Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Space Opera, #Science Fiction, #Dragons
A talent for melting stone is given a pilot who happens to be a dragon. Let’s hope the shuttle survives.
Leyhara is a talent of Resicor and she took full advantage of her new freedom to hold off attackers by grounding their craft, by having the ground under them melt.
After the attack, she is given the choice to stay or leave and go somewhere she can use her power. It takes her minutes to make up her mind and she is on the next shuttle out.
Bohrvin has been waiting centuries for a woman who answers the call of his mind, and when he finds she has the ability to melt rock, he decides he had better tread carefully while courting a woman standing on burning stone.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Viola Grace
Cover art by Carmen Waters
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.
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Tales of the Citadel Book 39
(Remove this and insert your dedication…if no dedication, disregard and I’ll remove when formatting)
The sky was falling and Leyhara had a decision to make. Either she could pretend to be one of the screaming citizens, or she could step up and believe the vid that said talents would no longer be prosecuted.
While everyone ran away from the dropping ships, Leyhara moved forward to cut them off. When they dared to land on Resicor, she melted their landing gear and turned the ground around their ships into a hot plate with a molten surface.
Leyhara watched her clothing smoke as her skin heated up with the energy she was putting out. With her concentration on keeping the incursion at bay, she kept the invaders in their ships until she felt folk join her.
A quick glance showed her that they were citizens in normal clothing. A woman with her hair tied up in a scarf smiled and nodded. “Relax, miss. We have this. You have done enough.”
Leyhara knelt as ice cooled the ground and the talents of Resicor joined her in defense of their home. It was the first time she had seen this variety of talents out in public. From what history class had taught her, it was the first time anyone had seen it.
The men who surged out of the ships were large, armed and some had talents of their own. It didn’t matter. They were facing people who were risking their lives for their families. Each time one of the invaders touched ground, he was sent flying and the rest of the talents moved in.
When other ships arrived, they didn’t land. They hovered and broadcast a message of assistance and friendship. Leyhara got to her feet and pointed to a spot where they could set down.
Three ships set side by side in a tight formation. The folk who exited the ship were wearing brightly coloured and tightly fitting uniforms, some wore robes and none were armed.
Leyhara walked over to them, and she stood facing them, ready to melt their feet into the stone if they so much as twitched the wrong way. “Who are you and why are you here?”
A woman came forward with pale blue hair and a uniform that was terribly familiar.
The woman grinned and came forward for a hug. “Hello, Leyhara. They have tried to put one of us on every arrival team to ease things a little. You have done well. We had no idea this pocket had managed to land until someone picked up the psychic energy you are throwing around. We are here to help. Will you let us?”
She swallowed and hugged her childhood friend. “You can help, but who are you? I mean what are these uniforms, these ships?”
“This is an offering of the Sector Guard and the Citadel. We study and train for events like today, and I have to say, I am delighted that I made it.”
Leyhara had been one year behind Kiiki in school, but when she was arrested and thrown in the dome, it had been traumatic for all young talents. Leyhara and others had frantically found ways to control their talents to hide them from discovery. By practising where no one could see her, she had mastered her ability to superheat a surface.
Her parents’ work in geology had been the perfect cover, as their work took them to volcanic disturbances around the globe.
“Go do what you have been waiting to do, Kiiki. We will make sure that no one enters the city.”
Kiiki and three others took flight.
Leyhara beckoned for the local talents to retreat, and they watched the professionals in armoured suits race into the ships and take care of stragglers. For her first day as an outed talent, she thought things had gone pretty well.
Six days later, she joined a group of Resicor talents who were being shipped to Citadel Iskan. Leyhara was allowed to stay awake and alert for the trip but the others were sedated for the journey.
The Guardsman named Tend was behind the controls, and his partner, Thunder Struck, was next to him.
Once they lifted off and Resicor was shrinking behind them, Thunder Struck got to her feet and beckoned to Leyhara.
“Come on, you look like you can use some tea.”
Leyhara unbuckled her harness and got to her feet, rubbing her hands down her trousers.
Thunder Struck led her to the galley and showed her to a seat. She moved easily around the small space and sat across from Leyhara while the tea brewed.
“Leyhara, I know you were told that this shuttle was going to Iskan, but those who have been sedated are not. We are dropping them off at Citadel Balen. You are coming with us to Iskan and joining our Citadel.”
“That sounds very nice, Thunder Struck, but I don’t know why I would fit in at a specialised Citadel.”
“Call me Kedna, or Ked. The scowl at the helm is Haedock. I run the Iskan Citadel, and we specialise in dangerous talents with incredible potential. You qualify. Kiiki identified your talent and Trala-Resicor confirmed that you have stifled yourself while seeking control. You have a lot of untapped power, and on Iskan, you can take it for a spin without worrying about injuring anyone or being discovered. We have a world to shape, and it welcomes expressions of power.”
Leyhara eyed her warily as she got up and retrieved the tea.
“You really want me to unleash myself?”
Kedna chuckled. “Not in the ship. You need to be able to explore all the depths of the talent you have in your genes, and Iskan has opened itself to that experimentation.”
“What about the others?”
“They need healing. Most of them suffered at the hands of your government in some capacity, and they need therapy. I understand that, but Balen can offer it far more dextrously than a trainee on Iskan would be able to. We are a learning Citadel. All I can offer you is someone to watch your back and make sure that you do not catch fire.”
Leyhara laughed. “I do tend to scorch my clothing.”
“We have a fabricator who needs practice at creating fire-resistant materials. I think you and he will get along just fine.”
Leyhara took her tea and smiled.
Kedna looked into her cup and a tiny storm cloud formed complete with lightning.
Leyhara sipped her tea and concentrated on keeping it cool enough to drink. A world where there was no one to hurt. It had an incredible appeal. She was looking forward to it.
Four days later, she was delighted to step on Iskan. To her surprise, Halwis-Iskan was there to greet her, but she greeted her own people first.
When it was Leyhara’s turn, Halwis-Iskan took her hands, and Leyhara felt something touch her soul.
“A great grace and a great power. It is a perfect match for a great heart. Be welcome on Iskan. I have a mountain range that could use flattening.”
Leyhara smiled. “I will do my best to make free with my talent while minimally impacting your surface.”
“I thank you for your care, but whatever you do will be undone by the ones who follow after, so keep to the stone and do what you will.” Halwis-Iskan stepped forward with black swirling in her golden eyes.
Kedna came out and put an arm around her shoulders. “First thing you need is clothing that won’t burn. Mockski will be able to help with that.”
Halwis-Iskan looked at Kedna with amusement. “She and I were having a moment.”
“And that moment will have to wait until she is protected. She needs to be safe when she uses her skills.” Kedna was amused.
Haedock emerged from the ship and he shook his head. “I know you have plans for her, ancestor, but they will have to wait until her talent has stabilized.”
Halwis-Iskan made a face that would have been more appropriate on a five year old. “You are taking away my fun, grandson.”
“Tough. You have had the trainees to play with the entire length of our journey. Let Leyhara settle in and get prepared before she uses her talent for the new landing strip.”
Leyhara grinned. “Is that all? I can do that now.”
Kedna sighed. “I know, but I want you to be able to do it in minutes.”
Leyhara looked at the faces around her, alien yet completely accepting. Kedna’s strangely marked features smiled.
“Are you up for this?”
Leyhara chuckled. “A new world, a new day and no more hiding in the shadows. Yes, I am up for this. I have been waiting for this.”
Mockski was a fabrication master, and while he worked, Leyhara remembered the last few moments with her parents. Her father had embraced her and wished her well, but her mother had stroked her face. “I know that talents are accepted now, Leyhara, but it is best that you leave. I can’t see a future for you here with the particular skill set that you possess. I want the best for you and it isn’t on Resicor.”
Leyhara nodded. “I know, Mom.”
Her mother was better with rocks than people, but her words were correct. They were meant with love and that is how Leyhara took them.
On the flight out, Kedna and Haedock had told her that she was a blend of fire and earth elementals. She could work with both, but she needed time to learn how. Burning stone was all she had ever figured out how to do.
Her uniform surprised her. Mockski frowned as he tried to create a full suit, but it kept morphing under his hands.
“Are you doing that?”
Leyhara looked down and laughed. “Oh no. I would not even think of something like that.”
The bodice was laced up the front, small briefs covered her groin and butt, thigh-high boots covered her legs and a skirt was ring-bound to the bodice itself.
“I normally have an instinct for what is needed, but with you, this seems to be all that is required. You are a fire elemental?”
“Fire and earth.”
“Do you get cold? Hot?”
“I don’t feel cold and hot doesn’t bother me. Why?”
He rubbed his jaw. “That might explain it. You are wearing little because you don’t need it. I will set up some Citadel robes in the same materials and make you a few changes of clothing.”
She smiled. “Thank you.”
“You don’t mind being dressed like this?”
“It is easy to move in, and if it holds up to the heat, I would not mind more of the same. Until today, I have known that if I work at close quarters with my talent, I will lose my clothing. This is a preferential option to public nudity.”
He grinned at her and chuckled. “Nothing like a discerning audience. I will wait for news of the durability of the suit.”
Leyhara laughed and headed out to meet Halwis-Iskan for her first test fire in the mountains.
The Avatar was amused when they returned. Leyhara headed straight back to the fabricator and drummed her fingers in the doorway.
Mockski dropped his beverage and reached for the fire extinguisher.
Leyhara stood and let him hose her smouldering clothing down.
Mockski looked at the charred piece of fabric and he nodded. “Right. Let’s just get something that can take three thousand degrees. I have been given some plates but wasn’t sure what to do with them.”