<![CDATA[A.C. Ellas - Excerpts & Snippits]]>Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:32:19 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Soansa]]>Sat, 17 Mar 2018 17:11:03 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/soansaWhat does one do when confronted by the Lord of Madness? Picture
​Jethain slid a knowing hand down the mare’s long, arched neck. “Easy, easy,” he murmured soothingly, keeping the high-strung racer as calm as he could. Abruptly, she ducked her head down and coughed several times, mouth gaping as she struggled for air. He shook his head and stepped back to the stall door. “How many have it?”
 
“Jus’ three, yer highness,” Rizan replied. Jethain had hired him as an exercise rider half a year ago. The boy was utterly devoted to him and, most importantly, to his horses. He knew every horse in Jethain’s string as well as the prince himself did. Only S’Rak, with his Thezi talents, could be said to know them better.
 
“Move all the coughing horses to the isolation barn,” Jethain commanded. “From all barns, ask the other boys. Any horse with a cough must be moved now before it spreads further if it’s not already too late.”
 
Rizan nodded. “At once, yer highness.” He dashed off with commendable speed. The isolation barn would have to be prepared to receive the incoming horses, so Jethain wasn’t surprised that the boy hadn’t taken any of the sick ones with him. He strode out of the barn and headed for Bharis’ office.
 
“There be horses sick in every barn,” Bharis said by way of greeting. “Not many, just two or three in each, but still, this be ominous, your highness.”
 
“I’ve ordered the isolation barn prepared. We move the sick ones now, dose them as we can, and pray for the best. If they’re not improving in a day or two, we’ll call in S’Rak.”
 
Bharis smiled warmly. “Aye, sir. We can do that.” He stood from his desk. “With your leave, I’ll get the boys organized.”
 
Jethain nodded. “Thank you, Bharis.” He strode out of the stables, confident that the threat was being dealt with.
 
* * * *
 
Paezin padded through the ornate gardens of the palace. He was a shadow within the shadows, invisible to both the nobles he observed and the guards who should observe him. He sought prey for his master’s work but not just anyone would do. A mistake had been made with the last, for her husband had been known to be on the enemy’s side, and thus, her murder made precious little sense. Why would S’Rak turn on an ally? In short, he wouldn’t.
 
A particularly nasal laugh turned his head, and he turned his attention upon the source: a middle-aged woman dressed in the height of fashion, her expression cruel and calculating beneath the veneer of civility she showed to others. Her face was not displeasing though he suspected artifice being used to replace what age had faded. She wasn’t excessively heavy, at least, appearing slender enough beneath the ornate gown that her conquest might be enjoyable.
 
He followed the lady now, marking her in his mind as his prey. She was perfect. Lady Soansa, they called her, fawning over her. Her husband was Lord Deviol, the newly named chancellor of Koilatha. She was vociferously outspoken against the dark ones, her husband was known to oppose them in the council. And even better, this Deviol was one of the two noble witnesses to the dark one’s collaring by the late Lord Virien. It was known that Deviol had carnal knowledge of the high priest because he had boasted of it, how Lord Keron and himself had used the sex slave after he’d begged them for relief. Nobody would look for any other suspect than the high priest.

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<![CDATA[Yeraki's Promise]]>Sat, 17 Mar 2018 17:05:58 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/yerakis-promiseA Rovani will do anything for his family. Picture
​Yeri abruptly shifted position, startling George out of his dreamy reverie. Yeri never moved during a service unless it was expected, such as kneeling for the consecration of the gifts, but this wasn’t one of those times; in fact, this was the gospel reading, and Yeri should be paying attention to it. Yeri knelt down before Ellie, studying her intently. A chill went up George’s spine at that, and he turned toward his wife in time to see the contraction moving across her swollen abdomen.

Yeri looked up at him. “The baby is coming.”

The absolute certainty in Yeri’s voice jolted George into action. “Let’s go.” He bent down, got his hand under Ellie’s elbow and helped her up.

“We should stay until the end of the service. These are probably just false contractions again.” They’d already been through several episodes of those. Ellie smiled at him bravely.

George considered it briefly. Yeri had been there for the false contractions, and while he’d been supportive, he had not said that the baby was coming. “Not this time. I trust his instincts.”

Yeri cleared a path to the doors as George supported Ellie to walk. Halfway to the doors, another contraction made her gasp and nearly stumble. Many faces had turned toward them when they’d started to leave, but now, not only was the path cleared for them, people were reaching out to offer their assistance. George resisted the urge to pick her up and carry her.

They made it outside at last. Yeri hovered at his elbow. “Do you want me to carry her to the van, master?”

“I can walk,” Ellie protested.

​Yeri and George ignored her. They exchanged a look of total understanding and perfect accord. George nodded. Yeri swept Ellie off her feet and proceeded to carry her, over her continued protests. As George led the way to the van, he heard Yeri’s deep baritone rumble, “Relax, mistress. Let us pamper you.”
It worked—Ellie gave up complaining and allowed it to happen.

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<![CDATA[SCS Dark Star]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 15:25:32 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/scs-dark-starBroad target selection. Happy hunting.
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Tito was in the lead as they entered the off-duty lounge, followed by the twins. Loki and Spasti brought up the rear. The lounge was a large space dominated by the viewscreen currently showing the Earth spread out below. Tables were grouped along the edges of the dance floor, the bar was across from the viewscreen, and the raised band platform was to the right of it. The lounge was about half full of crewmen when they arrived.

To say they attracted attention would have been a grave understatement. Silence fell as they entered, all eyes turned toward them. There was an expectant quality to the silence, Loki decided as he casually surveyed the crowd, feigning a calm he didn’t at all feel. The others were as tense as he was, curious, waiting.

The humans didn’t press forward, didn’t try to touch though their lust was plain to the Rovani noses. They merely looked and appreciated what they saw. The silence broke abruptly into soft exclamations and murmured comments to one another.

I think the inhibitory shots were a bad idea,” Spasti said, in Greek, so that he wouldn’t be overheard by anyone else. “These are handsome, healthy humans. I want one.

One? Why settle for just one?” Tito grinned over his shoulder at them.

Loki snorted. He had a human... but he could see Spasti’s point. These humans smelled very, very good indeed, and monogamy was no part of a Rovani’s makeup. “The shot stops working if we just go ahead and do it with someone.”

“And once we’re in space,” Riko started.

“The council won’t find out,” Raki finished.

Spasti blinked. “Did we just agree to—”

“Yes,” the twins answered in the same breath.

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<![CDATA[Elefteria]]>Sat, 21 Oct 2017 15:58:38 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/elefteriaYes, Physics. And a wedding.
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Yeraki was crossing the quad—an open area of grass and trees—with an armful of books and a bouzouki slung over his shoulder. George wasn’t with him for a change; Ellie supposed that George was in a different class right then. Yeri appeared to be heading away from the science building and generally toward the music building.

“Yeri,” she called out, quickening her pace on a course to intercept the Rovani.

He heard her. His head turned toward her, and his step first slowed then stopped. He turned toward her but waited for her to come to him. Once she was at a comfortable distance, he inclined his head. “Mistress. I trust you are well?”

“Oh, I’m great. And you?” Ellie took a moment to settle herself. She needed Yeri on her side if she was going to have any luck with George. The Rovani had been with his human for years now. She didn’t want him to see her as an interloper, a threat. And besides, she liked the Rovani for himself and wanted him to view her as a friend.

“I am well.” Yeri appeared to be studying her; she could see the green of his eyes from beneath his thick black eyelashes. “Did you need something, mistress?”

It just so happened that she did. “Yes, Yeri. I need your help if you’re willing.” She offered a smile and hoped her sincerity was evident to his sensitive nose.

Yeri appeared taken aback. He blinked at her then shrugged a shoulder. “If it is within my power, mistress, and so long as it does not conflict with my duties to my master, I would be honored to help you. What is it that you wish of me?”

“Tutoring.”

“What?” Yeri was so surprised he made eye contact and held her gaze for several seconds before glancing down with a delicate shudder. “What subject could I possibly help you with, mistress?”

“Math. Specifically, algebra.” Ellie sighed heavily. “I’m just not very good at it. Algebra confuses me. I have to pass this class for my degree, and right now, I’m failing. There’s still time to bring my grade up, but I need help. I need someone who gets it, and I thought, since you’re in physics, which requires a lot of advanced mathematics, you might be able to help me with algebra?”

Yeri nodded once. “Come, mistress, walk with me. I must ask my master’s permission for this, and we will have to find times in our schedules.” He smiled abruptly. “And he will be happy to see you, so I think it’s likely he’ll allow this.”

She fell into step beside him. As they walked, she glanced over at him, her gaze catching on the instrument case. “Do you take a bouzouki with you everywhere?”

“No, mistress. I don’t take one to the bathroom with me.” The light tone of voice and the twitching corner of his lip let her know he wasn’t being entirely serious.

She laughed. “But you take one to physics classes?”

Yeri inclined his head gravely. “Only occasionally, mistress.” They rounded a corner and approached the Student Hall. George had claimed an outside table, one with an umbrella to provide shade, and had lunch, books, and papers spread over at least two-thirds of the available surface area. “Chaos follows him like a shadow,” the Rovani muttered under his breath. “And expresses itself in the total disarray of the space around him. I could write a thesis on the subject—The Entropic Effect of George.”

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<![CDATA[Chroma Kokkino]]>Sat, 07 Oct 2017 21:50:51 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/chroma-kokkinoThis is my human!
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<![CDATA[Rainbow Lung-Cure]]>Sat, 07 Oct 2017 21:39:16 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/rainbow-lung-cureA happy unicorn is a gassy unicorn.
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From: Tanzaniel Purplemane, CEO, Magical Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

To: All Stable Managers, Unicorn Division

Re: Suggestions to combat dropping droppings production

Summary

Our unicorn herd is the largest in existence, and we have a duty to provide our customers with the products they need. In recent months, production of both the Rainbow Lung-Cure™, which has been shown to cure all lung ailments, including lung cancer and COPD, has dropped to less than half of quota, while the production of Hair-Grow Apples™, which can cause even the baldest of heads to sprout new hair, has been well over quota, indicating that the unicorns are eating enough but aren’t producing enough gas.

Suspecting a dietary culprit, we undertook a study of means by which gas production could be increased. Our findings are detailed below, along with instructions for implementation.


Finding #1

Unicorns will only work with virgins, and the happier the unicorns are, the gassier they are. Unicorns use gas as part of their language, farting to express pleasure or excitement. Non-virginal stablehands inhibit gas production. Please have all employees tested for impurity on an annual basis along with random screenings as needed. Any stablehands found to no longer be virginal are to report to the infirmary for repair or face immediate termination of position. Please hang reminder posters in the employee lounge to the effect that even impure thoughts can put a unicorn off her feed, which, in turn, will decrease production of the Rainbow Lung-Cure™. To combat this, we will increase the presence of the Vampiric Thought Police, especially at night when the Impurity Imps are at their most active. Imp netting has already been issued to the stables; managers are responsible for hanging the netting around the stables and barracks for best effect.

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<![CDATA[The Goblins of Christmas]]>Sat, 14 Jan 2017 01:16:57 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/the-goblins-of-christmasThe twelve nights of Christmas belonged to someone else first.
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Although their schedule rarely varied, the signs of winter’s approach were there. The press of tourists, so thick on the ground in the summer, was easing off. The weather was cooler, though not yet cold, and the days were growing shorter. Or the nights were getting longer, depending on one’s point of view. Yeraki preferred nighttime, his feline ancestry and slit-pupiled cat eyes found the darkness easier to deal with than sunlight.

Oxi Day came and went. As far as Yeri could tell, that holiday was dedicated to remembering something that had happened so long ago that nobody actually remembered why the date was important or even who had said no in the first place. In November, the Christmas decorations started to appear, sporadically at first, and then, they were abundant and everywhere.

The Christmas season started in early December with the feast of Saint Nicholas. Boats and trees were everywhere, all strung with lights. The weather was pleasantly cool now, though George called it cold. Christmas approached rapidly. The entire city had a festive air, the shops were selling treats and presents at a furious pace, the lights were dazzling, the stories were interesting, the music was wonderful. Yeri had never seen anything like it.

Before George, Yeri hadn’t celebrated holidays; he’d had only the barest notion of what holidays were. He knew more about the religious side to the holidays than the festive; the priests at the Compound’s church had conducted the holiday masses as well as teaching the gatakia about them. Once Yeri had been sold, even the religious holidays ceased to be observed. As a gladiator, he’d been kept in a cage when he wasn’t training or fighting, and that hadn’t changed when he was sold to the Dance Corps. Holidays to the dancers meant extra performances but nothing more than that. The army had also kept him caged when he wasn’t working, and as a slave, he had been beneath the notice of the men he served, and they never socialized with him. After Helen had rescued him, things had started to change, but he’d been too ill and too weak to participate in any festivities.

When George and Taiki erected a simple model fishing boat in the living room and carefully pointed the bow toward the center of the flat, Yeri asked why.

 “It’s tradition,” Taiki told him. “Saint Nicholas is the protector of those who go to sea, and we are a nation of sailors. We point the prow inward so that luck enters the home.”

 “And the tree?” Yeri cast his gaze on the evergreen standing nearby. It was a live tree, sitting in a pot of soil and not very big, but then, their flat wasn’t very big either.

 “Another custom.” Taiki shrugged. “Come, help us decorate.”

Still baffled, Yeri helped. Tinsel went on the tree, a star on top. Lights went on the boat and looked very cheerful once George plugged them in. The two men sat on the couch and admired their handiwork. Yeri served snacks and kept his multitude of questions to himself. He vaguely recalled seeing similar things in Helen’s home last winter. He’d never asked about it; Helen had been very kind, but she hadn’t been one to encourage familiarity from her property.

Yeri sat at George’s feet and leaned against his leg. Before long, he felt the heat of George’s large, human hand as it stroked his mane. He closed his eyes and reflected on how much things had changed in the six months he’d belonged to George. The upwelling of happiness from someplace deep within took him by surprise and erupted in a purr that vibrated George’s leg.

George’s hand paused on his head. “He’s purring.”

 “He’s happy,” Taiki replied.

The hand resumed stroking. “What are you happy about?”

That wasn’t easy to answer. Yeri wasn’t entirely sure why he was so happy. He settled on the simplest answer. “Being yours, master.”

George leaned forward, got a hand under Yeri’s arm and pulled the unresisting Rovani into his lap. Once Yeri was on him, he wrapped his arms around Yeri and said, “You make me happy, too.”

Yeri relaxed into George, resting his head on the human’s shoulder but keeping his head turned away enough that he wouldn’t scent-lock. George wasn’t in the mood for sex.

 “Did you enjoy helping us decorate?”

 “Yes, master... but, I don’t understand what boats and trees and lights have to do with the birth of Christ,” he finally ventured, boldly in his opinion, but George encouraged him to ask questions.

George chuckled. “I love the Christmas season, but I agree that most of the trappings aren’t really Christian in origin. The old pagan festivals of the ancients sort of changed to fit into the new religion.”

 “There’s a lot of similarity between the stories of Saint Nicholas and the mythology of Poseidon,” Taiki added. “And let’s not forget that Dionysus was also born on the 25th of December, and the twelve nights were his first. That’s why we have to protect our houses from the goblins.”

 “Goblins?” Yeri wondered if Taiki was trying to pull one over on him. He’d never heard of such a thing.

 “Yes, goblins,” George agreed. “Some call them hobgoblins or sprites, but whatever you call them, they’ll cause all manner of mischief if they get loose in a home.”

Certain now that the humans were teasing him, Yeri snorted softly but kept his mouth shut. He listened as the men listed all manner of minor disasters, from the milk spoiling to all the closets being disarranged, that they laid at the feet of these so-called goblins.

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<![CDATA[Aldebaran Defense]]>Sat, 14 Jan 2017 01:05:31 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/aldebaran-defenseThe Rels are up to something.
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It was morning by the time Cai returned to duty. He was not only well rested and sexually sated, he’d managed to eat, too. Nick takes such good care of me. At this point, Cai couldn’t imagine what life would be like without his partner, nor did he wish to. Cai downed the bowl of raw Synde; he didn’t linger over it even though he enjoyed the flavor, which, to him, was of oranges and honey. Once the drug was consumed, Cai entered the Chamber, the heart of the Laughing Owl and the place where most of his work was done.
He approached his couch eagerly, already looking forward to linking his consciousness to the navnet, to becoming his ship-self and leaving his body behind. Cai eased into position, felt the connections being made, observed the ceiling open as the crystal array, a dense node of neurologic circuitry, descended into position, and then, in a rush of expanding consciousness, he was Laughing Owl.
He ran through his routine system checks and found that nothing was amiss. He checked his orbital position—Laughing Owl was in a stable elliptical orbit that was far enough from the binary stars of this system that a full circuit would take hundreds of Earth years. There were no signs of traffic within a hundred thousand miles of his current position. He turned his attention further outward. It was time to discover which hardpoint the Rel fleet was jumping from.
He knew the taste of the trail left by each of the Rel ships he’d tracked across the previous system. He passively scanned for any sign of them. Passive in this case meant that he let the data come to him, as opposed to actively scanning where he would expend energy to get a result. Passive was better, both for being untraceable and because it didn’t change or effect that which was being studied. Cai had started the passive scan when he jumped into this system, now he had hours’ worth of data built up, and he laid it all out in a simulated map of the system.
There was a lot of traffic in this system, enough to possibly obscure the traces Cai sought, but fortunately, the Rel ship they’d tailgated was still in system, approaching the sixth planet. Cai studied the faint ion trails of the previous ships. If the current ship followed through the course of the rest, it would slingshot around the gas giant and head back toward the heliopause. That would bring the Rel to a specific hardpoint. Cai focused his telescopes and his attention on the hardpoint and found the unique jump signatures of many, many Rel ships.

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<![CDATA[Avtappi Express]]>Sat, 22 Oct 2016 17:26:40 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/avtappi-expressHybrids are dangerous because they have the powers of a vranyxi but can pass for avtappi.
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“You must be Dynami,” the priest said after studying him for a minute.
 
Dynami bobbed his head in agreement and sent a mental greeting as well.
 
S’Yrinim smiled, stepped forward and placed a hand on his head right between his horn nubs. “I am S’Yrinim; I am one of the couriers. We are responsible for carrying messages swiftly and safely across the land. It’s an interesting life, mostly on the road, and there is some danger involved. I need a new steed because my dear Fiella has been retired to the breeding stock. In fact, she’s already in foal to Vyld. I didn’t want to part from her, but a life on the road is hard enough on an avtappi without the additional burden of pregnancy. So, here I am, searching for a new avtappi to ride.”
 
To that end, the priest was meeting the avtappi considered available by the Thezi command. “There has to be a good fit, mentally, for the partnership to work. I don’t have the time or the desire to argue with my mount or even to work with one whose reflexive reactions aren’t what I expect. It’s easier on you, as well, if we’re well matched.”
 
Dynami found that he rather liked S’Yrinim; the man was interesting and his mental voice was strong. He thought the life the man was talking about sounding interesting. The priest, however, didn’t seem so sure about him.
 
“You’re quite a bit larger than I had in mind,” S’Yrinim said dubiously, his eyes raking over Dynami’s solidly muscled form.
 
Dynami snorted smoke and sent images of himself in full plate armor, being ridden by a scarlet-hemmed priest also in full plate. He followed this with images of what a full charge of the heavy cavalry looked like from his perspective. Dynami was a war steed, and there was no mistaking that.
 
“I need speed more than strength.”
 
The next images he sent were of himself racing Vyld and almost catching him. It was a challenge to S’Yrinim to try him and see how fast he was.

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<![CDATA[Last Will]]>Sat, 01 Oct 2016 19:24:32 GMThttp://ac-ellas.com/excerpts--snippits/last-willHe’s a stone-cold, trained killer who purrs.
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“I want you sleeping by noon at the latest.”

Yeri glanced at the clock—it was already half past ten. A rebellious look passed over him, then he shook himself and sighed. “Yes, master,” he replied almost glumly.

George stifled a laugh as he walked out of the living room again. He had no concerns about Yeri’s rebellious mien; his Rovani would obey his instructions even without George hovering over him to enforce his will. Sometimes Yeri argued with him, once in a very great while he’d object strenuously, but he always did obey.

Yeri could dish out more attitude than a queen cat, but he never forgot that George was his master, and that was more than a legal definition. Yeri obeyed him out of love and respect, not because he had to. George had never once beaten him, he ignored the precepts of chain discipline utterly, and yet, Yeri still obeyed him. Sometimes, George found Yeri’s absolute trust in him to be both awing and very humbling.

He slipped into bed and tried to get comfortable. As tired as he was, he found sleep elusive. The bed seemed too large, too empty and far too silent. After nearly an hour, he gave up and climbed back out of bed. He went into the living room and cleared his throat.

Yeri had just shut the workstation down. He turned toward him. “Master?”

“I can’t sleep,” George admitted.

Yeri stood and padded over to him. “Do you want a massage?”

“Yes.” George allowed Yeri to push him back into the bedroom. He lay down on the bed and waited. Yeri’s strong hands were soon kneading the muscles of his back into submission, the soothing spicy scent of the massage oil filled his nostrils and he sleepily wondered what Yeri’s nose thought of it. “Do you like it?”

“Mm?” Yeri’s hands paused briefly.

“The scent of the oil,” George clarified.

“Ah.” The hands resumed their wonderful work. “Yes. It smells very good, and it complements your base scent; it smells even better once it’s on you.”

George was almost asleep by the time Yeri finished his back. The Rovani lay down next to him then pressed up against him and started to purr. That’s what was missing, George thought right before sleep claimed him.


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