Welcome to the start of my new project: The Wicked Web. A blog series of stories broken down into episodes, as a way to share more Free Content for you lovely readers. Since I’m an author of Erotica, some episodes filled with 18+ material will be posted as a link only. All of the posts will be located in one place on the Menu above.
The first series I’d like to share was the novel I wrote during the last NaNoWriMo, which despite reaching the 50k word goal, I never completed. I’m hoping to finish it here. I’d also like to make this a regular event, to keep my muse from getting rusty – so, here goes!
Introduction: Thief of Dragons is an Alternate-Earth, Erotic SciFi Fantasy. (Yes, I make up my own genres).
Thief of Dragons: The Echelonites of Cauldex
They say the universe is infinite.
With her forehead resting against the cool metal of yet another space station, Roehn Cayen stared into the vacuum of space and disagreed. To her, the universe was very small and focused. Confined to the only galaxy she would ever know, and the planets within that all shared the same inexcusable flaw.
These abandoned space stations had once served a greater purpose, allowing ancient astronauts to study all of that infinite vastness. Now they were loosely governed shelters for the galaxy’s unwanted. Those extreme misfits who’d been shunned for failing the greatest at meeting their society’s standards. Forced to live away from their homes, their families and any shame they’d brought to both.
Roehn’s home planet, Cauldex, was no exception to the guilt of such an unjust practice. They had their own set of laws, traditions and beliefs everyone was expected to adhere to. At birth, all Cauldexian’s were touched by the Divine, allowing their Echelonite to appear. Known as companions, they were a symbiotic entity that bonded with their host’s blood and gifted them with their natural attributes. But as their name would suggest, the Echelonites had been used for centuries as a way of keeping the classes segregated. An indisputable way to recognize someone by their bloodline, status or trade.
All royalty had the Echeclonite of the Dragon, for example. Nobles were broken down into different Houses, but Griffins were the most elite. All fisherman had the Osprey, all handmaidens the Dove, and so on. Even long after the monarchies had fallen way to modern governments, the Echelonite had never changed. Royal Armsmen had become hired muscle and personal security, yet were still bound to the Bear.
Roehn’s noble bloodline was that of the Black Dogs of Cayen, but unlike her twin brother, she’d been born without an Echelonite. Snubbed by the Divine, she was a shocking and horrific abomination to her family. She’d been smuggled off planet by her nurse as an infant, and for the past nineteen years they’d lived in obscurity. Trying to survive on overcrowded space stations with the rest of the outcasts, living off rations and stolen goods. Forced to work as mercenaries or smugglers just to scrape by.
Over the years, her nurse had shown Roehn how to trick her blood into casting whichever Echelonite she wanted. A craft that had been strictly outlawed eons ago. That had led to scores of Cauldexians being publicly executed for practicing the Forbidden Arts. But as with all things outlawed, the knowledge had never been lost, merely passed down to each new generation in secrecy.
Now, Inglid was dead and it was time for Roehn to return to Cauldex to show her family the tremendous mistake they’d made. Through legal means or sincere regret, her family would accept her. They would let her back into their House and not-so-loving arms. Then, Roehn would have her revenge.
“Hey,” Reiter was suddenly right behind her, earning himself a fist to the chest for the mild fright. “Shit, that smarted!”
“What do you think you’re doing?” Roehn fumed, unconcerned. “We already said goodbye last night. I told you that I didn’t want any sappy, crybaby issues from you this morning.”
Taking a deep breath, Reiter held his hands up in an offer of peace, but his expression had her gut turning uneasily. He had the look of someone bearing news they wish they didn’t know. They’d all seen it too many times to have developed any kind of armor against it. In the space stations, outcasts had never been granted the luxury of innocence or the supposed bliss that came with it.
“What?” She pressed.
He glanced around the loading bay, before giving her an apologetic look. “You know that new group that just came in last night?”
Roehn had heard about them, but she’d been too busy preparing for her departure to make it to the mess hall for the evening rations. Her response was a hesitant nod.
“I overheard them talking about Cauldex,” Reiter stammered. “Roehn… I-I think you should talk to them before you board that supply ship.”
“I don’t have time, Reiter,” she snapped, his tone causing her to panic. “I’m leaving as soon as they’re done unloading. Just tell me what you heard.”
“It’s about your family,” he barely managed, turning partially away from her and rubbing his face. “They said… Fuck, why do I have to be the one to tell you?”
“Reiter, please?” Roehn whispered, as her chest tightened with more dread and something worse. Something akin to how she’d felt upon trying to wake Inglid one morning, only to discover her nurse would never wake again. “Please, just tell me.”
The moment his face fell into mournful regret, she knew. “I overheard one of them recounting a recent victory of the Dragons. How they’ve finally reunited the cities by wiping out every last Black Dog-“
Whatever else Reiter said after that, Roehn didn’t hear. All of the blood rushed up her neck to muffle her ears and block out the sound of his voice. Her heart twisted sharply, and adrenaline spiked through her veins. It hurt. She hadn’t been prepared for that, but by the Divine, it fucking hurt.
Why? Her family had shunned and despised her. Her own father had plotted to murder her in her sleep! The pain could only stem from the loss of revenge. The theft of that closure she so desperately needed. That wasn’t the entirety of it, though. In that moment, Roehn realized that deep down, she’d been looking for something more than just vengeance. She’d been looking for a better explanation. She’d been harboring a grain of hope that at least one member of her family had mourned the loss of her all along and that she might actually have someone – her mother, brother, a grandparent – that loved and missed her.
Now, they were all gone. Wiped out by the Dragons.
Roehn’s legs buckled, and her body sank to the floor. When she became aware that Reiter had crouched down beside her in an attempt to gather her into his arms, she shoved him away. She didn’t want his comfort. Pushing away from him, she sprang to her feet and ran blindly from the loading bay. Into the maze of corridors, where the first tears she’d ever cried for her family broke free.
© A.C. Melody
♥ Continue with Episode 2