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.
The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March happened because I want genre stories about autistic queer and trans adults. 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 because I want to exist, somewhere. It will be far from polished; in fact, it’ll likely suffer all the plot holes and editing failures of a serial work written on the fly. Nonetheless, right now I believe representation to be more important than perfection, so I’m shoving my inner perfectionist into as deep a hole (or a wine jar) as I can manage.
The setting is very much multisexuality/multiromanticism as default because, quite honestly, I see that as a far more sensible and functional premise. While trans identities aren’t always as accepted, they’re far more normalised here than they are in Western society, including non-binary trans identities. Sadly, some corners of the world still have a long way to go in terms of ableism, in large part because I wanted to give voice to my experiences as a disabled autistic person who lives in an ableist world.
For those who need it laid out, Tes is an ace-aro non-binary trans autistic and Darius is a pan-aro trans masculine autistic. Everybody else is some combination of non-binary/binary trans, multi, gay/lesbian, ace/aro, autistic, disabled. This story isn’t a romance, despite the fact that dueting protagonists usually end up falling in love, because I am so damn tired of queer characters existing in only in terms of their romantic experiences.
[Welcome]: Tes Alden arrives at a school impaled by giant rhubarb, faces the bacon test and finds an ally in the College’s headmaster.
[Introduction]: March introduces Tes to the College, Master Faiza, the kitchen and his theory of telepathic bacon.
[Connection]: Tes meets hir new roommate Holly Naoko, learns from the chattering historian Iris Edmé and discovers ze does, in fact, possess a valuable trade.
[Homecoming]: Darius Liviu arrives in Greenstone to take up March’s offer of a teaching job, only for the belt to betray a certain confidence involving the dead Efe Kadri.
[Shadows]: Tes overhears March talking to Darius, ponders the mystery that is the Greensward and decides to risk the Left Tower in search of fabric.
[Consequences]: Tes enters the Tower with hir pack, hir plans and hir magic only to discover that ze isn’t the hunter—and the consequences of hir mistake aren’t hirs to bear.
[Skin]: Darius survives the gnomes and contemplates the stories told in scars. Amelia tries to make a well-trodden point. March waves a spoon. What do their words matter to Darius, though, when all he hears is the choking, insufferable envelopment of safety?
[Flight]: The obligation a rescuer has to a ward gives Darius a sense of purpose and the added benefit of avoiding Amelia, but finding Tes means negotiations with the belt and Tes hirself…
[Interlude – Resonance]: Kit lives by the rule of the crow and the rule of story, but neither, despite a life of guardianship, quite prepare him for the fate suggested by a coil of worn, brown leather.
Maker: Darius chose Tes’s presence over his health. Amelia wants hir to gain his trust and his story. Tes doesn’t think ze belongs, not when ze’s still so different from everyone here, but blood and books just might change that…
Curiosity: Trying to work with Darius might be harder for Tes than learning magic, but hir real problems occur when Darius leaves the College on a mysterious midnight journey and Iris decides to follow him.
Longevity: Lack of sleep doesn’t help Darius figure out how to handle Tes. It really doesn’t help when Amelia blunders her way into their talking about silences, suicide and cats. If anything will render exhaustion irrelevant, though, it’s the bubbling breath of a bloody messenger…
Exsanguination: One word shatters the College’s peace, but Darius needs must figure out how to handle Tes’s headlong rush into dangerous magic … and March’s dislike for the blood trade.
[Old-Fashioned]: Amelia March is tired of suitors breaking into her house after dark to express their undying love. Sure, it might be the fashion, but whatever happened to getting to know someone first? Why won’t they listen to her when she says she isn’t interested? And what does it mean that her cousin Kit thinks there’s a word for her approach to romantic relationships?
Old Fashioned is a story about finding words and the importance of fake cobwebs in the windows.
[Certain Eldritch Artefacts]: Newly-graduated, divergent magician Darius Liviu has scoured half the world in search of the rarest of rare magical artefacts: a tolerable talking sword. After a year of failure, one last rumour sees him risk Rajad’s chaotic, cluttered, terrifying Great Souk. The noise, the smells, the people and his inability to move without provoking disaster make everything difficult, but Darius dares the nightmare of chaos and conversations in hope of an item will draw the eye of the man he thinks he loves.
The sword he finds isn’t elegant. It isn’t tolerable. It has no intention of being gifted as a lover’s token. It is, however, set on destroying Darius’s acceptance that awkwardness and a life of misunderstandings is the best he can hope for.
Certain Eldritch Artefacts is a story about autism, adulthood and the reasons why one should never enchant inanimate objects…
[The Adventurer King]: Seven years ago, alliterative magician Darius Liviu met a talking sword belt in the Great Souk of Rajad. Since then, he trained as a swordsman and now works as a mercenary guard. He picked up a few jobs with merchants who don’t mind the loquacious belt, but he is yet to find the work—or the employer—that gives his training and life purpose. Efe Kadri of Siya, or at least his sister Aysun, might have the answer, if Darius has learnt enough from the belt to handle an arrogant, ignorant and impassioned monarch set on saving the world…
Conception: Amelia is just starting to think that she has this witch thing figured out … until Kit turns up on her doorstep one spring day, returning from the Greensward with two feet, a belly, a sword of some distinction, a story, a young girl named Osprey, a beaming smile and a grand plan to start a school for divergent magicians… (forthcoming)