Archeology 101: Chapter 9

She stood in the doorway, a cup of coffee in her hand.  Khait had shifted Bridget back to Rome before returning.  Then he’d more or less fallen face down on the bed and gone unconscious.  Asleep, he looked peaceful and innocent.  And delicious.  It was tempting to pounce, but considering what he’d said last night she was worried it wasn’t safe.

Abigail exhaled, and went into the living room.  She turned on her laptop and started working on her thesis notes.  It was a few hours before she sensed someone else in the room, and looked up to see Khait in the doorway, watching her.  He gave her an abashed sort of smile when he realized she was looking at him.  “You chew your lip when you type.  It is adorable.”

“Thanks.”  She hesitated a moment, then set the laptop down.  “We need to talk about last night.”

“Bridget summoned —”

“Okay.”  She held up her hand.  “We’ll talk about the you growing wings and killing people thing later, but just so we are clear…”  Abigail shrugged.  “Couple asshole serial killer rapist types end up fish food, I’m absolutely okay with that.  Doesn’t even register on the scale of bad to me.”

“Then…”  He walked into the room, and sat down on the floor in front of her.  “What is it you wish to speak of?”

“Uh…”  She shifted her weight a little.  “I kind of beat the hell out of you a little.”

“Oh, yes…”  He licked his lips.  “You enjoyed that.”

“Yes.  I did.  But uh…”  Abigail sighed.  “I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have taken it that far.  It wasn’t —”

“Abigail.”

“I mean, I slapped —”

“Abigail.”

“And then I grabbed a belt and —”

“Abigail.”  He raised his voice a little.  When she stared at him, he started laughing.  “Abigail, I am an incubus.”

“Yes.  You’re into sex, I get that.”  She shook her head.  “But —”

“Abigail, my sweet darling…”  He laughed again.  “I do not think you quite do.  It is not the pleasure of the body, but the pleasure of the mind.  Your mind, in this specific case.”

“Uh…”  Abigail leaned back.  “You mean…”  She tilted her head.  “You mean if I’m enjoying myself so are you?”

“Precisely.”  He went to his knees in front of her.  “And the more you enjoy yourself…”  His finger trailed up her thigh.  “The more satisfying I find the experience.”

“Oh…”  She stared at him.  “Oh my god.”  He kissed the side of her leg.  “Oh my god, and you instinctively know what to do to…”  She exhaled.  “You are so damn dangerous.”

“Yes.”  He grinned, then it changed slightly.  He kissed her leg again, this time gently, before withdrawing a little.  “You are my hostess, Abigail.  It is not my intention to harm you in any way.”

“I…”  She nodded, then smiled at him.  “I know.”

“And right now, you should be working on your thesis.”  He stood.  “I will make you more coffee.”

“And —”

“Ham and egg with cheddar on a toasted croissant.”  He called back over his shoulder as he entered the kitchen.  “And a bag of jelly beans, heavy on the strawberry flavor, none of the black licorice.”

“Oh yeah.”  She grinned as she grabbed her laptop again.  “He’s dangerous.”

Continue reading Archeology 101: Chapter 9

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Archeology 101: Chapter 8

“How is Rome?”  Abigail grinned at the phone.

“A lot rainier than I wanted it to be.”  Bridget’s voice came back over.  “I won’t be able to go sight-seeing until it clears up.  I wish —”  She cut herself off.  “No, Khait.”

“He’s not even in here, he’s on the computer.”  Abigail leaned over to look.  “Binge-watching Netflix.”

“Well, at least he’s doing something normal.”  Bridget continued chatting about the new job.  Since she was mostly talking about the filing system, Abigail tuned it out and just said ‘uh-uh’ whenever Bridget paused.  “And there is this stunning blond at the cafe I’ve been going to.”

Now that was interesting.  Abigail sat up.  “Getting back in the saddle now, are we?”

“Don’t be silly.”  She could almost hear Bridget blushing.

“Ooh, tell me all about her.”  Abigail grinned before leaning back again and putting her feet up on the arm of the couch.

“I uh…”  Bridget let out an honest to god giggle.  “I have a date tonight.”

Continue reading Archeology 101: Chapter 8

Archeology 101: Chapter 7

Khait carried the pile of books toward the library and dumped them into the return box.  Bridget had said unless she summoned him, he wasn’t to teleport anywhere.  And he couldn’t have one of the two wheeled horseless transport things or a car until he had a classy diverse license.  He gave another long-suffering sigh.  And she’d banned him from just getting one.  He had to seek out instruction and pass a test of some kind.

He cut through an alley on his way to where they’d told him to meet him, and stopped short.  Professor Kravitz was backing away from a big man and an angry looking woman.  “Professor.”  Khait grinned as he walked over.  “How are you?”

“Who…”  Professor Kravitz gave him a strange look.

“Get lost.”  The man narrowed his eyes at Khait.

“Unlikely.  I have an excellent sense of direction.”  Khait smiled.  Bridget had been very clear.  He wasn’t allowed to instigate any conflict.  But self-defense was still allowed him.  Perhaps the day would be fun after all.

“I said scram.”  The man sneered.

“Professor…”  Khait turned toward him.  “Would you like to scram?”

“Very —”  The professor’s eyes widened.  “Look —”

The big man’s fist hit Khait in the side of the face, smashing into him with the force of a mule’s kick.  Slowly, Khait turned back toward him.  The big man blinked.  “The fuck —”

“Come now…”  Khait sent out a tendril of power.  These two had attacked him, and he was defending the professor.  He saw a slight flush rise in the cheeks of the big man.  “Surely you could think of more entertaining things to do to me?”

“I…”  The big man started to smile as he took a step toward Khait, and then he caught hold of Khait’s arm.  “I can think of a few things.”  He yanked Khait toward him and planted a hard kiss on his mouth.

“The fuck are you doing?”  The big man’s companion stared.

His hand went around the back of the big man’s head and held tight as he brought his power to bear.  Energy flooded into him, and he heard the big man groan in ecstasy as Khait’s nature manifested.  The man gave one last thrash, then went limp.  Khait released him, and he dropped lifelessly to the ground.  Khait licked his lips.  “Delicious…”  He gave the woman a sultry smile, and saw her flush.  He held out a hand to her.  “Next?”

Continue reading Archeology 101: Chapter 7

Archeology 101: Chapter 6

Abigail gestured at the screen.  “This is the Internet.”

“It looks very much like your television.”  Khait glanced up at her.

“No, not the monitor.  The stuff on the monitor.”  Abigail tapped the screen.  “This, specifically, is Wikipedia.  It’s like a massive collection of human knowledge.  Or a summary of it, anyway.”  She typed in a few letters, then clicked the mouse.  “See, this is San Francisco, which we are very near.  We’d live there, but neither of us can afford it.”

“I can —”

“Khait.”  She exhaled.  It was so, so tempting.  But Bridget would throw a fit.  “Maybe we can find some way to…”

“She is very…”  Khait made a noise that sounded like a low growl.

“What are you banned from now?”  She raised an eyebrow.

“Donuts.”  He let out a long-suffering sigh.

“Why are you…”  She caught herself.  “Never mind, I don’t want to know.”  She pointed at the keyboard.  “Okay, you can type things into this.”  She grabbed his hand and put it on the mouse.  “This moves that little arrow thing, see it?  You click on the blue underlined bits and they’ll take you to other pages.”  She heard the door open.  “Okay, that’s Bridget back with the pizza.”

“I could have —”

“Without stealing someone else’s order?”  She sighed.

“Well…”  He stuck out his lower lip.  “No.”

“Learn about San Francisco.”  She headed out of the room.

Continue reading Archeology 101: Chapter 6

Archeology 101: Chapter 5

“Okay…”  Bridget took several deep breaths.  Then she took several more.  Then she got a drink of water, drank it, and took several more deep breaths.  Only then did she turn to look at Khait.  “Let’s set a few more ground rules.”

“Sharks.”  Abigail was sitting on the couch, staring at the wall as though shell-shocked.

“I am uncertain —”  Khait started shaking his head.

“One…”  Bridget held up a hand to stop him from talking.  “Street lights.  Do not alter them in any way.”

“Yes, mistress.”  He nodded.

“Two…”  She took a deep breath.  “When I say I wish someone would go away, it is a rhetorical statement.  Do…”  She exhaled.  “Not teleport them anywhere.  Especially not anywhere they may be endangered.”

“Even if they attempt to take liberties with your person?”  Khait raised an eyebrow.

“He grabbed my ass.”  She shook her head.  “That’s the kind of thing you punch someone for.  Teleporting them to the arctic circle is not okay.”  She hesitated a moment, then sighed.  “Even if it was a little bit funny.”  She shook her head.  “It’s still not okay.”

“I…”  Khait shrugged.  “Yes, mistress.”

“Three.  Do not change my grades.”

“You wanted an A.”

“Bridget, don’t you think your priorities are a little —”

“I will get to it, Abigail.”  Bridget sighed.  “I wanted an A.  But it’s my responsibility to get one.  I don’t learn anything when you go in and change my grades.  Don’t do it.”  She glanced at Abigail.  “Don’t change Abigail’s either.”

“Bitch.”

“Yes, mistress.”

“Four…”  Bridget stood there a moment, trying to put the words together properly.  Then she just started shaking her head.  “Why the hell did you put sharks in the swimming pool?  It’s a shark.  Swimming pool.  People swim in pools so they don’t have to worry about sharks.  If they wanted to swim with sharks here is an ocean like twenty miles that way —”  She pointed.

“It is that way.”  Khait pointed in a different direction.

“Irrelevant!  You don’t put sharks in pools!”  She stared at him.  “Why did you put the sharks in the pool?”

“The little girl wanted to see them.  She gave me ice cream.”

“You…”  Bridget blinked.  “What?”

“Ice cream.  It is a frozen dairy thing with sugar and —”

“I know what ice cream is!”

“Oh.”  Khait nodded.  “She was too small to go in the cage to see sharks, and it made her very sad.  She likes sharks.”

“So you put sharks in the pool so a little girl could see them.”  Bridget ran a hand down her face.

“She gave me ice cream.”  Khait nodded.

“That is simultaneously one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen…”  Abigail was trying not to laugh.  “And the worse nightmare I’ve ever experienced.”

“No sharks in pools.”  Bridget felt her own lips trying to twitch into a smile.

“Yes, mistress.”

“You know, you could have gone with smaller sharks.”  Abigail leaned back.  “Like nurse sharks or something.  That way she could have touched them.”

“Abigail…”  Bridget all but growled her friend’s name.

“Those wouldn’t have eaten her stepfather.”  Khait shrugged.  “Bull sharks are —”

“Wait.”  Bridget held up a hand.  “What’s this about eating a stepfather?”

“Khait…”  Abigail was staring at him in horror.  “Did the sharks actually eat someone?”

“Well, no.”  Khait frowned.

“Okay, good.”

“He got out of the pool too fast.  I had to get a tiger.”

“What?”

Continue reading Archeology 101: Chapter 5

Archeology 101: Chapter 4

She stopped in front of a column and started hitting her head against it.  Behind her, Abigail had a firm grip on Khait’s arm.  They’d already lost him in the airport six times.  He kept wandering off to look at things, or simply stopping to stare while they continued walking.  Fortunately, as they’d disembarked at a different time than the rest of their team, they’d managed to avoid him being noticed.  “Alright.”  She turned toward Abigail.  “What do we —”

“There are more of those moving stairs.”  Khait pointed, a huge grin on his face.  “Can I ride them?”

“You set a TSA agent on fire!”  She glared at him.

“You told me to.”

“I most certainly did not.”  She frowned, then looked at Abigail who was sighing.  “Did I?”

“The line was slow and you wished someone would light a fire under them.”  Abigal gave a small shake of her head.  “You’ve really got to eliminate the words ‘I wish’ from your vocabulary.”

“Ugh.”  She pointed at Khait.  “That fiasco with the baggage claim was all him.”

“She has a point there.”  Abigail shrugged as she looked at Khait.  “Was making things fly off the conveyor belt really necessary?”

“You seemed in a hurry.  I was trying to help.”  Khait gave Abigail an innocent, wide-eyed look.

“The thing with the bathrooms?”  Bridget folded her arms.

“Which thing are you refere —”

“The fact that there was more than one proves my point.”  She uncrossed her arms and jabbed a finger into his chest.  “And the thing with the cop?  Not okay.”

“What is a cop?”  Khait blinked.

“The guy you made piss hims—”  Abigail sighed.  “The second guy you made piss himself?  Law enforcement.”

“You were concerned about the professor.  I was attempting to assist by creating a distraction.”  Khait shrugged.  “Everyone else was highly amused.”

“He’s got a point there, Bridge.”  Abigail snickered.  When Bridget glared, Abigail rolled her eyes.  “Come on, that cop was totally being an ass.”

“I…”  Bridget started to raise her hand, then sighed.  “Okay, that one you are forgiven for.  The rest though?”  She poked Khait again.  “Not okay.”  She took a deep breath.  “I wish you wouldn’t use magic without my permission or Abigail’s, and you may not whammy Abigail to get her permission.”

Khait started to nod, then frowned.  “So, if bulls were about to trample someone, I shouldn’t —”

“Or if you are saving someone’s life, but I wish you’d be discreet about it.”  She glanced at Abigail.  “Better?”

“Yes.”  Abigail nodded.

“What is whammy?”  Khait tilted his head.

“Argh.”  She started walking, then stopped in her tracks.  A horrified thought had just come to her.  “Abigail…”

“What’s wrong?”

“I have a studio apartment.”

“Oh.”

Continue reading Archeology 101: Chapter 4

Watercolor

I have a composition in mind, but I want the finished results to have a watercolor feel to them.  Thus, I decided to try this tutorial.

My stock image came from Deviant Art, courtesy of GraySho.   Go check out his gallery, he has a lot of nice work.

My results?  11.10---Watercolor

Nicely surreal, but I think I should have used the clone tool or some adjustments to fix the bits of lens flare.  The purple bits kind of stand out on the rock.   Still, a much, much better result than simply using Photoshop’s ‘watercolor’ filter.

Cookie Recipes

Cinnamon Balls

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbls granulated sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a baking sheet

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt

In a large bowl, cream the vegetable shortening and sugar.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.  Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish.

Pinch off 1″ pieces of dough and roll into balls.  Roll in the cinnamon sugar and place 1 1/2″ apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10-14 minutes until lightly colored.  Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Continue reading Cookie Recipes

Archeology 101: Chapter 3

Khait rubbed his head and looked up at his ‘mistress’.  “Please stop hitting me.”

“Don’t whammy my friend.”  Bridget glared at him.

“What is ‘whammy’?”  Khait tilted his head.

“That thing you just did that uh…”  Bridget glanced at where Abigail was adjusting her clothes.  “Abby, are you okay?”

“Oh yeah.”  Abigail smiled.  “I’m great.  Wow.”  She laughed a little.

“That thing that made her like that.”  Bridget pointed.  She narrowed her eyes, then jabbed him with the umbrella.  “What are you?”

“I am not certain how to answer that question in a meaningful way.”  He spread his hands, moving away a little so she’d have a more difficult time hitting him with her chosen weapon.  This was going to require a change of tactics.  “I was cursed.  To escape the curse, I must throw myself upon your mercy.”

“Why were you cursed?”  Before he could answer, Bridget held up a hand.  “And I’m ordering you to or wishing that you would or however it works.  Tell me the truth.”

Oh.  That was going to be a problem.  Okay, so, no lying, but maybe he could leave a few parts out.  Like as close to everything as possible.  “I seduced a queen and caused a…”  He shrugged.  “Political difficulty that annoyed a dragon.”

“There is no such thing as dragons.”  Bridget rolled her eyes.

“Yesterday you would have said the same about genies.”  Abigail gestured at him.

“He’s not a genie.”  Bridget glared at her friend, then looked back at him.  “Tell the truth.  What are you?”

“I…”  He felt the magic of the talisman take hold and gave a frustrated sigh.  Isis had really gone all in on the retribution thing.  He was going to have to be careful.  “I’m an incubus.”

“Whoa.  Seriously?”  Abigail laughed a little.  “Wow, now that explains the whammy.”

“Stop talking about the whammy.”  Bridget glared at her again.

“What is a whammy?”  Khait exhaled.

“Like, who all does the whammy work on?  I mean, clearly it doesn’t work on Bridget, but is that because she’s your boss or because she doesn’t like cock?”  Abigail leaned forward.

“I…”  Khait considered the question a moment, then shrugged.  “Could be both.”

“Would it work on guys who like cock?”  Abigail chewed her bottom lip.  “Cause I’ve got some theories about Professor Montague and really could use an A in math.”

“Abigail Cross!”  Bridget gave her a scandalized look.

“What?”  Abigail responded with an innocent smile.  “Come on, getting that man laid would do the whole student body a favor.”

“Stop whoring out my genie.”

Continue reading Archeology 101: Chapter 3

Archaeology 101: Chapter 2

This was…  Where in the…  Khait started looking around.  Aside from the two women staring at him, he saw no one else around.  He also saw a hole in the ceiling, a lot of sand, and best of all, no angry dragon-goddesses.  Things were looking up, mostly.  “Didst thou sayeth…?”  He glanced down at himself, then shrugged.  Naturally.  Stark naked.  Well, that should make things easy, though neither of the women before him had averted their eyes.  The dark-skinned one was staring with a clearly appreciative expression, and the brown haired one looked at him as though he had tracked dog feces through her parlor.  And they were both dressed… in trousers that cut off at the knees.  Well, if you could call it dressed.

“Who the hell are you, and where did you come from?”  The brunette’s words were strange.  It took him a few moments to puzzle out what she had said.

“Khait, my lady.”  He bowed.  “I cometh…”  He paused, and looked around.  “Whither art we?”  He took a step toward them, then caught a glimpse of himself in a metallic decoration set into the wall.  Sure enough, he was indeed nude, but that wasn’t the part that concerned him.  He glanced at himself, then looked back at the women.  One of them had to have summoned him, but why…  “Wherefore hath mine appearance not changeth?”  If she was one of Isis’s adherents, he might be in a little trouble.

“Why the hell are you talking like that?”

Twice now she’d invoked hell.  He couldn’t decide if that were good or bad.  “Thy tongue is an oddity.”

“Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?”  The dark-skinned woman started snickering.  “Or weareth nothing at all?”  Her accent was different than the other one’s.  Slightly more familiar, though there was a mocking tone to her words.  “Seriously, how drunk are you?”

“Methinks I be sober…”  He shrugged.  “Could beest mine mistake.”  He had been drunk, before Isis had…  No, she’d drugged him.  Somehow.  Hadn’t she?

“Yeah, I’ll bet your mistaken.  Right…”  The dark-skinned woman whistled.  “Not that I don’t appreciate the show, but we might want to get you some clothes.”

“Doth thee plan to acquire proper attire?”  He raised an eyebrow.

“I’m getting the professor.”  The brunette ran a hand down her face.

Continue reading Archaeology 101: Chapter 2

Archaeology 101 – Chapter 1

Khait yanked at the ropes binding him to the stone table.  To his surprise, they failed to give even the slightest amount.  He frowned, then began struggling in earnest.  The last thing he remembered was a woman pouring him wine.  There were a half-dozen black-robed figures moving around the room.  One of them came toward him with a knife.  Khait blinked as the figure began cutting off his clothing.  Then he smirked.  “Ah, it’s going to be like that, is it?”  He licked his lips.  “You know, if you wanted to pl…”  He cut off as a woman came through the door.  “Oh.”

“Tighten the restraints.  He needs to be still.”  She waved a hand at one of the robed figures.

He grunted as the figure obeyed.  “Isis, look, I’m certain this is…”  His eyes widened as she drew a knife of her own, and cut open his arm.  “Isis, you and I go back a long way, and…”  She touched her finger to the blood, then began using it to draw a glyph on his chest.  “Isis.  Isis.”  He started shaking his head.  “This isn’t…”

“You…”  Her eyes gleamed with an unnatural light.  “Were warned.”

What he hoped was a charming smile came to his face.  “Look, I get that you are angry, but why don’t we just —”

“Your antics have jeopardized us all.”  She shook her head.

“I…”  He winced as she worked the blade again to draw more blood.  Though he knew it would do him little good, he tried to summon up his magic anyway.  He felt as though he were trying to get purchase on ice.  “Isis, you don’t want to do this.  You want to just eat me and go one with —”

“Eating you…”  Isis rolled her eyes.  “Would do me little good.”

“Little good?  You’d get a good meal, I’d be out of your hair, you win.”  He tried struggling again, but the restraints prevented him from moving.  They pulled at his joints, straining them until just breathing was painful.  “Isis —”

“I’m well aware killing you is not an option.”  She leaned down until her lips were near his ear.  “Usariel.”

Not good.  Painful or not, he started thrashing.  He even managed to nearly pull his arm free before it was yanked down and secured again.  He opened his mouth.  “Isi—”  Metal was forced between his teeth, both gagging him and holding his head in place.

Isis stood.  Her eyes had left the masquerade of humanity behind, and glowed with green fire.  She set a gemstone on his forehead.  Power seemed to wrap around him, and then it started to tear.

Behind the gag, he screamed.

Continue reading Archaeology 101 – Chapter 1

Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 19 – The End

Yalathanil lay back on the bed, Greg half atop him.  The dark brown locks of Greg’s hair tickled Yalathanil’s chest, and he smiled at the sensation.  “Are you asleep?”

“Yes.”  Greg’s voice answered him.

“I want to defy the rules.  To stay.”  Yalathanil took a deep breath.

“That would leave your people ruled by Saelethil, and uh…”  Greg rolled to lay next to him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders.  “Pretty sure that won’t work out well for humans in general.”

“I know.”  Yalathanil sighed.  “I wish I could show you my kingdom.  The world beneath the waves, shielded from…”  He rested his cheek on Greg’s head.  “To show you the beauty of my world as you showed me the beauty of yours.”

“Twix bars and farmer’s markets.”  Greg ran a hand over his chest.  “I hadn’t even begun showing you the marvels of the surface.”  He gave a small laugh.  “I haven’t even gotten you drunk yet.”  The laughter died on his lips.  “I won’t forget you, Yala.”

“Perhaps…”  Yalathanil closed his eyes.  “There will come a time when my people can reach up to yours.  When that happens…”  He held Greg close.  “I will remember you.”

Continue reading Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 19 – The End

Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 18

Greg smiled when he saw Adele standing behind her father.  “They are alright.”

“She told you they were.”  Yala sat down next to him, and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Seeing is a bit different.”  Greg exhaled, then shifted to put an arm around Yala.  He glanced at the door to the other room.  “I mean, I believed her, I just…”  He took a deep breath.  “It’s been a long day.”

“Tell me again what Jim said.”  Yala brushed Greg’s hair off his shoulder.

“That you have to claim your throne no matter the cost.”  He couldn’t quite look at Yala when he said the words.  Yala claiming a throne would mean an end to something that had started to become very precious to him.  “That if you don’t…”

“If I do not…”  Yala lifted his head.  “Saelethil will.”  His fists clenched.  “Jim just left you there.”  He stood.  “Just…”  He growled.  “Left you in Xue’s hands.  With men willing to torture you and watch you die.”

“He said he didn’t have a choice.”  Greg started to stand.

Yala grabbed him, pulled him into an embrace, and kissed him.  Greg moved his hand to the back of Yala’s neck as he returned the kiss, savoring it.  He doubted they were going to have much more time together, and from the tension in Yala’s grip he knew it too.  Yala’s fingers went through his hair, and he made another soft growling sound.  “I won’t abandon you.”

“You have to go back, Yala.”  He touched his forehead to Yala’s.

“Not until I know you are safe.”  Yala caressed his cheek.  “And it will not be forever.  You have a boat, you said.”  He swallowed.  “We can visit.”

“That would break the laws of your people.”  They turned to see Mbaba standing there, holding a tray of food.  Her voice was gentle, and her eyes sympathetic.  She gave a small shake of her head.  “I know what you feel for him, Yalathanil.  I have felt it before.  It is how your father came to exist.”  She glanced at Greg, and gave him the smallest of nods before looking back at Yalathanil.  “He is human.  You are not.”

“It doesn’t…”  Yalathanil started shaking his head.

“Greg…”  Her eyes went to him again.  “Ask him how old he is.”

“Why is that…”  He trailed off as he stared at her, then he turned toward Yala.  “I —”

“I don’t know.”  Yala exhaled, his eyes half-closed.  “I do not understand how you mark the passing of time.”

“Yalathanil was born over four hundred years ago.”  Mbaba set the tray down.  “It will be nearly two thousand more before he needs to fear the passage of time.”  She took a deep breath.  “Despite such longevity, his people are few.  They withdrew from the surface because the alternative was their utter destruction, as befell the other shepherds.”  She leaned on the table, then give a small shake of her head.  Her eyes closed for a moment, then reopened.  “Treasure the next few days.”  She smiled, then reached up to brush a little of Greg’s hair back from his face.  “And then say your farewells.”

Continue reading Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 18