Wow, two months worth of everyday writing

Today makes two months of writing everyday.  I’ve gotten go much done, I think if I add it up it’s over 55,000 words.  I finished Enchant the Dawn, Visions of Sin, and I’m about a third done with Portrait: A Home for Lir Morgan (the current working title).  Here’s today’s efforts!

So, in between searching for the roots of Nephos’ unusually long life-span and seemingly endless reserves of power, she’d also looked for information on alternative means of preserving – not life – but existence.  The Spell of Rihon a few weeks ago had been a major discovery.  Rihon Rastik had lived over four hundred years until an avalanche had wiped out a village in the Fringian Alps  of Rastik-indentured miners on the edge of the dark side of Tyral, some thousand miles from the main Rastik estates.  The same day, Rihon had been found in his workroom, a dried husk eaten from the inside out.  It was a famous story.

One of his sons had written down an account of his father’s experiements, and although it did not give specific details, Iona, with help from Lir’s strategic mind, had managed to piece together the kind of spell that must have been used. Now their task was to understand how it was possible to force multiple people to host nanites that had been adapted to live only within their chosen host.

The question turned out to not be so different than finding out how nanites could survive outside of any biological being, but within oil paint and canvas.  Somehow, Rihon and certain others had found the code to put the nanites in a state of dormancy, performing only a few key tasks.  For the Spell of Rihon, that task was draining the energy of non-Talented humans and feeding it back to the host to sustain life long past anyone had a right to live.  Not at such a price.  For the portrait, those who put store in superstition seems to believe the nanites retained a part of the soul of the subject.  Iona could not quite bring herself to believe such a thing, rather putting the behavior down to the ability of the nanites to take a snapshot of the thought patterns of their host, and keep that alive when the host themselves had passed away.

It was a kind of immortality, such a portrait. One that seemed a bit questionable, but did not involved the moral cost of the Spell of Rihon.  It would preserve a kind of life, possibly for millennia. It was probably the height of self-aggrandizement, thinking that she could do something Nephos had not, but her goal was not the attainment of immortality or power.  It was to save the soul, or the memory, of someone she loved.  To give Lir’s spirit a home, should her dream somehow play out in reality.  According to all the copious research she had since done, a portrait was merely a moving picture until the death of the person portrayed.  The last download between linked nanites would be a capture of the very essence of that individual. A Portrait was a home, a vessel for a piece of soul to reside in that called, irresistibly, to its subject upon their death. 

If she could create a strong enough program, increase the homing signal  strength enough, Nephos would have no power over Lir.  She walked across the sandy expanse between the common hall and the young women’s dormitory.  Iona would wait for the height of the night cycle, when she was sure she could act freely.  Then she could obtain that final ingredient, and make a home for Lir Morgan.


Chapter Four

* * * * *


The Season of Dawning, 3rd month, 16th day

Year 2372 Post-Landing


Iona still couldn’t quite believe she had the nerve to do this.  She waited in her room for the sounds of the compound to sink to only the quiet rush of the surf.  Risa was likely still in the common hall, as she wasn’t . And all the other girls were off on the other side of the island with Tongon, Romol or the other Sorcerers who had taken on training the young in the use of Talent and the capabilities of their powercasters. The trip was a bit of a “camping adventure” to test survival skills.  Most of the younger boys were there too.  Leaving Lir and Rajan, the normally mentors in that dorm, quite alone. Only Rajan was most likely sneaking down to the firepit as usual to meet Risa, the only way either of them could really get to sleep. Iona had planned this all very very carefully.

Iona tugged her dressing gown over her otherwise naked body and wished she was brave enough to simply climb into bed with Lir every night, rather than come up with elaborate plans of seduction.  She wished that this was only because she loved Lir, and wanted him, rather than having another, darker purpose.

It had been easy to collect most of the other ingredients she needed.  The lopaseed oil, the lapis and carnelian…even the titanium oxide…crushed jewels and metals that create the vibrant tones of great art since the days of the ancestors on Earth.  The enzymes of dormancy, those had been much harder to find.  They were considered dangerous for anyone of Talent to touch, for fear of harming their own nanites, but Iona knew that it would take a very large amount to truly harm a young Talent like herself.  Romol’s brother, Medla, was easy enough to bribe.  He had a misshapen scar from a battle that none of the healers had time or skill to rearrange to his specifications, and he had a tremendous number of underground contacts and unsavory connections.  Such a surface wound was easy enough to heal, though his lecherous looks down the neckline of my tunic as I bent over his lower thigh were something she would rather forget. 

FLAILS MADLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I sold Enchant the Dawn!  Just got the contract offer about 5 minutes ago!

Yeah!  Four books sold, I really am an author!

*Runs around house whooping*

*Flies to Tennessee to kiss Shannon for the idea and inspiration*

*Flies back*

Boy are my arms tired!

Two days worth

I posted on the other account but not this one what I wrote yesterday, so two days today:

She clutched him to her, her chair tipping back almost enough to topple them both on to the floor.  This was a kiss of pure fire, not one of gentle tentative discovery.  As their world grew more and more bleak, the chance of death greater and greater, lust began to override any other considerations.

His kisses moved to her neck and her nails left welts through his tunic as he nibbled that sensitive skin.  She swept her sensitive new tongue over her lips, capturing the last bit of his taste and relishing the texture against her swollen lips.  She wondered how he would reactive if she licked him head to toe with this tongue.  How would his cock would taste in her mouth with these heightened senses of touch and taste?  She wanted to know everything and feel everything. He whispered against her skin, the exhalation driving her farther away from sanity even as his words gave warning. “We have to stop, Ona.”

“No.” She purred, unable to marshal her considerable vocabulary toward carrying her point.

He laughed, a deep resonance that made her throb for him.  She slid her foot over one of his calves, not wondering how she’d managed to lose her slippers until later. She pulled him close again, returning his attention to her neck as she scraped her nails over his back, pulling at his tunic until her could touch the sliver of naked flesh between the top of his black hose and the hem of his favorite garish orange tunic.

He groaned loudly and it was her turn to chuckle. His voice was deep when he growled at her, “Iona, you better think hard about what you want, because any moment now I’m going to end up fucking you on the floor.”

Part of her thrilled with excitement at his words, and part of her reacted automatically, the habits of more than a decade too hard to undo, “Language!”

He pulled away, letting the legs of her chair hit the floor again as he stood.  They were both breathing hard, and she felt bereft and resentful.  “That’s what I needed to hear.” He swept a hand through his long red hair and grinned, his face one shade of red, his hair another, and the orange of his shirt clashing horribly with both.  She closed her eyes and giggled suddenly, unsure how a man could be so incredibly sexy and infuriatingly wonderfully childish all at the same time.

When she opened her eyes, he’d taken the seat opposite her, making sure they were separated by the length of the table.  He tried to look serious, but the flush in his cheeks let her know she was not brushed away quite so easily.  He was every bit as hot and bothered as she was, for all that he tried to look composed. “Have you eaten lunch, my little bookworm?”

She stuck out her cat’s tongue at him, and his jaw dropped.  She was not nearly as prissy as he had long made her out to be.  “No, I haven’t, but I will now that you’ve completely disrupted me.”

He failed to look contrite.  “I don’t believe you.  I insist on escorting you into lunch myself.”

She pinned him with a questioning glance.  Either he was having her on and teasing her, or he was suddenly becoming gallant.  She still didn’t quite understand how to manage the shift from bickering friends to lovers.  But the ride was certainly enjoyable.

“Fine.” She marked her place in all three books and hopped out of her chair, preceeding him out of the room with a pronounced swish in her hips that she hoped he took note of.  Turning abruptly to find him still in his chair and his eyes locked on her shapely behind, she battled her eyelashes.  “Promise me you’ll do that someday, love.”

He blinked, biting his full lower lip a bit sheepishly as his eyes were drawn back to her face. “Huh?”

“Fuck me on the floor, silly.”  She scampered away, hoping to avoid him seeing the bright brush that swamped her at her own daring words.  It was a long time before he showed up to gregarious lunch tables, and she swore he managed to miss his mouth with the soup spoon more than twice.  That orange tunic would never be the same from the stains.

* * * * *

Dinner was a quick bite of roogbread and cheese long after everyone else had eaten.  After lunch she’d made herself scarce, knowing that if Lir managed to corner her alone again she’d never be able to stop herself from tearing off his clothes.  Iona was reasonable sure that he’d welcome such an act, but she also knew that if she was going to seduce the man she loved, she wanted to have the time and privacy to do a good job of it.  She’d spent the past week arranging things so that she’d get her chance.

Walking back through the emptiness of the common room, she stared at the blank, faded hole left by what once had been a portrait on the wall.  The Portrait.  The one everyone dreaded.  Sergio Yevgeny Salid IV.  In his day, centuries ago, Forthak had been a summer retreat for the best and brightest, or at least the richest and most well-connected of the Talented.  The man had been renowned for indoctrinating his charges with the superiority of bloodlines and the necessity to stamp out signs of ability in the baseborn or undeserving.  Women were to be utterly silent and subservient. He would have made a fine Nefari, and Nephos had mentioned him more than once in his netwave addresses.

Yet, it was this insistence on bloodlines that led to more and more inbreeding within the family, until the line finally petered out into insanity and infertility.  Not even clones would remain stable past six months, and nanites had refused to host at all in the last two generations. 

But that portrait had remained, staring out with pale green eyes and sallow skin and thin lips.  That’s when it wasn’t screaming at any female who passed, or any male he suspected of having less that perfect lineage.  The insults had made adults blanch, and many fruitless hours had been spent in the weeks following their occupation of the island with trying different silencing spells.  Experts in chemical manipulation had trying to remove the canvas from the wall, but it would not budge unless a hole could be cut through the adobe.  Lir had been so angry when old Serg had called Iona a whore when she walked by, he’d tried blasting the thing with a memespear of plasma, but whatever shielding the painting possessed, it hasn’t even been singed.

But then they’d liberated a camp full of children, younger than any that had been at Morgan Hall, starving and frightened and desperate for stability. The first thing that had happened when they’d shuffled into the heart of Forthak was a tirade from a man dead four hundred years, telling them exactly all the things they’d heard at the work camp they’d just escaped from. Iona had been speechless.  Lir and Jaran, even Lady Morgan, had such tried to sooth the child.  Lir had even joked that they like to use the painting for target practice for throwing uidfruit.

Risa, however, had gone insane. She’d lost it completely.  It had only been a few weeks since Lord Morgan had died, and she’d been unnervingly quiet since.  She let everything loose that day and accomplished the impossible.  Not with spellwork or energy weapons.  Only words.

“Everyone you ever loved is gone, you scumsucking giterworm!  Everyone who might have ever loved you, everyone who you ever cared about is dead.  Your sons are dead, your grandsons are dead.  They were so pathetic they couldn’t even get it up to make any children of their own, much less have a trace of Talent.

This compound passed to us through a daughter who had the guts to runaway and marry where she pleased!  This place is ours now; no matter if you like it, no matter if we want it.  So if nobody is left who gives a damn about you, why don’t you LEAVE!”  Risa had screamed in a deadly cold voice, furious at the scare that these helpless young Talents had been given upon entry in what would, for the foreseeable future, be their home.

Salid’s pinched face had suddenly gone slack, and Iona would have sworn that there had been tears in his eyes.  There had been a horrible keening cry, which seemed to shake the painting and the wall.  A pale green light had rocketed out from the picture, shooting past Risa’s head and causing her to dive for the planked floor.  It had angled upward, jangling a dusty light fixture so badly the thing had fallen, and would have crushed several kids if Lir hadn’t been so fast with his plasma shield.  The paint left on the canvas had oozed down onto the floor in a great black puddle, leaving a perfectly, frighteningly blank canvas behind, which then popped off the wall and clattered to the floor.  Sergio Yevgeny Salid IV had departed Forthak, leaving it to the hoards of women, baseborn Talents and their allies.  He’d also left Iona with a fit of inspiration.

So she had started this whole mad scheme of hers.  Despite having quite enough things weighing on her mind, she’d taken on this – this project, which skirted a very fine line between light and dark, right and wrong.

Once she’d gotten to the library, she’d looked up the use of Talent in art.  Not just digital art, but ancient art, the kind that had been all the first colonists had when Talent had first become evident.  And lo and behold, in a library filled with so many ancient texts, not to mention works of questionable morality, the subject had been covered in detail.  In a bastion of those obsessed with bloodlines, leaving behind a piece of your soul to advise your descendents was a popular option. 

That was what such a portrait claimed to be.  The paint was mixed with contributions from the subject, including samples of their own unique nanites.  And somehow, though nanites usually lose power and crashed within hours of being separated from their hosts, these nanites could remain dormant for centuries.

It had taken some proding, but Risa had admitted that there were such portraits at Morgan Hall, though they’d been kind and unobtrusive compared to old Serg.  In fact, Risa’s great-grandmother, Myna Morgan, was the sweet old lady hanging in Iona’s bedroom for years, who had always said goodnight in a sweet chirping voice like the fyrbird perched on her shoulder.  It was more than just mourning for her father than had prompted Risa to speak, but of all the voices of her ancestors that had disappeared when Morgan Hall burnt to the ground. Iona was once again struck by the magnitude of the loss, not only to Risa and Lir, but to everyone who would support the unfettered growth of Talent wherever it took root.

More about the nanites

Ha!  I’ll show them control! Taking deep cleansing breaths, forcing the nervous tension and arousal out of her mind, she took stock of her body.  Not only with her own senses, but with the heightened awareness of a million tiny quantum computers tuned to her very essence, her nanites.  No one understood how they chose their hosts, or how they had initially mutated from the simply health regulators that the initial colonists had carried with them in status.  Not in all the books she had so far absorbed from this library, or in any of her research prior to the destruction of the technology library at Morgan Hall.  No one could truly answer exactly what had changed the simple biomachines humans had created on Earth into the finely tuned tools that allowed Talented individuals to wield vast qualities of pure plasma or change their internal body structures at will.  

Iona approached the relationship with the mind of a scientist.  She had worked out a sequence of coded thought patterns that would allow her to control her nanite induced changes with incredible precision.  Others, like Lir or Jaran or most of the Sorcerers, worked purely by instinct, honed with years of hard work.  There was a ridiculous amount of pseudo-religious idolatry that had grown up around Talent and the nanites.  Nephos and the Nefari over the past few hundred years of power had extended this as far as possible, creating a cult that treated “pure, upstanding” men of Talent like demigods, blessed by the Universe and unable to do wrong.  All others were sub-humans.  Women with Talent who would not submit to “softening” were sacrilegious.  Common born Talents who’s parents had not been “blessed” were demonized abominations.

This entire attitude sickened her.  The nanites were machine.  Tools.  Yes, they occasionally did things that seemed difficult to achieve with known physics and biology, but a great deal of knowledge was lost was the colony ship crashed on Tyral.  It was just as likely that every effect was completely accounted for.  With enough study, these tools could be wrought with deft skill.  Iona prided herself on her mastery.

With careful precision, she lined up three open texts she’d chosen for study today.  A medical text from the early fifth century: A Study of Elongation of Lifespan in Native-Born Altered-Nanite Hosts.  A grimoire from a Rastik patriarch in the eight century who had been reputed to have stolen lifeforce from his servants. A notebook from just four hundred years ago, filled with stray notes on tracing programs, meant to track individual signatures of nanites within a family: that man had suspected his third wife of infidelity.  All of them interesting in their own way. 

She let her awareness flow, from her fingertips to her mind and then backwards, enlarging channels of feedback that she’d forced to grow long ago.  In the center of each palm, the skin had altered in fascinating ways, becoming translucent and glowing with a soft silver light. Holding her hands still over the top of two of the books she felt her mind precisely splinter, and three columns of separate text become clear in her mind’s expanded set of eyes.  In the depths of her concentration, the world had focused on to absorbing those three books completely.  With speedy flicks of her fingers, pages were turned and turned again.  Data was cataloged, cross-referenced and analyzed until she could practically rewrite the books in their entirety. 

With each day’s worth of work, she was one step closer to defeating Nephos.  Lir, Risa and Jaran had all kept her company at one time or another, but none had the same ability to absorb knowledge like a sponge, much less the fine control required to read not one book, but three.  It was unnerving, and they all felt useless.  She had given them leave to find other occupations.  Lir and Jaran with more and more martial training.  Risa with her own brand of battle exercises, scaled for her tiny physic and unique ability with shields.  She also had an intuitive understanding of healing magic, enough that Kinian, the head healer, had offered her an apprenticeship, even though she had not yet reached thirty, the normal age of full adulthood.

But no one alive had the kind of skills Iona had developed.  Training herself from an early age, she had been able to disguise the distinctive glint of her eyes well before she was two.  If she hadn’t been able to manage amazing feats of self-healing and a precocious intelligence that had her reading long before anyone had the time to think about teaching her to do so.  She’d read about nanites before her parents had even explained to her why she had to hide her abilities. 

So, not content to let such power hide within her and not use it, she’d focused within, learning a level of control that served her very well even years later.

“Hi, darling!  How’s the book learning today?  Did the dust catch up with you yet?” Iona jerked out of her trance. Lir came sauntering in, eating a uidfruit.  A sticky, syrupy, messy uidfruit that she’d expressly forbid ever coming within ten yards of her books.

So much for control.  “Ah!  Lir Morgan, you get your sticky hands out of this library right now, or I’ll zap you in some very unpleasant places.”

He gave her a lopsided grin, the kind that made her stomach clench with craving for him.  “But Ona, you might have a use for those places someday?  Besides, it’s not the books I want to get my sticky hands on!” He held out his hands playfully in front of her breasts, only to have her swat them away and end up with uidjuice all over her hands as well.

Absentmindly, she sucked her juice off her thumb, eager to get rid of the stuff somehow before the sticky purple stuff stained any of her precious ancient documents.  She decided to keep her mouth shut and humor him. Besides, although it was tempting to sooth her passion for him by starting a rip-roaring argument, they hadn’t had a really good screaming match since they’d started kissing a few months ago.  If they really started getting into a passionate argument, it was highly likely she’d end up finally losing her virginity on this table and giving the surrounding pictures a show they could gossip about for the next couple hundred years.

But it seemed that her decision to stay quiet hadn’t necessarily made sure that she wouldn’t get pounced on.  Lir watched her with avid blue eyes, taking in each curl of her tongue as she removed the thick sweetness from her skin.  The tempo of his breathing changed just slightly.  She couldn’t resist getting him just as bothered as she had been for days. 

“I’m starving!” Grabbing for one of his calloused hands, she started cleaning his fingers of the juice with slow drags of her tongue.  With barely a thought, the texture of her pink tongue shifted, becoming just a bit rougher, mimicking her tyrcat’s sandpapery feeling.  She could taste more, and she knew Lir could feel more.  The blood pumped through him harder, she could sense his pulse under his skin.  His blue eyes turned as dark as the clouds of mighty Tirella, deep indigo and swirling with unknown intensity.  More alluring that the sweet fruit was the undertones of his own scent, hot and spicy, salty and musky. 

His other hand dug into the curls at the base of her neck, pulling slightly until her braid was loose and her hair billowed about her in a frazzled black cloud.  She let go of his hand and rolled her eyes, prepared to complain about his insistence on freeing the madness of her untamable hair, but he simply bent down and kissed her hard, pushing his hands into her curls and stealing her breath.  For someone capable of thinking of dozens of things at the same time, it was impossible for her to thing of anything but Lir when he was kissing her.  Nothing else mattered but that he didn’t stop.

REvise revise

Lots of stuff I switched around and deleted.  When I finish Chapter 3, I’ll post all the different bits again for anyone who’s interested.  I deleted a character (Mikah Salid…who needs Malfoy anyway). It was just too damn confusing, and took away from the central story.  I’ve also changed some names, due to prior claims by my husband, so invented the names for another story he will write someday (even if I have to light a fire under him to work on it).  Therefore, Jaran Arza is no Rajan Azra, and Srina Morgan is Risa Morgan.

Took out the last paragraph from yesterday, leaving Iona in that very interesting cave library.

For months, this had been her refuge.  Libraries, whether composed of banks of digital screens or shelves of books, had always been her sanctuary. This library was completely different from the state of the art facilities that the Morgan’s had insisted on for their students at Morgan Hall, full of polished marble and glass, with bio-luminescent digital readouts and virtual reality learning environments.  This library was ancient.  It seemed to date not more than two centuries after landing, from the first major forays made out from the main continent to the scattered islands on the habitable side of Tyral.

There was no Net connection on the island, it was too dangerous.  The digital terminals were centuries out of date, with datacubes that carried obsolete or redundant information.  Why would a researcher of Iona Gabal’s caliber revel in the dusty dryness of a rock-carved obsolete library?

The books.  Thousands of books.  Something precious that Iona had rarely had the opportunity to handle before.  They contained information that the clan of Rastik-Salid had held precious once, but had long forgotten in their immense hubris.  Much of the initial investigations into the newfound concept of Talent and the abilities bequeathed to hosts the mutated nanites found acceptable was contained in these early journals and print manuscripts.  Forthak contained an unparalleled treasure trove.  Long shelves carved out of trak driftwood were stronger than iron, and had lasted millennia under the strain of holding their dusty burden.  The first two weeks Iona had spent on the island, time when she had been numb from the loss of her parents and Morgan Hall, she and Lir had spent holed up in this place, cleaning by hand and breathing in clouds of dust.  Somehow, scrubbing on hands and knees, surrounded by books, listening to Lir grumble about working like a housebot, these had soothed away just a bit of the hurt.  Slowly, numbness gave way to mourning, and she and Risa and others had snuck into this room with from hurdenwine and gotten drunk and cried.  Iona sometimes wondered if she had broken in such a way with Lir, if it had been she he would have turned to instead of Lavina.  As she ran her fingertips over the worn trakwood of her favorite reading table, she couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel like to have her skirts hiked up around her waist, her tunic ripped down the middle, his broad hands on her breasts or holding her hips and he slammed into her.

She crossed her legged suddenly, aching to rub fingers over her clit and ease the constant want that burned in her over the past weeks. Something about the scent of books and sex went together so very well.  She could imagine Lir wandering in to find her and seeing her with her legs splayed open, one hand pinching her clit and the other her dark nipple.  He would replace her hands with his, and stroke his tongue into the entrance of her sex, lapping up her taste and making her scream.  Damn, now she was in pain she was so hot for him.  If it wasn’t for all the nosy paintings on the walls, she’d have her hands up her skirt in no time. 

The few of the library painting were actual portraits, imbued with the special characteristics thereof.  There was a battle scene on digital backgrounds that groaned softly as the battle continuously played on in bloody eternity. Plasma flared in vivid flashes of orange and blue, gold and white.  Blood flowed and agony was evident as the losers were thrown into the swirling sea in the foreground. It was so well done, Iona swore that if you leaned close enough you could smell the blood.  She never got close to that one if she could help it. 

There was a large family displayed, some multi-generational scene of the Rastik’s or Salids from hundreds of years ago, the clothing incredibly ornate in vivid colors so bright as to hurt the eyes.  The male children looked eternally bored, the young men strutting in front of her until they saw her begin her mediations.  Once they saw her use her Talent, they started to scream in indignation.  She’d managed a muting spell. Eventually, they grew so used to her presence, they were just glad for the entertainment.  Living millennia within a mural is not terribly interesting.

The older members of the family, at least those who’d seen two hundred, yawned often and had to be propped up by the various young women who’d been allowed to be in the background of the picture. The woman of course looked demure and glassy-eyed.  Even then, certain families had begun drugging their females, using them as broadmares rather than allowing them to exercise their Talent.  Claiming women were too volatile to control such power reliably.