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Guest Story: Music in the Halls


May 8, 2013 by Lyn

Written by Rix Scaedu; this takes place at the end of Chapter 34.

Hylakaros was singing Meatloaf as he carried the shopping for tonight’s dinner home for Lemon.  She and Niassa had decided what they were going to eat and the rest of them were going along with the pregnant women.  It wasn’t that he’d roll over and do anything Lemon wanted…

“Maybe it’s nothing and I’m under the weather
 Maybe it’s just one of those bugs going round
 Maybe I’m under a spell and it’s magic
 Maybe there’s a witch doctor with an office in town
 Oh is this a blessing or is it a curse?
 Does it get any better? Can it get any worse?”

Of course, sometimes she let him do anything he wanted and she enjoyed it.  The thing was, whatever it was that was going on in their heads, despite the private disagreements they sometimes had, made her trust him.  Sometimes that was a heavier yoke than being Owned by the Boss.

He wanted Lemon to be safe and everything in him still screamed that Addergoole was not a safe place to be.  It wasn’t the monsters from down below, or the staff, or the other students.  The students, at least, he could handle, despite his orders not to kill or do irreparable harm, and a trip to the fifth floor with the right weapons and someone he could trust to have his back would be worthwhile at least once.  It was the Workings that twisted the Law into unnatural shapes that made lumps of his guts.

They were clever, he gave them that.  They were not something he, personally, could duplicate or break.  He wanted to take Lemon and her unborn babies and leave.  If he could persuade her to go, she would want to take her Crew with them.  That was fine.  Her Crew were a useful group; they were all of them, even the Kept, going to be useful and competent adults soon.  She probably wouldn’t leave without the Boss either, and if he could persuade the Boss to leave, well Doug wouldn’t leave without the rest of his cy’ree.  That was right and proper, even if he wasn’t fucking them.

Not even the Daeva, Professor Vanderlinden, fucked his Students the way Hylakaros’ Mentor did.  Often, as a power trip and by right.

Aside from the way he treated his Students, and his Kept, Hylakaros thought he understood the Boss.  He was training his Students to be Hunters who hunted Shenera Oseraei.  Hylakaros’ Mentor had concentrated on humans and Shenera Endraae as targets but there was always the knowledge that politics and everything being what they were, you might find yourself hunting people or find them hunting you…

Which was where he was likely to find himself eventually if he got out of here alive – the Shenera Oseraei did not care to let known apostates live.  He had contingency plans, of course, and those might come to something, but it would be hard to pretend to change allegiances in front of this audience.  Tuapeka was one of his best Words but there were some formidable practitioners of intinn in Addergoole and that was not one of his own best Words.

“And there used to be such an easy way of living.”  He whistled the next line and then went on, “And I used to get everything that I went after, but there never used to be this girl, but there never used to be this girl.”

Shang practically ran into him, pushed himself off Hylakaros’ chest with his hands and sang, “We can’t stop the music!  Nobody can stop the music!” in a rather panicked manner.

Hylakaros wasn’t sure if it was the impact or the shock of someone singing disco that really caught his attention.

“What-,” Hylakaros stopped as he realised that he’d stretched the word over two notes.  When he started again it was to a piece of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, “Just-let-me-get-rid-of-this-shopping,-then-we’ll-go-find-Doug-and-Luke.”

Back at the suite it sounded they were singing rounds when Wylie opened the door.  They weren’t, of course, it was just the effect of everyone trying to talk at once and using a different tune to do it.  “Everyone’s singing,” Wylie sang to a tune Hylakaros didn’t recognise.

“Nobody can stop the music,” agreed Shang.

Hylakaros resorted to Bohemian Rhapsody again, “Wylie take the shopping, then I’ll go see Luke and Doug.  Shang’s coming with me.”

Wylie sang “Take the shopping, take the shopping,” as he took the groceries and dumped them on the counter.  His tail was twitching and his ears were raked back against his head.

Lemon pirouetted to the door and held her hands out to Hylakaros.  “Won’t you come in?  Won’t you come in?”

Hylakaros grabbed her hand and reeled her in to hold her firmly against his body, “I have to see Doug, this is an attack,” his voice running down the scale on the last phrase.  “Stay here and be safer, stay here and be safe.”  He put his hands either side of her face and kissed her, then stepped away from the door.  “Come on, Shang.”

Shang was humming scales to himself and did not speak as he followed Hylakaros out of the room.  In the kitchen, Wylie was singing something about cooking.

On the way to Luke’s office Hylakaros and Shang passed other students singing and dancing their way through the halls, including a small conga line.  Some of the conga line were enjoying it, some clearly weren’t.  As they got closer to Luke’s office, the halls got clearer which struck Hylakaros as odd until he heard the singing.

Luke and Doug singing, on an operatic scale, with feeling.  Mainly anger.  Possibly frustration, but mainly anger.  You could have heard them clearly from the far end of a football field.  Hylakaros didn’t blame the students for wanting to be somewhere else but he walked up to the door and knocked.

Doug yanked the door open and said nothing at all.  Glaring.

“We’re under attack,” Hylakaros’ voice dropped to the lowest part of his range, “Lemon is under attack.  From inside the Wards.  What do you want me to do?”


  1. JamesW says:

    I really like most of this, but is it cannon?

    With paragraph 6, Doug went from being one of my favorite teachers to the one I like and trust least.

    “…as a power trip and by right” ? Isn’t Doug a Mara? A protector?

    And Kay, just un-collared, is going to Doug because “He’d really enjoy teaching” her? The hell.

    • Lyn says:

      The Hylakaros stories are canon.

      I’m not sure.. ah. Hylakaros is thinking about his Mentor (his former Mentor), not his Keeper. Doug is his Keeper; his Mentor was a Nedetakaei. Hyl is contrasting his former people with his new people.

      Doug doesn’t (generally) fuck his students.

    • Rix Scaedu says:

      It might have been better if I’d used Hylakaros’ Mentor’s name, but I had hoped that paragraph made it clear that Doug was not the Mentor in paragraph six.

      • Rix Scaedu says:

        Paragraph seven

        • James says:

          Ah, there it is. I did get ‘keeper’ and ‘mentor’ mixed, even though it was perfectly clear in the next paragraph. Sorry!

          Um, well, take it as a complement that you’ve (both) made me care about this story, even when I’m being dense? Very good story-telling!

  2. Kuro_Neko says:

    It really hammers home how bad Addergoole is when a Nedetakaei of all people remarks on how unnatural, bad and unsafe what they’re doing is.

    • Gudy says:

      Uhm, I don’t think Hylakaros is objecting to quite the same things you are, and if so for almost entirely different reasons. He doesn’t like the Workings that twist the Law into a pretzel and allow things like Promises and Keeping to work the way they do. But I’m reasonably sure that is less out of concern of what that may do to the students and more because it shifts everything slightly off-kilter and makes it harder for him to do the one thing that he’s interested in – keeping Lemon safe.

      • Kuro_Neko says:

        I completely agree. The reasons I think it’s a horrible place and the reasons he thinks it’s a horrible place are almost completely different. But when a relatively good person and a relatively bad person both agree something is bad, then it’s very likely that something really is bad.

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