From Har to Maternity

From Har to Maternity
A Collaborative Round-Robin

Story Notes

This story was created as a round-robin back in 2001.

Here be parody and mayhem, caricatures and bejewelled livestock. Here be all manner of unsavoury ruffians and their wenches. Thou hast been warned. The characters in this ensemble bear no resemblance to any persons I know, nor do they bear that much resemblance to any of Storm’s characters; but that be a minor quibble.

From Har to Maternity

In the ballroom of Phaconia…

Cal twitched. Then he fidgeted. Pell shot him a sideways look. Cal sat still. When Pell looked away again, Cal scratched his crotch. He took another swig from the bottle he’d earlier purloined from a passing waiter, ignoring Pell’s dread look. He hated parties. No. Scratch that. He hated these parties. He liked good parties. This was not one of those. All the poseurs and wannabees preening and parading like prized bulls before the judges. How did Pell manage to keep a straight face. He watched one particular buffoon floating around amongst the guests, trying to impress.Rolling his eyes at the performance, he nudged Rue and indicated the overdressed har. Rue sniggered and Pell gave them both another of those looks. When he saw the object of their derision,however, Pell couldn’t contain himself and a tiny smile crossed his face.

All three of them felt the etheric blow as Thiede whopped them all upside the head.

-Behave yourselves.- He growled. -Or do I have to come down there?-

That’s not fair, Cal thought, idly rubbing his sore forehead. I’m forced to come to these things when I’d much rather be chasing Ashmael around the bed, and now, I’m not even allowed to think? The disembodied hand returned, patting him condescendingly on top of his blond head.

-Don’t think, Cal.- Thiede said soothingly. -You know it gives you a headache.-

Ah well. Perhaps Thiede was right. Maybe he should just go back to his second favourite sport, after Ashmael-chasing; people-watching. Cal pinched another bottle from the same waiter,who was returning from the distant kitchens where he’d gone for a reload. The harried waiter favoured him with a sour look on behalf of his sore feet and turned 180 degrees, heading back to the kitchens yet again. Now, Cal thought. Who’s who in Phaconia tonight?*

She was tall, that’s the first thing he noticed. Regal and aloof. Her black, wavy hair hung loose down her bare back, tied up at the sides with silver, ruby encrusted slides. Her eyes were black, with long lustrous lashes. Her garments were made of a shimmering, red material, that clung to her slender thighs and her ample breasts threatened to tumble out of their small covering. Her whole body was covered in sparkles, that reflected and shimmered in the bright lights of the ballroom. She came up to where Pell was seated and curtsied, never once lowering her eyes from his. Pell smiled and made a soft remark to Rue, who was completely unimpressed with this Kamagrian, who seemed to place herself above everyone else. Cal sitting on the other side asked who she was. “Parage. Her name is Celestial Firewalker.”

Hmmm, interesting. The Kamagrians were out of hiding. Ever since that little incident with Opalexian, the Garridan warrior and the stalk of rhubarb, the Kamagrians had been noticeable by their absence. It was good to see them back. Cal had begun to think they’d never get over the shame. As he took another swig, he noticed his waiter enter the room via another door. Cal decided he’d better slow down on the wine. He might not get a chance at another bottle.

Now, who else was here? Cal looked around.* He entered quietly, nodding courteously to guests as he passed them. Lithe, silent steps that sauntered coolly yet with purpose as he made his way towards the Triad. Calanthe’s eyes narrowed imperceptively………Thea?…….and then relaxed as he realized who it was and smiled wryly. This har always reminded him of Thea, he thought to himself and idly wondered whether Thea himself would be here tonight with his old friend Zack. The har made his way impressively towards the Trinity, turning heads as he went. He wore black leather trousers that hugged his lean hips sensuously and went on forever to disappear into thick, black, leather boots that reached just below his knees. A heavy but netted cream cotton shirt covered in silver embroidered symbols hung open at his throat where a necklace made of large opals nestled. The baggy sleeves of the shirt fluttered gently as he walked, clasped firmly around his wrists by large, sleek silver bracelets. He reached the dais and presented himself, bowing deeply, long luscious black hair falling forward. He straightened, looking up to see Cal grinning at him and he grinned back with mock annoyance on his face. It was plain to Rue that the har and Cal were obviously acquainted. Calanthe turned to Rue and Pell. “This is Ramestton Ava from the Ferike tribe. Met him when I was there with Thea.”

He then gestured for Rue to move in closer and they whispered for amoment while Pell’s attention was diverted elsewhere. The Tigron and Tigrina then glanced up, amusement glinting in their eyes and Cal addressed Ramestton, beckoning for him to come closer. The har smiled and came nearer.

Cal bent forward to whisper in his ear…. “Your zip’s undone, mate”.

Cal had the priceless joy of seeing the smile on Ramestton’s face collapse in double quick time.

Feeling much better now that he’d managed a small revenge on Ramestton for rejecting his advances, Cal looked around for some food to counter the wine. A passing waiter, who looked strangely familiar, yielded a small feast on a silver platter. Deftly snitching the tray from the waiter’s hands as he passed by, Cal settled back to chow down, slapping Rue’s hand when it snaked across trying to purloin a stray sausage roll. “Get your own.” He hissed.

“Oh, c’mon Cal.” Rue wheedled “Just one.”

“No. You’ll only waste it.”

“I won’t. If I promise not to stick my fingers down my throat, can I have it?”

“All right.” Cal conceded grumpily. “But I’ll be watching you. If I see you head for the bathroom, I’m telling Thiede!” *

A mild commotion caught Cal’s eye. At the center of it was a human female, obviously one of the troupe of dancers that had entered Immanion a few days before. In a fool-hardy moment Pell had invited them to tonight’sparty. By the look on his face, Pell was already regretting his decision.The woman was of average height for a human but in the company of the tall Hara and Kamagrian surrounding her, she looked positively diminutive. Although clearly what she lacked in height she more than made up for in attitude. She was still dressed in her dancing clothes. A russet velvet gown close fitted her torso, the scooped neck edge with jewels and several lengths of ornate chain looped between the breasts. The velvet sleeves ended at the elbow, the rest of the arms were covered with emerald satin. At either side the skirt was split to the hip revealing exquisitely patterned blue harem pants beneath. A belt of gold coins and lapis lazuli was slung around her hips which tinkled and jingled as she moved. It was not so much the human that was the center of attention but the goat she had with her. The animal was obviously well loved and well cared for. It’s white coat had been brushed until it shone and a jeweled collar had been placed around it’s neck in honor of the occasion. Two wicker panniers were slung either side of the goat’s back. Each pannier contained a number of bottles of wine. The pair of them were happily padding around the room proffering drinks to all who crossed their path. Cal sneaked a look at his companions. Pell wore a face of polite but agonized forbearance. Rue had snorted with derision and raised his eyes to the rafters in despair. Cal chuckled to himself. This was just what this lousy party needed. A sassy human female with no sense of awe and respect to take the high and mighty Gelaming and their stuffy dignitaries down a peg or two. The woman and her goat passed close to where Cal was sitting. He had a glimpse of hazel eyes and shoulder length waves of red tinted hair before she cornered her next unwilling victim. Plucking the empty glass out of his hand, she began her patter,

“‘Ello darling. The name’s Maria and the goat’s Steffi. Do us a favor and polish off a bottle of this Rhubarb will you? We’re running out of storage space back home and I’ve got to get over a hundred bottles shifted tonight. It’s a nice tipple that Rhubarb but it’s a bugger to stop it fermenting.The bottles have a nasty habit of exploding.Go on, try it”.

The unfortunate har smiled patiently, as if indulging a small child,and took a small sip from the full glass that had been thrust towards him.He blinked, did a double take at the glass, the bottle and the human, downed the contents in a single swig and eagerly proffered his glass for a refill. This was obviously good stuff. For the first time that evening Cal was genuinely interested. Maybe this human female had a bottle or two of Gimrah style rose petal wine. He’d not had the pleasure since Lemarath and made a mental note to himself to buttonhole this female and her goat later to see what was on offer.Maria (Human) Steffi (Goat) *That had been an interesting five minutes. That poor human woman had no idea why all the Kamagrians in the room, with the exception of the parage he’d seen earlier, had cut and run, redfaced, at the mention of rhubarb. Staring about her in complete confusion at the noisy exodus, the woman had eventually just shrugged her shoulders and wandered off in search of a new victim, dragging the reluctant goat behind her. Keeping track of her movements with one eye on her bottle collection*, Cal sat back against the soft pillow, quietly ignoring Rue’s rather cutting comments regarding some of their guests. If he was to be totally honest with himself, he would agree wholeheartedly but he had been learning to be a bit more discreet. At the thought, he quickly ducked his head to hide the smirk that threatened to bring Pell’s dreaded frown down upon him. When he was sure that the Tigron’s attention was directed elsewhere, he lifted his head and staredout into the gathering. His eyes widened as they lit upon a slim figure standing in the doorway. He knew this one but from where? The har in question stepped into the light, giving Cal his first good look at him. Moving through the crowd with the grace of a great junglecat, he stopped a passing waiter and neatly relieved the individual ofa jug of wine he had been carrying. Lifting the vessel to his lips,he drank long and deep; finally lowering the jug and drawing the back of his free hand over his lips. Then he turned his gaze directly on Cal. Cal stared back, his avid eyes taking in every detail. The har was tall and slim. He was dressed in a blood red silk shirt, cutvery short to show off his rippled stomach. The sleeves were festooned with long, feathery fringe from which miniscule bells hung. When he walked, the bells rang with the slightest sound. His matching pants were skin tight, leaving nothing to the imagination. Cal’s eyes returned to the har’s face. It was a lovely visage,open yet knowing. A pair of striking green eyes stared out from a halo of shining auburn shoulder-length hair. An eyebrow lifted in mockery. Clearly, this one was not impressed with Cal’s importance. ::Why should I be? I shared my biscuits and liquor with you on the road::

An involuntary laugh escaped Cal. Of course, this was a Hadassah! What was his name? Jasorak! Paula

Oh, this was getting more and more interesting by the second. Maybe he’d better revise his opinion of these diplomatic do’s as boring? Jasorak was bound to bring some life into this stuffy lot eventually and that human woman? What a pistol! I could get used to this, he told himself, chewing thoughtfully on a weiner as he watched ‘his’ waiter deftly avoid the groping hands of an inebriated har in a sparkly suit. Now, if he could just manage to get another drink….. Cal heard a loud voice and turned to see the Parage, Celestial Firewalker, yelling at the human. “Bring some wine over here.” The small human dragged her ever suffering goat across the room and handed Celestial a bottle of her dandelion wine. Celestial took a long swig, drinking from it more like a man than a woman, some of it even dribbled down her chin. When she finished, Cal noticed her staggering slightly.

Ahhh!, that’s why she wasn’t worried about the rhubarb incident, too drunk. Cal heard Pell snicker as he turned to him.

“Cal, you really must fill me in on that incident.”

“Ah, but its a long story, I’ll tell you about it later.” His attention was attracted again, this time by the Har Ramestton, who was ordering the musicians to play something up-tempo. Cal listened as they began, his feet tapping in time to the music. Perhaps he should find someone to dance with, Ashmael, maybe, if he could find him.

Then Cal watched with amusement as Ramestton confronted the drunken Parage and bowed low. She looked at him, with some contempt, but eventually nodded and joined him on the dance floor. They certainly made an interesting couple. Ramestton, had obviously had too much to drink as well, but at least he had managed to keep his fly zipped up. For now anyway.

They sashayed around the floor, Celestial’s breasts almost poking out of their bare covering as she swayed and dipped. Ramestton’s face was flushed and his hands wandered down her bare back to her buttocks. Cal could hear Rue snickering under his breath, and Pell whispered that maybe this ball was going to be fun after all.

Another shout caught Cal’s attention, this time it was from the human…”Steffi, Steffi…no!” The long suffering goat had slipped its tether, and with the panniers of wine jangling furiously it ran and slithered across the dance floor.

At the precise moment that Ramestton and Celestial did a pirouette, Steffi’s hoofs began to slide on the slippery marble floor. Cal watched with his mouth open, as the three of them headed towards each other, almost in slow motion. The Har and Parage completely unaware of the impending collision.Cal was about to shout out a warning, when they hit, the goat’s head landing between Ramestton’s legs, and the three of them squished on the floor in a heap.

Cal could contain himself no longer and gave himself up to a belly laugh that emanated from his boots. Alongside him, his companions were in no better state. Rue had fallen off his chair and was flat on his back helpless with laughter. Even Pell had his head in his hands, his shoulders shaking with mirth. Briefly, Cal considered there might be some fall out from Thiede over this one but the ethereal sniggering emanating from on high reassured him that this would not be the case. Eventually Cal returned to normality, the volcanic laughter erupting from within subsiding, he turned his attention once more to the pile up on the dance floor.

Ramestton was looking on in horrified fascination as the goat delicately took the end of his errant zip between his teeth and did him up again. The goat then looked him squarely in the eye. Across the room Cal’s telepathy alert was going off big time. The voice was distinctly female but had a rather…..bleaty quality about it. Astonished, Cal realised that the voice was coming from the goat and was directed at Ramestton.

” ‘Ave you got a safety pin sunshine? You’re making a proper exhibition of yourself you know.” Ramestton could do nothing but sit there speechless.

At this point the diminutive human caught up with her wayward pet.

“Heart of gold you’ve got Steff,” she said “but you really shouldn’t go running off like that.”

From the hem of her dancing costume she unfastened a large safety pin and handed it, and a rather lage bottle of puce-colored wine to Ramestton. “There you are darling” then turning her attention to Celestial Firewalker.

“Now you Missy, want to slow down on the dandelion wine. It’s powerful stuff and it’ll leave you with the hangover from hell. And you’ve got no cause ordering us humans about either. Bloody snooty lot you Kamagrians. Knew there was a reason why I didn’t want to join you and it’s not just that incident with Opalexian, the Garridan Warrior and the stick of rhubarb either.”

Having said her piece the human female turned on her heel to attend to her goat leaving Celestial Firewalker and Ramestton sitting side by side still unable to utter a syllable. Panniers, bottles and goat all appeared unscathed and the woman replaced the jewelled collar and leash, helping her pet to its feet. The bleaty voice reached Cal’s brain again

” ‘Ere mum can we find something to eat? I ain’t half hungry.”

The woman nodded her agreement and the pair trotted off to find the harried waiter.

Cal, interest well and truly piqued, followed their progress around the room. Woman and goat finally waylaid the fraught waiter on his way from the kitchens bearing a heavy platter of exquisite, and very expensive, canapes. Wrinkling her nose in disgust at the pretentious fare, the woman grabbed a couple of handfuls of the salad garnish and fed her pet. Steffi; Cal realised with alarm he knew the animal’s name, nibbled the greenery with relish and fixed the waiter with the beady stare that Cal was becoming rather familiar with.

“Thank you sir,” the bleating said, “that was most pleasant.”

The waiter’s face passed through total disbelief, stunned amazement and finally settled on acute distress.

“What’s the matter, love?” asked the woman in a gentler tone than Cal had heard her use all evening.

“I don’t bloody believe it!” the waiter exploded “I run myself ragged all bloody night serving food and drinks to this ungrateful bunch of b******s and the only one that bloody says thank you is a bloody goat! Bloody hell! And my bloody feet hurt as well!”

Woman and goat exchanged a meaningful glance. Maria relieved the much put upon waiter of his tray whilst Steffi gently head butted him in the stomach, knocking him down onto the large silken cushion behind him. The overdressed har, who had earlier been the cause of slapped heads all round for the Triad, chose this moment to cross the path of the small, but infinitely bossy, human.

“Oi you! It’s high time you stopped posing around and did something useful.”

Cal couldn’t have agreed more. With the instructions, “Take this and feed the guests,” the har found his hands suddenly full of canape tray. His protests stifled by a particularly hard stare from the woman, he meekly wandered off to serve the guests discovering, with some amazement, that serving food was getting him far more attention than posing had ever done.

Having dispatched the substitute waiter, the woman turned her attention back to her goat. Heaving the panniers off the goat’s back, she set them up in the corner. Prolonged rummaging amongst the bottles produced a card board sign, a small flask of beeswax ointment and a bottle of very dark coloured wine. The sign, she set up by the panniers. It read; “Please help yourself….Please, Please PLEASE help yourself.” The wine, she uncorked and thrust into the hand of the bemused waiter. He looked at the label.

“Chateau Fengate,” he read aloud, “Wines fermented and bottled using traditional recipes from the terraces of Fengate.” Then squinting at the small print in alarm, “By prescription only.”

Resigning himself to his fate he took a long pull from the bottle, going crossed eyed in the process.

The goat, relieved of her burden, curled up by the side of the waiter, placed her head trustingly in his lap and promptly fell asleep. Unable to move the waiter could do nothing as the woman sat at his feet, removed his socks and shoes, ran a little ointment on to her fingers and began to massage.

“Dancing isn’t my only line of business,” she said “I do a bit of Reflexology on the side. And believe me chum, you need it.”

Cal watched the scene with disbelief. He’d been to some pretty strange parties in his time but this was shaping up to be one of the strangest.


Jasarak grinned hazily at the goings on. He had a chicken leg in one hand and his jug of wine in the other. Suddenly, sitting down with Rue and giggling along with him seemed like a marvelous idea! Lurching across the dance floor, he found himself face to face with a gorgeous creature carrying a tray. “Oooh hooo! A new waiter!” Sticking the chicken leg in his mouth, he grabbed the fobbish har and pulled him into his arms, dancing around. After one last spin, he let him go, watching delightedly as Ramestton staggered, completely off balance straight toward the triumverate.

Just as Ramestton seemed to catch his balance, a passing har brushed past him roughly. With a screech, he fall directly atop the prone Tigrina, spilling all the remaining wine in the process.

Rue let out a howl of outrage and tried to push Ramestton off him, prompting the large safety pin to pop open and release the zipper again.

“Darn! I wanted to sit with him” Jasorak muttered as he turned away.

Then he spotted the original waiter on the floor, the goat in his lap and the human female rubbing his feet. “Oooh, poor har. I bet he is hungry.”

Jasorak wandered over to the food table and grabbed an entire chicken. Then he wobbled toward the cozy little scene. Drawing to a wavering halt, he dropped it onto the har’s lap, barely missing the snoozing goat. “Here. You look hungry.”

Quite pleased with himself, he turned to find someone else to harass. However after only one step, he found himself flat on his back, his shoes being stripped off. He stared in horror at the diminutive human as she began to furiously rub HIS feet.

“I am glad to see that at least one har has a few manners” she remarked loudly. Staring at her, Jasorak began to whimper.

Into the breach…ummm, the cupboard, dear friends… Mithras stared down at his lap where the goat resided in complete and utter shock. At least the human female had turned her attentions from him to the latest har to fall down go boom. Tonight was turning into a disaster. His plan to poison Caeru with the garnish the goat had just inhaled, foiled by the creature’s obviously cast-iron stomach. It had taken him hours of careful observation to discover precisely which platter would be going to the top table and it had been tricky finding an opportunity to lace the garnish with the beachas root infusion. Now it was all ruined! The liquid would not have had time to soak into the canapes and to make matters worse, Calanthe himself was eyeing him suspiciously. Mithras felt like crawling out of the hall and hiding in a cupboard. In fact, that’s precisely what he would do. Go hide somewhere in case the goat eventually keeled over. Giving the goat what he hoped was an undetectable shove, Mithras made haste. On his hands and knees, he scurried behind the curtains. From there he crawled around the perimeter of the room and out the door, narrowly avoiding a funny looking har in a purple t-shirt with ‘Grateful Dead’ written on the front. The hall cupboard was the closest refuge. Opening the door, he crawled inside and sat with his knees drawn up, his head in his hands. So much for giving Caeru the worst case of constipation known to har! Mithrras usual occupation in the palace was as a houseboy and it was his task to clean up the disgusting mess that Caeru was constantly leaving in the bathrooms all over the building. One vomit too many, he thought with disgust and I come up with this supposedly brilliant revenge of binding that bastard’s bowels from here to eternity and look where it gets me! Hiding, all alone, in a cupboard, while everyone else has fun! Lost in morbid musing, Mithras almost missed the tiny sound that came from behind him. Turning in shock, he saw a pair of blue eyes staring out at him from behind a fur coat. He sighed. “General Aldebaran. What are you doing in here?”

In the ballroom….

Cal, clutching his laughter, sore belly, couldn’t believe the sight that met his eyes. Ramestton, having just had an altercation with the wayward, and very talkative goat, was now sitting on Rue’s lap, and they were both covered in food and wine. Although, he had to admit, neither of them looked that unhappy about being thrown together.

Jasorak was having his feet massaged, and the original waiter, the sly one, with the sneaky look on his face, was crawling slowly out the door. Celestial, was still sitting in a crumpled heap where she had fallen when they were struck by Steffi. He watched at she shook her head, giggled out loud when her ex dancing partner found himself in another tricky situation, then tried to stand.

She wobbled on her feet then fell down again with a thump. She let out a loud sigh, then began to crawl towards the door. She appeared to be following the waiter, but Cal didn’t think that either of them were aware of that fact.

He turned his attention, momentarily to Ramestton and Rue, who were standing up now and staring at each other. Ramestton’s fly was undone *again* and Rue just couldn’t help himself from staring at Ramestton’s crotch. ::I’d give up if I were you, mate.:: he projected into the unfortunate Har’s mind, and giggled again when he saw him blush. ::That blush matches the colour of your shirt, now.:: Cal projected again. Poor Ramestton, looked down and realised his clothes were completely soaked in the rhubarb wine. Even his face and arms had a slight reddish tinge.

Ramestton glared at him. Cal smiled demurely, and turned away. He could just see Celestial’s bottom disappearing out the door. He couldn’t stand it, he had to find out where she was headed. He rose quickly, flashing his grin at Pell, who was sitting upright watching the scene before him, with a bemused and slightly confused look on his face. He looked like he was about to say something, but his mouth had stuck in the open position.

Cal strode across the dance floor, getting a whiff of the massage lotion the human was using to massage Jasorak’s feet, and saw Celestial heading toward a cupboard. She opened it and slipped in.

Just as Cal was about to open the door and check out the hapless Kamagrian, he heard footsteps on the shiny marble floor, and slipped in behind a screen. He saw Ramestton, stripping off his shirt and battling with his fly again, sighing in exasperation. Cal saw him look about then he too slipped into the cupboard.

He waited…but nothing happened, then he heard someone giggling. He couldn’t help himself any longer. He opened the cupboard door.

Into the cupboard….

A hand shot out and grabbed Cal at the belt and pulled him into the darkness. Before he even had a chance to voice his surprise, a pair of lips clamped down on his mouth, literally sucking off his breath and at the same time, countless faceless hands —well, it certainly felt that way— were all over him eager to get his kitty off. A third har who had been behind the door, came up and clamped a hand over his eyes.

A kidnap attempt? They should know better. But the way his mouth was being kissed indicted this was not the case. Ahhhhhhh, a naughty har-some then. Never one to shrink from surprises, Cal just stood there for a few seconds, letting them have their fun, thinking idly of the lack of respect for the Tigron’s person.
He had already guessed who was kissing him anyway, having tasted the unmistakable scent of cinnamon, roses and fresh morning dew that he had already detected emanating from her earlier on in the party.

He’d had enough. He bit the tongue in his mouth, smiling as Celestial yelped and twisted one of the fingers trying to undo his zip. Ramestton winced.
Cal glanced at him “Get your own zip mate” he sighed dryly. There was one more har hugging him from behind, still clamping his eyes. Strange. He couldn’t tap into that mind.

“Pell?” . They all giggled.

“Okay, so we’re playing peek-a-boo in the cupboard now, are we? How many chances do I have to get this right?”

Three different hands held up three fingers each, stifling their giggles with the other hand. Cal sighed, exasperated. “I can’t SEE….(he emphasized as if talking harlings)…..what you lot are holding up. My sight has been stolen, remember?”

“Three, chances” they chorused raggedly.

“Right. Is it Rue?”




They were beginning to enjoy this too much, thought Cal. “Alright Ash, you can rest easy now and take off that fur. It’s tickling my neck you know” Silence. “No ‘Nooooooo?’. That’s strange, I thought I got it wrong! Does that mean I get the Grand Prize?”

Ash removed his hand and sighed. The others looked slightly annoyed and grumbled. Cal turned round and a soft azure flame flared in his palm, reflecting in Ashmael’s eyes. “And you know what that means don’t you?” Cal murmured. “Don’t be bashful, speak up, Lord Ash. I am still your Tigron you know”.

Ash smiled “Tigron or no, you get your prize anyway, you rogue. You cheated, having used one chance earlier”. Cal grinned and faced the others. Celestial was gingerly checking her tongue for bruises. “I’m sorry my sweet. Had to growl a warning. It’ll heal in a few minutes, love. And now, a drink. Then you’ll all explain to me what the hell is happening here. I haven’t the slightest clue”, being the world-renown perfected liar once more. The light blue flame in his palm increased and the room became more illuminated. “Much larger than I remember, unless of course it’s not the same cupboard”

Mithras, glad to divert Ash’s attention from interrogating him held out two large jugs of wine.

“Here, your Majesty. I never leave home without it” grinning nervously.

“The wine or the poison?” Cal dryly asked, he and Ash giving themselves a knowing look. Mithras went even more pale.

“Poison?” Ramestton asked reaching forward to take one of the jugs. Mithras awkwardly tried to twist his hand and stab him with the large safety pin lodged in his fingers but having two wine jugs in both hands made it a futile attempt. Ramestton expertly dodged the pin, smiling graciously, took the jug and sniffed it’s contents. “There’s no poison here!” he exclaimed.

“Not the wine, you idiot. The food” said Ash tiredly. Ramestton wasn’t listening to him anyway. He was now looking at Mithras with lust in his eyes.

“The food has been poisoned?” shrieked Celestial

“Not all of it. Only the goat” said Cal

“The goat poisoned the food?” asked Ash. “Got it wrong there, O great kingo. I know it was the waiter……..” All three turned to see Ramestton and Mithras in the far corner smothering each other in kisses. *Sigh* “He’s so forgetful isn’t he?” said Celestial wistfully. “We planned to come here together and now look!“ Ash snorted and Cal murmured ‘Well well”

The three turned back to look at each other.

“Who cares who poisoned what or what poisoned who?” smiled Celestial and embraced Cal in a hot kiss. This time, he responded back and there was no tongue biting.

Ash looked away, put his arms behind his back with one shoulder arched up to his cheek and began kicking imaginary dust on the polished marble floor, humming “Galhea’s bridge is falling down” under his breath.

Seconds later, there was a knock at the door. Everyone stopped their pre-aruna ministrations and
froze with bated breath. “We’ve been found ou…..” began Mithras.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!” everyone whispered furiously, and waved their hands for him to be quiet. The “Shhh-ing” was of course loud enough to be heard on the other side of the door.

“Ahh! Cal, I know you’re in there!”, an indistinguishable voice called out. The door opened.

It was Rue.

Back in the ballroom…

Pell sat back and sighed. First Cal and now Rue had disappeared. Of course, they had tried to be nonchalant about it, but Pell knew exactly what was going on. Why did he have to be the proper one?
Everyone thought he was so rigid and judgmental. It just wasn’t true! He hadn’t asked for this job. “Damn you, Thiede,” he muttered.

An ethereal snicker answered him. “Stay out of my head!” he growled.

::Then stop evoking me:: came the answer.

Pell frowned as he stared around the room. How had everything gotten so completely out of hand? Even the Maudrah representative had gotten tipsy and was now pawing one of the waiters in a secluded corner.

A fast movement caught his eye and he turned to see the har named Jasorak as he scurried away from the human female who was now looking frantically for her goat. Once clear, the har staggered to his feet and looked around wildly.

“Why am I the only sober one here?” Pell groaned, shifting uncomfortably. All this nonsense was making him very uncomfortable and he crossed his legs to preserve his dignity.

Jasorak suddenly froze, a look of rage on his face; then he staggered determinedly across the room. Pell looked in the direction of the har’s gaze and locked on the Maudrah. “Oh no!”

Jumping to his feet, he moved to intercept Jasorak before he could murder his rival. “Whoa! Is it worth a trip to the priests?”

Jasorak looked at him blearily and grinned lopsidedly. “Of course. Just ask Cal.”

“I can’t,” Pell muttered, “he is busy.”

Jasorak stared at him and then a coy awareness filled his eyes. “Oho! So the Tigron is jealous because the other Tigron is off enjoying himself elsewhere.”

Pell’s face flushed bright red. “Don’t be crude.”

“Why not? Don’t you know that your people love Cal and Rue because they behave just like common folk? Can you say they feel the same about you?”

Pell stared at the upstart har in shock. How dare he…..


“Shut up, Thiede!”

“Huh?” Jasorak stared at him owlishly.

Pell stared back at the gorgeous creature before him. Why not? Everyone else was enjoying him or herself. With that thought, Pell grabbed Jasorak and dragged him toward the nearest empty room.

Yet again into the cupboard….
Rue stared at the goings on in the cupboard with an open mouth and wide eyes. It was quite a few seconds before he was able to utter a single syllable…”Wha…!”

Ashmael flew out of the dark space and disappeared down the corridor, in a flurry of flinging hair. He was muttering to himself. Cal was trying desperately to shed himself of a very clingy and intoxicated Kamagrian.
Rue didn’t even want to know what the waiter Mithras and Ramestton were doing in the corner. All he was aware of was a naked backside moving up and down and some very heavy breathing.

“Rue!” Cal muttered.

::So do you need to be rescued, Tigron?:: Rue snickered.

::Shit, what do you think, Rue?:: “Get this harlot off me.”

“Harlot, am I.” Celestial squawked loudly, then quicker than Cal’s eye could see, she slapped him hard across the face.

“Shit!” Cal squawked back, rubbing his sore face and stared at Celestial as she fumed at him. “Sorry, love.”

“I should think so.” Celestial hadn’t even realised what she had done. Cal seemed bemused at her feistiness and grinned at Rue, who was again unable to utter anything other than “Wha…!”

Celestial gathered up her skirts, tucked her voluptuous bosoms back into her dress and stormed off, leaving Cal and Rue staring after her, and Ramestton and Mithras, taking absolutely no notice what-so-ever.

Celestial found a bottle of wine, took a couple of long swigs and as she turned, nearly ran slap bang into Pell and Jasorak, who were heading quickly down the corridor. She was about to follow them when she spied a Har of incredibly fine features looking at her from a quiet corner. Approaching him with as much grace as she could muster, under the circumstances, she saw him stand and hold out his hand.

“Pleased to meet you at last, Celestial. My name’s Swift.”

“Ahhh the Parasiel,” she whispered. “I’ve heard you are a bloodthirsty lot.”

Swift sighed loudly. “You have it wrong Madam, the Varrs might have been, but things have changed.”

“Do you want to tell me all about it then, Swift?”

Celestial reached up and touched his cheek, then moved closer so her bosoms were rubbing up and down his chest. “Um…what do you want to know, Madam?”

“Come with me,” Celestial grabbed his hand and pulled him down the corridor. Her intentions with the young Har were not entirely honorable, and Swift was beginning to feel a little nervous. “Where are you taking me?”

“Are you saying you don’t want to come with me?”

“…not exactly,” Swift was blushing furiously as Celestial pulled him into a dark room and began fumbling with his zipper.

He tried to push her hand away, but she was very forceful. She brought her lips to his and began to push her tongue into his mouth. He edged away from her, feeling behind him, hoping for a way out. Then he touched something. It wasn’t the wall. It was soft and warm and let out a groan. He moved his fingers and felt naked flesh.

Celestial flicked on the light – “Evening Tigron,” she slurred a greeting, and laughed out loud when Jasorak tried to hide his naked butt behind him.

More cupboard….(getting crowded)

Meanwhile, back in the cupboard, things were rapidly coming to a head. Cal and Rue were consoling each other in one corner, while in the other, Mithras the homicidal waiter was valiently fighting to protect his virtue from a strenuously unzipped and pants-down Ramestton. Swatting at the wandering hand once again and missing, planting a resounding smack on the naked buttocks instead, Mithras desperately tried to reason with his amourous assailant.

“Look.” He said for the fifth time. “It’s not that I don’t like you. I do. And it’s not that I don’t like what it is that your’re doing right…theeeeere,” He groaned. “It’s just that, well, this cupboard is so dark and all and I’ve never seen your face. I can’t take aruna with someone I’ve never seen. Its just not… done.”

“I do it all the time.” Ramestton muttered, swinging his leg over.

“Me too.” Came a voice from the Tigron-inhabited corner.

“Quiet in the back.” Mithras said testily. “I’m not talking to you. Or him.”

“Where I come from,” He went on, busily trying to preserve what little remained of his clothing, “Har at least introduce themselves before they get down to business.”

“Where are you from?” The voice in the corner cut in again, “A nunnery?”

“Look, Tigron.” Mithras exploded in a rage. “Either come over here and insult me to my face or shut up and concentrate on making Stick-boy happy.”

As soon as the words had left his lips, Mithras realised his mistake and wished he could call them back. This was not Trigron Pellaz he was challenging, this was Calanthe, the celebrated rat-bag and all-round bad boy. The laugh from the dark corner confirmed his worst fears as Cal said to Rue, “Shall we?” and two dark shapes leapt from the corner and landed in his lap.

Aha! An Empty Room….(oops)

As he and Jasorak entered the room, Pell heard a shrieking noise from the corner near an overstuffed couch. Lying on the floor, sprawled out and spasming helplessly, was a blue-haired har. His black and deep blue skirts were spread out around him, and had he not been wearing velvet leggings, he would have been quite indecent. He threw his arms over his face, and spasmed again. At the movement of his arms, his black cut-velvet top rode up, revealing a flat brown belly.

Standing over him, on foot on the prone chest, a har with elaborately braided red hair was looking on, quite seriously. He was dressed similarly; full, sheer black and dark green skirts hung past his knees, over black leggings and high, heavy boots. A tightly-laced vest revealed muscular arms hung with numerous bangles that rattled hollowly with every movement. The sound was strangely ominous, like an angry reptile…

“Poison,” thought Pell, something tugging at his memory. Snakes… reptiles… the desert… and there had been whispers of poison. Was the blue-haired har being murdered under the noses of all Immanion?

The red-haired har glanced at Pell and shook his head absently, causing the ribbon curls and braids that fell from the top of his head to tremble and tangle. With a tinkling of bracelets, he pulled one curl across his teeth, chewed thoughtfully, sighed, reached down… and tickled the blue-haired har mercilessly!

With another shriek, which Pell now recognized as laughter, and a cry that sounded like, “Meh… meh…,” the blue-haired har flung his booted feet straight up into the air. His tormentor ducked, but the left boot caught him squarely in the forehead with a loud “thunk.” He, too, collapsed in a heap on the floor.

Pell gaped. It had happened very quickly, and the mark on the red-haired har’s forehead was already turning angry and red. He lay very still, the same contemplative look on his face, but now his eyes were closed. One braid lay across his face; it quivered, then dived under his neck like a frightened garden snake.

“Oh… shi… shi… shit!” the blue-haired har giggled, then rolled over to see his companion on the floor. He suddenly looked very worried, and leapt to his feet, glancing at Pell. He opened his mouth to say something, but then an even more worried expression crossed his face and, whispering “headrush,” he collapsed on top of the red-haired har, his head bouncing lightly off the floor. Then all was silent.

Pell crossed the room and nudged them with his toe. Neither har stirred, but at the movement, their hair tensed up and rushed together in a knot. It was going to take one hell of a brushing to untangle that mess!

Getting hot in the cupboard…

With Cal and Rue on his laps, he felt he had really outwitted himself this time…..not to mention their weight which was threatening to snap his femurs any moment. The Tigron and Tigrina whipped away the last two pieces of clothing left on the waiter’s frame and grinned down menacingly into Mithras face.

“Me first, me first! I got him first…..” exclaimed Ramestton.

“Good thing it’s dark you silly sod. I’d have knocked you silly for botching up a simple job of initiating an aruna” murmured Cal. Ramestton kept shut and sulked.

Cal cupped Mithras’ chin in one had and softly tapped his cheek with the other. “I am certain I heard you right, my dear ol’ chap! I love insults. Shall we start again?” Mithras stared at him with wide shocked eyes.

“Is this Pelki?” he stammered, looking from the silhouette of one sovereign to the other.

“Now, that’s a perfect point to start insulting me! So you think your Tigron is capable of pelki, huh?” Mithras didn’t like the sound of Cal’s voice. He couldn’t see his eyes but could sure as hell feel them looking into his own. Thank Thiede I can’t see his face right now, thought Mithras.

“Well, technically I did ask for this.” added Cal thoughfully. “What do you reckon we do with him, ehh Rue, me ol’ mate?”

“Dunno. Hang him upside down by his ouana-lim, perhaps” giggled a drunk Tigrina. Calanthe giggled with him. Mithras felt the dread crawling down his spine. These two were more than capable of doing it.

“Have you had aruna before?” continued Cal conversationally, now talking to Mithras.

Mithras nodded.

“And you know it is part of our tradition?”


“And as Tigron, it is one of my jobs to keep tradition going and going and going…..?”

Nod. Nod. Nod.

“So effectively, you disobey your Tigron by refusing to uplift our great race”

Mithras shook his head violently. “Of course not! I….”

“….would like to see the face of your aruna partner.” finished Rue sighing. “Yes, yes we understand that. Heard it six times now. Must think we’re dumb or stupid or both. Huh, the pure-breds of today! Absolutely no sense of….”

“As I was saying ” cut in Cal, with an edge to his voice.

“Sorry to spoil your fun” muttered Rue.

“You will be” grated Cal.

“I quiver in my socks” said Rue with a bored voice.

“Your socks won’t be the only thing quivering…..”

“Urm….a word?” interjected Ramestton

“Shut up” drawled the Tigron and Tigrina in usion.

Mithras winced. “Would it please your Majesties if you just got up briefly from my legs. Just briefly. Ummmmmm, they ache.”

“Shush! I’m not done yet.” said Cal tapping the waiter’s cheek again. “As I was saying……..”

Urmm Tigron, with all due respect….” cut in Ramestton. His voice seemed to be coming from somewhere down below. Not that anybody cared anyway.

“What is it you idiot! Can’t you see I’m trying to help you here? You can’t even do up your zips properly, no wonder you’re having trouble getting this attempted assassin into the sack!”

“What are you insinuating? I’m not an assassin! I refuse to sit here and accept such an accusations that I……” fumed Mithras, shifting uncomfortably.

“But you are sitting, dear love” sliced in Rue with raised eyebrows.

“Excuse me….” Ramestton snarled

“I’m not done with you yet, Remstan, Restidd…….whatever your silly name is!” Cal ploughed on with a tiny slur to his voice. “You should have simply used your talents to illuminate the place and the silly Waiter would have seen your face! Or can’t you do that and have aruna at the same time? What’s your level by the way?”

“Well…..Is that relevant, sire? Not all of us hara are as gifted as your Highness” Ramestton reminded him. “By the way, can you…?”

“Pelki…..” muttered Cal as if on second thought, suddenly remembering Mithras’ earlier question. He ignored Ramestton, now that the significance of the waiter’s disgusting question finally sunk home. Cal knew he’d clearly had too much to drink and information seemed to be processing into his brain every few minutes instead of every few microseconds.

“How dare you!” he suddenly raged, glaring down at Mithras. The waiter flinched. “You silly, celibate wanna-be! Me! Pelki! Are you drunk?”

“Urmmm…..not yet milord” stuttered Mithras, grunting in pain under the duo.

Cal kissed him suddenly and broke off after a few seconds. “See, can’t even kiss properly! How can you when you only think of harming your loving Tigrina!”

“Tut, tut, tut, tut” sounded Rue shaking his head, curling his lips disapprovingly.

Cal continued to rant. Mithras leaned back, nodding mutely like an agama lizard as Cal’s face was inches from his, spittle flying everywhere. His legs devoid of all feeling but he didn’t have the guts to alert his abuser to this fact. Rue looked on with a bemused expression on his face.

Then, “‘Scuse me chaps….” Ramestton tried again.

“Don’t you shut up for once you slacker?” moaned Rue.

Ramestton sighed wearily.


Calanthe was in his element now, swearing colourfully in perfect rhythm at the waiter.

::Callllllllllll:: Drawled the Agahma

Rue elbowed him, rolling his eyes skywards to indicate that Thiede was about. Cal stopped to take a breather.

::What?!!:: Cal rounded on Thiede in his mind with annoyance. ::Can’t you see I’m giving this impertinent, celibate wanna be a dressing down?::

::You’re both sitting on Ramestton’s hair. He’s bent at the waist in a funny angle. Been trying to tell you for ages::

Silence. Then….

“Oh. Sorry about that me ol’ son” muttered Cal and Rue together, ironically saying the same thing in disjointed, ragged usion. And then came the sounds of ruffling clothes and shufflings in the dark as two thirds of Wraeththu’s finest got up from Mithras’ lap and adjusted themselves to release Ramestton from his awkward position. Two sighs of relief were heard, from Ramestton and Mithras. Then a thump on the floor as the waiter made to stand.

“Awwwwwww! Legs feel dead, my laddie?” grinned Cal

The waiter pulled a face as he wiped Cal’s spittle from his face. He managed to stand and felt the pins and needles assault his thighs. He winced.

::And can someone be smart enough to give us a light?:: snickered Thiede quietly.

Cal and Rue glared at each other while Ramestton lit a flame in his hand, rubbing the back of his throbbing neck with the other hand. Mithras gasped. “You are lovely! You should have said something earlier!” Everyone turned to look at him incredulously. “That’s funny. He’s been trying to tell you all evening, you dolt!” chided Cal, tapping Mithras cheek yet again.

The zipperless, and now naked, har started in a dull voice “Let’s start this again…….name’s Ramestton. Ferike tribe. Creates scuptures, writes poems and stories and the like, paints potraits, makes murals…… etcettera etcettera. How are you? Fine I hope. Blah, blah blah. End of pleasantries. Now, can I get to know you better, my dear?” Mithras just gazed. And gazed.

“Methinks this calls for a celebration” whispered Cal hoarsely.

“I know the perfect tune for it, lover boy!” slurred Rue in excitement

“Pray tell” said Cal dryly

“Getting to know you……” sang out Rue. “Getting to know all about you ….” joined Cal, nodding happily and the two just got into it, belting out the classic chorus in perfect tune. Ramestton stared at them uncompreheningly while Mithras in turn, stared at him.

“What’s that they’re singing?” asked Ramestton still watching the drunken pair.

“An old, …stupid …tune that man………gosh, you’re lovely!” Mithras managed in a tight voice.

“Ahhh! Gone are those years! Sound of Music wasn’t it?” laughed Cal.

Rue dropped his smile and glowered at Cal. “Are you mad or senile?!! It was the King and I!!!”

“No it wasn’t!” exclaimed Cal.

“Yes it was!” roared Rue, and thus began another of their all famous rows. Ramestton suddenly became very bored, very tired and very ‘needed-some-air’. He grabbed his leather slacks and made to leave.

“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” sneered Mithras, holding Ramestton’s wrist in a vice-like grip.

“One, to get this fixed.” holding up his slacks. “Two, to get a new top from Rue’s chambers. Three, get a fresh drink. And four, to get some sleep……alone. All this bores me now. Some other time mayhaps, my pretty” feebly trying to release himself from Mithras grip.

“Oh no you bloody don’t!” he muttered thickly and engulfed Ramestton in a hot kiss. There was no poison there. Just, the taste of the sweetest wine. In the background, Cal and Rue still quarrelled, as the two naked hara slid to the towel littered floor, entwined in each others arms……and legs.

Ramestton was suddenly very, very happy he didn’t leave.

Back in the ballroom….

Suddenly a naked and dripping harling runs down the hall. A pale haired Har is chasing him with a towel. “Come back here!” he shouts as the harling slips out of his grasp again. Before the har can get to him, the harling bursts laughing into what is left of the party.

“Oh no……don’t….” Ghost follows with the towel, blushing in embarassment as the harling goes and clings to random pantlegs, soaking them in soapy water.

The Plot Thickens…

Staring owlishly at the two prone Colarastes, Jasorak pulled Pell through the room to a more private chamber. Pushing him down on the couch, he shoved the large jug of wine into the Tigron’s hands. “Why not.” Pell muttered and chugalugged the remaining contents. Jasorak stared at the gorgeous Tigron in shock.

“Oh, you are going to be Soooo drunk!”

Pell, who was already feeling the effects of the potent brew, grinned at Jasorak and started to pull at the har’s recently donned clothing. “Now where were we?”

After quite some time and good deal of experimenting with different positions, two extremely drunk hara staggered back to the main hall.

Although there was a great deal of nonsense going on, eyes began to turn towards the two. Jasorak was wearing the Tigron’s official robes and Pell was clad in Jasorak’s red silk clothing. The consensus was that the silk was quite flattering since it was even tighter on Pell.

Jasorak was frowning in confusion and Pell simply looked smug as they made their way carefully across the room. Suddenly, Jasorak stopped, his eyes opening in realization. Unaware, Pell continued on for several feet before Jasorak screamed in rage, loud enough to be heard throughout the entire palace. “Pell, did you just knock me up?”

Ghost turned around holding the wet harling to see the Tigron and his uh…rather misdressed friend. Everyone had turned to glare at the two, some shaking their heads in confusion at the clothing. The harling giggled at the spectacle, pointed at the Tigron and said “Daaaaaaady”

Out of the Darkness…….into the bedroom.

Pell tried to look stern, but couldn’t help laugh when Swift and Celestial ran out of the room, as fast as their legs could carry them. They ran past the cupboard, where some kind of illicit activity was still going on. As they slipped and slid on the marble floor, Celestial could hear Cal calling out to Swift, “Be careful!!

She giggled again when she saw the embarrassed blush on Swift’s face. Celestial’s slightly blurred eyes scanned up ahead and found a staircase, leading, she hoped, to some bedrooms. Swift was still dragging along behind her, unable to pull out of her grip. At the bottom of the stairs, they spied the human, Maria, with her pesky goat. She look exhausted and smelled of linament, goat’s hair, dandelion and rhubarb wine. Celestial nearly retched, but instead chose to grab another bottle of wine, as she led her poor unfortunate victim up the stairs.

Taking a swig out of the bottle, Celestial lurched through a doorway and flopped onto the very large, King size bed, pulling Swift down on top of her. He was panting, sweating and trembling.
She fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, and giving up after a few seconds, ripped if from him. “Arrrggghhhh!!” he screeched, and tried to get out of her grip again.

“No you don’t. Now I’ve got you, I’m not letting you go.”

“Ok, Ok, I’m not trying to get away from you, it’s just that it was my favourite shirt.”

For a second, Celestial looked contrite, then smiled at him and kissed the tip of his nose. “I’ll make you a new one,”

“Fine!” he snarled, and ripped her dress off in one fell swoop. She shivered with delight as he pulled her on top of him. Swift spread his legs, taking up the soume position, then giggled at his faux pas. Celestial looked down between his legs. “We’re not going to get very far like this.”

“I’m tired, I’m sorry. I felt like being on the bottom.”

“Oh, babe, you can still be on the bottom,” she crooned to him, as she coaxed him to bloom again. As they began their coupling, Swift soon overcame his exhaustion taking over the dominant role, much to Celestial’s delight. She cried out in ecstasy, until she felt something strange, well even more strange than his ouana-lim, moving inside of her body.

“Oops!” Swift gasped.

“Oops! What the hell do you mean by – OOPS!!”

“Um…er…I think…shit…oops!” he mumbled into her hair.

Pulling away from him, Celestial sprang from the bed and glared at him.

“Did you just do what I thought you did?”

Swift covered his face with his hands and sighed out loud – “Oops!”

Out of the cupboard….and into mayhem…

Life in the cupboard is never dull it seems. Mithras and Ramestton both emerged from their little portion of darkness, carefully closing the door on the sounds of arguing still emenating from the black space. Adjusting their clothes, they wandered hand in hand back toward the ballroom, exchanging fond glances and quick kisses as they went.

Inside, the ballroom was in chaos.

A wet harling was being physically held back from his intention of wrapping his soggy self around Pell’s legs. The harling was crying, ‘Daddy’ at the top of his lungs while, at the same time, Jasorak was pulling at the Tigron’s hair yelling, ‘Did you? Did you?’

Mithras and Ramestton looked at each other and shrugged in unison. “Looks like we’re the only sane ones left.” Ramestton observed dryly.

“I need a drink.” Mithras grinned. “Let’s get tanked.”

Seemed like a good idea, so Ramestton followed the earstwhile waiter over to the buffet where they managed to appropriate a jug of dandelion wine. They found a corner and settled down to some serious drinking.

“Don’t have too much though, will you?” Mithras said to Ramestton as he took his first swig.

“Why not?” Ramestton asked, watching with jaundiced eye, the mayhem erupting all around them.

“Dandelion wine is probably not good for the pearl you are hosting.” Mithras sounded smug.

The wine sprayed left and right as Ramestton spluttered. “What??!!”

“Oh, look on the bright side, Rammy.” Mithras smirked. “At least you won’t need to get your zipper fixed now. You’ll need the growing room.”


“You didn’t!” whispered Ramestton in shock, unconsciously touching his abdomen with wine drenched fingers. “You bloody didn’t…….”

“Did too. Feels worthwhile as well.” said Mithras grinning proudly.

“I’m not ready for this” howled Ramestton, standing up. “I’m not made for this, I don’t want to be a hostling, I can’t do this. I didn’t plan for this…….” he gushed, almost sobbing.

“Quit being a drama queen and accept your new fate, dear consort! You’ll make a fine mummy too.” chuckling as he put his hand over Ramestton’s, giving it a brief squeeze and pulling him back down into his seat. “Besides, according to taboo and laws laid down by the Hegemony, I won’t be done for trying to muck up Rue’s insides because an expecting father has to be present for the first five years of his harling’s life; and by then, the case would have gathered enough dust to…….”

Ramestton wasn’t listening. He was hunched in his chair with his head in his hands. Mithras’ soothings and the noises of commotion around them simply washed over him. After a while, he looked up with a resigned look in his eyes and let out a very long weary sigh.

“Might as well. Been ouana too often lately. Time I tasted some of my own bitter medicine. Not that bitter now that I think of it”. He said wryly, sipping some wine.

“Attaboy!” smiled Mithras.

Ramestton smiled back, gently stroking his sculpted torso “One more thing, Mithy………I forgot my safety pin in our cosy little nest of a cupboard. Can we go back and get it…….?

The smile on Mithras’ face widened, spreading charmingly on his features. “Why not?“

He didn’t notice the sly gleam in Ramestton’s eye……..


Ghost laughed at the spectacle around him. “I guess I got my work cut out for me don’t I?” he said, holding up the hostling, who was *still* screaming Daaaaaaaaady! and reaching for Pell. The hostling was dry though, so Ghost handed the upset hostling to the Tigron. He settled into the crook of Pell’s arm and fell asleep. “There…it won’t be so bad!” Ghost smiled.


At this point Cal and Rue decided to rejoin the party. The fun seemed to have moved from skulking about in cupboards to the main ballroom once more.

Nevertheless on their way back they passed Ramestton and Mithras headed back to the cupboard again and, with the look on devious cunning on Ramestton’s face, Cal could have sworn that something other than mere aruna was afoot. Briefly he was tempted to follow them and find out what was going on, but the action taking place in the party room had irretrievably caught his attention.

Pell was dressed in god knows what with a naked semi-dry harling in his arms. The har, Jasorak, for some reason had Pell’s regal garments on. Not only this he had a handful of Pell’s hair was throwing a hissy fit screaming about paternity suits. Orgasmic whoops and screeches wafted down the stair case from a room above. One set of whoops definitely belonged to Swift. “I’ve had that screeched in my ear often enough” thought Cal grimly. The other voice sounded a bit like the Celestial chick he’d snogged earlier. Cal grinned “Atta boy, Swift.”

At the bottom of the stair case Cal noticed the human woman and her goat. They’d obviously had quite a session. The human had retrieved a grooming brush from the panniers and was cleaning down both herself and the goat. The goat looked decidedly tottery but was improving by the minute. “You know, mum,” the bleaty voice said in Cal’s head, “I think it was something I ate.” “Think you’re right, Steff” replied her mistress, “I reckon it was that bloody waiter we felt sorry for. Tell you what, let’s go and find his shoes and you can crap in them.” Having decided on their revenge, the pair marched off determinedly to carry out their plan.

Cal returned his attention to the fracas surrounding the Tigron….the other half of the Tigron. Pell had managed to retrieve his hair from the near hysterical Jasorak and Rue had moved in to escort the newly expectant hostling over to the drinks table. Fragments of their conversation reached Cal…. “Y’know, the b*****d did the same thing to me?” and “He won’t be bloody happy until he’s sired an entire football team” and “Isn’t it time someone came up with the Wraeththu equivalent of a

Pell was obviously finding his newly acquired clothing a tad on the chilly side and had sent one of the house hars off to fetch him a jacket. The house har returned draping a jacket around Pell’s shoulders that was near as dammit the one that Pell had worn when they’d set out from Saltrock together all those years ago. For a moment Cal thought that Pell might be trying to turn him on, then noticing that certain look in his love’s eye decided the Tigron was trying to turn him on. ” He’d better nothave any ideas about getting me pregnant” thought Cal moving towards his partner. But their moment was cut short…and by what? A goat.

She came stampeding across the floor, bowling hara and kamagrian out of her way alike. She stopped short in front of Pell and pointed an accusing hoof at him, or more accurately at the goat skin jacket he was now wearing. “Uncle Wilfred!” she wailed and collapsed in tears. Pell looked horrified. He thrust the now slumbering harling into the arms of the nearby Ghost, stripped off and hurriedly hid the jacket before rushing to the assistance of the grief stricken goat. He was joined by the human female and between them they began a stream of platitudes about the greenness of the grass in goat heaven.

“Oh gimme a break” sighed Cal…

::Certainly my dear:: Theide intoned from on high ::Which limb?::

“Very funny,” growled Cal, “Just do something will you? You are the bloody Aghama, after all.”

::Oh alright. Steffi my dear, I have your Uncle Wilfred with me, would you like to talk to him?::

Steffi nodded in agreement and thus began the strangest seance Cal had ever been witness to.

After a while Cal became aware that what he really, really needed right now, this minute was a drink. And the drink that he really, really needed right now, this minute was a glass, if not an entire bottle of Gimrah rose petal wine. The human female was standing back watching her goat commune with it’s long dead uncle. Cal took her arm and steered her towards the wine ladened panniers which were still in their corner.

“Gimrah rose petal wine” he said “now…..please” remembering his manners at the last moment. “Can do” she said looking at him shrewdly. “You’re a mate of Elveny’s aren’t you?” Cal nodded as she dug out a bottle of pink sparkling wine. “Yeah, she said you’d appreciate this,” the woman continued “She also said you were a damn good snog, but that’s not something I’d take on trust.” Cal knew a challenge when he heard one, and he never backed down from a challenge, at least…..not one like this. Taking the bottle from the woman’s hand and placing carefully where he could give it his full attention later, he picked the woman up and engaged her in a low flying lip lock. Thus began a kiss that was to go down in history as the longest snog in public that ever graced the halls of Phaonica.

Steffi looked up from her cosy chat with Theide and her long dead uncle. “Oh God, mum,” she said, “You can be such a tart!”

Ramestton, gently tugging Mithras behind him, made for the all-famous cupboard. They clumsily dodged and bumped into other hara around the ballroom, only pausing to get another jug of wine from a harrassed servant pushing a trolley laden with more drinks for the guests. Destination reached, Ramestton made to open the door and found it firmly locked. There were stiffled gigglings on the other side.

“Hey!!! Open up! This is our cupboard you randy lot! Go find your own!” yelled Ramestton, pounding on the door.

“Not anymore, you zipperless doddle!” yelled a voice back, breathless with giggles.

“Well, I wouldn’t be zipperless if I could get my safety pin from in there, now would I?” he shouted back, hoping that it would be enough to get whoever were in there to open up. Beside him, Mithras just kept swigging the wine.

The cupboard went quiet for a moment. Then came the sound of shuffling feet and rummaging. Then a safety pin was slid under the door. Ramestton and Mithras stared dully at it without bothering to pick it up.

“Now bugger off!” screamed the voice again.

“Wait till I get you! I know who you are!”

“No you don’t! Quit bluffing and sod off!”

Ramestton huffed up and was going to reply but Mithras dragged him away.

“Let’s find somewhere else. This place has more than enough secluded aruna venues. Here, have a sip. One sip won’t harm our kiddy”

His consort snarled playfully at him but took the jug anyway. By the time they got to the end of the corridor, they were giggling, hugging, sharing little kisses and playing at trying to trip the
other up. Phaonica is a colossal palace. It’s anyone’s guess how long they wandered.

Eventually, they found themselves in Calanthe’s private suite. Being slightly drunk gave them all the courage they needed to cross the threshold into the sumptuous chambers.

“Very nice” slurred Ramestton, looking aroundas Mithras flopped onto the enormous bed

“Tut, tut. Shame on you! No respect for your Tigron?” and both fell into fit of giggles.

“At least he knows how to hold his drink like a true man……which isn’t any better than Rue” More giggles and a short lived pillow fight ensued. When they finished, Ramestton had a few feathers sticking to his skin which was still a bit sticky from the rhubarb wine that had poured over his shirt earlier in the evening.

“I need a bath. Then I can change into one of Cal’s clothes. Got too many for him to worry about missing a couple. Coming?” asked Ramestton looking at Mithras over his shoulder as he found his way to the bathroom suite.

“Like hell I am!”

Two swishes of a goat’s tail and both were naked in the huge bath, warm water cascading down like a minature waterfall at one corner. Ramestton reached for one of the numerous aromatic oils clustered on the side.

His face went serious as he stared with hooded eyes into Mithras’ own. “I’ll tell you a little story” he began softly, “of Cal’s travels to find himself, years and years ago”

Mithras looked at him curiously. “Everyone knows the story. It’s even thought to little harlings in history class now!”

“Ahh, not so, Mithy. Not the Ferike version, unfortunately.” He moved closer to Mithras.

His friend shrunk back slightly. “This is not some elaborate plan to get me knocked up is it?” he frowned distrustingly.

Ramestton put on a face of mock hurt “Of course not, love! Just relax and listen…….” His voice became soothing and resonated around them.

“Cal and Thea made camp for the night. They were hungry, tired and weary of giving in to their feelings for each other. Eventually, they slept,” Mithras eyes lit up , “…….seperately” continued
Ramestton with a grin.

He became solemn once more as he carried on. “Later that night, Cal heard noises and roused but could hear nothing. All was suddenly too quiet. He tried to wake Thea but his companion was too deep in his slumber to answer. Then he saw the har. An Elhmen.”

” ‘Calanthe’ he said, ‘You have come’ “.

” ‘Yes I have. But to what purpose?’ asked Cal”

‘To be healed, o troubled one. My name is Arawn and I will heal you if you let me. Where is your pain?’ Cal looked at Thea and saw that he still slept and looked at Arawn once more”

‘I hurt in many places, great one’ said Cal ‘My body aches from many journeys’ ”

‘Come near that I may ease your suffering Calanthe’ ”

Ramestton poured some oil into his warm hands and began massaging Mithras’ back and shoulders “And Arawn soothed Cal’s tired person with the sweetest smelling lintel seed oil” he murmured. Mithras sighed and relaxed under Ramestton’s gently kneading fingers. He felt good. Really good. “And as he eased the pain in Cal’s muscles, he sang gently to him like this…….” And Ramestton softly sang into Mithras ear a calming rhythm of Ferike courtship.

“After he finished, he asked Cal again……’What hurts you now, dear one?’ and Cal replied ‘I thirst for I have not drank water all day’. Arawn took Cal’s face in his hands like so……..” Ramestton took Mithras face in his hands, “……and shared breath with him like this”

And the zipperless har and the waiter shared breath for eternity it seemed. Ramestton could see that Mithras was getting well into the mood. So was he. Finally, they broke off, albeit reluctantly.

“What happened after that?” whispered Mithras, eyes closed. Ramestton grinned slyly and quietly continued….

“Arawn then asked him ‘What ails you now dear traveller?’ and Cal replied ‘My soul, for it has seen torment beyond description'”

” ‘Come then, that I may take aruna with thee and heal thy soul’ ”

” ‘I give myself to you then, Arawn’ replied Cal and……”

“Wait, wasn’t it Cal that was…..” began Mithras

“Shhhhhhhhhh!” Ramestton cut him off softly. “It doesn’t matter, Mithy, does it?”, and taking the role of ouana, he sank into aruna bliss with his consort.

Afterwards, Ramestton dried off, anointed himself with the perfumes around the bath and went into Cal’s dresser while Mithras still luxuriated in the warmness of the tub. He could hear Ramestton whistling happily to himself and a little nagging thought kept needling at the edges of his brain but his head was too fuzzy to bother. He got out of the bath and went into the main rooms to join Ramestton. It wouldn’t do for Cal to catch him there. That would be insolence of the highest order.

Ramestton was still naked, with tons of clothes scattered at his feet. Obviously, he’d been trying on everything in sight.

“Just pick one and get out” drawled an unmistakable voice. It was Cal. The two intruders stood shock still in silence for what seemed eons, then both began apologising profusely. Cal boredly waved them quiet. “Just cover up and step out willya!” he groaned.

“I’ll clean up the place once I can get my kitty on” mumbled Mithras, frantically searching for a pair of slacks to put on.

“Nahhh! Don’t bother about it. Sarion and Naim will take care of it. I’m sending you on leave”

“Awwwwwww, leave it out Cal! I said I only tried to give Rue a bit of the runs for giving me so much cleaning up to do!”

Cal stared at him blankly for a few moments. “I meant maternity leave, silly”

There was a short silence, broken by Ramestton snickering in the background. Cal sighed and turned to him “You are incorrigible you know that? All that Ferike folktale trash about my travels……”

Mithy gaped at his consort.

“Well at least I’ve managed to get you paid leave, darlin’!” he said grinning and dashed off, clad only in one of Cal’s bathrobes and spinning aside Rue who was just strolling in.

Mithras gave chase, yelling furiously………


“Let me guess…….both are now expecting little bundles” grinned Rue, giving Cal’s quarters a distasteful sweep.

“They’ll be fine” Cal waved his hand dismissively and briefly concentrated as he made to summon his two aides telepathically. As he waited for them, he began ripping off the rumpled, feather infested sheets on his canopied bed. Rue snorted in mock disgust and leaned on the vanity. Sarion and Niam appeared and Cal began muttering instructions to them on cleaning up. Rue meanwhile juggled a set of five hair brushes in his hands.

Cal passed him and snatched one in mid air. All the brushes came tumbling down and Rue glared at him and sneered “Spoil sport”

They strolled into the parlour and sprawled on the cushions while the servants began the arduous task of clearing up Ramestton’s and Mithras mess in the bedroom and the bath.

“Where do you reckon Pell is now?” smiled Rue

“Trying to untangle his hair from Jasorak’s grabbing fingers no doubt” sighed Cal, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

“You seem tired. Is it our arguments or the excess drink” said Rue laughingly.

Cal looked up with a mischievous tinkle in his eye and laughed.
“Won’t get rid of me that easily! Just bored that’s all. And in this aruna-infested party, I’m yet to have a piece! Really incredible! I must be going impotent!

::Might do eventually:: murmured Thiede

::Don’t you dare!!!:: growled Cal as Rue giggled.

::Temper, temper! A joke, nothing more:: snickered the Agahma

::Don’t joke about them things or I’ll come get you myself!:: Grumbled Cal, standing up to pour himself a drink from the decanter on a nearby side stool. ::Besides, I wonder if you’re getting any where you are!:: He and Rue burst into laughter as Thiede huffed up.

::Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up:: raged Thiede to no avail.

::I’ll make the rest of your kids cretins if you don’t behave::

They fell silent for a moment, glanced at each other and burst into fresh peals of laughter.

::We already have enough, no more coming over the horizon, so stop threatening and go bug Pell…..he listens to you all the time:: hollered Rue, still giggling.

::Yup! He’s Teacher’s pet:: added Cal.

::We shall see:: snickered Thiede ::I have a few things to attend to, so see ya::

:Yeah. See ya :: mimicked Rue. “Been around us to often lately and now talks like us, doesn’t he?” Cal smiled in answer.

Just then a cadre of glamorously attired hara stormed in. “Cal, you Machiavellian rogue!!! Where have you been hiding? Last I heard, you were in a closet. Thought we both agreed to come out of the closet about half a century ago!”

“Seel!!!” shouted Cal and Rue in greeting. Seel was with a troop of Megalithican and Maudrah dignitaries which included Zobinek, Leef (who was now one of the top Commanders in Swift’s forces), and a few other old friends. They whooped and raved at each other for a while.

“Where in the blazes is the love of my life?!!” exclaimed Seel, hugging the Tigron and Tigrina.

“Would you want to know!” smirked Cal and they began a repartee of old times and adventures. It wasn’t long before they started howling “Saltrock” at the top of their lungs like hooligans. In the other room, Sarion and Naim shook their heads and snorted. They were used to seeing them behave like this in private. The Imperial might of Immanion reduced to shouting toddlers. One would think they were a football or rugby team and indeed, the discussion invariably swung to the latest results of the World Tribes Football Tournament. Rue was suddenly bored and coolly slouched off to look for more entertainment somewhere.

He found it downstairs in the ballroom, which always seemed to be the core of the insanity of this party. Ramestton flew past him, bathrobe bellowing about his legs, Mithras still giving chase, and Rue stuck a foot out to trip ol’ zipperless up. Chaos. Ramestton glared at him from the polished marbled floor, stood up and tried to elope once more. By then Mithy had borne down on him and they ran round Rue for a bit, dodging round the Tigrina and using him as a pivot pole and then stopped, grinned at each other, and in a jiffy, whipped down Rue’s trousers and took off once more. Rue waved his fist at them and adjusted his clothes, muttering colourfully.

He looked around. Many guests had swapped coats and sashes and were doing a fast tempo waltz with each other. Everyone was having glorious fun. Why not join in? He got a waiter to fetch him a tall glass of fresh elderflower wine, which he gulped down in a nifty then went over to the band, grabbed the microphone from the lead singer and jumping onto the piano, proceeded to belt out “Karma Chameleon“.
The whole room went into a fresh frenzy and he even saw Pell seriously grooving to it with the little harling Prince still in his arms. Rue was half way into the second track, “Let’s do the Twist“, whirling his coat like a lasso over his head when he sighted Ash passing through the dance floor, blankly staring at everyone as he sauntered through.

Rue tossed the mike to a servant, jumped down, grabbed a jug from a swirling pair and went after Ash, intentionally tripping dozens of drunk hara as he went past. He’d seemed to have developed a knack for it.

Ash was already into the conference room where gathered about thirty hara who were in the advanced stages of strip poker and no less sober than the ones in the ballroom. This had initially started out as a meeting to discuss trade issues but had quickly degenerated into full blown debauchery. He sighed as Rue came up behind him.

“And what do you want?” drawled Ashmael, becoming defensive.

“Company” smiled Rue.

“Limited or Unlimited”

“Company” repeated Rue, now grinning. Ash gave him a beady stare.

“Go awwwwway!” moaned Ash and began walking towards the other end of the room, hoping that the noise from the others immersed in their games would drown Rue’s words. Rue saw that the quickest route to where Ash stood was across the table, so he jumped onto the table, (he seemed to have developed a knack for this too) and gingerly picked his way through the throng of cards, chips, clothes and wine glasses; stopping now and then to say “Hello mate, he’s spying your cards”, “He’s cheating, he’s got two pairs of boxers on” and “You’re already out, or do you intend to bet your ouana-lim? Don‘t tryyyyyy it!” to a chorus of groans and grumblings.

He got to Ash, now sitting at a side table, glaring at him with his famous laser look. Rue smiled endearingly, took up residence opposite him and with his chin in one hand and elbow on the table, leaned forward flirtatiously. In the midst of the mentality about them, they were a chasm in the scene.

“Here have a drink and lighten up” Rue said, placing the jug between them. Surprisingly, Ash accepted and took a swig from the jug. “Mmmmm. Not bad actually.”

“Now what pisses you off O Great General of Immanion?” slurred Rue

Ash was glad someone had asked and exploded in a steam of apoplexy against every living creature under the sun, sputtering steadily. He raged about the attempt on Rue’s life and him not giving a toss, the insanity and disgrace of the happenings of the party and………..Rue patiently waited for him to finish, idly admiring his perfectly manicured fingers from time to time. Ash suddenly stopped.

“You’re not listening! You‘re just patronising me!” he growled.

“Of course I am listening, dear!” said Rue with raised eyebrows

“What was the last thing I said then?”

“That you would like to get drunk and join in the fun” said Rue with a perfectly straight face.

Ash stood up and screamed “I don’t want to get disgustingly drunk!” which promptly sent a hail of rubbish being flung at him from the casino players. He sighed and sat down.

“Looks like for once in his illustrious life, the Great Ash is outnumbered” snickered Rue “Here, down some more wine” Before long, they were halfway through the contents and Rue stood up and said “Come on, let me show you something”. Ash followed, reluctant to leave their drinking table. They passed by some of the hara, now drunkingly playing an ancient children’s game involving numbered boxes drawn on the floor, a stone and a fair amount of hopping. They were searching for their stone as the two passed, so Rue removed one of the huge gem broaches on his chest and tossed it to them. “I want it back you morons!!!” he warned.

He and Ash passed through the private gallery and he stopped to dance briefly with a statue of Pell, humming “La la la la la, tum tum, tum tum. La la la la la, tum tum, tum tum” Ash looked on with a condescending stare. They continued on and reached the cloistered hanging gardens outside. Ash stopped.

“ So what was it you wanted to show me?” he asked Rue with feigned innocence.

Just then a large, fluffy dog came out of nowhere, bounded up to Rue and flew on him.

“Ah! Sniffer! What have you been up to, me lad?” said Rue ruffling the dog’s fur. The dog jumped down, went over to Ash, marked his territory on Ashmael’s right boot, cocked up his head to stare at the General and bounded off. “Watch out for Steffi!” Rue called out to the mutt. Ash meanwhile was still staring at his foot in dismay .

“I’ll kill that animal one day” muttered Ash, removing the boot.

“No you won’t. He did that because you didn’t give him a bite of your meal the other day”

“When the hell was this?” cried Ash

“Last week. At the private little munch-munch we invited you to. Dogs remember that sort of thing”

“Well I can’t remember” grumbled Ash

“Let me help you” said Rue and shared breath with him. “You need comfort from all the stress of guarding our gates day and night” Rue whispered.

“Uh Hmmm” nodded Ash, pursing his lips like a child about to cry.

“And you needed that comfort from Cal, yes?”

“Uh Hmmm” nodded Ash

“But Cal’s attention has been diverted all evening so he hasn’t had time for you, am I right?” said Rue removing Ash’s coat.

“Uh Hmmm”

“But I need Company……”

“Uh Hmmm”

“And you need company……limited”

No answer

“Ash. Where’s the ‘Uh Hmmm’? frowned Rue.

“This time, it’s ‘Mmmmmmmmmm‘ Be gentle Tigrina”

They were on the slightly damp grass in seconds and using Ashmael’s fur coat as a covering blanket, sunk into the thing that made the Wraeththu world go round.

Later, they lay in each other’s arms and Rue began asking about his past adventures and campaigns. Ash felt replete. Strange, but replete. hence, he was in a conversational mood. “But you’re not going on any campaign in the near future are you?” Rue suddenly

“Urmm……No. Why?”

“Just asking” said Rue casually, sneakily picking up his discarded clothes around them. “Wish we had more wine” he added wistfully. “You sure you’re not going on any horsey back battle in the name of Thiede? Well, not for a while?” Again casually wearing his clothes without hurry and humming under his breath.

Ashmael propped himself up on an elbow “Why all this sudden interest for my welfare?” he gave Rue a hard stare.

“Nothing” shrugged Rue, avoiding his eyes. Now that he had his slacks back on, he decided he was adequately clad to now make a run for it. He would need a good head start though. Ashmael’s fitness was legendary.

::Snicker. No more kiddies on the horizon?:: said Thiede

::Shut up::

::Snicker. Because it’s Ashmael’s, I might reconsider about making the harling a cretin::

::Shut up!!!::


::Will you…..::

“Could have sworn I felt Thiede about. Hmmm. Why the hurry to get dressed, milord?” Ash asked lazily.

“Urmm….Wine. More wine. Need to go get more wine. You know…” Rue was flapping his hands nervously and darting looks at the Palace, secretly trying to judge it’s running distance. Ash thought he was acting strange. Poor dear must have a headache. He made to get up and go hug him.

“No Sniffer!!! Back off!” Rue shouted suddenly pointing behing Ash. Alderbaran spun round and saw only darkness. He heard the very quick pattering of feet. Rue’s.

“Wha…” he began as he turned round to face Rue once more, only to see his Sovereign already halfway back to the building, running like he had the worst case of rash.

“Why are you running?!!” screamed Ash incredulously.

“You’re pregnant!!!” came the distant reply.

Ashmael’s face was still as granite for what seemed an eternity. Then he threw his head back and…………

Guests in the Palace would later insist that the ear-splitting screech that reverberated all over Immanion at that precise moment was most definately not of this existence.


The noise of departing guests mixed with the distant sound of the Royal guard ferreting out the last of the hangers-on and showing them the road. Curses mixed with polite farewells as those guests not spending the night in the palace gave their leave to the Tigrina. Rue stood by the front door, occassionally looking over his shoulder in a nervous fashion, as he thanked each individual for coming.

Pell trudged wearily up the stairs, his clothing, his hair and his hauteur in complete disarray. Cal met him at the top and together they wandered off toward their rooms. In seeking sanctuary in their rooms they were to be disappointed, Cal’s room was uninhabitable, despite his staffs’ best efforts and Pells was occupied by a snoring har, a unidentifiable lump and a large, hairy goat.

Sharing a rueful look, the two of them strolled off in search of free sleeping quarters.

“Quite a night.” Cal commented as he stretched his arms above his head and yawned.

“Dreadful.” Pell said. “Absolutely awful.”

“Aww, c’mon Pell. It wasn’t that bad. Some of it was kind of fun.”

But Pell had pulled the shattered shreds of his dignity about him once more and would not be swayed. “They behaved like animals.” He said.

“Well, there were animals there.” Cal pointed out.

Pell sighed melodramatically, but brightened when the tenth door he’d tried yielded excellent results. Closing the door behind them, they went straight to the bed and flopped, not even bothering to remove their clothes.

“There’s gonna be lots and lots of little pearls around here in a couple of months.” Cal put in. “Maybe we should redecorate the nursery now, while we still can?”


“What’s disgusting now?” Cal said, tiredly.

“Pearls. Babies. Yuck. How could any self-respecting har put themselves through that?”

“Oooh, Prissy. Mind your tongue.” Cal quoted. “It’s the perpetuation of the species you know and there’s nothing ‘yucky’ about it. I’ve done it, remember? It’s not so bad. Besides,” Cal grinned. “I don’t think they all had a choice in the matter.”

“It’s horrible. The pain. Getting all sweaty. Breastfeeding for goodness sake. No one would ever put that one over me!”

“Well, there’s going to be a lot of it going on, Pell. Better get used to it.” Cal rolled over and looked at his other half. “You don’t think anyone could sneak one up on you?”

“No. Of course not. I’m the Tigron, after all.” Pell was very definite about that.

“Yeah, you’re probably right. I doubt that anyone could get anything past you. You’re too smart.”

Pell was suspicious. “What are you up to?”

Clear blue eyes, free of guile, smiled seductively at him from the other side of the bed.

“Come here and I’ll show you” Cal promised in a throaty voice.

Immanion Enquirer. Special Edition. Ai-Cara-40.

Representatives of the Trinity at Phaconia today announced the expectation of a child for Tigron Pellaz and Tigron Calanthe. The harling is due in a matter of weeks and it is thought that Tigron Pellaz is the host for this Pearl of Wraeththu. The Enquirer wonders at the delay in making this announcement public and asks if it is at all related to the apparent tension reportedly surrounding the royal couple in the last few weeks.

In related news; It seems that the palace of Phaconia is fertile ground if the sudden rise in the numbers of harlings being born is to be believed. At last count there were four new pearls in the palace nursery and this paper expects to hear news of more at any moment. The Enquirer will, of course, keep you posted.



1 Comment

  1. Ruth said,

    July 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    What no explaination for the talking goat
    [obviousily a fertility God] LOL

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