PROMO: grydscaen: beginnings

Promo

grydscaen: beginningsNatsuya Uesugi has a new queer sci fi book out:

Faid Callen is tired of life on the run in the Echelons trying to keep his psychic power in check. He founds the Packrats, a group of cyberterrorist hackers. A young powerful Psi Faction operative, Lino Dejarre, is sent on a mission to capture Faid. Wanting to keep Lino under control, the Psi Faction kidnaps his half-brother, Riuho, and they take him prisoner, experiment on him, train him, and subject him to mind control.

When Lino is assigned to a high stakes diplomatic mission to reveal a traitor, he finds another psychic operative in play, causing him to question the Psi Faction’s motives. Can Lino rescue his brother before more blood is shed or will Faid step in and destroy the Psi Faction’s plans?

About the Series:

Lino just wanted peace. All he got was war.

In After Colony 2055, the Atlantea Federation, a draconian power had taken over 75% of the world’s territories and launched a nuclear attack, the Dionysis Effect against the insurgent Pacific Territories. In a single brave act, the Pacific Territories retaliated in a battle known as the Blood Red Incident. The untested weapon’s radioactive fallout created Codess which manifested as psychic powers.

After the initial destruction, people struggled to survive and some developed psychic powers as others fell to the pervasive radiation sickness. Civil war ripped at the heart of society with cyberterrorist hacker groups rising up to fight the government. The son of the Viceroy, Lino Dejarre had psychic power. He joined the Psi Faction as a clandestine psychic operative tasked to capture Faid Callen the leader of the Packrat hackers.

Separated at age nine and banished from the royal family, Riuho Dejarre’s hatred for his brother Lino grew as he tried to scrape out a life in the slum level Echelons. Stripped of his citizenship, Riuho vowed to get revenge and thwart Lino’s every move as the young operative tried to govern and keep his people safe. With Faid and Riuho using the Packrat cyberterrorist hackers to attack the government even as the Atlantea Federation increased the threat trying to destroy the remains of the Pacific Territories and their allies, the war took a dire turn.

The Atlantea Federation attacked brutally on the ground and threatened the Pacific Territories’ space colonies. Lino and his Psi Faction team were roped into global diplomacy, inter-colony politics, covert missions, battleship scurmishes, jet fighter sorties, and space battles facing the Atlantea Federation head on. When Riuho once more entered the fray, his high stakes game of manipulation and lies threatened to destroy everything for which Lino had worked.

With threats to the fragile Pacific Territories coalition and the fate of the world at stake, can Lino, the Viceroy of the City, the Echelons and the Zone lead the Pacific Territories to a victory? Intrigue, fast-paced action, clandestine psychic operatives, hackers, the oppressive Zone Police, and shadowy government conspiracies, the situation couldn’t be riskier. Will Lino ever see peace and an end to war? Find out in the dystopian grydscaen series. Whose side are you on?

Get it on Amazon


Giveaway

Natsuya is giving away an eBook copy of his grydscaen: rogue book with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4728/?


Exclusive Excerpt

Raven climbed the stairs and left the building through a window. One of the trackers saw him come out.
He went to Astor Street. He needed to find a gig. Perusing the Hack bulletin board on the second floor, Raven read all the requests and then picked up the request just put up. The request said that the person was in the Hack club wearing a red shirt and that to contact the requestor to send ‘schism’ to the room and wait at the board. Raven sent out the psychic call and waited.
A hacker walked up to Raven and put his hand on his shoulder, “I am Acolyte. Did you call?”
Raven handed him the card. Acolyte was wearing a long sleeve red shirt with the words ‘Operating System’ written on the front in an old typewriter font.
“So you want to hack for me?” asked Acolyte. “What is your name?”
“It’s Raven. How much does it pay?”
“6000 credits.”
“What is the job?”
Acolyte led Raven over to a hardline terminal and Raven sat down at the stool. There were a group of hardline terminals in the middle of the room.
“I need this,” said Acolyte and handed Raven a small strip of paper. It read, ‘Quadrion schematic, Level 4 clearance required.’
“Where do I get that?” asked Raven situating himself on the stool. He pushed his hair out of his eyes.
“The military network into the Escalon specifically,” said Acolyte leaning in and whispering to him.
“The Escalon what is that?” asked Raven.
“I think it is a battleship but I can’t be sure,” said Acolyte. “You are going to use the jack right?”
“Yes, that would be appropriate,” said Raven. He tapped the side of his head near the jack and released the terminus cable then attached the terminus cable to the hardline terminal port. Acolyte tapped him on the shoulder and handed him a pin drive, senso gloves and a set of headgear.
“The headgear and gloves are expendable,” said Acolyte.
Raven put on the senso gloves and the headgear on his head resting in his hair. He turned on the headgear and a green screen came up. He put the pin drive into the hardline terminal and then took the cable and plugged the headgear into the terminal. Raven sent a psi surge to the hardline terminal. It booted up and he pulled down the headgear over his eyes. Lines of code streamed in front of his eyes through the headgear as the machine booted up and then it came to a black screen with a request for a password.
Raven entered one of many hardline passwords he had memorized and the gridscan came up in front of his eyes. He thought of the military and the screen jumped to a view of multiple virtual buildings.
Raven separated his fingers and the labels came up on the buildings. He clapped his hands and entered the first building. The senso gloves and headgear allowed him to maneuver through the network virtual reality view. He came up to what looked like a wall of code. Acolyte walked away.
Raven stuck out his index finger and touched the wall in his view and then placed his palm up and sent a psi blast through the wall of code. He broke through the security level. Now at Level 3, This this was hacking the gridscan.
He moved his hands in a swimming motion and the screen jumped then he pulled his hands apart and clapped them again, dropping his hands to his knees. Level 4 security came up with a password screen. Raven put his index finger up and circled it, asterisks began to display in each of the 15 digit slots. He separated his fingers and sent a psi surge back through the machine. It accepted the 15 digit number and opened the level to him.
The headgear, reconfigured the network into a visualization of servers, connections, code. It was easier to hack the gridscan using the headgear and senso gloves.
Raven sent ‘Quadrion’ to the system using his psi.
Multiple packets of information came from the network and he logged them onto the pin drive. Then suddenly there were red blips on his screen; security trails. Raven continued the download but clapped his hands and changed his location in the gridscan display so they would start following him. He put his index finger at his palm and then pushed his hands forward, the download transferred from the current location to another ensuring the transfer could continue.
The word ‘violation’ flashed red in the headgear. Raven was being tagged, what happened when cyber security tracked down a hacker. He removed the headgear and pulled the pin drive out of the hardline terminal. He glanced around him nervous. Raven pulled out the jack terminus cable and walked away from the hardline terminal quickly. Someone came over to the terminal, security notified there was data compromised. Raven went to the bathroom, dropped the headgear in the trash can, covered it up with toilet paper and flushed the senso gloves. He put the pin drive in his shoe.
Raven came out of the bathroom and someone grabbed him slamming him up into the wall. The bouncer frisked him.
“Okay he’s clean, no storage devices on him,” said the bouncer into his radio then left Raven in the hall.
Raven wandered around the club and went downstairs and ordered water. Totally broke he had no money. He sat at the bar and then went upstairs and sent ‘schism.’ Acolyte came up to him and Raven passed him the pin drive. Acolyte told him to wait. He needed to check the file. Acolyte came back a moment later.
**It is not all here,** sent Acolyte.
**That is as much as I got before they tagged me,** sent Raven.
**I’ll give you 3000 credits that’s all.**
**It’s a wash if you have neurocyne,** sent Raven.
**We can do that instead. Wait here.** Acolyte went to his group of followers and got a vial of neurocyne. He passed it to Raven.
“We’re square,” said Acolyte and left.

Author Bio

Natsuya UesugiNatsuya Uesugi is a systems analyst and white hat hacker who has worked in the design of aerospace, semiconductor and financial systems. With an MBA in International Management and a minor in Japanese, Natsuya uses his Japanese, Black and Native American heritage to paint his stories, keeping an eye on diversity.

By night, Natsuya is an author and manga artist weaving stories in his cyberpunk grydscaen world, his dark fantasy universe The Seer of Grace and Fire, and his contemporary yaoi graphic noiz which takes place in New York City. He studied animation and game design at the Art Institute of Phoenix where he learned sequential art and traditional animation that fueled his childhood dream of creating manga and anime.

To date he has created four manga and two episodes of the short anime grydscaen: A Storm’s Coming based on the teenage hacker Rom. He enjoys skydiving, cosplay, manga, World Cup futbol, watching French news, eating ramen and anything with matcha, watching anime in Japanese, and writing poetry.

Author Website: http://www.grydscaen.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/natsuya.uesugi

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Grydscaen/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/natsuya_uesugi

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4558587.Natsuya_Uesugi

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/natsuya-uesugi/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natsuya-Uesugi/e/B00J6EDQQ6/

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PROMO: no way out

Promo

no way outQSFer Eric Alan Westfall has a new MM historical romance out:

It’s April of 1816 in Another England.

And Jeremy—a whore from the Dock—is living in a guest bedroom at the London home of the (in)famous Iron Marquess, with over fifteen days missing from his life.

For someone who remembers everything from his third birthday on, it’s unnerving not to know. Fine, fourteen days for the coma and the infection delirium. But those first thirty-six hours. Do they explain how he got hurt, how he got to Ireton House, and why his lordship’s mountain-sized valet is taking care of him? Or why his ironness looks at him with nothing iron at all in his eyes?

Jeremy and the Iron Marquess both have dark secrets. Forced engagements, an inheritance, a scheme to clap Jeremy in Bedlam, the revelation of the missing hours, a problem with plumage, some numbered accounts, and a long sea voyage, all seem to mean there’s no way out of the snares surrounding them. Or is the old saying true: where there’s a waltz, there’s a way?

All royalties will go to a local LGBT organization.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Eric is giving away two backlist eBooks (ePub or mobi) to one luck winner. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4726/?


Exclusive Interview!

no way out
BLOG TOUR INTERVIEW
(Exclusive Content)

What was the inspiration for no way out?

The truthful answer is, to use an expression I’ve used for many years, “I haven’t the foggiest.” Which is sometimes accompanied by the word “notion” or “idea.”

Really.

A fair number of my books began life because of an image. Some because of a picture and a prompt letter from the Goodreads MM Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet events…such as the actual 1893 photographic collage of two men having…er…fun and games, which led to Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture.

But others…just happened. no way out is one of those.

The “non-exclusive” excerpt here is from the opening of the book. And now that you ask, I do remember seeing and enjoying the 1987 mystery/thriller, way back then, which starred Kevin Costner, the name of which was No Way Out. Maybe, subconsciously, the movie title came into my head back in 2011…yes, that’s not a typo.

What I recall is those three words as the opening line, and knowing what the opening sequence was, and pretty much writing the first chapter immediately. That gave me the main characters, and some of their secrets. The last chapter was written a while after that, though I’m not sure how long, and while it’s been expanded some, and polished, it’s remained the same since then. Especially the closing lines.

And the rest just fell into place, i.e., getting from “no way out” as the first line to the quite beautiful—in my never humble opinion—HEA at the end.

Have I made any sort of sense?

If you picked a favorite line or short passage from any of your work, what would it be? And what do you like about it?

Wow! You interviewers sure like to ask this question. Fortunately, I have multiple answers. I have far too much fun writing, and perhaps because of far too much ego, there are far too many moments across the fifteen books already out (not counting the individual short stories in the two collections) where I think, “Wow! This is kinda good.” So I can’t pick just one.

I like weaving in allusions to famous books, whether title or text, song lyrics, etc. I also have fun, on occasion, taking famous literature—public domain only!—and gaily adapting it to the story at hand.

That happened in The Rake, The Rogue, and The Roué. Christopher Marlowe published The Passionate Shepherd to His Love in 1599. Decades ago I fell in love with it, and somehow the first four lines have just stayed with me. In the book, Rory (the Rogue) and Michel (the Roué) adapt it for Peregrine (the Rake). The revised version contains words I can’t use in an interview, so here are the first, sixth and seventh (of seven) stanzas:

Come live with us and be our love
And three will all the pleasures prove
That faithful men, in dale or field,
In all our townhouse rooms, will yield.
. . .
A place of books, and laughs aloud,
A haven from the madding crowd,
Where rogue and rake and roué stay
And live and love each passing day.
We’ll be thy shepherd swains who sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
So if our gifts thy heart doth move,
Then live with us and be our Love.

Hopefully, it’s obvious why I like it.

What subjects would you never write about?

Growing up, when the answer to a question required a list of something, my family’s frequent/stock reply was: “How do you want it? Alphabetically or hysterically?”

That’s true here. There are so very many subjects about which I would not write. The list of course includes the topics that all MM publishers I’ve seen put in a place which is sure to be seen in their submission guidelines: These, too, will not pass (muster).

Beyond those, I could probably go through a list of genres or types of stories within a genre and say, “Nope, not that. Nor that. Uh, that one over there is a ‘no,’ as well.” It think, though, that the answer probably is: a subject about which I know nothing.

I adore Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, and the other great mystery writers of the early to mid-twentieth century. No way am I going to attempt a mystery. To write one you have to be able to plant clues along the way, masked more than once by red, green, and/or lavender herrings, so when you reach the big reveal, your reader doesn’t rise up in righteous anger, waving a cyber-fist and shouting, “You cheat! You sneaked a deus ex machina in on us!” I don’t have the mind-set for it.

I love police procedurals, and yes, yes, I do understand they count as mysteries. J. D. Robb’s In Death series is in that category, and Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books. I love reading books with gay detectives or gay cops or gay sheriffs, but I have no idea how real detectives, cops or sheriffs go about their daily (work) lives and solve real crimes.

Hmmm. Perhaps what I’m really saying, with the police procedural in mind, is I’m not going to write about a subject which requires a lot of research before I could even legitimately start writing. Or a book in which I know, going in, I will have to do extensive research about X, to be sure it’s accurate and readers don’t scream at me.

Bottom line: I write what I don’t have to research. I don’t attempt to imitate Heyer with her meticulous research into everything about the real Regency world, but try instead to provide a “flavor” of the period. Oh, I may do a quick search during writing a historical to…find out when the zipper was invented, whether Regency bucks went commando or not…but it’s mostly just to be sure I have a particular background description correct. Which is also the likely reason the majority of my so-far-published works are fantasy, as are the majority of the ones likely to be finished by, say, the end of 2019. Oh…and plus those Another England ones.


Excerpt

6 April 1816

1:38 p.m.

Ireton House, London

no way out

The voice was back.

Inside my head.

Still I swiveled, twisting to look behind, knowing I would see what I always see when the words are said—nothing. The unpainted, scuffed wooden floor was empty. The door to second story elegance had not creaked since we passed through, shutting it behind us, moments ago. The stairs to lesser third-story elegance and fourth story no elegance at all were both bare of bodies who might whisper words only I could hear.

I turned forward again, teetered, and reaching out, slapped my palms flat against the walls of the narrow servants’ stairs. Pressing hard, I tilted back, but my socked foot slipped on the slick wooden edge. When I landed, the floor made known its displeasure with a sharp splinter through the rope-belted loose trousers, ill-fitting smalls, and into my bum. I yelped.

The cold voice of Thomas, the senior footman, rose up the stairwell from the landing below. “His lordship is waiting.”

I shifted my weight to my left hip, and rolled to my knees, giving him a fine view of my bottom if he was watching, which was by now instinctive. I made a point of lifting my left leg with great care, and with equal care placing my foot on the floor, again in case he was watching. A right foot repeat and then some clearly awkward struggling to get myself as upright on the landing as I could—although a boy with a twisted spine and a twisted leg can never be truly upright—followed by a shuffle-step away from the edge. I suppressed the temptation to rub my right arse cheek. Without turning around I called down, “Well, bugger ‘is bleedin’ lordship! Me feet ‘urt ‘n me arse ‘as been ‘urt, too.”

My feet didn’t hurt much any more. Though bandaged still, and covered with the thick wool stockings sagging around my ankles, they had almost healed. But the pretense might keep me here, with a comfortable bed, and good food, for just a while longer. I grinned a small, wicked grin to myself, and wiped it away as I turned to face the stairs. “Right, then. Shall I drop me britches, turn ‘n bend and you can see what’s stickin’ in me bum, ‘n maybe come up ‘n pull it out?”

It was amazing how much disdain could be contained in stare and stance. Thomas even managed to look down his nose while looking upthe stairs.

“Orright, orright. Jus’ wait a bleedin’ minute. ‘n you might want to close yer eyes so’s y’don’t see somethin’ what might ‘orrify you, just in case me grip slips, ‘cause I ain’t goin’ nowhere with somethin’ stickin’ in me arse.”

My hands were on the knot in the rope, and I grinned broadly when the footman closed his eyes, with a stern “Be quick about it then, boy.”

I untied the knot, loosening the waistband since whoever supplied the trousers was much thicker around the middle than me, using my left hand to hold the pants up. I reached behind, and working my right hand into my smalls and found the painful little bugger. With thumb and forefinger I wiggled it free, brought my hand round to the front, and looked at the bloody, bloody thing. I shouldn’t have, but I did. I lifted the three-quarter-inch sliver before my face. “Oi! Is this a dagger wot I see before me?”

Bloody hell. Bloody, bloody, bloodyhell. Maybe Thomas wouldn’t…. Well, bloodyhell all over again, he did. The footman was looking at me now, his eyes wide, his mouth open to say something, and then he slowly shut it.

It would only make it worse if I tried to cobble together an explanation of why, or how a sixteen-year-old street boy (the age I gave) could paraphrase The Scottish Play. I shut my own mouth, dropped the splinter, retied the knot, and began descending the stairs with care, one thumping step at a time. I braced one hand against the wall—his lordship did not believe in hand rails for his servants—in case of another slip. The footman waited until I was almost at the landing before turning away. Watching my downward struggle, he was unconcerned about the possibility of another fall, his expression informing me if I fell I was on my own. I followed in silence as we went through the halls of the first floor to the front of the house.

Ah, his lordship’s library. I stared at the door.

I’d been in there, just the once, when I shouldn’t have been. But then, I shouldn’t have been in the house in the first place, but I was, though I didn’t know why. Or how I came to be here. Both were part of what was missing. I could remember every…bloody…thingin my life up to the night before…whatever…happened. Remember the Dock on the 12th, the clock in my head saying it was ten thirty at night when I finished the last man. I remember the glint of the shilling as it spun through the air, making me get off my knees, bend and stretch to reach it in the muck. The feel of the metal between my fingertips as I picked it up. Then the twist and roll away, my back taking the brunt of the kick meant for my belly. The man was one of those who, once done, and eager to be tucked and buttoned away, feels guilty and lashes out at the one responsible for his sin. I remember his silhouette as I got to my feet, his realizing how much taller I was, and how the silhouette turned and hurried away.

Then nothing more until I woke up too damned many days later in a bloody nobleman’s house, in sobbing agony, weak, my feet, head and thigh throbbing with pain.


Author Bio

Eric is a Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “His first sea voyage was with Noah.” He started reading at five with one of the Andrew Lang books (he thinks it was The Blue Fairy Book) and has been a science fiction/fantasy addict ever since. Most of his writing is in those (MM) genres.

The exceptions are his Another England (alternate history) series:  The Rake, The Rogue and the Roué(Regency novel), Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture(Victorian), with no way out(Regency) coming out a month after Of Princes.

Two more fairy tales are in progress:  3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar(Eric is sure you can figure this one out), and The Truth About Them Damn Goats(of the gruff variety).

Now all he has to do is find the time to write the incomplete stuff! (The real world can be a real pain!)

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Alan-Westfall-1045476662268838

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/eawestfall43

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PROMO: Of Princes False And True

Uncategorized

 

Of Princes False and True

 

Eric Alan Westfall has a new MM Historical Fantasy book out:

A tennis match? Starting a war between the Duchy of Avann and the Kingdom of the Westlands?

Only in a fairy tale.

When Prince Henry hurts a young ball boy who told him Danilo’s ball was inside the line, Danilo’s response is automatic. Punch the prince’s face, pick him up left-handed, and break the royal jaw. Unfortunately, there’s another “automatic” at work: a death sentence for whoever strikes royalty.

King Hiram can’t—won’t—change the rule of law to rule of royal whim. But he grants the Heir of Avann fifteen days to find words that will allow Danilo to live.

In those fifteen days: Magick. The gods, goddesses and gender-fluid deities on Deity Lane. Kilvar, the assassin. A purse which opens in a bank vault. A mysterious old man. The Lady of All. The Magickal Hand writing, rewriting. A fairy tale within a fairy tale. A huge horse called Brute. And at the end…perhaps the right words and a most unexpected love. Plus a deity-supplied dinner with just the right amount of garlic.

All royalties will go to a local LGBT organization.

QRI | Amazon | Indigo | Angus & Robertson | Kobo | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Eric is giving away two backlist eBook titles to one lucky winner with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4724/?


Excerpt

From Chapter Three:

The Small Throne Room

The King of Westland’s Castle

Late Morning, the Day The Story Starts

“Sit,” King Hiram commanded. The young man, still head-bowed, didn’t move. The guards squeezed the prisoner’s biceps, half-marching, half-dragging to the chair at the opposite end of the table from the king. With four guard hands occupied by flesh or chains, the difficulty in moving the chair was obvious. The wizard’s spell removed the chains; they reappeared with a clunk!on the floor beside the table.

The guard on the young man’s left pressed a dagger-point against his throat. The other guard released him, stepped behind the chair and pulled it enough away for the young man to be maneuvered in front of it. Rough hands on shoulders forced him down. It was, of course, only happenstance the knifepoint nicked the neck, a drop of blood appearing when the blade was removed.

The recent command not to hurt the prisoner apparently didn’t apply to chairs in which the prisoner was sitting. The force used to propel it toward the table would have crushed the young man’s fingers if he’d rested them on the arms when he sat. Fortunately, his hands were in his lap. The young man’s head remained down as he was in effect caged by the chair and table.

He raised his head, looking straight ahead, but Hiram and his advisors could see he wasn’t seeing anything then present in the room.

Beneath the dirt, bruises, scrapes and crusted blood he was handsome. Sharp cheekbones, aquiline nose, thin lips, a faint cleft in his chin. Brilliant green eyes, flecked with gold. Unusual long hair tumbling near his shoulders, red-brown strands mixed with varying shades of gold. There was something almost familiar… The king chased a wisp of memory, but lost it.

The young man tilted his chin up enough to look at the king, apparently believing if cats could, so could he. There was no cringing in those eyes, no shame, no embarrassment. No anger or resentment. Perhaps, though, a tiny glimmer of…interest. As if this was some grand adventure and he needed to absorb everything happening to and around him for later remembrances.

Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be remembering anything again, in the not too distant future. A man doesn’t when his head has been severed from his neck, or he’s been hanged until a neck-snap or slow strangulation ends him. Hiram realized he didn’t remember what death the law required. He would, he knew, have to check.

In silence, the young man lifted his hands, and pushed the long, thick hair behind his ears, each movement telling a story of strain and pain. As did his face. One eye was swollen almost shut; a cut on his forehead still oozed blood; there was dirt on the bruising on cheeks and jaw; one lip was split.

“Captain Nichols!”

“Sire.”

“Did he resist arrest?”

“No, Your Majesty.”

“Did the prince do this?” The king refused to let himself display the tiniest glimmer of hope the answer was “yes.” The hope Henry fought back.

“Ah…no, Sire.”

“Did he attempt to flee and have to be captured?”

“He is as the Guards found him on their arrival. I am—”

The young man interrupted with a laugh—a bright, beautiful baritone, filling the room with a joy entirely out of place in the circumstances.

The king’s low and angry voice in turn smashed the laughter. “You think all this is a joke?”

The young man blinked. “No, Your Majesty. I just thought it was funny someone thought I might run away. Only a coward runs, when he knows he’s done no wrong. I did what was right.”

“You struck my son.”

The young man shrugged. “I’ll strike any bully beating a child.”

Someone in the room gasped. The king merely thanked the Thirty-Nine it wasn’t him and pretended he hadn’t heard.

But as Hiram spoke he realized he was defending his son because of a father’s obligation, not from a belief in his innocence. “Prince Henry is my heir. He would never—”

“He did.” Kings do not flabbergast easily. Hiram was rendered so. Rogermight interrupt him in the privacy of the royal chambers, but elsewhere? No one dared. Until the young man.

Who had no idea what he was facing; had no idea of the inevitable outcome of his admission of guilt. Hiram did not need to hear more. The law was clear. The punishment was clear.

Yet if he was compelled to do as the law demanded, he would at least learn the truth first.

“Do you have any witnesses?”

The young man’s response was a scoffing, “Of course. Anyone there will tell you…” His voice faded away. “But they won’t, will they? He’s a prince, I’m a foreigner, and they’ll only tell you what a kingly father wants to hear: his son is as pure and innocent as the drifting…slush would be, in a kingdom where snow is possible.”

The chin-tilt this time was defiant. “So. What’s the penalty in this kingdom for saving a child from a beating which might have left him crippled?”

“Death.”

The young man paled, but didn’t flinch, and when he moved his hands to the table, there was no trembling.

Nor was there any in his voice. It was calm, almost matter-of-fact, and he didn’t avert his eyes from the king’s. “Interesting. I thought to rescue a child and instead I start a war.”

Old Moldy heard a threat and started to bluster. Hiram heard a statement of fact, or what the young man believed was truth. He told Old Moldy “No!” and the Chancellor slumped back in his chair.

“A man admits to a crime in my kingdom, for which the law demands the severest penalty. Why should anyone go to war over just punishment?” Everyone heard the silent question, “Who are you your death would cause a war?”

The young man’s bow—so far as he could in his seating situation—was formal. An objective observer might have called it regal.

“Your Majesty, permit me to introduce myself. I am Danilo ys Daeaen ys Cirill. I am the only grandson of the Duke of Avann.” The young man shrugged. “They call me the Heir of Avann.”


Author Bio

Eric is a Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “His first sea voyage was with Noah.” He started reading at five with one of the Andrew Lang books (he thinks it was The Blue Fairy Book) and has been a science fiction/fantasy addict ever since. Most of his writing is in those (MM) genres.

The exceptions are his Another England (alternate history) series:  The Rake, The Rogue and the Roué(Regency novel), Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture(Victorian), with no way out(Regency) coming out a month after Of Princes.

Two more fairy tales are in progress:  3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar(Eric is sure you can figure this one out), and The Truth About Them Damn Goats(of the gruff variety).

Now all he has to do is find the time to write the incomplete stuff! (The real world can be a real pain!)

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Alan-Westfall-1045476662268838/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/eawestfall43