AKA 'check your assumptions at the door'

For [livejournal.com profile] mini_nanowrimo. This bit got away from me, and went off in weird directions. I think it works. Set before yesterday's bit.

Lying under Iros was usually no hard task. The aughisky required very little participation from Turnspit; returns of the licks he bestowed and the occasional caress was sufficient for him. Turnspit knew he was salving his conscience with passivity but the arrangement worked. Iros was satisified, he was protected, and both were as content as could be expected.

Which was why Turnspit really didn't want to answer Iros as they made to sleep. Sealchild's accusation of immorality cut deep, but was substantially true. Worse yet, Turnspit had no defense but necessity to the charge of engaging in immoral acts, and necessity was a thin shield when it came to virtue. He could have refused Iros' offered exchange; his despair in the mines was a personal weakness. He was still as careful of and obedient to the great laws as anyone could be in his circumstances, but he was trading the use of his body for safety, and not just his labor.

"You're thinking fuzzy thoughts," Iros told him as Turnspit finished folding his kilt. It was warm enough that they would not need to sleep under it, so he lay it on the shelf along the wall.

"Am I?" he asked, more occupied with removing his socks than with Iros' chatter.

"Yes. The Selkie-blood upset you. I can't retaliate; he's under the Stormbringer's own hand, not just part of the holding. But I could certainly find us space in the other stable."

Turnspit shook his head, and lay down under the sheet. It was cool, but would warm up soon enough. He watched at Iros stripped off the last of his gear, tossing it haphazardly about the narrow room, and held the sheet up for the aughisky.

"Don't bother," Turnspit said, as Iros snuggled close to him, "Everyone heard."

"Yes, they did," Iros nodded. "What was it that he called you? It must have been a great insult; the barking was loud."

Turnspit looked over at his bedmate. "Barking?"

"Barking, you know, barking." Iros spoke gibberish for a moment, until Turnspit realized he was imitating the sounds of Turnspit's old language.

"Barking. It sounds like barking to you?"

Iros smiled. "Yes, barking, and I can't understand it yet. So, what did he say?" he asked, as he leaned over to pet Turnspit's hair.

Turnspit hesitated a moment, drew it out by toying with the end of one of Iros' many braids. "He called me a catamite."

"Catamite," Iros repeated, rolling the word oddly, "What does it mean?"

"A boy kept for immoral purposes." Turnspit wondered vaguely how he'd gotten onto this topic, when all he had really wanted was to drag the sheets over his head, and pretend the evening had never happened. This never used to happen. I didn't have to think in the mine. His thoughts turned dark, I wasn't allowed to think in the mine.

"Immoral purposes? Like theft?" Iros asked, his eyes bright. "I wouldn't do that. Raiding is one thing, but theft is another. Anyway, you're not a boy; you're much too old."

"He meant buggery, Iros," Turnspit said. He really didn't want to get into a discussion comparing proper God-given ethics to the cock-eyed assemblage that passed for ethics among the aughisky.

Iros looked confused. "We don't do that – you don't like that, and it wouldn't be any fun if you were frightened. And how would he know, anyway. It's not like I invited him to join us." Then Iros tilted his head, "Did you?"

"Did I what?" Turnspit asked. He hadn't followed the last veer in the conversation.

"Invite him to join us," Iros explained. "He was your friend on the trip in, before you were set to the Brewster's Holding. Did you want to have him here? Is that why he's acting like a spoiled lapdog? I suppose he's attractive, if you like big broad oxen…"

"What? NO!" Turnspit yelped. He had to nip this off fast, because Iros had certainly gotten the wrong idea. "He is just a friend. Was just a friend."

"I fornicate with my friends," Iros said, his tone stubborn and suspicious. Is Iros jealous? Of Sealchild? Turnspit wondered.

"Not that kind of friend, Iros."

Iros looked inclined to argue. He muttered, "You're too good for that stupid ox, anyway," and stroked Turnspit's hair.

"Just let it go, Iros."

Iros sniffed. "If you want. But if he's still acting like a donkey in the morning, I'm going to kick him no matter who his protector is. Stormbringer won't kill me." He looked down at Turnspit. "And once the lord sees you, I'll see about getting you a woman. That'll shut up that idiot, if you cover some sweet little yellowdoe."

Turnspit was half-asleep under Iros' soothing fingers, but that did register. "What?!"

"I said, I'll find you—"

"I heard that. What did you mean by that?"

Iros snorted, his face breaking out into a grin. "You don't want a human female? I thought you liked them."

"I do," Turnspit said, "I just thought this," he waved a hand between them, "was exclusive."

"Exclusive? Turnspit, you're not that blind. I've been—"

"Exclusive on my part. You can do what you like, you're the protector here."

Iros' smile grew fond. "You're not my protectate, Turnspit. You're my Dog. And really, part of having a Dog is making sure there are more Dogs in the future, truer Dogs. We'll find you a female, with lots of Dog blood in her, after Lord Stormbringer gives you leave. Someone tall and willowy, with good lungs."

Turnspit muttered, "I'm getting tired of women taller than I am."

Iros chuckled, "Well, I suppose I could find you some fat little dumpling, if you'd rather."

"I like fat little dumplings. And why am I even talking about this! It's not going to happen!" Turnspit said, abruptly embarrassed at the whole discussion. He pulled the sheet up and turned over, very pointedly going to sleep.

Iros only chuckled again and put an arm over Turnspit, snuggling close.


From: [identity profile] murasaki99.livejournal.com

Did you want to have him here?

ROTFL!! Never open certain cans of worms! And now Iros is making breeding plans for his Dog, oy vey! Iros *would* feel pretty comfortable with the Harlekki's arrangments for breeding - he'd understand someone making judgements based on health, temperament, genetics, etc.

Gah, Augisky/Harlekki foals!! *tries to scrub brain*

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

Well, Iros is just putting his own understanding in place. He'd *let* it happen, maybe, but he'd also do everything to make sure that Sealchild knew Turnspit was *his*.

The aughisky are trying to recreate the Dog People -- though they're not quite sure what standard they're going for, because there haven't been True Dogs in generations.

Hee. The aughisky wouldn't like the lifespan, though.

From: [identity profile] murasaki99.livejournal.com

What is a True Dog like?

Hee. The aughisky wouldn't like the lifespan, though.

With a crossbred you'd be more likely to get a proper lifespan... and someone with a very interesting reincarnation cycle, I'm sure. Oh yeah, and free Music. :D

From: [identity profile] persephone-kore.livejournal.com

The aughisky are trying to recreate the Dog People -- though they're not quite sure what standard they're going for, because there haven't been True Dogs in generations.

So... they're guessing, or encouraging the breeding of ones they especially like? Did Iros suggest "tall and willowy, with good lungs" because those are generally considered good traits to breed for in a Dog Person, or because he personally thinks they're pretty? Or is there a difference?

From: [identity profile] murasaki99.livejournal.com

I'm willing to be the 'good lungs' are so the Dog can run by the horse/rider. I think that's how the mutualistic arrangement worked, the Aughisky ride and the Dogs run alongside. Assuming I've pieced this together correctly?

I'd like to know what happened to the Dog People. Did they get killed in a disaster?

From: [identity profile] persephone-kore.livejournal.com

Ah, yeah, the good lungs would generally be a good feature. I guess tall would be good for running, too. Heh.

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

The Dog People died in the aftermath of the Queen's Death. The fairies had a population collapse, which is why they kidnapped human beings -- they lost the almost entire agricultural workforce.

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

'Willowy' is an aughisky ideal, and since they're not remembering what Dogs were like that well, they're choosing for what they think are attractive.

Tall (long legs, anyway) and good lungs, though are runner's traits, and Dogs are long distance runners, with more endurance that horses.

Iros personally thinks tall and willowy is attractive -- and since Turnspit is tall (for a human), and slim, Iros thinks he's very cute.

From: [identity profile] murasaki99.livejournal.com

This answers a few questions very nicely.

Tall and willowy - there's a whole planetfull on Harlek, and they're all cheerful and handsome. :D

From: [identity profile] hlglne.livejournal.com

It's not going to happen because he's not supposed to be bred! Iros is forgetting that. It is sweet how they misunderstand the cultural things about each other. We still need more info on this taboo-rabbit culture Turnspit is from, and how Sealchild, part Selkie, could have been there too.

From: [identity profile] neotoma.livejournal.com

He's not supposed to be bred -- on the Brewster's holding. Lord Stormbringer has different criteria, and since Turnspit has moved from workstock to Dog, what qualities they're looking for are different.

From: [identity profile] hlglne.livejournal.com

Oho! he can have a dumpling farther along the circuit, then. Heehee.

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags