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



            There were four men in the security detail. Each of them had one pokegirl, one an Amachamp, one a Ponytaur, one a Vixxen and the last an Espea. All had graduated from the toughest military schools as well as the best bodyguard programs that could be found and the man who they were protecting trusted them with his life, which was good since keeping him alive was precisely what their job was. He had other people on his security teams, but these he trusted the most, which is why they were on duty at this time.

            “It’s safe, sir,” the one commanding his guard told him. “Alexander is waiting at the curb with Gabrielle.”

            The man grimaced. Gabrielle was the Ponytaur and his ride home since cars kept getting destroyed by the damnable bombardment that was still going on, damn that, that creature from Haven. “Let’s go then. I want to get to the apartment before dark.”

            “We will, sir,” he was reassured.

            The rest of his security team fell in around him as they moved to the street and he climbed up onto Gabrielle’s back. The ride back to the apartment building was quiet and uneventful. Soon the security team hustled him inside the well maintained and well-lit building and up to his suite.

            One section of his team unlocked his door and was headed inside to check the apartment for threats when a black and white striped rabbit pokegirl appeared at the back of the group. At the same time, a nude black woman with gold hair and eyes appeared in front of the Vixxen going to sweep the apartment.

            The rabbit’s hands sprouted claws that she swept across the throat of the Amachamp in a spray of blood as her bladed tail darted over her shoulder and sank into the right eye of the Amachamp’s tamer to pierce his brain.

            The black woman stiffened the fingers of her right hand and created a small globe of black light on the tip of her middle finger that she shoved into the chest of the Vixxen. She flickered from in front of the Vixxen to behind the tamer who was standing just behind the Vixxen as the Vixxen’s chest and back exploded in a spray of gore. Her left elbow swung backwards in a precise arc, taking the Vixxen’s tamer in the base of the skull to crush his skull and spine. In the same movement her right hand darted forward as another black ball of energy appeared on her middle finger. It was shoved into the Espea’s chest. She exploded just like the Vixxen had, the spray of offal passing through the black woman without pausing. It blinded the Espea’s tamer completely and so he didn’t see the hand that stabbed him through the throat and spine with an energy blade before it grabbed him by the throat and jerked him out of her way.

            The Ponytaur was back with the Amachamp and she managed to turn as the rabbit summoned an energy blade. The strike took her in the neck, decapitating her and continuing on to slice her tamer into two pieces in a descending line from his left shoulder to his right hip.

            All of this took place in less than five seconds. The rabbit smiled at the man the security team had been guarding. Behind her, the Amachamp had all four hands clamped on her throat to slow the blood running from her throat. The rabbit’s tail twisted and blurred, stabbing the fighting type in the center of her chest a dozen times in a heartbeat of time that seemed to last forever. The Amachamp collapsed and the rabbit raised a fist that she drove into the man’s forehead. His world flared and went dark.

            Ganieda picked up the guy she’d just knocked out and threw him over her shoulder as she used her perception to make sure the Amachamp’s heart had been shredded. “What did you do to those pokegirls? I’ve never seen anything like that technique.”

            “Low power dark bomb.”

            Ganieda’s ears flicked. “That should have detonated as soon as it touched your target.”

            “Phased. Release inside.”

            “Zareen, that’s impossible. You can’t phase a technique.”

            The Nightmare glanced at her. “Saw. Did.” She vanished.

            Ganieda reached out with her mind and verified that everyone else was dead or dying before following.


            The man coughed and tried to roll away from the stink that kept him from being able to breathe. “That’s right,” a female voice said in fluent Greek, “it’s time to wake up, Kriton Mitsotakis.”

            The stink was withdrawn and he took a deep breath as he opened his eyes to see the white bunny with the black stripes dropping an ampule of smelling salts into a plastic bag that she sealed shut. “Who the fuck are you, creature,” he demanded.

            The rabbit grabbed his right arm and sank her teeth into his bicep. He screamed as agony shot up it. She released him and touched the bite. The blood stopped flowing and the wound partially closed. “I am the person who holds your life in her hands, Mr. President,” she said evenly as she rose to her feet. “You would do well to remember that and not think you can treat me like the pokegirl slaves you’re used to dealing with.”

            “You’re just going to kill me,” he spat. “So I don’t have any reason to be polite, bitch.”

            “Actually, if things go the way I hope, you will survive our encounter,” the rabbit replied pleasantly. She stepped outside his cell and shut the door, verifying that it had locked. “And I also hope that you should have a long and healthy life.”

            “Aren’t you from this Haven that’s been destroying everything?”

            The rabbit’s smile showed razor sharp teeth that made Kriton flinch and look at his arm. The bite wound was still healing and was almost gone. “I am not from Haven.”

            “Who are you and where are you from?”

            “That, Mitsotakis, is not anything you need to know.”

            He snarled and sat up. “Powerful people will be looking for me.”

            “Yes, they sent a special ops team to retrieve you.” Again her smile showed those white, sharp teeth. “I let them find you and, when they came to where I’d left you then, I and my partner killed them. Then I brought you here.”

            Mitsotakis sat up and looked around, realizing he was sitting on a bed. “If you’re not going to kill me, then why kidnap me at all?”

            “There are worse things than death, Kriton Mitsotakis,” the rabbit intoned in a sepulchral voice. “You will bear witness to some of them.”

            Kriton looked around his cell. He was in a barred cage in the center of what looked like an abandoned warehouse. Besides the bed, there was a chamber pot and an insulated plastic cooler that doubled as a chair. The concrete floor was stained in several places and what natural light entered the room did so through boards that covered the windows. A few meters outside his cell, a naked black woman with long golden hair stood next to a low table that was covered with a tarp to hide what was on it. She watched him with eyes that judged him and found him to be nothing to her. Her insolence grated and he glared back. “Who are you?”

            The woman ignored him to look at the rabbit. “Plan stupid. Kill.”

            “My plan is better,” the rabbit disagreed. “Mitsotakis, I have a present for you. Show him what he’s won by being such a dumb shit.”

            The golden-haired woman obediently lifted the tarp and carefully pulled it off the table to reveal a collection of human heads. They’d been placed in shallow trays filled with sand and carefully stood on their necks so they could look back at Kriton as he stared at them. His stomach roiled with sudden nausea until he looked away. Glancing at them again, Kriton could see that the heads varied in age, from adult down to one infant’s head. He quickly averted his gaze. “Cover them,” he said.

            “You should look closely,” the rabbit’s voice was filled with amusement. “You’ll see they’re your family, come to spend time with you.” Her voice hardened. “Your brothers and sister, their children and grandchildren and your wife, children and grandchildren.” Kriton turned to stare at the heads in shock as she continued. “Every member of your family that lived in Greece is here, even your cousins, nephews and nieces.” She gave him a gleeful smile. “Your genetic line ends with you now, Mitsotakis, and not even that will endure.”

            His voice rose in a shriek. “You murdered my entire family? How could you?”

            The rabbit’s voice was a satisfied purr that made his skin crawl. “After I ate the brains of your wife, it was easy since she knew where several of them lived. In turn, they revealed the locations of others, and so on until I’d found them all. It wasn’t my most difficult hunt, by any means, but it was a very gratifying one nonetheless.”

            Mitsotakis stared at the heads before leaning over the bed and throwing up. When he was done, he sat slowly up and glared at her. “Why are you doing this?”

            “You killed people I like with those nuclear weapons,” the rabbit said. “And next time you may want to vomit in the chamber pot since nobody is going to clean that up unless you do.” Her ears flicked. “If you’d left us alone, none of us would be here.”

            There was a box of tissues on the lid of the cooler and Mitsotakis wiped his mouth with one. “You said you wouldn’t kill me.”

            “And I won’t. If you open the cooler, you’ll find drinks and enough snacks to get by for the next few days while your future is decided.”

            Krition opened the cooler to find a collection of three liter plastic bottles of water, some packages of already peeled hardboiled eggs and some plastic envelopes he didn’t recognize. He picked one up. It was roughly square, transparent and filled with less than a liter of reddish liquid. He held it up. “What is this?”

            The rabbit gave him another toothy smile. “It’s whole blood. You see, I haven’t done this before, and I don’t know if my transformative venom will turn you into a Blade Bunny or a Vampire. Tests show I produce both types of venom when I bite to infect.” Kriton’s head swung around to stare at the almost completely healed wound on his arm and she laughed. “Good, you just realized what I’ve done.”

            He swallowed hard and deliberately looked away from the arm. “What is going to happen to me?”

            “I’m going to keep you here until you turn into a pokegirl,” the rabbit said happily. “Then I’m going to pokeball you and sell you to the Hellenic League’s military, if there’s anything of them left after Kozakura gets finished with them. Don’t worry, even if they’re not available, I will find someone appropriate to sell you to. You then get the spend the rest of your life being raped by your owners so you’ll stay obedient. Maybe you’ll even give them kits.” She smiled. “I’ll check up on you from time to time to make sure they’re not planning to kill you.” Her smile vanished. “You hate pokegirls and I want you to live a long life after you become one. I’ve got some cameras on you in case there’s an emergency and I’ll come by every day to check and see if you’re ready to go into a pokeball yet.”

            “Just kill me,” Kriton said.

            “No. And I already know you don’t have the strength of character to kill yourself. Now, I have things to do and so I must be going, but I’m leaving you in good company.” She gestured at the table of heads. “I mean, if you’ve got your family, what more can you possibly need?” She gave him a lazy grin. “Maybe I’ll name you Krista.” Then she and the other woman vanished.



            The Vampire’s eyes opened and she sat up, looking around her room. She was alone. “What?”

            The feminine voice came from air around her. “I’m Theodora and I apologize for disturbing you while you sleep, but Iain asked me to wake you up and request that you meet him downstairs in the kitchen sometime in the next half hour. He’s with there with Lucifer, Kasumi and Pandora, working on breakfast.”

            “Why is the time so vague?”

            “I suggested that so that you had time for your morning toilette before having to go downstairs.”

            “So it’s not a summons?”

            “Iain tries not do that sort of thing, Elizabeth. He is more than capable of issuing orders, but he tries to go through the harem hierarchy and normally uses Ninhursag or April for any direct orders and mandated meetings. It keeps the misunderstandings down and the harem’s leadership in the loop.”

            “What about Bellona and Candace?”

            “I have not been asked to wake them yet.” Theodora appeared near the door to the bathroom. “I think Iain wants to talk to you alone.”

            “You don’t know?”

            “Iain doesn’t confide everything in anyone, Elizabeth.” She smiled. “And I’ll take care of making your bed, if you’d like.”

            Elizabeth slid to her feet. “Is that important?”

            “Not really, but April likes a tidy house. She won’t normally come into your bedroom, but she will ask if your room is neat and she will issue demerits if it isn’t. She’ll issue even more of them if you lie to her about it and get caught.”


            “I can explain while you shower, if you’d like.”

            Elizabeth chuckled. “Is that your idea of a subtle hint?”

            Theodora smiled back at her. “It is neither subtle nor is it a hint. You didn’t shower last night. I thought you might shower this morning. Your hygiene is your own business, until one of the children decides to emulate you and refuse to bathe regularly. Then either April or Ninhursag will take the responsibility of your hygiene upon herself and you would rather they not.”

            Elizabeth shook her head sadly. “I’m not used to other children.”

            “I know that Melanie Wolf is or will be placed on the Wolf Wall of Memory. Would you like me to add her to the Grey memorial as well? Iain wouldn’t mind.”

            Elizabeth blinked back sudden tears. “Thank you, but that won’t be necessary. You said Iain will be in the kitchen?” She headed for the door to her bathroom.

            “Right now he’s outside and gathering eggs with Kasumi, but he’ll be in the kitchen by the time you get downstairs unless you go there immediately.”

            “Thank you. So, what are demerits and what happens if I get some?”


            Elizabeth hesitantly peered into the kitchen. Kasumi was sitting at a small table chopping green peppers while Lucifer and Pandora were busy at the stove. Iain was filling a large pot with water. He glanced in her direction. “Good morning, Elizabeth. Give me a few minutes, please, so I can get the potatoes boiling for the porridge and I’ll be right with you.”

            “You should make okayu instead,” Kasumi said with a chuckle.

            “You make rice porridge when you cook,” Lucifer countered amusedly. “I will make what I wish to and the children like fučka.”

            Fučka, Elizabeth’s twee whispered to her, is a traditional Slovakian potato porridge.

            “Come here, Elizabeth,” Kasumi called, “and sit down.” She motioned to a chair on the other side of the table.

            Elizabeth slowly settled down in the other chair. “Hi.”

            “Good morning,” Kasumi said. “I hope you slept well.”

            Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t sleep well anymore. I’m used to sleeping with my daughter. I haven’t slept properly since her death.”

            “I am so sorry,” Kasumi said quietly. “I did not wish to cause you more pain. Please accept my apology for being so insensitive.”

            “Accepted.” Elizabeth deliberately changed the subject. “Do you like it here, I mean compared to Haven?”

            Kasumi smiled warmly. “This place is incredible, but you knew I was unhappy for many years before I left the kingdom. I will be the first to admit that you’re going to find it very different. However, I think you’ll come to love this place.”

            “I hope so. Are you going to beat Candace up?”

            “I am sure that eventually we will spar,” Kasumi said with a chuckle. “But if you’re asking me if I intend to punish Candace for coming here, I will not. All three of you are here because it isn’t safe for you back in Haven. I will not be upset at you seeking refuge here, as it is exactly what I did. All of you are welcome in our home, and all of you are welcome to make this into your home too.”

            “Um, you do realize that this isn’t supposed to be temporary, right?”

            “I do not know the whole story about what is going on in Haven, but I am aware that you are here because you are not safe from either Gwyneth or my daughter, no matter who wins the war that is coming between them.” She shrugged and reached for another bell pepper. “It would have perhaps been wiser of her to have all three of you slain out of hand rather than give you to us, if only because undoubtedly you know things that Kozakura will come to regret you sharing with us. However, we appreciate the gift, for here you will make us stronger.”

            Elizabeth just stared at her in shock until Iain put his hand on Kasumi’s shoulder. “Are you scaring the poor lass, Kasumi?”

            Kasumi’s eyes twinkled as she looked up at him. “Perhaps a little, but I am only using the truth in order to do so.”

            “Please stop.” He dropped his hand and motioned towards the door. “Let’s go for a little walk, Elizabeth.”

            The Vampire obediently got to her feet and followed him down the hall and out into the very early morning. There were no lights on outside and the sky was clear and full of stars. “Are you going to tame me?”

            “Eventually, yes, but I think we both deserve much better than me just pulling down your shorts and bending you over a picnic table, at least for the first time.” With her night vision she could see his smile as he glanced back at her. “If that’s something you like, however, we can do it later.” He sat down at one of the picnic tables and patted the bench next to him. “Please sit.”

            Elizabeth settled down beside him. “If it’s not for sex, why are we out here?”

            “We’re still figuring out how we’re going to adapt things to your presence,” he said quietly. “We teach the children that it’s wrong to bite so, at least right now until they get used to your special needs, you won’t be feeding off of me at the breakfast table.”

            “Of course I won’t,” Elizabeth sounded surprised. “That would mean I sit next to you and those places are for Ninhursag and April or whoever your favorites are.”

            “Is that how it was at court?”

            “It wasn’t Branwyn and Bellona,” Elizabeth said. “His favorites were usually Branwyn and Poppet, and they normally sat beside him.”

            Iain shook his head slightly. “If I keep being surprised about how they were different from us, we’ll never get done here, but this explains why Kozakura was so shocked by our routines. Anyway, we thought about pokegirls, me and status at length and so we rotate who sits next to me to avoid that sort of favoritism. Everybody knows who is in command, after all.” He shifted to face her. “However, breakfast is a communal meal and everyone in the harem is expected to be there, including you. So we thought we’d prepare you a cup of blood beforehand so you can dine with us but that I’d feed you your real meal before breakfast until we figure out something better.” He held out his arm. “I hope you’re not insulted.”

            Elizabeth realized she was gaping at him and pulled her mouth shut. “I fed yesterday. I’m good for a few days.”

            “I can go a few days without eating too, as can anyone, since it won’t kill them,” Iain said calmly, as he dropped his arm back into his lap. “But that doesn’t mean you’re not hungry between meals. Additionally, you’re going to find that you lived a pretty sedentary life compared to here and you’ll start training today with April and Sofia. Just remember that today they will be testing for your limits so they can build a program that will break you down before building you back up as a clan combatant. I expect that I will be feeding you at least two times a day for the foreseeable future. When you don’t really need it, since it’s mostly water, you’ll either sweat it out or pee more. Still, I want you to start getting used to feeding regularly immediately, so it’s time for your breakfast. You don’t have to take much, but I do want you to at least drink some of my blood every twelve hours.” He chuckled at her expression. “You think this is strange? I never thought I’d be doing this.”


            “Ganieda would love to drink my blood. The most she ever gets is a taste, like when she claws my back up and licks her claws clean. My blood belongs in my body, you see. But you are my woman now and I take care of my women. You need blood to survive and so it’s my responsibility to feed you.” He smiled slightly. “I don’t begrudge you this, please understand that. But you’re likely to be the only woman who gets to drink my blood on a regular basis, unless I have to take Kerrik’s women in for some bizarre reason.”

            “But,” Elizabeth protested, “Ganieda outranks me.”

            “This is about need,” Iain answered firmly. “You need blood to survive. Ganieda does not, so she doesn’t get my blood. Ganieda gets to eat ice cream and chocolate and you can’t. Life is full of these little tradeoffs.”

            “So you don’t want to feed me?”

            He frowned. “Honest answer?”

            “Please. I’d like to hear the truth.”

            “I’ve never wanted to feed anyone my blood,” Iain said quietly. “It’s my blood and every time I give it up, like to some thirsty tree, it makes me weak and I don’t like being weak. Even now that I’m not human and I can lose a lot of blood and still somehow remain functional, I believe my blood belongs inside my body.” He shrugged. “But you need blood and you’re addicted to powerful blood. I have powerful blood, I’m your clan leader and, finally, at the very minimum I’m going to be your male. While I don’t want anyone drinking my blood, I want to give you what you need and, as best I can, what you want. So I will allow you to drink my blood from my body, instead of bleeding into a bucket with some anticoagulant in it and shoving it into the fridge for you to use, because you need my blood and you want to take it fresh.”

            Elizabeth eyed him curiously. “You say that I get what I need and as much of what I want as you can give me?”


            “I want to sit in your lap while I feed.” She smiled when he looked surprised. “You are right. Unless I run away, this is going to be my new home and you are going to be my male. I should start accepting that as quickly as I can. You’re offering me something precious and I want to help you to hopefully start enjoying it, even if you don’t really want to be doing this. Since I can’t give you what you want, I can at least try to make this something that, hopefully, one day you might look forward to doing with me, if only so you don’t one day stop feeding me and I have to switch to that bucket you mentioned. I already know what preserved blood tastes like and I’d like to avoid it if I can.”

            Iain frowned. “You and Shikarou haven’t ever been apart for that long.”

            The Vampire shook her head. “I think you’re confusing my previous harem with this one. Theodora has started filling me in on the situation I’m now in and this harem is much less traditional than Shikarou’s was. He allowed Branwyn to control access to him as one of her perks of rank. He could ignore it without anything happening if he wanted one of us without bothering to get her permission, but if we sought him out and she didn’t want us to, we would pay for it later.” She shrugged. “Especially a Vampire who wasn’t in any particularly special favor of the king. So I have had to drink Shikarou’s blood when it was preserved with those anticoagulants you mentioned. I don’t particularly like the taste and so I want to give you every incentive to want to make sure I get fresh blood, even if you don’t really want me biting you. While I would rather bite you if you’re my tamer, it’s much more worth it to me if you bleed into a cup if it’s easier for you so I don’t have to eat preserved blood again. Sitting in your lap won’t do that, but it will help us both to start thinking of each other sexually and later we can have sex while I’m feeding or I can blow you or we can fuck either beforehand or afterwards.” She flashed a quick smile. “And if I can get you to associate feeding with something you do like doing with me, you might come to like feeding me.”

            Iain chuckled. “I see why Branwyn worked to keep you away from Shikarou. She wouldn’t have wanted someone as smart as you are around him all the time.”

            “From what I experienced, she didn’t want someone as smart as me around him much at all,” Elizabeth said with a hint of bitterness in her voice. “Will Ninhursag be that way too?”

            “She will not. She’s confident that nothing can change the love we have for each other.”

            “Please don’t think this is out of line, but I’ll believe that when I’ve seen it for a couple of years.”

            “And that just proves you’re smart.” Iain slid back on the bench and turned to sit astride it. “Now, I believe a pretty woman is supposed to be getting into my lap, isn’t she?” Elizabeth’s eyes lit up and she nodded. “Now, I think for today you should sit sidesaddle. I don’t think we’re ready for you to straddle my waist.”

            Elizabeth obediently slid into his lap and turned so she was sitting sideways on his left side. “I know you’re left handed so you can give me your right.”

            “I appreciate that.” Iain offered her his wrist.

            “Are you going to bleed for me again?”

            “It’s easier than you worrying at my arm because the wound closes quickly.”

            She nodded. “True. What about children, if they’re Vampires too?”

            “Once they’re weaned they get to drink human blood. I’m not going to be their male, so they’d better get used to human blood from the beginning.”

            “I’m glad you’ve already thought about it.” She pressed her mouth against his wrist and tapped the inside of his elbow.

            “Blood in three, two, one, now.”

            Elizabeth made a contented noise as she swallowed. Finally she tapped the inside of his elbow again and licked his wrist clean when the blood stopped. “That was much better,” she said as she lifted her head. “I will still need to bite you from time to time so I don’t forget how to do it without hurting you.”

            “We’ll work something out. You took more than I thought you would.”

            She smiled. “I drank more than I thought I would too. Your blood is delicious.” Her eyes dimmed. “Shikarou’s was delicious too, but there’s no way to compare the two flavors.”

            “It wouldn’t do you any good to try to explain it since I’ve never drank Shikarou’s blood,” Iain said dryly.

            Elizabeth giggled. “That’s true enough.” She sighed. “I miss them.” Her eyes came up to meet his. “That’s all right, isn’t it?”

            “I miss everyone I’ve lost,” Iain said quietly.

            “Is it wrong that I only miss some of them?”

            Iain chuckled. “That just means you’re human. I wouldn’t miss the ones that treated you badly if I were you either.” He cocked his head curiously. “What about Bellona and Candace?”

            “I don’t think you’re supposed to be asking me that question.”

            “I’m not a nice person,” Iain smiled thinly. “And you’re probably not supposed to answer it, but I can ask whatever I want.”

            She shrugged. “Candace ignored me unless I needed to see a healer. And I wasn’t a threat to Bellona, so she didn’t have much to do with me. She and Candace both were in Shikarou’s circle of favorites. I wasn’t. I wasn’t mistreated, for the most part, especially after I became pregnant. I just wasn’t needed and, after we stopped battling regularly, I was shoved into the background.” She cocked her head, watching him. “I’ll be a good battler for you, if you’ll let me.”

            “You’ve been here on visits and you know we all fight.”

            “I do.”

            “You’re part of that we now.”

            Elizabeth looked surprised. “Oh. I hadn’t realized that yet.” She smiled suddenly and wriggled slightly on his lap. “I feel something that tells me this wasn’t too painful for you.”

            “No, it wasn’t.” Iain stood, holding her and gently let her legs drop until she could stand. “It’s understandable that you didn’t realize what joining us meant, but then you’ve had a lot of badness happen to you and now this. Now, you go on ahead and see if Kasumi needs help setting the table. I’ll be along in just a minute.”

            “Ok.” She slipped inside.

            Heather appeared out of the darkness, followed by Zareen. “You wanted to see us,” the Elfqueen asked.

            “Thanks for staying unobtrusive.”

            Heather smiled warmly. “You’re welcome. Is she a pokewoman?”

            “If she’s not, she’s pretty close.”

            “Then why is she so fucking young?”

            “Different place, different people,” Iain replied. “She might not have been allowed to have much responsibility.”

            “April’s going to eat her alive.”

            “She’s a quick study. She’ll be fine.”

            “I hope you’re right,” Heather said. “Are you headed inside?”


            “Good, I need to check in with Pandora.” She opened the door. “After you.”

            Iain glanced back at Zareen, and she grinned before shoving him though the doorway.


            Iain slowly picked his way through the wreckage, checking frequently to make sure that Lorena was still with him. Thanks to the efforts of the firefighters, both the ships and the people afterwards, both human and pokegirl, a lot of the wood that had once been structures was badly burned but still present. However, none of the buildings that had stood near ground zero were recognizable and, even though he’d been here before, Iain was using GPS coordinates sent by Theodora and an overlay of what the place had looked like before the attack to identify where they were. “We’re here.”

            Hypatia grabbed Lorena’s arm to keep her from tripping on some pipe sticking out of the ground as her ears went flat. “This is Melanie’s? How can you tell?” She carefully led Lorena over to where he was standing.

            Iain pointed at a specific pile of rubble. It looked like shattered bricks if one looked closely enough. “That’s the fireplace that was in the dining room.” He pointed at another piece of wreckage, this one a twisted piece of partially melted and stained metal. “That’s the remains of the storage unit that was in the kitchen. It isn’t where it belongs, it should be over there. We’re standing in the middle of the dining room.” And probably in the middle of the ashes of his dead, but Iain didn’t want to point that out. Pandora looked unhappy enough already and April’s expression suggested that she was thinking something along the same lines he was.

            Lorena sighed. “I don’t know what I was thinking when I insisted you bring me here. Rebuilding is going to be a huge undertaking.”

            “The people need to see their President taking an interest in what happened,” Iain said. “And the mess will get cleaned up starting next Tuesday.”

            Lorena looked at him. “Oh?”

            “Buck hired me to clean his property and deliver supplies and manpower to rebuild his store. Lucifer and I discussed it and we refunded his money, at least for the cleanup. We’ll be donating the time and machinery to get rid of all the rubble and people agreed that waiting until then would give them time to look for anything they might want to rescue before we dug it all up and turn it into something useful.” The Texas sun was brutally pounding down on them from a cloudless sky and Iain handed Lorena his water bottle. “We’ll use the same equipment we used to clear the ground before building Shield, Stile and Thistle, so it’ll go pretty quickly. It’s designed for radiological cleanup work so we can get rid of the contaminated soil and debris with it too. We’ve also contracted with some of the lumber mills across Texas to deliver, for free, building material to a central holding area for sale. We move it so they have access to the Austin customer base when they sell it. Lucy’s only stipulation is that they can’t mark up the price over what they were charging last week. They’re free to lower the price, but if they try to gouge people, then that will void our agreement with them and they won’t get any more free deliveries while their competitors will.”

            “It’s amazing that the damage only extends for a few kilometers,” Lorena said quietly. “I’m sorry that your people had to be in the blast zone, but I’m glad more people weren’t killed.”

            Iain glanced at her. “You do realize that I’d cheerfully kill all of the survivors in this town with my bare hands if it would bring my family back.”

            Pandora frowned at his back but didn’t say anything as Lorena nodded. “I can understand you feeling that way, Iain.” She shook her head. “Are you going to rebuild?”

            “There’s no reason to. Melanie was here when it happened and nobody else wants to run a restaurant. I’m not going to sell the property, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.”

            Lorena sighed. “I’ve heard some of your family talking about how you could bring them back to life. I guess I hoped they were telling the truth.”

            “They probably don’t know exactly what they’re talking about,” Pandora said grimly. “It is possible for Iain to get them, but there are rules as to how that process works, thanks to the Powers that run the lands of the dead.”

            April frowned. “I didn’t know that.”

            “It wasn’t an issue before now,” Pandora looked at Iain. “Can I explain?”

            Iain didn’t really want to have this conversation, but it needed said. “Sure.”

            “When someone is killed and there is no body to use for raising from the dead, which is difficult enough, a necromancer can still go to the Lands of the Dead to get someone that he or she knows is there. But there are conditions. Children under the age of six cannot be brought back. Their souls go to the head of the line for reincarnation because the soul of a child is considered to still be new compared to the souls of adults. As for the others, Iain cannot retrieve them for a year and a day after their death, because there was no body. And, when he does, he has to find them, they have to be willing to come back and they are unlikely to stay in one place for long.”

            April frowned. “That wasn’t the rule for Kelvin and his body was obliterated.”

            “That’s because Iain had to cross universes to retrieve Kelvin. The time differential between the two universes and then crossing universes confused the situation and apparently the powers in that universe were satisfied the return requirement had been met, allowing Kelvin to return immediately. Kelvin’s women were just fortunate that very little time had passed and Kelvin hadn’t gone far after he was killed.”

            Lorena frowned. “How do you know this?”

            “I was in the Lands of the Dead when I met Iain. Yes, that means I was dead. As a Celestial and an Infernal, I was recruited by the Powers to work for them for a while.” She looked at April. “If there is a body it’s different. Iain could use that to immediately track down the soul and return it to either the original body or the clones we have on the Theodora.” Her purple eyes glanced at Iain. “But there wasn’t, so he’ll have to wait that year and a day that I mentioned before. And in a year and a day, many of the dead will have moved on to their final destinations. The Lands of the Dead are a way station, not a destination, and the dead know that.”

            “Why didn’t you move on,” April asked.

            “I was too scared to,” Pandora replied. “Our dead will wait for a while, but there are recruiters from the destinations who will seek them out to extol the virtues of moving on and some will listen to them.”

            “The hard part is finding the ones who don’t move on,” Iain said quietly. “It took Scheherazade to find Irena.”

            “Iain’s wrong,” Pandora said. “The hardest part is that there is no way to know who moves on and who does not, so Iain will have no idea of who he should be focusing his efforts on locating.”

            Iain sighed. “If they hadn’t been turned to ash things would be different, but they were. If I’d known then what I know now, I could have gotten Irena, Hathor, Montsho and Scheherazade the day after they’d died, although we didn’t have new bodies for them.”

            “Can you look for them now before they get far from the place where they died,” Lorena asked. “So they’ll know to wait for you.”

            “I already went there to see if I could find anyone,” Iain said grimly. “The region for this Earth received several thousand new arrivals on top of the normal cycle of deaths, and all at the same time thanks to the nuclear bombs going off simultaneously. The new souls were shunted all over the region and it’s not a mirror image of this world, so I don’t know where they went. I couldn’t find anyone I knew. I’ll keep looking when I can, but I don’t know if I’ll ever see any of them again this side of death. We presume they’re gone forever and continue on as best we can, but as soon as I can I’ll start looking for our people.” He checked the time with his twee before addressing Lorena. “We need to get moving if you want to change out of the contaminated clothes you’re wearing now before the press conference.” Everyone was wearing the long pants and boots of radiological control suits along with dust masks and gloves but not the tops since the contamination was only on the ground and a light rain the day before kept there from being much dust.

            Lorena fell in behind him as they walked. “If things are better than we expected, can we go home yet?”

            Iain glanced back at her. “Didn’t you ask Garret that?”

            “I didn’t like his answer.”

            Hypatia chuckled. “She only wants to hear that it’s clear to go home, Iain.”

            “Your place got raided by someone not half a day after we evacuated you,” Pandora said. “You saw the video Theodora recorded. They did a pretty good job of searching for places where you could have been hiding, too. They were most likely Indigo or Sunshine agents and they brought pokegirls with them that would have easily neutralized Hypatia and your other girls. It was obvious you’ve been reconnoitered and recently.”

            “I don’t like the fact that we didn’t track them coming onto your property,” Iain said quietly, “and we didn’t track them leaving. An entire team that can teleport suggests a decent amount of training and it tells me that you’re still not safe there without a lot more security that you have, so far, refused. Garrett agrees, which is why he hasn’t authorized me to release you to return to the dairy yet.”

            “You wouldn’t let that keep you out of your home,” Lorena noted acidly.

            “That’s true, but it’s not the same thing and you know it. Besides, I’m not refusing more security. I still have stuff hidden that you’ll never know about unless it has to be used in front of you. And I’m not the President of Texas,” Iain pointed out. “You volunteered to be a target when you ran for election and then reelection. Guess what, it worked and you’re a target. And you’re safer at our place. Hell, if it wasn’t for us, Garret probably would have you in hiding and he wouldn’t have made allowances for you to keep milking your girls and for that milk to continue to be delivered to your customers.”

            “I know what you’re doing with my girls,” Lorena said.

            “They came to me and asked to learn how to defend their home,” Iain stopped and turned to face her. “You should be proud they love you and Aaron so much.”

            “You should be happy we like you enough that I was willing to give them small arms training,” April noted.

            Lorena sighed. “I’m sorry if I’m being a bitch. This,” she waved a hand around them, “should never have happened. I’m angry that they used terrorism on us and I’m taking it out on the people around me.” She reached up and used her forearm to wipe sweat from her eyes. “Thank you for teaching my girls proper fire discipline.” She sighed. “But grenades?”

            “Bullets will only piss off some pokegirls,” Hypatia noted. “And I can’t be everywhere at once. That means automatic rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and rocket launchers. You should train on everything too.” Her ears flicked. “And even then, the firepower we can muster may not be enough for everything we might face. Or Theodora could put in some drones to help, like she keeps asking you to allow. I’d tell her yes. Me and the girls won’t stop a lot of things that are trying to kill us.”

            Lorena made a grumbling noise. “Then we might as well just move into the Sabine house, join Grey clan and live with them.”

            “Aaron might let you right now,” Hypatia said with a grin. “He might like the break.”  She winked at April. “Ever since she came out of menopause her sex drive has gone through the roof. Even with us being with Lorena too, poor Aaron’s having trouble keeping it up, I mean keeping up with all of our demands on his time.”

            April giggled. “Is that why you’re ordering so much Stamina XXX and electrolyte drinks?”

            Hypatia nodded. “Yes, and on top of that you have the girls fighting to feed him as much milk as he’ll take.” She grinned again. “Of course, they want something in return.”

            April grinned back. “Of course. We have to replenish our fluids too.” She looked at Pandora. “We should teleport the rest of the way to the decontamination station. I can carry Hypatia and Lorena.”

            “Heather will be here in ten seconds,” Pandora said. “She’ll carry Hypatia. I have a bad feeling about something and, as long as I do, nobody gets overloaded.”

            April nodded, as her eyes swept their surroundings. “Give me Lynn and Scheherazade for five days or so and I’ll grind them through the rush course in security. Then they can help with the rotation while still finishing their training. In any case it won’t take more than two weeks.”

            Pandora eyed her curiously. “What’s the survival rate of your rush course?”

            “I just designed it and haven’t given it to anyone yet,” April said with a smirk, “so right now, nobody has had to be resuscitated or died during it.”

            “I want you to give this course to Marguerite too,” Pandora said.

            “No. You don’t get her permanently in the guard so she can go through normal training.”

            Pandora’s eyes narrowed. “Why not?”

            “She’s been picked for other things. Ninhursag requested it and Iain signed off.”

            Pandora looked at Iain, who nodded. “She’s getting Allison’s job. She can train as a backup, like Allison did, but she’s going to be rather busy for a while.”

            “I want her.”

            “I’ll let her know she’s in demand so she can preen, but tough,” Iain’s tone brooked no argument. “Someone has to take Allison’s position and she’ll do a good job with it.”

            “I thought you’d give that job to Kasserine, your newest wife.” The slight stress on the last word was unmistakable.

            “She gets Silver’s job working with April.”

            Pandora blinked and April gave her a sweet smile. “We all know that working with me and Sofia is much more demanding than working with Ninhursag. Kasserine and Ava still have a lot they need to learn about the pokegirls around them. But I can assure you that when Marguerite is tired of her job, Kasserine will be ready to step into it.”

            Heather appeared. “Transport and security reporting.”

            “You’ve got Hypatia,” Iain said as he shook his head. “Sorry about the politics, Lorena.”

            Lorena flashed him a smile. “It’s nice to see you’re just as human as the rest of us are, what with the infighting and everything.”

            “Yeah,” Iain said with a smile. “We’re about as normal as anything you can imagine.” He took Pandora’s hand. “Let’s go.” Seconds later the area was empty.


            Candace looked around as she entered the building. It was quiet and the room she was in didn’t give any clues as to what this place was. There was a desk and a desktop computer as well as a small table with chairs that would seat four. Other than the door she’d entered through, a pair of doors led out of the room, but both were closed and unmarked. “Hello?”

            She was so nervous that she jumped when Iain’s voice spoke in her head. I’ll be there in just a moment, Candace.

            True to his word, one of the other doors opened a minute later to reveal a smiling Iain. “Great, you’re just in time. Come with me.”

            He led her through a room with several stainless steel tables and racks of shelving with positional lighting scattered around. Tools were laid out in neat rows on the racks and, although she didn’t see many surgical tools, it reminded Candace of her days right after graduation working in morgues before she transferred to pokegirl centers. Iain didn’t slow and led her out the other side into another room, this one with a daybed and a playpen against one wall. On the other were stainless steel counters, most of which held carboys of a slowly bubbling caramel colored liquid. One of the carboys was set up in a contraption that had it tilted to forty five degrees with a tube coming out if it. Next to the carboy was a setup with a dozen dark glass bottles that to her experienced eye were a liter each.

            Iain waved a hand towards the daybed as he headed for the carboys. “Make yourself comfortable.”

            Candace looked from the bed back to him, back at the bed and then back at him as he busied himself at the contraption. Her eyes narrowed and she folded her arms defiantly before sitting down on the bed facing him.

            Iain put a tablespoon of a white powder in each bottle and then began using the tubing to fill them from the carboy in the stand. “I do hope that April and Sofia weren’t too feisty yesterday during your induction testing.”

            Candace glared at his back for a moment. “I know nobody here thinks I’m a kami and says I’m still a pokegirl, but even if I am, I have never been ready to go at the drop of a hat and this isn’t doing anything to get me in the mood.”

            “Just a second, let me get this bottle topped off properly,” Iain muttered. He finished filling the bottle and moved it over to another machine. He pulled a lever and a cup came down over the mouth of the bottle, leaving a gleaming cap on the bottle when he let it go back up. He put the bottle in another rack and paused. “What?” He turned to look at Candace. “What you just said doesn’t make any sense.”

            Candace was still glaring at him. “You brought me in here, pointed me at the bed, told me to make myself ready for you and then ignored me. That doesn’t make me inclined to spread my legs for you.”

            Iain just looked at her blankly for a moment before she saw the light dawn in his eyes. “Ready? I told you to get comfortable. I’m sorry,” he said earnestly, “it took me a moment to realize what you were saying since I’ve never thought of that as a bed.”

            Candace raised her eyebrows. “If this isn’t a bed, what exactly is it, a kidney pie?”

            “No, it’s a bed, it’s just that it was never used as a bed.” Iain rubbed his face. “Sorry, that’s where the kids stayed since they got too big for the playpen. We never used it for sex or sleeping. We used the gazebo for naps and, sex,” he smiled fondly, “we had sex everywhere in the groves.”

            “Iain, where are we?”

            He chuckled. “This is the brewery and it was Joyce’s queendom. Sadly, she and our daughters died in Austin.” He glanced behind him. “But her projects remained and nobody except me was interested in doing anything with them except drinking the product. I don’t really have time to devote to full time brewing, but I can finish the work she had already started. These were her ongoing experiments and this one needed bottled today, according to the notes she left. If I don’t get it done now, I won’t get another chance unless I give up my study time and I’ll have to dump the batch.”

            Candace frowned and unfolded her arms to lean back on the bed with her hands resting on the mattress and holding her up. “Why am I here then?”

            “I’m trying to get to know you,” Iain said simply. “I wanted to try and talk to you in an environment where you weren’t worried I was going to throw you on the ground and rape you.” He shook his head wryly as he moved to the next bottle. “And then I completely forgot there was a bed in here.” Suddenly he chuckled. “Joyce must have forgotten what it was too, or it would have been used for sex.” He glanced in her direction. “You in it is dangerous enough.”

            “Am I one of the ones that Shikarou should have sent around to distract you,” she asked curiously.

            “Were you allowed to read my stories?”

            “A few of them. The one about turning pokegirls into chow was frightening.” She shuddered. “It’s even more frightening since I know that Bowen’s Select is the name of a real pokegirl chow. It’s a premium blend and they won’t reveal the ingredients.”

            Iain nodded. “There is a reason that you were one of the first women I had Shikarou meet and why Devon had a couple of Nurse Joys too. I’d call you my kryptonite, but you wouldn’t know what that meant. However, what I will admit is that a fair skinned redhead with a smattering of freckles is a severe weakness of mine. Throw in a sexy Scottish accent and, if she’s around me, that woman should be forced to wear flashing red hazard lights and be covered in danger signs. Even the fact that your hair is deep pink instead of an actual red doesn’t make you any less lethal to me.”

            Candace was watching him closely. “I have never had the ability to detect lies, but I don’t think you lied to me at all when you said that. Is the reason I think that because what you said is the truth?”

            “It’s probably more truth than I should have revealed. I work very hard not to have favorites. It’s going to be harder with you around. You are trouble with a capital t.”

            She sat up. “Do you wonder if I’ll try to take advantage of your admission?”

            “No, I don’t wonder if you’ll try to take advantage of that admission. I wonder just how much you’re going to try and take advantage of that admission.”

            She laughed. “I’m going to take as much advantage of that as you’ll let me, of course.” She got up and came over to stand closely enough next to him that he could smell her shampoo. “But I think that’s a discussion for another time. Can I help you with what you’re doing?” He glanced at her curiously and she grinned. “You told me that because you hoped that my learning that I might have power over you would make me more confident and feel safer about being around you. Even though I know exactly what you did, it did work.”

            “Saw right through me, did you?”

            “I’m a lot older than you are, Iain, and I’m very probably older than any of your girls that don’t have longevity. I’ve continued my education during those years and psychiatry and psychology are very useful in dealing with tamers and people like my harem sisters and Shikarou.” She gave him a sidelong look. “I also appreciate you telling me that. I don’t know how hard it was for you to admit something like that to me, but I suspect it was harder than you wanted it to be. But for me, it means I have hope of being inside your bubble sooner than later.” She shrugged when he raised an eyebrow. “I would rather be back in Haven with my family, but they’re dead. I won’t stop loving Shikarou but you understand that, and I understand that if I stayed in Haven then someone was going to kill me. Is that true?”

            “Probably. Gwyneth would want you out of the way so you couldn’t rally people against her and Kozakura wouldn’t have many choices when you defied her over something.”

            Candace shook her head. “If Kozakura was a human or a pokegirl I’d say she was in dire need of psychiatric help, but she is her father’s daughter and human mental standards can’t be applied to her.” She shrugged. “Not that pokegirls are really considered human.”

            “We’re trying to promote the idea that pokegirls are just as human as,” he paused, “as other humans.”

            “Were you going to say as human as you are?” He nodded. “You are human, Iain.”

            He held out his hand and Candace’s eyes went wide as a bracelet of black and silver scales flowed from his wrist up his arm to disappear inside the sleeve of his shirt. “I can look human. I’m not.”

            “I didn’t believe Bellona when she told me you’d become a dragon,” the Nurse Joy said quietly. She took his hand and ran fingers down the skin of his arm. “I thought she was having a go at me or trying to make me feel you were more like Shikarou than I’d thought.” Her eyes met his. “You claimed you were a dragon, but anyone can claim anything. Are you really a dragon?”

            “Maybe in a year or two you can tell me.”

            “You were born human. You think like more like a human than anything else, Iain.” When he merely raised an eyebrow she flashed that grin again. “Even a sociopath is human, Iain. They’re just outside the currently accepted norm of social behavior. What you do with it defines whether or not you are a monster.”

            “I don’t need another woman trying to be my conscience, Candace.”

            “I won’t. What I’d like to do, if you’ll let me, is to help you to understand more about who you are and how you can accept what you like about yourself. If you don’t like some aspect of what makes up Iain Grey, then we’ll explore what your options are.”

            Iain frowned. “Can you be my psychiatrist, my woman, my lover and maybe my wife, all at the same time?”

            She frowned. “Wife? I thought you didn’t call your harem members your wives like Devon does.”

            “I don’t. I call the women I’ve married my wives. Granted, some of them didn’t want any sort of ceremony, but Lucifer married me and Eve and April and I were married by a priest, in different ceremonies, of course. If you and I marry, we’ll have something similar, if you’d like.”

            “Oh,” she said in a small voice. “I was raised Church of Scotland but I’m not very religious. I haven’t been to church in years, though, not since I joined Shikarou’s harem.”

            “Do you want to start going back to church?”

            “Not really,” she admitted. “Do I really have to train with the combat teams? I’m not a fighter.”

            “Everybody works, everybody fights.”

            Candace frowned. “What does that mean?”

            Iain chuckled. “Sorry, I was quoting a novel that probably nobody here has read called Starship Troopers. There are a few things here that are not negotiable. You will train with the combat teams and you will deploy with them, just like everyone else does.” He looked at her. “Now come stand here. You’ll keep the hose inside the bottle and tell me to stop the flow when the level is a centimeter or less from the top of the bottle. I’ve already primed each bottle to set up for the carbonation so they don’t need more sugar. The end of the tubing has to remain sterile, so don’t touch it below the red band of tape and try not to touch the mouth of the bottle. The biggest problem that can happen when racking is cross contamination. Think a surgical person like yourself can keep from doing that?”

            Candace smiled. “I not only can, I can use a purification technique I know in order to sterilize everything when I’m done.”

            “That won’t kill the yeast, will it?”

            “I’ll focus the spell on the glass of the bottle and the cap, so it won’t change anything already in the beer. I’ll also sterilize each one before I siphon the beer into them.”

            Iain glanced at her. “Have you done this before?”

            She gave him a broad smile. “There might have been an illegal and unauthorized beer manufacturing ring at my medical school while I was there, but nobody ever suspected that I might be involved.”

            Iain just chuckled and turned back to the carboy. “Tell me when you’re ready for me to start the flow.” He looked up. “Oh, I’ve already told April to clear your schedule three days from now.”

            Candace gave him a puzzled look. “Is that when you’re taming me?”

            “I think we’ll let that happen when you decide you’re ready,” Iain said. “But in three days you and I are making a quick trip to Haven.”

            “Um, didn’t you just say that everyone there wants to kill me?”

            “Well, I did, but in two days Gwyneth will cease to be an issue. But the reason we’re going there in three days is because that’s when Kerrik is supposed to get back.” He sighed when she just looked confused. “I take it nobody told you. Bellona was right. Stephen is still the heir. Shikarou never formally changed the succession.”

            “Kozakura is queen now.”

            “She’s just keeping the throne warm and hoping to deal with Gwyneth before Stephen gets back. Kerrik will leave in two days to go bring Stephen here. I mean to Haven. I thought you’d like to see him again.”

            Candace’s eyes lit up. “I would love to see my son.” She frowned. “You said Gwyneth would cease to be a problem. How?”

            “Kozakura hired us to remove Gwyneth before Stephen returns home.”

            “You can get to Gwyneth?”

            “At one time we had plans in place to get our hands on everyone in the royal family in Haven,” Iain said quietly. “Just in case they started some shenanigans that we didn’t like. There were some steps taken later to make it harder for us to do that, but apparently Gwyneth didn’t believe we could penetrate her court and didn’t change anything about her security setup.”

            “Shikarou thought he’d removed your ability to infiltrate us,” Candace said. “Bellona and Selene updated our security protocols so you couldn’t.”

            “Yes, he did think that.” Iain shrugged. “We told him about how we’d infiltrated his security net and the equipment we added to take down Selene if we needed to. I didn’t say anything about the other equipment we prepositioned.”

            “Are you always this sneaky?”

            Iain shrugged. “I thought it was a good idea until recently to never reveal all of our capabilities.”

            “What changed?”

            “The leagues thought they could get away with murdering my family because I didn’t let them see just how big a stick I have.”

            “I don’t think anything would have stopped them.” Candace’s face was somber when he looked surprised. “Talk to Bellona. We used to try to talk over coffee or tea at least once a day. She had seen signs that the leagues were starting to have more problems with internal uprisings and a few outright rebellions because these new groups thought they had a chance since the leagues couldn’t put down the groups you, Shikarou and Kerrik were supporting. They had to at least try to kill everyone involved.”

            “Sounds like your human intelligence network is better than the nascent one we have.”

            Candace shrugged. “I don’t know anything about our intelligence agencies. I only handled the medical side of things.”

            Iain smiled amusedly. “Haven’s.”

            She frowned. “What?”

            “You don’t know anything about Haven’s intelligence agencies. We are not Haven and you are not part of the kingdom anymore. Yes, it’ll take a while for that to sink in, but we need to start the mental transition into being a Grey immediately.”

            Candace looked sadly at him for a moment before sighing. “You’re right. Will you ever give me away like Kozakura did?”

            “No.” She looked surprised at the firmness of his tone. “First of all, I don’t do slavery, Candace. I occasionally take prisoners who stay in the brig. I might do some restricted guests who gave me their parole and are therefore allowed to wander about but not leave for specific reasons, but I don’t do slavery. Second, it doesn’t matter. In Texas as well as under clan law, you are free. You might bend your will to the authority figures in the clan, but you are free to leave any time you decide you want to. When I die, if you outlive me, that won’t change, and the new Grey cannot give you away either.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “On a more personal level, I don’t want you to leave.”

            “You don’t?”

            “For the clan, you are a powerful and knowledgeable healer. You’re also a proven mother. You make us stronger. For me, I want to see you sprawled across my bed, with your hair spilling over my pillows and your face flushed from orgasms and our lovemaking.”

            Candace was looking into his eyes. “You mean that.”

            “I mean that very sincerely.”

            A small smile appeared on her face. “I don’t flush very easily. It would take a lot of work on your part.”

            Iain smiled back at her. “I am willing to accept that challenge.”

            “How much time did you allocate to spend talking with me today?”

            “A couple of hours, why?”

            Candace’s smile widened. “Because I suddenly think it’s a shame that daybed was never used for its intended purpose and we won’t have time to correct the situation when we get done bottling.”

            Iain looked at the carboy. “Then we’re finished.”

            Candace’s smile vanished. “No, Iain, this is part of the memory of one of your dead and you were obviously very fond of her.”

            Iain took her hands. “Candace, that’s where you’re wrong. I love Joyce, but this beer is not part of the memory that she has become. Joyce and our girls will live in my heart forever. This,” he waved a hand around the room, “this is me going through the motions because she’s gone. And it’s because I hate waste. But later dumping this batch so I can instead spend time making love with you is not waste and Joyce would be the first person to smack me on the back of the head and explain that to me using small words if she had to.” His hands tightened on hers. “Now if you’re trying to let me know that later you want to use the daybed and right now you still don’t want to, we can go back to bottling the beer.”

            “You called it making love. You don’t call it taming?”

            Iain chuckled. “I don’t like that word. Ferals get awakened. Depending on the phrasing they like used, women get loved, fucked, screwed, banged, bedded and laid. I like my women spirited and I’m not going to change, so nobody gets tamed.”

            “Have you fucked Bellona or Elizabeth?”

            “I have not.”


            “Yes, Candace, I do intend to bed them both.”

            Her eyes peered into his again. “I will be first?”

            Iain didn’t miss the tense on the verb. “Yes.”

            She tugged him towards the daybed. “I was the first pokegirl that Shikarou ever tamed. But I was never first for anything else in his life. Irena told me that you would never let anyone else overshadow me in your life. Tell me that she’s right.”

            “If you ever feel I might be neglecting you, I want you to speak up,” Iain said. “And I will do my damnedest to make sure you never feel neglected. You may feel I don’t spend as much time with you as I should, but you should never feel that you’re neglected or ignored. If you do, tell me, tell April, tell Ninhursag and tell Theodora.”

            Candace slipped her hands under his shirt and lifted it over his head to toss to the side. “I will,” she said. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck, kissed him and shoved him and her back onto the bed.


Iain Grey



Ninhursag Grey - Elfqueen & maharani

April Grey - Duelist & beta

Dominique Grey - Blessed Archmage

Pandora - Fiendish Archangel

Zareen - Nightmare

Sofia - Ria

Vanessa – Evangelion

Lucifer – Megami Sama

Ganieda – Snugglebunny Splice

Heather - Elfqueen

Marguerite – Unicorn

Scheherazade – Dread Wolf

Irena – Sanctuary Goth

Lynn – Dire Wolf

Rosemary – Mistoffeles


Outer Clan

Golden Cloud – equine unicorn

Arianrhod -Fey Goblin Female


Satellite Clan

            74 male Goblins

            89 female Goblins


Queendom / Outer Clan

73 Elves

Dionne - Elfqueen

Adrianna - Elfqueen

Heltu - Wet Queen

14 Wet Elves


Dead Harem

Dead Harem (22)

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 analog of Iain

Alabaster – Dragoness (white)

Onyx – Dragoness (black)

Lapis – Dragoness (blue)

Garnet – Dragoness (red)

Iolite – Dragoness (purple)

Malachite – Dragoness (green with white swirls)

Dabria – Dark Queen

Omisha – Demoness


Mother                                    Children



                                    Myrna (Age 4)



                                    Dorothy: Duelist (Age 3)

                                    Meara: Duelist

                                    Regan: Duelist


                                    Olivia: Megami Sama (Age 6)

                                    Seraphina: Megami Sama

                                    Miram: Angel (Age 5)



                                    Caltha: Nightmare (Age 0)

                                    Kim:  Nightmare

                                    Xanthe: Nightmare

                                    Epona: Nightmare

                                    Philippa: Nightmare

                                    Nott: Nightmare

                                    Nyx: Nightmare



                                    Anna: Ria

                                    Esmerelda: Ria


Monica Chambers

                                    James: Jamie Harris kid (Age 2)