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Authors: Viola Grace

Tags: #Adult, #Romance, #Science Fiction Opera

Creating Harmony (7 page)

BOOK: Creating Harmony
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Winera and Hyl were due back in two days, and she couldn’t wait. Trying to speak to the guest lecturers with an irritated Yaluthu in her lap was a bit of a chore. She kept him calm as best she could, but she didn’t want to delay his development, so she let the irritation have rein unless he got violent.

Today’s speaker was talking on medical developments in the spacefaring communities. There were representatives from several Kozue clans attending as well as a surprising request from some traveller clans to see what was now available from medical suppliers and at the med stations around the Alliance.

Iara wasn’t a fan of the whole Kozue invitational, but Rion agreed to go on point. He was in his most formidable uniform this morning, and he looked rather dashing to her eyes. “Are you ready for the arrivals?”

“The twelve different clan reps that are coming in? Not hardly. Are you laying down calming waves?”

“Thick and heavy. Even little Smudge is relaxed and giving me weird looks.” She was wearing the Yaluthu in a harness over her chest to keep him calm and enable her to feel when he was hungry.

Smudge was enjoying being carried around. His fluff was patchy and his skin showed in places, but there were feathers taking shape. He was on his way to being a lovely predator.

It was a little detrimental to her dignity to have a moulting fluff ball attached to her chest, but she didn’t mind. Iara had been charged with taking care of him, and she took the charge seriously.

The zip transports between the Citadel and the station were starting to flow, so she went to the auditorium and took her seat in the hidden balcony. She idly fed Smudge shreds of meat as she watched the audience take its place.

Her stomach chilled as she saw the person she had been dreading meeting. Ioko Hanikada was waiting to learn what he could from the speaker. She hadn’t seen her brother in fifteen years, but his pale hair and glowing blue eyes stood out against the darker complexions of the others sitting around him.

Smudge turned around in the carrier to see what she was staring at. As more Kozue filled the auditorium, she increased her output of balance and calm.

Ioko looked up in surprise and turned his head, eventually looking right at the shielding that kept her invisible from the rest of the auditorium. To her surprise, he smiled and waved toward her.

She curled her hands into fists and kept her gaze on her brother while he listened to the lecture as the speaker got underway.

He had been thirteen when she had been removed from her family, and he looked to be about the age to be searching for his own mate. It surprised her. In her mind, her brothers had remained the same age. She had never imagined that they were growing up without her there to witness it. Looric would be a battle commander by now, Tenyak a captain of his own soldiers.

Three brothers were all living their own lives. She blinked and increased her calming influence while the lecture continued.

After the lecture and demonstration were over, she reduced her influence somewhat and got to her feet. Smudge complained, so she handed him some shreds of meat.

It was time for lunch, so she headed out to meet Rion in the commissary.

To her surprise, he was hugging a man who had colouring similar to his own. He parted, saw her and smiled, “Citadel Master Iara, this is my brother, Reekan. Reekan, this is the head of Citadel Lowel.”

She smiled and approached him. “Pleased to meet you, Reekan.”

Tether appeared at her elbow and gestured to Smudge. “I will take him so you can eat.”

She nodded and slipped free of the harness. Once Smudge was settled, she stroked his fuzzy head and handed over the bag of meat. “He is close to whatever he is doing. His food intake tripled today.”

“I will keep an eye on him, now go and have lunch, Master Iara.” He winked.

She smiled and Rion offered her his arm. She took it and Reekan gave them an astonished look.

They took their regular table, and Reekan sat with surprise when food was delivered to them on a multitude of trays.

They were just filling their plates when she felt a familiar presence. “Ioko Hanikada, please have a seat. We have plenty, and it will be good to see you again.”

She flicked a gaze at her brother and smiled.

He inclined his head and sat.

Rion looked from Iara to Ioko, and he smiled, “Well, family gatherings all around then.”

Ioko looked at Reekan and they both nodded carefully.

It was unusual for two clans to meet without a fight breaking out, but Iara was still damping the aggression in the entire base, so it was a polite and silent luncheon.

Ioko finally broke the silence. “So, Iara, you are in charge here?”

Rion answered for her. “Citadel Master Iara is the first master of Citadel Lowel.”

Ioko scowled. “I was speaking to my sister.”

Rion picked up Iara’s hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it. “You were speaking to my intended.”

Ioko was shocked. “You would try to take her without checking with her family?”

“The same family who sold her into servitude?”

Iara felt his confusion before her brother said, “What?”

Iara touched Rion’s shoulder. “They didn’t tell them. It was too great a shame.”

She turned to her brother and saw Reekan paying close and rapt attention. “Mother and Father sold me to King Learith of Saroo as a passive bodyguard. I served for twelve years until he died, and then, I joined the Citadel.”

Ioko’s shock was almost palpable, and the rage that boiled inside him a moment later took some quick manoeuvring to quell. She could see the muscles of his neck flex as he got under control.

“What did they tell the council, that I had run wild and stolen a shuttle?”

He swallowed and reached for his tea. “No, they said you had gone to live with great-gran’s family. I wondered why we didn’t hear from you, but Father said that you were not allowed to use the coms. After a while, we forgot.”

She twisted her lips. “Did cousin Sradu visit around then?”

He blinked, “How did you know?”

“He’s a forgetter. He would wear on your memory of me until you simply knew I was somewhere and you didn’t care precisely where. It is a good trick with enemies. They forget where he is standing and he can attack as he likes.”

Reekan cleared his throat. “Are you serious?”

She gave him an amused look. “My talent lets me touch other minds for identification purposes. I had met Sradu twice before I left the battleship. I know what he does.”

Rion squeezed her hand. “He tried to make you forget what you were.”

She nodded. “He did. Instead, he became so calm that his talent wouldn’t work.”

Rion laughed, “How calm?”

“He fell asleep.” She waggled her eyebrows.

Ioko sat back. “Well, hell.”

Iara looked around the commissary and she relaxed her calming field.

She looked to Rion’s brother. “So, Reekan, do you have any embarrassing stories about Rion?”

He did.

 

Two hours later, their entire table was laughing as Ioko shared his story of Iara climbing through the air ducts in order to calm down the manhood ceremonies for her eldest brother.

The ritual battle had frozen in place and everyone had been confused as to the cause, except her immediate family who were frantically trying to find her.

She had crept back the way she came, but Ioko had found her in the ducts. He hauled her out, got her cleaned up, and when their father burst in, he pretended to have been watching her the entire time.

At that point, if she couldn’t see a target, she couldn’t calm it.

Iara grinned. “I remember that. I think Father knew. You had put my dress on backward.”

Rion smiled, “How old were you?”

She bit her lip. “I was three. I think I was—”

Shouting broke out a few tables away as a group of Kozue got on each other’s nerves. Before she could quell them, Rion had locked them in place.

At Rion’s urging, Reekan and Ioko helped him turn the three men involved in different directions.

“Master Iara, are you ready?”

She nodded and prepared to grapple with the now-locked minds. The moment Rion let them go, she blasted them, and they fell to their knees, going from rage to calm in a moment. Sighing, she resumed a thicker blanket on the facility.

Ioko scowled. “I guess that is the end of our visit.”

“It is time to return everyone to the station. Sorry, but no overnight guests here unless they are prearranged.” She touched his arm and unable to hold herself back, she hugged him.

He stiffened for a moment and then crushed her in his embrace. “I am glad to see you, Iara. I have missed you.”

She blinked back tears and smiled, “You know where to find me. This is my home and I am not going anywhere.”

He grinned. “I sense an increase in my education coming up.”

She sniffled and escorted him back to the zip transport back to the station.

Rion kept his arm around her. “He will be back.”

“So will Reekan. I could see it in his eyes.”

His fingers moved on her ribs, stroking slightly. “May I escort you to your quarters?”

She blushed and nodded. When they arrived, she invited him in for tea.

Iara was about to ask him if he wanted to stay the night when there was a knock at her door. Surprised, she headed to it, and Winera was leaning against the wall with blood smeared across her face and torso.

“Winera! You weren’t due back until tomorrow.”

“I know. There was a slight problem. Where is Smudge?”

As she asked, small puffy feet pounded down the hall.

Iara smiled as Winera cuddled her companion and the blood began to fade from her skin. “We had a bunch of Kozue on the station, so Tether took him for the evening. I was about to ask Tether if he could keep him for the night.”

Winera smiled. “He is in great shape and has put on a few pounds. Good thing we came back tonight. He is about to change and he was holding off until we got home. It was getting painful for him.”

“Well, good night, Winera, take care of him and say hello to Hyl. I will see you two in the morning.”

Winera took the hint, and Iara was free to return to Rion.

Making eye contact, she slipped her Citadel robe from her shoulders and then put her hands on her neckline. “It is late and you must be tired. Stay here tonight?”

He got to his feet and put his hands over hers, easing her suit open. “I thought you would never ask.”

 

Epilogue

 

 

In the staff hall, Iara stroked Smudge’s new inky blue feathers. He was truly lovely and his six little ones were adorable.

In the midst of the grey, brown, blue and pinks there was a tiny little ball of white fluff with golden eyes almost too large for her little face.

When Iara put her hand in the basket containing the little ones, the white Yaluthu came running every time. “Hello, Harmony.”

The little one had a teeny peep that was almost beyond hearing, but she peeped like crazy when Iara was near. Smudge watched with indulgence while Iara met her soon-to-be companion.

The small brown baby had an attachment to Rion, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted a Yaluthu of his own.

Iara let Harmony pop onto her hand, and she raised her up and out of the basket, cupping the two-inch creature with care. “They choose you, Rion. You can’t say no.”

He grumbled but let his fingers dangle in the basket. The little brown Yaluthu rubbed against his fingers, and he scooped it out. “Watch.”

She blinked. “Watch what?”

He sighed and stroked the tiny creature. “His name is Watch.”

The gathering around the table laughed; Iara smiled, but inside, she knew what having two separate Yaluthu meant.

Harmony would remain with her, and Watch would travel with Rion as necessary. She may have been locked to the Citadel, but he was a member of the Sector Guard. He was posted as an adjunct to Udell via Lowel, but he was first and foremost a member of the Guard. If they needed him, he had to go.

At least with a Yaluthu, she would know that someone was keeping an eye on him.

“How long does it take for them to grow from fluff ball to raptor?” He raised Watch up and glared at him, eye to eye.

Watch squeaked and flapped his fuzzy arms.

Winera stroked Smudge. “Three months before he is big enough to travel, and his final evolution is up to you. When he knows he can have his babies be safe and cared for, he will have them. Not before.”

Iara gently placed little Harmony back in the basket with her siblings. They were going to get on well. Iara could wait until she was ready to run around on her own. They were already bonded, just as Rion was with Watch.

She was going to have to set up two beds in her quarters for the little ones when they could be separated from Smudge, but for now, visiting filled her urge for contact.

Construction had begun on the education centre, a testing area for Citadel personnel before they went out into active duty. Tether had taken charge of it, and he was watching it with interest. With the surface of Lowel being slowly reshaped by the Citadel, they could build anything they needed.

It was the best time to become part of something, right at the beginning when you could shape the result.

 

Two months later, Iara was sitting across from her brother and discussing Kozue employment policy. “I just don’t understand why the Hanikada don’t take on any protection details. It doesn’t make sense to only be thought of as a bully.”

While her parents were holding to the illusion that she was dead, her brothers had no such restriction. She was having lunch with Looric, and he couldn’t stop staring at Harmony.

“It is hard to take you seriously with that puff ball on your shoulder.” He smiled, his deep blue eyes amused.

“I know, but that is where she likes to be. She used to sit on my head, but I turn my head a lot so she would tumble loose. This is safer.”

Harmony lifted her head and chirped.

Iara got the images from Looric’s mind. Harmony was a mind picker. She would rifle through someone’s thoughts and feed them in pictorial form to Iara. It had taken some getting used to, but now, it made sense.

BOOK: Creating Harmony
5.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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