. But because of said vampire politics and nonsense Kaname gives up his life. He does not die, but is encased in crystal. Yuuki is left heartbroken and, as we learn later, pregnant.

Zero, her foster-brother sometimes-enemy, tries his best to stay by her side. We have another series that details the next several centuries where they remain allies, friends, all the while Yuuki raising her daughter by Kaname. Eventually Zero wins her over and they marry and have a son. Even more time passes and after Zero descends into madness and is killed, at his request, Yuuki is alone.

Yet… she is also a Pureblood vampire with strong magic. So she, finally alone, having lived her life and raised her children, wants to give her first love another chance at this new world. And so she sacrifices herself to reanimated Kaname as a human who has no memories of his time as a vampire. In the end Kaname wakes up during the daytime to his daughter and step-son greeting him.

That, my friends, is a bittersweet ending. That is love, and loss, and grief, and joy, and lives continuing on, and ending, and returning.

And those are the stories I want to write. The stories I plan. Sometimes tragic, sometimes happy, sometimes bittersweet. I write family sagas, I have generations to go through– and sometimes people will die, and others will have to move on, or stay stuck in the past, or crazy magic loopholes are found to make it all better.