This work is fiction. The work has no relationship with any person existing at any time anywhere whether real or imaginary or copywritten. Everything in this work is mea culpa. 

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Loose Threads

Seventy One


            “Raven’s more than a little pissed that you won’t let her come with us,” Kerrik said. He was wearing comfortable looking cotton homespun clothes and a dark gray cloak trimmed in dark green around the hood.

            “I’d like to point out that I’m not letting any of my family come along with us. As for Raven, I’ll survive her ire,” Iain used the copper brooch to fasten his cloak around his neck. It was Celtic in design and ornate enough that some thief might take a fancy to it, but then they’d get what they deserved when they tried to take it since it was a gift from Siobhan. He was wearing clothing similar to Kerrik’s, only his clothes were linen, and his brown cloak looked travel stained and faded from being in sunlight for years. “Yes, I know it’s only because you won’t let her kill me. I know that she’ll instead hit harder or something in our next training session and I really just don’t care.”

            “Are you getting blasé about the damage?”

            “No, it’s just she can never hurt me more than I’ve been hurt by others and she doesn’t get that. Does beating them like she does me really work that well on Misery and Whisper?”

            “I think it’s her attempt to establish control over you since you’re not prey and you’re not harem.” Kerrik shrugged when Iain just raised an eyebrow. “I am rather fond of her but I also understand she isn’t the most complicated person in the world and it fits her psyche.”

            “Is that an all pokegirl thing or is it for the Hunters only?” Iain rolled his eyes. “I already know the answer to that one. Branwyn does it. Poppet does it. Neither one of them are Hunters. They can’t seem to resist if they think they’ve found an opportunity to score points off of someone. Well it’s not going to change, so I’ll endure.”

            Kerrik nodded. “I can’t let her decide you’re prey. I don’t think she’d survive the ensuing encounter if you decided she had free reign to kill you. And, no, she will probably never know that little fact.”

            Iain grinned. “I certainly don’t want her to think of me as harem.”

            “Definitely not my harem,” Kerrik agreed with a smirk.

            “Definitely not your harem.” Iain checked his gear and picked up his pack. “We’re going to start by traveling to someplace I think you’ll enjoy hunting. It’s got lots of dinosaurs and things like that. It is an artificial environment and the system will place new animals down almost as fast as you could kill them unless you willed them all to death at once. Even then it would have replaced the animals in less than an hour.”

            “While it sounds interesting, why would I want to spend time there?”

            “It would let you unwind and get some stress relief. I found this particular place just for you. The animals there have also all been modified from the original stock, in part for higher intelligence and also so they can be domesticated even though they’re completely wild, so you might be interested in the DNA. I have another one for my family to use so we don’t get in your way and yet another one for experimentation that I’m keeping for me.”

            Kerrik nodded. “I want to see it.”

            “That’s our first stop,” Iain said. “Just remember that there are one or more intermediate steps between the start and the destination. I’ve never gone from a start to the destination in less than two steps.” He held out his hand. “Ready?”

            Kerrik took it firmly. “More than.”

            “Step.” They stood on a dark street. Street lamps cast irregular shadows up and down the street but several were out, leaving large pools of darkness from which sounds of furtive movement came.

            Kerrik glanced around. “Earth, South Bronx and the car over there puts this in the nineteen twenties or early thirties. That’s a 1928 Ford Model A and it looks new.” He smiled. “I owned a Rolls New Phantom instead when I lived in this time period.”

            “Awesome. Step.”

            They were standing in a stone room. It had a stone floor, stone ceiling, a stone wall with a doorway and door as well as seven stone walls with windows in the center of the walls closing the room up. A sealed hatch was in one of the roof tiles and a ladder hung down halfway to the floor. “And we’ve arrived.” Iain released Kerrik’s hand. “This is an Ark. This one is the basic one, which is called The Island. We came here because it doesn’t have the weird stuff you can find on some of the other variants, but I’ll give you what I know about all of them.”

            Kerrik had moved to a window and was looking out of it. “What kind of weirdness?”

“There’s one variant with zones of hard radiation and you have to live underground. It has some monsters that only come out in darkness in mobs as well as some wyverns that can only glide but can become invisible. Some other Arks have wyverns with breath weapons and griffins who are more than a little aggressive. What you’ll find is that this is in orbit around a badly damaged Earth and there are thousands if not millions of other Arks in orbit too. Some of them may have humans on them, but so far I haven’t run across any like that. Since the humans are part of the project, I’m not sure that they or the dinosaurs can be successfully removed from an Ark, unless it’s to another Ark or down to the surface of the planet.” He smiled coldly. “I suspect that there is not really a surface of Earth we can go to from the Ark system and instead it may be yet another artificial environment or Ark.”

            “Will you send me what you know on each variant?”

            “I will.”

            Kerrik nodded and turned back to Iain. “Thank you. This place should be good training for my harem and good hunting for me. What do you know about the control system?”

            “Not a lot. My information comes from a computer game about this place, so I expect there will be major differences between it and reality. There’s an active but not erupting volcano in the rough center of the primary land mass and down in the interior of the crater there’s a door opened by loading tribute into a terminal that’s in front of it. The door leads through the wall of the cone to a cave filled with monsters and lava waiting to kill interlopers. Traversing the cave will bring you to a teleporter to the upper portions of the Ark where the Overseer and the computer network are. The caverns are a test to ensure you’re ready to fight the Overseer and to make you waste resources before the boss fight. I have verified the existence of the door and the terminal. Eventually I’ll get up there and plug Theodora into the whole thing so I can see what’s going on but first I have to gather the tribute to get me inside the cave and get Theodora and Daya here to skulk for me.”

            Kerrik’s ears flicked. “Overseer?”

            “In the video game there are four bosses. One of each of the first three can be accessed by a terminal under each Obelisk, which are the green, red and blue floating giant stones. They’re hard to miss. The Overseer is the final one before you can ascend and win this chapter of the game, so to speak, by moving to another map. Each boss has three difficulty levels and you have to defeat the first three bosses to get to fight the Overseer.”

            “Did you win this game?”

            “I defeated each alpha boss on The Island, including the Overseer. That’s the most powerful level. I’ve spent a little time on the other Ark maps but not enough to have completed them.”

            “Can I get that information too, just in case it proves useful?”

            Iain blinked. “I hadn’t considered that it might be useful. I’ll add it to your upload.”

            “Good.” Kerrik glanced out the window again. “Now where else are you taking me?”

            Iain held out his hand. “There were a couple of places you said you wanted to visit and get the coordinates for. The first is the world where Kasumi and I saw Vegeta and Nappa. The second was the Star Destroyer over Hoth. I thought we’d go see them and then head back here if you wanted.” He smiled. “One of the things you will want to do is replace this building’s stone walls with metal ones. There are a small number of dinosaurs here that can eat through stone, but nothing on The Island except humans can damage metal structures. Just remember that on some of the other types of ARK there are creatures that can eat their way though steel.”

            “I’ll keep that in mind.” Kerrik took Iain’s hand. “I’m ready.”

            Iain nodded. “Step.”

            It was dark and, about twenty meters away, a bunch of people were celebrating around a bonfire. Behind them, dimly lit in the flickering light of the blaze, was the blunt prow of a spaceship of some kind. Iain stared at it for a second and looked at Kerrik. “Is that the Serenity?”

            Kerrik was watching the people. “She’s a Firefly class but they all look pretty much alike unless they’re painted some atrocious color. However, I see Reynolds in with the townies, so it probably is. If I remember correctly, this is where he got married by accident to the bitch. But what I don’t see is the Dutchman, so this isn’t the universe I visited. She should be parked on the other side of the Serenity.” He glanced at Iain. “River will sense us and might panic at our auras. I don’t see any reason to do that to her.”

            “I agree.” Iain looked into the darkness in front of them. “Step.” They stood under the cover of some trees in a valley. “Kasumi and I just left from that ridge to the right. If you look up at the sky you’ll see Nappa and Vegeta flying overhead.”

            Kerrik was already watching them. “I never thought that they’d be real, but here they are. And this is that particular Earth, which means there are Dragon Balls here and all of the other things that go with them.” He glanced at Iain for a second before returning to watching the two men flying away from them. “Muten-Roshi would train you without hesitation if you brought Zareen along.”

            “Zareen has been a good girl,” Iain replied. “She doesn’t deserve what that letch would try and he might not survive trying it with her, cutting my education with him rather short. Instead, how about you train with him and then teach me, Wolf-sama?”

            “I intend to train with him,” Kerrik said quietly. “And since they didn’t stop it doesn’t look like their scouters can detect magical power.”

            “I’m suppressing mine as much as I can,” Iain noted. “And you aren’t radiating much either.”

            “You’re already hard enough to detect with that absorption field you keep up,” Kerrik was watching the two fliers as they vanished into the distance. He looked at Iain. “Where to next?”

            “Hoth, although I wish I had a better place for an arrival point than the inside of an Imperial Star Destroyer.”

            “You described the exit point as a room with a viewing port that overlooks the invasion of the planet,” Kerrik said. “Once we exit I’ll move us to the surface. I don’t really want to start my exploration of that place by facing off with a Sith Lord either. I doubt he’ll be a threat but I didn’t get this old by tempting fate. Then, when I return I’ll just join the Alliance personnel evacuating from the planet or the Imperials as they comb through the Alliance base. That’ll get me someplace where I can get my hands on some maps and information about the universe. I’ll avoid both the Jedi and the Sith until I know more about them.”

            “Will you share any of that? I would like to get the schematics for a lightsaber. It would make an awesome gift for Rosemary.”

            Kerrik chuckled. “I will. After we leave Hoth, I want to stop someplace so I can give you a memory I’d like you to take us to. That and you get to learn a new form before we go.”

            “Yay. What form is this?”

            “You’re going to learn to become one of the Teu-tel-quessir.”

            Iain raised an eyebrow. “I don’t speak fluent elven. I know just enough to get laid or ask how much a meal is.”

            “You will learn to speak all of the elven languages.”

            “I think my earlier yay was too enthusiastic. What are you up to?”

            Kerrik laughed. “Let’s go.”

            Iain merely held out his hand. Kerrik took it firmly. “Ready?” Kerrik nodded, his ears up and eager. “Step.”

            They stood on a ridge overlooking a battle. On one side, men advanced, accompanied by large hulking reptilian creatures with long tails who freely wielded tremendous swords in their hands and smaller swords or maces clutched by the ends of their tails. On the opposing side, other humans threw themselves with reckless abandon into battle with the creatures and were methodically chopped down. Behind them, large manlike beasts two or more meters tall holding heavy axes moved ponderously forward to engage the line of reptiles.

            Kerrik frowned. “Are those dragons?”

            “That’s what they’re called, but they’re actually descended from an aquatic reptilian predator called a wyvern. There are some winged dragons in the wilderness. On the other side are humans, imps and trolls. Imps and trolls are bred from human women and cattle, who don’t survive the experience.”

            “The tactics of the side without dragons in it sucks.”

            “That’s because they’re fed a potion that gets rid of their fear. It doesn’t make them better fighters and we both know that wave attacks are easy. That and life is nothing to their masters. In fact, most of their magic is death oriented. The women they murder to create imps and such are all battle captures.” Iain cocked his head when he noticed nearby movement in their direction. “We’ve been noticed by some imps. We can move on or engage when they get up here.”

            “I have the coordinates,” Kerrik said. “Let’s leave.”

            “Step.” The universe folded them up in a tiny package and squirted it to another location.

            They stood under some cycads that towered above them on the edge of a large open grassland that stretched into the distance. In front of them plodded a Triceratops with a massive saddle. On its back were two reptilian bipedal creatures with teeth that suggested they ate meat. The metal tube of some type of large weapon hung over the frill of the Triceratops and the two reptiles hissed at each other as the one in the front steered the dinosaur they rode while its partner in the back peered at a holographic display that hung in the air in front of it. Both wore leather harnesses from which hung a variety of small devices but were otherwise nude.

            Make no noise, Iain said to Kerrik through his twee. Step.

            This time they arrived in the metal room with the viewing wall over the white planet. Kerrik glanced at Iain. “You knew them?”

            “If they’re who I think they are, they’re called Lomeri and they’re an ancient and technologically advanced race that ruled part of the galaxy and then died out before humans journeyed into space. The important thing to remember is that anything that isn’t Lomeri is nothing more than cattle or slaves to them. They like heavy laser cannon and hand weapons that fire explosive rounds and they prefer their meat raw. They really like it still screaming. Anything that isn’t a Lomeri is potential food and those two would have certainly tried to kill us if they’d detected our presence.”

            “Why were they riding a Triceratops?”

            “That’s the time period they were active in space, they made it to Earth and took samples of the things they liked. For all I know that was Earth.”

            Kerrik just shook his head. “I may have to find out, unless you have some attachment to the Lomeri.”

            “I do not.”

            “Good.” Kerrik frowned. “There is something here on this ship with us.” He glanced to the right. “It isn’t aware of us, but it has some power of its own.”

            “That’s probably Vader. He serves as the Emperor’s butt boy.”

            “That’s right,” Kerrik said thoughtfully. “Jedi Knights and Sith Lords and all that.”

            “Remember that right now the only known Jedi master is Yoda and the Sith tend to have their own goals.”

            Kerrik made a face. “True. I’ll have to go into their past if I want trained in the Force.” He focused on the planet below. “Now closely observe what I’m doing.”

            Iain watched with his magic as numerous small balls of magic appeared in front of Kerrik and vanished, leaving an afterimage that faded over the next few seconds. To anyone not magical, nothing would have been seen, but from the way he was viewing them, to Iain each had a slightly different chroma, so when one of them returned, it was immediately obvious as there were suddenly two balls of the exact same color. He continued watching as Kerrik examined the ball and nodded.

            Suddenly they were standing in a small metal room. Kerrik tried the door and glanced outside as he cracked it open before shutting it. “I’ll return to this time and evacuate with the garrison.” He looked at Iain. “Do you understand what I just did?”


            “The balls are scouts I sent out looking for a teleport spot and I send them by the hundreds every second. The ones that don’t return don’t find a suitable teleport point. The one that did come back gave me the image of this room so I could bring us here. It’s a simple way to avoid trying to blind teleport.”

            “That’s ingenious,” Iain said. “I want to learn how to do this for when I can teleport too.”

            “I will teach you how it’s done.” Kerrik took Iain’s hand. “Now take us back to the Ark. I’ll give you the memory and languages there before we proceed further.”

            Iain nodded. “Step.”

            They stood on the shore of a bay that was filled with ships of varying descriptions festooned with colorful sails and ribbons. On the far side of bay was a marina and it too was heavily decorated. People dressed for an afternoon of recreational sailing were wandering around on the ships and on the docks in the marina. A banner at the marina announced the Amity Island Regatta was taking place.

            Kerrik was looking the place over curiously. “Is this place important somehow?”

            “Amity Island keeps getting visited by seven meters plus long Great White Sharks that eat people. What we’re looking at doesn’t match anything from what I remember but there’s no telling. Step.” They were back in the stone house. “Not every place I pass through is significant except that it’s a step on my journey.”

            Kerrik released Iain’s hand. “It’s still interesting.” He looked out the window and grinned. “Is that an Allosaur? On the other side of the rocks.”

            Iain looked. “No, that’s a Carnotaurus. It’s smaller than an Allosaur, has a smaller head, small horns over the eyes and very reduced arms. They’re unusual around here but one will show up from time to time. Usually it’ll pick a fight with a group of turtles or trikes and get killed when they swarm it.” He smiled thinly. “Or it picks a fight with me and gets shot.”

            Kerrik was still watching the Carnotaurus. “How do they taste?”

            “It’s a lot of meat for me to eat by myself so I tend to hunt the smaller herbivores. An oviraptor or moshops is about the size I like to hunt for my meals. I do eat some of the ones I shoot and it’s not bad. I think at my base I’ll grow some spices and see how they’ll change the flavor.”  Iain waited a few seconds while Kerrik continued watching the dinosaur. “We do have time for you to kill it and find out for yourself how it tastes. With shadow walking we’ll arrive back on the Luna station only a minute after we leave, no matter how long we’re gone.”

            Kerrik gave him a curious glance. “I wasn’t aware you could cut the time so closely.”

            “I don’t tell you everything and I haven’t discussed this with you because nobody is sure if shadow walking has to do with my being a truewizard.”

            “It does. From the trips we just took I have the beginning of an understanding about how it might be accomplished. The problem for me is that your magic is so fucking subtle when you use it it’s hard to trace.” Kerrik’s ears flicked. “I’m not sure a mage or sorcerer will ever be able to do it.”

            “My undead harem can do it and they’re all formal wizards.”

            “Then I may be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.” He looked thoughtful for a moment. “I may request to have them take me on some trips. Seeing how they walk the shadows might help me to understand how I could do the same thing since each person does magic a little differently.”

            Our secrets are our own, my lord, Eirian said to him from where she rested on his arm. We do not wish to share them with anyone else.

            One problem at a time. Iain shrugged. “So do you want to eat that Carnotaurus or not?”

            “I do, but I want to get this trip done more.” Kerrik touched his temple and pulled a blue globe of light from it. “This memory is not ensorcelled and will not cause you harm. It is of a location in time and space that I wish you to take us to. From there I will finish moving us to our final destination on that world.” His ears flicked. “This memory also contains the languages spoken on that world so you can deal with the people there and information on physiology and culture of the Teu-tel-quessir so that you may become one. We’ll stay here until you master the form and get some practice with some of the languages.”

            “What is this about?” Iain made no move towards the memory globe. “There’s a lot of valuable information in what you’re offering and I’m not particularly happy that I don’t know what the price is yet. I do know there is no way it can be free.”

            Kerrik smiled slyly. “Right in one. I am arranging things so you can meet my family and giving you the tools you’ll need so you can interact with them socially without automatically being outed as a non-elf.” His smile faded. “I did as you suggested and really met my sister. Unsurprisingly, she’s bitter and unhappy about the way she’s been treated. If I’d thought about her as anything other than a problem I’d have realized that it was inevitable that she’d be branded with the pasts that both my mother and I have within elven society.” He shrugged. “The fact that the tales they tell about me are just that doesn’t matter as far as she’s concerned. I wouldn’t drop dead like they wanted and they can and do punish her for being my half-sister. The fact that all three of us have outlived our contemporaries just makes us more monstrous in their eyes.”

            “Is she broken?”

            Kerrik’s ears flattened for a heartbeat. “Pretty much. She’s not actively colluding with the enemies of the elves, but she wouldn’t raise a hand to help most of the royal family if they were under attack. She just wouldn’t aid their attackers, either.”

            Iain cocked his head as he looked thoughtfully at Kerrik. “How many times have you saved the nobles of Evermeet from their enemies and they don’t know about it?”

            Kerrik grimaced, “It’s not important. I do what I must.”

            “Ygerna tells me that once someone is a queen, they stay a queen in their heart no matter what happens to them. It must be even harder for someone like you, spurned and derided by your people but still a prince in your heart so much that you continue to protect them, even without their knowledge or approval, and you would come if they just called.” He smiled sympathetically as Kerrik snarled. “Yes, I stand on the razor’s edge of death this instant, but I feel you need to know that at least one person understands what you’re doing and, as much as I can, I approve of how hard you work to keep from letting the darkness that’s present in both of us from consuming you utterly. It would be so much easier and satisfying just to blot Evermeet and everyone related to you from existence and they will never know or understand even if they knew how much it costs you not to do that.”

            “If I ever need analyzed, there’s a long line of people waiting to do that, with Rainbow at the front. Don’t do that again.”

            “I’m not analyzing you and you know it.” Iain took the globe and slid it into his forehead. He shuddered, his fists clenching until his fingers went white. “People who care about others do that sort of thing. You’re my friend, but we’re not to the body hiding stage just yet. I may not be able to fix your sister.”

            “I know. Allowances will be made. Can you take us to the time and place I showed you?”

            “I have done this before so it should work. Who told you?”

            “I know Ygerna’s history,” Kerrik said. “Only she escaped Eoghan’s death curse and that because he wanted her to. The sudden existence of her mother and a bunch of fey goblins can only mean you jumped to before that curse took place and you had to change worlds when you did because your wife Ygerna isn’t from the world you live on. If Gormlaith were the mother of the Ygerna of that world she wouldn’t be joining your clan.” His ears flicked again. “Why have the two Danu not swiped the goblins from you yet?”

            “I’m cloning a bunch of fey babies of various fey species for the two goddesses to raise together and recreate the fey on this world.”

            Kerrik froze for an instant before turning to eye Iain suspiciously. “Why?”

            “It’ll keep them busy and hopefully the fey will help with the feral pokegirls.”

            “And it’ll provide future potential mates for your children.”

            Iain smiled. “That too.” His form changed slightly, becoming a little slenderer than it had been. “How’s this?”

            Kerrik swept Iain’s hair back from an ear to examine it critically. “You might want to lighten your skin a little and most elf eyes aren’t two toned like yours are, but the gold specks in the irises are just right.” He eyed Iain’s head. “Your hair color is human still, but while unusual it isn’t so rare that it’ll invite comment.”

            Iain’s skin paled slightly. “Better?”

            “Yes, but the eyes are still pretty unusual.”

            “Good. I am unusual.”

            Kerrik laughed. “A human who has been turned into a dragon species I don’t recognize, clan leader and student of another one of these dragons that just popped up out of nowhere? I think I’d try to avoid being that kind of unusual.”

            “I am Iain Grey. I might as well be Iain Grey the elf for your sister.”

            “You’re a bit tall for the average elf.”

            Iain smiled. “That means that for a change I’ll have the advantage of reach on potential opponents. I think I’m going to like that.”

            “Speaking of that, you don’t know anything the martial style used by elf swordsmen and women.”

            “And they don’t know anything about my martial style so it’ll be even if I’m somehow stupid enough to get suckered into a swordfight. But I did download the information on how a certain young elf prince was trained with weapons from the Wolf database and I’ve been studying it with Pandora.”

            Kerrik took a long, deep breath. “Is that what you call it? I think I’m flattered.” He frowned. “Do you have any other databases to distinguish it from?”

            “There’s the Eoghan database, the Germanicus database and the Happosai database,” Iain replied.

            “What on earth did you want from Happosai?”

            “It has everything he knew about the style he created,” Iain said. “Kasumi will get exclusive access to it for thirty years so she can master the style and teach it to me and our children. After that I get access to it as well.”

            Kerrik shook his head. “How much?”

            “For which?”

            “Happosai’s information.”

            Iain chuckled. “Honestly, I have no idea what something like that would be worth, but you will still have to wait the thirty years. I promised Kasumi.”

            Kerrik nodded. “You and I’ll sit down and I’ll help you learn how to determine value for things like that database.” He held out his hand. “It’s time to go.”

            Iain took it. “Are you sure you don’t want to eat that dinosaur first?”

            Kerrik smiled. “This has waited too long already.”

            Iain took a deep breath. “Then here we go. Step.” Kerrik obediently stepped with him.

            They stood on the edge of a field of red flowers that swept away from them to the horizon. “What is that scent,” Kerrik asked curiously as he looked around.

            Something is attempting to suppress our consciousness, his twee announced suddenly. Iain’s forcefield snapped into existence around them. “Step now,” Iain said. He almost dragged Kerrik with him and the universe folded around them and then unfolded so they were standing on a beach on an island and looking at a majestic city made of white stone situated on the far side of the bay in front of them. “Something there, probably the flowers, was trying to put us to sleep.”

            Kerrik nodded. “I felt it too. Do you know where that place was? I tried to read the coordinates but my magic says there weren’t any to that place, which is impossible.”

            Iain was rubbing his eyes, which itched from whatever the flowers had been trying to do. “I think that was the magical field of poppies in Oz. According to what I remember from the Oz books, Queen Ozma used her magic to sever all ties between Oz and the rest of the universe. Blocking dimensional travel coordinates would be an excellent way of attaining that. And, no, I don’t have a clue how that could be done. This is where you wanted me to take us. Where are we?”

            “The city over there is Aelinthaldaar.”

            Iain eyed him blankly. “And the next city you show me will be Gesundheit.”

            Kerrik laughed. “It’s one of the cities of elven nation of Illefarn. In eleven thousand years Aelinthaldaar will be magically razed during the retreat to Evermeet by order of the coronal. Fifteen hundred years after that Bloodhand Hold will be sited here and later the Hold will grow into the city of Waterdeep.”

            Iain looked surprised. “What year is this?”

            “In Dale Reckoning it’s -11800. The first of the Crown Wars is raging and Aryvandaar just started the occupation of Miyeritar. More importantly for us, my sister just reached adulthood.”

            “If I meet her now that will change your future. Are you sure you want that?”

            “I had almost nothing to do with my sister or my mother for thousands of years,” Kerrik said. “Changes to their timeline will not unduly affect me. At this point in her life, my sister shouldn’t be as bitter and angry as she will be if you don’t get involved until the timelines merge.” He nodded at Iain’s incredulous stare. “Yes, I am giving you permission to change a tiny portion of my past. I am here, so the changed timeline won’t do much to me and it should do nothing to my wives or children.”

            “You’re braver than I am,” Iain said thoughtfully. “I wish you’d told me what this was about before we left so I could warn Ninhursag and the others about what I would be doing.”

            “Tanika is randomly monitoring your family to see if any of her family has arrived,” Kerrik replied. “I don’t want her to know about what we’re doing until things have been resolved one way or another.”

            “I may have to have a word with her about rudeness.”

            Kerrik chuckled. “Spanking works better. It’s faster too.”

            “Are you suggesting I spank your wife?”

            Kerrik frowned and then shrugged. “I am recommending that you tell her that next time you will spank her and see how she responds. It’ll let you know if she’s interested in you as well.”

            “I never asked to live in interesting times,” Iain protested.

            “People like us never do, it just happens to us.” Kerrik looked around. “From here on out you will have to speak one of the elven languages you just picked up. If not and someone realizes you’re not a native, there could be hell to pay.” He took on the appearance of a male elf with waist length silver hair as the scene around them changed to grassland surrounding them with a town composed of white stone buildings visible in the distance. He looked around and took a deep breath before letting it out slowly. “It always hits me, you know. I walked most of this land in my youth and it calls to me.” He pointed towards the city. “That’s Drelagara and my mother and sister live there right now.”

            Iain blinked. “We’re on Evermeet?”

            “I want you to meet my sister and she lives here, so yes.” Kerrik was looking at the town with an unhappy set to his lips. “My mother is no longer a princess since another clan has taken the throne and the head of our clan has already demanded that she renounce her clan ties and clan name to protect them from her past. That’ll be true for my sister too.”

            “Everyone with any knowledge of history still probably knows who they are,” Iain said quietly. “Gossip quickly becomes legend, even for the supposedly polite cultures like the one here is said to be.”

            “True. That’s why they still get grief about me. I think my mother moved here hoping to spare my sister the worst of it, but it didn’t work well. If I remember correctly they move to a backwater fishing village on the southern coast in the next few years. Hopefully you can do something about that for her.”

            “I’ll do my best.” Iain frowned. “Fuck. Do you mind if I go back and forth between here and my home?”

            Kerrik turned to regard him curiously. “I’d rather you didn’t since I can’t keep an eye on you while you’re shadow walking and Tanika is still watching. Why?”

            “I don’t have any money. I can wander through the town long enough to see what the coins look like and then go home and have some made. If Theodora makes it to the right purity and weight there won’t be any magical residue on it to suggest it was counterfeited.”

            Kerrik shook his head. “And I wasn’t in Evermeet during this time so I’m not sure what the coinage looks like. There’s enough traffic between Evermeet and Illefarn that Illefarn coinage is accepted everywhere in Evermeet. We can go back to Illefarn and get some coins for you to use as patterns.”

            “We’ll get some coins? I’m not a very good pickpocket.”

            Kerrik grinned. “I am. However, I wasn’t going to steal the coins. I’ve got my pack and it has my travel kit with gems in it. I’ll sell a few and give you the coins.”

            Iain looked at the city ahead of them. “Will your gems sell in Drelagara?”

            Kerrik blinked and grimaced. “Apparently being back here is already messing with my mind. Yes, they’ll sell perfectly well here.” He held out his hand and a scruffy looking backpack appeared in it. He slung it over his shoulder and tugged the cloak over it. “Let’s get this done so we can find out where my mother and sister are living.”


            Once they were in the alley, Kerrik tossed a pouch at Iain. “Inside you’ll find an assortment of gold, silver and copper coins currently in use here in Evermeet. Silver and copper are the most common coinages in use, and a lot of gold would be unusual and incite comment. I kept half so I have some money too.”

            Iain caught the pouch and bounced it on his palm, listening to the coins jingle inside before opening it. “What about platinum or electrum?”

            “Platinum is very rare because it’s hard to work and the elven nations don’t mint it. As for electrum, minting electrum coins here is considered debasing gold coinage and isn’t done.”

            “Electrum does occur naturally,” Iain noted as he poured some of the coins out in his other hand and examined them closely.

            “It isn’t mined as such anywhere in this hemisphere,” Kerrik replied. “Since it’s got copper and some other contaminants in it, usually nations here will either refuse it or separate out the constituent elements if they have the magic or technology to do so. Most elven nations have the ability to separate out and purify the gold and other elements and most will do that and mint pure gold, silver and copper coins. Otherwise it’s not usually used in coinage.”

            Iain returned the coins to the pouch. “That makes sense to me.”  He did a quick sweep with his perception to ensure they were alone in the alley. “Beryl.”

            Red smoke poured from his ankle to become the red Dragoness. “My lord.”

            Iain gave her the pouch and a data chip he pulled from his pocket. “I want you to give these to Theodora. She is to give the chip to Ninhursag and reproduce the coins in the pouch several times so I have enough to get by here. I’d like at least a hundred of each type. Wait until the coins are ready and then return here with them. Ninhursag is to read this immediately. If she has any messages by the time you leave, please bring those as well.”

            Beryl nodded. “I will do as you request, my lord.” She sank into his shadow and vanished.

            “I keep forgetting about your servitors,” Kerrik said. “You don’t flaunt them like a lot of us would and I can’t feel their presence when they’re on your skin.” He frowned. “When did you get a chance to put together a message for Ninhursag?”

            “I dictated it to my phone through my twee while you were negotiating with the jeweler,” Iain said.

            “Smart. Why did you name her Beryl? Most beryl isn’t red.”

Iain smiled. “Red beryl is rare and precious, just like she is to me.”

            Kerrik shook his head. “Are all your servitors named like that?”

            “No, several of them kept the names they had in life, but my Dragonesses had their selves stripped away from them by their slayers. When I first met them, they were identical, at least physically, and I named them and personalized them so I could easily tell them apart. The latest Dragonesses I acquired were the same way and so I named them and personalized them too.”

            “Don’t tell my sister about them,” Kerrik said. “At least not for a long time.”

            “While you were talking up the jeweler did you find out where they live?”

            “She doesn’t know.” Kerrik chuckled. “It surprised me for a moment. I forget that it has been so long since my birth that even elves have died or forgotten about it. However, I’ve sent a seeker to locate my mother. When it does it’ll report back to me.” Iain had gone very still. “What is it?” Kerrik surveyed their surroundings alertly.

            Iain relaxed in increments, as if he was forcing himself to begin moving again. “I’m sorry, it’s just memories of my one previous experience with a seeker make me a bit nervous around them. It was from the dwarf and it exploded when it found me, killing a Milktit named Hathor who was a part of my family. Then, of course, Mhodvitnar attacked and things got worse.”

            Kerrik shot him a look. “While Hathor is a member of the Mulhorandi pantheon and it shouldn’t be here right now and shouldn’t even be on this world for at least six thousand years, let’s not go loudly bandying the names of gods around. The ones around here don’t really like me very much and, while they’re unlikely to take offense and start smiting, if they do they might take their ire out on the people around me, including you.”

            “Got it. No divinity discussions.”

            “And so you know, seekers are not good or evil. It all depends on how they’re created and what their purpose is.”

            Iain nodded. “After what happened, I studied them for a bit so I understand them better. Hopefully, from now on I can guard against what happened better to prevent it hitting us again. I just have to remember not to only plan for the things that have already happened to me because only planning to fight the last battles is how you lose the next ones.”

            Kerrik nodded approvingly. “That is tactically sound.”

            Beryl stepped out of the shadows. “My lord,” she said as she bowed. Then she held out a Dikon ball. “Your money, as requested.” She also held out the pouch he’d given her. “Your pouch has some money in it and messages from various members of your family.”

            Iain took the items. “Why did you bring a Dikon?” He glanced at the pouch. “Messages? How long were you there?”

            “I was there five hours, my lord. After receiving her message, your maharani requested I stay until the other messages could be prepared for you. And the Dikon is necessary because I believe that Theodora and Daya filled it with coins for you. There is another Dikon. It is in the pouch and has trade goods that may be of worth here.”

            “That means I’ll need to change our return time from the five minutes I’d planned for to five and a half hours,” Iain said.

            “My lord, there is a message in the group from the unliving life that will tell you exactly how long you were gone when I returned here.”

            Iain held out his hand. “Get back where you belong.”

            Beryl’s mouth gaped in a toothy grin. “I am glad you believe my place is riding you, my lord. I believe that is my place as well.” She dissolved into a stream of smoke and disappeared under his pant leg.

            Kerrik was watching with raised eyebrows. “Riding you?”

            “They’re still pokegirls. They sexualize almost everything and using that phrase for being on my skin amuses them.”

            Kerrik shook his head. “Of course your undead would have to be weird. Liches don’t do humor. Usually all they do is malevolent.” He blinked. “My seeker has located my mother’s house.”

            “Then let’s go.”


            While made from the same white stone that the rest of buildings of Drelagara were constructed from instead of brick, the design of the house here on the edge of the city reminded Iain of a Scottish house he’d been hosted in on one of his visits to Edinburgh. It was two stories tall and narrow with a few windows that were all shuttered. “Quaint.”

            Kerrik chuckled. “I remember houses like this. The back will have a patio and small balcony that overlooks a garden that will be at least twice as large as the house is.”

            “Why are all the buildings made of the same stone? Did they get a discount from the quarry?”

            “There is no quarry and the houses are grown from the native stone under the soil, which is why they all are of the same stone. Even the doors, windows and hinges are grown. It means that every house is essentially one piece of stone, which makes them stronger. Only the glass in the windows is added later, if the owner wants to pay for glass. Most elves would prefer to have the breeze and smells of the outdoors instead of trapping the odors of the house inside with confining windows.”

            Iain had already noticed that the city didn’t stink like a medieval city would have, but considering it was an elven city, that only made sense. “According to the cultural information you gave me, we ring the bell.” A bell had been hung out from the door a few centimeters with a small hammer dangling from lightweight metal chain. Iain used the hammer to gently tap the bell a few times.

            “Don’t mention my name,” Kerrik said quietly. “My mother and I still have a tumultuous relationship.”

            Iain nodded as he carefully released the hammer he’d just used. Without warning the bell rang again without being touched. Kerrik smiled slightly as the sound died away. “That was someone in the house acknowledging you’re waiting outside and telling you that someone will arrive to greet us soon.”


            “Simple magic that’s taken as commonplace, but yes.”

            Iain shook his head. “There’s no such thing as simple magic.”

            Kerrik smiled broadly at his student. “That is true, but familiarity breeds contempt even with magic. Besides, most wizards don’t understand that magic isn’t nearly as consistent as they think it is.”

            The door opened, and an elven woman looked out at them. She was a handful of centimeters shorter than Iain and was wearing blue dyed linen pants and a matching shirt with black shoes. Her long black hair was done in a tight braid that fell to her hips and her eyes were green and flecked with gold. Those eyes regarded them in an unfriendly way as she looked them over. “Come inside,” she said politely as she moved out of the doorway. “As unpleasant as this is, I see no reason for you to have to conduct your business in the street.”

            Kerrik and Iain exchanged a glance before entering the building, stepping into a tiny entranceway with a pair of cloaks hanging from pegs on the wall. The woman shut the door behind them and turned to face them. “Considering why you’re here, I am afraid that I see no reason to welcome you into my home. I don’t see a scroll, so may I presume that the Council still hasn’t formally voted? As I told the first agents, the tax they were here to collect was already paid earlier this year. I have the receipt. Even if it wasn’t, I refuse to leave without being compensated for the money I spent on this house and that will require a formal acknowledgement from the High Council. I’ll need that money to acquire another dwelling wherever we finally get settled.”

            Kerrik’s eyes narrowed slightly and Iain fancied he could see ghostly silver ears on his teacher’s head flattening. “What are you talking about?”

            The woman looked from Iain to Kerrik and back. “You’re not agents of the Council?”

            “No, we’re not,” Iain said placatingly. “Now, Lady Kasserine, may I inquire as to what your situation is since we’d like to help you if we can?”

            The elf woman looked surprised for an instant before scowling. “I am no longer a lady of any sort, sir. You may not give me honors that I am not permitted.”

            “Ah,” Iain said. “I didn’t realize you’d been stripped of all of your titles. Still, you are a lady whether you are titled or not.”

            She frowned. “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

            “A lady is a woman of quality and refinement. Even though you thought we were lackeys of this Council and obviously here on some unpleasant business, you have been nothing but polite to us. That is the hallmark of a true lady. Now what has this Council done?”

            “It’s probably the High Council of Drelagara,” Kerrik said. “They run Drelagara for the king or queen of Evermeet. It’s composed of the oldest clans in Drelagara and also those clans that are the most heavily involved with the moon horse breeding program.”

            “Considering that moon horses are sentient and free beings who should be more than capable of making their own reproductive decisions, that concept really sounds like I should be looking out for elf males on stepladders breeding moon horse mares.”

            Kasserine giggled and looked shocked at her own reaction. “That’s an unseemly portrayal of the relationship between the elves and the moon horses and I would thank you not to mention it again.”

            “I stand corrected,” Iain said politely. “However, is my friend correct in his presumption that the Council you are talking about is the one that runs the city?”

            “Yes, and it is because some of older clans are Council members that we face eviction from our home and Drelagara. Someone in one of those clans remembered who I am.”

            Kerrik growled low in the back of his throat. “I am going to have to leave for a while,” he said to Iain. “If I stay, I am likely to do something that I probably shouldn’t. Can you handle this by yourself if you need to?”

            “I will do better than try,” Iain said. “I wouldn’t want Yoda unhappy with me.”

            Kerrik’s smile never reached his eyes. “Let me know if you need anything.” Then he vanished.

            Iain shook his head slightly. “I see the local orc population taking a sudden and unexpected nosedive.”

            “There are no orcs in Evermeet,” Kasserine said. “There are none anywhere near our lands anywhere on Toril.”

            “Then my friend will either go where they are or find something else to vent his fury on.”

            “Leaving so abruptly is rather rude,” Kasserine noted. “We haven’t even been introduced yet. I am Kasserine.”

            “I’m sorry, my name is Iain. And my friend left so suddenly because he was afraid that if he stayed he might find and kill the members of the Council for what they’re doing to you. Even with everything that has happened, he is still rather protective of you.”

            Kasserine made a dismissive motion with her hand. “No one is protective of us. Even our gods have forsaken us.”

            Iain took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Kerrik is still very protective of you. He just hasn’t been around in such a way that you knew of his presence in a long time because of what happened, but he is still protective of you.”

            Kasserine’s eyes widened. “That was my son? He is forbidden to come to any of the lands of the elves.”

            “The force of that proclamation died with your sister,” Iain said quietly. “Not that Kerrik would bother himself with her rules even if she weren’t dead. And if anyone has renewed and carried that proclamation forward he won’t care either.”

            Kasserine folded her arms over her chest. “Who are you really, Iain, what is your relationship with Kerrik and why are you here?”

            “That’s kind of a complicated story,” Iain replied. “Could I meet your daughter first and could she hear this story when I tell you so I don’t have to repeat it to her later?”

            “I will hear your story first and decide if you will ever meet my daughter. Her life is difficult enough without involving Kerrik in it. Since you are associated with him, you may not be a good influence on her either. So tell me this story.”

            “What do you know about time travel?”

            Kasserine looked surprised. “I know it’s possible and not much else. My skills in magic lie in the direction of combat magic. I have never been an explorer and time travel magic is very rare and tightly overseen by the Council of High Wizards because of its danger.”

            Iain nodded. “You’re right that it’s possible. Kerrik and I came here from your future. In that future, in about ten thousand years or so, humans, orcs and hobgoblins will have spread across the continents of Toril. The dragons, elves and dwarves will be on the decline and places like Illefarn will be nothing more than a memory. The Seledarine will be sundered and the elves divided amongst themselves. Evermeet will still exist, and a Sun elf king of the Moonflower clan will sit on the throne. Many elves will have retreated from the mainland to here and some will have gone on to the Feywild. You and your daughter will still be alive and still living in Evermeet.”

Kasserine’s eyes went wide. “I find this hard to believe.”

Iain smiled amusedly. “Yet it is the truth and deep down you know it is. Like I said, at that time in the future you’ll still be living in Evermeet and all of the years of the wonderful treatment you and she have received by the people here will have made both of you bitter and unhappy, which in retrospect is not a surprise at all. For what you suspect is true and she is like you and Kerrik in that she is a special kind of wizard and her magic will make her age much slower than any of the elves around her, just like it has done for you. And also like you have been, she will be ostracized for being different as well as for being related to Kerrik and you.”

He paused for a second to make sure his thoughts were in a decent order. “In that future, on another world, Kerrik is my teacher in that magic. I am also like he is and you and your daughter are. As he does, I have a family. Unlike him, I have some other special abilities and I know things that it should be impossible for me to know. That means I know things about him that others do not. That knowledge has made him decide he feels I could be a threat, but because we are friends and he has very few friends, he has hesitated to do what he knows he should do and destroy me.” Iain’s smile faded away. “And that’s just the beginning of the story.”

            “What do you know about my son that he could possibly feel is a threat to him,” Kasserine asked. “I have some idea of how powerful he is and I don’t see where any elf could present some kind of danger to him.”

            “Knowledge is sometimes more powerful than any magic,” Iain said gently. “For example, I know that you didn’t want to carry out your sister’s orders regarding him. I also know that you did then and still do feel remorse for your actions, but you don’t know how to tell him, even if you knew how to reach him.” Kasserine had gone pale. “He still loves his mother and he’s never really understood why you turned him out like you did, but because he cares for you he has never tried to seek you out for fear you’d hurt him again. He was also worried that his presence here would be discovered and that it would cause problems for you. But while he felt he couldn’t be part of your life and so he couldn’t openly help you, he has always watched over you and protected you from things you were never aware of.” He smiled. “And I know that the ring you wear on your right forefinger is telling you that nothing I have said is a lie.”

            Kasserine looked down at the ring and back up at him. “He was here. Isn’t that openly helping me?”

            “Kerrik brought me here to this place and time because he hopes I and your daughter will get along. He doesn’t want me to tell you who he is. In fact, he told me not to tell you his name and my disobedience isn’t going to make him happier with me. I was brought here because he hopes that your daughter and I will marry and so I will be part of his family and then he won’t have to wipe me from existence. He knows that I will take care of her if we do marry and so she won’t have the future he has already seen her endure. He probably thinks your daughter leaving will make your life easier too, but he doesn’t know just how much you love your daughter and how much her leaving would hurt you. I do know the truth about that and so I’d take you with us. It would give you a chance to hopefully have a life where you can live instead of merely existing, as you have been doing ever since the night you were raped and Kerrik was conceived.”

            Kasserine grabbed him by the arm. “How do you know this?”

            “That I can’t explain. I do know it wasn’t your fault. You were overwhelmed by magic that you couldn’t have resisted no matter how hard you fought it. Almost no female of any species that this magic was aimed at could have resisted it.”

            “What happened? I don’t remember anything except vague memories of me with some man. I don’t even know what race he was.”

            “He was a Moon elf and that’s all I can tell you. In the beginning, your son was a pureblooded Moon elf like you and your daughter are. To say anything else might draw unwanted attention to us all. Attention that could end up with things going badly for everyone.”

            Her fingers tightened on his arm. “Tell me one thing. Is my son the product of evil?”

            Iain knew she wasn’t asking about the evil inherent in the rape itself and instead about the rapist. “No. His sire wasn’t an evil creature and most of the power he has came to him from you and not his sire.” Kasserine sagged against him and Iain wrapped his arms around her to hold her up. What you and your sister did to him when he was a child couldn’t be called good, but that isn’t what you were asking about.

            A few minutes later she pushed away from him. “You said you’re here to marry Ava?”

            “Ava. I had a couple of different options in my notes. Is that her name?” Kasserine nodded. “What I said was that Kerrik brought me here in the hopes that she and I would marry. This isn’t an arranged marriage. I wouldn’t do that to anyone. I’m here to meet her and you as well. I hope we get along and if she and I get along well enough to decide to marry, that would be great because I don’t want to die.”

            “He will kill you if you don’t marry Ava?”

            “Eventually Kerrik will decide I am too much of a threat if I don’t join his family somehow. Some of his wives intend to bring their daughters by to meet me in the hopes we’ll marry, but I wanted to meet Ava first and Kerrik hopes I can make her happier than she is now.”

            “What about my son’s daughters?”

            “Kerrik has already made sure that his children’s lives won’t be a trial unless they make their lives a trial. As for me, if Ava and I don’t decide to marry, even if we’re good friends I will meet the daughters his wives present to me and see if we can form a life together.”

            “Does he have an elven wife?”

            Iain shook his head. “Until recently, Kerrik has avoided anything having to do with elves, because of his past history with them. He has no elven wives.”

            “How many wives does he have?”

            “I think I’ll let you and he have that particular discussion. Just know that if you accept them, you are a grandmother and great grandmother many times over. Even though not elves, many of his wives and children are very much worth knowing.”

            “How many wives do you have?”

            “I came here to meet Ava and not to be interrogated by you, Kasserine, even if it’s a fairly polite interrogation as these things go. When Ava asks me questions like that I’ll answer them. If you’re around, you’ll hear the answers.”

            Kasserine smiled. “I suppose that’s fair enough.”

            “Can I meet her?”

            “I believe I will allow it.”

            Iain raised an eyebrow. “She is an adult. Doesn’t she get to make that decision?”

            “My daughter won’t reach her majority until the spring after this coming spring,” Kasserine said. “Until then she is not an adult and under my care and protection.”

            “Oh. I guess that means Kerrik can’t count.” Iain shrugged. “No matter.”

            “What does that mean?”

            “We were supposed to arrive a couple of years after Ava reached her majority. I think he wanted to keep your meddling to a minimum.”

            Kasserine sighed. “I did meddle in his life, but I was under orders to do so. I have strived not to do that to Ava and instead be her mother.”

            “Do you want to get to know your son? I think the reward might be worth the effort. He’s my friend and I don’t call many people that.”

            She visibly hesitated. “Is he still a monster?”

            “He was never a monster like your sister made him out to be,” Iain said quietly. “If he was, we wouldn’t be having this discussion because Evermeet would have been destroyed a long time ago. As for what he is, he will never be an elf again and as for who he is, he has been a sociopath since he was a child.” There was no direct translation in elven for the word sociopath, so Iain switched to English for that single word.

            “What is a sociopath?” Even though she said it with an elven accent, her pronunciation was perfect.

            “You and your sister set out to turn him into a killer. You succeeded.” Iain ignored Kasserine’s flinch. “Kerrik doesn’t care for things or people the way you can. If something or someone isn’t important to him somehow, it has no value to him and he won’t lift a finger to help unless it benefits him somehow.” Iain looked into her eyes. “It wasn’t all you and her making him into what he is, Kasserine. A lot of what he is came from his sire.”

            “Why won’t you tell me what you know about him?”

            “Because I don’t want to be hunted by angry Chosen of gods, solars or exarchs,” Iain snapped. “I also don’t want Kerrik hunted by them either. The power that created the line that Kerrik belongs to thinks he’s dead and that’s for the best. It lost track of him when he changed from an elf into what he is and decided it meant he’d died. If that power ever finds out he isn’t dead his life is going to get as complicated as mine is. And it’s likely that you and Ava, among others, as well as me and my family, would turn up dead rather quickly. The power your son is associated with would want to make sure he doesn’t disappear again and wiping out everyone he knows would keep him alone and, in theory, easier to influence.”

            “How can I contact my son if I want to get to know him?”

            “You can ask me to contact him for you, if you’d like. But Kerrik listens for the voices of those he loves. If you say his name with the intent of him hearing it, no matter where he is, he will hear you. For you, he will always come if you call him.” Iain rubbed his chin. “Even if you call him into a trap every single time, for you he will still come if you call.”

            “I would never call my son into a trap,” Kasserine said firmly.

            “I happen to believe you. There isn’t anyone other than a few gods who could command you to do so and be obeyed. Kerrik will be wary of a trap for a while, but he will still come when you call him. Please don’t abuse that trust.”

            “Why would he be so loyal to me?”

            “My father died when I was very young. My childhood ended that day and I had to grow up and shoulder responsibilities I wasn’t ready for. I don’t think I did too bad of a job of it, but I would give almost anything to have my father back and to grow up as a normal kid. Kerrik never really had a childhood. He would give almost anything to have a mother who loves him and just accepts him, flaws and all.” Iain smiled. “What neither of us accepts is that to do so would unmake us. We could not be who we are without going through what we did. But it doesn’t matter. We are here and now and I and Kerrik both are who and what we are.” He smiled and raised his voice slightly. “Did you hear all of that clearly, Ava?”

            Kasserine looked confused. “She’s out in the garden, studying before her tutor arrives this afternoon.”

            “No, she’s outside that window and against the wall next to it where she can eavesdrop on our conversation without being seen. She’s been there since right before Kerrik left. She probably heard the bell and was worried it was the High Council’s minions.” He raised his voice again. “You should come inside where you can hear everything clearly.”

            A different voice came in from outside the window. “How did you know I was here?” The voice merely sounded surprised, which told Iain a little about the speaker since a lot of people would be defensive and therefore angry about being caught doing something so rude as eavesdropping.

            Iain chuckled. “I’m a wizard and it increases my chances of keeping anyone from sticking anything sharp into my body or setting me on fire without my permission if I can know when people are around me, even if they’re hidden.”

            “Come inside and meet our guest, Ava,” Kasserine said firmly. “Eavesdropping is rude, and you know better.”

            “Just remember that sometimes eavesdropping is the only way I learn things from you, Mother. I’ll be a moment. I want to put my books away before the rain comes.”

            Kasserine smiled. “Let me take you to the library and then I’ll get some tea. Other than for medicine, I don’t keep alcohol in the house. Strange things happen when I drink too much alcohol.”

            “Water will be fine and I’m certain your tea will be excellent, even if I suspect it won’t be the tea I’m used to.” He gestured. “Please, lead the way.”

            She nodded and headed down a short hall. “This way.” The library was small, but well stocked and Iain looked around eagerly as she led him to a small table just large enough for the four chairs pushed under it. “Please sit and I’ll get that tea. Ava will probably join you before I return. I am trusting you to be a gentleman with her.”

            “I am polite to the polite,” Iain said as he pulled out the indicated chair and settled down into it. “I am not so polite to the rude, but seldom does my lack of politeness rise to their level of rudeness. Since I am unsure who is going to be rude in any given encounter and I hope they’ll all be polite, I try to be polite to everyone in the beginning.”

            Kasserine smiled. “That will do nicely.” She slipped out of the room and Iain forced himself to not get up and browse the plethora of books around him that almost certainly he’d never seen before.


Iain Grey


Inner Harem

Ninhursag Grey - Elfqueen & maharani

Eve Grey - Megami Sama

April Grey - Duelist & beta

Dominique Grey - Blessed Archmage

Pandora - Fiendish Archangel

Canaan - G Splice (Hunter Amachamp & Alaka-Wham)

Zareen - Nightmare

Raquel - Fiendish Rapitaur

Sofia - Ria

Vanessa – Evangelion

Lucifer – Megami Sama

Ganieda – Snugglebunny Splice

Heather - Elfqueen

Dianthus Barbatus – Elfqueen

Marguerite - Unicorn


Outer Harem

Allison – Umbrea (Outer Harem Alpha)

Daphne - Whorizard

Lynn - Growlie

Chuck – Doggirl

Ryan – Unicorn

Winifred - Rack (German)

Rosemary - Mistoffeles (Uruguayan)

Silver - Pegaslut

Joyce – Milktit


Outer Clan

Melanie – Iron Chef

Siobhan – Nurse Joy (Glasgow)

Golden Cloud – equine unicorn

Arianrhod -Fey Goblin Female


Satellite Clan

            74 male Goblins

            89 female Goblins


Queendom / Outer Harem

73 Elves

Dionne - Elfqueen

Adrianna - Elfqueen

Heltu - Wet Queen

14 Wet Elves


Dead Harem

Eirian - Silver Dragoness

Aurum - Gold Dragoness

Skye - Blue Dragoness

Emerald - Green Dragoness

Beryl - Red Dragoness

Julia - human

Ling - Cheetit

Matilda - White Tigress

Liadan - Twau

Sorrel - Armsmistress

Natalie - Blazicunt

Maria - Slutton

Rhea Silvia - Chimera

Geraldine - Human


Mother            s & Children






     Dorothy: Duelist

     Meara: Duelist

     Regan: Duelist


     Hannah: Huntress

     Rebecca: Huntress


     Lisa: Milktit

     Sherrie:  Milktit

     Harriet: Milktit


     Olivia: Megami-Sama

     Seraphina: Megami-Sama

     Miriam: Angel

     Haley: Angel


     Caltha: Nightmare

     Kim:  Nightmare

     Xanthe: Nightmare

     Epona: Nightmare

     Philippa: Nightmare

     Nott: Nightmare

     Nyx: Nightmare