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Loose Threads

One Hundred Nineteen

Year One Hundred and Thirty One


            Queen Helesatra Vyshaan stepped into her quarters and looked back at the courtier following her. “I wish to be alone.”

            The guard standing outside her door cleared her throat. “Your Majesty, the Royal Consort is here.”

            “Then let me set things up for the two of you,” the courtier said as she tried to push past her queen.

            Helsatra stopped the courtier by putting her hand on the young woman’s arm. “Then we wish to be alone.”

            The courtier obviously wasn’t happy but nodded obediently. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

            Helesatra closed the door and sniffed the air as her wings and other diabolic traits vanished. She smiled and followed Iain’s scent into the royal suite.

            She found him in the library, writing in a book. “If I asked you nicely,” she said as she pulled a chair around to sit next to him, “would you install a bar on the door?

            He didn’t look up from his writing. “If I did, they’d remove it the next time the room was empty.”

            Helesatra leaned closer to try and read what he was writing. “Are you scribing a new spell?”

            Iain chuckled. “If only. These are my notes on the unit I inspected today, and I want to get them down while they’re still fresh.”

            “I understood that with your twee, such impressions would always remain fresh.”

            “That’s true, but I want to get this written down while I still feel like writing it. And if I let this pile up, I’ll never get it down before I start saying ‘see unit four since they’re equally horrid’.” He put the pen back in a pot and slid it to the side to dry. “I drew a bath. I just have to reheat it for you.”

            “The Lady Dancer bless you even more than she has,” Helesatra said with a smile. “Will you bathe with me?”

            “Same rules?”

            She nodded. “Yes, for a little while longer, if you would.”

            “I’ll bathe with you.”

            “Thank you.” She got up and headed for the bath.

            Iain followed. He looked at her dress and frowned, then shrugged.

            The bath was big enough for a dozen people and the furnishings were expensive porcelain and wood. Chairs and dressers were strategically placed throughout the bath and a glass mirror lined one wall. Iain placed his palm against the surface of the bath. A second later the water began to steam. “Soup’s ready.”

            “I like my bath when it is very hot.” Helesatra settled down on one of the chairs and removed her boots. “Would you unlace my dress?”

            “I’d be glad to.” She stood and turned to present her back to him. Immediately Iain began removing the laces that ran down the back of her dress. “Can I ask an odd question?”

            Helesatra was removing her crown. “Of course.”

            “This dress is designed for you to be in your natural form. I’ve been told that you hold court in your natural form and, yet, every time I see you, you’ve shifted back to looking like a pure blood sun elf.” He slid the dress off her shoulders and knelt so she could step out of it. “Why?” He stood and carefully hung the dress from a hook.

            Helesatra turned to face him. “I know you don’t love me yet, Iain. I believe you when you say that you will, and I want that to happen as quickly as possible. To help that, I want to be as attractive as possible when you’re here so you’ll want me.”

            Iain chuckled. “I already want you.” He held out his hand and she took it to step into the bath. “I didn’t realize you thought you weren’t pretty in your natural state.”

            Helesatra leaned back and watched him as he undressed. “I am ugly,” she said simply. “I want my nobles to see me as I am because they will fear me more. I don’t want you to fear me, Iain.”

            Iain sat down in the bath near her and held still as she slid against him. “I don’t. I won’t. I actually think your true form is neat and rather attractive. However, just like when I agreed to your rules, I accept that you don’t and you don’t want me to see it. Right now, I accept that I can’t initiate contact with you. Do I agree with it?” He shrugged. “That doesn’t matter since I accept it.”

            “Do you think my reasoning is absurd?”

            “Helesatra, I don’t know what your reasoning is in this. You haven’t told me.”

            She blinked and looked up at him. “You’re right. I hadn’t realized that.” She ducked her head underwater and came up as she reached for the soap. “I’m sorry I hadn’t,” she smiled, “read you in as to my reasoning for the wait before we did anything physical.” She began washing her hair. “When Lady Ygerna brought me back to life, I had been undead for over a century. As you’d hinted before, dying and becoming one of your undead harem was easy when compared to being undead and then returning to life. The simplest things became incredibly difficult.”

            She ducked her head underwater again to rinse. “I had forgotten so much about being alive, like having to eat and sleep. Both were much more difficult for me than I had expected.” She glanced at him. “I had a problem learning to swallow. Granted, at least part of that was because I had to relearn chewing. I bit myself so many times while I was learning that.” She colored slightly. “I spent so many days in seclusion when I came back to life because I couldn’t bear the shame of anyone, especially not you, seeing me unable to control my body. The first time I had a bowel movement, I didn’t recognize the warning signs my body was sending me and I, like a newborn infant, shat myself. As an adult, I learn faster than an infant does and it was only the once, but the idea that you or someone like Zilvra might see me lose control like that was horrifying.”

            She sighed and leaned against him. “I know this is difficult for you but I’m still discovering things about my body that I once knew and had forgotten. And the worst for you is that I desperately crave the touch of another, but not sexually, at least not yet.”

            “I haven’t complained.”

            “No, but I spent a century riding you, Iain. Your body has few secrets from your undead harem.” She glanced at him again. “You have few secrets from your undead harem. Only the things you never articulate, either with your mouth or with your mind, are kept from us. Them. I know without seeing it that you are hard. I know that you have been hard since my skin touched yours, and probably even before, when I undressed in front of you.”

            “True. But you need this. It is a need, and so I give it to you.”

            “And regardless of the cost since we both know that if, at this point in time, you took a lover here it would be disastrous for me as queen.”

            “It would definitely hinder your attempts to absorb and control the power base the emperor left.”

            Helesatra chuckled. “And you are so considerate of me, even knowing to call him by the vague title of emperor because I abhor his name and place in my lineage just as much as Eirian and the other Dragonesses hate to hear the name of the one who killed them. I am very glad to be inside your bubble.”

            “I’m glad you are too.”

            She took a washcloth and began scrubbing down her body. “I wish court didn’t take so much of my time.”

            “So don’t let it.”

            “They expect it,” she said. “The emperor held court almost every day.”

            “Helesatra, do you know why I only hold court once every other week?”

            “It’s because the clan is much more efficient and able to govern itself than my subjects are.”

            “You’re wrong. In this, the clan isn’t any more efficient than Vyshaan is.”

            She frowned and looked at him. “I am?”

            “Yes. The reason I hold court once every other week is simple. I do have some things that I have to adjudicate as the Grey. I also have things to adjudicate as a trained judge, but I don’t let the two spheres of responsibility overlap. Anyone trying to take a judicial meeting and make it political gets shut down immediately.”

            Helesatra smiled. “I remember that. If I ever have time to sit as a judge, I’ll do the same thing.”

            “People, in general, are self serving, lazy and arrogant. If you give them the opportunity to let someone else make the hard decisions for them, the vast majority of them will opt to give up that responsibility. If I hold court infrequently, only the people who feel that they have no other recourse but to seek a decision from me will come to me. The rest will solve their problems without me. But if I held court more often, many of those in the second group would bring their problems to me to solve for them.”

            “I don’t understand. Why would they let someone else make decisions for them?”

            “If someone makes a choice and the results are bad, they can only blame themselves for what’s happened. People would much rather blame someone else for bad decisions. It’s much nicer and easier to let someone else make the decisions that guide someone’s life.” He shifted slightly in the tub and she slid with him to maintain skin contact. “Morefin, your grandfather,” he ignored the flare of gold anger in her eyes, “liked having his subjects so dependent on him that they were paralyzed unless he made the decisions for them. Because of him, that philosophy permeated almost every level of society. His law that every noble had to have a home in the capital and spend much of their time close to him was part of that. It even applies to the circumstances of your birth.”

            She blinked at him. “It does?”

            “Your mother was his daughter and she had been raised with the idea of unthinking obedience. A quick check of the library here, in this very castle, two floors up and completely unguarded, showed that, in over two thirds of the documented cases of normal women having diabolic or demonic children, the mother did not survive the pregnancy. In thirty percent of the cases, neither did the child, even if the mother carried to term. Unless she was either suicidal or a fanatic, and my conversations with the people here who knew her well strongly suggest that she was neither, your mother just let Morefin decide, without any input from her, that she was going to have sex with a creature several times her size and with lots of sharp protrusions and conceive a child by it.” He turned to look at her. “Your grandfather, and possibly the rulers before him, turned the people of this land into a vast herd of sheep that just happens to look like elves.”

            She gave him a frightened look. “Am I one of them too?”

            “No, you’re not. It’s one of the reasons I am not complaining about your decision for us to be roommates instead of husband and wife. You made a decision and you’re sticking with it. The fact that my balls are a little blue once in a while is a small price to pay to watch you being an adult.” He flashed a smile. “But, you have to take a look at the things you’re doing and ask yourself if you want to perpetuate having a kingdom of sheep or not.”

            “I tried to do that in the beginning, Iain. The nobles told me that the kingdom would fall apart if I didn’t hold court so much.”

            Iain chuckled. “Yeah, I had that in the beginning too. Zartalymere loved having a tribe of kobolds at his beck and call and he made all of the hard decisions, like who was bad and needed to become a snack. He told them what ores to dig next and what caves needed carved and even what kind of jewelry to make for him. He ruled them so absolutely that the emperor would have been green with envy. They worshipped him as a god.”

            She frowned. “I’ve heard that saying before. Why is envy green?”

            Iain laughed. “It’s a saying that originated separately in all of the worlds the people I came here with were from. In each of them was a place called Greece, and it was filled with many different groups of people who collectively were called Greeks. Greeks believed that jealousy was caused by a surplus of bile and they believed that too much bile would give someone a greenish cast to their skin. For some reason, that idea persisted after Greece wasn’t that important and it entered the lexicon. Later writers, the best known being Chaucer and Shakespeare, associated being green with jealousy and envy. We now know that bile has nothing to do with being envious or jealous and it doesn’t turn you green, but the saying persists.”

            He closed his eyes for a moment. “After the tribe came into my service, there was a lot of pushback when I refused to continue what Zartalymere had done and make all of their decisions for them. I was lucky in that, in the end, kobolds are a lot like pokegirls and wanted me to be happy with them more than they wanted to be unhappy with me for making them do things they weren’t comfortable doing. I made them grow up from wyrmlings into adults and they are much better off for it. If I were to drop dead or vanish, the clan would still have a good chance of continuing to prosper, even with the upheaval that would happen. And since the kobolds were adult, when the dwarves showed up they had no choice but to grow up too since not only was I insisting they do so, but Quick Bite and the other kobolds were doing the same thing where I couldn’t see it.”

            “What about the drow?”

            “The drow had different issues, but they didn’t really have a chance. The clan assimilated them before they could start to cause problems and, now, we’re big enough that it shouldn’t ever be a large issue again, although absorbing Vyshaan is going to be a huge chunk to swallow. Still, I’m confident we can make them clan, and do it sooner than either one of us thinks is possible.” He grinned. “The fact that they’re mostly sheep will help with that.”

            Helesatra nodded. “I should work on making them clan as fast as I can.”

            “I’m more concerned that you don’t stress yourself so much that, when we do start having sex, it doesn’t make more problems with your pregnancy. We both know that holding court can be very stressful. And when it’s not stressful, it’s boring.” He smiled at her. “Is it important to make the Vyshaan grow up and join the world of adults? Well, a lot of the job is already done. The commoners had always had to make decisions. The problem is the nobles and some of the guilds. They did very well under the empire and they are not going to want to give that up. They don’t understand that we don’t want to take things away from them. What we want is for them to start doing things the way we want them to. Will they make less money and have less power? Yes. But they will still make a lot of money and have more power than we think they should. Ideally, we would whittle away that power over the course of time, but they may not let us and, at that point, they have to be crushed.”

            Helesatra put the washcloth and soap up. “I’m finished bathing. Are you going to bathe?”

            “I already did. I reeked of old sweat when I got here.” He rose and stepped out of the tub before turning and offering her his hand. She stood, took it and joined him.

            He handed her a towel and she looked at it. “Would you dry me?”

            Iain was drying himself. “I would love to, but I don’t think that would be a safe activity under the rules you’ve asked for.” Helesatra’s eyes flared gold for a heartbeat. “Didn’t like me telling you no on that?”

            “I did not.” She began drying herself. “I like it when you touch me.”

            “Good. We just need to get you to want me to touch you a lot more than you want me to right now.” He glanced at her. “And giving you everything you want from me when you want it isn’t going to do that.”

            She looked surprised. “It isn’t?”

            “If you want for nothing in safe contact, you won’t ever wonder what it might be like with contact that’s not quite so safe or not safe at all.” Iain gave her a hungry look that made her shiver. “If you don’t ever wonder about that, eventually the nobles are going to wonder if one of us is infertile because there will be no children.”

            Helesatra paused drying. “I suddenly want to run far away from you and, at the same time, throw myself at you.”

            “Ignore that first feeling but pay close attention to the second feeling.”

            She went back to drying. “I will try to. I was told by a fortune teller once, before I met Eirian and the others, that I would never have children.”

            “Fortune tellers are, for the most part, crap. Most of what they say is crap too. You are slightly more fertile than average for an elf woman. There is one small difficulty, but it’s a relatively easy one to solve.”

            “What is that?”

            “Your internal body temperature is around a hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, normal sperm loses motility and dies quickly.”

            “Is your seed proof against that?” Iain nodded. “That is good. Perhaps the fortune teller didn’t see your presence in my life.”

            “It could be that she saw what would happen to you before you joined my undead harem and couldn’t see beyond that.”

            Helesatra looked thoughtful. “It was a male fortune teller, but that could be. He certainly didn’t say anything about me dying and returning to life.” She smiled. “He also wanted inside me.”

            “I’ll bet he did. Your body temperature isn’t the only thing about you that’s hot.”

            Helesatra turned to face him. “I am not a virgin.”

            Iain smiled. “Neither am I. Besides, you already told me that.”

            “I did?”

            “When the emperor summoned your sire, he asked if you were a virgin and you indicated the answer was no.”

            “I did.” She hung the towel up. “Do you think I should wear a nightdress?”

            “I do not, but we’ll have to let the servants inside before bedtime since they’ve made sure we don’t have any hidden caches of food in here and we still need to eat dinner. I don’t care if they see me without clothes, but do you?” He frowned. “Or do you want to eat dinner in the hall?”

            “I do not. When I am in public, the nobles all try to curry favor with me and I quickly tire of it. Likewise with the courtiers. The emperor made sure they were all the children of some of the most powerful nobles to keep hostages close and they also wish to gain my favor for themselves and their families.” She reached for a robe. “Am I hiding from them by doing this?”

            “Do you feel like you’re hiding from them?”

            “I do not, but the rumors are that I am.”

            “If you don’t feel that you’re hiding in here, then you’re not. Whatever they think isn’t important unless you let it be important.” He frowned. “I need to go back and take another look at the way other clans grew. Is it better to institute clan law gradually or just do it and be done and crush the rebels when civil war breaks out?”

            “Honestly, Iain, I would rather publish a book of clan law, bring in some judges from the other clan holdings and force them to adapt now, while they’re still sheep. It will be bloody, but it means the nobles won’t have time to garner support from the commoners, who should quickly realize that the changes will be helping them out immensely.”

            “You’re the queen. If that’s the way you want to do it, that’s the way we’ll do it.” He smiled. “How did it feel to make that decision?”

            “I feel as if an immense weight I wasn’t aware of is gone.” She looked at the robe and hung it up. “Let’s eat dinner in the hall. I want to look over my nobles and learn who they are. Some of them will be my prey when they rebel against the new rules and I want to see who we will be hunting. Will you help me dress?”

            “Of course I will.”

            “I will wait until you have this book so that I can publish it when I institute clan law, but tomorrow I will start things by announcing in court that the worship of devils and demons is immediately forbidden everywhere in the kingdom. And then I will limit the days I hold court.”

            Iain nodded as he picked out a nice evening dress for Helesatra. The worship of the elven gods had been illegal in the Vyshaan Empire for a long time. “What’s the plan?”

            “Grey clan has its patrons, the Sisters.” That was the name used to describe the worship of Eilistraee and Mielikki as a group. “We are clan, they are our gods.” She glanced at him. “And since you already have surveillance available over the entire queendom, we can strike whenever the devil worshippers gather.”

            “What about the other elven gods?”

            “We will see, but only after the Sisters are established here.”

            Iain thought about cautioning her against overconfidence, then decided against it. If Helesatra was happier dragging the Vyshaan Queendom, kicking and screaming, into being clan as fast as possible, then they were going to be dragged. It would be bloody, but then so would doing it slowly, and quickly meant that mainly the nobles would bleed. “Turn around so I can help you into this dress.”


Year One Hundred and Thirty Two

            Iain silently slipped into the bedroom and slid onto the bed. He leaned down and kissed Helesatra at the base of neck. She twitched and he kissed her again. There was a grumble and she pulled the blankets up over her head. “Go away.”

            Iain chuckled and pulled the blankets down to kiss the back of her neck again. “Sorry, Your Majesty, but it’s time to rise and shine.”

            She opened an eye and gave him a mock glare. “Issue a proclamation in my name. Rising and shining is forbidden upon pain of death. Trying to incite rising and shining will get the criminal sent to the dungeons for hideous tortures that will last for years.” She blinked and her face took on a greenish cast. Iain rolled out of the way as she threw back the covers and ran for the bathroom.

            Iain followed her into the bathroom and handed her a damp washcloth when she was through vomiting. “That potion I’ve offered you will stop this.”

            “I told you, Iain. No. I am a half fiend and I carry a dragon’s child. We have no idea what is normal for me and I am taking no chances until she is born. You assured me that I won’t die from this and most likely the morning sickness will pass soon enough. If it doesn’t, then I’ll reconsider your offer.” She rinsed out her mouth. “My twee should be able to keep me from doing this. The fact that it can’t suggests that maybe I need to vomit for a while.”

            She was right and they both knew it. “Your morning sickness so far is pretty typical from what I’ve seen and read about. Keeping something in your stomach is best so you don’t have the dry heaves. I’ll order some tea and something light to eat.”

            “Thank you, Iain.” She chuckled as they left the bathroom. “At least it will make court very short if I should vomit on someone.”

            Iain shook his head as he headed for the door. “Cancel court.”

            “The Keltormir ambassador is on the schedule for today and if I don’t see him now he’ll want a private audience so he doesn’t have to wait two more weeks.”

            Iain shook his head. “What does he want this time?”

            Helesatra started brushing out her hair. “Today I think he wants to bore me with some trade offer that he hopes I won’t realize is terrible for my people. He’ll probably try to slip in something for me that he thinks will make me greedy enough to not do my complete duty to them. But what he really wants is the same as always. He wants me to renounce my throne, give the kingdom and my crown to Raloric and your head in a sack.” She glanced at him. “He won’t come right out and say that, but we both know that’s what he really wants.”

            Iain looked thoughtful. “I don’t think I’d enjoy any of that, especially not that head in a sack thing.” He shook his head. “I’m off to the kitchen.”

            “Hurry back. I’d like to make love before I leave for breakfast. Sex with you seems to settle my stomach down for a while.”

            He grinned. “I’ll hurry.”


Year One Hundred and Thirty Three

            “That’s it,” Naldryn said soothingly. “Just a little more. Now, push.” Zilvra’s hand clenched on Iain’s hand as she bore down. “And the hard part is done,” the dwarf said as she glanced up at Iain with a reassuring smile. “It’s a girl.”

            “Her name is Sabnae,” Zilvra gasped as she finally relaxed. She released Iain’s hand and gave it a push towards her feet. “Give her to Iain so tradition can be fulfilled.”

            Naldryn glanced at the other side of the room where Elistraee and Mielikki watched as she handed the newborn to Iain. Then she refocused on her patient. “While he’s busy with her, let’s get you to deliver the afterbirth. Ready?”

            Iain took the infant and touched her on the forehead as he stepped to the open area to the left of the bed. Before he could put her down, she shifted to a dragon form almost identical to the one he’d accidentally become trapped in so long ago. “Precocious,” he said with a smile as he laid her on the floor and stepped to the table and the small crate on it, sliding the lid off of it. “Sabnae!”

            Iain knew she didn’t know her name yet, but the sharp sound focused her attention on him as he pulled the rabbit from the box. Before he could toss the rabbit, she launched herself at him in a blur of movement that ripped the hapless rabbit from his grip. Her fangs sank into the base of the rabbit’s skull as she landed on the table next to the box and the creature went limp. Fur and meat ripped as she tore at it, gulping down meat as fast as she could. “Like I said,” Iain rubbed his hand where her claws had caught him in passing. “Precocious.”

            “She’s smaller than Xune,” Eilistraee noted as she and Mielikki joined him.

            Iain shrugged. “My people start out that way but she’ll grow faster than Xune did.” He lowered his voice slightly. “I just don’t understand why she named our daughter with the same name Laelra initially gave Xune.”

            “Zilvra asked me for a name for her,” Eilistraee said. “And Laelra didn’t choose the name Sabnae, I did, although Laelra wasn’t aware that I’d chosen the name and given it to her. Drow do not normally name premature babies. Since Xune didn’t get that name, I decided to give it to your second child.”

            “Do you mean I changed the name my goddess gave my daughter?”

            Eilistraee smiled. “Yes, you did. How does knowing that you thwarted your goddess’ will make you feel?”

            He glanced at Mielikki. “Well, that explains why you were snippy about it.”

            Eilistraee glared at him as Mielikki snickered. “Were you really expecting him to be contrite?”

            Sabnae lifted her head from the remnants of the rabbit, swallowing as she spoke in the way that Iain’s race could. “More!”

            Iain dropped a piece of meat in front of her and she grabbed it. “I’ll work on her manners as soon as her stomach stops overriding her brain.” He looked over at Zilvra. “She’s healthy and her first kill was well executed.”

            “Of course it was,” Zilvra said as Naldryn dropped the placenta into a bucket. “She’s my daughter. When can I nurse her?”

            Iain reached down and patted the wyrmling’s stomach, which was becoming slightly distended. She hissed at him but otherwise kept ripping pieces off her meal. “I don’t think it’ll be more than a few minutes.”

            Sabnae gulped down the last of the meat and lifted her head. “What is nurse?”

            “Your mother is a drow and they’re mammals. She has rich milk for you to drink in her breasts, but you have to become an infant so as not to accidentally kill her while you feed. I am Iain and I am your father. Your mother is Zilvra. You are Sabnae and our daughter.”

            Sabnae became a drow infant with bright blue and green eyes. “I want to nurse.”

            Iain gathered her into his arms. “You will, bur first I need to introduce you to our goddesses. This is Eilistraee and this is Mielikki.” He smiled at them. “Ladies, this is Sabnae Grey. Would you honor us with your blessings?”

            “Give her to Zilvra first,” Mielikki said. “We will bless mother and child together.”

            Iain carried Sabnae to Zilvra. “Your mother is going to show you where and how to nurse. She is not one of us and you can easily hurt her. You draw blood or eat any portion of her and I will make sure you regret it, do you hear me?”

            Sabnae nodded. “Thank you for the warning, Father. I do not want to hurt Mother.”

            Iain handed Zilvra their daughter. “Good.” He stepped back as Elistraee, Mielikki and Naldryn clustered around Zilvra as she taught Sabnae how to nurse.

            Once Sabnae was comfortably ensconced against her mother and nursing, Mielikki glanced over at him. When will you give her a twee?

            It was in the piece of meat she ate.

            Cunning. She looked over at him. Are you going to ask us to bless all your children?

            I am. I intend to ask you both to bless my children back on One, too. If I’d thought about it, I’d have already asked you to bless them.

            Her eyes were solemn as she looked into his. I was too weak before I came here for my blessing to mean anything useful to them, Iain.

            I disagree, but it doesn’t matter. Things will be different when we return.

            She nodded. They will be. Can you tell if Sabnae is a truewizard?

            Among the People, if both parents are truewizards, the child is a truewizard. If only one is, the child is very seldom a truewizard. Sabnae will be a very powerful formal mage and, possibly, a sorceress and priestess, but that is all.

            “Iain?” Zilvra beckoned him over. “She’s gone to sleep,” the drow said quietly. “Can you take her while I clean up?”

            Iain looked at the other four women in the room. “I get to touch her?”

            Eilistraee grinned. “Just this once. She and her mother have been thoroughly blessed by both of us and so she should be safe from you for a little while.”

            Iain scooped up the tiny form. “Thank you, Lady.” He looked at Zilvra. “I’ll take her to your room and we’ll wait for you. I’ve contacted the kitchen and they’ll send some food and tea to your quarters. Thank you all.” He carried his daughter out of the room.


Year One Hundred and Forty

            Keanellos’ roar of fury broke off into something remarkably like a startled squeak when Sabnae charged. She knocked his head up and slammed into him, her momentum flipping him backwards, ending up with him flat on his back, his wings trapped under him as she closed her mouth on his throat.


            At Iain’s command, Sabnae released Kearnellos and loped back to her starting point.

            Keanellos rolled over onto his front. “I’m sorry, Father,” he said. “I know I shouldn’t roar like that but I can’t seem to stop. It’s probably something I got from my grandfather.”

            Iain cocked his his head. “No, it’s a bad habit you’ve had since you were just a wee little thing. Helesatra doesn’t do it when I turn her into a dragon, so you can’t blame it on being fiendish.” He looked over at Dascesareth when he snickered. “And you can fight your brother next.”

            “What?” Dascesareth shook his head wildly. “He’s like half again my size!”

            Arithallos smacked her son lightly on the back between the wings. “Sometimes your opponent will be bigger than you. Learn to adapt to it or else you’ll end up as someone’s meal.”

            Iain chuckled. “There’s a saying where I come from. It’s not about the size of the dragon in the fight, it’s about the size of the fight in the dragon.”

            “Oh, Lady no,” Sabnae said pleadingly. “Not another saying! Is there anything you don’t have a saying about?”           

            Xune laughed from where she was watching. “Father has a saying for anything you can imagine.”

            They were in Chult, having gotten together for a communal sparring session. They did this once every other full moon. It let the children socialize with the other dragons in their family while learning the rudiments of how to defend themselves while in their draconic forms.

            Normally they were joined by Laraxithious and Tagiss, along with their newest child, but this time they were absent, having been called to a conclave by the gold dragon king.

            Time, Iain’s twee said.

            “Never mind,” Iain said. “Time’s up. Xune, take your siblings and do a lap around the outer markers and make sure they actually work at it. If anyone lollygags, you get to pick any one thing out of that person’s hoard.”

            Three heads whipped around to stare at him in horror. “Father!”

            Xune sighed theatrically. “They’ve probably got nothing of real value, but I’m sure I can find the choicest thing they own.” Her eyes glinted evilly. “Now fly, my brothers and sister. If I can catch you before you’re done, you’re lollygagging.”

            Three young dragons launched themselves into the air and flew away as quickly as they could towards the first marker.

            Xune chuckled after they’d gone. “I’ll give them a head start before I give chase.” She shook her head once. “I may have to return to the valley for a while to look for a male I’m willing to consider for children. I can’t find anyone here worth my time.”

            Arithallos stretched out a wing and patted the gold dragoness gently on the back with her wingtip. “You’re still young, Xune. I didn’t find my first worthy male until I was nearly three centuries old.”

            “I think it’s more I don’t really think like a gold dragon does,” Xune noted amusedly. “And the other dragons know it. You’ll notice I wasn’t invited to this conclave that’s supposed to be for all of the gold dragons. My blood is polluted by the evil drow that bore me and my mind is polluted by Father’s unholy influences.” She shrugged. “I asked Tagiss what these conclaves were like after she and Laraxithious were summoned to the last one and, from what she said, it’s about as exciting as watching mud dry. It is, however, where a lot of gold dragons can meet potential mates. I’m thinking about crashing one of them. Maybe I can cause a scandal.”

            Arithallos idly dragged her claws through the dirt. “Are you fixated on a gold as a mate?”

            “I’m not looking for a life partner, if that’s what you’re asking, but I am a gold dragoness and I’d like to see what it’s like to have a wyrmling with another gold.” She spread her wings. “I’m not in any sort of a hurry. I’m just tired of being told I’m not a real gold.” She looked at Iain. “Should I catch any of my siblings?”

            “Only if they’re being lazy.”

            “Understood.” She ran forward a few steps and took to the air to give chase.

            Arithallos affectionately nuzzled her muzzle under Iain’s. “How goes the magic research for Zilvra and Helesatra?”

            “Not bad. I think that in six months or so I’ll have the bracelets finished and they can become dragons and join us.”

            “Good. It’s not fair that they can’t. Besides, Helesatra needs the time away from the palace before she disembowels a courtier. During my last visit she was just about ready to kill them all.”

            “We’ve been sending them back to their families and replacing them with clan as fast as we can,” Iain said quietly. “It’s funny that the noble families can’t decide how they feel about it. They didn’t want their children in the capital as hostages, which is what they were, but they feel we’re not being polite enough when we send them back and so they’re insulted at the way we don’t coddle their little darlings.”

            “I heard there was an uprising against the queen.”

            “Right now, it’s just one noble, Countess Lorana Featherseeker. The other nobles are watching, though, to see what we do. If we wait too long, some of the others will start joining her.”

            “What are you going to do?”

            “I’m taking a detachment of the army and paying her a visit. I leave tomorrow.”


            The captain saluted. “Your Highness, we found a tunnel exactly where you said it would be. We’re putting a cordon around it so nobody can use it to escape.” That wasn’t surprising since Iain had scouted the area with his perception and located the tunnel before he sent the captain and his troops to secure the exit.

            Iain managed not to snap at the captain for his mistake. Old habits die hard and, in the empire, officers always saluted superior officers. The fact that it drew the attention of everyone who could see it wasn’t usually as much of an issue as it might be now since Imperial officers and nobles were usually found away from the front lines.

            Iain, on the other hand, was still within bowshot of the Countess’ castle and wasn’t exactly excited by the idea of having to dodge their already accurate fire any more than necessary. He’d just have to pay better attention to any arrows coming from the castle. “Thank you, captain.” He turned to his second in command, a knight commander named Ravycene Althos. “Dame Ravycene, what’s the status on the artillery?”

            “They will be ready in two hours, Your Highness.” She looked at the castle and he smiled to himself as she straightened her shoulders. “Sir?”

            “What is it?”

            “We are too close for a siege and too far away for a direct assault. We’re still within range of their archers and if we try an advance before softening them up, they’ll inflict heavy casualties. Also, we haven’t seen any artillery, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there and, if it is, we’re easily within range of catapults and trebuchets.”

            Iain smiled at her. “Let’s be honest, they’d slaughter us like rabbits.”

            She relaxed slightly and smiled hesitantly back at him. “Yes, sir. So why are we staying here?”

            “I’d say we’re in pretty much a perfect position if they try to run, don’t you?”

            She looked back at the castle and nodded. “We’d stop them cold if they tried to break through us, but their morale seems pretty strong right now.”

            “Then it’s probably time for me to get sneaky. Dame Ravycene, if I am killed or incapacitated, you’re in charge. At that point, you’ll probably want to pull back and reposition for a classic siege.”

            “Your Highness, what are you going to do?”

            “I’d like to end this quickly, but without the loss of life that storming this place would cause. You’re clan now and I don’t throw away the lives of my clanswomen. They’re clan too, so I’m going to start by talking to them, in the hopes that I won’t have to kill a whole bunch of them either.” He mounted his horse. “Liadan.”

            She appeared out of nowhere, clad in the black robes she’d worn in Guallidurth, but without the facemask. “My lord, I am ready.”

            Behind Iain, he could see Dame Ravycene grabbing the closest horse and swinging into the saddle. “What are you doing?”

            “You are my commander, sir. I’m coming with you.”

            Iain sighed. “While admirable, you’re supposed to stay here in case I don’t return.”

            The sun elf’s jaw set. “Your Highness, my place is with you.”

            Iain gave her a hard look. “I should order you to stay here.”

            “If you insist I do so, Your Highness, yes, you should. But you haven’t, not yet.”

            “Did anyone ever tell you that you’re a pain in the butt?”

            Ravycene smiled suddenly. “My mother says I’m too stubborn for my own good.”

            “You should listen to her. She’s got wisdom. Very well, come along.” He nudged his horse forward in a walk that Liadan easily kept up with. Ravycene followed and quickly pulled even with him. “We’re going halfway between our forces and the Countess’.”

            A few arrows were launched at them but stopped halfway to their targets and fell to the ground. Iain stopped his horse roughly halfway between the forces. He muttered a spell as Liadan intercepted anymore arrows launched at them.

            The spell let everyone within two miles hear him just as if they were standing face to face. “Good afternoon, citizens of Clan Vyshaan. I am Iain Grey and I am the Grey, the ruler of Clan Grey. Your queen, Helesatra, is my wife and the Vyshaan, your ruler.” He paused as someone on the battlement cast a lightning bolt at them. The spell was absorbed by the invisible absorption sphere he had placed around him before he’d left the front line. He paused the communication spell. “Liadan, please discourage that from happening again while I’m addressing them.”

            “My lord.” The mage who’d cast the spell was suddenly jerked from the wall and slammed into the ground in front of the castle with such velocity that he splashed as if he’d fallen a thousand feet. Blood splattered a dozen feet up the castle’s outer wall. “That should make them hesitant to attack again for a while.”

            “Thank you.” Iain reactivated the spell. “I am here today because the Countess Featherseeker has risen in open rebellion against the lawful authority of Queen Helesatra. She has also implicated all of you inside her castle in her treachery because you happen to live here too. I don’t think that most of you are guilty of her crime and so I have an offer for you. If, within the next four hours, the countess, her leading officers and their families are captured and given to me, I will appoint a regent over the countess’ lands until such a time as Her Majesty, Queen Helesatra, decides upon the final dispensation of the countess’ property. I will then take the countess and the other prisoners back to the capital for Her Majesty’s justice. I assure you that their guilt or innocence will be examined and only the guilty shall be punished.”

            He paused for a moment. “On the other hand, if, after the four hours have elapsed, I do not have the rebels in my possession, I will tear down this castle and every structure inside it. I will not leave any two stones together when I am done. Anything that is wood or otherwise flammable will be burned. I will destroy all of the food and I will poison the wells. All of the fields around the castle will be burned. Anyone who survives the destruction will be driven out to live or die as they will, except of course for the people I will have to drag back to the capital for Her Majesty.” He could see the people on the battlements of the castle as they looked at him and then one another. “Now, before I return to my forces to wait for my prisoners, there will be a small demonstration of my power in which I will open the door to make it easier for you to bring me the countess and the others. Take heed.” He paused the spell again. “Liadan, please do as I asked.”

            Hardened warrior that she was, Dame Ravycene still shivered at the naked hunger in Liadan’s voice. “Yes, my lord.” She stepped forward and pointed at the front gate.

            There was an almost musical chime as the chains holding the drawbridge up snapped under Liadan’s telekinetic assault. With a loud groan, the drawbridge toppled forward and the ground shook as it smashed to the ground and bounced once before it fell into its normal resting position to allow traffic to easily enter and leave the castle over the spike and rubble filled fosse underneath it.

            Liadan focused her will again and there was a shriek of metal tearing and the roar of stone shattering as she tore the steel outer portcullis free from where it had been dropped into place to block access into the castle. The remains of the portcullis flew a hundred yards away from the castle and crashed into the dirt. She repeated the process with the inner portcullis and soon it lay next to the outer one.

            The castle entranceway was now completely open and almost completely defenseless as the dust from the destruction slowly settled. Iain reactivated the spell. Indistinct yelling was coming from inside the castle somewhere. “You have four hours from now to decide how the rest of today is going to go.” He ended the communication spell. “Come, Dame Ravycene.” He turned his horse and they retraced their steps, Liadan sticking to Iain’s side. Once inside friendly lines, he dismounted. “Dame Ravycene, I don’t want a single shot loosed in the direction of the castle until I say otherwise. I will have anyone who disobeys me in front of me to explain why I shouldn’t do something suitably nasty to them as an object lesson to everyone else. If that happens, I will not be inclined towards mercy. Pass the word. Now if there’s a mass breakout, I’ll come running and give you the order to cut them down, but until that order is given,” he paused. “Nobody attacks them.”

            “I will see to it, Your Highness.” Dame Ravycene looked back at the castle. They could hear yelling coming from inside and the battlements had noticeably fewer forms visible on it. “I hope they do as you ask.”

            “I think they will and I hope they do too, because if they don’t, I will do as I warned. Now warn our people not to attack them if they come out.”

            “Yes, Your Highness.”

            Liadan turned and faced the castle. “I will monitor them, my lord.”

            “Thank you.”

            It was a little more than three hours later when a group of armed elves came out. One of them had a horn and blew it as another waved a flag.

            Iain had been sitting near his horse and glanced at Liadan. She didn’t move as she spoke. “They have the prisoners you seek, my lord.”

            Dame Ravycene came bustling up and Iain nodded to her. “I will need a detachment with level heads to take the countess and her people into custody. Please understand that, until she is convicted by Her Majesty, anyone is considered not guilty of any crime, even though we all know she is. She will be granted the same level of courtesy as a noblewoman of Vyshaan as I receive while we travel and, in fact, they will travel with me and they will only be bound by their honor. Anyone trying to escape, of course, will be immediately killed.”

            “Your Highness, you have not received many courtesies on our trek.”

            “And neither will she, but I will not have them treated any less than I am.”

            “I understand, Your Highness.”

            “Good.” He smiled. “One other thing. I understand that the ransom of Countess Featherseeker is a hundred and fifty ounces of silver. When she is delivered safety to the castle, we will distribute that ransom among the troops here today, divided up by rank. After all, I couldn’t have captured her without them and you.”

            Dame Ravycene blinked and then bowed deeply. “Thank you, Your Highness.”

            Iain swung up into the saddle. “Let’s go collect our prisoners.”


            Helesatra turned away from him. “Would you unlace my dress?”

            “I’d be glad to.” Iain quickly loosened the laces and opened the dress, kneeling with it so she could step out of it. “Do you want your robe?”

            She turned as she kicked off her slippers to fly across the room. “I do not. I want the feel of my husband’s skin against mine.”

            “I happen to think that’s a great idea.” She settled down on the couch as he stripped and then joined her.

            Helesatra sighed happily as she draped herself against him. “I like being a dragon, but this is so much more sensual.”

            “Why do you think many dragons spend time like this?”

            “I think it’s because they’re hedonists.”

            “You would think correctly. The food is better than raw unskinned mountain sheep and, while scale on scale contact can be nice, it is really hard to beat a hot oil massage on skin.”

            She gave him a curious look. “Are you offering me a massage later?”

            “I believe I am.”

            “I accept.” She reached for the pitcher of beer and poured herself a cup. “I wanted to thank you for the way you captured Countess Featherseeker. Is that a traditional method used by the clans in their prehistory?”

            “Yes, and it’s still used today by many of them since it keeps the clan’s casualties down.”

            “I heard you paid the countess’ ransom to the troops who accompanied you, as well as the knight who commanded them. Countess Featherseeker was not captured on the battlefield and didn’t offer her ransom. Where did that silver come from?”

            “Woman, I am not just a kept drake here. I have my own money.”

            “You used your hoard to pay them?” Iain nodded. “Most dragons hate parting with the tiniest piece of their hoard.” She chuckled. “I remember the look on Tagiss’ face when you collected her final payment. She looked like she was watching a child die. Her child, specifically.”

            “I’m not covetous like that. Apparently it’s not part of the psychological makeup of the People. Or maybe it’s just me.”

            “Our son is as avaricious as Xune was when she was his age. That suggests either fiends collect hoards and nobody knows about it or you’re as unique as Eirian says you are.”

            “She says I’m unique? Shouldn’t that be covered under privacy?”

            “She never invoked,” Helesatra said. “And she’s there on your skin, in her preferred place over your heart. Is she invoking now?”

            I am not, Eirian said to him. You are unique, my lord.

            “She just said I’m unique.” Iain shrugged. “Keanellos is only eight.”

            “And he is developmentally on almost the same track that Xune was,” Helesatra pointed out with a smile. “And he’s developmentally around the same as Dascesareth and Sabnae are. He’s healthy, he seems happy and he’s our son, so he’s much more perfect than anyone else’s child is.” She watched him amusedly. “Say it. Our son is perfect.”

            “Our son is in the gravel eating stage right now.”

            “But he does it perfectly, doesn’t he?”

            “I’m going to have to throw myself on the queen’s mercy.”

            Helesatra chuckled. “I’ve met her. She’s not considered all that merciful.”

            “That would be her enemies speaking.”

            “No, my subjects say it too. But they also say I am honest and fair and I would rather be that than merciful. I told the countess that if she was honest and admitted her crimes, her death would be swift and painless. She did and it was. I didn’t even torture anyone, as much as I might have wanted to. The question here involves potions that force the truth from the drinker.”

            Iain turned his head to regard her. “You wanted to torture them?”

            “I carry the blood of a pit fiend in my veins, Iain. The fires of Hell itself dance in my soul. I want to do many things that I should not and do not. It is one of the ways that I prove to myself that I am still worthy of your love.”

            “You are.”

            She smiled. “While I understand that it is unlikely that Pandora or Lucifer will every truly like me, I want them to respect what I have done and who I am and to not decide that you made a terrible mistake in marrying me.” She ran a hand down the side of his face tenderly. “And I never want you to wonder that about me. Fortunately, you let me kill the people I hated the most before we married. If any of them were still alive, I would never rest until they weren’t.”

            Iain pulled her into his lap and held her tightly. “I love you. You are not the monster that you fear you are. Being fiendish is like being a redhead in my world. People have preconceptions about their behavior and let them get away with things they wouldn’t let anyone else get away with because everyone knows that redheads have terrible tempers. Here, everyone knows that people with demonic or diabolic blood are evil and so they treat them like they’re evil and, eventually, to be evil is all many of them have left, so they become evil. But those who are raised as regular people turn out to be regular people. They have the same percentage of good to evil and law abiding to chaotic that everyone else has. It’s just that most of them are castigated for who one of their genetic donors happen to be.”

            “Then, Iain, man who I love and husband and father to my children, what is the source of my impulses to do horrific things?”

            “Could it be from knowing your mother was murdered so you could be born, having everything you loved torn away from you, your foster parents being murdered in front of your eyes, spending most of your adult life on the run and having to do very unsavory things in order to survive?” He squeezed her for a second. “Your life was so shitty that you welcomed undeath at the hands of Eirian just so you could spite everyone you hated. I mean, you were so pleased at cheating your sire and grandfather that you managed to let yourself fall in love with the man who made it possible for you to become a lich.”

            Helesatra rested her horns against his forehead. “Iain, you took my fear away and you are the first person I could let myself trust since the people who took me in as a child were murdered for being good people. I thank our goddesses every single day that they sent me to you. The fact that I was dead when we first met had nothing to do with it. I didn’t welcome death, Iain. I was just so tired of my existence being nothing more than one long race in which I was trying desperately to keep ahead of people with the resources of an empire behind them. I knew quite well how that race would end since I had to successfully evade them every single time and they had to only succeed once. Eventually, they would gain that success.” Her golden eyes searched his. “Eirian assured me that if I gave myself to you, through her, that I would never have to run again. She told me that you would protect my soul and keep it from my enemies,” a tiny smile appeared on her lips, “if only out of spite, should they appear and demand you turn me over to them. I wanted so badly to believe her and she was right.”

            “I am not that kind of a good man,” Iain said quietly.

            “I am not going to discuss the state of your goodness, Iain, although I don’t think you’re as heartless as you do. I didn’t need a good man, I needed a solid, dependable man who I could trust absolutely. I needed a man who would never shirk his responsibilities to those in his care. I needed a man who would tell the universe to, as you put it, pound salt when it demanded he abandon those responsibilities and who had the determination to make the universe do what he told it to. Now that I am queen, I need that man more than ever.” Her smile faded. “Without any discussion of whether you are good or evil, Iain, are you that?”

            “That I can be.”

            Helesatra shook her head slightly. “No, you cannot be that. You are that, Iain, and you are always that.”

            “Fine, I’m that.”

            They were silent after that until there was a knock and the door to the queen’s suite opened to reveal one of her maids. She was used to their casual nudity, being another worshipper of Eilistraee and Mielikki, and ignored it. “Your Majesty, you wished to be told when it was half an hour before dinner.”

            “Thank you,” Helesatra said. She slid out of Iain’s lap as the door shut. “Will you join me for dinner?

            “I’d be glad to.”


Year One Hundred and Seventy Two

            Keanellos stood stiffly, almost at attention. “Father, have I done anything to make you lose confidence in me?”

            Iain looked up from his book with a surprised expression on his face. “No. Have you done something that you think might make me do so?”

            “I don’t think so, Father, but I had to ask before I speak more.”

            Iain raised an eyebrow. “How about you stop standing there like a stick, sit down and tell me what this is about.”

            Keanellos relaxed and dropped into a chair. “Both Dascesareth and Sabnae are governors of clan colonies,” he said quietly.

            “And you are the future Vyshaan,” Iain replied.

            “Mother is pregnant again,” Keanellos said. “That kid can be the Vyshaan. I want to prove myself and contribute to the family now, not whenever Mother gets tired of being the Vyshaan. That could be centuries.”

            “Is this about the responsibility or the income?”

            “Father, my hoard is as large as I want it to be. I have the royal treasury to draw on, mother’s fortunes that are separate, your fortunes that are separate, my royal income and the investments you help me manage. I haven’t had to touch the treasury, yours or Mother’s fortunes and still my income, last year and including my investments, was more than my brother’s.”

            “I know that. I just wanted to make sure you knew that.” Iain closed his book. “We’re not ready to send out another colony.”

            “No, but you will be in the next ten or twenty years. I want to be fairly considered for the post.”

            “Why come to me and not Helesatra?”

            “Vyshaan is not sending out colonies. We can’t. Right now we’re concerned with what’s going on with the uprising in Keltormir.”

            Iain nodded. A group of nobles had rebelled against Raloric and his oppressive policies. It had ignited a civil war covering about a fourth of the kingdom, fortunately not near clan land. “What’s your assessment of their chances of breaking away?”

            Keanellos shrugged. “The army is loyal to Raloric and the rebels don’t have the troops to successfully compete. I think the rebellion is doomed, but it may take a couple of decades to put down since they make war the way elves do.”

            Iain reached for his drink. “I agree with your assessment, but it turns out we’re involved, even if we’re not. This isn’t common knowledge, but Raloric is about to blame us for the uprising.”

            Keanellos’ eyes went wide. “Is he blaming Grey or Vyshaan?”

            “He’s blaming everyone, son. I think his advisors are hoping to hide the truth of why the revolt took place with their accusations.”

            “You aren’t supporting the rebels, Father.”

            Iain raised an eyebrow. “Why do you say that?”

            “Father, if you were supporting them, they’d be doing much better than they are now. You’d have insisted that military advisors be part of any support and that they actually listen to the advisors or you’d have stopped supporting them immediately.” Keanellos smiled. “And Princess Shatris would be leading that support because her people still love her. She’s still in the valley.”

            Iain regarded him for a long moment. “Most of that is true, but Shatris has quietly met with the rebels, with my approval. She and I decided that they are doomed and no amount of help from us will change that, if only because they insist they know how fight against Raloric’s generals. They don’t, and we’re not going to get involved in the chaos they’re creating.” His eyes went blank for a second. “Helesatra has a suggestion.”

            Keanellos blanched “She’s listening?”

            “You’re dissatisfied with what you’re doing and you didn’t invoke. I brought her in as soon as I realized where this was going and she says court is boring. Have you considered the military academy as a first step in helping out more?”

            “I wasn’t allowed in the military.” Keanellos frowned. “And we don’t have a military academy.”

            “Grey does,” Iain replied. “Grey has built a professional military, as much as I can set up without April, Sofia and Bellona. Vyshaan still has the traditional feudal setup and your mother and I have been putting together a program to end that. You’d go there with a handful of other students and spend two years studying there. If you graduate, you then spend a decade in service to Grey. After that, you come back and help us begin transforming Vyshaan’s military into something that Raloric’s generals will not want to face, at least not while sober.” He held up a hand as Keanellos started to speak. “Understand, this is going to be a lot of work. It could take decades or possibly even centuries to straighten out the mess, all the while of which Keltormir is going to be watching and waiting for you to make a mistake they can exploit. And, of course, it could easily get you killed.”

            “Will we have spelljammers? Keltormir does.”

            “Keltormir did,” Iain corrected him. “Raloric didn’t see a reason to maintain their squadron and, yes, we have approached the Imperial Elven Fleet about taking Keltormir’s place. They’re cautious, considering Vyshaan’s past, but they don’t have many options right now so they have tentatively given their approval and they are waiting to see what we do with it. Do you want to go to space?”

            “I do. You took me there a couple of times and I want to see more of the sphere and the planets, at least eventually.” He shook his head. “I don’t expect you’ll understand. Nobody I’ve talked to about it does.”

            Iain smiled. “I have the urge, carefully controlled, to see what’s behind every next hill, Keanellos. That includes the hills in space.”

            “Then why aren’t you out there?”

            “Because I accept that I have responsibilities that, right now, keep me from going walkabout. Someday things might change, but when I married, I gave up some of the things I want to do in order to be able to take care of my family.”

            Keanellos looked thoughtful. “Remaking Vyshaan’s military is important?”

            “Critically so. A professional army is the only thing that’s kept Keltormir from trying to swarm Grey under. Yes, the mountains are difficult to traverse, but it’s a lot harder when you’re getting sniped at from every rock.”

            “Are you ordering me to do this?”

            Iain laughed. “Like I’d do that. You respond to orders of that kind about as well as I do and I don’t respond well to them at all. I’m asking you to do this.”

            “I’ll do it, Father.”

            “Good.” Iain rose. “Now let’s go find a reason to rescue your mother from court and then we can plan your next step.”


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

Dianthus – Elfqueen

Candace – Nurse Joy (kami)

Bellona – Dragonqueen

Elizabeth - Vampire


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

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

Alabaster – Dragoness (white)

Onyx – Dragoness (black)

Lapis – Dragoness (blue)

Garnet – Dragoness (red)

Iolite – Dragoness (purple)

Malachite – Dragoness (green with white swirls)

Dabria (was Loviatar) – Dark Queen

Omisha (was Hel) – Demoness

Viersunuth great wyrm blue true dragoness

Talyl – drow commoner

Zarza – drow commoner

Sabrae – drow commoner

Sintree – drow commoner

Alyfaen Dinaen – drow, matron of House Dinaen

Phaerxae Dinaen – drow, former matron of House Dinaen, mother of Alyfaen

Selsharra of Evermeet



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)