QSFers Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus have a new queer sci-fi tale out, Virasana Empire: Sir Yaden Book 4: The Bloodied Broom.
Lotus Knights don’t get honeymoons, but at least spending some family time on their newly unearthed and fully refurbished spaceship Pebble sounded like a good idea. Until a last-minute mission goes sideways and suddenly Yaden, Colin and their patchwork family come face-to-face with an all but invincible ancient evil.
The harrowing encounter leaves Colin permanently changed, and trying to chart his future path becomes a challenge he had never anticipated.
‘The Bloodied Broom’ is a science fiction space opera adventure, a found family celebration and book #4 of the ‘Sir Yaden’ series.
Warnings: Explicit Terror and a wedding.
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“Myriam? Are you coming?”
“Yeah, let me…”
His daughter’s reply was drowned out by a deafening, booming sound, followed by an equally ear-splitting screech. Colin apprehensively turned towards the training island Yaden had raised from the sea a safe distance from Sooraj Island. He knew this kind of noise. And something particularly violent didn’t necessarily mean something particularly dangerous. But he couldn’t help wondering what Yaden and Ivan were doing out there. Not that he could see the training island from where he stood in front of the kitchen building.
But there was something to see, rising into the sky beyond the dense palm trees of Sooraj island,- a whole flaming ball of something, shooting upward and screeching like mad. It slowed down until it hovered several hundred metres above the training island, then started a slower, significantly more controlled descent.
So that was what they had been talking about when they had discussed their plans for today’s training session. Something about synergy effects. Colin squinted at the burning thing which, for all he knew, might be a large chunk of molten, burning rock. That indeed would qualify as a combination of Yaden’s and Ivan’s powers.
“That is SO COOL!” Myriam exclaimed right next to him, having finally appeared. She was looking up at the ball of fire, too. And pouted. “I should be over there, training with them.”
Colin barely managed to swallow a blunt “Absolutely not!”. The thought of having his little girl anywhere near something as dangerous as screeching balls of flying lava made his heart stutter. She had been through enough horrors to last her a lifetime, and keeping her safe was one of his number one priorities. She needed training, yes, but only to teach her to control her powers, not to invent some insane new applications like Yaden and Ivan did constantly.
It was deeply unsettling that Myriam seemed to plan on following in Yaden’s and Ivan’s footsteps and wanted to become Yaden’s squire too and, at some point, a Lotus Knight. Granted, every child in the empire at some point listed Lotus Knight as their chosen career path, right next to ‘spaceship captain’ and ‘dragon’. But Myriam was a little too close to making it a reality for Colin’s comfort. At least, Yaden wasn’t encouraging her. On the other hand, he wasn’t discouraging her, either. Of course in the end it would be Myriam’s choice, like Yaden said, but Colin thought that two of their little family risking their lives for the good of the Empire was way more than enough.
Despite his best efforts, it was hard on him that Yaden and Ivan went out there into incalculable danger while he had to stay home, unable to help in any way. D’rina was so much more relaxed about her husband’s missions, and he had talked to her about it repeatedly. But Sir L’jao usually got the diplomatic missions, not that kind of insane, weird shit Yaden kept getting into. And maybe it was a N’Ptalini thing that D’rina didn’t feel as annoyed at having to stay behind as Colin did.
Not that he wanted to join Yaden on his missions, good heavens. But that sense of helplessness gnawed on his soul. When Doctor Lachlain appeared right in his home and almost managed to steal Myriam from right under his nose … He hadn’t been able to do anything. Helpless. Useless. At least he was getting lessons on mental shielding now, so hopefully he wouldn’t be such easy prey the next time a dangerous psion decided to invade his home.
“Well?” Myriam asked, pulling his attention back to the fact that she was standing next to him with a demanding expression.
“Can I go and train with them?”
Colin sighed. “You know perfectly well that we have an appointment with Mother Thobeka, which is why I was standing out here waiting for you while you were … whatever it was you were doing, dragging your feet.”
Myriam’s pout returned. “I don’t need therapy. Especially not from an outsider. I’m perfectly fine with you and Yaden and Darios taking care of me. And Ivan.”
It was amazing how quickly she was growing into a stroppy teenager. At least in that regard, she was shaking off the trauma of losing her birth father. When she had come into their family, she had been shy and more childlike than her twelve years. Now, she had more and more opinions and wasn’t afraid to voice them. Insistently, and repeatedly. Darios kept reassuring Colin that it was a good thing.
At least she wasn’t picking up Ivan’s swearing habits. Yet.
“We have been over this,” Colin stated with the calm patience Darios advised for these situations. “You agreed to at least see Mother Thobeka to find out what she can offer.” Those were the facts and while Myriam didn’t like to hear them, she loved facts.
Her pout turned a little more sour. Colin could see how she was running through various possible arguments in her head and discarded them one by one, coming to the unpleasant conclusion that there would be no throwing of fireballs for her today.
“Fine,” she grumbled at last.
She was a smart and sensible girl and Colin was grateful. “Thank you.”
“Can we get ice cream at the food court once we are done?”
An artist by heart, Beryll was writing stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word at the same time and the driving creative force of our duo.
An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to-earth, practical part of our duo. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.