Tes Alden, collector of words, rescuer of books and counter of objects, knows ze isn’t like everyone else. This wouldn’t be such a problem if everybody else didn’t struggle with it. Hir mother prays a run-down school in the middle of nowhere may be the best place to stow hir brand of peculiarity, and Tes has nowhere better to go.
Darius Liviu lost a limb and his lover in the hell of Mul Dura. He spent the last three months as a guest of the Greensward, crafting a jointed hand from elf-sung wood and trying to ignore the mutterings of the ghost that haunts him. Now, he returns to the College to take up the second-most dangerous job open to a magician: teaching.
Tes just might be a magician in the making, if ze can survive adventures in alliterative magic and hir own lethal curiosity. Darius, though, keeps a secret that makes the usual problems of overgrown rhubarb, basilisk hordes, verbose eldritch objects, shrieking purple monkeys and cauliflower explosions look like nothing at all.
The elves are coming, and nobody fears elves more than Kit March.
Master Post | First: Welcome | Next: Introduction
Welcome: Tes Alden arrives at a school impaled by giant rhubarb, faces the bacon test and finds an ally in the College’s headmaster.
Chapter count: 7, 400 words
Content advisory: Tes’s allistic (non-autistic) mother repeatedly dismisses her adult offspring’s stims and movements and responses as childish behaviour. “Hands down” is this universe’s equivalent of the dreaded “quiet hands”. General autism-specific ableism. Shutdown/quasi-verbal moment. Use of the word “normal” to describe allistic people (on account of autistic narrator’s present lack of language).
Note the first: I want genre stories about autistic queer and trans (especially trans) adults. (Surprise, surprise, it’s hard to find this outside of fanfiction and internet-form writing.) While all my novels feature autistic trans protagonists with the benefit of hindsight, they need rewriting to make this purposeful, not accidental. So I’m writing this in order that something exists in the interim. It will be far from polished and it’ll suffer all the plot holes and editing failures of a serial work written on the fly, I’m sure, but it’ll exist. Right now, I believe representation to be more important than perfection. So I’m writing a horde of autistic, trans characters travelling different paths in adulthood, just to make my heart happy.
Note the second: The College, March and Darius, among other characters we later meet, are featured or referenced in my Crooked Words short stories ‘Certain Eldritch Artefacts’ and ‘Old-Fashioned’, set in the same universe, but I don’t think they’re required reading at this point.
Magic rests in the space between what you are and what you should be, if you’re willing to look at the should and dismiss it to the dark where it belongs.