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Welcome to 21 Days of Valdemar!

Put on your party hats - it’s time for the Dead Vanyel Memorial Party! Vanyel is OFFICIALLY the Woobiest of the Woobies, and we celebrate in his honour!


No More Fills posted here! Post to AO3 or FF.Net and post the link here!

Discussion Post | Mod Call Post | Resources Post


Day 1 -Aug. 9 - Prompts! You will have seven days to put as many prompts as you'd like on this post. And if you start writing them early, well that's just good planning!

Day 8 - Aug. 16 - Prompting ends, posting begins! You have 14 days to write, draw, and potentially diorama as many prompts as you can.

Day 19 - Aug. 27 - This is the cut-off day for prompters to reply to any questions about their prompt. Unanswered questions are considered enthusiastic agreement.

Day 21 - Aug. 29 - Last day of posting! All fills must be posted by 11:59 PM North American Mountain Time.
Day 22 - Aug. 30 - Party time! You now have the option of going unanon and reposting everything you've done to AO3 under our fancy AO3 Collection. Or unanoning in whatever manner you please.

(Click on the dates for countdowns; the fest is following MDT/Mountain Time)


For the purposes of this fest, the prompts themselves are warnings. If you have issues with this policy, we recommend either not participating or using Dreamwidth blocker.

Joining the 21_days community is optional for prompters, fillers, and all interested parties; we have some extra content for comm members, but this prompt/fill post, the discussion post, and the mod call post are open for everyone.

MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Posting unanon will be deleted. This doesn't mean you aren't welcome here! And if you'd like the content of your comment PMed to you, contact the MOD CALL post.

For Prompters and Readers

  1. Subject lines should include the series, characters and/or pairing you want. Feel free to be as descriptive as you'd like. Warnings aren't required, but they also aren't banned.
  2. You don't have to write or draw. It's anon, there's no IP-tracking, and we aren't going to stalk you.
  3. Do not comment on other people's prompts to try and change pairings or characters. Post your own version with the characters you want instead.
  4. If you fail to respond to a 'is this okay?' kind of question about any of your prompts by the 19th day, it'll be taken as an enthusiastic yes, no matter what the question is.
  5. There are no subject bans. You may prompt anything you want.
  6. If you don't want to answer any questions, you can say so, and that will work as blanket permission for anything people might want to do with your prompt.
  7. Prompts for non-Valdemar Mercedes Lackey series are allowed.

For Artists and Writers

  1. No claiming prompts, please, as multiple fills are welcome!
  2. Minimum wordcount per fill is 100 words.
  3. All content is allowed and all warnings are optional, but if you want to write or draw extreme kinks** for a prompt that doesn’t specifically request them, you have ask the prompter first.
  4. If the artist requests it, the mods will repost art fills as an embedded picture in a reply to their comment. NSFW art will be labelled as such in the subject line by re-posting mods. Art involving underaged characters in porn situations will not be re-posted as an embed.
  5. RPF of underage people is not allowed. We're not even sure if it's possible for Valdemar fic, but whatever. It's not allowed.

** "extreme kinks" for the purposes of this exchange include but are not necessarily limited to: extreme underage, major character death, scat/watersports/emetophilia, extreme gore, and bestiality. Please use reasonable discretion, and ask a mod if you have any questions!

For Everyone

This is a Choose Not to Warn fest. At no point will any comment be deleted for failure to warn of its content in the subject lines. They will be deleted for rampaging dickery and failure to follow the rules.

Unanon comments will be deleted.

Attempts at policing other people's fun will be deleted.

Prompts posted after the end of the 7th day will be deleted.

Links to off-meme posts posted prior to end of the 21st day will be deleted.

Concerns are to be directed to the MOD CALL post. If posted here, they will be deleted.

Fills that have spectacularly failed to fulfill the prompt/been posted to the wrong spot will be screened. You can request a copy of your work at the MOD CALL post.

The rules may change without warning in response to unforeseen circumstances, like us thinking of better ones.

FILL: Le Barde et la Bête - Vanyel/Stefen

Date: 2015-08-23 07:02 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Every night the creature asked Stefen to leave, and every night Stefen refused.

Asked, not begged, though Stefen was sure it would soon come to that. It didn't matter, though, because he had determined not to leave, and that was that.

He had lived three months with the creature in the gloom-shrouded manor, since the night his guardian had stolen a single black rose from the garden. "Not dyed," she'd told him in a hush, beckoning him to join her at the iron gate. "A true black rose; it'll fetch a pretty price at the apothecary." Hesitant, he'd reached for the stem, but she whisked it from him with a cackle.

The gate had opened at the sound, and a figure stood before them. The night clung to him, the moonlight shied away, and he was nothing more than shape and rasping voice: "You've trespassed, hag, and you've a price to pay."

She bowed and sniveled at the creature's feet, promising recompense to his lordship, but when he said the price would be her life lived out on those shadowed grounds in replacement of the stolen rose, her face closed up cold and sly. "My life, your lordship?"

"Any life would do as well or better."

Stefen knew in that instant that he was to serve the sentence for his guardian's crime. Looking into her crooked face and calculating eyes, he determined that a life of imprisonment with an unknown monster was preferable to another day with her. He followed the creature through the black spiraling gate without hesitation, even as it rang shut behind him.

In the hollow gilding of candlelight, he got his first full look at the creature. The height of a man but hunched and twisted, swathed in dark velvet as if to ward himself from winter winds though it was the heart of summer. A sliver of bare skin at his throat was white as bone. And his face--Stefen could not see the creature's face. He wore a mask of dark and curling metal, charred iron that seemed to shift beneath the gaze. The mask was affixed through no visible string or clasp, but the skin around the edges was red and raw.

Through the narrow eyeholes shone a pair of eyes so cold and brightly silver they could not possibly be human.

For the first month they hardly spoke. The creature told him which room to sleep in, which room to eat in, which rooms not to set foot in. He listed no consequences but Stefen heard the dire promise in each ragged syllable. Stefen was grateful at least to be allowed use of the library or he might have gone mad the first week. He saw no one but the creature; invisible servitors made the beds, cooked the meals, cleared the dishes, stoked the fires.

And kept the candles lit all day long, for there were few windows and the curtains were always closed. The only night Stefen wept was the night he realized he may never see the sun again.

The next day, eyes dry, he ventured down to find the creature gone, as he sometimes was. The unexplained absences often lasted well into the evening. The damask walls muffled Stefen's footsteps; in defiance of the silence, he hummed as he walked the halls. He found himself at the end of a hallway before a tall, plain door of new wood. Biting his lips, he put his hand to the gleaming brass knob and found it unlocked. Within was a sphere--glass, or some other substance--suspended at heart-level in the center of the empty chamber. Within the sphere hung a many-petaled rose, as black as that the hag had stolen, and as fresh as if it still grew from the ground. The floor below was scattered with fallen petals.

No, the chamber was not empty. On the floor beneath the petals lay an open book. Stefen knelt to read from the open page, hands behind his back, hardly daring to breathe lest he disturb pages or petals.

own hand you have lost a life not yours to lose," said the Shadow.

"I'll pay with mine," said Vanyel, knife in hand.

The Shadow laughed. "Nor is your own life yours to lose. You'll remain in his home, and you'll tend his gardens, and you'll preserve yourself and them alive within these walls until you've earned true love again."

"And if the roses die?"

"You'll replace them with new lives, to also live within these walls."

"If I cannot?"

"If you will not keep your house in order, it will keep you; if you lose a life without balancing it, you will live here forever, and will never love again. Now come, let me affix

Guilt surging through his gut, Stefen backed away quickly and shut the door as silently as he could--but the creature had not returned, and his trespass was undiscovered. He had a thought, though, and renewed his exploration through permitted rooms and closets until he found what he sought.

After the invisible servants cleared away dinner that night, Stefen retreated to the downstairs parlor. He perched on an overstuffed velvet settee and drew out the lute he'd hidden under it. His fingers warmed to the strings like they embraced an old friend. Though he had little training, gleaned piecemeal from minstrels at street corners and taverns, he could strum a simple tune well enough to accompany his voice.

Singing, quiet, a strain of plaintive ballad like wavering sunlight in the gloom. Stefen's heart lightened with every syllable, and he closed his eyes to sink more rapturously into the melody. Only when he finished and opened his eyes again did he see the creature lurking in the doorway.

They stared a moment, and Stefen saw the heart of the ballad in those plaintive eyes. Emboldened by the creature's stillness he dared to ask, though he knew the answer, "What's your name?"

"Vanyel," said the creature, the sound of a song forgotten on the wind.

Stefen rose, still clutching the lute. "My name's Stefen. Do you--d'you like music?"

A choking sound, a cry or laugh, and the creature subsided into the dark of the hallway. Stefen stood still a moment, heart racing, and then sat back down to play another tune.

A new pattern emerged. Every night after dinner, Stefen played and sang; every night Vanyel stood in the doorway and listened. The servitors began lighting more candles in the parlor, and it became a pocket of brightness in the gloomy manor. Every night, when the last notes faded away, Vanyel said, "You should not be here. Will you leave?"

And every night Stefen's heart tore for missing the light of day, but he recalled the words of the book and knew he could not condemn any man or creature to a life without hope of love. So every night he answered, "I won't," and watched the creature slip again away.

Eventually the creature left the doorway, slow off-kilter movements carrying him a footstep into the bright parlor. The next night, two footsteps. After two months of this, Stefen ran low on songs to play, so he spent his days composing new ones. He rehearsed in the hours the creature spent away. His clumsy fingers became limber and certain, and he found he had a knack for words. He poured every thwarted wish from his life on the streets into the music, he wrapped his deepest desires into metaphor more true than plain words.

When he shared his first original piece, the creature finally sat on the other end of the settee, and Stefen couldn't remember what the fear of him had felt like. He sang of solitude and comfort, of a light in the darkness, of black roses blooming red again. He sang of mirrors, shrouded, then uncovered. He sang of silver eyes.

"You should not be here," said the creature when he finished. "Will you leave?"

"I won't," said Stefen, and waited for the creature to vanish.

But Vanyel stayed, hunched around himself, shoulders twitching and hands stretching, contorting like claws digging into the plush settee. "What song was that?" he whispered.

Stefen set the lute down on the floor and turned to face Vanyel, who seemed so much smaller, now, no taller than Stefen himself, and so thin--

He held his breath as he reached to trace the cold, brutal lines of the mask. "Yours," he answered. "I wrote it for you."

Before he could think better of it, before the flash of fear in silver eyes could turn him away, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to the carved lips of the creature's mask. A muffled gasp, a moan of longing or terror, Stefen cupped his hands around the iron approximations of cheekbones to hold Vanyel in place.

And beneath his hands he felt the mask come loose.

Re: FILL: Le Barde et la Bête - Vanyel/Stefen

Date: 2015-08-23 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, that was very lovely indeed, nicely done, A!A.

Re: FILL: Le Barde et la Bête - Vanyel/Stefen

Date: 2015-08-24 03:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you, nonny! :)

Re: FILL: Le Barde et la Bête - Vanyel/Stefen

Date: 2015-08-24 03:43 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

Omg anon! This is perfect! I like your take on Vanyel as a beast, and the way he gradually seemed more human the deeper he fell in love with Stef. Thank you!!!!!

Re: FILL: Le Barde et la Bête - Vanyel/Stefen

Date: 2015-08-24 03:55 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

Glad you liked it, OP! I did some reading on the original tale and it had the Beast asking the Beauty to marry him every night -- which doesn't quite fit Vanyel's habit of pushing people away, lol, so required some editing :)

Re: FILL: Le Barde et la Bête - Vanyel/Stefen

Date: 2015-08-24 10:48 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I was glad to see you didn't follow the Disney version. I like the Disney version, but every single Beauty and the Beast AU follows it to a tee. But I didn't want to lower my chances of getting a fill by being too specific with the prompt, so really, thank you!


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