Why Alliance, or, Night of the Sand Bunnies
Updated: Sep 20, 2020
CW// mention of transphobia, kinkshaming, and ageism; deeper discussion of domestic abuse; manipulation; sexual exploitation of a minor
I hope you had a restful weekend, lovelies! I personally tried to log out for an entire day and a half (ikr?? the MADNESS) and came back to find people defending a minor for creating NSFW content (jfc if you’re a minor just wait until you’re 18 to create and disseminate adult content; if you’re an adult do not encourage that shit), kinkshaming and ageism getting leveled at folks who were vocal about blocking the minor in question (don’t like necro fics? Then don’t read them that’s why they’re TAGGED) — and of course Gina Carano yet again outing herself as trash (yes, if you’re a COVID-denying transphobe who thinks pronouns are joke-worthy, and therefore tacitly encourage your mouth-breathing, hyper-agro followers to treat trans people badly IRL after dragging the way-more-talented-and-kind Pedro into your shitfest, you’re trash).
At least that final issue can be fixed by putting Ms. Carano in a paper bag, since there’s no way in hell she’d be able to act her way out of it.
But since my positions on the first two issues are pretty damn clear and I have an ample supply of paper bags on hand, I’m going to use this slightly-belated blog update to talk about Alliance.
By AO3 stats, Alliance isn’t even a blip. And it’s probably confusing (not to mention frustrating) to some of my subscribers why updates for Reylo fics like Craving Kylo and Daddy’s Knot take 2-6 weeks, while chapters for my original story drop like clockwork.
The tldr; is that it’s already written. It’s been waiting, and now it’s time.
But for the full story of why, let’s rewind to the ever-distant year of 2004, because that’s where the story of Alliance begins.
I was 17 years old the summer I met my abuser.
^That sentence alone just took a few minutes of staring to get past — because that’s the first time I’ve ever written that word. Abuser.
I haven’t written about this. Ever. So strap on, babyluv, this is a realtime reprocessing.
My parents divorced after fraught years of open verbal warfare, years of alcoholism and mental illness, years of my father living in an unheated barn like a ghost as my mother alternately terrorized us all and clung tight like a human garrote.
I felt like an adult that summer. After all, I already had one year of college under my belt, I was working a seasonal job during the break between freshman and sophomore years, paying my bills.
Even though I was living with my mother and brother, I was untethered. Adrift.
We met through mutual friends. He was a year ahead of me, just back from an exchange year at a nearby college. He was intelligent, handsome, charming.
I felt like I had so much agency, but in reality he was grooming me — and I was dazzled.
It’s literally half a lifetime ago now, but I remember it so clearly, moments so sharp they could cut like the shards of a shattered mirror.
The way his smile made my chest glow with warmth. The smell of the body spray he used, something I loved so much that I kept the empty bottle hidden away in a drawer long after it was empty, just for the traces of that aroma. The nauseating ache of missing him, and the Isengard-style flood of relief when I saw him again.
Every chance to get away from my increasingly-unstable mother was a blessing — and there was one particular night that sealed the deal, a few momentous hours that set the tone for years to come.
To suit my own grim humor, let’s call it Night of the Sand Bunnies.
I drove up directly after getting off work around midnight, amped up on energy drinks. He lived in the school’s summer dorm, but all of our mutual friends were asleep, unaware that I was here the night before our scheduled visit.
I was wearing a velvet dress trimmed with lace. The whole campus was dark; we were alone.
He told me I looked like a princess. No one had ever been visibly awed just by looking at me before. What girl doesn’t dream a rakishly handsome man would tell them that they’re beautiful?
It’s what we’re trained to want, isn’t it?
We went to the dock first. A shooting star streaked over the moonlit harbor.
It was a sign, the first real magic I’d ever witnessed.
This was my adventure. It was finally here. It was him.
Of course I wished for love. I was aching for it, enough to beg for adoration from a rock dying in the sky.
He didn’t have a car, so we took mine, driving to the nearby park even though it was closed. The beach was empty; the waves crashed and the moon poured molten silver light onto the world, and he kissed me for the first time — a real man, one who was nineteen years old, one who looked on me with the same longing that I felt for him.
It was two or three in the morning when reality started bleeding back, and guilt along with it.
Did I mention that he had a girlfriend?
No, of course not. I didn’t want to think about it, and his explanations sounded reasonable to my hormone-drunk mind.
She lived in Canada. They’d been together for two years, nearly all of it long-distance. He’d just returned from seeing her when we met, in fact — and that was why I believed him just enough when he said it was ending between them.
Still, I was ashamed of myself. I listened like a disgraced nun when he insisted on my complicity. It wasn’t like he’d put a gun to my head, right? I’d kissed him back, right?
I wanted to drop him back at the summer dorm. I wanted to go home. I wanted to run.
He took my keys, and refused to give them back until I’d “calmed down” and listened to him.
Reality, my dears, is much like a story. It’s your story. Reality is an idea, a program that’s always running in your head, always trying to adapt. Always trying to survive.
In one version of reality he was a prince, the man of my dreams, albeit a slightly flawed one. He was special; our situation was unique, like something out of a fairytale. The regular relationship rules didn’t apply.
In another reality he was a predator, grooming me for underage sex, concealing everything publicly under the guise of friendship. Convincing me to stay silent.
In yet a third version of the world, one our mutual acquaintances quickly adopted, I was the predatory one, a would-be homewrecker.
I was so easy to manipulate. He even made me buy the condoms.
I still wasn't 18.
Over the next three years he twisted me, bent me. He used me, convinced me to write academic papers for him — even his grad school application (yes, he got in).
Of course he met someone else when I was away on study abroad during my junior year. I found out the night we moved in together, after he’d told me to leave a party early, claiming that this would be his last night of hanging with his friends like a bachelor.
Even as he started spending more and more nights in her dorm room, he was still having sex with me, too, convincing me that this was a temporary situation. Convincing me that we didn’t need to use condoms anymore. Convincing me that he’d come back. That we’d get married. He even rented out the spare room to his friend so that I still had to share his bed those nights that he wasn’t at the dorm.
My true love. The man of my dreams, who gave me his mother’s ring and a hollow promise — a hollow reality, one I wouldn’t escape for years after things finally ended between us.
I was lost.
During the first few months we were together (oh halcyon fucking days), I’d written an embarrassingly awful epic poem. Looking back, I know that was my only outlet for dealing with the cognitive dissonance of the situation. For dealing with a love that sliced me up like barbed wire.
A girl is in love with a prince, but he’s betrothed to another, a kidnapped princess. Knowing that her true love may die on the journey to rescue his betrothed, the girl goes in his stead, and reunites them even though it means breaking her own heart.
I didn’t show anyone this piece of singularly terrible stanzas (of which I recall there being tons, because I was drowning in abuse, undiagnosed BPD, and feelings), but the core of it stayed with me. I wrote a full draft of a novelization a few years later, but it felt empty, soulless — so I kept that hidden, too.
Nearly a decade after meeting my abuser, ablaze with creative need on the heels of finishing Eos, that seed took root in the first draft of what would become Alliance (manuscripts for the next two books in the trilogy — The Troublemakers and Deadeye & True — followed in the course of the next year).
In many ways, this trilogy is the story I’ve lived — one of emerging from the flickering gaslight to see the sun. One of learning to prioritize relationships. To trust others. To forgive.
I named my protagonist Khthonia after the earth, a sacred feminine element reinforced by an equally naturalistic surname. Heartbreak was not the end of her story, but rather the beginning; she wasn’t in her teens but her mid-twenties, the same age that I was when I began writing her story. She was lost. Disillusioned. Angry.
We would take this journey together.
And what a journey it became — one of magical artifices breaking to reveal the gritty reality beneath, one of love and redemption.
I sputtered to a stop ~75K into the third story, wanting to finish the entire thing before trying to run the gauntlet of traditional publishing, but interrupted by mental exhaustion and life itself. Amazing new adventures. Love. A great deal of much-needed therapy (thank hecc).
During the summer of 2018, in the wake of The Last Jedi, I found fanfic and started writing again.
But then cancer. More waiting.
Dear child, the belonging you seek is not behind you … it is ahead.
Two years before Rey and Ben/Kylo, there were Hesper and Altair. There were Khthonia and Raz. Lost children, lost warriors, traitorous princes and fascist governments that echoed stirrings in the real world.
I didn’t want to die having not shared Khthonia’s story. Not when I knew it was one that could finish things the right way (something DB/DW & JJ/CT bungled to mass cultural grief).
Somewhere in the currents of space and time, there are people as isolated and lost as I was, people who need a map to find their way forward. More than ever since TRoS, people need a story of the renegade fighter and the Byronic fallen prince, the next evolution beyond the blonde patriarchal Chosen One defeating EEEEvil.
We need something more if we’re to forge our way forward together.
We need love. Real love. And it wasn’t until I’d found that myself that I knew how Khthonia’s story had to end.
There is no need to worship at the altar of an exquisitely doomed love. True love is not boring or worthy of disregard. It is tranquil as a lake, sturdy as a redwood. It is beautiful, and it does not rend.
The Khthoniad certainly isn’t the Great American Novel (I’m editing it myself, and I’m just as susceptible to being myopic as the next writer), but over the months since the TRoSvesty, AO3 has become my home. There is no finer place for these chapters to live than in a humble corner of the library we’ve built together.
And so here we are.
The roller-coaster car sweeps around the bend, and suddenly you can see the station ahead.
We’re back where we began, and you coast to a stop. The safety bar springs up and it’s time to disembark.
But you know why now.
Maybe Alliance and her sisters aren’t stories you need. Maybe they are.
Either way, they’ll be here for you, a hand there to hold amid the guttering gas lamps, finding a way toward love. Toward hope.
DADDY’S KNOT | Omega Rey needs money to make her tuition payment. One night with a faceless Alpha and his twisted tastes promises to change that.
🖤 Chapter 3 | Say You’re Sorry is live as of 5 September 2020
🖤 Chapter 4 | I Can Take What I Want is coming soon!
CRAVING KYLO | Programmer Rey Jakkusen agrees to become the BDSM submissive of tech titan Kylo Ren — but can she fulfill her contract without losing her heart?
🖤 Chapter 15 | Bark & Bight is live as 17 August 2020
🖤 Chapter 16 | Leaves from a Lonely Vine is coming soon!
ALLIANCE | Fiery swordswoman Khthonia Fern teams up with mysterious bounty hunter Raz to rescue a kidnapped princess in a gritty original fantasy romance.
🖤 Chapter 7 | Hidden is live as of 29 August 2020
🖤 Chapter 8 | Beyond is live as of 13 September 2020