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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.

From: (Anonymous)
And here's the fic! Hope this is kind of what you were after, OP. Contains: Bloodplay, rough sex, underage (Vanyel's about 16), dubcon or noncon (depends on how you want to read it).

"An Echo of Touch"

He falls asleep and yet again finds himself enshrined in ice so bright it blinds. In the harsh dreamscape, closing his eyes is no defense against the piercing reflection from the snow, the shattered bones embedded in the ice. His own bones shatter, and reform; he staggers.

No, it is his heart that shatters. It will not reform.

Vanyel stares at his feet, the blood pooling around them. The blood spills red into the snow, and he cannot feel its heat. It is not his blood.

A shadow passes over him, a brief respite from the unbearable clarity of light, and a whisper follows the shadow: You may yet freeze over, beautiful child. Yet you need not freeze alone.


His days echo with chatter and song, human, hawk, hertasi voices inextricable from bubbling springs and the patter of falling leaves. Even as he learns to live again, he doesn’t understand how anyone can sing in such a septic world as this.

Most nights the only sound he hears on the cold tundra is his own stuttering heartbeat. Tonight the wind screeches sharp and spinning about him. He closes his eyes, stinging and wet with tears that freeze as they fall.

He listens, holds his breath and tries to still his heart so he may listen harder, but hears nothing over the wind. He cannot hear the second, stronger heart he knows is beating somewhere out there. He sees nothing, though he knows he is seen.

“Who are you?” he says; the words are lost in howl of wind. He repeats the question, louder, then screams it to the void.


When next he sleeps, the wind has stilled. The blood at Vanyel’s feet is dark, near black, and frosting over.

A set of red footprints tracks away from him. He touches his cheek and his fingertips come away red as well. Whose blood he cannot guess, will not allow himself to guess. All he knows is that he’s not alone in the wasteland, and the thought sets his desperate heart racing.

The snow muffles his steps as he follows the footprints. None falls from the sky, yet it piles higher as he walks. Soon it’s up to his knees, slowing him to a shuffle, and the footprints grow fainter and fainter until the trail vanishes. He stops, shivering, and turns around. His own trail has vanished too. The snow is blank and unbroken, save one dark object.

He stoops to pick up the feather with pale fingers now clean of blood. Sleek and curving, black as starless night, it belonged to a crow or raven far larger than any Vanyel has ever seen. He should let it fall, he knows, without knowing why. He should let the feather fall and forget it when he wakes.

Instead he holds it close, though he wakes empty-handed.


Tonight he stands at the foot of an ice-clad mountain. He is barefoot, dressed only in loose tunic and leggings, and he shivers. He has not truly felt the cold in so long.

Climb, my darling.

Where there is a trail, he runs along it. Where there is none, he scrambles and slides his way up on hands and knees. Tonight he leaves the bloody footprints instead of following them. He feels no pain from limbs scratched and torn. He feels nothing beyond the compulsion to obey.

Vanyel climbs only a moment; he climbs for hours. He kneels at the flattened top of the mountain and pants for breath in the thin air. His eyes water in the stinging wind. “Who are you?” he rasps, through labored breath.

Cold fingertips beneath his chin, then sliding up to trace his jawline. He looks up and is unsurprised to see a man quite like himself standing above him. He wears a fitted suit of black silk and velvet, a misbegotten cross between Heraldic Whites and Tayledras mage robes. Skin near as white as the ice itself, unmarred by lines of age—though he seems twice as old as Vanyel’s sixteen years. No, his eyes are far older than that. Black eyes and long black hair, spilling loose past his waist like blood in moonlight, braided with black feathers, sharp teeth, small bones.

“I am Leareth,” says the man. His pale lips hardly move, and his voice is so soft and clear that Vanyel isn’t sure whether he speaks aloud or in his mind.

But Vanyel has heard that word before, and translates it unbidden: “Darkness.”

Laughter, the warning stir of snow before an avalanche. “That we are,” says Leareth. “That we are.”


He opens his eyes to see himself again on the mountaintop. Leareth stands an arm’s length before him, as beautiful and terrifying as the night before. Vanyel shakes, and Leareth smiles.

The strange man—strange, yet familiar, as through a clouded mirror—reaches out. He holds the black feather, now trailing dark-dyed leather laces and strands of obsidian shards. Vanyel stands still, or tries to, tries to still the horror that trembles his bones. Leareth strokes his cheek, but Vanyel feels nothing; the touch is as cold and as sharp as the wind.

Leareth’s smile widens, and he begins to braid the feather into Vanyel’s hair, anchoring it above his right ear. When he pulls away, Vanyel can feel the foreign weight of it hanging from him. “Beautiful child,” hisses Leareth, and his fingernails sharpen as they slide down Vanyel’s neck, caress his bare shoulders, trace the seams of his tunic. The fabric splits at the touch and falls in pieces to the snow.

This is a dream, Vanyel thinks, as Leareth’s talons draw stinging sigils across his chest. This is nothing to be afraid of, he tells himself, as the claws slip behind and down into his waistband. This can’t hurt me, he prays, as sharp teeth sink into the juncture of shoulder and neck. Leareth pulls away with a smile, his lips red with Vanyel’s blood.

His neck hurts when he wakes, though the skin is unmarred.


A frozen canyon, sheets of ice broken and rippling high above, the chasm stretching out as far as he can see. Vanyel finds himself as he was before: clad only in leggings, blood trickling down his chest. The black feather swings from his hair, catches in the wind, he tries to pull it out but his fingers are too numb to untie the knots.

Gray clouds drift over the canyon’s edge and Leareth steps forth with the shadows. Vanyel’s hands fall useless to his sides as Leareth twists a clawed hand into his hair, pulls back, slowly, farther back, Vanyel whimpers and bows backwards with the unrelenting grip.

“Either the ice or I will take you,” says Leareth gently, his voice a promise of deepening night. His other hand strokes the taught lines of Vanyel’s stomach, the hollow beneath his ribs. “Which would you prefer?”

He has a choice; he has no choice at all. Leareth knows and does not wait for his response. Laughing, he shoves Vanyel suddenly forward and down, the boy cries out, thin arms flung out to slow his fall. He lands on his knees, bent over so far his cheek presses into the snow. Arms poise to push himself up, though he dares not move. He gasps as the claws leave his hair and rake down his back, draw lines of blood like wings over his shoulderblades.

Raking further down—Vanyel’s heart stalls as the last scraps of fabric are shredded from his trembling limbs. He screws shut his eyes and chants silently, over and over, it’s this or nobody, it’s this or nobody, it’s this—

Cool lips press to the base of his spine, a soft kiss for each vertebra. Tongue lapping the blood spilling slow from his wounds. Vanyel shifts, warms, his belly tightens, he brings his hands together in the snow over his head so he can grasp his own wrist, dig his fingernails in. He needs this to hurt.

Leareth’s silks have vanished, and when he stretches over Vanyel his chest presses bare against the boy’s bloodied back. He kisses a bruise into Vanyel’s pale neck and his hands wander downwards again.

Vanyel flinches, but the claws have blunted into a more human shape when the long cool fingers tighten around his cock. He jerks away, then into the touch. Even in the pitch dark behind closed eyelids he can’t pretend that this is anyone else. Can’t pretend the fingers pushing inside him are warm, or slow, or gentle.

Can’t pretend the pain is not relief.

“I will always be with you,” says Leareth, and the words echo from the frozen chasm’s walls. He straightens, a hand curled around Vanyel’s hipbone, the other twisted again in Vanyel’s hair, pinning him in place—as if he could ever think of moving. Vanyel opens his eyes, tries to squint through powdered snow and loose strands of hair, the black feather fallen across his face. Through the tears welling up and catching on his lashes.

His grip tightens on his wrist, tightens, his fingernails tighten, they break the skin when Leareth shoves inside him.


Vanyel wakes in the warmth of his green-draped bower, his skin clammy, heart thudding so loud he fears the whole Vale can hear him. He sits up and rubs at his eyes. A shadow of fear nags at him, an echo of touch, but try as he might he remembers nothing. I’m safe here, he reminds himself, and the thought is less reassuring than it should be. I’m safe, and still alone.
From: (Anonymous)
Oh fuck yes anonymous author. Fuck. Yes.

(Vanyel, you sweet summer moron, how I love you!)

I especially love this bit for the catastrophic levels of woobism you managed to fit into very few words:

He screws shut his eyes and chants silently, over and over, it’s this or nobody, it’s this or nobody, it’s this—

And this bit!

A shadow of fear nags at him, an echo of touch, but try as he might he remembers nothing. I’m safe here, he reminds himself, and the thought is less reassuring than it should be. I’m safe, and still alone.

That's the good stuff!
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you, nonny! And I'm especially glad it ended on such a high--er, a low note :)

("catastrophic levels of woobism" is one of the most flattering descriptions I've ever gotten in a comment on fic, ngl)
From: (Anonymous)

hoooooooooly shit, anon
-the present tense really fucking works here, there's this series-of-snapshots feeling of skipping from dream to dream and Van being reactive to what happens that just fits the scenario perfectly
-that use of the feather is just cruel genius
-you so totally picked the right kinks here too. sexy occult bloodplay because of course. LOVE when Leareth pins him down in the snow and the feather's on his face aghhh [opinion: more people should touch/pull Van's hair]
-it's just so sensual? Cold things and soft things and sharp things, and all the things that touch Van's body. I just have such a sharp visual image of everything you wrote here
-yeah what above anon said. Van will take the rapey dream relationship over being single, because Van.

A+++++++++ best fill, should have posted more prompts for this ship >>
From: (Anonymous)

Thank you so much!! I'm so glad it worked for you :) Especially glad you liked the feather thing -- it sort of snuck up on me as I was writing and now I have an overwhelming canon-specific fetish for dubcon bondbird feather-braiding. And I am relieved are also on-board for the bloodplay and hair-pulling :D

Anyway thank you for prompting this! I had a complete blast writing it.
From: (Anonymous)
an overwhelming canon-specific fetish for dubcon bondbird feather-braiding well shit, now so do I.

I think bloodplay just works for this pairing tbh. And you made it really add to the sensory aspect of the story, too. Splash of color there :D


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