Dynasty of Dovak

BY : JohnDoe
Category: +A through F > Exalted RPG
Dragon prints: 2114
Disclaimer: White Wolf, Exalted and Exalted 3rd Edition are all trademarks of White Wolf Publishing AB, and official characters, names, places and text are copyrighted by White Wolf. I do not own Exalted and I'm not making money from this fiction.

  

Session 36 – Reya (90XP 72DX, 75/59 spent; 3SP) – Graduation *Smut x3*

 

Realm Year 742, The Heptagram

 

By weeks end, Reya’s treatise on the Zarlath Collapse is complete. Lessons on the Zarlath Collapse is well received by the Heptagram faulty and a copy is sent to the House of Bells. Reya starts work on her next project, under Ganan’s supervision. The first year “sacrifices” working through their “Ten Thousand Labors” see them as a permanent fixture of the library: a terrifying obstacle to be avoided.

 

“I had some thoughts for my dissertation.” Reya says, not looking up from a book on geomantic principles.

 

Ganan makes an affirmative noise in his throat to signal his interest.

 

“A comparative study of child-rearing techniques in the Shogunate and among contemporary societies.”

 

“Meaty subject,” Ganan says, then considers for a moment, “You’re not...”

 

“No, I’m not.” Reya says firmly, “You don’t have any thoughts though. For the future?”

 

Ganan shrugs and turns to face Reya, “I guess I’ve just always assumed...” He shrugs again noncommittally.

 

Reya shakes her head.

 

*Smut*

 

“I have some thoughts for the here-and-now.” Ganan says, advancing on Reya.

 

“Don’t you dare!” Reya protests, playfully as Ganan lifts her up. She wraps her legs around his waist and they kiss passionately. Reya feels her heart hammer in her chest, she takes Ganan’s face in her hands, “What if someone sees?”

 

Ganan braces her weight in one hand, running the other under her clothes, “They might learn something. It’s a school after all.” He looks at her in adoration, feeling the heat of their bodies start to build, and his own anticipation start to swell.

 

“I love you.” Reya says, not letting Ganan go. She holds her breath. Casual sex with a beautiful teacher is one thing, almost to be expected, love is another matter for a Dragon. Love is a complication. An obstacle in the way of a proper marriage.

 

Ganan pauses only long enough to grin manically, “I love you too.” He confesses, and they kiss again.

 

Reya fumbles with their clothes, pushing cloth aside. She feels Ganan’s hardness and works it free from his pants. Awkwardly she guides it inside of her. Aroused, but not quite aroused enough, she bears her weight down on Ganan. “Slowly.” She cautions.

 

Ganan braces Reya’s weight and turns, resting her between his body and a bookshelf. Elated Ganan tries to buck into Reya, but is unable to get any leverage.

 

Agonizingly slowly, Reya eases herself down on Ganan. She feels herself getting wetter and wetter as she rocks her body up-and-down. With a powerful restraint befitting a Prince of the Earth, Reya holds Ganan’s eyes as they make love, knowing at any minute he could throw her down to the ground… but that he won’t as long as she keeps him in check with her gaze.

 

Reya takes hold of Ganan’s face again, holding him still to tell him something. It’s not a thing communicated with words. The feeling passes between them like lightning as she grinds against him.

 

Ganan works his hands under Reya, groping at her rear. He supports her and guides her movements, squeezing sensually and teasing her brown hole with his fingertips as he grasps her buttocks.

 

Climax building, they kiss again, coming together in a great eruption of passion.

 

****

 

The school year passes with a dozen minor dramas and little adventures. Danireya and Ganan spend their days in study and nights in bed together. Danireya’s study goes well and her work is praised.

 

Notably she gains extra praise and gratitude for the maintenance she performs on the Heptagram’s supply of conventional weapons: sharpening swords and repairing axes (3SP).

 

Reya’s dissertation however…

 

****

 

*Smut*

 

The morning of Reya’s graduation begins with a strange sensation. She flutters awake, disorientated for a moment. Sunlight pours through her window, the gentle light of dawn. She turns her head to see her bed: asleep in Ganan’s bed again. She half-remembers a pleasant dream… She feels something…

 

“Ahhh!” She half-sighs, half-hisses as Ganan’s tongue brings her to orgasm, shaking her awake.

 

She brushes back the covers to find her lover licking her awake.

 

“What are you doing?” She gasps out as Ganan continues to lick, driving her through her orgasm and towards another peak.

 

He drives two wet fingers between her folds, drawing out a second orgasm almost instantly. With broad strokes of his tongue, Ganan sees Reya through her second orgasm before speaking, “It’s a big day, I wanted to start you off right.”


Reya reaches for him, and Ganan climbs up over her body. He seems a little disappointed to stop licking. Reya bends her knees and Ganan settles in on top of her. She stretches her arms above her head. With deceptive speed, Ganan reaches out, pinning her arms at the wrists. Reya’s eyes widen, and Ganan lines up to enter her.

 

“Oh! Master!” She breathes seductively.

 

Ganan grins and pushes his way inside. Methodically. Tortuously slowly. Just as Reya had rode him at the beginning of her dissertation that day in the library.

 

Reya bucks her hips, grinding her pelvis against him, shuddering with every mote of pleasure drawn out between their bodies.

 

Ganan’s hand on Reya’s wrists keep her pinned to the bed, preventing her getting the leverage she needs, as he drives into her, slow and deep.

 

Reya can smell herself on Ganan’s face: she purses her lips, parting them slightly, invitingly.

 

Ganan obliges, leaning in to kiss her. He rests his weight against her, as he fondles her breasts.

 

They kiss passionately, Reya tasting her juices on Ganan’s face. “If you fuck me fast now, I’ll cum really hard.” Reya whispers desperately in Ganan’s ear.

 

Ganan slams into Reya’s wetness, hard and fast. In a handful of thrusts, Reya peaks again, cuming hard on Ganan’s cock.

 

“Thank you master!” Reya moans out between shock-waves.


Ganan slaps at her breasts, the sting mixing pleasure and pain and drawing out more moans.

 

Reya twists her arms in Ganan’s grip, feeling the friction of his hand against her skin, and his weight pinning her down. Escape is futile, but resistance is a necessary part of the game. She catches Ganan’s eye, “Choke me.”

 

Ganan puts a hand on her neck. He knows there’s no safe way to choke someone, that this is how accidents happen. In this moment he doesn’t care. He pushes down. As Reya struggles for breath she climaxes a forth time, harder by far than before.

 

Reya’s ecstasy is too much for Ganan, as Reya’s orgasm subsides Ganan floods her with his cum. He releases her, and kisses her tenderly as she grinds out the last spurts of his twitching cock, rocking her pelvis deep against him.


“Next time you go down on me, make sure I’m awake.” Reya admonishes as she catches her breath.

 

“I just wanted to make you feel good.” Ganan explains, unapologetically.

 

Reya pushes herself up to a sitting position, “Gan, what do you think of my work?” She looks at him, scrutinizing his reaction.

 

Ganan doesn’t sit, he tilts his head to look up at her, “It’s brilliant. Bold. I’ve recommended you pass with highest honors.”

 

“But?”

 

Ganan shrugs, an awkward gesture lying down, “It’s not my decision to make. It sits with the Dominie.” He pats her thigh, “Speaking of, you should get ready.”

 

****

 

Ragara Bhagwei sits in his study. Reya’s eyes pass over a female instructor sitting in the corner of the study. She can’t seem to focus on her, so she locks her head straight forward to look at the Dominie whilst watching her from the corner of her eye. The instructor is… nondescript, in every way.

 

Bhagwei places a hand on Reya’s work, and begins to speak, “You work in your eight years here has been exemplary. You excelled in your set curriculum, and furthermore when given the chance to direct your own study you have produced exemplary work befitting a full faculty member. This… paper, is clearly the work of a gifted mind. Gifted, but sadly troubled. Did you write this?”

 

“I did.” Reya confirms.

 

“And you stand by it?”

 

“I do.” Reya affirms, “Every statement I make is referenced and sourced. I am not presenting an opinion. I am presenting facts.” Her voice is calm and level.

 

“Summon your instructor.” Bhagwei gives a wave.


Reya gives a short bow, turns and opens the study door, Cynis Ganan is waiting outside. “Master Ganan, the Dominie would see you.”

 

Ganan enters the room.

 

“Master Ganan, you have read this work?”

 

“I have.” Ganan says, his trademark taciturn response seemingly echoing his student’s.

 

“And your thoughts?”
 

Ganan clears his throat, “Though the conclusions drawn are unorthodox, it is superbly researched. An academic masterwork. I have graded it, and believe Mnemon Alinos Danireya should graduate with our highest accolades, such as they are.”

 

“Thank you.” Bhagwei gestures for Ganan to stand silently in the corner. Reya notices that Ganan does not make any sign of noticing the female instructor.

 

“What say you Dominie?” Reya asks boldly, “Is my work not to your satisfaction?”

 

“Your work,” Bhagwei says carefully, “Claims that our entire way of raising children is unhealthy and destructive. And that we would be better off abandoning our customs to embrace those of barbarians.” If he is flustered by this, Bhagwei gives no outward sign as he states the simple facts.

 

Reya smiles, “Yes. It does. Does it fall short of the academic rigor demanded by the Heptagram?”

 

“If made public, it would be seen as a seditious text. Undermining our entire social fabric.” Again, no hint of any emotion: merely simple fact.

 

“Am I wrong, Dominie?”

 

“Do you not see why I would be motivated to suppress your work? Regardless of whether you are right, or wrong.”

 

“With respect, Dominie, I’m not Master Ganan. I fully understand the implications of my work and the position this puts you in. I suspected that there was a better way of raising the next generation of Dragon-Blooded. I researched it. There is. We can take a risk for a better future, or you can suppress what you know to be right for the safety of what you know.”

 

The female instructor recoils as if physically slapped by Reya’s words. Reya notes the reaction but doesn’t take her eyes of Bhagwei.

 

“How many copies of this work exist?” Bhagwei asks with a clinical curiosity, clearly weighing the options put before him.

 

“Two.” Reya answers, “The one under your hand, and the one in my mind.”

 

“And how many have read your work?”

 

“Master Ganan. And I presume yourselves.”

 

Bhagwei nods solemnly, “Then I shall burn this paper. You shall pledge not to create another copy, nor disseminate your findings, and you may graduate from the Heptagram with our highest honors. As befitting your eight years of study here.”

 

“And if I refuse?”

 

Bhagwei looks at her long and hard, “I would prefer that you didn’t.” He pauses, “You’re not wrong. And if you wish to apply your theories to your own life, I cannot stop you. If you could introduce your ideas to the Dynasty, it may well make us stronger. Have you learned any lessons on what happened to the strong Gens of the Shogunate?”

 

Reya has. The history of strong Gens is littered with internecine warfare. “You’re saying you want to deliberately keep the Dynasty weak?”

 

Bhagwei smiles, “The Dynasty is strong. We are the strongest power in Creation. But just as one does not let one’s garden become overgrown, so too must the Empress winnow her descendants.”

 

Reya’s lip curls, and she says nothing considering her options. Finally she speaks, “There may come a day, Dominie, when we wish we had not pruned our capabilities so savagely.”

 

“That would be a dark day, indeed, Mistress Danireya.” Bhagwei agrees, raising the dissertation and setting it aflame. “Perhaps you would consider a teaching position at the Heptagram?”

 

“I intend on returning to my family’s holdings in Halcyon, then taking a tour of the Threshold. But your offer is most gracious.” Reya bows.

 

Bhagwei nods, “Then your graduation is complete. You are welcome to join the Seventh Years in their ceremony, but I would not take it as a slight should you wish to return to Halcyon immediately.” He motions to the door and returns to his papers.

 

Reya bows, once to Bhagwei, then to the instructor in the corner of the room and leaves the study, Ganan following behind her.

 

Once they are clear of the study Ganan speaks, “Congratulations. Graduating with honors. We have a couple of days until the ceremonies, that we can spend-”


Reya cuts him off, “I’m leaving for Halcyon.”

 

“It’s beautiful there. I’ll start packing.”

 

I am leaving for Halcyon.” Reya stresses, anger creeping into her voice, “On my own.”

 

Ganan’s brow furrows, “I don’t understand why you’re upset. I passed you with honors, the Dominie confirmed it. And he offered you a job.”

 

“Who was that woman?” Reya asks.

 

“You could see her!” Ganan exclaims, he looks for a mystic barrier which he speaks the command word for and pulls Reya behind, resealing it, “She didn’t like what you said about taking a risk for a better future. I think that’s what swayed Bhagwei.”

 

“Is that why you refused to defend my work!” Reya accuses.

 

“I called it a ‘masterwork’.” Ganan protests.

 

“You didn’t stop Bhagwei burning it.”

 

“He didn’t stop you using it.” Ganan shoots back, “He could have.”

 

“Who was she?” Reya asks, changing tack again.

 

“I- I can’t say.” Ganan says.

 

“Because of sorcery.” Reya squints at Ganan, scrutinizing him, “You can’t say because of magic binds your tongue, doesn’t it?”

 

“No,” Ganan protests, “Well yes, I can’t. Not to someone from outside the school. You can’t either. We can talk to each other. But I’m not allowed to.”

 

“She wasn’t a Dragon-Blooded.” Reya presses, “And not a spirit.”

 

“We have lots of mortal instructors. And Exigents.” Ganan looks around the mystically sealed room making sure they are alone.

 

“She’s a Sidereal.” Reya deduces, and on seeing the look of abject horror on Ganan’s face, “She is a Sidereal. They do exist! You said they were a myth!”

 

Ganan flusters, unable to say anything.

 

A woman’s voice answers, “Technically, I believe Master Ganan told you we are the subject of myths. Which is true, of course.”

 

Reya studies her, having appeared seemingly from nowhere. Normal dress, normal height, normal weight, normal skin color, normal hair color. What color even is normal? This color. Reya shakes her head, unable to keep a fixed image of the woman in her mind’s eye.

 

“What are you?”

“Just as the Terrestrial Exalted are the Chosen of Creation, we are the Chosen of Heaven. We guard the flow of fate and guide the destinies of those below.”

 

“You’re puppet masters.”

 

“We are Viziers.”

 

“You are Anathema!”

 

“No,” The woman says sternly, “We are the shield against the Anathema. We guide the Wyld Hunts. We fight alongside you, in secret. I myself have fought against both Solar and Lunar Anathema. The Anathema pervert the course of fate and bring ruin to Creation.”

 

Reya snorts, “And the Realm doesn’t?”

 

The Sidereal smiles, “The will and the Essence of the Dragon-Blooded also pervert the course of fate. The Scarlet Realm was not of our design nor the intent of Fate. But neither was the Great Contagion. The designs of Fate were rent, your kind saved Creation. For that we are grateful. But it is an… imperfect solution.”

 

“And you wouldn’t want us getting too strong.”

 

She snorts, “We kept the Shogunate as strong as we could. If you see weakness in the Realm, blame your Empress not us. I actually wanted Bhagwei to publish your work. Well, initially.”

 

“So what do you want from me?” Reya asks, collapsing her arms to her sides.

 

The Sidereal considers, “A select few Heptagram graduates suspect that there’s more to some of the Heptagram’s instructors than meets the eye. Of these, the most elite might connect that to the word ‘Sidereal’. We don’t make a habit of this.”

“And you want me to keep your secret?”

 

“I do.”

 

Reya shakes her head in disbelief and gestures towards Ganan, “You don’t trust your magic to hold my tongue.”

 

The Sidereal shrugs, “It hasn’t failed since before the Realm’s inception. But I’d rather not motivate you to be the first. We are on the same side. We both want what’s best for Creation. We both oppose the Anathema. We both want to expand the knowledge of the Realm. For this, you must be openly adored as a Prince of the Earth on the face of Creation, and I must work in secret from Heaven.” She bows, “I ask you allow me to continue my work.”

 

Reya scoffs, “Are you being serious?”

 

The Sidereal doesn’t rise from her bow, “I said I was a Vizier, not a Satrap. I only wish to ensure things are as they should be.”

 

“Then rise and go in peace Vizier. I see no reason to keep you from your work.”

 

The Sidereal rises and walks through the mystic barrier warding the room as if it didn’t exist. Reya dismisses the barrier and follows after, but she’s already gone. Ganan follows and raises it again.

 

“I’ll write to you in Halcyon.” Ganan offers.

 

“Don’t bother,” Reya snaps, “You didn’t defend my work. You kept… this from me. We’re over, Cynis Ganan. If I never see you again it’ll be too soon.”

 

“Danireya!” Ganan implores, but she simply walks away.

 

****

 

Later that year, The Alinos Estate, Halcyon Prefecture

 

Mnemon Alinos sits severely upright upon of chair of solid marble at a matching table. She gestures for Danireya to sit opposite her. A single velvet pillow of purple and white has been placed for Reya’s “comfort”.

 

Danireya sits, “Mother.”

 

Alinos tents her fingers and purses her lips before speaking with a deliberate slowness, “Of all my children, you were the first to follow in my footsteps and the footsteps of my mother before me. You attended the finest school of magic in existence, and the House even funded an additional year of study. But since you have been home, you have done nothing but seethe and mope.”

 

Danireya’s eyes narrow, “I have not been ‘moping’.”

 

“Regardless,” Alinos continues, “You have a duty to the house. Mnemon is expected to visit, and when she asks of you I should very much like to tell her that you are either in gainful employment or betrothed.”

 

“I’m not getting married at 22!” Reya protests.

 

“Oh!” Alinos says with mock surprise, “You didn’t find anyone at the Heptagram you wanted to settle down with for the rest of your life? Then I suggest finding a job.”

 

Reya drums her fingers on the fine marble table, “I was hoping to take a Tour. See the South. Prasad. Fraxi, maybe. Paragon. Finish in Jiara.”

 

Alinos’s eyes narrow with suspicion, “For what purpose?”

 

“To see the Realm!” Reya exclaims, “Like everyone else! To understand the world we rule, have adventures, apply what I’ve learned.”

 

Alinos gently lays her hands on the table in front of her, “It sounds frivolous.”

 

“It’s no more frivolous than that absurd gala you threw on my first night home!”

 

“That ‘absurd gala’,” Alinos explains patiently, “Was because you refused to return home last year. It is a necessary ceremony to mark you as an adult and to begin negotiations for marriage.”

 

“I. Am. Not. Getting. Married. At. Twenty. Two. Mother!” Reya bangs on the table to punctuate every word.

 

“This sort of behavior will not stand when your Grand Daimother visits.” Alinos warns, her voice level.

 

“All the more reason to send me off to the Threshold before she gets here!” Reya pouts.

 

Alinos sighs, “Firstly, the Caul is out of the question. And you’ll not be visiting that corrupt empire of heretics, so put Prasad out of mind. Start in Jiara, maybe; Kirighast; Kriss, perhaps; Chiaroscuro; Paragon; finish in the Lap. I’ll assume you haven’t learned Flametongue. Who will you be traveling with, not that incorrigible Ledaal girl, I hope?”

 

“Ledaal Ludila is still on her Grand Tour in the North, to the best of my knowledge. All of my classmates left school a year ago… I was hoping you and grandmother might help me find suitable traveling companions.”

 

A wizened voice rings out, “That’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard in this conversation.” Mnemon Nanals enters the room with an imperious stride that belies her advanced age, “You’ll start in the Lap and finish in Thorns. Tinis’s daughter, Donta, is your age, she’s just graduated from the Spiral Academy. And Bekara’s daughter, Aronia, has finished at the Cloister. A coach is booked, your niece and cousin are waiting for you.” She pushes a purse into her granddaughter’s hands.

 

“What’s this?” Danireya asks.

 

“Coin. The Mnemon name will only take you so far in the Threshold. Donta and Aronia should have sufficient retainers between them to accommodate you. Do keep an eye on Aronia, passions do tend to overflow.”

 

“Yes Daimother. Mother?”

 

Alinos shows no signs of being perturbed by her mother’s interference, “Yes, I do believe you’d be a good influence on those two.” Alinos sighs, “I presume this is one of those occasions where we make travel arrangement like civilized people, confounded by the fact that your bags are already packed and you are to leave as soon as I dismiss you?”

 

Danireya looks to Nanals, who nods.

 

“Thank you Mother! Daimother!” Danireya rises, and bows to her mother, grandmother and her mother again before running out of the room.

 

“Girls will be girls.” She hears Nanals admonish.

 

****

 

“Isn’t she ancient or something?”

 

“She’s our age.”

 

“She’s my aunt?”

 

“I’m basically your aunt.”

 

“Your my cousin!”

 

“Once removed. Which basically means ‘aunt’. Danireya is my cousin. She’s, like, a year older than us.”

 

“And a sorcerer!”

 

“Your Daimother is a sorcerer.”

 

“Yes, and she’s creepy. Super creepy. Not like your mother: Bekara should be matriarch.”

 

“You’ve never had to live with her!”

 

Danireya sees this as the perfect opportunity to interrupt her squabbling relatives, “You’ve never had to live with Alinos.” She casts a look at Donta, “Super creepy.” She agrees and cracks a smile.

 

Mnemon Alinos Donta bows, “Auntie, forgive me, I didn’t recognize you. Obviously.”

 

Danireya has her hair tied back in a coiled rope braid. She wears simple earthen colored traveling clothes made from bamboo linen. A large axe is slung on her back, emblazoned with the mons of House Mnemon. On her wrists is a pair of silver bracers, polished to a mirror shine. Under her clothes is a metal breastplate.

 

Donta and Aronia both have their hair in Nine Pheasant Crowns and wear fashionable silk Yuanlingshan, dyed gray (the color of iron), and emblazoned with the Mnemon mons across the chest. Aronia’s fiery red hair, cropped short, is barely long enough to suit the crown, and Danireya notices her idly thumbing the fine silk. Aronia looks a lot like Mnemon, though ironically she looks slightly older than their ancient matriarch. Donta looks a lot like her father, Reya’s oldest brother, Tinis. Like her father and grandfather, Donta has the prominent Aspect markings of an Earth Aspect.

 

Reya realizes how drastically out of touch she is with Realm fashions, having packed for comfort and battle.

 

“Please don’t be so formal,” Reya squirms, obviously embarrassed, “‘Reya’ is fine.” She gives a small nod of greeting, “I can’t tell you how grateful I am to both of you for getting me out of Halcyon. Mother is worse than Mnemon.”

 

Mnemon Alinos Aronia gives a nod towards the waiting yacht, “This is us, cousin.” She clangs a fist against Reya’s armored torso, “I’ve got a gift for you on-board that I think you’ll like. Welcome to the Hot Shots.”

 

“The Hot Shots?” Danireya raises an eyebrow. She pauses for a moment then smiles, “Cool name.”

 

Donta chimes back in beaming, “I know right.” She rubs the end of her nose with a finger, “Don’t be weird about this, but father says we should Swear. Just for the duration of the Tour. In case we get separated or whatever. Whatever. It’s not even a thing. Shut up.”

 

Reya nods, “I’m in. Arrow?”

 

“So now we’re just giving out nicknames?” Aronia beams, “We’re basically Sworn already, Dō.”

 

Donta quips, “‘Dō’ is fine with me Arrow. Anything but ‘Onty’.”

 

The three swear on the dock, then enter the ship as a Sworn Kinship, ready to face Creation together.

 

“Metal armor on a ship crossing the sea, Reya? Bad idea. Metal armor next to your skin in the South? Terrible idea. Fortunately, I’ve got us all matching shirts. Check this out.” Aronia leads them to her cabin where two chain shirts made of hardened links of Ironwood are laid out for Donta and Danireya.

 

“It’s Ironwood.” Aronia explains, “Doesn’t rust. Floats. Won’t burn your skin in the Southern sun. Just as strong as Realm-forged steel. My gift to you sisters.”

 

Reya runs the fine links between her fingers, “I’ll cherish it always.”

 

Reya takes her leave of her Sworn Kin and retires to her cabin. Like Aronia’s the cabins aren’t large, the better to ballast the ship, but it is richly furnished. Delicate, intricate tapestries, line the walls and rich furs cushion the floors. Danireya makes a mental note about keeping her anima in check, then realizes that traveling on a wooden sail boat, that this is precisely why the rooms are so well furnished.

 

Aronia and Donta’s servants load her things as she changes into her new armor. She feels the ship set sail and feels the elation of a new adventure ahead of her: it’s the same feeling she had on setting out for the Isle of Voices all those years ago. The excitement and anticipation is short-lived, however, as screams from the cabin next door shake her from her reverie.

 

*Smut*

 

Scooping up her battle axe, Danireya tears from her room and batters in the door to the adjacent cabin. Donta lies spread-eagled on the bed with a mortal servant girl working her tongue diligently between her legs. Even though Donta is making noises like she’s being killed, in context it’s clear that she’s just enjoying herself.

 

The servant is a petite, dark haired Wán girl. Her wrists are bound behind her back with hemp rope, and Reya notes faded whip lines across the girl’s back. From the sounds her niece is making, the girl is quite skilled with her tongue.

 

Despite standing in the doorway, battle-axe drawn, Donta doesn’t seem to have noticed her. Danireya quietly closes the door on her and backs out from the room, as Donta gives another howling screech of pleasure.

 

Aronia is waiting in the hallway for her. “And that’s why your cabin is next to hers. I need my sleep. We’re not five minutes out of port.”

 

Danireya chuckles, “And Nanals said that you were the one I’d have to keep from getting carried away!”

 

Aronia shrugs, “The Order taught me many things. It’s not the life for me, and I plan to take full advantage of my status as a Dynast. Liling is quite good.” Donta gives another powerful scream through the door, which causes Aronia to wince, “I mean she’s not that good, but you should try her.”


Danireya demurs, “I don’t know. My niece’s lover? I might wait until we reach land and try my prospects with the Threshold girls.”

 

Aronia motions for Danireya to follow her back to her room. One of Aronia’s mortal attendants is preparing tea, “Serve my cousin.” Aronia commands off-handedly. The mortal serving girl presents Danireya with a cup of sweet smelling tea.

 

Danireya, not a huge tea drinker, takes a sip to be polite. It’s Maiden Tea, that much is immediately obvious on the first sip, but its flavor is unlike any Reya has tasted: this is clearly a refined vintage, of the like used by House Matriarchs and the wealthiest of Guild Factors.

 

“Daimother gave it to me.” Aronia explains, “I think she was worried I’d get carried away, running loose on the Threshold.” She makes a pregnant motion over her belly. “There’s more than enough for the three of us, and if you add in the stuff I brought, we could cover half the servants as well.”

 

Danireya, who has always had a high degree of control over her reproductive functions since Exalting, looks at her cousin puzzled for a moment before the penny drops. “Oh. So we can have sex with men?”


Aronia giggles, “You don’t like men?!” She asks incredulously. “Your poor husband-to-be!”

 

Danireya flusters, frustrated, “I’m too young to get married!”


 

Aronia scoffs, “What do you think Daimother and Grand Daimother are doing back in Halcyon? They just want us out of the way so they can set us up with good matches without interference. But, you really only like girls? I mean Donta prefers girls but even she took her share of the tea, just in case.”


 

“I don’t just like other women.” Danireya corrects, “It’s just that men piss me off. And I want to have fun.”

 

“Men are dumb.” Aronia agrees, forcing a box of the tea on Reya, “Take the tea.”


Reya politely takes the tea with a small nod.

 

  



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