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Tales of the Citadel


Rain of Tears

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #22
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Needing help to free her creation, Rain turns to an agricultural specialist who has more than furrows on his mind....

The dust puffed up with every step Reyan took. She shook her head at the arid landscape. They had really let this place go to hell since she was last here.

Three hundred years ago, the inhabitants had begged for her help when their weather-control machine had stalled out. The rest of the world of Jarko suffered because the people of this small corner of the continent liked to screw with nature. Reyan considered it her personal mission to keep the weather patterns even so that everyone got a chance at a harvest.

The people of Nekahar were jerks, there was no doubt about it, but the predictable weather brought settlers by the hundreds.

Reyan stopped and drank some water, hitched the bottle back onto her belt and walked into the city.

The guards at the gate stopped her. “Halt, we are on water rations. If you need food or water, you will have to pay.”

She grinned. “I accept your conditions, now let me pass.”

They could only see the lower half of her face. The marks that the Ichadran scientists had designed her with were an experiment and were also worn by her younger sister, the Destroyer. Her forehead was dotted with a very feminine pattern and her cheeks were streaked with silvery tears. Combine it with her pale blue eyes with their dark blue rings and her pale lavender hair, there was only one person she could be, the Rain.

There were three worlds in this system and Jarko was where she was able to do her best because of their screwy weather system.

The guards let her in after telling her that free food and water would be available in the central arena as a method of calling the rain.

As she passed through the city, she noted the signs of poverty, the abuse of authority and the degradation of society that always came with the drought. Those who couldn’t run, rotted.

She would do what she could, but unless they let nature take its course, they were doomed to repeat the cycle.

 

“As you know, we have fallen on hard times. Our efforts to repair the weather unit have failed and help is still months away. All we can do is beg the rain to return and hope that it will stay with us until the harvest is in. One good season is all we need, so rain, if you are listening, come to us!”

Reyan milled with the other travellers who had arrived in the city. She asked the man next to her, “Do you know how often they do this?”

“They started last year when the machine first malfunctioned. When did you get in?”

“This afternoon. Why?”

“They have a special treat for newcomers, but you can only claim it once.” He moved away from her, and she could see him radiating fear.

Cocking her head, she noted the guards who had seen her in were pointing her out to arena staff.

This was what she had been waiting for. The horror that had been whispered through the nearby areas, spread by those who had run, told of brutality in an effort to bring the rain.

Needing help to free her creation, Rain turns to an agricultural specialist who has more than furrows on his mind.
 
After centuries of waiting, Rain has an opportunity to retrieve a creation that she designed and it means far more than a simple machine should. Her memories are wound around the weather machine and it has been used to destroy the natural order of Jarko.
When she completes her introduction to the local mayor, he ends up leaving office suddenly and his replacement is first a member of the Citadel before he is acting mayor. He is more than willing to help her with the weather machine. Of course, being from the Citadel, there will be a price, but Rain has learned that there always is when it is for something she really wants.
Price: $3.99
Waking Dream

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #23
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Out of her body and lost in space, Wiyra finds solace and help in the form of a tracker who has his own designs on...

Wiyra Kwinto settled into her pod. “Do we have the sites that you want me to check out?”

Her cousin Stennar nodded and grinned. “They are loaded. Feel free to check on them, cuz.”

“I will. I hate it when you use me to surprise other folks on the mining colony.”

He chortled and put her drips into her arms and thighs. “You spoil all my fun.”

“And you like to use me to give people heart attacks. We all have our burdens to bear.” She exhaled and let the gel lining of the pod take her weight. It would keep her hydrated, fed and breathing while her mind went for a walk without her body attached.

She carefully gave Stennar a thumbs up as she used the keys under her left hand to get her locations. Her mind automatically corrected for drift and propulsion, and the next moment, she was out of her body and standing on a slowly rotating asteroid.

She did her standard mineral check. Several hours of walking through the rock layers later, she was confident that it was a viable site. She moved onto the next rock and the one after that.

Six hours out of her body was enough for one day, she returned her astral form to the drifted locale where it should be and ran into a slight problem. The mother-platform was gone. All the surrounding asteroids were in the proper alignment, but the platform where her family and her body were was gone.

Son-of-a-bitch.

 

“Wake up, Master Tracker Burin, I need your help.” She carried on the conversation with her hand inside his skull. It was the only way she could transmit her thoughts into something he would understand.

It had been hard to force her way into Citadel Reevish. The tower and the Masters’ quarters were fully lined against psychic spillage. Apparently, she qualified, but she was also very determined.

He opened his blue-green eyes and jolted in surprise. “I have had this dream, but you were in your body at the time.”

“That is my problem. Someone has stolen my body and my family platform.” She really didn’t want to be here. The last time she had spoken to Burin, he had offered her an amazing amount of money to join Citadel Reevish. She had rudely turned him down and told him where to stuff his offer. Now, she was sitting in his bedroom with her hand inside his skull. Life was unpredictable.

He chuckled. “You are joking.”

He sat up and she moved with him, trying to ignore the muscular nudity of his form. “Could you put some clothes on?”

Out of her body and lost in space, Wiyra finds solace and help in the form of a tracker who has his own designs on her physical self.
 
Wiyra is an astral investigator. She can leave her body and search any specific point in space that she wishes. She merely has to know its location before she leaves herself. A problem arises when she leaves to examine some mineral deposits and returns to the place her body should be, only to find it missing.
Her entire home is missing. Her cousins, grandfather and brothers are all gone with no trace. There is only one person she can turn to, and while it makes her grit her astral teeth, she heads to Citadel Reevish.
Master Tracker Burin is woken from a sound sleep by an astral hand in his head, and while he is startled, delight soon follows. Wiyra has come to him for help and the Citadel does nothing for free. He has her right where he wants her…as soon as he finds her.
 
Price: $3.99
Walking Haunt

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #24
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Yohwen enjoys her life, but when the Citadel comes knocking she has to face change, danger and a man whose touch c...

The final gong rang, and Yohwen started to walk. The first step on the smooth sand tingled through her and she made herself a conduit between the energy of the dead and their living relations. As she slowly paced, paused and paced again, she kept herself focused on letting the dead speak and move through her. The moment she drew even with the first burial site, the glowing figures solidified and were ceremonially embraced by their relatives. She felt a surge of relief and pride that she would not disgrace her temporary title.

The light sprang up around her, and she heard murmurs of surprise as she continued her slow and deliberate pace. Her mind joined the song that the dead brought from the stars. She gave herself up to them, pulling power from the ground beneath her to offer them visible form. Yoh heard chattering, excited sobs, and she kept moving on the sand path laid out just for her.

There was one moment, a few hours in, when an excited child stumbled into her and the light dimmed at the contact with the living. She turned her head, and the child stared up at her in shock before her dead grandmother came up to her and shepherded her back to the family with apologies to the Haunt.

She silently wished the young girl a peaceful transition into activity.

Bemused at the contact with a Haunt in her young stage, it took Yoh a bit of effort to get back into the pacing trance that continued for three more hours.

Niisa was waiting for her at the end with a stool, her shoes, and a soft brush to remove the sand. Yoh sat and let her assistant take care of her. She got to her feet and looked over the largest cemetery in the world. Lights of souls were still there, still active.

“Let them go, Yoh. You have done more than enough.”

“When you miss the ones you love, there is never time enough.” She smiled sadly, and as the dawn began to rise, she let the ghosts fade. The souls returned to the stars, and those left behind smiled with watery eyes.

The conclusion and dissipation of the souls was marked with another gong, and Yohwen was free to return to her quarters, change and get the hell out of the capital city.

On their way back to her staging room, she leaned on her friend. “That was tiring.”

“I can imagine. You lit up far more sites than expected.”

“How many?”

Niisa laughed softly. “I am thinking…all of them. As people started noticing, they called everyone nearby into the city so that they could all participate. You might be getting a bonus for this.”

“Does the bonus take the form of a nap?”

Her friend giggled. “No, I don’t think it does.”

“Then, I am not interested. Back to the room, change of clothing and out of this makeup. I don’t want anyone to recognize me by sight when we leave.”

“Fine. You start scrubbing, I will get the chisel.”

Yohwen enjoys her life, but when the Citadel comes knocking she has to face change, danger and a man whose touch can set her on fire.
 
Yohwen has finally reached the pinnacle of her art. She is the Master Haunt and during the festival week, she wakes the dead for their friends and families for one night only.
The next day she is invited to help the Citadel on a world where the entire population died without a whimper. They were Ysheer, the same species as Yohwen. She can talk to them and let them talk to others in a way that no other being can manage. When her assistant asks to go, there is no choice. She has to go.
Scorcher Orkill was not expecting the lovely creature to agree, but when she did, his heart raced and his body heated in a way he was only used to when his talent was in overdrive.
She is here to do a job, and he is here to help, but once the work is over he has every intention of pursuing her. Unfortunately, something goes horribly wrong.
Price: $3.99
Scorched Heart

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #25
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A woman with a talent for destruction is partnered with a Guardsman with a flair for bringing things to life. ...

Winera swallowed hard and pulled at her collar. The neckline of her tunic made her feel hot, but everyone was wearing their best. A chance at a full Alliance education, a job and an opportunity to see the universe was in that sensor’s hands.

Loshosh wasn’t so much a poor world, as unutterably dull. There were two ways off. You could wait until either you had acquired enough money to travel or you could be chosen for the Citadel. There were no other ways out.

Winera stepped forward another position. One of the men ahead of her got the nod, and he was allowed to go to the left instead of the right. She felt flushed and crossed her fingers that she had a dormant talent inside. The power sensor would know and he would tell her whether she was acceptable or not.

No one in Winera’s family ever got the nod but everyone still tried. It was the nature of the population of Loshosh; they were both optimistic and realistic at the same time.

There were three people between her and the sensor. With each slide of skin against scale, her heart pounded until she was facing him and he extended his hands to her.

“Please place your hands on mine, palms down.”

Winera extended her hands to him, slowly lowering her palms to his. She heard a sizzle a moment before he shouted, “Containment!”

A woman broke from the conversation she had been having with the organizer and was at Winera’s side in an instant.

The hug was surprising, but the pull of the woman’s arms broke the contact with the sensor.

Another robed Citadel member rushed to his side and placed their hands over his.

“Calm down, miss. I am going to walk you to the edge of the grounds. You can send out a pulse from there.”

“A what?” Winera was confused. Did I pass or fail and why is she holding me?

“Oh dear. Well, we are going to take a walk and I am going to explain a few things to you. My designation is Container Nehad. You can call me Needy.” The woman chuckled but kept walking with her arms around Winera.

“Well, Needy. I appreciate meeting new people, but why are you hugging me?”

“You have a talent that just woke up under the stress of the determination. Based on the smell, you burned the sensor. Don’t worry. We keep a healer with us for just such occasions.”

“So, I am a talent but I just assaulted the power sensor. Where does that leave me?”

They swayed together as they made it to the edge of the property.

“Well, you need training. Heat talents are always needed for many different applications. You will be a wealthy woman by the end of your career.”

They exited through the door in the fence and Needy tugged her to one side, with her own back to the wall.

“What precisely is it that you are doing, Needy?”

“Well, my talent shields me from yours, but we need the stone wall at our backs to protect all the people at the selection event. With the amount of heat you put out during a handshake, you would not be good for their health.” Needy settled herself and slowly lowered her arms.

Winera was nervous. “What do I do?”

“Step away from me until the heat returns, and when it does, because it will, it will course out of you. Aim it at the mountains and away from any buildings in the distance. You might be more powerful than you think, so pick the safest spot you can.”

Winera took a few steps and looked back at Needy. The woman’s birdlike features and feathered skin and beaked nose were surprisingly comforting. Her dark brown eyes were kind as she waved Winera off.

At twenty paces from Needy, Winera felt the rising heat once again. She let it come.

 

She shivered on the ground, kneeling on a scorched piece of earth. Needy was at her side in a moment, clucking in comfort and covering her with the Citadel robes that she had been wearing. “It’s all right, child. You will be fine. We have you now. You are joining the Citadel. What is your name by the way?”

“Winera. Winera Eckerhart.” She huddled in the warmth of the robes.

“How old are you, Winera?” The soft hand stroked her forehead and calmed her.

“Twelve, Container Nehad. I just turned twelve.” She dozed against the feathered touch and didn’t look around as she was lifted and carried to the shuttle.

 

“Mr. and Mrs. Eckerhart, your daughter Winera is one of the strongest Scorchers that I have ever seen.” Power Sensor Riskin was trying to break things gently to the couple.

The couple were clinging to each other and looking around them with wide eyes.

Mrs. Eckerhart spoke up, “Where is my daughter?”

“I will be frank. Do you see that dark mark on the hillside below?”

It was a three-mile-wide span of scorched earth and vegetation that had flashed from living to crisp in seconds.

“Your daughter’s power manifested during the power sensing. She got nervous and this is what happened. Now that she has activated, there is no way that you will be able to train and contain her.”

Her mother straightened her shoulders. “What do we need to do to make sure that she is safe?”

“Sign this contract and authorize the Citadel to make all decisions regarding her training and employment.”

A woman with a talent for destruction is partnered with a Guardsman with a flair for bringing things to life.
Winera showed her talent as a Scorcher in a spectacular first display of heat and destruction. The Citadel welcomed her with open arms.
Years after joining the Citadel, she is finally a full-fledged Scorcher and ready for her first official mission with a member of the Sector Guard. She had no idea that she was getting more than just a partner when a bundle of feathery fluff claims her as his own, much to her new partner’s amusement.
Hyl has been waiting for the matchmaker to find him a partner that he can do more than go into battle with. One look at Winera and he knows that this fiery woman could set his senses ablaze.
Smudge is a Yaluthu who has been patiently waiting for his person. When he sees the woman of fire, he knows she is the one that he is destined to be with, and he flings himself into her arms.
Let’s not talk about the ship. She has too much attitude.
Price: $3.99
Creating Harmony

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #26
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Iara lives her life for calm, partnered with a species she despises. She has to fight for what she brings so easil...

Iara remained quiet as her father hauled her through the streets of the spaceport. Her dress tried to trip her feet, and her mother walked behind her, her head covered in dark netting the concealed her features.

The family bodyguards surrounded them and pushed through the crowds that gathered to see Kozue walk the pavement of Saroo.

Iara Hanikada stumbled but kept her head high. Her father kept his grip on her arm, but he eased his pace.

They continued through the spaceport to the administration centre. An escort was waiting for them.

The royal guard surrounded the man with the prefect markings tattooed on his face.

He stepped forward. “Is this the great talent?”

Battle Captain Rehzik Hanikada eased his daughter forward. “Here she is. You will take care of her as I have instructed?”

Iara blinked up at the man with the heavily tattooed face.

He smiled down at her, and she felt the attack coming a moment before the warrior struck.

Her father held his men back.

Iara turned to face the man coming at her with a knife. She held out her hand, and he paused in place, relaxing his arms and his mind coming to a slow, humming, calm state.

Iara looked back to the prefect and gave a small curtsy. Her mother had taught her the gesture just that morning, and she heard a small sob behind her.

Iara turned and walked back to her mother, taking her hand and filling her with calm and harmony. “This is where I need to be, Mother.”

“Be well. I will come back when I can to see you.”

“Remain safe, Mother. I will be here, alive and strong when you return.”

Iara squeezed her hand and bowed to her father. He bowed in return, and she walked to the prefect. “We can go now.”

She took his hand, and he blinked in surprise. “I don’t feel anything.”

Iara sighed, “Of course not. I am just not supposed to run around without an adult with me.”

He tossed a bag to her father, and it clinked with the sound of credit chits. “Well, then, shall we head to the palace? King Learith is eager to meet you.”

She nodded and straightened her shoulders. “I think we should since I live here now.”

He chuckled. “By all means, let us go to the palace.”

Iara tried to keep the tears back as they travelled through the city to the place where she would serve as bodyguard to the ruler of the world. They had paid her family a lot of money for her services, but they could have had her for the asking. There was no room for calm and harmony on a Kozue ship. They thrived on conflict and combat.

While she sat in the transport that took her to the palace, a few fat tears ran down her cheeks and she brushed at them, trying to remain calm and stoic.

She tried to remember that she was allowed to cry. After all, she was only nine years old.

Iara lives her life for calm, partnered with a species she despises. She has to fight for what she brings so easily to others.    
 
Iara was a Kozue whose talent was peace and tranquility. Her parents sold her as a bodyguard to a royal house when she was just nine years old. Twelve years as a bondservant gave her an education that the Citadel continued when she escaped from a fate worse than death.
Partnered with Lock of the Sector Guard, she stifles her urge to scream. There is one man guaranteed to shake the calm she brings to others and she is stuck in a ship with him.
Lock admires Iara for her skill, her poise and her beauty. Finding a female Kozue without family or clan to protect her makes her a target, but her talent makes her formidable and very sexy to his senses.
Price: $3.99
Thunder Struck

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #27
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Stirring a tempest is the easy part, controlling it is the issue and depending on a jerk of a healer is annoying. ...

Ked stepped off the shuttle, holding the hand of Taedra, the Citadel rep.

 

Ked held tight to the bag of suits she had been given while bots zipped past her with ration packs stacked on pallets. The food was for her. Iskan did not need it.

 

“Kedna, do you see that city?”

 

Ked nodded. “It is empty.” She looked around and the entire world was silent. “Why is it so quiet?”

 

“Iskan is renovating. He is changing his surface for a new species, and he is willing to delay the process to help you gain control over the elements.”

 

Kedna looked up at Taedra. “When do you think I can go home?”

 

“Let’s see how fast you can learn. Your talent seems to be atmospheric. You can learn and practice here without worrying about damaging anyone or yourself. Iskan’s Avatar is a healer. She can keep you up and running.” Taedra was trying hard to keep the mood light.

 

A figure in robes walked toward them, a staff in one hand. When it got closer, Kedna saw the reptilian skin and wide yellow eyes swirled with scarlet.

 

Taedra stopped and inclined her head in respect. “Avatar, thank you for your offer of assistance in this special case.”

 

The Avatar smiled, her flat lips curving upward. “It is an honour to assist with such a worthy matter. Hello, Kedna Kencort. My name is Halwis-Iskan, but you can call me Halwis.”

 

Kedna released Taedra’s hand and put her palm over her heart. She bowed low. “Thank you for your offer. I hope that it will not be for too long a duration.”

 

Halwis gave Taedra a chiding look before she turned kind eyes back to Kedna. “It will take as long as it takes.”

 

She knew in that kind look that she wasn’t going home. Tears started and she lifted her chin. With determination, she stepped toward the Avatar before turning back for a moment. “Thank you for your help, Representative Taedra. I believe that Halwis-Iskan will take over my care now.”

 

Taedra stepped forward and extended her hand before she slowly lowered it. “The bots have food, and we will send someone to check on you every six months. Avatar Halwis has a com unit that you can use to call home. The contact codes are in your bag.”

 

“Thank you, Representative. I believe that Kedna needs some time to acclimate to her new home. The instructive holograms are all ready for her and her education has been planned for the foreseeable future. There is nothing more you can do here, but you are welcome to come and inspect her lodgings.”

 

Taedra inclined her torso in a short bow. “I will return in six months. Kedna, if you need anything, send me a message. I can have it delivered by drone.”

 

Ked wanted to wail that she wanted to go home, but that wasn’t the right thing to do. Lira was in control training on Thoola after she pushed Nilko into spending his university money on a pony. Finally, their parents had to face facts, and those facts were that their two youngest were exceptionally powerful and both needed help.

 

They had dropped Lira off on Thoola before coming to Iskan, and now, all members of her family were where they needed to be. Kedna could start working on herself.

 

It was quite the burden for an eleven-year-old, but she was up to it.

 

Stirring a tempest is the easy part, controlling it is the issue and depending on a jerk of a healer is annoying.
Kedna has been consigned to fostering on the empty world of Iskan when her power and her health become dangerous. Being mentored by a planetary Avatar is difficult, but moving the weather for an entire world is second nature.
When she is older and her skills are needed off world, she is paired with her first member of the Sector Guard. He is a pain in the butt and harbours resentments toward her for hogging his ancestral planet. She simply concentrates on the job and earns his respect in the bargain.
Fast forward to her twenty-third birthday and they cross paths again. This time, she knows his measure and he knows hers. Respect turns to fascination and progresses into a flirtation that crosses the stars.
Price: $3.99
Breaking Gods

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #28
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Born to mimic any talent she sees, Lieta is asked for help in taking down those of her own kind. A new career in B...

The storm was wild. She clutched the baby to her chest and ran through the rain.

She had been given five minutes to get her child to safety and her lack of control had caused her to overshoot the landing site. Now, she had to run.

The woman set the child against the gate in the shelter of an overhang, and she rang the bells with all her might. Her keeper was coming for her to resume her training. This was the only moment in the entire span of time that she wanted.

Her daughter needed to be safe.

A figure appeared next to her and she was hauled away before she knew that her daughter was safe. She screamed as she was taken away and then fell silent. Her daughter had heard that scream twice today. The first time had been when she died.

 

* * * *

 

The monk opened the door as the blood-curdling scream faded in the air. The smaller, more insistent shout came from the bundle at his feet. He leaned down and lifted her in his arms. “Hello, little one. Did you make all that noise?”

The baby looked at him with eyes in a purple so dark they looked to be deep brown. She blinked and slurped her fist.

The monk lifted his hand and light covered it, illuminating their new arrival. The baby waved her fist in the air and it glowed in reaction.

“Oh dear, little one. You have a lot of power in that tiny body.”

She waved both fists and both glowed. She giggled and then burped. He brought her inside to the warmth and shelter of the temple. Sister Esrai would know what to do with her.

 

* * * *

 

Twenty-three years later, Lieta was hauling in the harvest with the monks and acolytes when a blast struck the ground near her feet.

“You. Manager.”

She turned to face the young man with the dark soul and blacker temper. “Redol, right?”

“She talked about me, did she? The stupid bitch.”

Well, she had guessed right. “Ah, so you are Venila’s ex-boyfriend. You are everything she said.”

Lieta moved away from the wagon and toward the intruder, into the monastery’s property. “What did you want?”

“I want Venila back. Give her to me.”

“She is not a slave, nor is she owned by the monastery. She can come and go as she pleases, but she is choosing to live there and take vows to serve others.”

Lieta kept easing to one side until there was nothing to strike behind her.

“She is mine. She will come back to me.”

“Oh, I do not think so. She will remain where she is safe. Where a jackass with a bad temper will not cow her and make her feel like nothing has happened because her healing talent takes over the wounds.”

“Then she will be working on you tonight, bitch.” He extended his hand and a ball of whirling wind emerged. With a clumsy shove, he directed it at her.

She shook her head, caught it and sent it back with a tight, hard ball of whirling air that struck him straight in the chest.

Born to mimic any talent she sees, Lieta is asked for help in taking down those of her own kind. A new career in Breaking Gods.
 
Abandoned at the doors of an abbey, Lieta began life with knowledge of how to use any talent she was in contact with. As she grew, so did her collection of accessible power.
When the Citadel came to the abbey to ask for her assistance, she was astonished to learn she was not only not the only one of her kind, but she was one of the only sane ones. Her species enjoys being worshipped and that is rarely a good result for their people.
Lieta has to stop them, nullify them and make sure that they won’t hurt others. Running into one of her previous arrests and finding out that she is expected to let him be her shadow is a shock.
Muraz once fancied himself a god, but after being shown that he was not alone, he has decided that working with the only being more powerful than himself might be educational
Price: $3.99
Water and Power

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #29
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Enslaved by her own people, she breaks free and joins the Citadel in her capacity as a water elemental. Her destin...

Morakil Esterhart clutched her purse as she walked toward the screening centre. Her world had become a strange and dangerous place to live in, and it was getting worse.

Resicor was turning into a world of darkness and paranoia, and Mora was afraid that she was about to become its next victim.

A woman came up next to her and said quietly, “Do you want to pass this interview?”

Mora tried to turn but the voice said, “Don’t look. Do you want to pass this interview?”

Mora nodded.

“Good. Just relax.”

A hand gripped her wrist and held tight for a moment. A second later, they were in the midst of a pushing and jostling crowd. A cloak was draped over her head and shoulders and hands guided her out of the crowd and away from the screening centre.

Mora glanced back, and she bit her lip as she saw herself stepping toward the centre with a nervous stride. She kept her head down and walked with the stranger who had his arm around her.

When they got around the corner, a transport was waiting for her. The man behind the wheel said, “We can take you home or to the mountains. Your choice. Once you are out there, you will be on your own.”

“So, I am escaping the dome and going to the hills instead?”

“Your mind and body will be free. Consider that our gift to you.” The man nodded to his companion, and they chuckled together.

Mora sat back. This was going to be no life for a jeweller, but she supposed that living free was a better option than living in confinement. Idly, she wondered how the fake her was doing at the interview.

 

* * * *

 

The double was sitting in the interview room with two people glaring at her from across the table. In the corner was an empath who was monitoring her mind.

“So, despite your neighbour complaining about your farm having water during the drought, you are claiming that you had nothing to do with it?”

Fake Mora smiled nervously, keeping the copied memories and personality in front of her own. “I don’t know why the family farm has more water than my neighbours. We might be on a different water table. I don’t involve myself with the farm at all. I am a jeweller.”

Fake Mora felt the pressure on her mind, and she showed it only what it should feel. Nervous fear and confusion.

This was not the first time she had done this, or even the hundred and first. She sat through more questions about the water levels at Mora’s home, and finally, she was discharged when the empath shook her head.

She had a clean bill of being normal, which would mean that Mora could go home, but the blood sample would degrade in a matter of hours. Mora would be registered as normal until someone checked on the blood that they took when fake Mora entered the building. After that, there would be a hunt for her.

Enslaved by her own people, she breaks free and joins the Citadel in her capacity as a water elemental. Her destiny is fluid.
 
Mora was identified to the Resicor government as a talent, and on the way to the interview that would lock her up, she was diverted and hidden in the mountains.
After a year on her own, she was captured and her time in service to the Resicor government began, deep underground where the public would never know.
Tranoth was assigned by the Citadel to break her free, but as a technician, he had to go where he was sent. By chance, he ended up with her on two occasions, and it was enough time to set things in place for the breakout.
By the time they are able to move, she has been alone for six years with only minimal contact by other beings. Her mind is fragile but she is determined. If they give her a place to run and hide, they will have to catch up to her because she is going.
Price: $3.99
Tech Tack

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #30
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A tech from Resicor meets a bodyguard with sedating spikes. When she wakes up, she is on her way to the Citadel.&n...

Ainora faced her interviewer with all the calm she could muster. She hadn’t been able to adjust the appointment any longer. If she had skipped today’s events, they would have arrested her.

“Yes, I have a talent.”

The security guard and the empath were surprised. Her interviewer blinked as she organized her next question.

“Why haven’t you come forward?”

“There wasn’t any need. No one can tell that I have a talent, so why should I worry about it. I am no threat to Resicor or its people.”

The interviewer tapped her finger on the table. “You are hardly one to judge.”

Ainora cocked her head. “I beg to differ. I am a very good judge of my talent.”

“What is your talent?”

She laughed. “I thought you would know since you went to the trouble to bring me in.”

“The report that your co-worker filed was lacking in detail. He suspected your abilities were more than natural.”

Ainora stretched and put her hands behind her head. “They are completely natural. Urak couldn’t match me on any details even if I don’t use my additional senses.”

“How did you know?”

“That it was him? There is only one person at the firm that hangs over my shoulder trying to discover my secrets as I repair the equipment. It got him into trouble on several occasions. Last month, he stopped following me, so I am guessing that that is when you got the tip off.”

The empath in the corner smirked.

“You really thought that it would work to simply ignore your obligation to declare the talent you had acquired?”

Ainora smirked. “I didn’t acquire it. It is as much a part of me as your toenails are part of you. There was nothing to declare. At no time did I smuggle them through customs.”

The interviewer slammed her hand down on the table. “This is not a joke.”

She sat forward and put her own hands on the table. “Yes, it is. There is another talent in this room and she is allowed and encouraged to use her talent each and every day. For her, it is a job, a part of her that she can use daily. What is the difference?”

The interviewer paused and regrouped. “Your talent is dangerous.”

“Really? What is it?”

Ainora waited while the woman flipped through the files.

She sat quietly and waited.

Finally, the woman sat up. “It doesn’t say. What is your talent?”

A tech from Resicor meets a bodyguard with sedating spikes. When she wakes up, she is on her way to the Citadel.    

Ainora has been spotted by the government of Resicor and identified as an active talent. Her ability to identify the repairs needed for any situation makes her a valuable tool and turns her into a slave for the government.
Her family makes arrangements to get her off world, and when the rescue comes, he simply knocks her out and carries her away.
Lyon has worked as a bodyguard for years but never has he run across a woman who not only recovers from the toxin on his spikes with incredible speed, but also manages to dodge his next volley with surprising instincts.
Price: $3.99
Eyes in the Sky

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #31
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A woman with vision finds a man who can help her reach heights she never imagined. Riasa has been working with...

Riasa dismantled her equipment, put on her protective lenses and left the small hole with the broadcast equipment in its hidden burrow. With a few forks of hay, she covered it up completely.

Humming, she headed out of the barn and continued her chores. She worked the façade on each and every day. The drones flew overhead, seeking her signal. She glanced at them for the appropriate amount of time and returned to her work.

After two more hours outside, she returned to the farmhouse and smiled at her mother. “So, I guess tonight’s the night. I wish I could warn them that it was the last broadcast, but that isn’t going to be possible.”

“Ri, the drones have already narrowed your broadcasts down to our prefecture. You need to go before they capture you.” Her mother shook her head. “We will miss you, but it will be a relief that you are safe and thriving.”

Riasa nodded and washed her hands before helping her mother with dinner. Lobelia Zorgard was a stubborn woman, and if Riasa didn’t go outside of her free will, she would be staked out like a sacrificial lamb if it would get her off Resicor.

Peeling the tubers was therapeutic. Her mind went blank while she was scraping away.

“When are they coming?”

“During the eclipse. Be ready and be prepared to be stunned or zapped in case the drones are watching.”

“Yes, Mom.”

An hour later, her father came in and the meal was served. They ate together as a family and watched the two celestial objects get closer and closer.

Riasa removed her lenses and looked at the sky. “It is time for me to go and check on the goats.”

She hugged each of her parents in turn and headed outside in the dark with a light and her lenses down. She heard a soft beat above her, and in seconds, she was swept into the sky and over the fields at a low altitude. She dropped her light and held tight as he swept her toward a stone edifice that had a ship clinging to the bottom side of an outcropping. He tucked his wings and they skidded inside.

She got to her feet and looked down at him, all bright lines and wide wings. Wings. He really had wings.

A woman with vision finds a man who can help her reach heights she never imagined.
Riasa has been working with the resistance to warn talents of the scanning bots flying overhead on schedules. The warning of eyes in the sky saved lives and families.
Rescued before she could be caught, Riasa begins life at Citadel Teklan, but she knows something is very wrong. Confronting her suspicions, she calls in help and destroys the only home she has been offered before getting assigned to a flyer with wings of stone.
Natu was disgruntled to be picking up a farmer’s daughter on Resicor, but once he met Riasa and saw her talent in action, he had to admit that he had been in the right place at the right time.
Price: $3.99
Core Charge

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #32
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A woman with electric skills is rescued from torture by a man who stops time.     Gwiette is haul...

Tears were not doing her any good. Gwiette Lonkastil was pinned to the wall by manacles, and the sporadic pull drew her excess charge from her body and sent it into the power plant.

They had come for her two days before her appointment at the investigation centre. Gwiette jerked as the power surged out of her again. Two days would have gotten her to safety, and the resistance had promised to have a substitute in place to take her interview for her, leaving her family free and clear.

That wasn’t what had happened. They had come for her in the night, rousted her family out of bed and hauled her into the street in her nightgown, their hands covered with rubber gloves. Her younger sister had stared at her in shock as she was pulled to her feet and forced to stumble barefoot down the road into the collection transport. The eeriest part was that not one of those who entered her home said a thing.

She stiffened against the surge of power leaving her body again. This was going to be a short future. Her body wouldn’t last long at this rate.

 

* * * *

 

Lafeil Lonkastil entered the teashop and looked for the woman with the blue hair. She smiled nervously and ordered. “A Lemial Spice tea, please.”

The woman with blue hair nodded. “I will have to bring it out to you. Take this number to booth six and wait. I will deliver your tea in five minutes.”

Lafeil nodded and took the order number, placing it carefully on the edge of booth six’s table. Now, she had to wait to be contacted by the resistance.

She waited for the five minutes, looking around at the government agents who entered and left the shop with regularity.

When the woman brought the tea, she sat across from Lafeil. “What can I do for you?”

“My sister was scheduled for an interview tomorrow. They took her last evening. I don’t know where she is or how to get in touch with her.”

The clerk blinked and her features got a little blurry for a moment. “What do you mean, they took her?”

“They came to our house, hauled us out into the street and took her away in her nightgown.” She looked around and was surprised that there was no guard coming to sweep her away.

“Don’t worry. Our booths are lined to avoid psychic residue spill over. As long as you keep your voice conversational, you are fine.” The woman asked, “Did they say where they were taking her?”

Lafeil shook her head. “They didn’t say anything; they just took her. I don’t know what to do or who to tell.”

“Thank you for passing along this information. It will be acted on.” The server nodded and gave her a short smile, returning to the counter without another word.

Lafeil blinked at the woman and quietly got out of the booth, leaving the teahouse without looking back. She needed to find some help for her sister, and if the resistance wouldn’t do it, she would.

A woman with electric skills is rescued from torture by a man who stops time.    
Gwiette is hauled out of her home in the middle of the night and taken off world, turning her into a power supply for a lab or something else she could not see. Her power is painfully stripped from her until a man with shadows in his eyes comes in to rescue her.
Nyral has lived more than his share of time, but he knows that Gwiette is part of his timeline the moment he sees her. Her rescue is his job, but watching over her recovery is his pleasure. He will be in her life and she in his. His instincts are never wrong.
Price: $3.99
Hyde and Seek

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #33
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A woman who can copy any form is rescued from her own people by a walking shadow. Working in the Resistance,...

Amly Hyde walked to her day job at the Coroway Tea Shop. When she passed the first agent on the street, she didn’t flinch. She kept her mind pleasantly blank with her duties for when she got behind the counter rippling through her thoughts.

She felt the agent follow her and her heart sank. They were on to her. Today was the day. She had hoped she would have had more time.

There was nowhere for her to escape between her current location and work. They had planned it carefully. She was going to have to use her final option. This was going to happen at the shop.

Amly walked into the shop with four more agents trailing her. “Morning, Herial.”

“Morning, Amly. Have you seen all the agents around? There must be a talent in the vicinity.” Herial was serving the early-morning customers, and they were all craning their necks around to see what or whom the agents were after.

Amly went behind the counter and put on her apron after stowing her purse. She put cash in her bra and went to work. The agents wouldn’t close in on her until there was less of a crowd. She had an hour before she had to make her move.

She went about her daily task keeping the visible tier of her mind on her job. Amly smiled at the customers and poured tea and caf while she handed out pastries over and over.

It was a morning routine that her customers depended on and she needed to keep up her subterfuge. Nine years ago, her cousin had been taken to the domed city. Two years later, they got news of her death. Suicide. She hadn’t been able to live in the confinement of the bio-suit and in the environment of frustrated and depressed talents. Nola was gone now, but Amly tried as hard as she could to get others out of the path of the agents and into the relative freedom of new names in new communities or the wilds of Resicor.

Now, Amly was the one hunted, but she had planned for this. It wasn’t a great plan, but it would get her out and away from the agents. After that, running was going to be her life until she could connect with the Resistance. She was either going to get off Resicor or die trying, there was no other choice. Her talent could quickly be skewed for evil and she didn’t want it falling into the hands of those who would cull the population to suit their own ends.

After the morning rush eased, she looked to Herial. “It seems that whatever they are looking for is still in the area.”

He nodded. “I think you need to head to the back and check the inventory.” He reached out and grabbed her wrist. In all the years she worked with him, he had never touched her.

She recorded his genetic coding and looked at him with wide eyes. “The inventory?”

“The inventory. You need to check the inventory.” His eyes were blank.

Amly walked into the storeroom and closed the door. Hands grabbed her, and to her surprise, she fell through the floor.

 

A woman who can copy any form is rescued from her own people by a walking shadow.

Working in the Resistance, Amly Hyde has specialised in hiding other talents from notice. Now, she has been spotted, and she is hiding in plain sight until she just can’t hide anymore.
Rescued from a capture event, Amly is swept off her feet and through the floor, leaving Resicor in a way she had never really considered. Alive with her feet on the deck plates had never seemed like an option. She is destined for the Citadel and her companion is going to make sure she arrives safe and sound.
Walking Shadow has known his match was on Resicor, and the moment he saw her, he was sure that she was the one. The blue hair was a giveaway, but her strong-minded fixation on survival was a bit of a turn-on. He has time to convince her they are meant to be together but patience has never been one of his virtues.
Price: $3.99
Mind Strike

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #34
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level: