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Author Topic: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU  (Read 13497 times)

Jeb

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The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« on: February 17, 2010, 09:40:22 AM »

This has already been posted at EQ.com for those who visit there. A work in progress...

__________________________________________________________________________

Cutter was caught short by a pair of glittering golden eyes, warm as the setting sun. He felt a thirst no water could quench. He reached for the maiden. She grabbed his arm, braced herself, and in a swift movement pulled him from his wolf.

He tumbled against the hard packed earth, the sand stinging his eyes, dust choking him. He tried to cough, but a weight on his chest made it hard to breathe. Opening his eyes he found himself pinned down by the maiden, her knee on his chest, a short knife at his throat.

Rayek regarded the pale-skinned intruder. He was a elf, no doubt, but unlike any she had ever seen. His hair was almost white, faded like cloth left out in the sun too long. The animal skins he wore grated against her legs. But most startling to her were his eyes. They shone with the intensity of the sky at midday, a depth-less blue pulling her in.

Rayek had never 'sent' before. She had never had a reason to...until now.

*Tam?*

The intruder made no answer, but Rayek could feel him shiver beneath her. Her heart was pounding more than it should be, the rush of blood in her ears blocking out all other noises. It took her a minute to register the blade poking her shoulder. She looked up to see more pale elves surrounding her, weapons raised.

"Boo!" She turned to find the spear poking her in the hands of an elf with hair like flame. He moved forward and reached toward her knife. "Let's have the pig-poker."

Her head snapped up to meet his eyes, hers narrowed to glowing slits. Pike sprang bolt upright and froze, his eyes wide and unseeing. The other elves crowded around her, pushing her to the ground.

"Whoa, this one can do more than 'send'!"

"Pin her down and cover her eyes!"

"She may have other tricks!"

They held her wrists and someone pulled her hairband down over her eyes. She struggled against them when a voice made her freeze.

"Stop!" All eyes were on Cutter as he reached down and helped Rayek up. "Don't harm her."

Tentatively, Rayek pulled the band off her eyes. The pale ones still stood around them. The one who grabbed her must be their leader and they were waiting for his direction. Beyond their circle she could see the people of her village watching the events play out with fear and concern. She wrenched her arm from the blue-eyed one's grip.

"Let go of me."

He dropped his arm as if her words stung him. The look he gave her was apologetic, yet held a plea, a wanting for something.

None of her people moved to fight against them, so the strangers began to slowly drop their weapons. Rayek regained some of her composure.

"Who are you? And why have you attacked us?"

"We are the Wolfriders from the faraway woodlands. For three days we have journeyed thru the burning waste."

Rayek looked at them in disbelief. "No one can cross the desert and live."

An elf with silver hair spoke. The trace of a smile played on his lips, his eyes lingered on her a breath longer than was comfortable. "Desert, eh? So that's what you call it. If it can't be crossed, how did your people get here, black-hair?"

Rayek was taken aback for a moment. She was not used to being questioned. First they invaded her home, and now they were mocking her. She longed to wipe the smirk of his face, but she could feel the eyes of her village upon her. She wrestled for control of her emotions.

"I will take you to meet the Sun-toucher. He will know if you are telling the truth."

The Wolfriders sent for more of their number who had been in hiding as soon they were gathered in a grassy area in the center of the village. Rayek watched as the Sun-toucher spoke to them. These elves were not soft, as her people were. As a group they had survived hardship that would have broken all but the strongest of the Sun-Villagers. They were hunters, adorned with knives, spears, and swords. Never before had Rayek met another that understood the thrill of the chase, the taste of fresh kill, but she did not welcome them.

Once again she felt her thoughts cut off. Mind and body, even breathing stilled by the voice of their leader.

"Redlance and Nightfall! Forgive me, Sun-toucher, but we had to leave two of us behind in the desert. One was injured - perhaps dying!" He mounted his panting beast. "I've got to go back for them before it's too late!"

Rayek was incredulous! They had just survived three days in the burning heat, still hadn't eaten and had barely rested or quenched their thirst. How much could he endure?

Her thoughts were echoed by the Sun-toucher. "But you are exhausted, young chieftain, and so is your beast!"

"No matter." As the silver-haired one brought him his fur vest he turned to address the village. "If there is a healer among you villagers who dares follow me - let him do so now! I'm going!"

"Wait, Wolfrider. I am a healer." Ahnleet, son of the Sun-toucher, and Rayek's heart's desire for more years than she could count, broke free from the gathered crowd. He walked toward the wolf chief, soft amber curls afire in the fading sun.

No, no, no! Rayek's mind screamed. Do not do this, beloved!

His face was determined, his steps did not falter as he walked forward, but in his green eyes was a trepidation that Rayek was sure only she could see. A healer, soft and gentle, Rayek knew that Ahnleet never went far from the village, never looked beyond familiar comforts. Rayek wanted to step in front of him, to voice her objections out loud,  but again the Sun-toucher before she could.

"My son, are you sure you want to do this?"

There was only a heartbeat of hesitancy in his response. "Yes, father."

Rayek's heart swelled with pride for her lovemate. She had often been proud of his healing abilities but he was showing a bravery she had not guessed he possessed.

"I will accompany you." She could see the relief in both Ahnleet and the Sun-toucher at her offer. After all, she was her people's protectress, it was natural that she should go with them. Rayek tried to think that she was only doing her duty, but if she was honest with herself she also wanted to learn more about this tribe's chieftain, to be near him a while longer.

He led them out into an area where there was no plant growth, only some rock spires providing feeble protection against the heat of the sun. The only sign of life Rayek could see was a vulture perched on top of the stone. Suddenly there was a cry and the vulture took flight with a screech.

Atop his zwoot next to her, Rayek saw Ahnleet flinch. She reached over and covered his shaking hand with her own.

The wolf chief gave out a strange cry. "Ayoooah! Nightfall!"

In answer a maiden came running. "Cutter! Oh, Cutter!"

He swung off his mount and embraced her.

Rayek was glad that Ahnleet's attention was absorbed by the injured one. That he didn't see her falter slightly as she dismounted as the contact between the two newcomers struck her with an inexplicable ache.

The pale ones focused on Ahnleet as he slowly walked towards Redlance.

"Who - Who is he?" The maiden, Nightfall, asked.

"Shh! He can help Redlance. You must trust him." Cutter assured her.

Rayek was barely aware of the exchange as her mind reeled in confusion. The maiden had called the wolf chief 'Cutter.' That was surely his name, then why did this name 'Tam' echo in her brain? Rayek's line of thought was cut off as Ahnleet gasped. He knelt by the striken Wolfrider, astonished by what he saw. "These wounds were deliberately inflicted! Who could have done such a thing?"

"Humans!" The hatred in Cutter's voice was unmistakable. "The same ones who tried to destroy us with fire!"

Rayek had moved closer to Cutter and Nightfall, almost without thinking about it. Her eyes were on Ahnleet, but her attention was on the wolf chief next to her. "Really..? We have legends of such creatures - but I never believed them."

"You're looking at their handiwork right now." As Cutter spoke, Nightfall came up to his side between them. Cutter put his arm around her and pulled her close. Rayek fought against a sudden, overwhelming irritation.

"Silence!" She hissed. "The healing begins."

Not a word was spoken, nor a sound uttered as Ahnleet passed into a dreamlike trance. Beneath his fingers cracked bones began to knit, torn tissues mend, and hidden bleeding subsided. Redlance's reawakened heart beat angrily now, staving off death with a fierce will.

Finally, Ahnleet sat back with a sigh and wiped the sweat off his brow. "I have given him the strength he needs to recover."

Cutter smiled. "And you have given me back a tribesman!" As they rose, Cutter extended his hand toward the healer. "No words of thanks could say enough - "

"Do not touch me!" Ahnleet spat. His features hardened as he stepped backward. Without a word he turned his back on Cutter and walked back to his zwoot. Sitting stiffly in his saddle, his gaze fixed pointedly away from the Wolfriders, toward his home, he did not turn his head as he spoke. "Rayek? I am ready to go."
_________________________________________________________________________________

Rayek sat on a stone outside of the cave where she lived. It used to be quiet here, away from the village, but now with the Wolfriders moved in not far away she could hear voices and movement, occasionally a child's laugh. She pulled the whetstone against the blade she was working, letting her mind get lost in the rhythmic movement of her hands, the crisp tang of the sound of stone and metal shutting out all other noise.

Finally satisfied with the edge, she set the blade down and became aware of a figure standing a short distance away. She did not have to look to know who it was. At the edge of her vision she could just make out the cloud of hair, bright against the blue sky. Blue eyes, like bits of the sky, shining with a light of their own.

"Rayek?"

Her breath caught. She willed her breathing to slow, her fluttering heart to calm.

"Many days have passed without a word between us. Why do you deny the truth we both know?"

She lifted a stick from the pile next to her. She held it up to her eye and looked down its length, testing it for true. "Truth? What truth?"

He didn't answer right away, but when he did his voice was low, somewhere between a growl and a whisper, as if the words were being ripped out of him. "My soul-name. You know it."

She pulled out a length of sinew and began attaching the blade to the spear shaft. "I'm not sure I know what you mean."

Again his words were forced as he held his emotions tightly in check, using the measured tones of one explaining something that needed no explanation. "Recognition. 'Soul meets soul when eyes meet eyes.'"

"I know what Recognition is." She tied off the cord and checked that the blade was securely bound. "And I have come to guess what a soul-name is. But there is much I still do not know about you."

She grabbed another finished spear and rose to face him. "For instance, how would you do in fair combat, without your tribesmen to defend you?"

She tossed one of the spears to him. He caught it deftly, but held it at arms length as his gaze shifted from the weapon back to her in disbelief. "I will not fight you."

"No?" She raised an eyebrow. "Then how will I know you are worthy of me?"

She widened her stance to a defensive crouch, but still he made no movement. She charged.

Thrust ,turn, feint, thrust. He matched her movement for movement, blocking her every attack but making none of his own. She was not used to having a sparring partner, it was an effort to get past his defenses, but finally, with a feint and wild swing she made a hit, nicking his upper arm.

"Hey!" He looked at the droplets of blood forming and Rayek was pleased to see the fire begin to smolder in his glare. She came at him hard again and managed a grazing scrape across his belly. He touched his wound, staring at the blood streaked on his fingers. He rubbed them together and tightened his grip on his spear. His eyes burned into her with the intensity of his mixed emotions. She smiled and braced herself but she was still unprepared for the ferocity of his attack as he ran at her with a growl.

Block, turn, feint. Thrust, turn, parry, thrust, block. He came her with a quickness that left her breathless. She would've feared for her life if this was real combat, but he was also incredibly controlled, always turning the blade just short of contact. He drove her back against the cliff face until she had no more room to maneuver. A final strike left her pinned to the rock, her spear held across her chest, blocking the blow.

They stopped like this, him leaning into her, inches away, his strength confining her. Their bodies rose and fell in syncopation as they gasped for air. His breath pounded against her skin, causing little tingles as her sweat evaporated. His eyes met hers and his lips curled back in a hungry grin, exposing pointed canines. Her name was a growl, the low rasp resonating with a quaking in her core. "Rayek..."

"Rayek?"

She looked past the Wolfrider to where Ahnleet had stopped in the trail to her cave, his face aghast at what he was seeing. He stared at her for a moment, then turned and fled back down the path to the village, shaking his head as if trying to erase his vision.

The sight of him was like a sudden downpour, breaking the spell of Recognition, allowing her mind to function again. Her gaze returned to Cutter. His eyes now seemed to her bottomless pools, pools that once she entered, she feared she would never escape.

'I'm not ready! I'm not ready for this!' She thought.

"I am more than a mere animal ruled by instinct. And you have much to learn." She mustered all the strength she had and pushed Cutter back. She swung free and ran, following Ahnleet down the path.
_________________________________________________________________________________

The trail rippled in front of her and her body ached as if she were running through a sandstorm. She paused in her flight, afraid her lightheadedness would cause a misstep in the treacherous rocky terrain. This was the effect of Recognition, taken to the edge then denied, and Rayek began to realize how little choice she actually had. This was no bad habit or urge she could control by acts of discipline. This was an all-consuming fire that would not be quenched.

She staggered through the village to Ahnleet's hut. Gathering all her strength against the drain on her body, she parted the bead curtains and stepped into the darkness. She closed her eyes to let them adjust and breathed in deeply the smell of herbs and oils, warm beeswax candles, all the scents that signified Ahnleet. This is what she had wanted her whole life, to belong here with the healer, both of them using their powers to protect their people. She had been waiting only for Recognition to seal their commitment and bring a child bearing the best of both of them, an elf with true powers of the first comers, the way elves were meant to be.

The effects of Recognition began to fade as Rayek was filled with the bitter taste of resentment for dreams crushed by a situation beyond her control.

She opened her eyes to face Anhleet's cold disdain. "I was surprised to find you giving the wolf chief such a warm welcome. I'm sorry if I interrupted."

Rayek shook her head. "You don't understand."

"And you owe me no explanation." Ahnleet began gathering the pottery pots and pitchers he used in caring for the villagers. "I gave no answer to your offer to lifemate. You are free to do as you wish."

"It's Recognition."

The clinking of dishes stopped as Ahnleet froze in bewilderment.

"It can't be." He whispered.

Rayek sank to her knees in front of her lovemate. "Heal me."

Ahnleet's gaze travelled around the room before landing on Rayek, looking not at her but for answers in his own mind. She grabbed his arm. "Please, take this away!"

He made no response for a while, but then his eyes focused on her. For the first time that Rayek had seen in several days, his expression softened. "My dear friend. This is not an injury of the mind or body that can be healed. I can no more stop Recognition than I can call it forth. I can lesson the effects somewhat, but no more."

He grasped her by the shoulders as if trying to transfer his own conviction into her. "You have always been the strength of your village. Use that strength now to resist this!"

Rayek rose and turned away. She could not admit the need that overcame her in Cutter's presence, or what it cost her to resist it.

"And if I cannot? Will you be a father to my child in the Wolfrider's stead?"

"No."

The word was like an arrow to Rayek's heart. She shut her eyes against the pain.

"Is it possible the three of us - "

"No."

She turned and studied Ahnleet.

"What has happened to you, beloved? I've never known you to possess anything but compassion. What is it about these newcomers that arouses such hatred in you?"

Again Rayek waited as Ahnleet silently weighed something in his own mind before speaking. "I have shown compassion in keeping what I know to myself. But since it affects you so closely, I will tell you."

"You may have noted the close relationship these elves have with their beasts. They are more than pets or work animals. Much more. They share a blood bond. I cannot tell how long ago it happened, or how. They may not even be aware of it themselves."

Ahnleet paused, gauging Rayek's reaction before continuing reluctantly. "Or they may renew it even now."

Rayek felt the bile rise in her throat as Ahnleet revealed the full cruelty of her fate.

"Whatever the case, the effect is the same. They are not true elves. They have mingled with the creatures of this planet. And like all its creatures, they will age and die."

"As will your child."


« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 04:13:05 PM by Jeb »
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Wildfire

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 06:46:50 AM »

Ohh, please continue this! Very captivating. Rayek is really Rayek despite of being a girl :P
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Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2010, 02:12:01 PM »

Ask and you shall receive!
______________________________________

Rayek followed the path as it rose up the cliff-face away from the Sun-village. The night air was cool on her skin, drying away the sheen of sweat that covered her. It was a reminder of Recognition that this task, which had once been simple, was now taxing her to her limit. She was not used to the aching in her legs or the burning of her lungs. Reaching the summit, she paused to catch her breath. Movement in the plains below her grabbed her attention. Dark shapes spread out across the valley floor, gliding over the tree-less landscape, as smooth and silent as shadows. Only the pounding of feet let her know that they were physical beings and not some creatures from out of a child's nightmare.

He was right where she'd thought he'd be, sitting on the edge of the sandstone watching the events play out before him. In the moon's light she could see the change that had occurred even over these few days as the darkness cling to him in striations, accenting the concavity of his ribs and abdomen. If he felt as she did, and she knew that he must, although his body was starving it was lack of appetite that kept him from the hunt this night.

"Cutter?" Her voice sounded odd, harsh in her ears against the stillness of the night. She flinched at the flapping of wings as some startled birds took flight from a nearby bush. He, however, made no movement, and she knew that he had been aware of her presence long before. "I have been waiting for a chance to find you alone."

His gaze snapped to her, his guarded expression dropping, replaced by surprise and, she could feel underneath, a questioning hopefulness. She cursed under her breath as she realized the meaning he had assumed in her statement. It was not what she intended. She spoke quickly to clarify.

"I wish to talk to you, away from your tribemates or...beasts."

"Talk!" He rose to face her, his eyes burning out of the sunken hollows that had come to surround them. "How can you still think there is something to talk about! That Recognition is something you can refuse!"

She looked away, not daring to argue, knowing that the effects were as visible on her as on him. "Still, there is something I must know. When Ahnleet healed your tribesman, he...discovered something."

Cutter looked startled, his anger replaced by concern for his injured tracker.

"About your tribe." She added hurriedly.

Concern was giving way to confusion. He waited expectantly.

"About the wolves you ride."

The pause lengthened as Rayek considered how to continue. Cutter waited, still as stone.

"You have the blood of wolves in your veins." Rayek wasn't even aware of the sound of the words as she spoke them, her thoughts so involved with the saying of them and the thousands of different responses playing out in her imagination. Anger, denial, disgust - all of these she would understand. But not a single emotion crossed his face, and Rayek had her answer. "You know."

"Yes." He seemed untroubled by the admitting, as if there were no more to it than a statement of fact.

The stillness of the night was suddenly disturbed by a distant sound. Excited yelps carried on the breeze as the wolves below found their quarry. Cutter's attention turned again to the hunting tribe below. Rayek fought back a shiver that had nothing to do with the cold and pulled her cloak tighter around herself. "How - " She shifted direction, focusing on the question she was ready to hear the answer to. "When did it happen? Long ago, I should think." Her eyes narrowed, but she continued to look out at the valley, unable to look at him. "Or do you renew your blood kinship even now?"

The yipping from below grew more heated as the wolves brought down their prey. The dust brought up from the chase began to clear and Rayek could make out the forms of the elves as they dismounted, mingling with their wolf brethren. The yelps calmed down and lengthened into sustained notes, carrying the news of their triumph far and wide.

Cutter, drawn into the hunt, barely thought about his answer. "Long ago..."

The sound strengthened and intensified as the wolves' riders joined in the triumphant howl, voices of beasts and elves joining in eerie harmony. Such was the connection of Recognition that Rayek could almost catch the scent of blood, sharp and moist, on the wind. She felt her own pulse quicken in sympathy. The whole of Cutter's attention was focused on his tribe, making Rayek feel, for the moment, inconsequential. It was a feeling she did not like.

She spoke forcefully, willing herself to be heard above the dying howls of the hunters. "Ahnleet thinks it may be possible to rid you of your tainted blood."

"What!?" Now, for the first time, Cutter showed disgust. "You may as well ask me to cut out my heart. It is the same!"

Rayek's face set in determination. "Then I will not join with you."

"How can you say that? If we don't fulfill the demands of Recognition, we both die!"

"You will die anyway. I was not meant to."

Cutter was stricken. "What are you saying?"

"You witless savage!" Rayek exploded with fury and frustration. "Is it possible you're proud of this betrayal of your elven dignity? Can you really not know what it has cost you? Death hangs over you and your tribe." She crossed her arms defensively. "I will not give that legacy to my child."

They stood at an impasse, Rayek waiting while Cutter struggled with his new-found knowledge.

"You will not give up the blood?"

Cutter closed his eyes and shook his head, unable to believe that this would be asked of him. "No."

"Then we have nothing more to say."

Rayek turned back down the path and disappeared into the night.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 04:22:13 PM by Jeb »
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Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2010, 02:16:20 PM »

Though the sunlight coming in through the small cave opening was still bright, Rayek noted that the hottest part of the day was over. This would normally be the time when she would begin to get ready for the hunt, proud to be the one providing for the village. But the village had other providers now, and she had made herself an outcast, leaving even her cave-home near the village for this small crevasse that barely provided comfort from the heat.

Now, weakened by Recognition, she barely had the will to take care of herself, never-mind her gentle villagers. Huntress, Protectress, all sense of self she had wiped away in a meeting of souls. She cursed the day the Wolfriders and their chief had ever shown up in Sorrow's End.

Rayek rolled away from the bright sunlight. If only there were a way to get back to how it was before the Wolfriders, when she still had her place, her self.

Suddenly a thought struck her. Maybe there was a way. She needed the Wolfriders to leave. She had something they, or at least their chief, needed. There was a bargain to be made. She felt her strength returning as she realized that she had the upper hand.

She hurried to the village, eager to be done with her plan as soon as possible. She kept to the edges and shadows, wanting to avoid the Sun-villagers from noticing her ravaged appearance. Avoiding a close-call, she ducked behind a column of a hut. The sun-villagers that had been heading towards her kept walking, but Rayek realized that, although still unseen, she was no more than a arms-breadth away from another group of elves.

"Redlance, dear, you are not listening!" It was the unmistakable voice of Minyah, one of the most ardent of the garden tenders. She was talking to two Wolfriders. Rayek recognized the injured one from the desert and his mate. The red-haired one was staring at the ground intently.

Rayek was looking for the best way of escaping when the faltering of Minyah's voice drew her attention.

"A seed takes time to grow after it is planted, you cannot make it sprout simply by staring...at...it..."

She followed Minyah's gaze and was astonished to see a new green seedling push its way up through the soft, dry dirt. The red-haired one beamed with pride, his mate just smiled smugly. Neither seemed surprised by this accomplishment. Could it be that these mongrel elves were so used to magic? Why would magic be wasted on these mortal savages?

Teeth gritted in anger and no longer caring about appearances, Rayek strode with fierce purpose through the village and into Cutter's cave. He was talking to an elder of their tribe, repellent with hair upon his face. Rayek made no effort to hide her impatience. "Leave us!"

"Hey now-" The elder began to argue, but at a look from Cutter, left grumbling.

Rayek steeled herself to meet his eyes, anger giving her strength for what needed to be said. "I will bear your child. Then, once it is weaned, you will take it with your tribe and leave Sorrow's End."

Cutter was frozen in shock. Rayek watched as it slowly melted away to be replaced by indignant anger, but before he could speak, a shout came from outside.

"Cutter!"

He glared at her for a moment, then turned to walk out of the cave. He was met by Sun-villagers coming in, carrying their favorite possessions. Confusion replaced anger as he hurried out into the sunlight. "What's going on?"

"Cutter!!" Scouter was hopping up and down amid a stream of Sun-villagers heading toward the caves. "Cutter! I saw them! They're big! Bigger even than that one!!" He pointed emphatically at a large Zwoot nearby. "And headed straight for the village!"

Cutter grabbed the excited youth. "Easy! Now, what are you yipping about?"

"Zwoots! A whole big herd!"

Rayek left Cutter talking with his tribemates and began to make her way with the rest of the villagers up to one of the larger caverns, but paused as she heard a cry come up from the Wolfriders. They were calling for their wolves. She hurried into the cave before having to see the animals, wondering what they could be planning.

Once in the cave, curiosity got the better of her and she turned to see the tribe riding out toward the stampede. She was not the only one interested in the Wolfrider's plan. Shenshen, Ahnleet's sister, also paused, her eyes lingering on the departing elves, excitement lighting her face. Rayek's gaze followed her as she hurried into the cave and was surprised to find her heading toward a pair of Wolfriders.

"Rainsong, your people are so brave, so full of life's fire!" Shenshen gushed.

Rainsong smiled, cuddling her suckling cub. "It is our gift, given to us by a High One." The elves around quieted, to better hear the story of the ancient ancestors. Rayek quietly moved closer. "Timmain is the mother of us all. She alone of the High Ones had the power to shape-shift. When the accident happened and the first-comers were still learning to live in this world, she took the form of the great hunters, the wolves, to provide for her companions. She lived with the wolves, then brought back what she had learned to her people."

Rainsong softly shook her head. "But time means little to a wolf. Timmain spent less and less time with her own kind, and more and more as a wolf. Finally, even the healers could not transform her back to her true self. She went with the wolf pack, thought never to be seen again."

Rainsong looked sad for a moment, but then her face brightened. "But she did come back, bearing a child that was half-wolf, half-elf. He was Timmorn Yellow-Eyes, the first chief of the Wolfriders. He gave us our wolf blood. It is our strength."

Rayek looked about at the faces of her people. Some gazed innocently at Rainsong, enthralled with the story, probably believing a story was all it was. In others Rayek could see a shadow of concern, a touch of disdain for the Wolfrider origin.

Savah's voice rang from the back of the cave. "The world was indeed harsh for the first-comers. I think none of us can imagine what it was like to fight for mere survival. To do what must be done to live, whatever the cost."

There was murmuring among the villagers as they mulled over Rainsong's story and Savah's words. Rayek caught herself holding her breath, waiting to see how opinions would shift. But in a matter of moments conversations had moved on.

Satisfied that her people's misgivings had been soothed, Savah moved on to another part of the cave. Rayek hurried to follow after. "Savah, do you believe Rainsong's story?"

Savah lowered herself to perch on an outcropping. "Ahnleet came to me for council soon after the Wolfriders arrived. I know the truth of it, as much as you do."

Rayek dropped her gaze to the floor, unable to face Savah, her weakness exposed. "Then you know."

Savah's hands were a warm comfort against the moist coldness of the cave as she brought Rayek's face up to her own. "Dear one, it is clear on your face. Why do you struggle against that which you cannot control?"

Rayek turned away in frustration.

Savah sighed inwardly at Rayek's stubborness. "Perhaps Recognition is not the curse that you fear. You and Cutter possess special gifts, some as yet unguessed...perhaps the desire that binds you to him is more benevolent than you think."

Savah's words hung in the air as she waited for some response. Finally, Rayek turned, her expression thoughtful.

"Mother of Memory, have you ever known of anyone with the ability to shape-shift?"

"No, that is a rare power, indeed. And a strong one."

Their conversation was interrupted by shouting from outside.

"Look! They've passed the village by!"

"They did it! The wolfriders turned the herd!"

Rayek joined the rush of villagers eager to see the miracle for themselves. She was amazed to see the wolves and riders acting as one to force the larger, stronger animals away from the village. Even more amazing was the looks on her people's faces. Their expressions were animated, alive in a way she had never seen before as they discussed what they had seen.

This was not magic, but it was power. The power to change the hearts and minds of others. It was the power that Cutter possessed, and Rayek felt an appreciation for it that had escaped her before.

She thought back to what she had seen that morning. Whatever other effects the wolf-blood had, it did not deny the use of magic. The Wolfrider's sending was proof of that. The skill had been lost to her people long ago, fading away to disuse and neglect. Safety had its price, too. Maybe there was something worse than death; stagnation. These beast-elves held on to the powers that had been bred out of the Sun-villagers. Powers that might show themselves in her child.

As for the child, Cutter may object to Rayek wanting the wolf-blood removed. But if it was the child's own choice?

Rayek suddenly felt her mood lighten, and her way much clearer.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 04:29:55 PM by Jeb »
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silentleaf

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2010, 07:20:10 PM »

MORE! =)
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Wildfire

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 08:04:51 AM »

Rayek as a girl is awesome! I could totally see her reaction to the wolf-blood happen.

Also:

MORE! :D
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silentleaf

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2011, 11:27:34 AM »

waits for more.. i have to have do another drawing to get you to write more i will do it...
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Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 03:39:06 PM »

Wow! I'm surprised you still remember this. I keep hoping to finish it, but inspiration has been long in coming. But meanwhile, another drawing wouldn't hurt! :D
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Multimedea

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 12:27:51 PM »

I've been remiss in commenting in the Writer's forum. (bad me). I really like this gender-bender story, Jeb. Some definite surprises for the reader. You should also add some of your own illos to this.
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The sorrow of the elves is that
The things they love must die...
(The Tree of swords and jewels waits for me)
Time withers all about them,
Yet the elves it passes by...
(When shall I hang my own upon the Tree?)

Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 03:01:51 PM »

The creativity of the calendar must be catching! Finally wrote some more for this (after only a little more than a year.  ::)  )
-----------------------------------------------

With the zwoots turned and the dust settling, the Sun-villagers began to filter out of the caves, some stopping to look at where the Wofriders had corralled the herd and now sated their blood-hunger, some avoiding the scene as they hurried back to their homes.  Rayek threaded her way slowly through them, still mulling things over, when her concentration was broken by a yell from behind some nearby rocks.

"Look Out! He's got his strength back!"

"My rope! He pulled it out of my hands!"

Rayek rushed around the corner to find one of the largest zwoots she'd ever seen, bucking and kicking, the small form of a young Wolfrider whipping around its neck, becoming tangled in the lead ropes. As Rayek ran to help, another young Wolfrider leapt to the  beast's shoulder and began sawing at the tangled ropes.

"Dewshine! Be careful!"

The warning was barely out of the lad's mouth when the great animal reared, dislodging the maiden and sending her flying through the air to land, with a crack, head first by a large boulder.

Before she could even think what to do, Rayek was atop the beast, knife in hand as she tried with the youngster to subdue the panicked zwoot. She had no thought of the other elves as the animal's hot blood showered her, its scent enveloping her, heightening her excitement as she was carried above the village, the air whooshing past as instinct took over, her knife plunging again and again, trying to land the fatal blow.

Then suddenly, her mount pitched over, and Rayek was dumped ungraciously to the sandy ground. Spots swam before her eyes as her mind adjusted to the change in motion. Her vision cleared to find Cutter standing before her, his wolf-bond by his side. Heart pounding and excitement still rushing through her veins, she was overcome by Recognition's pull. She was on her feet at once and had taken a few eager steps toward him, when she was stopped still by the look on his face.

All the Wolfriders were gathered around, their eyes fixed to the spot where Scouter approached Dewshine's body apprehensively. He crouched down, his hand trailing tenderly down her face, her neck, her chest.  "She's still breathing," he whispered. A wave of relief swept through the growing crowd.

Into the circle hurried Ahnleet. Rayek could tell that he had been told he was needed, but obviously not by whom. His pace slowed as he realized who he'd been sent to heal. His expression hardened as all faces turned to him expectantly.

Cutter stepped forward. "Please! I'll do anything!" He implored. "Even take my tribe far away from here and never come back. If you'll just heal her!"

Ahnleet hesitated, indecision clear on his face. Rayek placed a hand on his arm, her voice no more than a whisper. "I've seen you heal an injured sand-cat with less thought. Do you really care more for your pets than these children of High Ones?"

Ahnleet's eyes locked on hers, his brows raised in question. *Has your heart changed so quickly, dear one? Is this where your path now lies?*

Except in strong healing, Rayek had never felt Ahnleet's mind-touch before. He had always kept himself from her so carefully. That the barrier should drop now brought her heart to her throat. Her eyes teared as she nodded.

*I thought you might let the barbarian linger for at least a year!* The tone of his private gibe was affectionate, but his gaze was still cool as he turned to the Wolf-chief. "I don't care what you do, just let me do my work!"

Gently, he lifted Dewshine's limp body from Scouter's arms, and headed toward his hut.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 04:34:20 PM by Jeb »
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silentleaf

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 07:52:47 PM »

MORE i say more!
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Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 02:21:56 PM »

The Wolfriders waited outside the healer's hut, moving aimlessly, pushed by the need to do something, but unable to. Conversations started, then died away half-finished, eyes and thoughts turning uncontrollably to the darkness inside.

Rayek walked among them like a shadow, drawing no more attention than a fly on the wall. She found Cutter huddled in the shade, arms held tightly wrapped around himself as if he could hold his emotions so easily. His wolf curled against him, half-opening an eye to regard her suspiciously as she approached. She sat down on Cutter's opposite side, keeping her distance from both elf and wolf.

"I truly am sorry."

Rayek flinched as his muscles flexed tighter, but he didn't spring at her as she'd feared he might. Instead, she flinched again as all his worry and frustration found outlet in his voice as he spat her words back at her. "Why?! She is meant to die anyway!"

Rayek shook her head, thinking back to those moments atop the Zwoot, the life and death struggle with her playing a part. She was a hunter and always had been, despite the Sun-Village's gentle ways. She didn't just plant a seed and wait, relying on the weather to provide or let wither. She fought for what she needed, taking the risk along with the challenge, a test of wit and skill against a foe as dangerous as she was. Hunter or prey, the stakes were the same for both. "Death is not my enemy. That is Ahnleet's fear. I never should have let it be mine."

Cutter's tension eased slightly. "What about my 'tainted' blood?"

"I can't say it's not a...disappointment. But not all things are forever, or should be." Maybe not even Recognition, she thought to herself.

"And our child?"

"Will be raised knowing it has a choice, and will make it...for itself."

They heard the faint clacking of doorway beads, then Ahnleet's face emerged from the doorway. He beckoned to the gathered Wolfriders, and at his assuring nod, Scouter and Treestump rushed into the hut.

Rayek rose. "You must see to your cousin. When you are ready...I will be, too."
______________________________________________

Rayek crouched in the bushes, watching silently as the boar snuffled and rooted slowly toward her. She shifted, and the noise was all that was needed for the boar to look in her direction. It froze in fright, then stiffened as it was caught in Rayek's hypnotic gaze. She approached, unsheathing her knife.

"Calmly, my bristling friend. You will not feel this..."

"You do your prey no honor to take the fight out of it like that!"

Intent on the hunt, Rayek had failed to notice that the pig was not the only one being stalked. Cutter stared down at her from the rocks above, the hungry predator poised for the attack. Rayek rose to face him, the faintest of smiles on her lips.

"What do you know of honor? You are more beast than elf!"

He leapt down and they circled each other, oblivious to the squeals of the boar as it ran free from its imprisonment, Rayek's focus now on other prey. She slid the knife back into its sheath, grinning. "You don't stand a chance."

A subtle lifting of an eyebrow was all the warning she had, then he was upon her and they were tumbling, fingers fumbling for laces and ties, racing to remove numb barriers to the sensation of skin on skin, lips and teeth searching out sensitive places, hard and soft colliding, searching in mindless want. As one need was extinguished, more rose to take its place, seeking to be sated in a frenzy, until the world was drowned in the rush of blood and pounding hearts. Bodies and minds met in a single thought.

*Yes...*
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 04:46:38 PM by Jeb »
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silentleaf

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 03:28:14 PM »

ooo Love the description of their recognition! NOO NEED more!
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Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 06:59:50 AM »

Thank you. It was the part I most dreaded writing, but knew it had to happen sooner or later.

I'm glad you've enjoyed the story.
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Multimedea

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2012, 08:16:03 PM »

Jeb, I hope you plan on re-posting your work. I'm missing Rayek's story. :'(
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The sorrow of the elves is that
The things they love must die...
(The Tree of swords and jewels waits for me)
Time withers all about them,
Yet the elves it passes by...
(When shall I hang my own upon the Tree?)

Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2012, 01:53:01 PM »

WTF?

 ???

I don't know what happened here! I will try to get this back up shortly.
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Multimedea

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2012, 03:35:48 PM »

WTF?

 ???

I don't know what happened here! I will try to get this back up shortly.

It happened during the switchover. A lot of members' fanfiction got garbled, truncated, or just plain went missing.  :'(
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The sorrow of the elves is that
The things they love must die...
(The Tree of swords and jewels waits for me)
Time withers all about them,
Yet the elves it passes by...
(When shall I hang my own upon the Tree?)

Startear

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2012, 12:51:48 PM »

Have you tried to click on edit post? When I noticed that my text eas gone, I clicked to edit my post (aka insert it back) and then it was there.
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"I know some think me a fool, or that I am too quick with my tongue, or too ready with the blade -- but I live by my own honor, my Way. I would give my life for any of you."

Thanks to Katcombs for the Ekah sprite!

Jeb

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Re: The Recognition of Rayek - A Gender-Bending AU
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2012, 03:37:13 PM »

Thanks, Startear. That seems to work...mostly. For some reason the site has issues with my quotation marks.   :-\  But at least it's back easily.
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