Cadun and Galvin

. . . This is a snippet that I’ve been meaning to get around to writing on for nearly two years now. Wow, time flies, hm? Galvin and Cadun’s story is a small spinoff of a much larger story, which may actually eventually be published under …some name. It is set in a world with multiple stories that vary widely. I asked people to suggest characters and then wrote their individual stories in an effort to widen my knowledge of the world and give it depth. From my point of view, it worked remarkably well, and challenged my writing skills as well. Galvin and Cadun are both fill-in characters that I came up with, but they turned out to be cute enough together that I wanted to write a bit more about them.

Here’s a little background, if you care. If you don’t, just go ahead and skip to the snippet.

Galvin and Cadun attend the Imperial Academy, which starts at grade 11 and goes through collage in top level government and business courses. Galvin and Cadun are in a specialized program that is entirely paid for by the Emperor, and in return, the graduates work for the Emperor the rest of their lives. The graduates, called ‘Vexcrips’ or ‘Emperor’s Wolves’ are one or two person units who act as troubleshooters and disaster relief, often sent in to situations that otherwise would require a platoon or more of soldiers to fix the problem.

Even low rank students like Cadun are people that the average badass would do well to think twice about annoying. Cadun’s worries center around the fact that he’s somewhat of a spaz compared to the average vexcrip student, personality-wise, and he deals particularly badly with watching Galvin fight alone. He knows that he could be asked to leave on the basis of slightly sub-par fighting skills (for the program) and an apparently unstable temperament.

 

Cadun went white as a sheet and crumpled the note in his hand a bit savagely.

“What’s the matter?” Galvin asked lazily. Cadun got upset easily, but he got over things easily most of the time, too, so it usually wasn’t worth getting worked up over.

Cadun shook his head, indicating he couldn’t bring himself to talk about it.

Concerned now, Galvin rose and pried the note out of his hand. He smoothed it out and read it. It was a summons to the administrator’s office. No wonder Cadun had gone pale. He was at the bottom of his class, as well as more openly emotional than the average Vexcrip was wont to be. Cadun was facing the possibility that he was being expelled.

“I’ll go with you.” He wasn’t going to let his lover face that alone.

Cadun swallowed hard, biting his lip for a moment, then said shakily, “Th-Thank you.”

 

The administrator’s office was chilly, large, and starkly impersonal. A picture of the Emperor’s Chief of Staff in uniform was the only slightly personal touch in the whole room. The administrator himself was a slender man with purple and black hair who reminded Galvin strongly of Taka in his year. He was pretty sure they were related, but found he didn’t quite have the guts to ask in the face of the administrator’s cold stare.

“Cadun Gyaros.”

“Yes, sir?”

“If you had come alone, I was going to expel you.”

Galvin shifted his weight uneasily. That sounded as if Cadun wasn’t being expelled.

“I didn’t come alone.” Cadun pointed out, tone puzzled.

“Yes, I see that. Very good.”

Silence fell, and the administrator turned his attention to some paperwork. Finally Cadun spoke. “Sir?”

The administrator lifted his head, his expression clearly saying ‘You’re still here?’ “What? Oh, yes. Galvin Rhygher will be your permanent vexcrip partner. That is all. You may go.”

Cadun blinked, then gave a slight bow. “Thank you, sir.”

They took that as their cue to haul ass out of there. Outside, Galvin paused and took a deep breath, then pulled Cadun close and hugged him tightly, burying his face in the blue hair. If Cadun had gone home, his family would have arranged a marriage for him. Not that Galvin would have lost him, but keeping him would have been a lot harder. A couple minutes later, he lifted his head and relaxed his grip. “Don’t think you get to slack off just because you’re my partner.”

Cadun stiffened in affront. “As if I would! You just wait, I’ll get better than you.”

“Uh-huh.”

“I will. Come on. I’m hungry.” Cadun headed towards the dorm.

Galvin reached out and steered him towards Harusuilu’s Redoubt. “Let’s celebrate with good food. My treat.”

Cadun shivered. “I don’t like her.”

He grinned. “She likes you. Besides, her food is the best.” Haru had a tendency to tease Cadun until he flew into a rage or dissolved into tears. He’d tell her to lay off for today. Cadun wasn’t as fragile as he seemed, but there was no point in spoiling the good news for him.

Note: Harusuilu is also the name of the goddess of dark evil, and her redoubt, where she is confined, is said to be where the darkest of woes and suffering originate to seep out into the world.Let’s just say Haru’s parents have a nasty sense of humor.

Haru finds it funny to see people’s reaction to the name of her on-campus eatery. She doesn’t really like superstitious people, though, and finds ways to get rid of them in a hurry. This doesn’t actually hurt her business, since people line up for approximately two blocks to get food around lunch time. She is a very good cook.

A Month Late

Turns out, squash think trees are fine climbing challenges. Who knew? I have a couple very fuzzy pictures of a vine that climbed our cedar tree and bloomed at about 5’10”. Fuzzy because the cedar branches more or less block the view from the camera.

Keve straightened up from a crouch as the humans moved out of sight. “They’ll be back. They were only scouting this time.” He commented unnecessarily. A sharp tug against his throat had him straightening fully and taking half a step backwards.

“Are you done playing?” Shudra asked with a mild look.

Glancing at the leash held firmly in the wide, slightly green-tinged hand, Keve had no doubt it was a reprimand for his overcautious posture, but the Shudra didn’t have the same sorts of bad experiences with humans that Keve did. Shudra indulged his caution, though, and had rescued him years ago, so his reply was respectful. “Yes, master.”

“Stupid fox, the humans won’t be back. They’re too scared to come further.” Hastimuk said scornfully.

Keve ignored the loudmouth, knowing it was his own comment on the obvious at fault for the jibe. Other than their odd skin tone and massively muscular builds, the appearance of ogres was little different than that of humans. Even their social structures had some similarities: the opinions of slaves were rated on the same level as dog barf. Lower ranked ogres tended to be not too bright, belligerent, and many of them resented him a bit for various reasons. Stupid reasons. Not that they’d be stupid enough to do anything but make fun of him with Shudra right there, but there were a number who thought Keve was better off dead.

“If Keve says the humans will return, they will return.” Shudra rebuked Hastimuk in a surprisingly cold tone.

Keve blinked at him in startlement. Shudra didn’t usually bother to defend Keve’s judgement.

Dyaus slapped Hastimuk across the back of his head. “Quit poking at Shudra’s pet. It’s obvious that the humans plan to come back. If you didn’t see that, you can go back to keeping a house. If you did see it and just allowed yourself to lie about it because Shudra’s pet noted it, you can take a beating like an ogren.”

Keve carefully kept his eyes on Shudra. ‘Ogren’ simply meant ‘warrior’, though mostly males were ogren. An ogren being sent out of his place for incompetence was a huge disgrace, even if there was no real stigma to ‘keeping house’. Taking a beating for incompetence was no joke either, though, and it was no business of a slave like Keve which punishment Hastimuk chose.

“Keve, you’re familiar with our borders, burn a line along this border.”

“Are you serious?” he asked, eyes widening. That was a lot of fox fire.

Shudra held his hands about at shoulder width in answer. “That wide.”

“Shit.” Keve muttered, and turned around to survey the border. Granted, he understood why he got stuck doing it: fox fire only burned what he wanted it to. Three feet wide was no easy task, though, not when it stretched along the whole southern border. It probably wouldn’t deter the humans by itself, either. “It might help if you put up warnings in their language.”

“Signs? I intend to.”

This story is, imaginatively, called ‘Keve’.