Seductive Studs – 10 May 2014

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Hi, everybody! It’s been a bit since I’ve hopped along, but I’m back this weekend with some more from my swords and sorcery menage story, Radiq. To catch up with what’s come before, click here.

Vadim groaned inwardly.

His father’s oration was sure to immobilize any of the guests that remained awake; Vadim was already numb from Almarga’s conceited and self-aggrandizing disdain of all things Thessalian, which she didn’t bother to hide—even from her future son-in-law. Then why I am marrying your daughter?

He knew that answer unfortunately. The long-running border struggle between the two countries was draining resources—gold, horses, men—faster than either kingdom could replenish them. So to resolve the conflict, he and Allianna were to be sacrificed on the altar of political solution. Not that he had ever expected to be able to marry for love—he was the Crown Prince, his father’s only son—but Corusq had never figured into that calculation.

The arithmetic of his future had always counted that he would do his duty in spite of the pull of his own desire. Vadim had at least considered the possibility that he might come to care in some fashion for his future wife. However, Allianna was cold. Not shy or aloof—that he believed he could have coaxed her away from—but unfeeling, unempathic. Her violet eyes were empty; he would have said soulless were he inclined to be spiritual.

Not like the desire that smoldered in Radiq’s sapphire blue gaze.

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Seductive Studs – 12 April 2014

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Hi, everyone!

It’s time for another clip from Radiq. To check out was has gone before, click here.

Vadim, as if aware of Radiq’s scrutiny, turned to scan the room, and their eyes met. That oh-so-familiar tightness clenched Radiq’s chest, and he forced himself not to turn away while forcing his lungs to pull air. A nod and an elegantly raised eyebrow, and Vadim returned his attention to the fat cow who ruled Corusq.

The music droned its way to silence; the dancers applauded politely as they returned to their seats. Darvos raised his goblet, and old Borsha thumped his staff on the tiles, silencing the murmur of conversation.

Gods damned! Retreat from the hall was now impossible.

“Honored guests, friends, and family,” Darvos’ voice boomed across the space as he glanced along the high table. Dozing guests were elbowed awake—it wouldn’t do to sleep through the King’s speech—and Radiq settled against a pillar; Darvos was well-known for lengthy and rambling perorations. “Let us raise our cups to toast the bright future of our countries.” 

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Seductive Studs – 05 April 2014

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Hi, everybody!

Time again to visit some Seductive Studs and Sirens! Today we are returning to my swords and sorcery menage story, Radiq. For a refresher or to catch up, click here. We find Radiq rejoining the engagement celebration:

The guardsman slipped easily into the grand space, nodding curtly to his men as he strode in search of more wine; sketchy salutes flashed as he passed. Here and there some bleary-eyed celebrant would acknowledge him. What eyes were still open in the hall were focused predominately on either the swaying dancers or the dazzling head table. It’s not as if the Captain of the guard is so important, compared to the worthies seated above the fray.

LeftoversSet at the height of a man’s waist, the high table hosted an amazing array of gold and silver service ware. Plates and platters, bowls, flagons and flasks, cups, tankards and flatware littered the rich tablecloth. The kitchen staff must have emptied the pantries to serve such a selection, although this late in the banquet most of the serving dishes held little more than well-gnawed bones and grey, congealing grease.

Radiq skirted along the back wall. He clung to the shadows—and occasionally the wall—in order to avoid becoming entangled by the festivities. Despite his best efforts to focus elsewhere, Radiq found his gaze wandering to the dais, where the Crown Prince’s head of dark curly hair bent to listen to his dinner companion.

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‘Til next time!

Seductive Studs – 15 March 2014

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Hi, everybody!

Another week gone, and time for some Seductive Studs! We are having a visit with Radiq, my swords and sorcery menage storyTo catch up with prior clips, click here. We rejoin Radiq, sitting in the stable, drinking alongside his horse.

Despite the increasingly bitter taste, Radiq swigged again from the flagon, toasting silently to Jessel, who gazed at him with liquid brown eyes. “I know, I know,” he mumbled. “I should be celebrating too. End of hostilities, beginning of a great dynasty, such a good match.” He burped. “All that fucking happiness!” Another long pull at the red wine. “But, what about my gods damned happiness?”

HorseJessel nodded knowingly and snagged another mouthful of fodder.

Radiq drank from the flask and gestured widely. “Does not my loyalty, my devotion, entitle me to some consideration?” He knew he was feeling sorry for himself, but only here, beside this mountain of horseflesh, could he let his guard relax even slightly. “You, Jessel, are a good friend.” He leaned forward to stroke the stallion’s neck. “Never do your eyes promise what cannot be.”

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‘Til next time!

Seductive Studs – 08 March 2014

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Welcome, everyone!

The weekend has arrived, which means it’s time for some Seductive Studs. I am continuing with a clip from my swords and sorcery work in progress, Radiq. To read some preceding clips, click here.

By the third flask the wine had begun to sour, or maybe it was simply his mood.

Even to the stables the sounds of the celebration carried, bright and joyful; cymbals and tambourines clamored with flutes, accompanied by the deep, moaning tones of a bazuuna. Radiq had fled the engagement party with the wine, a dark and acerbic red from somewhere to the south, to find some relief from all the cheerfulness. Drinking and feasting he could manage, but the speeches and smiles and handshakes—and all those Corusqi—set his teeth on edge. Flight was his only option.

Sexy Warrior on a Black HorseThe First Sword had considered not stopping. Saddling Jessel, riding out across the fields, and going someplace—any place—other than here. Away from Thal Thessaly, the Swords, the court politics—away from Vadim. But that would be an admission—and he wasn’t going to do that.

Housed in a narrow stall, Jessel had stamped a greeting, munching straw, while Radiq had settled on a hay bale. As far as he was concerned, horses made the best drinking companions. They never dominated the conversation, never left you with the bar bill, and, no matter how much one drank, they never pointed out how drunk you were.

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Seductive Studs – 01 March 2014

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Greetings!

Sorry to have missed out last weekend—Saturday came and went before I realized it! But this week I’m on the ball and getting ready ahead of time. I’m continuing with Radiq, my swords and sorcery story, so if you need to catch up, click here.

The House of the Red Mages rose to dizzying heights to dominate the Qedoqi skyline; towers and minarets with gilded roofs adorned the building, which looked like nothing so much as a great crown atop the Mauravi’in Hill. Its gates, black and solid and streaked with rust, were barred now during the midday rest.

PortcullisThe First Sword of Thessalia reined Jessel to a halt within the deep shadows of the great entrance. His nerves crawled with the sense of being watched; that discomfort angered him, and he called out sharply to the guardhouse, “Make way for the envoy of Crown Prince Vadim, heir to the throne of Thal Thessaly!”

“We know who you are, Radiq, son of Thorrim,” replied a voice from the shadowed gate house, “and we know why you have come.”

Hearing his father’s name on the tongue of some lout only irritated Radiq more. “Then give me the answer I seek, and I shall be on my way,” he shouted back.

“The answer is Guild Master Marron’s to give,” replied the faceless voice as the gates slowly rose.

Marron? Guild Master? Great gods—what have I gotten myself into? He should have run when he had the chance.

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Seductive Studs – 15 February 2014

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Welcome, everyone!

Today I’m continuing with Radiq, my swords and sorcery menage storyIf you missed last week’s clip, you can read it here.

The noon sun beat upon Radiq’s shoulders, flattening his resolve like a slug of iron upon an anvil. As much as he wanted to, there was little the warrior turned ambassador could do to delay the inevitable approach to the Guild House—the streets of Thal Qedoq were nearly empty, the city’s inhabitants having escaped indoors away from the broiling heat.

His mission was simple: He need only meet with the Red Guild Master and secure his assistance—for surely the greatest mage in the eastern world would readily know the location of a crown lost for three millennia? Radiq snorted at the ludicrousness of that thought. His real concern should be avoiding an encounter with Marron—his brother would unquestionably want to pick up the fight where Radiq had dropped it ten years ago—and Radiq had no time to spare on Marron’s ambition and self-justification.

“Oh, my prince,” he thought, “why did you have to contract marriage with a sorceress—and then break the engagement?”

Laying further consideration of his brother’s errors aside as unproductive, Radiq turned his horse onto Qed Harraq, the great thoroughfare that ran straight as a lance to the gates of the Guild House.

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Seductive Studs – 08 February 2014

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Welcome, everybody!

For today’s clip I’m returning to a work in (sorta) progress that has languished some recently. Longer term readers may remember my swords and sorcery style, fantasy menage story, Radiq. If you’re not one of them, fear not—I’m posting from the opening:

Radiq reined Jessel in atop the rise. The roan stallion blew and stamped; its breath billowed in the cool morning air. A slight breeze stirred Radiq’s hair, carrying the acrid scents of horse and man. Nine days of hard travel had brought them to this hilltop. Their shadows stretched out before them, pointing the way to Thal Qedoq. The City of the Red Mages lay nestled in the foothills of the Great Western Mountains, its gates overlooking the Valley of Sha Harim; he’d be riding through those gates by mid-day.

Golden soldierTen years ago he’d ridden out those same gates and sworn never to return. But that oath meant little when weighed against the life of the man he served, and Radiq refused to look any more closely at what that itself meant. Ironically, saving that life would mean sacrificing the one true desire of his own life, for Prince Vadim could no more be with Radiq than Radiq could fly to one of the pale moons, which even now faded as the sun grew stronger. Sighing a cloud of his own into the air, Radiq kicked the stallion into a trot and headed down the talus slope.

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