When Emerald Keeper Teeka returns to the city of Reghdad and leaves the harsh desert behind, he finds that not all dangers come from the Great Valley.
The dangerous Daymonth is nearly upon them and no one can survive on the surface of the planet — but Senior Hunter Quill Mayer is trying to get to Reghdad, and Teeka, before the start of it.
Even if he makes it, Emerald Keep denies Teeka’s Contract with Senior Hunter Quill, and Teeka discovers his enemy is more powerful than any of them suspected and he will stop at nothing to separate Teeka and Quill — even by striking in the very heart of the city.
On a whim, Teeka got a small bite on his spoon and held it up for Quill. Quill blinked at him a moment, his gray eyes twinkling, then accepted the spoon after blowing on it first. They fell into a rhythm, feeding each other from their own bowls, until they finished.
Teeka would have continued, but his body had other ideas. Exhaustion flowed over him like a sandstorm and he slumped, frustrated. He didn’t even have appetite enough to finish his pastry, damn it.
“Come. Nap with me,” Quill coaxed.
Allowing himself to be tempted to the bed with his lover, Teeka rose and curled up against the pillows. Quill brought over a clean cloth as a towel and the dish of fruits, and then fed Teeka a fruit held in his fingers.
Before they could get involved in it, and before Teeka could reciprocate, another clap sounded at the tent flap. Quill growled, low in his chest, and stood.
He went to the flap and stood back, startled. “Senior Keeper Sanda.”
Sanda Kept for Elder Hunter Tybin, Quill’s uncle. What could he want?
Keeper Sanda smiled at him and turned to Quill. “Senior Hunter Quill. Good day. May I speak with you a moment?”
“Certainly. Please, come in.”
Landing! Of all the people by whom Teeka did not want to be seen without washing or dressing, Sanda had to be at the top of the list. He wished he could hide in the necessary or evaporate with the morning Winds. Instead, he put on his best smile. “Senior Keeper Sanda.”
“Please, Keeper Teeka, don’t get up. I’m aware of your injuries.” Sanda hesitated until Quill gestured at a guest chair and Sanda sat down.
Teeka wanted to throw a pillow. “Aware of his injuries.” How, pray? Gossip around the tents? Landing. He started to haul himself to his feet but Quill’s narrowed eyes and discreet headshake dissuaded him. Injuries, indeed. Teeka could get up in his own tent if he wanted to, by Landing!
“Elder Hunter Tybin asked me to come and request a visit. He can come by in a quarter, if you’re available, or later toward dinner hour.”
“Toward dinner hour would be better. I would like to prepare myself.” Teeka resisted saying something more scathing but only by shutting his teeth on his tongue. He managed to get a smile on his face before Sanda turned to regard him.
“What Teeka means is we’ve been resting most of the morning and have yet to start our day.” Quill gestured at the remains of their meal. “We mean no disrespect.”
Sanda nodded. “I will tell him. He will stop by.” He stood and looked between them. “I must return, I have a meeting for which to prepare.”
Quill rose to see him out and tied the tent flap behind him. He exhaled and came back to the table, a pensive expression on his face.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. Not anything specific, exactly. I don’t know.”
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A. Catherine Noon
For author and textile artist A. Catherine Noon, it’s all about the yarn, both metaphorical and literal – spinning a yarn, knitting with yarn, weaving, sewing, painting, sharing stories and good times over a cup of coffee with dark chocolate.
A writer since the age of nine, Ms. Noon enjoys telling stories about all sorts of things. She has written fantasy, science fiction, autobiography, cooking, spirituality, and a host of other topics. An avid essayist, she writes for several popular blogs. She also keeps up a vibrant personal correspondence with friends around the world.
She learned to knit in 2000 and hasn’t looked back. She started out knitting basic projects and developed into a lace designer, focusing on story shawls, sweaters, and socks. Her current project is to improve knitting sweaters from the top down without seams.
She teaches creative writing, creative expression and textile arts. While she does have a day job in the real world, she hopes one day to write full time. Until then, she enjoys writing, teaching, and working since they all synergistically support one another.