very long Star Trek/Alternia AU meta conversation below the cut. :3
TRULY WE HAVE WROUGHT MAGNIFICENCE
also star trek as a long-running ashen comedy y/y
haha yes and kirk’s just in the middle like >:3333
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Jade Harley/Karkat Vantas, Eridan Ampora♠Karkat Vantas
Characters: Karkat Vantas, Jade Harley, Eridan Ampora, Vriska Serket, John Egbert, Feferi Peixes, Homestuck Ensemble
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe – Fantasy, Swords & Sorcery, Political Drama, Physical Disability, Necromancy, Porn With Plot, Xeno, Sexual Humor, Cuckolding in the loosest sense of the term imaginable, Illustrated, Pheromones
Series: Part 2 of Catacombs
The love of your life is distant for reasons you can’t discern, you’re stuck in the middle of enemy territory, and the Condesce wants your head on a pike. Equip your sickles and ready your magic rings, because things are going to get batshit.
(Direct sequel to Cum mortuis in lingua mortua! If you did not read the previous fic, please, for the love of god, read the author’s notes.)
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Jade Harley/Karkat Vantas
Characters: Jade Harley, Karkat Vantas, Beta Trolls, Beta Kids, Alpha Trolls, Alpha Kids
Additional Tags: Swords & Sorcery, Action/Adventure, Explicit Sexual Content, Quadrant Confusion, Physical Disability, Alternate Universe – Fantasy, Slow Burn, Necromancy, Illustrated
Series: Part 1 of Catacombs
You picked up a curse by the river and now someone’s gotta deal with it. Grab your spellbooks and buckle your cuirasses, because things are going to get bumpy.
“Hey, sweetheart, heard you got into a fight with some laundry and lost.” Xorne looked up from his holopad to see that human-Todd was standing next to human-Penny’s cot.
“You should see the other guy,” she muttered but her speech was slurred.
“Hope he looks just as bad.” He said before he brushed hair out of her face. Xorne was intrigued. He so rarely had a chance to observe casual interactions between humans. He knew humans were pack animals-it was the first lesson that any individual needed to know when working with humans-but this kind of physical intimacy was stunning to Xorne. “Darling, they gave you the good stuff,” human-Todd laughed at her and then looked at her wrist, wrapped firmly in bandages and a heavy brace. “You’re a klutz! You didn’t have to go this far to avoid buying drinks tonight.”
“You’re buying,” she mumbled. He smiled and pressed lips to her forehead. Xorne would have blushed if he were capable of doing so. He had not known that human-Todd and human-Penny were mated.
“You’re sticking to water til you sober up.”
As she drifted to sleep human-Todd looked at Xorne. “What’s the prognosis?”
“human-Penny will make a full recovery.” Xorne said. His tone was flustered to his own ears. “I am sorry to intrude upon your intimate time. I will leave if you wish to continue. I did not realize you two were mates…” He stumbled over the words. He had thought that humans were supposed to be prudish by other species’ standards! The guidebooks all said so!
“What?” human-Todd had a confused expression. “Theres nothing intimate going on. That’s disgusting!”
Xorne hesitated. “I have offended and angered you. I apologize for my actions. What have I done that I may not repeat it in the future.”
Human-Todd made a disgusted noise. “Penny is like my kid sister! We grew up on Charon Six together in the old Catholic group home in the city. I would never ‘mate’ with her!” He was very upset. Xorne tried to puzzle this out.
“You are… hatchmates?” Xorne asked tentatively.
Human-Todd sighed. “Not literally but… you guys don’t have adoptive families? Found family?”
“My people are solitary by nature.” Xorne said. “I can recognize hatchmates by scent to avoid inbreeding but we do not form social groups similar to your ‘families’.” Human-Todd seemed so… sad. “Do not cry, human-Todd!”
“I wasn’t going to cry.” He replied. “That’s just… sad, I guess. I never knew my…” he fumbled for a word. “What would you call parents?”
“That term is sufficient.”
Human-Todd nodded “Anyway, never knew my parents. The Sisters said I was a war orphan. So I made my family. Penny and I signed on here together… hell, I couldn’t leave her alone. You see how klutzy she is! She needs someone to look after her.” He said mostly to himself. “I think you’re part of my family too, Xorne.”
Xorne blinked. He felt oddly good at the statement. It was clearly very significant to him.
“You’ve always been good to us and you try to look out for Penny. So… honorary cousin or something?” Human-Todd offered his hand. Xorne hesitated before he recognized the human gesture for handshake. He extended his clawed hand
“I am honored.” Human-Todd grinned. The expression always seemed predatory to Xorne but he had been assured it was a friendly expression. They released hands. Xorne paused a moment before speaking up. “What is a ‘cousin’?”
Human-Todd laughed. “Its uh… your parent’s hatchmate’s kid.” Xorne made an odd face. “Part of our families.” He assured Xorne. “Hey, I gotta get back to that meeting with the researcher. Shes gonna bitch if I don’t and then the Commander will scold me. Not that I would mind that too much.” Xorne did not understand what was obviously some kind of human innuendo. “Keep an eye on her? Lemme know when she wakes up?”
“I will… cousin-Todd.” Xorne said, testing the new phrase. His human cousin grinned.
“I like it!” And he left. Xorne felt his frill rise and fall in pleasure at this new feeling. He was part of a human family! He gave a little trill before he settled back in his seat with his holopad, contented now to be watching over his new human-cousin.
That was an excerpt from byzantienne’s ashen quadrant meta from 5
years ago. It’s too bad tumblr wouldn’t let me send the link because it
was really good and I was curious to know your opinion. Ashen still
stumps me and I like what you both did with it so that I have something
to work with in my own hs fics /2
sure you could write fun fanfic based on that one, but taking the ONE
alien relationship model we get that is built for three people, two in
opposition and one as the keystone of the arch, a very different setup from humans’s basic “two against the world” and turning it basically
into Moirallegiance But Grumpier is noooooot doing it for me in terms
of xeno emotional mindsets.
the idea of the middle leaf position
sometimes switching to someone else in the group when dynamics and
outside pressures evolve does feel fun and interesting though. shifting
character dynamics make for personal conflict and growth and hopefully
deepening/perspective-changing understanding, which are always good in
but yeah no, in my mind people can have ashen feelings for a single person à la “i would love to mediate/be mediated by this person” or even “i love to bicker with this person but i would REALLY love to be stopped from actually dating cause that would be a disaster but i can’t just step away cause they’re so fun to needle”. but when they start being like “i’m this ONE PERSON’s auspistice and i’m just gonna run after them mediating for them with every asshole that bothers them” it stops being an equal, three way relationship. the outsider could be a lamppost for how little they emotionally matter. how is that a quadrant for them. it’s pretty much just like married het couples who run around trying to have one night stands with bisexual girls and dumping them as soon as they’ve fucked. it’s hooking up, not romance. i could see it happening as explicitly an ashen hookup or as something other trolls think is kinda messed up and unbalanced, not as the social norm.
imo there would be WAY too much overlap between ashen and pale if they both are emotional-based twosomes trying to make the world a better place for their quadrantmate, even if one is trying to do it mostly by changing the person from the inside and the other one by defending them from outsiders. it would be way too fuzzy at the edges – and like, where is the hate. you don’t even get a bitey orgasm out of it, may as well pap them and call it a diamond at this rate.
…but also mostly i’m really in love with auspisticism being explicitly about three people, and i don’t like it with any quadrant when OH IT’S TOO ALIEN WHAT IF CLOSER TO HUMAN INSTEAD. (see also: pale is just romance without sex or caliginous is just fake-insulting pet names and rough sex). hell i don’t even like it when trolls have human genitals or no claws, even despite how in canon they’re pretty much physically humans with a paint job and horn headbands on. give me xeno (feels/crotches/whatever) or give me death.
i’m headcanoning it as “this word has zero biologically related connotations in alternian it’s just a translation glitch”. like, for me it actually means platonic, permanent (or hoping for it) in-cahoots. ride or die shenanigans partner, like. so… best friend, and absolutely no moirail edge of “i have to lead them toward bettering themselves” or the ashen “i have to stop them bothering other people for their own good” because you actually enoy yourself with them as they are and it’s fun.
so like, terezi and vriska might have WANTED to be sisters in that sense and they said they were but that probably hid quite a lot of confused “… no… actually i do want to meddle/be meddled with, shit D:”
It took two years to sell the completed manuscript of The Cloud Roads to a publisher. (My agent was the one doing all the work. I was just sitting at home writing The Serpent Sea and Emilie and the Hollow World (which didn’t have a publisher either at that time), and quietly freaking out.) But one of the comments my agent got back on The Cloud Roads was that it was hard to follow.
If you’ve read it, you know it’s not a multi-character, multi-storyline epic. Moon is the only POV and the story is pretty linear. After talking to other readers about it for a while, I think the reason for that comment was the Raksura’s gender neutral names.
For me, this was a feature, not a bug. I found it hard to talk about the bisexuality or pansexuality of the characters when they had no concept of heterosexuality, so I tried in various ways to show it. And our concepts of gender don’t map exactly onto the Raksura’s concepts of gender. Using gender neutral names helped me keep that in mind while I was writing. But for some people it was too confusing; they had to assign a gender to identify who the character was.
There were other things people didn’t like. Raksura form intensely close bonds with each other, but are not romantic in the way most earth humans would interpret it. The closest they come to kissing is biting, and they don’t say to each other “I love you.” The queens and consorts are the only ones who form single permanent sexual relationships that we would recognize as marriages, and even they aren’t exclusive with each other. (Though a consort wouldn’t sleep with another queen unless he wanted to start a war.) Moon is the only Raksura in the book who has seen any other type of relationship, and even he only has an outsider’s understanding of them.
For infertile warriors and fertile Arbora, sexual relationships are friendly and casual. Having children is a serious business, and partners are selected with a lot of attention toward the court’s bloodlines and what the court needs. But the relationships between Arbora child-bearing partners aren’t exclusive and aren’t marriages, the way we’d think of marriages, and children are raised communally. (When it’s normal to give birth to five babies at one time, it takes an organized segment of the community to take care of all of them.)
The entire court is basically a very large, often cranky, extended family.
I had beta readers for The Cloud Roads who tried to see the Raksuran relationships as marriages and nuclear families, and it just didn’t work for them because the relationships didn’t make sense that way. To me, trying to see the relationships of your flying lizard ant lion people as being exactly like earth human relationships was what didn’t make sense.
What I loved best about the Raksura was their close knit yet fairly cranky family set up, linked to their equally pansexual/poly relationships. This is not something you see very often in fantasy or science fiction, even in some of the sf I’ve seen with lgbt content, and I found it fascinating and also interestingly domestic. I liked Moon’s outsider POV, and the way he was familiar with multiple cultures, but even his own is pretty alien to him. He was great introductory character to the worldbuilding in the setting.