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A note from candicame

Hey guys, I'm back with a new chapter.  I hope y'all like it.  If you do, let me know.  If you don't, let me know how I can improve!

The royal suite was somehow nicer than their room at home. This was a new experience for Xaxac as he entered, bone tired on Agalon’s arm, and took in the scene around him. The place had been laid out for their arrival, and the sitting room was larger than the one at home, with the furniture sized up to match. The walls were covered not in paintings, but tapestries depicting scenes Xaxac did not understand, but was vastly interested in.

The sitting area held two huge couches with a coffee table between them, on which had been laid out a basket of wine and more glasses than they would need, all before a large stone fireplace, sitting on the mantle of which were various knick knacks that seemed to have been made of crystal.

The little table had a basket of fruit all laid out, cut into pleasing shapes that resembled flowers in bloom, and in the middle was a card that Xaxac could not read. The curio cabinet was completely filled with small statues of various animals and people, including one that made Xaxac’s blood run cold.

Carved from some sort of deep green gem was a man in full armor wielding a large sword. The helmet of the armor had tree branches sprouting from it, or perhaps antlers like a deer, and the man himself, had he been scaled up, would have been tall and broad. His expressionless helmet stared out of the cabinet, indifferent to the world around him, and Xaxac knew instantly who it was: The Emerald Knight.

He turned his attention away and looked at the opposite wall, at the tapestry that hung over the fireplace. It depicted a beautiful young woman in repose, an earth elf with long blond hair, some of which was pulled into braids, but most of which fell down her back. Her beauty was the ethereal kind, the kind of person who may not have been real, who could only have been described as a thought. She was the kind of thin that was admired by earth elves, the sort of transient smallness that could blow away on the wind, and it was difficult to imagine how her lyth frame supported the thick dress and full, floor length skirt she wore. Xaxac’s first impression of her was that she was some sort of royalty.

“I am wore out,” Agalon said, and Xaxac caught Lee rolling his eyes, though he didn’t understand why.

“Who’s that girl?” Xaxac asked, pointing to the tapestry.

“That is our great empress,” Agalon said proudly, “Xandra Uril, leader of the great Urillain Empire. We’re kin you know, distantly, on my mommy’s side, Thesis rest her soul. Ain’t she lovely?”

“She’s really pretty,” Xaxac said, “You can tell you’re kin. You got the same hair.”

“Lee, please, for the love of god, remind me to color my roots when we get to the house,” Agalon said as he unclasped his cape and threw it over the back of the chair at the writing desk.

“Yes, master,” Lee agreed.

“Is that Xandra too?” Xaxac asked, pointing to a tapestry that hung on the wall above the table. It seemed to display the same woman, but this time sitting on a horse on a cliffside overlooking an ocean dotted with small islands.

“Yeah,” Agalon said, “That’s the conquest of the water continent, if I had to guess. You know, I sure don’t remember seeing her there. Come on, Honey Bunny, let’s head to bed.”

“Can I eat these flowers?” Xaxac asked.

“If you want,” Agalon replied and walked into the bedroom, “But come to bed here, pretty quick.”

“It’s so strange, ain’t it?” Lee asked in a whisper, looking up at the tapestry as he too undressed, and Xaxac wondered where he was sleeping.

“What?” Xac asked as he picked up one of the flowers of fruit by the stick and bit into it. Its pedals seemed to be made of honeydew cut into shapes. Once again there were six, an unrealistic number. He hadn’t expected the toothpick and spit it into his hand.

“That the elves think the empress is pretty,” Lee said, “Bit thin for my taste. And yours, if the way you acted at supper was any sign,” he paused, sighed, and said, “Don’t stare at ladies’ chests. I ought not have to say that.”

“She brought it up!” Xaxac argued.

“It’s still rude,” Lee admonished.

“She literally said, ‘My tits look great’!” Xac argued, “You don’t say that unless you want people to look at um! Besides I don’t… I don’t really… know how that works.”

“Who are you talking about?” Agalon giggled from where he stood, shirtless, in the doorway. “What on Xren did you do, Honey Bunny?”

“Oh my god,” Lee stared at him for a few seconds before he asked, “Xaxac, what was that young lady’s name? I introduced you. You better know it.”

“I…” Xaxac faltered, ate another pedal and admitted, “I super don’t. I just remember… um…”

“That’s so rude!” Lee huffed.

“Who are y’all talkin about?” Agalon asked, “What’d he do?”

“Helen OfLoraxina,” Lee explained.

“Loraxina,” Agalon said, “I met with them during supper. They ain’t happy about my schedule. Billy’s gonna wipe the floor with their whole spread. What’d you do, Honey Bunny?”

“Nothin!” Xac pleaded, “Unless we can’t even look at folks now!”

“Come to bed, darlin,” Agalon said, “And tell me all about it.”

“Would you still like to get up at dawn, master?” Lee asked.

“Yeah, might as well get a good day in,” Agalon said, “I got a full schedule. We might stay again tomorrow.”

He led Xaxac into the bedroom and shut the door. This room, as well, was covered in tapestries, and the bed had posts reaching nearly to the ceiling, from which were suspended thick curtains. It was laid out very much like their room at home, but everything was just a bit more… expensive. It spoke of a kind of opulence that Xaxac could not really articulate.

“Who is Helen?” Agalon asked as he opened the wardrobe to put away his boots, then his tights.

“I don’t know,” Xaxac said, “I guess I was supposed to remember.”

The middle of the flower was a grape, and it felt strange to eat one all by itself.

“What was Lee gettin onto you over?” Agalon asked as he wiped off his makeup then went to the basin to wash his face.

Xaxac took a seat at the vanity and went through the routine of removing his makeup and moisturizing his face without thinking about it.

“She said her tits looked good in her dress and I guess I wasn’t supposed to agree with her,” Xaxac huffed.

“Was she a pleasure slave?” Agalon asked as he dried his face.

“I think so,” Xaxac said, “Yes! Yeah, she was a pleasure slave! I remember because I’d never met a girl before. I mean I never met a girl pleasure slave.”

“Lee’s bein too overprotective,” Agalon decided as he climbed into bed and watched Xaxac wash his face, “You can talk to her. You can look at her. But you gotta control yourself. We’ve had problems with that. And it leads to… other things. Humans are… real fertile. You don’t watch that you’ll have more than you can feed. Y’all breed like-” He stopped himself and seemed to consider what he was going to say, and when Xac turned around to look at him he wasn’t sure he liked the look of concentration on his face.

“Rabbits,” Agalon finished, “Y’all breed like rabbits.”

He got up, moved back to the wardrobe and rummaged around in his traveling bag until he produced a small notebook and a pencil, came back to bed and wrote something in it as Xaxac neatly folded his clothes and set them on the chair by the vanity. He crawled into the bed and snuggled into Agalon’s side, deep into the blankets which were so soft they were slick. They reminded him of Alex’s robe.

“This place is pretty,” He said.

“Yeah, it’s where Xandra stays when she comes through here,” Agalon said, “Everybody tries to impress her. She gets stabby when she’s mad.” He stopped writing and looked down at Xaxac. “The holy texts say that shifting is hereditary…”

“I heard that,” Xaxac pouted, “I ain’t never done no devilry. I didn’t do nothin to get cursed. It’s just… how it is. I’m sorry I bit you!”

He clung fiercely to Agalon, and his master reached down to play with his hair.

“Honey Bunny,” he said softly, “You gotta quit bein scared of yourself. There ain’t nothin wrong with you. You’re perfect. You’re rare. I got somethin here that everybody is dyin to see. An I think… I think we could show people somethin with you. We could show um that shifters ain’t dangerous. You’re just a fuzzy little bunny.”

“I’m sorry I bit you,” Xaxac said again, huddling as close as he could.

“You ain’t listening to me,” Agalon sighed, tried to pry Xaxac away, and tensed when he could not. “Darlin, I wanna lie down.”

“Sorry,” Xaxac said, relaxed his grip, and scooted away just a little.

“God, you’re so tense,” Agalon wrapped an arm around him and pulled him close, “I wish I didn’t have to leave you alone today. I thought you’d be ok if Lee was with you.”

“Lee’s mad at me,” Xac whispered.

“No, he ain’t he’s just… being a little bit too harsh. I’ll talk to him. Come here, sit on my lap, let’s let you burn off some of that energy so you can sleep.”

Xaxac allowed Agalon to lead him by the hips until he was sitting on his lap, and figured out what he was supposed to do as soon as he saw Agalon digging around in the nightstand for the lube.

This would be interesting… he was going to have to do all the work. He was going to have to bounce.

He smiled and did exactly what he was told.

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A note from candicame

So in my actual writing, way ahead of y'all, I think I've FINALLY hit the end of book 1.  This manuscript is going to need the most revisions out of all of them.  I mean, it's shorter and more coherant than my first draft, but it's still a hot mess.  It's so easy to get discouraged, but I want to get through it.  I've started it and I'm not going to abandon it halfway through, but my mind keeps wandering to other Xren stories.  I've got the first draft of The Emerald Knight finished, so I'm wondering if I shouldn't start posting it.

But it won't make any sense without some stuff that needs to be convered, and I can't draft two things at once.  So I need to finish Xac's story before I do that.  But I think I'll get a lot more reader interest here on the other story I need to work on.

I'm realizing that this shit is just too goddamn depressing for the audience here.  Without those future scenes where most of the action was this is just blow after blow of depressing bullshit with no end in sight.  So now I'm wondering if, for story structure, I don't need to put them back.  Honestly I'm in a slump with this story.  I'm trying to do that thing where I just keep pushing forward, but I feel like there's a good like, fifteen chapters that just aren't very good for a bunch of reasons.  Because it's so depressing, because the pace is so slow, because it looks like there's no end in sight, no positivity at all, no way out.  It does pick up eventually but there's definately a sagging middle here that I'm gonna have to do something about in the rewrite and I'm concerned about it.

Y'all digging this Urillian propoganda?  Xac's staying in a room fit for royalty.  I wonder if people who read the Crimson Mage feel differently about these tapestries and such than people who haven't.

Edit: I'm getting my juice back.  I'm really happy with the chapter I just wrote.


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