Thursday, August 29, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday! The Great Mage (Week 8)

Guess what day it is?  It's Friday!  Time for another dose of Flash Fiction from yours truly and the other wonderful bloggers you've come to enjoy.  Can we all stick our tongues out at Elaina M. Roberts because we're jealous that she's at DragonCon?!  Yes.  I think this is necessary.  LOL.  Okay, okay, she deserves to have fun.  But next time I expect to be stowed away in a suitcase at the very least.  That could be an interesting blog post.  hehe

On to the goods!  This week's prompt had to do with birthstones.  We bloggers were asked to use one of the twelve birthstones in our story this week as a description, a prop, or of some significance in the story.  This week was a little more lenient, giving us the choice to use the prompt in whatever manner we wanted.  This is the chart we used:

Of course I chose Ruby because it's my birthstone.  :D  As always, after you've finished The Great Mage this week hop on over to the other bloggers' pages and check out their stories.  Thanks everyone!


Flash Fiction Friday Bloggers:

The Great Mage: Week 6
Seth and Aneris walked hand in hand out of the cage.  Seth’s uncle, Heith, stood next to his mate, both of their mouths hung open as rolls of thick fog escaped the open door.  Drawing in a deep whiff of the potent pheromones, the Dragon Tribe Leader cocked his head.  “Impossible.”
Shuffling his cape to the side, Aneris kept his mouth shut for fear he’d say something and start a fight.  After the night he and Seth shared together their bond was thick.  The way he now felt about Seth, admittedly sharing their feelings for one another, he was on the defense for his boyfriend.  He didn’t like the way the Shifters studied Seth’s every move like he was some unholy genetic experiment, and he hated the way they disapproved of Seth’s happiness because Aneris was a Mage.  Why couldn’t Seth’s family be happy for him?  Why couldn’t they just accept him and go about their business?  It was hard enough for Seth—being different—so why did they have to make it so much harder?
Seth’s fingers squeezed Aneris’s.  “Uncle, we shall take Fia and leave your people be.  I thank you for the lodging.  My father would be most grateful.”
Heith scoffed.  He then sputtered for words, gesturing at the foggy doorway to the cage.  His red eyes blinked repeatedly, a strange look for the Tribe Leader.  “How, Setherum?  How…”
“How what?”  Seth sighed.  Exhaustion and stress tainted his words.
“You… You have mated with this Mage then?”  Heith blinked again, over and over until his eyes looked ready to roll out of his head.  “I do not understand.”
“It’s never stopped you before, Uncle.”  Seth lifted his gaze.  He rolled his shoulders back, standing tall.  “You have never understood me and yet, you think you know all the answers, what’s good for me and how I should be seen.  And here we are.  My mate and I stand before you.  I told you this much last night and you derided me in front of the entire tribe.  You’ve disrespected my mate.  You’ve shunned us both like criminals.  And now you have your proof.  I am not a child anymore.  And if this is how my kind will continue to treat us, then I refuse to label myself as one of you.  I am myself and he is him.  It will not change.  I love him.”
Aneris blinked to hide his shock.  He kept his clammy palm sealed against Seth’s, showing his...mate support.  He cared for Seth.  He’d given himself to Seth shamelessly, and he hoped for more in the future.  Not just a romp in bed.  More than that.  He wanted the chance to fit in the crook of Seth’s neck every night and listen to his breathing even out.  He wanted to see that devilish smile from over Seth’s shoulder, a smile just for him.  He wanted to see the furrow of Seth’s brow when he was deep in thought and then watch his expression shift to one of glee when he’d found an answer.  He wanted to see his Red Knight high atop his horse with his sword raised assertively.
And because he wanted more, Aneris could only agree with Seth.  “And I love him,” he said without hesitance.  Seth looked at him.  Aneris kept his eyes on Heith.  “If you have a problem with my mate, then, as we say on The Otherside, go fuck yourself.”
Gasps cut up the silent forest canopy.  The gathered Tribe members flinched away from their leader.  Apparently, they knew enough of The Otherside to know the phrase.  Heith’s blinking stupidity faded.  He was sullen, breathing hot air on Aneris’s face.  Aneris hid his fear.  He knew little about Dragons, real Dragons, but he would classify them as animals all the same.  One thing you didn’t do with an animal was back away or show fear.  They could smell it. They would attack. Heith’s thick, scaled nostrils flared.  His fangs clicked together.  “What magic have you done to my nephew, Mage?”
“The only magic in that cage last night was all your nephew.  The pheromones only react to male Shifters—throwing them in thrall, am I right?”  Aneris waved his hand.  He didn’t care for an answer.  “Furthermore, he can only be aroused by his mate, the one who attracts him.  My magic had nothing to do with us.”
“He’s right, my love.”  The woman from last night, Seth’s Aunt, pulled Heith back.  “He speaks the truth.  They are right for one another.”
“I don’t like it,” Heith protested, tending to his smaller mate.  His hand went to hers like he needed her contact to calm himself.
“But why!” Seth finally broke.  “You have seen the truth.  Why do you deny me this?  What have I ever done to deserve this from you?  You accepted my mother, a Fire Elemental as my father’s mate.  She is no Shifter!  Yet you do not accept me and mine?”
“She is fire, the air you father breathes, Setherum.  A more perfect match could not have been made.”  Heith roared, smoke trailing out his nose.  His thick arms sliced through the air as he got in Seth’s face.
Aneris was there in a flash. His rings in his hands, they glowed with spindles of heavy gold magic.  He thrust them at Heith, making the Tribe Leader back away.  “Don’t you dare lay a hand on my mate,” he growled.  The symbols engraved in the metal rings swirled along the surface.  Aneris heard his magic calling like a tinny song in his ears, begging to be let free.
Time stood still as the Shifters stared at the weapons in Aneris’s hands.  His magical powers retained in the metal, firing up bursts of golden sparks.  Heith inhaled sharply.  Where did you get those, Mage?”
“Doesn’t matter.  I’ll use them.  Swear to God.”  To prove his point Aneris closed his eyes, churning with anger.  His bodily power leaked into the rings, setting them on a fire—flames that didn’t burn him.
Heith’s words rose above the magical chorus.  “Raven, send word to the other tribes immediately.  Setherum and his mate will be helped on their quest at all costs.  Spread it amongst the kingdoms. The Gamemaster has returned.”
A stocky Shifter nodded his head and closed his eyes.  Wings spread from his back, leathery and green.  His nose elongated into a large snout.  His body enlarged before their eyes.  The other Shifters moved back, giving Raven room for his transformation.  Once his belly was full of large golden scales and claws rapped against the wooden platform, he huffed fire through his mouth and shot into the sky. A Dragon.  A real Dragon. Trees rustled, leaves falling to where Raven had sat seconds ago.  Aneris listened to the beat of wings far off in the distance in awe.
 Aneris frowned, and with his doubt, the rings sizzled, relinquished of his angry magic.  He looked down at the golden rings that flashed once before becoming neutral in his hands.   His confusion made him look into Heith’s ruby red eyes.  “What the hell was that?”
“Forgive me.” Heith put a hand over his chest.  His sincere expression almost made Aneris feel sorry for him.  “I have been a fool and treated you wrongly.  You must understand, both of you, the Mages we’ve encountered in the past have sought to enslave us for violent purposes. They twist our natural magic for their own use until they control us.  We are the perfect weapon in war—large, we can fly, we breathe fire like air.  We can destroy kingdoms, Aneris.
“And Seth is only now coming into his own.  He does not see what we do in him.  Those scales on his back are not for decoration.  They are part of his magic and his blood.  He just has yet to tap into it.  I tried to manipulate his feelings last night.  It was wrong.  I wanted him to think he was using you because I thought you were, but clearly…” He pointed to the rings.  “You are of great magic, good magic meant to protect.  I am sorry, Aneris.  Setherum, I cannot ask enough of your forgiveness.”
“Why now?  What is it about these rings?”  Seth growled.  It was a growl of pure annoyance with a hint of longing behind it.  He wanted to forgive his uncle, but he was mad.  Rightly so.
“Those rings were forged with Dragon Fire, the magic running through our veins.  They were created for The Gamemaster on the eve of The Great War that separated the two kingdoms forever.  The Gamemaster used them to kill the first Black King.  Now his son has the throne and he is worse than his father.  If you possess those rings, then war is coming and it is your quest to stop it before it happens.  Only a strong, good man would take up such a journey, and I would be proud to call you my nephew’s mate.  And as it stands, so does The Gamemaster.”  Heith looked up as did the others as if The Gamemaster was listening.
“I forgive you, Uncle.”  Seth put a hand to Heith’s shoulder.  “I understand now.  But it will take time to heal.”
Heith looked at the ground, embarrassed by his treatment of his nephew.  He cleared his throat.  “You are a better man than I could ever be, Setherum. Rising above your differences to be so strong… That is real magic, boy.”
Seth nodded and helped Aneris stow the rings behind his cape again.  “We haven’t much time, I’m afraid.  We’ll need Fia and an escort to the edge.”
“We could fly you across,” his Aunt piped up.  “Please.  It’s the least we can do.”
“No.”  Aneris shook his head.  Something about Death Valley pulled at his brain.  The place was more important than just getting across. He didn’t know how he knew, but he was certain of it.  “We’ll travel the valley to Doeoak Crossing.  Something waits for us in the valley.  I can feel it.”
“Trust the Mage,” Heith confirmed.  “They are true to their gut feelings.”
Seth looked at his Uncle for a second before smiling slightly.  “Then we need to get a move on.  I want to make headway before nightfall.”
“Aye.”  Heith nodded.  “Round up the horse and move out an escort to the edge.  Now!”
His men scattered to make the arrangements.  Heith took his mate’s arm, and with one last look at Seth and Aneris, strode off towards the entry platform.  Seth took Aneris’s hand.  “Are you sure, my dearest Mage?”
As scared as everyone made Death Valley seem, Aneris nodded.  They had to go that way.  They must.  “Yes. And I’m glad it’s you by my side.”
Seth bent his head and kissed Aneris softly in reply.
They stood at the edge of Death Valley on crumbling grey rocks singed with black.  Aneris fought not to throw up his breakfast of bread and cheese.  Miles and miles of fiery, rock-strewn terrain stretched to the horizon.  Black mountains stabbed at the murky, black sky.  Fire burst from holes in the ground every few yards.
Aneris could make out the grotesque creatures pulling themselves over the rock beds, reaching for them up above.  They looked like zombies, thousands of them, ready to devour their brains.  And in the center of the valley, free of the decaying creatures, was a gleaming onyx structure.  Thunder rolled along billows of stormy clouds.  Lightning struck the top of the structure, sparking fire.  Everything but the fire was dark, so scary that Aneris shook from head to toe.
He exhaled through his nose.  “What is this place?”
“Death.”  Seth echoed his fear.
“Why do I know it’s here?”
Seth clutched Aneris around his waist.  “I don’t know, but I will follow you wherever you must go.”  He drew his sword and nodded at his uncle’s escort.  “Fare the well, friends.”
To be continued…

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Whispers In Silence: Second City Tale # 2 PREVIEW

Okay, feel free to slap me now.  I know I was supposed to post this yesterday.  But I didn't think I'd be kidnapped and taken to the casino by my brothers.  Yeah.  That happened.  lol  I won a little money, so it wasn't a bad trip or anything. And I got to hang with my brothers, which we don't get to do a lot of this time of year with our differing schedules, so that was cool too.  I guess being kidnapped wasn't a terrible thing. ;)

Anyway, on to why you're here.  This is a preview of the second story in the Second City Tales series.  Say that one five times fast.  I'll let you read the excerpt, unedited, of course, and you tell me what you think.  This one is going to be heavy on the action, so get ready. Woot!  Hope you all have a wonderful week.  See you back here for Flash Fiction Friday.



Whispers In Silence PREVIEW

2023. Ten miles north of Surgut, Russia

Fourteen-year-old Adrian remained still, aligning his body with the crisp line of Scots Pines that bordered the forest. Knee-deep in snow, he scoured the blustery tundra for signs of movement.  His fur-lined hood tickled his forehead. His thick brassy-colored curls fluttered against his brows.  His breath was warm beneath the protective fleece across his mouth and nose.

Arms crossed over one another, his fists at his shoulders, his blades were ready for anything approaching from behind while he waited.  His knives had been handed down to him by his father, crafted by a small Russian forge revered for their quality and beautiful design.  Not only were the eleven inch weapons pretty to the eye they were made to be used.  Matte metal hunting knives at the six inch full, clip-pointed blade with intricately carved birch handles, wenge spacers and cast nickel silver fittings—these weapons were a work of art.  And since the forge had long since gone out of business, with only one of the grandsons still practicing his family’s craft by exclusive appointment only, the knives were very hard to come by.

They were one of the few material possessions Adrian actually cared about.  So he gripped them with purpose, lifting the ends outward to test the thin, leather lanyards looped to the base of his knives now attached to his wrists.  The subarctic chill bit into his wrists when they were exposed, causing him to release the tension on the leather as he once again looked over the windy terrain.  Snow drifted in giant shifts of air, sending in mass speckles of white across the papery flat plain.

Although every gust of wind whipped across his face, Adrian could not hear the wind.  He could not hear the howl that should have called to him.  He could not hear his own breathing or the sound of his heartbeat pulsating in his head.  Adrian could not hear a thing because he was deaf.  Born to two Royal vampires he was something of an anomaly amongst his kind.  And only three vampires knew of his handicap.  Should it be widespread that he couldn’t hear before he was of age to set out on his own, to become a strong adult that could legally tell them to stick it, surely the other Royals would flock to him, take him away, and test him in a lab to make sure whatever was wrong with him did not happen to their children in the future.

One of the three people to know of his inability to hear was his mother, and she had taken his secret to the grave after a mission gone wrong in Prague.  His parents belonged to a sect of the Queen’s Guard, a secret department of her army in Europe and bordering continents who looked for traces of the enemy.  With a heavy presence of Assassins and traitorous Royals in New York City and along the East Coast most of the Royals believed the threat to be concentrated.  It just wasn’t so.  His mother was proof of that.

Adrian’s father Davide was one of a dozen Hunters for the Queen, and he taught his son everything he knew, even if Adrian couldn’t hear him.  Adrian still had the ability to see, to touch, to think, and to breathe.  He was just as capable as any other.  Up until now he’d spent his life showing the outside world just that, although, he was still self-conscious and refused to speak for fear of the awkward way it sounded to others.  He hated the vibration in his throat with no reward.  He hated the strange looks he’d get when he tried to say anything.  So Adrian had stopped talking and read their lips, using other ways to hear them.

The two people he usually conversed with knew sign language.  Nevertheless, his father had maintained other resources for him to communicate so he wouldn’t become dependent on his fingers in the presence of non-signing people. He was thankful for being born in an age of such technological advancement.

However, none of his communication skills mattered at the moment.  Only his ability to feel the air shift around him and the sixth sense he possessed were necessary.  He and Davide, along with a small cluster of Hunters, had shadowed a group of four Royals since last week.  Adrian, even as young as he was in age was more than capable of defending himself.  And as a pre-turn who looked and smelled human to any creature, vampire or otherwise, he was a valuable asset in more ways than one.  The more time Adrian spent in the field the more self-sufficient he became and the less his father worried about him should something tragic befall Davide.

Adrian had another secret too, one that worked in his favor more than his fighting skills or his deadly aim.  It was true what they said about losing one sense only to have the others heightened.  In his case, since birth, he’d had a rare ability that not even his deafness could explain away.  And when he sought to use it, it was the only time he had ever heard other people speak to him.

Right now he refused to call on his gift.  He needed to devote his attention to the vehicle that, according to schedule, would be moving into view anytime now.  The large, all-terrain truck would carry the four Royals to Surgut during the storm so they could meet up with an enemy informant, securing them safe-passage to the states in a private jet sitting on Russian tarmac.

Adrian’s mission was to take out the vehicle’s tires, ensuring the Royals and their driver would be trapped on the tundra with nowhere to go.  His father waited on the other end of the tree line, about five hundred meters to the west.  Davide would see the entire ordeal through the scope of his rifle and strike.  Enough holes would be made to keep the Royals down before Adrian and Davide could descend on the traitors and take their heads.  Then Davide would meet up with three other Hunters, the four of them posing as the dead Royals in Surgut, to rendezvous with the enemy informant.  They would blow the entire operation to pieces and pounce on the scattering traitors who tried to leave the city once their plan fell through.

The plan was foolproof.  There was no one around to help the traitors once Davide and Adrian began their task.  The pair of them was confident to keep going.
Adrian took to his knee as the first hint of unnatural light swept across the tree line.  He didn’t blink when the light hit his eyes, coming from the headlights of a large vehicle.  They were too far away to see the flash of Adrian’s pale blue eyes as he clipped his knives into the brackets to the sides of his rifle and raised the adjoining tripod level with their tires.  Two hundred meters away the vehicle rolled slowly over the barely traveled road cutting through the tundra.  The monitor below his rifle gave Adrian a clear view of the vehicle up close, each rotation of those large wheels magnified until he could make out the make.  The camera in the front zoomed in and recorded the short distance until his desired trigger point.

When the red lines blinked on the monitor, lining up his shot with a series of configurations, Adrian pulled the trigger.  In a succession of rapid fire, jerking the rifle to the left and then the right as the screen allowed him perfect accuracy under pressure, Adrian took out all four wheels when the vehicle spun around the icy ground, completing three complete rotations before it skidded to a halt.  Adrian didn’t hear the tires blow.  He didn’t hear the doors open when they did.  But he saw the men exit the vehicle quickly before they searched their surroundings for the source of gunfire.  It would only be a matter of time before they caught onto his scent and homed in on his heartbeat.

Adrian clipped the tripod legs together with ease, pushing down until they disappeared into a hollow canister underneath his weapon.  He flipped the monitor into its holding bracket, sheathed his blades on the belt around his coat waist, and then flung the rifle set-up over his shoulder with the help of a chest strap.  He headed west in the safety of the dark tree line, glancing to the left every few meters to study the group of traitors searching the night.  A previously dug trench allowed him to run at top speed, using his youthful finesse to track light and quick over the icy ground.

When the wind sent his scent toward the group it would be too late for them to react.  Adrian could make out his father’s shadowy figure as he ran faster.  Dressed to blend in with their surroundings, any other person wouldn’t know what to look for.  But Adrian could see Davide’s form shift ever-so-slightly against the trees.

He was almost to his father when something ripped through the air to his left, disorientating natural wind patterns around them.  Adrian felt vibration in thin air as he reached for his father in warning.  Just as his father’s hazel eyes slipped into the moonlight, wide with fear, Davide’s hands reached forward and pushed Adrian back hard.  Adrian conceded his father’s Royal strength with that push, sending him through the air to his back.  Snow fluffed into the air, billowing up around his form.

A heavy blast rocked the ground.  Adrian ignored the pain of his body to scramble through the feet of snow outside their trench to get to his father, to see what had happened.  Fire punctuated the darkness, more accurately, a man on fire lit up the forest.  His arms flailed as he tried to dance it off and roll to the ground, but another blast sent him staggering from his knees to his back, another shot from a heat seeking assault cannon atop the shoulder of one of their enemies.  They’d been prepared for this ambush.  One of their own was not who they seemed.  The enemy had been told of their plan.

Adrian comprehended with horror his father was being burned alive.  His worst nightmare, losing the one person he had left to call family was now gone.  His father’s instructions from earlier drifted through his mind.  He replayed every slow movement of Davide’s fingers as they signed each terrifying word.  

If something happens to me you run.  Run, Adrian, and don’t look back.

When his father stopped moving, the flames engulfing his still form, Adrian knew his father was gone, even if he was taking his last painful breaths.  Adrian stood there in the snow, allowing the fierce cold to wrap around his heart.  He eyed the traitors who had done this.  They were running towards the trees.  Adrian wanted to stand his ground and fight, but he knew with certainty he didn’t have the will to overpower them alone with his heart in so much agony.  None of his training could have prepared him for a broken heart.

He sneered, fighting back tears he refused to shed.  He may be scared and young, but he had seen things that would give any other fourteen-year-old nightmares for the rest of their life.  He would overcome this.  He would be stronger for it. He had been prepared by his father to live on his own should something happen to separate them. But yet, he grieved for his father in those last seconds he had remaining to run.  He longed to kneel next to his father’s body and touch his gloved hands to what lingered.

Run, Adrian.  Adrian stifled a gasp, biting the inside of cheek until he tasted blood.  The voices.  One voice he had never heard, but had longed to since he was born whispered through his mind.  

Run and I will always find you.  I will always be with you.

Adrian’s tears gathered in the protective fleece over half his face.  He took off into the trees, knowing now his father was truly dead.  Every few meters he saw the shadow of a man blink into existence and guide him ahead. The spectral mass disappeared, only to reappear again yards away. Adrian wasn’t dreaming.  This wasn’t the first time he’d seen this.  This time, he was scared to see the shadow’s face because of the way he would always remember it.

An hour later, when he fell to his knees at the edge of a clearing in the woods, safely on the other side of the trees, he saw the man standing there, just out of reach.  Burned from head to toe, savagely crisped with a wide hole in his chest, nothing alive except for the beauty of his hazel eyes, the solid ghost of Adrian’s father smiled.  With one last swirl of his eyes, Davide’s ghost turned to the woods and disappeared into the dark.  He didn’t come back this time.

Adrian never heard from him again after that night.  But he heard the others.  They always had something to say, and it was his gift to hear them out.


Ten years later, Present Day, New York City

SCCB–Second City Crimes Bureau— Senior Detective Wesley Durren shouldered his way through the shift change of warm bodies in the narrow hallway.  The Manhattan office building was seven stories of grand, historic realty, but small where it counted for large guys like him, such as the low, skinny doorways of an old building and tiny as hell hallways.  He didn’t even want to think about the size of the fucking half-stalls in the bathroom.  He hated those damn things, made him feel like a giant in a kid’s restroom.

Towering over the others, Wesley gave off a dangerous vibe that had everything to do with his six-foot five-inch height and his two hundred and eighty pounds of pure muscle.  He started ripping at the Kevlar vest still clinging to his chest that was more an irritating bullet deterrence device than necessary to his livelihood.  He growled under his breath.  One of the Guards narrowly missed getting slammed in the chest with his elbow as it jutted out when Wesley yanked at the Velcro.  Wesley rumbled incoherently at the Guard, who was only slightly smaller than him, but scared all the same.  Wesley’s square jaw twitched and the Guard, without a word, took off quickly. 

Finally able to get the straps undone, Wesley yanked the vest off and held it in a tight grip, nearing the end of the hallway.  He made no stop to calm his rage before he flung open the original mahogany door with its stupid frosted glass window, signifying the Captain’s office.  He filled Captain Sutton Donohue’s doorway and exhaled noisily, letting his extreme presence be known; as if the door bursting open hadn’t offered his Captain a clue.

Before Captain Donohue could care, Wesley threw his vest on one of the chairs in front of him.  “I am sick and tired, Sutt, of you giving me these damn infants to work with.  That rosy-cheeked, three-inch cock carrying, stun gun toting motherfucker let our perp get away because he froze.  He fucking froze like a little bitch who was about to piss all over the street.  

"“I can handle this,” he says.  “I’m trained to take those bitches down,” he told me.  Apparently, he can’t and he’s not, because he stood like there like an idiot while the only dealer with valuable intel on that lab ran into the city like a mouse in the field.  And now said dealer is off telling his boss we’re on to them and the lab will disappear like smoke on the wind and we’ll be back to square one.  Six months we’ve been trying to crack this case.  Six fucking months and you shackle me to that newborn!  What the hell were you thinking?”

Captain Donohue finally looked up from his computer screen. He didn’t look a day over twenty-three with his slicked back inky hair and flawless skin.  A long, narrow nose and an elfish face gave him the appeal of male model or a mischievous aristocrat from old money.  His unreadable brown eyes twinkled, trained on Wesley.  He sighed, deflating his chest of air.  “Anything else?”  He cocked his head, casting his fingers out flippantly.

“Anything else,” Wesley repeated flatly.  “Are you kidding me, Sutt?”

Donohue’s eyes flicked to the hallway.  “Shut the door, Detective.  You’re distracting my Guards from valuable work time,” his voice raised in warning to the Guards gathering in their doorways to listen.

Never looking away, Wesley reached behind him and slammed the door shut.  “I’m waiting, Sutt.”

“I could give you some I’m-your-superior-speech, but we both know it could have been you sitting in this chair had you accepted Yuri’s promotion. I won’t get into the semantics of his decision, as you were well aware of the need to promote Royals and human-turns being a united front in these times.   But you turned him down and I’m the one who now has to make the hard choices for all our sakes.”  Donohue calmly gestured to one of the chairs in front of his desk.  “Sit.”

“Why?”  Wesley’s charcoal-colored brows furrowed, a brief uni-brow set deep above his eyes.  “Tell me why you keep doing this to me first.  I thought we were friends.  I thought my skills and experience meant more to you than this babysitting work.  I fought in the war overseas as a human-turn.  I killed my Queen’s enemy over and over for the safety of our children’s future.  I have never once failed a case, and yet, you seem to want to prove something by failing me.”

Rolling his chair back a few inches, Donohue leaned away from his desk and gave Wesley an unforgiving stare.  “These freshie academy kids are our future, Wes.  Who are you to deny them the privilege of working at your side, of learning from the best so they can be the best when they’re your age?  You scare the shit out of the rookies, but they respect you for reasons you just relayed.  Every year the freshies from the academy beg to be your partner.  They take bets to see who can stick it out with you and claim who the real men are among the weak, because to them you are the ideal man they seek to be.  Did you know that?”

Wesley’s incredulous stare spoke volumes.  He gripped the armrests of his newly found seat.  “Say what?”

“Seems you have a fan club on your hands.”  Donohue smirked.  His manicured fingers drummed on his desk.  “I might think about printing up one of those sexiest men of the force calendars with you on the cover, start making money back from all the shit you’ve cost the Bureau.  Flex for the camera without a shirt and bam, I’ve got myself a replacement for that SUV you blew sky high last month.”

Jaw dropped, Wesley breathed. “You’re fucking with me, aren’t you?”

Donohue hummed.  “It could be enterprising.  I’ll pocket the idea for a later date.”

Wesley mustered a growl.  “You ask me to take my shirt off for some sexy picture and you’re dinner, Donohue.  I don’t care how far back we go I’ll snap you like a twig.”
“Aww, what’s the matter, Wes?  Am I not you’re type?”  Donohue chuckled.  “Relax. I had Montgomery’s team posted rooftop.  They caught the kid before he went ghost.  He’s in lockup downstairs being given the Royal treatment.  He got a nice facial from Junior Guard Feist for spitting in his face.  And I’m sure Feist is itching to give him a deep-tissue massage next.”

Wesley’s eyes were flinty.  His faced bloomed red and he cracked his knuckles.  “You had me covered like some newbie?  I’m warning you, Donohue, I might just snap crackle pop all over this fucking office.  That was my catch and you know it.”

“I allowed you to take your partner to stretch his legs, get a feel for things on his first day.  I had no intention of letting a freshie get his feet wet on his very first ten hour shift, especially to face down with the only rat we have on this case. Surely you knew that, being the capable, knowledgeable Detective you are.”

“So that’s it?  I’m the Bureau’s freshie-sitter from here on out because those kids got a hard-on for me?  Fuck that, Sutt.  I’ll resign before I get with this.”  Wesley rose from his chair. 

He looked past Donohue’s head to wrap his mind around the situation. He studied the organized bookshelf behind Sutt.  Royal Law references, historical briefings, a bunch of files all neatly tucked away.  A brass globe, a miniature flag set that held the Queen’s insignia along with others from around the world, Donohue’s first blade in a glass box, and then a simple picture frame.  Donohue never spoke of the happy couple framed on his bookshelf, even though he’d been asked plenty about them.

The women smiled wide as her husband kissed her cheek on some tropical beach.  His profile allowed his brilliant hazel eye color to be seen, gazing adoringly at what must be his mate.  His windblown brown hair swept over her brassy curls.  Her pale blue eyes looked directly at the camera they both held.  So much mystery and an equal amount of warmth overcame Wesley every time he saw it.  He couldn’t explain the flirtatious unease that tickled his stomach whenever he looked at the couple.

Donohue reached behind and pushed the frame on its face, raising a brow at Wesley.  “I’m going to put your fears to bed, Wes.  It’s obvious you can’t handle molding our future, so I’m going to work on shaping your attitude.  As your friend and now superior it’s my job to tell you when you’re walking off the deep end.  Each of the young men I’ve shackled you to were some of the highest ranking students at the academy overseas.  If you can’t be charitable enough to help them along while you lose your shit I can’t very well continue to watch you scare them into resignation.

“This is your last chance to cooperate before I put you on mandatory unpaid leave, Wes.  You’ve been at this for over a century.  You’ve stood tall next to Royals on the field for so long they think of you as one of them.  I think of you as one of us, as my brother in arms and my friend, and I would trust you with my life under any set of circumstances.  But you’re wearing thin from the monotony of it all here in the states.  It’s the same catch and kill every night with you.  There’s no challenge to it anymore and you’ve grown aggressive towards your fellow Guards instead of reserving that anger for the enemy.  I can’t distinguish the difference anymore.

“Sutton, I’m sorry.”  Wes exhaled, looking at the ground.  

For his oldest friend to deliver that kind of blow, carefully at that, made the situation clear to Wes. Sutton never walked on eggshells for him.  In fact, most of the time, he was yelling and cracking jokes on Wes’s behalf, jokes that would hurt his feelings had he been a softer man.  He didn’t like this side of Sutton.  He didn’t like to get delicate and tip toe around real problems.  More importantly, Wes didn’t like being a problem.  Up until now he’d been proud of his achievements and the fear others regarded him with.  He’d made it to the top.  Short of being a Guardian, Wes was as decorated as a vampire could be… even for a human-turn.

Donohue snorted.  “Don’t cry on me, Wes.  I’ve yet to see you blubber and I don’t care to see it now.  Just stop.  Get yourself together, man.  Stop giving the freshies shit for being young.  They can’t help it, but you can help them.  I’m done pairing you with men and women who can’t ride the same wavelength as you.  It just can’t be done, apparently.”

The air whooshed out of Wes’s lungs.  “Thank fuck.  Can I get someone a little grizzled please?”

“Grizzled?  I don’t even want to know what you mean by that.”  Donohue laughed it off, although, his eyes gleamed with interest.  He sniffed and reached behind him.  “What you need is a hobby, a little something to do with the week of downtime coming your way before I hand you more fresh meat.”

“A hobby,” Wes said dryly.  “I’m not knitting you a scarf, Sutt.  Forget the week off too.  I want to sink my teeth into something.  I can’t sit around without anything to do, it’ll drive me nuts.”

When Donohue turned around he held a book.  He dropped it on the desk and slid it to Wes.  “You’ll take a week off because I said so and because you owe me a few days to breathe without shit blowing up around me or a dead freshie in the locker room.”  He nodded at the book.

Wes snarled and slapped his large hand on the book, pulling it into his lap.  “The fuck is this, sign language for beginners?  I am not about to read this crap.”

Donohue tensed.  His chair creaked as he leaned over his desk, face overcome with anger as he growled.  “Have some respect, Wesley.  That book is not crap.  One more derogatory suggestion towards the hearing or vocally impaired and I will snap you like a twig.  Understood?”

Wes frowned, tilting his head.  “What’s up your ass, Sutt?  The fuck you care about this?”  He lifted the book, his brows raised.

Eased back in his chair, Donohue laced his hands together, propping his elbows on the armrests.  His nostrils flared once before he composed himself.  “You have one week to learn that book from front to back.  I’ve seen you learn languages in less time with that damn photographic memory of yours.  So don’t give me that look.  You’ll work with Constance in Public Affairs in the evenings.  She’ll test you after you read each section and give you a crash course of modern slang gestures so you don’t look too stiff.”

Closing his eyes with a huff, Wes flopped back in his chair and scratched his scruffy chin.  He shook his head a little, internalizing in his irritation.  “Are you for real, Sutt?” he asked softly.

“I’m very serious on this.  You’re a man of many talents, Wesley, taking challenges head on being one of them.  You want to work a good case? Then you’ll do as you’re told and read the damn book.  I’ve phoned ahead.  Constance is waiting for you on the first floor to give you a very quick rundown tonight before you begin reading.”

“This isn’t a joke?”

“Am I laughing?”

Wes’s gaze slid up to Donohue before landing in his lap again.  He shrugged.  “Maybe you haven’t got to the punch line yet.”

“No punch line, Durren.  Read the book.  Get with Constance.  I’ll set up another meeting with you on the matter once your week is up.”  Donohue undid the top two buttons of his dress shirt, and then returned his attention to his monitor, physically exhausted.  “That means now, Wesley.  I have to conference in with Yuri to let him know our dealer has been taken into custody, unless you’d like to stick around and engage the Russian with your freshie woes.  I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to hear them.”
Wes looked at the book, up at Sutt, then at the book again.  He sighed heavily, knowing Sutt wasn’t going to back down.  “Wanna get a beer at Webster’s, an hour?” he asked instead.

The faintest trace of a smile touched Donohue’s lips.  “I’ll meet you there. Save me the good stool.”

Wes grabbed his vest off of the other chair.  He stood with the book in his other hand.  He smirked, tapping the book on the desk.  “Jackass.”

As he opened the door to leave, Donohue chuckled.  “Blow me, Durren.”

“Only if you were my type, buttercup,” Wes called over his shoulder, wearing a shit-eating grin.  

He closed the door, putting his scowl back in place just to fuck with the eavesdropping morons who scampered away.  He stomped down the hallway, sneering at anyone who got too close.  Once he reached the safety of the elevator, behind the closing doors, Wes let his scowl drop and looked at the book.  Sign language…  This had to be a joke.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday! The Great Mage (Week 7)

Happy Friday!  For most of you Friday is a wonderful thing because that means Saturday comes next... WEEKEND!  But for some of us lowly, grumbling, middle-of-the-road peeps it means another day of work.  So, I dedicate this Flash Fiction Friday to all of you weekend warriors.  I hope this little sexy bit will keep you chugging along until your next day off.  And if you're especially good (Santa is watching) I'll give you an extra special sneak peek of the next Second City Tale on Monday.  Oh yes.  *rubs hands* It's good.  To me at least.  Maybe not you.  Hell, I don't know. *shrugs*

As usual on this Flash Fiction Friday stop, check out the prompt, enjoy some sexy mage-ness, and see to leaving some love for my wonderful partners-in-crime over on the other FFF blogs.  Stay classy, internet.

Hugs from your highly caffeinated twisty writer friend,


Here is this week's prompt.  Use one of these locations in your story as you wish.

Anain Fortress
Doeoak Crossings
Enandr Strait
Arokus Hill
Matran Bluff

Flash Fiction Friday Bloggers:

The Great Mage: Week 6

“Seth!”  Aneris tried to pull himself away by gripping the bars near his head.  Seth’s rumble as he dipped his face to Aneris’s stomach wasn’t helpful.  “Seth, stop it.”  Aneris bopped him on the head a few times.  His cloak was peeled away from his skin like wrapping paper on a gift.  Aneris gulped as Seth’s red eyes narrowed up at him.

As much as he enjoyed Seth’s touches, Aneris feared this strange burst of sexual attention from Seth was due to the white smoke continuing to curl from the tiny shattered bottle on the ground.  Seth was under some sort of spell.  Aneris used his cloak to cover his mouth so as not to inhale.  He noticed after a few minutes of Seth’s groping to get his pants off that the smoke shied away from Seth.

Using his free hand, Aneris reached out and grabbed Seth by the chin.  “Look at me,” he commanded.

Red eyes snapped to attention.  Seth crawled closer until their faces were inches apart.  “Must… take…”  Seth turned his head, gritting his teeth.  His eyes widened.  He sucked in air and shook his head.  “I’m sorry,” he pleaded on a growl.  “I can’t stop.”  His lashes fluttered with another gasp for delicious air.

“What was in that bottle, dammit?”

Seth rumbled, sounding not himself.  He lowered his head to Aneris’s chest, growling as he rubbed his cheek there.  “The fog isn’t fog.”

“Am I supposed to know what that means?”  The Mage gasped when Seth’s hand twisted in the ties holding his leathers together.  “Seth, stop!  Oh…”  His eyes shut.  His mouth went wide as he realized he’d dropped his cloak from his mouth.  The smoke curled around his head and he hummed.  “Oh, that feels nice.”

“The trees…”  Seth whipped his head up, fighting the mating call.  “The white trees, they release sap, sap that releases natural pheromones and acts as a protective fog when the temperature drops and reacts to the warmth of the mated males.  It never affects me like the others!  They have been mating for a month already.  I have never known this with another. ” Seth keened, warring with his hands as he tried to keep them on the floor.

Aneris was rubbing his groin against Seth from underneath.  “Mating fog, yes, that explains everything.”  He laughed hysterically.  The fog refused to spare him the high riding his body.  “Touch me, Setherum.”  He swallowed the air greedily, grabbing Seth’s hand to place on his bare chest.

“I must fight it.”  Seth scattered away.  He flattened his arms to the wall.  “This is dark magic.  I should not feel the call to you like this.  You are not Shifter.  I am barely one myself!  Sylvius surely planned this trap.”

Aneris let his cloak pool around him on the straw bed, kneeling before Seth.  He licked his lips, unclipping the leather sash from his chest, and was careful the bottles attached to it didn’t break when he stored it in the corner.  His red hair bathed in lantern light and tinged with fog, his bare chest decorated with thick bands of tribal tattoos, and his lips full and ready, Aneris looked like a sumptuous Sidhe Fae begging to be taken under the solstice stars.  He held up his fingers.  Between them was a card.

Seth snatched the paper up.  With a snarl he dropped it.  “Damn him.  This wasn’t how I wanted it, that magical fool.  What does the Gamemaster believe he’s doing?!”

“But you did want me, right?”  Aneris ran a hand down his chest, under the trance of tree pheromones that pushed the Shifters to mate.

Even in a haze of fog and victim of the Gamemaster’s little trick, Seth knew even magic couldn’t force lust, love, or bring anything back the dead.  The only way for magic to work with love or lust was for the desire to already reside in a person.  All the Gamemaster was doing, Seth recognized with a hungry grin, was bringing together what was already there.  He wanted Seth to feel one with his kind.  He wanted Aneris to trust in Seth completely.  They both needed courage and confidence for what was to come, to rely on each other in every way.  And what was more intimate and trusting than two people who cared for each other coming together as one?

Seth roamed Aneris’s body with his eyes, quick to return to his fingers undoing the ties of Aneris’s pants.  Seth crawled forward.  The fog rolled away from him, surrounding them both like a curtain, shutting out anything else.  He got to his knees, resting his hands on Aneris’s narrow hips.  His thumbs toyed under the leather, rubbing circles as he put his lips to Aneris’s neck.  “I have longed for you,” he growled.

“Me too,” Aneris admitted, wondering where his nerve was coming from.

He’d been so scared to tell Seth how he felt.  And the rejection after the first attempt made him hide his true feelings.  But the more time Aneris spent with Seth, the more helpless he felt around him.  The flirtatious bickering came natural.  The way he gripped Seth’s body as they rode Fia through the trees made him warm inside.  The smile Seth gave him every time he turned around made Aneris hunger for more.  And now here they were, spelled to give in to the passion that was already there between them.   

Seth’s teeth grazed over smooth flesh, up the column of Aneris’s neck until he was able to nibble on his ear.  Aneris licked his lips, cupping Seth’s shoulders.  “Take me.”



Aneris sank to the bed in offering, out of his mind with unbridled lust.  He spread his knees, planting his feet on the straw filled bed.  He raised his hands over his head, crossing the leather cuffs on his wrists in submission.  He was so nervous he could barely contain the jitters, but the potion had worked his magic, refusing to let Aneris look away from Seth’s heated crimson stare.  “Please,” he repeated.

Seth slapped his hands to both sides of Aneris’s head.  He breathed heavily, leaning down to lick along Aneris’s bottom lip.  “You will not have the energy to ride with me in the morning if I fulfill my take of you; much less conquer Death Valley and all it possesses.  I shall settle to hear you moan my name and sample the flavor of your passion on my tongue.  I will remember this night all day tomorrow and think of you as I raise my sword to our enemy, giving me reason to continue this quest and smile another day.  Once we have crossed the valley and safely ride to Doeoak Crossings, I will claim your body completely as my victory reward.”

Aneris shivered, pressing a hand to Seth’s chest.  “Yes,” he hissed.  “Fuck, just touch me.”  He trailed his other hand down Seth’s back, wanting more than anything to lick the scales rippling under his fingers.

Seth growled, yanking Aneris’s leathers down to his thighs.  The hard length he saw nestled between Aneris’s legs beckoned a ferocious snarl from his throat.  He lifted the Mage’s legs, pulling the twisted leathers off entirely before unstrapping his own.  Everything became about time, as if they didn’t have enough of it.  He required his little mage’s skin on his, sliding together, catching and twisting with sweat.

Aneris gazed up at Seth, besotted with his strong body.  He wasn’t overly large and muscled.  Setherum’s long torso and defined abs, with his strong arms and gorgeous Shifter eyes were enough for Aneris.  It took him a few moments to comprehend he was entirely nude, staring at his equally nude… lover.  He smiled at the thought, he and Seth together in such a way.  It was scary and beautiful and everything in between.  Up until three days ago Aneris was the guy who was scared to undress in the locker room at the gym for fear of anyone seeing him in his underwear.  Now he was comfortably sprawled out for Seth, naked as the day he was born, and he couldn’t have been more secure about it.

Seth seemed equally nervous, yet somehow confident, as he allowed his weight to settle on Aneris’s body, aligning their groins together so heatedly that Aneris wanted to close his eyes and cry out from the single touch.  Instead of making a fool as a prisoner of a spell, he accepted Seth’s kiss to eat away at his verbal deliverance.  Seth’s arms hooked under Aneris’s, hands curling over his shoulders to hold him close.

The half Dragon Shifter began to rock, snaking his leg under Aneris’s to get even closer.  Aneris arched in his embrace, too sensitized to care any longer what kind of a fool he looked.  Only Seth watched him.  Only Seth desired him.  Only Seth…

Aneris parted his lips for Seth’s tongue.  He fought back with his own; skimming their tongues together until he didn’t believe it was enough contact for him.  His hands slipped into Seth’s hair, gripping and twisting the strands, urging Seth to grind against him harder.  When Aneris bent his knees, lifting his feet off the bed, Seth took the offering and rut against his mate as hard as he could.

A long moan sliced through the room.  Neither of them could decipher whose it was, and neither of them cared.  The fog swam in circles around them, making it harder to breathe.  The temperature rose, an oven of a room in which they pushed against each other.  Sweat clung to their bodies.  Seth picked up Aneris’s knees, forcing his mate into a helpless position as he glided his cock over his mate’s ass with a mighty roar from his lips.

Aneris thrust back to meet Seth every time his hips rolled.  His hand could only maintain their spot against the bars to keep his head from knocking into them.  His head was tilted back, soul piercing moans by way of his open mouth like a man possessed and wanting more.  Aneris couldn’t fight the shake of his legs as one was thrown over Seth’s shoulder.  Seth leaned back to grind them together with the force of a god.  When he wrapped a strong hand around both of their cocks, Aneris mewled then huffed, eyes crossing in pleasure.

“Come for me, Aneris.  I want to taste it,” Seth hissed, shaking out his sweaty hair.  His red eyes glowed so bright, Aneris was sure he possessed all the fire in the world.  The Red Knight’s hand stroked them quickly, rough and unrelenting, leaving Aneris without air in his lungs.  Aneris took one gasping breath, staring at his lover’s outstanding body and the heat Seth’s eyes promised in the future.  Aneris bucked in Seth’s hand, jets of white bursting from the head of his cock to hit his chest and chin.

“Seth!”  His mouth opened again, only a choking noise squeaking by.  Aneris’s rigid fingers were already on Seth’s cock, pulling up hard, aiming for his chest again to feel the heat of lover’s release on his skin.  He watched Seth with wide eyes.  Seth tensed, digging his nails into Aneris’s knees as he barked a curse, spending his seed.  Entranced, Aneris continued to stroke, milking Seth of every drop.  Studying the fluid mingling on his skin, he then looked at Seth.

Seth hung his head before smiling from under his fallen bangs.   He pressed his face to Aneris’s belly, rumbling his gratitude, tongue catching every drop of seed on his tongue.  Aneris closed his eyes, breathing deep through his nose before he could whisper his lover’s name.  “Setherum.”

Seth reached Aneris’s lips, kissing him so he could taste himself.  “Spell or no spell, you truly know how I feel about you now.  No magic could ever create this grip on my heart, only you, my little mage.”

“Seth,” Aneris whispered, his eyes heavy with sleep.

Seth kissed his forehead and everything went dark.

To be continued…