Authors: Ann Mayburn
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
2016 by Ann Mayburn
Published by Honey Mountain Publishing
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work, in whole or in part, in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
**DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, BDSM or otherwise, without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Ann Mayburn will not be responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in this book.**
Glossary of Terms
The affectionate name that Kadothian males call their bondmate. It means ‘eternal beloved’.
A deadly Kadothian predator resembling a giant condor covered in soft red fur instead of feathers.
Kadothian males with the genetic and spiritual makeup to share a Matriarch and have formed a romantic relationship together while waiting to find their wife. Most often the blood brothers both marry the same woman, but on very rare occasions they don’t and the bond between the blood brothers is broken.
The realms of Kadothia are split up among the Warriors, each seeking to build a home worthy of their future alyah. Some Warriors never find bondmate and as they begin to creep toward madness, they can be challenged by unbonded males for their territory. Everything from a verbal disagreement to a full-out minor war could result.
Gili Fertility Ritual
A tradition native to the Southern Continent where once a cycle the Lord(s) and Lady of the land make love before a gathering of Servants of the Lord of Life to bless the land and people with good crops and fertility.
The Great Sorrow-
Over ten thousand Kadothian years ago, during a massive civil war, a virus was engineered to boost the psychic killing abilities of the Kadothian women in an effort to win the war. Unfortunately, the virus changed the Kadothian women, destroying any senses of love, compassion or empathy, turning them into the perfect killing machines. No cure could be found and in an effort to save themselves and the Bel’Tan galaxy, all Kadothian men are altered at birth to only have male children.
When the female Kadothians fled their home planet they bonded together to form their own society, the Hive. Unable to form emotional attachments with each other, the Hive works together for their own self-interest, knowing in a coldly logical manner they have a better chance of surviving together than apart. They rule a portion of the Bel’Tan galaxy with a ruthless army made up of mercenaries and Hive members that seek to enslave and destroy. Emotionally dead on the inside, the only way they can feel any pleasure is by inflicting suffering and pain on others and feeding on their torment. Kadothian males, with the help of their bonds, are the only beings in all of the Bel’Tan galaxy that can resist the Hive’s psychic powers and the only thing that stands between the galaxy and utter destruction.
A Kadothian herd animal resembling a mix between a cow and a giraffe
A matriarchal planet in the Bel’Tan galaxy close to twice the size of Earth’s sun. It is surrounded by fourteen moons, some of which have been terraformed to make them habitable. Once such moon is being used as a replica of Earth for the new Matriarchs.
(in order from largest to smallest) North, South, West, Isle of Tranquility, Cliffs of Goeth, Plains of Pechana, Ice Fields of Ashon, Osymaya’s Delta, the Yason Mesa, the Fields of Swaycor, and the Felusa archipelago.
A woman who has been soul bonded/married to a Kadothian male(s) and is the head of their family House. For example, Lady Elsin Adar is the head of the House Adar.
The Kadothian military is split into four distinct classes; Warriors, Healers, Scouts, and Negotiators. There is rumored to be a fifth class, a spy class, but no proof. Each class is headed by four men, elected by their class, to represent each group at the High Congress.
- The Kadothian moon that is being transformed into a replica of Earth complete with Earth plants, animals, and replicas of historic monuments like the Egyptian pyramids. Upon complete it will be open to newly bonded Matriarch to settle, along with people from the Bel’Tan galaxy seeking a new home. Experts from Earth and their families have been carefully selected by the High Congress to help oversee Terra’s development.
A woman trained to provide sexual release to a Kadothian male while keeping the relationship strictly sexual with no romantic attachments. This is an honorable profession in the Bel’Tan galaxy and there is no stigma associated with being a prostitute.
A parasitic worm that eats fecal matter from decaying corpses
Indigenous to the Cliffs of Goeth, this plant produces a hollow gourde like vegetable that has a sweet and frothy nectar inside. The nectar can also be fermented into a potent alcoholic beverage.
A large, river dwelling creature with a thick hide like a rhino and tusks similar to a wart hog with a long, spiked tail used for swimming and combat. Notoriously ill-tempered, a
will attempt to kill anything that enters its territory.
- An animal native to North Continent on Kadothia that looks like a large dog sized fluffy ball of various colored fur with legs. Hidden within the fur are retractable bone spikes that the zendor will use to defend itself, similar to a puffer fish. Zendors live in packs of up to two hundred in the wild and even a small pack of Zendors can defend itself against the majority of Kadothia’s predator animals. The Zendors have been tamed and used as guard animals by the Kadothians for centuries.
Kadothian Political Structure
The High Congress-
The Elder Congress
- 3,000 members
The Territorial Congress-
The Regional Congress-
The Lord and Lady of the Land
- 84,233,897 members (the number constantly shifts as Challenges are won and lost)
Village/City Elders –
members (the exact number is constantly in flux due to shifts in the political structure due to the results of a Challenge)
With a grimace, Paige Grant scanned the screen of her beat-up, secondhand tablet with a black spot in the corner of the screen. It had originally belonged to her best friend Casey’s older sister and all around bad ass of a woman, Roxie. Captain in the National Guard, decorated police officer, and amazing person to get drunk with, Roxie was not easy on her electronics. The edges of the tablet were dented, the screen a little scratched, and Roxie’s name was crudely carved into the back, but Paige wouldn’t trade it for a brand new one. Not that she could afford it. The modest inheritance she’d received from her mother’s life insurance went toward paying for school and housing. Besides, even if she had a million dollars in the bank she’d still hold onto the beat-up piece of technology.
In Paige’s mind Roxie was the kind of brave, strong woman she’d always wanted to be.
She could do anything.
It was a teenage Roxie who’d gone into Paige’s house years ago and broken her dad’s leg with a baseball bat so he couldn’t get away before the police got there after he’d beaten Paige half to death.
Roxie broke his feet as well, just to be sure he didn’t go anywhere.
A rough chill raced down her spine, the little hairs on her arms standing up as she remembered his drunken roars of pain and rage.
Memories of that night, of gasping her life out into the damp dirt and scraggly grass of her backyard, swamped her, and she remembered thinking drowning in her own blood was a terrible way to die.
She survived, but part of her soul had been damaged that night and continued to bleed.
For a moment her breathing sped, an anxiety attack nipping at her mind, but she forced herself to calm down, taking in deep breaths through her nose, holding it, then letting it out slowly.
The familiar smells of the large room she shared with her childhood friend, Dawn, in Ann Arbor soothed her. It was an odd mixture of her vanilla body lotion, Dawn’s Pink Lemonade body lotion, incense, and no matter how much they tried to get it out, the smell of cigarette smoke soaked into the walls of the room. On hot days the smell would seep out and they both hated it. Dawn because it reminded her of the smell of the bar where she worked, and Paige because she’d never been a fan of cigarettes after her mom died of cancer. She sometimes worried she’d die of some weird cancer related to the decades old smoke wafting through the layers of paint.
It wasn’t that the big house she rented with her friends in the section of the city dominated by students from the University of Michigan was crappy. For student housing it was nice, but it was worn.
But to Paige, funky aroma and all, her room smelled like safety, friendship, and home.
Calm descended over her as she went through her breathing techniques. It was actually an old Buddhist monk trick she’d read about on a website dealing with anxiety, and after some practice it worked like magic to force her body to relax. True, she had no way of knowing for sure that it was indeed some ancient technique. She’d found it on the Internet after all, but if it worked she wasn’t going to question it. Blowing out a harsh breath, she tried to refocus on her PSYC 232: Developmental Psychology homework. It was an elective class she’d taken to help with her eventual job as a teacher.
From the room next to hers, Casey yelled something that sounded like a curse word, and Paige giggled.
“Quiet,” Dawn complained from her loft bed against the far wall, “my brain is melting.”
“Sorry,” Paige whispered with a grin and a suppressed laugh that turned into a snort.
Last night her friends had gone out to party with the guys at the frat across the street. Paige went along for about ten minutes, long enough to see all the shit-faced college boys lurching about and panic. Most of the college parties in town were packed with people, and at five feet even she easily became claustrophobic in a crowd. When some guy puked on the fire hydrant out front, then laughed until he puked again, that was enough for her, and she’d taken off.
Another shiver ran down her spine, but she focused on Dawn making zombie like noises as she slowly pulled the purple gingham covers from over her head.
Dawn was a fine arts major and had a tendency to be dramatic, but Paige loved her always entertaining, if a little weird, friend.
Yawning hugely, Dawn flipped onto her back and stretched one freckle covered arm over the side of her bed, her hair fluffing around her head in a coppery cloud of frizz. “Why are you up so early? Your finals are over.”
Paige snickered. “Hey, cotton ball, do you remember brushing your hair before bed?”
With a shriek, Dawn put her hand to her halo of hair and groaned. “Nooooo! Paige, why did you let me do it!”
“I was asleep, thanks, not babysitting you. At least you didn’t try to flat iron it this time. The smell of burning hair was terrible last time you decided you wanted long, flowing locks instead of your curls. I don’t know what your obsession is with having ‘princess’ hair when you’re hammered, but you need to find a better drinking hobby.”
Laughing, Dawn shook her fist at the popcorn ceiling in mock rage. “I blame Nicole Kidman! The first time I saw her with her crazy head of long spiral curls I thought I had finally found a hair sister, someone I could share tips with on how to tame the unruly beast that is my hair. But no! She, with her bazillions of dollars, got some kind of hair straightening that mere mortals like myself could never afford. So unfair. I want princess hair, the kind that flows like silk in the wind. You never see a Disney Princess with curly red hair.”
“Uh, yeah you do. Merida in Brave.”
“That’s the new Disney. I’m talking the old school chauvinist pig Disney movies.”
Rolling her eyes, Paige gave Dawn a sarcastic nod. “Right, how silly of me.”
Personally Paige thought Dawn’s hair was gorgeous, but her friend was on a tear and there was no reaching her.
“And if I didn’t wax my pubes off, they’d be calling me fire crotch!”
Holding up her hands, she laughed. “TMI.”
“Oh, please, we go to the same waxer.”
“Yeah, but I don’t go around announcing what my current genital hair pattern is.”
“Genital hair pattern.” Dawn yawned, then grinned. “I love you, but you need to get some dick.”
“Why are you so obsessed with me having sex?”
With a snort, Dawn turned her head enough to look down on Paige sitting near the window in a beanbag chair. “Look, just do me one tiny little favor this summer. Get laid.”
“Seriously? We’re having this conversation again?” Paige’s cheeks flushed hot.
“You heard me. I want you to have a torrid affair. One for the ages that I’ll tell my grandchildren about.”
Grinning at her friend’s dramatic statement, she placed the tablet down and cocked her head to the side. “Are you telling me that someday you’ll be talking about my ‘torrid’ sex life with your grandchildren?”
Wrinkling her pixie nose, Dawn rolled over to half hang off the edge of her mattress again. “Barf. I don’t want to think about talking about sex with my grandchildren. What is wrong with you? Honestly, Paige, sometimes I’m shocked at the filth that comes out of your mouth.”
“I think I’m kind of proud that I managed to ick you out.”
“My baby.” Dawn wiped away a fake tear. “Finally growing up.”
Their laughter abruptly cut off as Kimber, one of her other roommates, slammed the door open. Tall, tanned, lean, and built like the long distance runner she was, Kimber had a sweet, dimpled face that was normally graced with a smile, but right now she looked like she was about to pass out. Her eyes were wide enough to show the white all the way around her dark hazel orbs, and she was biting her lower lip obsessively while she gripped her hands into fists.
Instantly on alert, Paige sprung from her chair. “Kimber?”
Sucking in a tight breath, Kimber babbled out, “Get packed, right now. Only the essentials and what you can carry. Important things. If you leave it behind it might not be here when you get back.”
Dawn and Paige exchanged a glance. “Honey, are you okay? Did something happen?”
Kimber shook her head. “We don’t have time. Roxie said we had to leave right now. That there’s going to be riots. She said-she said the National Guard’s been called up, she’s been called up, bad things are going to happen, and we need to get home as fast as we can.”
A sick lurch went through Paige’s belly, so hard she feared for a moment she might be sick. “Okay.”
Dawn stumbled out of her bunk, her funky green and purple pajamas askew as she rammed her feet into a pair of black leather boots. “Wait, what’s going on?”
“Get your shit,” Kimber yelled as she headed down the hall to her room at a run.
“Dawn, don’t argue, just pack.”
“Dawn Marie.” Paige used her most commanding tone of voice, the one she often employed when watching over spirited kids during her job as a nanny. “Get packed this instant. If Roxie said we need to go, we need to go. Focus. Get your documentation, laptop, and any mementos. Forget clothes unless they have sentimental value.”
Dawn blinked at Paige twice before whirling around and hauling her duffle bag out from beneath her dresser.
Fear coursed through Paige as she grabbed the few personal possessions she had, neatly packing the framed pictures of her with her friends and family among her clothes. Her mind kept skittering to the word riots. They’d had some small protests on campus but nothing major, so she couldn’t figure out why there would be rioting. Sure Ann Arbor saw more than its fair share of people complaining about one thing or another, but nothing ever got violent. It was a college town, a prestigious one at that, and as far as she knew the only things they’d ever had that would be even close to a riot were all the result of sports games won or lost.
“Paige, honey!” Dawn gave her a gentle shove. “Time to go.”
She moved instantly to the precious photo album on her shelf that held the rest of the pictures of her with her mother and grabbed it. After packing in her tablet, a couple pairs of clothes, and some of her books, she met Dawn at the door. Kimber was already on her way down the stairs with her bags, and Paige had to run to catch up. Being short meant she usually took two steps for Kimber’s every one, but now it was more like three as her friend sprinted down the creaky wood stairs.
By the time they made it downstairs a slightly hysterical Casey was talking on the phone. She said her goodbyes then stared at them. It took her friend a minute to get her bearings, but once she did Casey broke all kinds of traffic laws in her beat up old sedan getting them out of Ann Arbor and to the sleepy little rural town of Chelsea. They’d all grown up there together, and Paige had never been more grateful for being close to home than she was on that tense ride. It was normally a twenty-minute drive, but Casey’s speeding and lack of traffic had them back in their hometown before they knew it.
And thank God they made it, because by the time they got to Casey’s parents’ house the world had gone to shit in a huge way. She’d stayed with Casey, both of them cuddled up together like they used to do when they were little, and watched the news for hours, trying to figure out what had happened, why the sky was sudden filled with rainbows of light. At least, they’d watched the news when the electricity and cable were working in between blackouts. The pulses of energy that had ripped through the Earth had knocked planes out of the air, scorched the electrical infrastructure of less developed countries, and in general brought chaos on the world. All news was delivered through a network of curriers who physically ran tapes from the field to the broadcast stations and spread from there.
A tape reached a news station in Detroit, where Roxie’s National Guard Unit was, and Paige had frantically searched the screen, trying to spot her friend among the rioting people, the burning buildings, and the loud bangs of gunfire. Whoever took the video did it from a second floor window, and they watched in horror as a dozen National Guard and a few guys in police uniforms tried to hold off a mob of hundreds of enraged and scared people. Mr. Westfall had changed the channel, but the damage was done. That night when Paige fell asleep next to Casey, Mrs. Westfall insisted everyone sleep with a buddy, she did it praying for God to have mercy on her fragile little world.
Four days later Paige wiped some sweat from her forehead with the back of her arm as she smiled at the woman standing across the table from her. She was volunteering at the local Lions Lodge handing out water and packages of baby wipes to the refugees her city had taken in. Big warming servers, the kind that she’d seen at wedding buffets, had been brought in from the local high school to help feed all the people who were displaced or out of food. With the rolling blackouts, most frozen food was already spoiled and there was a boil water advisory for everything. The only places that had constant power were the hospital and some government buildings like the police department and prison. Everyone else had to deal with two hours of the power being on, then three off. The Lodge was running on a combination of a diesel generator and some portable solar batteries so they were able to feed everyone who needed a hot meal and cold drink.
Because the government had put a ban on all non-essential travel, there were a lot of strangers stuck in town, and they tended to gather at the Lodge, watching television and often trying to find information on their family, home towns, or loved ones. People were having issues connecting to the Internet and real information was hard to come by. While she’d heard rumors of just about every kind of evil thing happening in the world outside of Chelsea, in her little corner of the globe things weren’t that bad, and the stranded travelers knew fate could have landed them in a much worse place.