Give this loaded Star Wars podcast episode a listen to hear recent developments in the galaxy, specifically on the Ahsoka series! Also, Caleb shares his personal review of the first two episodes of Season 2 of The Bad Batch, and the Mando Rewatch continues with Season 2 Chapter 9 titled "The Marshal." YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/@mandotalk TWITTER: https://twitter.com/mandotalk DISCORD: https://discord.gg/vs2XNxTC5s --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mandotalk/message
Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars "Charmed and Dangerous" Written by Katie Wood Starring Marc Evan Jackson as Sparks Nevada; Mark Gagliardi as Croach the Tracker; Joshua Malina as the Barkeep; Annie Savage as the Saloon Doors; Craig Cackowski as Felton; Autumn Reeser as Hartch; John Ross Bowie as Winsome Wilder; Janet Varney as Sue Perdue; and Hal Lublin as Folksy Hal. Produced by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker Music by Jordan "The Brass" Katz, Jonathan Dinerstein, Becky Ward, John Flaugher, and Ben Jaffe Sound effects by Cayenne Chris Conroy Podcast recorded by Broderick Hill Podcast produced by Jordan Katz Video of this episode can be viewed via our Patreon, where you can also find the entire back catalog of The Thrilling Adventure Hour plus Bonus Content, Complete Libraries of Classic Segments, and more: https://www.patreon.com/thrillingadventurehour Follow The Thrilling Adventure Hour: https://twitter.com/ThrillingAdv https://www.facebook.com/ThrillingAdventureHour The Thrilling Adventure Hour Treasury is a Forever Dog podcast https://foreverdogpodcasts.com/podcasts/the-thrilling-adventure-hour Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Join us for a retrospective on our favorite books of the year, with the 'From Balloons to Drones' editor-in-chief, Dr Ross Mahoney! Each of us discusses our top three reads of 2022, and we take a look forward at some topics we'd really like to hear more about in the future. The books: 'Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation, 1950-1966' by Mark Lax 'Air Power in the Falklands Conflict: An Operational Level Insight into Air Warfare in the South Atlantic' by John Shields 'Air Power Supremo: A Biography of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor' by William Pyke 'Black Snow: Curtis LeMay, the Firebombing of Tokyo, and the Road to the Atomic Bomb' by James Scott 'A Long Voyage to the Moon: The Life of Naval Aviator and Apollo 17 Astronaut Ron Evans' by Geoffrey Bowman 'Dark Horse: General Larry O. Spencer and His Journey from the Horseshoe to the Pentagon' by Gen. Larry O. Spencer, USAF (Ret.) 'Wings of Gold: The Story of the First Women Naval Aviators' by Beverly Weintraub 'Tomcats and Eagles: The Development of the F-14 and F-15 in the Cold War' by Tal Tovy 'Because Our Fathers Lied: A Memoir of Truth and Family, from Vietnam to Today' by Craig McNamara
Duke of Elchingen, Prince of the Moskva, Le Rougeaud, Red Michel. How fitting that Episode 26 features the most inspirational of the 26 Marshals of the Empire! Learn all about Marshal Ney's wild life in this episode. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/generalsandnapoleon/support
Happy Holidays, Listeners! In the spirit of the season, we are reflecting on and celebrating awesome conversations we had this year. We're wrapping up 2022 by re-airing our hysterical conversation with Karin Slaughter, author of Girl, Forgotten. See you in 2023!Prom night is a memorable night for many Americans, but it's also a great setting for a murder. Today we sit down with Karin Slaughter to talk about her newest thriller novel Girl, Forgotten, why she wanted to change her last name to Laughter as a young girl, and how she channels her Southern roots in her writing. Girl, Forgotten follows newly minted U.S. Marshal, Andrea Oliver, as she goes on assignment in Longbill Beach, where she is haunted by a murder that happened nearly 40 years before. What really happened on Prom Night 1982? Why did no one catch the killer? And what happens when Andrea finally uncovers the truth? Get Girl, Forgotten at bookofthemonth.com. New members get their first book for just $9.99 with code VBT at checkout. Learn more about Virtual Book Tour at virtualbooktour.com
Episode 131The Eminem Show! In this episode of The Escape Pod we join our favorite heros Don “DellaSnooch” Sulski, and Brady “Big” Lovin as they spend some time discussing what new in the pop culture news of the time, what is coming down the pike in video games, what is swirling around the rumor mill (the hot sheets), and as always they boys talk Starwars. Eminem has been inducted into the hall of Fame so the guys thought it may be time to talk about Marshal, forget about Dre, eat a bowl of M&M's and Celebrate the Greatness of the Pop Culture Icon. Pour a drink, crush up some Vicodins and some blue and yellow purple pills. It's the Fuckin Eminem Show !!!! The Escape Pod aint no Disney show, We're a little dirty, a few drinks in, ready to get into it, and we Always Do It LiveJoin the Escape Pod Crew at: https://www.patreon.com/ATSWTHEESCAPEPODFollow the boys at:https://www.instagram.com/atsw_theescapepod/?hl=en on Instagram https://www.facebook.com/groups/2127856244190464 on FaceBook, https://twitter.com/ATheescapepod on twitter, https://www.youtube.com/c/atswtheescapepod on youtubeWe are proud members of the RED5 network. www.red5network.com Download the podcast on your favorite podcast apps at https://atswtheescapepod.buzzsprout.comCheck out the other pods in the Starkillers studios family. ATSW: All Things Star Wars PodcastUsed and Abused with Scott and KimTactical Swede - on youTubeBig Swede's Excellent Adventure – on youTube Commercial music from https://www.bensound.com/
View the bulletin for Saturday December 24, 2022 – CHRISTMAS EVE2:00 p.m. - Worship Service7:00 p.m. - Candlelight Worship Service(The 7:00 p.m. service streamed on our YouTube channel)All are welcomeFirst Reading: Genesis 3:8-15, 17-19 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LordGod among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,“Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,'“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”Second Reading: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.Third Reading: Micah 5:1-5 Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod.“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses. We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders,Fourth Reading: Luke 1:26-35, 38 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid,Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.Fifth Reading: Luke 2:1-7 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.Sixth Reading: Luke 2:8-16 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.Seventh Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Kevin Brannon and Bubba talk about what's going on in the world of fishing and the Reel Guppy Program. Special Guest Marhsal talks about his time with the Guppy program and what it means to him.
Was Murat the greatest cavalry leader in modern history? Learn all about this storybook Marshal and his exploits in this episode. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/generalsandnapoleon/support
Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace (Micah 5:1-5a) The remnant of Israel is in distress and under siege. Babylon is quite literally on the doorstep. The king is humiliated. So much for the greatness of the people who bear God's name. In our own world, we received news that one of our fellow CRC churches in the area—New Street in Burlington, has voted to close in the new year. They are not the only church in our region who have been asking those questions about the future as of late. The pandemic has only accelerated the decline that brings churches to just this point. It may feel then, and perhaps more and more so in the next few years as we hear word of more church closures, that the remnant of the Church of Jesus Christ is under siege and that the greatness of the people who bear God's name has diminished. But then, it is important to hear once again and remember that it is to just those people that the prophecies of a Messiah come. It is to the last and the least, the ones who are counted out or not counted at all—like the “small” little town of Bethlehem, or the youngest son of Jesse who was assumed not to be worthy of inviting to the meeting with the prophet. These small and insignificant places and people are the ones that God continually seems to be doing some of his most significant work in and with. And in Micah, he promises to do it again. Out some small, insignificant place among the clans of Judah, a significant ruler will come for the whole land. Out of the present weakness of Judah, this ruler will stand and shepherd in the strength of the Lord. Out of their insecurity, security will come. Out of their abandonment, diminishment, and humiliation, the Messiah will gather the people up once again and establish them securely under the greatness of his reign that will reach to the ends of the earth. From a place of siege and the threat of exile ring out the words: “he will be our peace.” So why is it that these words come to a people abandoned and much diminished? Why is it that the Lord uses such small and insignificant places and people to accomplish his work? Perhaps because they are the ones who know they need to be saved—that they can't do it themselves even though they've tried. Perhaps because they are the ones humble enough to see and believe that is the Lord and none other—not even themselves—that establishes the greatness, the security, and the peace of the people. Whatever the reason, the fact that the church in our day is much diminished tells me in my heart that we can't be far from a revival. If things look like Good Friday, it most certainly means that Easter isn't far behind. These are precisely the conditions into which our God speaks his advent hope. Amen. Come Lord Jesus, come.
Is a City Marshal system in our future and what would it look like?After a short hiatus, Rico and Brian are back with a new episode of Prime Lunchtime with The City Manager. There's a lot of new and exciting information about what's happening in the City of Peachtree Corners. Today's topics include; a possible future City Marshal System, The Redevelopment Authority and Downtown Development Authority plans, honorary road names, and much more.
Reset checks in with the actor about his new film Corsicana, a fictionalized retelling of the story of Bass Reeves, a formerly enslaved man who became the first Black deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi.
Massena was also known as the Prince of Essling and the Duke of Rivoli. He was generally considered to be one of Napoleon's most naturally gifted commanders. How did a poor cabin boy rise to these lofty heights? Find out in this episode. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/generalsandnapoleon/support
Too often, passionate skiers have to mourn the discontinuation of our all-time favorite ski designs. So Marshal Olson started Heritage Lab Skis to fix that. In this conversation, we talk with Marshal about all things Heritage Lab, including how it got started; how it's going; their ‘smokin' rocks' warranty policy; order updates; and what's next.TOPICS & TIMES:What is Heritage Lab Skis? (4:34)How did you get it started? (11:25)Shapes & Designs (17:15)Testing & Production (21:48)Who are They For? (26:46)Warranty, Returns, & Smokin' Rocks (28:06)Where are the Skis Built? (30:13)Build Types & Talking about ‘Classic Designs' (32:52)Stated Radius Numbers (37:29)Biggest Surprises So Far? (39:13)What's Next? (40:27)Orders & Current Status (42:05)Where to Learn More (46:07)RELATED LINKS:Blister Recommended Shop: Hickory & TweedExclusive Offer: OpenSnow.com/BlisterNEW: Blister + Spot MembershipBlister Summit 2023 RegistrationGet Your Blister x John Fellows Artist Series ShirtOUR OTHER PODCASTSOff The CouchBlister PodcastBikes & Big Ideas CRAFTEDHappy Hour (for Blister Members) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
This week the DotR squad is ranking The Mandalorian Chapter 9: The Marshal. It's a great episode to kick off our evaluation of Season 2. There's so much great lore, the technical aspects shine, and the krayt dragon is a wonderful beast. Oh, and we rank how hot Star Wars actors are. Tune in for the goodies!To stay up-to-date on all things Duel of the Ranks, be sure to check out our links below!Website: www.dueloftheranks.comInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/dueloftheranks/Twitter: https://twitter.com/DueloftheRanksTikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@du
Marshal Iwaasa disappeared 3 years ago and his truck was found burnt up 700 miles away without him in it. The story just gets weirder and weirder. Submit your stories: email@example.com Visit betterhelp.com/redditexplains to talk to a professional about stress, grief, and other mental health needs.Our Instagram page: @reddit_explains
Ash Men, Sins and the Will of the Ancestors.By FinalStand. Listen and subscribe to the podcast at Steamy Stories.Do you think you know who you are? Step outside your comfort zone. (11:00 p.m. Thursday Night)Rhada stood by the Lily Pond. She’d looked at her phone once. A couple had walked past, causing me to delay my approach and heightened Rhada’s unease; an unexpected bonus. It wasn’t too difficult of a shot with my air pistol. The only light functioning in the area went out in a crash of light.She jumped slightly then crouched and scanned the surrounding overgrowth. The light had robbed her of her night vision which allowed me to get close. I snapped the air pistol off into its three parts. Running around with any kind of gun in NYC wasn’t wise. In the same vein, the ‘stun gun’ I now brandished was all light and no shock. It was all theater for Rhada’s imagination.With the flash of my weapon, Rhada’s eyes bore in on my location. Her small knife was now over-matched, so her only option was flight. A smart 'victim’ would race for the well illuminated road close by. Hunters who hunted hunters did what Rhada did; she raced into a geographic feature in Central Park called the Ravine.It was tough, uneven terrain off the beaten path. I had walked it once before, in dim light. This night I was aided by a half-Moon and the faintest clue of where the chase was leading while Rhada was having to figure things out as she ran. At the last second, she sensed she had lost the race. She spun around to slash at me; she was playing for keeps.I swung down, losing my false stun device while I knocked her knife free. I had lashed downward so that I could find her knife later; it was important to her. My tool cost $3.00 and I could live without it. We struggled. Rhada tried to scream so I covered her mouth with my sweater-covered forearm.Dutifully, she bit down. More close body wrestling ensued and I could tell Rhada was truly famished for the attention. I cuffed her hands behind her back, slapped some Christmas tape over her lips; I swear that stuff has no adhesive; and retrieved her knife.“What is it going to be, little Sweet-meat?” I taunted her softly as I caught my breath.I had Rhada pressed face-first in the loam. Despite her strenuous efforts to keep her legs together, I rubbed my hand between her legs and over her cunt.“Fuck it,” I mused. “You are a real whore. You are soaking wet over some guy running you down and making you a fuck-hole.” I wasn’t sure she was wet and being called 'fuck-hole’ really excited her.“You are probably so loose I couldn’t feel a thing if I did fuck you,” I kept up the pressure. “Maybe I’ll strip you down and leave you tied to a lamp post; write 'Free Slut’ and see who is desperate enough to screw you. If I said ’$5 per hole’, do you think anyone would leave some sort of payment?” She whimpered.Soon enough, I located her knife. Without warning, I slipped it past her waistband and began sawing/cutting her pants down past the crotch. She was wet alright. I loudly unzipped my pants and readied my rod. After slapping my cockhead against her molten labia a few times,“What? You don’t want to be used by every diseased homeless deviant and drunk rapist roaming the park?”Rhada shook her head rapidly in the negative.“Do you really think you can do a damn thing to make me want to keep you?” I egged her on. Rhada thrust her ass back. My cock rose up, Rhada whined, repositioned and managed to capture my penis on her second attempt. She wept with rapture as I began pushing in.All I had to do was lean forward slightly and let Rhada do all the work. She hammered her pussy into my pelvis with a voracious yearning. I was rather concerned what she would have been like if it had been a whole month. Rhada was sobbing and shuddering as pleasure wracked her body. I almost missed the soft crunch of leaves right behind me.I snatched up Rhada’s knife and rolled halfway over. Oneida, tears in her eyes and her face etched in horror, was poised to strike me.“No,” Oneida groaned in a small, devastated voice. Yeah, this was going to be hard to explain. Rhada, on hearing the noise, rolled on her side so that she was mostly shielded by me.Do not scream 'this is not what it looks like’, or 'let me explain’ to a traumatized girlfriend. Wait until they are not traumatized to escape the disaster.“What are you going to do?” I whispered. Suggest that she make a decision because, guess what, she needs to make decision, not stew in the madness of the moment.“How could you?” Oneida lowered her attack stance and took a half-step back.“There is no way I can explain this,” I sighed. My legs came up to shield my exposed crotch plus I dropped Rhada’s knife. “Even if I could make this sound rational, I wouldn’t put you in that spot. This is an impossible reality.” Okay, that last bit was bullshit.“Is Rhada okay?” Oneida began to focus on the immediate and relegated the past five minutes and the forthcoming repercussions to 'things to do later’. I freed Rhada’s hands and then removed the tape. Rhada picked up her blade and readied it.“Ask her yourself,” I suggested. Sensing Rhada’s insanity rising up. “No Rhada, you cannot stab her. I won’t allow it.”Rhada glared pure, un-distilled hate at Oneida, something the poor girl couldn’t understand.“Rhada, I came here to save you,” Oneida gasped. She also prepared to fight.“You came to take my Cáel for yourself,” Rhada spat. Oneida was back to not understanding anything. It would come soon enough. Women are women after all.“I need to…get something from my backpack,” I warned them both. No one attacked me so I pulled out a set of black jeans and black panties for Rhada.“You brought a change of clothes for her?” Oneida was still playing 'kinky games’ catch up.“Of course he brought me clothes, you insipid fool,” Rhada seethed.“How could we bind our souls into one if I had to walk around…?” Rhada stopped. The idea of walking around naked in my presence appealed to her.“None of this makes any sense,” Oneida protested. It didn’t matter.“Oneida, are your guardians close by?” I asked. I knew the answer, but getting that information out to these to ladies was relevant.Oneida nodded.“Rhada, get dressed and go home. Oneida, go home. I’ll try to have this make sense to you one day,” I said.“No!” Rhada yelped as if I’d stuck her. “I cannot wait any longer.”“Rhada, unless you want Madi to find out and then have ringside seats as starving dogs tear me to pieces, you have to go,” I insisted. I wasn’t afraid of hungry dogs. The Amazons wouldn’t waste the time when they could slit my throat and be done with it. We all three heard a rustle of footsteps maybe fifteen meters away.Rhada looked at me as if she’d witnessed the murder of every kitten on the planet, then shot venom Oneida’s way and finally snuck off, new clothes in hand. Oneida gave me a different look, one etched in sadness and unspoken heartache. She went off to bump into her bodyguards. I holstered my 'junk’ and sat back, wondering why I dated crazy women. The answer was always the same; the sex was fantastic. I’d pay the bill later.(Friday Morning)I was damn tired getting into work. I locked my bike, walked into the lobby and realized something was horribly wrong. A dozen pairs of eyes riveted me with their aggression. The security chicks were in their usual places and unsettling in their nervousness. The dozen sets of eyes; those were Full-Blooded killers, not the standard 'Runner’ security types.Adding to my discomfort, there was no Constanza, or even Naomi. A few of the normal ladies from the Security Detail where there; sadly, I had never caught their names, but they didn’t look like they were waiting for me specifically. I walked up to the security booth, took out my ID badge and offered it up.What followed was mere formality. Of all of the hundreds of males in biker clothes coming into this masculine version of the Sixth layer of Hell, they needed to be absolutely sure it was me.“Cáel Nyilas,” the women at the guard station intoned and in they swarmed. Armed with personal defense weapons (read: SMG’s) with hair-triggers, I had a split second to decide who I really was.A few were clearly SD. The rest; House Guard for families I didn’t recognize.“Have I just won Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, or what?” I grinned foolishly. I’m sure you can be very cool, calm, collected and rational while you laugh at death. I’m not that guy. One of the brutes tried to run off with my valise, a quick tug of war developed and four gun barrels were pushed into me.“Let go,” one of them hissed.“Do I at least get a claim check?” I countered. What I got was a gun barrel slammed down on the back of my hand. My fingers automatically flexed and my carrying case was taken away. The remaining seven members of the Welcome Wagon hustled me to a stairwell…not an elevator and down I went.Two proceeded me into a moderately sized conference down two levels with the rest following behind. We were doing fine until the coffle chains came out. That was my 'fuck it’ moment. It took me two seconds to realize they were no longer going to shoot me. I came to this revelation when I smashed the face of the guard right behind me.She stumbled into guards four through seven behind her. Guards one and two, already in the room, holding my chains, rushed in. One came in with a low sweeping kick. I went even lower, caught her leg and whipped her into the wall. I was on my back as number two advanced. Our legs tangled up, we both grappled, but I had strength and leverage. I pounded her temple against the corner of the table twice; hard.Then came the pain. The rest flooded the room. Number two was down, number one was momentarily stunned and the other five were deadly serious and coming on fast. To all our credits, they didn’t try to overwhelm me with numbers. They closed in from both sides of the table, backing me against a wall.I was pretty good at fighting. I had damaged three of them striking from surprise. Surprise was gone now, as was their sloppy arrogance. This was all business and there was no way I could take on even two of these skilled warriors at the same time. Any advantage I gained over one, I’d lose to the other one so down I went. I was chained up before I could stop seeing double.Collar, hands cuffed at the back, leg shackles and all linked by twin chains. I wasn’t going anywhere fast. I wasn’t done yet. I tried to squirm around to a sitting position.“Stop that,” one of the guards stated.“I’d like to sit up, please,” I requested.With barely a pause, two guards came up, put my back to a wall then went back to their positions.“Thank you,” I responded. Several guards looked at me and smirked. Huh?“They all said you would fight,” the leader grinned.“We were getting a little disappointed then you chose that chokepoint to make your stand. That was clever,” she informed me.“Actually it was the sight of the chains that set me off,” I said. “Against seven of you I had no realistic chance. If I let myself get chained up, I knew I was completely out of options.”Several of the women nodded. Were any of them pissed? Apparently not. Even the one I’d cold-conked rubbed her temple and smiled at me. I worked in an insane asylum.“Is there any way I could make a video message?” I inquired.“No,” was the reply.“Please. Aya of the Epona is at Summer Camp and I want her to know that I’m okay, but won’t be able to see her for a while,” I pled my case.“You will never be able to see her again, so why bother?” another asked.“I love her. Better to give her the illusion I may one day return than the harsh reality that she is doomed to end up like the rest of you,” I explained.“Save some of that defiance for your relocation,” the leader snickered. “You’ll need it.”“Thanks. I will,” I sighed. There was a pause. They were being rather gregarious.“You’ve accepted your fate?” the one I’d knocked out questioned.“The fate you want for me? No. That this will mean my death; yes,” I shrugged.“Bravado,” a different Amazon snorted.“You think so? Once I am relocated I have nothing left to live for. Every ounce of my being will be devoted to ending the hollow parody of an existence I’m left with,” I stared at her. “I’ve beaten your ilk enough times to know I’ll escape that life before too long.”That earned me some silence. They began talking amongst themselves. The group was a mixed group of House Guard and Security Detail reinforcements from other facilities. They either knew each other, or knew someone in common. An hour in, this had become incredibly boring.“When is the meeting?” I asked a women temporarily not in a conversation.She didn’t look surprised. She hid it well.“What meeting?” she countered. I lowered my chin to my chest.“Do you know where I work, what I did yesterday, or how easy it was to figure this out?” I looked up.“What do you know?” she prodded. The others were now watching.“I work for Executive Services, I spent much of yesterday making housing arrangements for a ton of emergency visitors, and since I’ve been doing so many stupid things, plus my reception this morning, I assume the New Directive is under attack,” I laid out my case.“If you figured all that out, why did you show up today?” the leader wondered.“I work here. I have a 6:00 am session on the firing range. Work starts at 7:00 and normally goes to 5:00 with a 3:00 pm break for knife training. Then I either bike home, or work out in the gym, or the pool. Barring being called back to work on a special order, I get a date, a meal and then sex until midnight,” I mused.“I came to work today for the same reason I came in yesterday and last week; I work for a bunch of homicidal lunatics, a few of whom I care for,” I answered. “Their friendship and affection is pointless. I’m good-looking and amusing, a passing distraction in their lives and none of that matters one iota to my survival. I face my condemnation alone and I am okay with that.”“You sound angrier than your words indicate,” an Amazon noted.“I am angry. I don’t desire death,” I shrugged. “I don’t think I deserve this fate yet here we are. Personally, I know I put my hope in karmic rewards for all of us.”“What would that be?” the leader said. She was making small talk to alleviate the boredom.“Today; today I think you deserve a lingering, 24 hour torturous death. Starting with the very youngest followed by the next youngest and the next youngest proceeding in quick succession so that the oldest of you watch your lineages waste away. I want you gripped with hopelessness and despair as you are rendered powerless to control your futures. That’s a fitting ending for the Amazon race today,” I stated.“Does that fantasy make you feel better?” she pressed, somewhat amused.“Of course not,” I laughed. “That is surrendering to hate and that would make me as bad as all of you.”“You know nothing of us,” she said and the others laughed.“Yeah…right. So, how many of you have murdered your paternal unit? Did you herd them into gas chambers, shoot them in the head, or slit their throats?” I grinned. “Do you dump those men and your sons in a massed unmarked graves, or burn them like rubbish? Those poor bastards have gotten the last laugh,” I chuckled. “Sterile females, deformed babies…you taught those men a lesson alright.”“You are all such epic bad-asses, you’ve butchered your way to extinction. But, hey, you’ve got your racial superiority, right?” I chortled.“You should shut up now,” the leader’s eyes narrowed. I shrugged. This time, I had killed the mood so we sat in silence.An undetermined time later, Constanza stormed in and threw my clothes at me; no sign of the rest of my gear, or valise.“Get dressed,” she ordered.“Why?” I asked. She kicked me. The kick was aimed at my ribs, but I able to set up a knee block up in time.“You will do it because you’ve been told to do it,” Constanza snapped. I stayed where I was. “Help me get him dressed,” she addressed the room. I lost the fight if there was any doubt. I looked like a re-dressed corpse. No one would think I’d dressed myself. A few minutes later, the whole troupe plus Constanza frog-marched me to the elevators. I was shackled up thus taking small steps.I ended up farther down that I’d ever been before. Along the way I was given several quick examinations before being taken to two massive wooden doors with two SD guards, one being Naomi. She looked at my chains speculatively.“He has been summoned,” Constanza informed the door guards.One of my initial capturers began unlocking my restraints. I debated putting a knee to her head. That seemed rude so I refrained from violence. Naomi took me by the elbow while the other guard opened one of the doors. She led me into the nearly empty, cavernous room. Eight SD troopers were along the walls and Elsa stood at attention close to what I reasoned was Hayden’s chair.“Stand there,” Elsa pointed to a large piece of slate with a rune upon it.“Sure,” I did as I was instructed. “Why am I here?”“Your only real hope is to be quiet and well-behaved, Cáel,” Elsa told me, resuming her statuesque stance. I honestly figured this was it for me.My jacket came off. I threw it to the closest chair. The tie came off next, looping it through my belt…because it looked weird. I kicked off my shoes and removed my socks, stuffing the socks in the shoes and tossing them to the chair with my jacket. Then I started my morning warm up routine.Sure enough, groups of paired women began entering the room, giving me odd looks before taking their seats. I was doing some handstand push-up (thanks Yasmin) when Katrina walked in with a woman I didn’t know.“Good morning Cáel Nyilas,” she said. “This is my cousin, Arwen.”The push-up, tuck, flip and finishing up with landing on your feet ain’t easy. I added to the difficult by successfully landing on my designated piece of slate floor.“Did your clothing magically fall of, or did they fail to finish dressing you?” Katrina smirked.“Cut me some slack, Boss. I’m three insults away from slinging poo,” I grinned back.“Nice to meet you, Arwen,” I offered my hand. She looked at it, but didn’t shake. “She’s your apprentice?” I groaned to Katrina. She nodded. “That is so not good for me. What did I do wrong this time?”“She thinks I have invested too much of our House prestige in this New Directive and you in particular,” Katrina enlightened me.“What is her survival stratagem then?” I ignored Arwen while addressing Katrina.“Have her cake and eat it too,” Katrina mused. “She thinks we recruit males then kidnap them and make them our slaves…because that has worked so well for us until now. To be fair, she favors genetics while ignoring such things as spirit, courage and loyalty.”“I’m about to die so any insight I might provide is pointless,” I shrugged. “Take care Katrina.”“Male, we are not here to kill you. You will be taken to a facility for breeding,” Arwen 'clarified’ things for me. Katrina and I both broke out in laughter. Arwen didn’t get it. More and more women came in. With them arrived more House Guard. Soon the once vast room seemed to not be big enough.Among other fans of yours truly was Ursula, the woman who sent Leona to kill me with her bow. It didn’t take me long to determine there were four distinct groups. The smallest group hated my heart for daring to beat. The largest group seemed uncertain that me having a functioning cerebral cortex was a good thing.The second largest group was worried; about their very existence, but weren’t sure I was the answer. The final group, nearly as big as the next largest group, was Hayden’s pro-New Directive faction. As a plus, they also weren’t afraid to show me some affection personally. When there were only seven chairs left unfilled, Hayden rose for the opening prayer.The 'junior’ members started the chorus as the last 'senior’ joined the main intonation. When the chanting ended, everyone but Hayden sat back down.“A small number of issues necessitate this unheralded meeting,” Hayden began. “A male knows our language, our nature and the secret. I seek guidance.”And then the shit-storm began. The only people not involved were Hayden, Saint Marie on Hayden’s right, and an unknown older Amazon I didn’t know. My life was being debated and I was losing in a bad way. Beyoncé rallied support for me. She was sadly outnumbered but persistent. Among the oldest houses I saw Oneida sitting junior with house Arinniti.Her house was the only one silent, which seemed rather odd. A consensus was reached. I would get to live, but I would be imprisoned for the rest of my existence; not even a breeding male. That was my 'reward’ for channeling the ancestors thus saving Oneida’s life. Hayden rose once more, took a hand count and raised her hand for quiet.“I will consult with the ancestors on this matter,” Hayden announced. “Does anyone have other salient points to add?”That was perfunctory. Everyone had already spoken so when the head of House Arinniti stood up, everyone around her whispered in confusion. She lightly slapped her hand on the table for attention.“I do, High Priestess,” the woman stated. Even Oneida looked worried and confused.“I recognize Shawnee, Head of House Arinniti,” Hayden nodded then resumed seating.“My sisters, I seek your agreement that you refrain from comment before I have made my three key statements,” Shawnee requested. She looked around the room, getting nods; some reluctant.(1)“First, I must confess to a crime against the Host and the Council,” Shawnee began. There were hushed murmurs. “At the end of the Second Betrayal, my house argued tirelessly for the salvation of the males who remained loyal. The Council voted against us so the head of my house defied the council and spared three of our sons.”Murmurs became shouts of outrage. Hayden used a subtle voice of menace to restore order.(2) “Second, Two Ash Men arrived after the rest; a veteran fighter of three and a half decades and a young man of twenty years. Knowing there was no hope for our sons, we took these two aside and instructed them to take our sons south, to a dubious future. That was our crime and it might never have been revealed if it wasn’t for the New Directive.”“As you now know, Oneida, my granddaughter and heir, gave her Death Pledge. Cáel Nyilas intervened and, acting as a vessel for the Ancestors, he showed Hayden that her pledge had been rejected; for the first time in 3000 years,” Shawnee looked around the table. “At first I was simply grateful for my granddaughter’s life.”“As that euphoria faded, I began to ask why he acted as he had. I began wondering why, while in dire pain, Cáel refused water and comfort, instead asking for songs in our tongue? That made no sense…unless,” Shawnee’s face deepened in thought as she let the implications of that thought hang in the air. “Thus I had Cáel’s genetic identity tested, to see if…”“To see if he was one of your bastard male offspring returned after all these centuries,” Ursula stood and seethed. Hayden slapped her palm on the table for order.“Oh Ursula,” Shawnee smirked, “the ancestors are wiser than you, or me. Had I received my heart-wish and had one of those boys return, they would be condemned by Arinniti’s sins and the Council’s decision.”“But…” Shawnee persisted. Several Amazon’s looked my way, clearly bewildered.“We had to check the skulls of the ancestors for that,” Shawnee stated. “We took a tooth and it confirmed his lineage. He is the descendent of the young man. He never broke faith with the Host. He was unaware when ordered by the Arinniti what the Council had decided, thus he was guiltless.”“Who?” Hayden demanded. Shawnee looked down the table, but not far.(3)“Cáel Nyilas is of the blood of Ishara,” Shawnee stated. I waited to see which house leader freaked out. None did. Then I realized they were all staring at an empty chair and it just happened to be one of the chairs closest to Hayden. NOT good.The screaming, shouting and yelling began. The house leaders were standing up, shaking fingers and launching threats at one another. Me? I was trying to recall who Ishara was. She eventually became Ishtar, Goddess of War. In the Old Kingdom Hittite she was also the Goddess of Oaths, Love and Medicine. The only three people at the table not going nuts where Saint Marie, Hayden and the woman at her side.That woman was looking at her tablet intently. Once more the group reached consensus and I was still boned. I was still a male, so my lineage meant nothing. I wasn’t part of the Host. Hayden took another deep breath, acknowledging this second decision.“You are all incorrect,” the unknown tablet-reader spoke.Everyone looked at her and nobody was yelling.“Elsa, who is that?” I whispered.“Krasimira, Keeper of Records,” Elsa quietly informed me.“What…what do you mean?” Messina, Fabiola’s Mom stammered.“Only nine males went unaccounted for at the end of the Second Betrayal. The rest are recorded meeting their deaths in battle, or death by our hand. Of those nine, only one was of House Ishara and he would have barely been of mating age,” Krasimira related.“So?” Ursula remarked. “He’s still a male.”Krasimira looked at Ursula as if she was talking to a five year old.“He was a member of the Host. If Shawnee of Arinniti is to be believed, Vranus, Cáel’s ancestor, lived and died in service to the Host. He was never removed from our records, so he died a member of the Host, so his descendants are also members of the Host.”“He married without permission of his house, thus he is illegitimate,” an old enemy from Egypt chimed in.“Perhaps,” Krasimira nodded. “That is a matter he must take up with the Head of House Ishara.”“There is no Head of House Ishara!” Ursula stated the obvious and pointed at the empty chair.“Again, you are incorrect,” Krasimira shook her head. She half turned in her chair. “There is a Head of House Ishara and he’s standing right there.” Even Hayden had a problem with that.“But he’s male,” Hayden declared.“That is Irrelevant,” Krasimira said.“To be the head of a house, one must either be elected by the peers of your house, succeed in accepted ritual combat, or, in extremis, it shall be the eldest surviving member of the Host of that house. Cáel Nyilas is clearly the oldest member of House Ishara currently in the Host,” she quoted Amazon law, “so he is House Ishara’s head.” Silence reigned.“Gun,” I extended my hand to Elsa. She looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. “Don’t make me repeat myself.” I growled. Elsa didn’t look for guidance. She wasn’t that type. She drew her .45 automatic and put in in my hand.“The safety is engaged,” she enlightened me. I left my spot and began rounding the table to 'my’ seat.“One more step and I’ll shoot you where you stand,” Ursula threatened.“No you won’t,” Saint Marie stood. “I’ll kill you first.”“Ursula of Marda, you have no justification to attack House Ishara,” Hayden explained. “I don’t like this anymore than you do. We do not pick and choose which laws to follow. Accept the will of our ancestors.”There were between fifteen and twenty women close by aching to put bullets in me. I didn’t stop because that wouldn’t be me. I ended up by the chair and absorbed the essence of this tiny shard of reality. Was I the son of some lost 'First’ House? Without a doubt, the placement of this chair was in the top ten on this side. The ones across from me were all clearly 'First’ Houses as well.The chair was old; maybe two hundred years. It held a sadness to it; no one had ever sat in it. It had been built knowing no one would ever sit on it. I thought about Pamela. I thought about holding Oneida up and refusing to let her die. That effort was me, physically conditioned over years, but I had never discounted willpower.It was possible that man could indeed be found back somewhere in my ancestry. Few invaders wipe out all the indigenous inhabitants. Usually they intermarry with the invading culture overwhelming the previous one. I couldn’t forget my present and future while examining my past. I put the gun down. Hostility washed over me in palatable waves.I pulled back the chair. The room was about to explode. I kept moving it back, farther and farther until it was clear I wouldn’t be sitting in it.“I will stand for House Ishara,” I announced. “I will not vote though I will speak my thoughts on matters. I will hold this spot until I have a daughter of age.”“No man of House Ishara has ever voted in the Council of the Host and no man will now,” I kept going. “Outside of those concessions to my Mothers, I am House Ishara. I am right here. If you have a problem with me, I will be easy to find. I have never hidden from you bitches and I’m not going to start now.”“You insult us,” Messina stood up. Five other women joined her.“By all means,” Katrina stood, “we eagerly await your challenge.” Eight other women joined her. I hadn’t suddenly become more popular. Between my refusal to vote, the bizarre revelation of Shawnee and the gravitas of the 'First’ Houses, the more conservative women were retiring to regroup.Messina’s backing down lasted only seconds. She immediately proposed that no male be allowed to be a member of the Host; disqualifying me by fiat. Krasimira wasn’t going for that. Amazons could not legislate a member of the Host, or a House, out of existence. That’s why they had killed the Ash Men in the first place. Technically, they had been Amazons.They couldn’t make them 'not-Amazons’ and there was no exile in this society. Eminently practical, they made them dead instead. That was coming back to bite them in the ass now, because they killed them; they’d never taken them off the rolls. Poor, young Vranus had loyally led his charges away on orders. Had he fled, they would have put him under a death sentence; which I would have to fulfill.No, my ancestor was unsurprisingly pig-headed. One senior warrior and three children…sure, let’s walk off into the wilderness with hostile tribes all around. Why? They told him to and like a loyal little mutton-head he’d obeyed. If I believed in magic, or mysticism, I’d worry about how I ended up in that first board meeting speaking this fucked-up language.I’d re-examine how Leona had missed that crucial first shot because Aya had missed hers. Aya herself and the same spiritual twist that caused Oneida to hurl her life into my unsteady hands. I’d like to put that to accident and genetic abnormalities. Then there was Pamela. I’d like to think she was delusional, suffering from an acid flashback, or whatever.Shawnee slid a wooden box; a meter by 70 cm; to me. Whatever parliamentary etiquette Amazons followed was unknown to me. I opened the box. Inside was what looked like a lamb, or sheep, skin pressed in some kind of glass. The artifact looked horribly old and was faded to the stage where it was barely legible.I let the buzz die down around me as I squinted at the picture. There were five figures; from the left was a tall one with a shield and spear, three small figures, and another tall man…with two axes. That was…no I couldn’t accept that, not right now. Along both sides and the top were prayers of some kind, though they were too faded to make out accurately. On the bottom were five names. The right-most was Vranus.Oneida hadn’t been trapped by madness and pride. She’d been a slave to destiny. She had seen this skin, I was sure. She’d seen me with my two axes and when it turned out to be more than show, she’d had to save me and she couldn’t tell anyone why because of the Arinniti sin. Perhaps she had some delusion we were distantly related. Now wasn’t the time to ask.I closed the box and slid it back. In my absence, the verdict for House Arinniti was narrowed down. Some wanted Shawnee’s head because she was the inheritor of those lies. Others wanted Oneida’s head because it would be a more terrible lesson for her house. I didn’t like those ideas.“Are you seriously arguing about the paint on the doghouse while your home is burning down?” I mocked them.“You don’t…,” a different, yet still hostile, Amazon choked out.“They didn’t sell your sisters to the Roman coliseum,” I glared. “They valued bravery and loyalty over conformity. Did they defy the Council? Yes. I think we all agree with that. Put in context though, the rest of you fucked up.”Tons of 'how dare you’ and descriptive insults to my family, gender, species and intelligence.“Answer me this; Ursula, can you turn around right now and slit your 'apprentice’s’ throat?” I posed. I could see the 'no’ forming on her lips before the Great Wall of Implications fell on her head.“Everyone in this room that voted for the slaughter of the Ash Men broke your own laws,” I explained. “You had every right to kill your sons. They were legally and physically helpless. The Ash Men; they were members of the Host…and there is every indication you butchered them without trial, or attempt at redress. Correct me if I’m wrong, but those men did not break the law; you did.”“You are correct,” Krasimira said. “All members of the Host must be informed of their crimes and seek trial if they disagree. Any sentence of Death can be appealed to the High Priestess, who can commute the sentence, assign an ordeal of some kind, or have it carried out.” What doomed Leona was the obvious nature of her crime in front of the High Priestess.The only person who protested was Ursula, the Mistress of Leona’s house. Looking back on things, Ursula had acted insanely sending Leona to kill me. Yes, she would have derailed the New Directive for a few years. She would also have alienated every neutral member of the Council. The vote for the New Directive was distasteful yet deemed necessary by enough houses for it to pass.The vote at the end of the Second Betrayal…that was the issue now. Ms. Senior Egypt made one last end-run around the process.“What is to stop him from bringing more men into the Host?” she muddied the water. Me? I pulled out my shirt and looked down at my chest.“Is someone making fun of my A-cup sized breasts?” I appealed to Hayden. A tiny smile crossed her lips.“I am not sure Cáel,” Hayden responded. “Fatima, be precise with the nature of your worries.”“He should not be allowed to recruit into his house until his status is decided,” Fatima stated.“His status is not in question,” Hayden purred. That was the 'I’m about to lose patience with you’ purr.“I would never recruit anyone into House Ishara who was not qualified. It is insulting to think otherwise. Is there a specific male you are worried about?” I inquired.“I don’t know you, or your ways,” Fatima spat.“You need to think about what you just said, Fatima,” I snorted. “So, not knowing anything about me you are making assumptions about what I might do? As you said yourself, you don’t know me.”“If you did, you would know that while I wish virtually every Amazon alive would drop dead, thus making the world a much better place, I would never embarrass Katrina, or betray her. Now, are you going to keep looking stupid, or are you going to accept that House Arinniti not only acted in accordance to Amazon law 2500 years ago, they continue acting so today,” I stated.“After all, they risked everyone’s anger for the restoration of one of your eldest houses. When I turned out not to be one of Arinniti’s long-lost sons, they could have kept quiet. They did not. Arinniti bravery means one day a daughter of Ishara will bring her voice to this council once more. They certainly didn’t do this for themselves. Ask yourself if you would have the courage to bring such possible shame to your family prestige,” I challenged the Host.“You trained your monkey well,” Messina mocked Katrina.“Ah…” I mused as I picked up my pistol. “Safety.” I got a feel for the weapon. “Messina, what’s the name of your 'apprentice’?”“You wouldn’t dare,” Messina hissed.“You dare to insult me and my House, Whore-Bitch,” I smiled insanely. “Why do you think I’ll let you get away with that? I’m not going to kill her; just gut-shoot her.”“Pull that trigger and you will die,” Messina spat. Her junior looked far less pleased with the turn of events.“Not relevant. My House Prestige is too great to suffer such an insult. You did call me, the choice of a hundred generations of House Ishara ancestors, a monkey,” I pointed out.“Cáel of Ishara, put the gun down…please,” Saint Marie sort of asked. I clicked the safety and put the gun back down on the table.Messina was looking terribly pleased with herself, ignoring 'The Golden Mare’ coming around her side of the table. The hair-yank Saint Marie inflicted made me recoil in shock and I was some distance away Messina. Slap-backhand-slap-backhand. Saint Marie released Messina’s hair. Messina stumbled back, fearful and furious at the same time.“Are you going to exert some common courtesy, or shall we continue?” the Marshal of the Amazon Host glared at Messina. “I don’t like him, or where he stands, but I am far more embarrassed by your behavior. At least the male exerts some restraint. The rest of you are acting like he is a weakling-idiot. He is not. Know your opponent dammit.”“Wait! Hayden, now that I’m…” I got all excited.“No, Cáel, you still may not refer to the Marshal of the Amazon Host as 'Pony-Lady’,” Hayden scolded me. I snapped my finger over the lost opportunity. A pregnant pause was suddenly vacated by a snicker and then several more until half the table had to hold their hands over their mouths.“Did you really call (dead word spoken) Saint Marie, 'Pony-Lady’?” this unknown House Leader asked. She wasn’t one of my fans.“Only after she kicked my ass, totally humiliating me,” I revealed. “I got one punch in. Next thing I knew I was wondering how regularly they changed the fluorescent lighting in the Firing Range while I was on my back, soaking up the cold comfort of the concrete floor.”It took them a second to figure out what I meant. Saint Marie was already marching back to her chair.“You are very poetic,” another commented.“That is how I learned your tongue; I was taught Old Kingdom Hittite erotic and love poetry. I know the same in nine other forgotten languages, as well as four current languages,” I informed them.“Hayden, you would not dare chastise any other Head of House the way you treated; him,” Ursula griped.“In what possible universe would Cáel Nyilas be considered normal?” Hayden countered. “He is not like any other Head of House. He forgoes voting because HE values our traditions.”“He does not sit in his designated seat at our table because he takes into consideration our sensibilities. This from a man we all decided to imprison forever not five minutes ago. If any of you think he does this out of fear, you are sorely mistaken. He is a person of many failings without question yet he is courageous to a fault,” Hayden lectured the room. “Saint Marie, what was the first thing he said to you after you crushed him?”“He said 'What. Had enough already?’” she snorted. “Those were his exact words, lying on his back, looking up at me. I thought I had concussed him.”“This is not a humorous matter,” Egypt Senior was still cranky.“I don’t know about that,” Saint Marie reposed. “I found it to be fun actually.”“Even the part where he had the gun pointed at me was interesting. I was certain he was about to shoot me,” Saint Marie continued.“Pity he missed you,” Messina glared.“He didn’t miss me, Messina,” Saint Marie sneered. “I told him to give me the gun and he gave it to me. He’s not disloyal, just pugnacious.”“What of Arinniti’s crime?” Beyoncé prodded. She wasn’t feeling self-righteous. Quite the opposite; the mood had shifted away from bloodlust to uncertainty. Amazons liked decisiveness. They also liked only having to do something once and being done with it. That was the riptide of the New Directive; some houses couldn’t let go of the fact they’d lost.That constant pecking away at the plan were the half-measures Katrina was complaining to Hayden about. From my experience, the Ash Men was Katrina’s goal all along. Had she been open and honest with this desire, there was no way any aspect of the New Directive would be implemented.If you believed in conspiracy theories, Katrina had groomed me for some time. If you believed in luck, Katrina was cosmically lucky our paths collided. If you believed in mysticism, I was fucked. Let’s not forget that there were three millennia of bad ass bitches on the other side of the spiritual divide who thought nothing of guiding me into a life full of fear, heartache and pain.A lengthy debate ended in a classic Amazon compromise; they forgot about it. Literally, they erased the crime against the Ash Men and Arinniti’s 'omission’ of sparing three of their sons. What had happened to all my 'Ash’ brethren? Whoops; they were misplaced. They weren’t erased from the rolls; that would make my existence inexplicable, so we remained honorary Amazons.I was sure their angry ghosts were totally mollified. I was sure me and the first female Pope would get it on too. As the meeting was breaking up, one of the 'unfriendly’ Amazons shot me a remark.“I supposed you are elated,” she grumbled.“Really? You think so? Here, let me sell all your underage daughters to Romany gypsies so that you never see them again and you’ll have an inkling of how I feel,” I smiled serenely.“You should be happy you are allowed to stand in our presence,” she got truly pissy.“Lady, I won’t be happy until I get to hunt hate-filled monsters like you for sport,” I kept smiling.“Until then, I’m afraid we are both going to have to live unsatisfying lives,” I added.“Perhaps we should handle this with a blood feud?” she salivated at the prospect.“Sure. I’ll get the Neutron Bomb we have in the Armory. You chose whatever you like. I’ll meet you downtown at noon,” I proposed.It is much better to make a nuclear weapon joke and not have every authority figure in the room glance at you nervously. Did we really have a nuclear warhead in the basement? Fuck if I knew. They’d have never told me if there was. I felt a hand on my shoulder and recalled the touch.“Cáel Nyilas, you are forbidden from engaging in blood feuds; in your case, feuds of any kind until one lunar cycle is completed,” Hayden instructed.“Thank you. I appreciate that,” my honesty, heartfelt reply slipped forth.“My judgment wasn’t for you, Cáel. You’ve caused catastrophic trauma to our society as an outsider. I tremble to think what you can do now that you are one of us,” Hayden gave me a truly serene response. “Give me a little time to prepare.”“Oh! Great idea,” I exclaimed. “Gotta go!” and I raced for the door, tossing Elsa her gun.“Should I shoot him?” Elsa suggested. “Only to slow him down a bit.” I made it to the elevator carrying my jacket and shoes. With me were four sets of Amazons that wanted me dead and one set who were rather ambivalent about the whole matter.I caught one of the 'hater’ juniors looking at me. I turned my head enough so we could make prolonged eye contact. I smiled. Reluctantly she smiled back. I leaned in slightly.“Can I borrow your phone? SD beat me up earlier and stole all my stuff,” I innocently requested. I was pretty sure she was as surprised as every other man-hater in the box that she handed it over.Like shooting fish in a barrel. I began making a few quick texts to the three crucial people in my scheme.“What did you do that for?” her senior hissed. With my brand new Stinky Pooh-Bah status, she couldn’t knock the device out of my hands.“I don’t know,” she pleaded to her superior. I finished up then handed it back.“Your 'apprentice’ has rendered House Ishara an important service that shall be entered into our records of boons and debts,” I nodded gravely. “What is your name?”“Gale,” she batted her eyelashes. “What did I do?”“What are you doing for lunch tomorrow?” I magically conjured up her hand in mine with my fingertips coursing over her palm and wrist. “I’ll explain it then.”“You may not spend time with this…person,” Senior insisted.“We should not overlook an opportunity to make an alliance with a First House,” Gale countered.Bang! Looking like trout for lunch. Gale won, I won and we were meeting at my place so we could figure out where to eat; yummy. Somewhere in the episode, I’d introduce Odette into the mix. It was only fair. I was asking her to hide in Timothy’s room until I got Gale warmed up after all.I was the first one of the 'team’ to arrive. I was nervously pacing Katrina’s office when Desiree and Paula showed up. Desiree took a casual seat on the sofa while Paula hovered around my desk.“Is this going to be really bad, or really good?” Desiree mused.“Why should you have to choose?” I laughed. “Besides, we are aiming for epic status today.”“Why are we here?” Paula worried. I stopped. I had a 'Eureka!’ moment. There probably was a Bible for what I was planning to do, but they hadn’t given it to me. I ran to the bathroom and came back with a glass.“Desiree, I need two things. I need your sharp, pointy thing and for you to slap me until I cry,” I looked at her expectantly.“My pleasure,” Desiree rocked up from her seat. “Slapping then knife?” I nodded. I was still in the painful smacking process when Buffy and Violet entered.“Can anyone join?” Buffy asked Paula.“I…I don’t think so,” Paula shook her head. “He’s got a plan. I don’t know what for.” I dodged Desiree’s final swing. I had gathered enough tears; I hoped.“That was truly therapeutic, Cáel,” Desiree stated. “Let me know if you need a repeat performance.” She handed me her small knife.Helena and Daphne finally strolled in. I wove past them, retrieved a piece of paper which I tore in two and two pens.“Helena and Buffy, please write your names down on these pages,” I requested.“What the hell?” Buffy growled. “What is this about?”“Trust me,” I met her gaze.“Buffy, Cáel is an ass, but he’s not crazy. He’s up to something,” Desiree intervened. Helena stepped up and wrote her name. Buffy followed suit. I took the pages to Katrina’s desk.“Come forth and kneel before me,” I commanded.This was the point in the ritual when I figured my death was most likely. Buffy shot an evil look at Desiree then very reluctantly complied. Helena followed. Hmmm…Amazons kneel with both knees on the ground. That puts their mouths almost…I had to keep with the program. I burned the two autographs and scattered the ashes.“There is no Buffy DuBois. There is no Helena Shultz,” I began. I dipped a finger into the shallow pool of my tears. I ran one down under the left eye of each lady. “With this, I open your eyes to the joys and sorrows of our ancestors.” That brought on a hush and the anger in Buffy’s eyes evaporated.I cut my left forefinger then motioned them to do the same. First Buffy: I linked our bloody digits.“With this, our blood is mixed. You are Buffy of House Ishara from this moment forth. You are the first of this House. You are our spear and shield,” I met her gaze. She started crying.“You are Helena of House Ishara from this moment forth,” I continued on. “You are the second of this House. You keep the records of our Host, keep track of our deeds, sins and accounts.” Helena began weeping too. Had I said 'just joking’, the cleaning team would have been finding torn pieces of me weeks later.“House Ishara is dead,” Daphne stated the obvious.“Suffice it to say, long ago, House Ishara brought a male into their ranks as a member of the House,” I started. I motioned for my two House-mates…members to rise.“The Second Betrayal,” Violet interrupted.“Yes. During the Second Betrayal, some males remained loyal. My descendent was sent on a mission for the Host. The mission took him past his lifespan. His offspring continued on until you end up with me; being here; today. Suffice it to say, he was never removed from the rosters of the Host, thus every offspring was a member too,” I recalled recent edited events.“By Amazon law, House Leaders are selected by their peers, victors in a challenge for leadership, or…” I continued.“The eldest of the house,” Daphne gasped. “Since Ishara is…since all the female members of the Host are dead, you are the eldest member of the Host.”“You don’t have to be a female?” Desiree muttered. “That’s insane. We are Amazons.”“There hasn’t been a male in the host for over 2500 years,” I explained. “It never came up. Back when they had them, there simply weren’t enough men to worry about. Afterwards, there were NO men to worry about. Apparently your ancestors thought writing down 'eldest female’ was redundant.”“That had to have gone down like a mouse passing an elephant turd,” Paula muttered. We all looked at her. “What? Since I met Cáel, I’ve been writing down little phrases to use in situations like now. This was the first one I could recall.”“Actually, they wept tears of joy, lifted me up on their shoulders and sung paeans to my glory,” I lied.“So, when do you think the first assassination attempt will be?” Desiree shook her head. This was a lot for her to take in. Not only was my tale fantastic, Buffy was her friend and Desiree knew that Buffy bled for a chance to join the Host and had done so for years.“Why do you think I called Buffy first?” I snickered.“I won’t let you down,” Buffy declared with grim determination.“Calm down, Buffy,” I assured her. “I don’t think me being casually snuffed out is on their agenda. They’ve already gone through a torturous compromise to end up with this screwed up situation.”“So why did you pick me…and Helena?” Buffy studied me.“Buffy, you are the most amazon-Amazon I know,” I told her. “You like Helena and she said nice stuff about Daphne which showed her character, so I chose her next.”“Hey, this means I can finally slap Fabiola around,” Buffy’s eyes grew bright.“Which reminds me; can I get any volunteers for Old Kingdom Hittite lessons for these two,” I begged my 'new hire’ companions.“I’ll take two nights a week,” Daphne offered.“I’ll take one night,” Paula added.“I’ll take a fourth,” Violet completed the set.“Damn it,” Desiree cursed. “This means Buffy must be taught the Prayer of the Ancestors.”“You are right,” Buffy gasped. “I accompany Cáel to Council meetings now.”“One note; I don’t vote,” I informed them. “I made that decision. House Ishara has never had a male vote for it and I’m keeping that tradition. I can speak, but not vote. When my daughter comes of age, she will have full rights.”Desiree, Buffy and Helena were confused. Daphne, Violet and Paula, on the other hand, were enraptured. This was the only life; only tradit
In this Behind the Scenes interview, Kevan and I chat about her role as a literary agent, forming her own agency, what she is looking for when is pitched by writers, how the manuscript submission process works, the importance of blurbs, the Lyonesses, and much more. Kevan's recommended reads are: The Girls in Navy Blue by Alix Rickloff Her Lost Words by Stephanie Marie Thornton The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre by Natasha Lester Support the podcast by becoming a Page Turner on Patreon. Other ways to support the podcast can be found here. Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Insults, Felix and Ash Men.By FinalStand. Listen and subscribe to the podcast at Steamy Stories.Caring is a curse you dare not go without.(Somewhere in the midst of this nightmare, Cáel needs to earn a paycheck)Felix had the physical confrontation he wanted. Somewhere in the back of my mind was that I had to do something inane yet again; like consumer test Ginsu Spatulas, or the equivalent. Felix noted the open hostility directed his way, but had neither the knowledge, nor the empathy to give a fuck. The elevator closed on his smug face. Work time.“That didn’t take you long at all,” St. Marie chortled from behind me. I jolted.“If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be hand-feeding polar bears, so cut me some slack,” I groaned.“I was under the impression that your pugnacity was more of a defense mechanism, not male bravado,” St. Marie probed.“I am as much surprised as you are about this. I don’t even like the girl involved. I’ve never fought over a woman before, but Felix used that woman to get at me; ineffectively,” I mused. “My emotions don’t…you don’t want to be hearing any of this, do you?”“No,” St. Marie said. I stared at her. She stared at me. “Yes?”“Have you ever done any bikini wrestling?” I blurted out. She blinked. “Gotta go. Work to do,” and I fled. In the elevator I recognized one of the ladies from International Finance though I didn’t know her name.“What happened to your face?” she asked.“Do you know who the Golden Mare is?” I replied. She nodded very respectfully. “Well, she hit me.” The woman studied me. “I guess I shouldn’t have hit her first.”“You hit (dead word spoken) St. Marie?” She gulped. “I’m stunned you are still alive.”“You and me both,” I sighed. “I’m starting to regret suggesting she take up bikini wrestling.”Blink.“Tell me about it. I was looking into her eyes and that was the first thing to come to mind,” I shrugged.“I repeat, I’m stunned you are still alive,” she shook her head.“What do you mean? I think she’d look good in a bikini,” I stated. The door opened to Medical. “Have a good day at work now,” I smiled. “I’m off to crush marbles with a sledgehammer.” My real job was to be a genetic guinea pig. I had to sit naked on a gurney and let them take blood and tissues samples.The sperm sample was fun. First I insisted that I’d been in a fight earlier in the morning and my elbows weren’t up to the job. After confirming this, they had some poor ‘new hire’ jack me off. I held out as long as I could, to the point she gave me a blowjob; her first. Sadly, when senior medical technician informed her of the extinction of her oral virginity, they were both less than pleased yours truly.I reminded them that I didn’t shoot off into her mouth, or anything so crude. Next I informed them of a little known fact that my first ejaculate of the day (no mention of Brooke by me) was sterile and we had to repeat the process. No such luck. Damn microscopes. To prove I was a lousy patient, I feigned a collapse and a lack of breathing.I didn’t grapple with my CPR specialist. I very slowly and tenderly wrapped her up in my embrace. I told her that at the moment of utter darkness, her heartbeat brought me back to the light. I was a the point of penetration when a real doctor showed up and pulled the struggling Physician’s Assistant away; she hadn’t finished saving me, the young Amazon protested.At this point the team threatened to give me a sedative. I responded with 'is it chemical, or a blow to the head’. They smiled and said they’d give me both if I misbehaved again. My counter-offer was a request for some Neapolitan ice cream. They conceded the issue, I got my ice cream and stopped being a jack-ass.At 11:30 am, the first battery of tests concluded. As we were wrapping up, I asked why I had to be naked for the entire thing. They stared at me. Strangely, the Amazon who had prepped me for this nonsense had made herself scarce. Damn it. The doctors then gleefully informed me that I had to be naked for the second half of the test, after lunch.I asked why. They smiled. Bitches. As I was fixing my tie, my phone rang.“Hello, Android Cáel Nyilas here,” I answered. There was some giggling; Brooke.“Hey, Android Cáel, this is flesh and blood Brooke Lee,” she snickered. Man, I had turned her around emotionally in only a few hours. Screw Felix.“Have you eaten lunch yet?” she asked. I bit back my automatic response; asking if she was on the menu. We’d talked about Libra as I was leaving this morning.“You, me and Libra?” I suggested. Brooke put her hand over the phone; the dearth of background noise was the giveaway.“She may not want to see you,” Brooke hedged. That meant Libra was listening in.“We talked about this earlier, Brooke,” I sighed. “I want a chance to at least talk with her.” Not totally false. I wanted to fuck her again. That necessitated some amount of conversation so I was willing to put forth the ergs of energy.“I’ll make the effort,” Brooke promised. Making Libra a deal-breaker might have been sugar-coated chocolate for Libra. It would have also made them both suspicious of my suspicions.“Please do your best,” I said. “Where do you want meet?”“My place?” she teased.“Libra plus I would only have forty-five minutes with you, which is not nearly enough time,” I reminded her. Sex.“Libra doesn’t have to know,” Brooke was now pressing Libra’s buttons.“We are not going to go there,” I insisted. They didn’t own me and I didn’t own them.We were bantering back and forth, playing with sexual innuendo of the relationship kind. A good aphrodisiac is a woman thinking you are foregoing sex with another woman to have sex with her. Best of all (for me) for hooking Libra and me back together, Libra was going to let Brooke fuck me yet again. Win-win-win.“We’ll meet at Stanhope’s,” Brooke finished. I agreed to meet her there in ten minutes and off I went. Aisha, the Arabic swimsuit model/SD hottie called for me as I was heading out the door. I asked why. She didn’t say so I ran for it. Screw them all; it was my lunch break. I made it to Stanhope’s. I was fleet of foot and was getting the hang of hailing taxis.Libra was with Brooke at an outdoor table at Stanhope’s. I didn’t fake surprise. My cover was that I had faith in Brooke. I kissed Brooke while Libra gave me the cold shoulder.“Libra doesn’t believe we’ve talked about her,” Brooke opened up.“You are the one who keeps shouting out her name during orgasm,” I sighed.“That’s not a joking matter,” Libra snapped viciously.“It made you talk to me,” I winked. Libra growled.“I hate you,” she seethed.“That is a perfectly normal, if heart-rending reaction to our past two encounters,” I admitted.“I hope it hurt,” Libra seethed. “Besides, I went out with Brian Fung last night.” She was stating the obvious. I was okay with that. It left her open to my lie.“Have you moved on?” I moped. Libra not seeing me anymore made me want to cry. Missing her was utter anguish; it was written all over my face. Non-verbal deception is as important as the verbal kind.I was not beating a dead horse, I was coaxing a thoroughbred to the Triple Crown. Give the girl what she wants; verbally, sexually and, if you can pull it off convincingly, emotionally.“I don’t know,” Libra stated which meant 'no, she hadn’t moved on’.“Let’s go out tomorrow night,” I suggested. Be bold enough to make the first move, but not so aggressive she feels pressured.Being a man isn’t beating your chest; it is stepping up to get your ego battered by the girl. If it wasn’t for my first, failed romantic attempt, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It hurt like Hell when she publically rejected me. These days, my bed was always warm so the pain was well worth it.“Why not tonight?” Libra got combative.“Felix and I had a disagreement at work,” I grinned. “We are settling the issue tonight at six.”“What happened?” Brooke leaned in close to me, hungry for details. I was a bastard.“He loudly presented me with these,” I slipped Brooke her panties under the table.“In the middle of my office and co-workers. Even my Boss heard it,” I added. Brooke’s deeply tanned complexion paled. Libra didn’t see the panties, but she knew the score.“What did you do?” Libra pressed.“I told him Brooke was a grown woman and could make her own decisions about who she was with,” I started.“Brooke is a wonderful lady and she should be courted based on that. Felix had this bizarre idea that I felt possessive about her and thought he was using Brooke to hurt me over a slight at work,” I wove forth the basic truths. “I’m not going to fight Brooke’s battles,” I affirmed which meant that 'yes, I was going to fight Brooke’s battles’.If you are a guy and you assume that the woman is actually hearing the words coming out of your mouth, you are deluded. The reverse is also the same.“If a man has a problem with me, he comes after me, not my friends,” I grew stern. This meant Felix was not a man. It also meant that I considered Brooke, thus Libra, my friends.They were okay with that. This didn’t mean they thought of me as a friend. It was similar to the family butler. I had to memorize every detail of their lives. If they remembered my birthday, I should feel blessed; symbolically speaking of course. I’d make an abysmal butler.“Did he hit you?” Libra leaned across the table and stroked my cheek right below the place St. Marie had clocked me.“That? Nah. An Archer fish tried to shoot my eye out so now he’s fish sticks,” I replied.“With all your wounds,” Libra hesitated, “Are you in the military?”“Libra, I’m a disaster as a civilian,” I chuckled. “I’d make an impossible soldier. Half way through basic training I’d start showing up in a kilt; 'cause it makes me feel free and breezy down there’.”“When they tried to make me change, I’d charge them with cultural insensitivity,” I smiled.“What would you do if they let you get away with it?” Brooke snickered.“Take up horse archery…because you never know when you’ll be without fuel and bullets on the modern battlefield,” I postulated. “If they let me get away with that, I’d stay, but I’d join the airborne.”“I like parachuting,” Brooke nodded. “Have you ever done it?” She bet I hadn’t and she was right.“Never before in this lifetime. I really want to see if I could get my horsed trained to do it first,” I chortled. “Lord knows, nobody else has. The first Airmobile Horse Archery unit. That would be pretty cool.”“The horse would break her legs,” Libra frowned.“Use an air mattress platform for the horse to stand on, sort of like those air bags stuntmen use, but smaller,” I reasoned. I wasn’t sure if Brooke and Libra were more stunned about the plausibility of my suggestion, or that I had created it off the cuff.We ordered lunch and drinks. Service was very efficient so I had only pushed my salad aside to have my grilled shrimp replaced it when a shadow fell across our table. It was a stormy Aisha.“Cáel Nyilas, you are coming with me,” she spoke with deceptive calm.“No,” I replied then ate a shrimp. She put her hand on my shoulder. I brandished my fork.“Listen up,” I grumbled. I tapped my wristwatch with my fork, “I’ve got 35 more minutes on my lunch break. I’m eating with friends…okay, almost friends…”“I’m Cáel’s friend,” Brooke rallied. Aisha bore down on my collarbone, so I stabbed at her hand with the fork. She moved it out of the way first.“Come now,” she growled.“Very well,” I sighed. “Since you certainly have never heard this from a man before meeting me, I’ll clarify. NO, I’m not coming with you. Go away you annoying twit. If that was unclear, let me add; no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no and no.”Aisha looked over her shoulder. There were two more SD chicklets. Woot!“Last chance to keep this simple,” Aisha threatened.“Brooke and Libra, you need to stand up and back away,” I instructed them as I stood up as well, “I’m going to need your chairs as weapons.” The girls grabbed their food and backed up.“Don’t make a scene,” Aisha whispered.“Ex-squeeze me? I’m eating lunch. In thirty-five minutes I’ll be back at work. You are the one being a total bitch for annoying the fuck out of me here,” I glared. “All you had to do was tell me why you wanted me back at Havenstone, but you didn’t feel the need, so now we have this stand-off.”“It is not a stand-off and I don’t explain myself to you,” Aisha glared back. She even showed me she had a gun. I laughed, pulled out my phone.“What are you doing?” Aisha made a swipe for the phone.“Making me late for work,” I chuckled. “I’m dialing 9 1 1.”“Do that and you will be in a world of trouble,” she threatened.“You haven’t thought this out, have you, Aisha?” I snickered. “If it was important to my job, Katrina, or Medical would have called me. If it was a calamity, Hayden perhaps. Barring that, I can’t wait to hear your excuse for starting a public brawl.”“I told you to come with me and you had best obey,” Aisha hissed. That was the tipping point. Recycling old, failed arguments is the sign that your opponent has lost.“Yeah…right,” I shrugged. I sat back down and began eating. A second later, Brooke and Libra joined me. Aisha retreated to the curb and waited…and got ticketed because it was a No Parking Zone.“Who was that woman? I’ve seen her before,” Brooke commented.“She’s that woman from the first night we met,” Libra answered.“She’s not my boss so I don’t care,” I tried to recapture our earlier mood. It was only partially successful. The three SD ladies kept their eyes on us until dinner was cleared away and it was time to go back.I kissed both Brooke and Libra goodbye with a promise of a date the next night. When I tried to walk past Aisha, she grabbed my arm. From my point of view, a ride to work was a ride to work and this one was free. I travelled in silence. Miraculously, they didn’t answer my request to go to Medical, though we were at least going up…and up…and up. Crap.They deposited me in Hayden’s office then departed. It was Hayden, Katrina, St. Marie, Elsa, and Tessa. The door shut ominously behind me.“Cáel, I like you,” Hayden began. “Unless you are working on an assigned task, you are not allowed to defy a woman of Havenstone who gives you a clear concise order, especially one from the Security Detail.” It didn’t take me a second to formulate my treatise on the Rights of Man.“No.” That didn’t go over well. Into the emptiness, I forged ahead. “You can’t expect for me to be given conflicting orders and expect me to succeed. You people have a chain of command for a reason. I follow that chain like every other member of Havenstone.”“You are not a member of Havenstone,” Hayden pointed out. That I had to think about.I scanned each impassive face in the room. I wanted to cry; not out of fear; out of frustration because I really had tried so hard to make this work.“You are all a bunch of cowards and I regret ever wanting to be part of this place,” I spat.“Your opinion of us does not matter,” Hayden started.“Cowardly act number one,” I interrupted. Hayden’s gaze hardened.“It is your time. You publically defied a Havenstone employee on a mission concerning you,” she continued.“Cowardly acts number two and three,” I growled. Now St. Marie and Elsa closed in.I turned to face them. I wanted to go down swinging, no matter how futile the gesture.“Cowardly act number four; suddenly, when you desire, my insolence matters,” I set myself for what was to come.“Don’t fight,” Tessa commanded softly. Katrina kept her own counsel.“That’s your fucking problem, right there,” I shouted. “This isn’t the Sunshine Scouts. This is a martial society. I fight, because that is what every bitch here is broadcasting. I didn’t hit Rhada when she hit me. I called for help, like any sane individual. When no help was forthcoming, I called for someone to get the police. Again, you did nothing.”“Fuck you all. Rhada attacked me, so I put her down. Madi attacked me, so I put her down too; and it all your damn fault and not one of you has the courage to face that fact,” I shouted. “You attack me for fighting back at the same time you tell me to fit in. Now which is it? Am I to fit in to a martial culture, or am I not? Make up your damn minds!”“You do not get to talk to us like that,” St. Marie murmured.“Somebody better talk to us like this,” Katrina finally spoke. “Face facts: Cáel is here because he resists. He resists because that is the lesson we are teaching him, Sisters.”“What do you mean?” Elsa regarded Katrina.“When Cáel is challenged physically and resists successfully, or even unsuccessfully, he grows in the estimation of our Sisters. No one admits it, but it is the truth. The harder he fights, the more he is valued. It is a very simple principle. He has never believed he is a member of the Host, a Runner, or even a recruit. He does not strive to be an Amazon of any kind,” Katrina lectured.“Then we expect him to do ridiculous things like walk off with an Amazon he barely knows who doesn’t even explain where he is going, or what he is supposed to do,” Katrina shook her head. “Somehow we forecast his desire to be treated with a modicum of respect to be a threat? Respecting him does not make him an Amazon; it makes him a warrior in our cause.”“The Council has not decided on that portion of the New Directive yet,” St. Marie stated.“Warrior-Fathers,” Katrina declared firmly. “My niece, Aya; you all know of her; she went to camp this week and SHE formed her own war band with her fellow students. Fuck you all very much; It works!”“Katrina,” Hayden cautioned.“Hayden, I am tired of this half-measure bullshit. There is no being half-alive. We live, or we die. We made a mistake then we made another one. Let’s not make it three.” I raised my hand.“Yes?” Hayden finally acknowledged me.“Can I go back to work now? Sitting here is like commenting on the rain. I have a lot to say, but it won’t affect the rain one iota,” I reasoned.“You are not going to run?” Tessa asked. I knew she was joking.“Well, I can’t get past the front door. I can’t escape out the garage and I left my diamond-tipped glasscutter and 150 meters of rope in my other jacket,” I informed her.“I guess I’ll have to use the 15 kg of C-4 I have stuck in my shorts. I know it makes me look like I took a colossal dump in my underwear, but trust me, it is only a weapon,” I grinned. I tried to get around Elsa. She brushed her hand over my chest.“You are special,” she purred.“You scare me,” I mumbled.“I know,” she grinned happily.“Bye Pony-Lady,” I waved to St. Marie.“Cael,” Hayden called out. I halted, but didn’t turn around. “You will stop referring to the Marshal of the Amazon Host as 'Pony-Lady’, is that clear?”“Yes Hayden. Good-bye St. Marie,” I said as I departed.“Are you sure he is not mentally defective?” St. Marie questioned.“He is,” Elsa replied. “He laughs at Death.” See, what did I tell you? Now you can run out and pick up an infatuated female psychopath of your very own.(Later in the day)Knife-fighting class was taught by this painfully thin yet tall Amazon with mostly grey-white hair. There was nothing wrong with her reflexes, or sight. She regarded me, her only student, with passionless eyes. She had me sit down cross-legged, she did the same opposite me, and we spent an hour talking about the philosophy of knife-fighting.Knives were hardly ever the first weapon of choice. That was part of the lesson; knowing when to choose a knife to fight with. We talked about all kinds of blades, focusing on the short, hilt-less blades every Amazon carried. I had to get one special-made. It was the size of my palms. If the blade was too small, it would cut up my hand when I used it.Except for a few hand motions, it was verbal instruction. Knife from an advantage, knife from the front, and knife at a disadvantage. Each had its own set of rules to follow. It was cool. Me having a penis didn’t bother her in the least. At the end of the lesson, I asked if I could call her Zen Master. She said 'no’, her name was Pamela.I then asked if I could call her Zen Mistress Pamela. Smiling, she said 'no’ again. My last attempt was 'Blossoming Petals of Death Pamela’ at which point she laughed and told me to give it a rest. I found myself with a free hour so I raced down to the pool and took in a few laps. It was a crime against nature that all the Amazons were one-piece bathing suits.Here I was in my Speedo and no one to play with. That wasn’t really true. After my first lap, two Amazon lasses tried to engage me in a race without actually talking to me. As they were turning back they realized I was keeping to my same strong, casual strokes in my own little World.That annoyed them so the next time around, one got into my lane, turned to face me and stopped. Right according to plan, or if you prefer, like stealing candy apple kisses from a lady. I almost ran into her. At the very last second, I pulled up, letting my body coast up against her. She was treading water and looking vibrant.Her treading water meant I didn’t have to. One hand settled on her mid-back (friendly enough), but the other one cupped her right buttock and immediately probed along her cleft and to her pussy from behind. Her 'Happy Choice’ pop-up indicators went off and I had a winner. I was sure I could have pointed a shotgun in this woman’s face and she’d have spit on me.With my cock bumping up against her crotch, my finger wiggling around her suit for her pussy and my other arm keeping her close, she looked totally flummoxed.“What are you doing?” she whispered. I was sure she wanted to have that sound authoritative, not like plea for an instruction manual.“How about this,” I replied quietly, “you keep your hands moving and I’ll kick so that you can wrap your legs around my waist?”“Why would I want to do that?” she asked…while her legs wrapped around my waist. A little positon altering with my hand and I was having her pulse against my cock.“Deena?” the other Amazon called out. She was swimming in close proximity now.“I…” Deena responded to her comrade. “You are taking liberties,” she chastised me even as an erotic smile graced her lips.“Please don’t turn me in,” I murmured to her. My lips were a few millimeters from hers.The other woman could clearly make out our physical relationship between us.“Stop that,” the unnamed woman demanded.“Ah…” Deena moaned as I slipped two fingers past her swimsuit and into her slick cunt. The stranger tried to separate us, but Deena shook her head. “No…we are okay.”“Stop it,” I whispered. “Don’t make me…don’t make me…don’t,” and kissed. Total lie for the sake of our voyeur. Deena wasn’t currently capable of making me doing anything. Why was I doing this? Out of control libido plus stress plus I still had Yasmin and Felix to deal with. Oh yeah, Deena being cute, firm and just curvaceous enough to be Grace Kelly feminine didn’t hurt.“Why are we doing this?” Deena murmured sexily.“Am I making you happy?” I posed. She thought about it then nodded.“I thought being with a male would be more difficult,” she countered.“Stop looking so athletic,” I teased her, “and it will be easier for me to get away.”Calling an Amazon 'pretty’, or even 'beautiful’ would have limited, if any affect. Better words were 'impressive, swift, healthy, fit and athletic, because that’s what they valued in one another. Even 'scary’ and 'frightening’ were turning out to be good words to use. They never got enough male input to matter.“You are very healthy for a male,” Deena purred back.“How healthy?” the other one asked. She was now more curious than offended with my audacity.“He’s VERY healthy, Sharona,” Deena smiled. “He has strong fingers as well.”I knew the look Sharona shot me. It was the 'why her and not me?’ The answer was clear to her; Deena had been bold, thus won. It was traditional Amazon culture. I was easier to blame me because I was the guy. All three of us knew the score. More kissing and kitty-petting ensued. It became even more rewarding when I eventually bumped into Deena’s clit.I didn’t have to do much. My finger rubbed against her nub, Deena really liked that and started humping my finger before I could do anything. Public sex had never been a stimuli for me. I didn’t mind it and by the number of Amazons circling, or watching from poolside, they didn’t mind what Deena was 'doing’ to me either.There was no screaming, thunderclap of joy, or even a violent physical spasm. Deena pressed tight, made several yipping noises and came down whimpering happily. She was a truly content little camper; that was for sure.“You had sex!” one of the bystanders called out. I looked into Deena’s eyes.“If you say 'yes’, I’ll wake up tomorrow morning in Baku Faso,” I whispered.“No…no we weren’t,” Deena gave me a sultry look. “We were practicing lifeguarding techniques. Did I save your life…?”“I’m Cáel,” I breathed on her lips. “Yes, I feel like a whole new man.”“We will have to hone your skills; real soon,” Deena winked. That was not a request. That was 'come back, or I’ll hunt you down’.“I normally cannot make it before five,” I informed her.“That works for me,” Deena pulled away. She gave a warm sigh as my fingers slipped out of her. I made for the side. As I pulled myself out, my equipment straining at the seams, several wonderful ladies surrounded me.“Do you think you are leaving?” they confronted me.“I have a five o'clock end-of-day meeting with Katrina,” I calmly explained. Katrina was my 'Get out of Jail’ free card that allowed me to escape the pool and the shower without becoming a scratching post. Amazons aren’t animals; I’m just that sexy. Yes, I could pick up almost any girl at a club. I also had various Amazon pre-ordering collars with my name on it. By now my neck size was common knowledge.(Wednesday Evening)The stuff of my nightmares: I walk out from the end of day meeting with Katrina and the new hire ladies two see a gaggle of other women waiting for me, I assumed. I knew them all. Farah Winters recruited me from Bolingbrook, Umami Lhasa who was Tessa Carmichael’s right-hand woman, Tessa herself…and Yasmin Palhavã, my Brazilian hottie and workout date.“Hi Cáel,” they all greeted me.“Hey ladies,” I did my best to look happy. “What’s going on?”“Havenstone has offered me a job,” Yasmin grinned. How could this possibly go wrong? Yasmin thought this place was run by a crazy cult, so why did she look at ease?She could be trying to infiltrate Havenstone; bad idea. She could have had a conversion; I hope her son would be okay. She was…high on drugs…okay, the last one was weak.“What department?” I kept going.“We are trying to convince her to start out in Security Services (the guards) then move her up to Financial Investigations due to her expertise with the Policia Federal in her homeland,” Tessa said.“Cáel, by the look on your face, I know you are concerned. Ms. Carmichael; Tessa, has told me some things that put the situation in perspective,” Yasmin gave me an all so sexy look. “You are far braver than I thought you were.”“What? That I invested the entirety of my 401K on the comeback of Baleen Oil?” I joked.“My Son will be okay,” Yasmin patted my hand. Was I that much of an open book?“Do you have an instinct to protect children?” Umami inquired.“Not before I got here, but then I didn’t know anyone who would casually kill children either,” I responded. I had to ask the next question. I couldn’t be me and not.“Tessa, can I ask you a serious question?” I began. Tessa nodded. “Why was Yasmin 'read in’ to Havenstone? I don’t doubt for a second she’s a qualified as an investigator, but this strikes me as highly unusual and even reckless for your…people.”“It was this, or kill her,” Tessa answered. “By the way, that was Yasmin’s first question too.”“Precisely, my question was 'are you going to kill me for that crazy cult stuff that went down last week?’” Yasmin corrected. “She said I had to answer two questions to decide that.” In a bizarre, Amazon-style way, that made sense. Yes, Yasmin would beat her husband nearly to death for cheating on her; and shooting her, and she would willingly have sex again.I knew this because Buffy told me her backstory and it had Katrina asking her the two questions as well.“Yasmin, let me clarify this right now,” I held my ground. “I’m cheating on you. Please don’t hit me. It has been a bad day and the pain has just begun.”And all the psycho-bitches laughed.“Let’s go practice, É o meu P.A.,” Yasmin chuckled. No one was going to tell me what the damn phrase meant. I dare not look it up on-line because if I did, and Yasmin saw that flicker of understanding in my eyes…bad things would happen to me in the bedroom. No, I needed an alibi witness.To be honest, I thought the bedroom was Paradise until some ladies (I’d cheated on; surprise, surprise) tied me to one. Having my body waxed by sadistic amateurs was only recently exceeded by being shot with an arrow on my pain meter. It is not something I like to talk about. They dyed my hair bright pink too.I ended up nailing the new assistant at the College infirmary, so it wasn’t a total loss. Oh, and less I forget, they both took me back later, at the same time, without telling each other. It is a wonder I’m still alive. In an effort to keep that going, I took us to the non-blooded gym this time around.It wasn’t as nice as the full-blooded one, but it was still very full service. The biggest difference I had noticed earlier was the lack of archaic weapons on the wall near the training mat. Yasmin and I decided on a 40/20 split; forty minute of working out and twenty minutes on the mats. Around 5:30 pm, Felix showed up. Like me, he automatically drew attention and he’d clearly been cultivating his aura.He barely spared me a glance, being absolutely confident he had the advantage in every aspect of our contest; both physically and socially. Within minutes a subliminal ripple moved through the crowd. I was spotting Yasmin so it took me a bit to figure out what was going on; full-bloods had entered. One by one, I picked out Daphne, Paula, Dora, Tigger, Violet and Oneida.They weren’t coming at me; that would have kept things calm. No, 'my’ ladies were circulating and I didn’t need ESP to figure out what they were saying. In the ladies’ wake, evil looks where shot Felix’s way. Once more, he felt the undercurrent but misunderstood it. He thought I was seeding the crowd against him.One Amazon 'Runner’ cleared up the nature of the disturbance, if not reason for the outrage.“Did you really take a woman’s underwear to use as a trophy to throw in Cáel’s face?” the disbelieving woman asked. Felix was fearless.“Of course not,” he assured her. “One of Cáel’s many one night stands stopped by my place, slept and forgot…something. That’s all.”Good play. Since I wasn’t in on sabotaging Felix, I had no counter and I wasn’t going to get into a he-said/he-said contest that would leave me looking petty. Poor Felix, he kept forgetting we worked for some really smart women. Around thirty women into Felix’s counter-propaganda campaign, Daphne struck. She was confronted by a pro-Felix lady.“Really?” Daphne announced loudly. “Let’s clear this up why don’t we.” She pulled out her phone, hit one number and said, “Please project that footage to the 'Runner’ gym.”Ten seconds later, Felix and my conversation was projected to every TV suspended around the room. Yes, even Felix’s boast and getting in my face.This wasn’t solely Daphne’s doing. She didn’t have that kind of weight. Oneida on the other hand…Felix barely missed a beat.“Nyilas, you pulled that all out of context,” he growled. The best defense is a great offense.“Felix, I’m a guy. No way in Hell I have the kind of access to security tapes,” I held up my hands, proclaiming my innocence.Felix missed the 'I’m a guy’ part. The women didn’t. Most of them know I skated the rules, but never broke them. Yes, Katrina liked me. Would she give me access to security? That was laughable. Felix was about to pack on the stupidity.“Fine, you had one of your cheerleaders do it,” Felix counterthrust.Cheerleader was not a 'positive’ Amazon role model. Cheerleaders were women who promised sexual reward to male warriors that defeated their enemies (a bit of a biased view). The bipolar normal world reaction to cheerleaders aside, I knew cheerleaders were athletes who worked hard to pull off relatively complex routines. Telling the Amazons this was pointless.If any woman in this room had known a cheerleader before surrendering their old existence to become lethal man-killers, they probably didn’t like them. If they had been a cheerleader, they were keeping their mouths shut.“Are you implying we have lied and altered the official record of events?” Daphne sizzled.See, lying to me and Felix was expected. Lying to their fellow Amazons, despite the Blood Prestige rift, wasn’t going to happen. Trust and loyalty were fundamental virtues here. I imagine Felix had read that passage in the Handbook. I hadn’t believed it for the first two days either. I’d been educated since then.“I wouldn’t put it past you,” Felix glared right back at Daphne. Foolish; stupid.“Yasmin, I gotta go,” I hissed to my Brazilian MILF then rushed to get to Felix. I wasn’t doing it for Felix, the douche. I was doing it for Katrina and her New Directive. Felix had not officially fucked up; he was just being a jerk.Daphne sent Felix a wicked smirk. She’d kicked his ass. Felix knew his ass had been kicked yet still couldn’t grasp the underlying principles behind his defeat; he was in a Woman’s World.“Felix, let’s warm up,” I urged him once I was close enough to be heard.“After that stunt; you can go fuck yourself,” Felix glowered.“Dude, it wasn’t me, I swear,” I met his gaze.“I’m here. You find your own space,” Felix indicated another portion of the mat.“Felix, these ladies are about to kill you. You do not want to send me away,” I whispered. Felix formed a rebuttal then looked around.“Why?” Felix whispered back. Felix was finally acknowledging he’d lost. Now he wanted to know why.“I can’t explain it right now, but let’s say 'cheerleader’ was the wrong descriptive to use,” I continued. “Calling them liars only dug the hole deeper. It is the way it is.”Felix didn’t understand my words, but understood the intent. He was in Oz without any knowledge of the tornado that had taken him there. We didn’t spar together. I did stay close enough to make my intent clear; there would be no ambushing of Felix. You had to understand Amazon psychology to figure out why they weren’t angry with me.I was exhibiting loyalty; especially to a person I hated. Amazons had blood feuds, the specifics I hadn’t figured out. You could probably kick your opponent’s ass. If you stabbed them in the back, there was no rock on the face of the Earth you could hide under.“He practices Muay, Thai, and Savate,” Oneida snuck up on me. “I lend you my spirit,” she added with deep compassion.I turned on her and placed my hand between her breasts.“No. No cheating in this fight,” I insisted. That drew many stares. “Hold your spirit for the battles that matter, not for the resolution of male grievances. Your heart is fierce and I appreciate that, Oneida. No one’s spirit is infinite, so marshal your resources carefully.”Yes, I was lecturing Oneida; bad move. Yes, I was safeguarding her spirit, as would any of the other Amazons in the room; good move. Cloaking my lecture and concern in mystical terms; the win.“I care deeply for you too,” Oneida gave me a demur look, “my Ash Man.” Kill me. Kill me now.This culture didn’t have a 'ready-set-go’. When one person was ready, they attack without warning. I almost forgot that and blind-sided Felix. I didn’t hold back for him. I held back because I didn’t want him to be a whiny baby about this whole thing. I gave him a nod, he nodded back then he attacked.Two piston kicks by Felix backed me up. He switched up with a reverse roundhouse. That was his mistake; I slipped inside his kick range. I came at him; left jab, left jab, and a right cross in such a rapid blur the audience later told me their brains didn’t register the hits until after the fact. It was lights out for Felix. His body made a wet, thumping noise at it hit the mat.There was a hush. Everyone expected this fight to go the distance. I was more renowned for my stamina than punching power. Welcome to the world of light heavy-weight boxing. My problem with Madi had been I couldn’t touch her. I hadn’t even gone all out with Rhada and I dropped her with two jabs.A good number of 'martial artists’ think of boxing as a primitive fighting form. It is. It has also been around forever because the principles are rather simple and effective. Either don’t get hit, or soak up the hit (particularly for heavier fighters), set your opponent up and clobber then. Felix had meant to control me with his powerful kicks.Both Savate and Muay Thai have excellent fist and elbow blocks and strikes. It is simply difficult to switch your focus from kicking to blocking in the blink of an eye. That was less time than what I gave Felix. Most people think of boxers as freight trains, not snipers. In truth, we are both; locomotives approaching the speed of light (somewhat).Double back to all the options Savate and Maui Thai boxers have. They would never be afraid to take a risky kick because they can block in so many ways. Suddenly the issue became one of distance and balance. The boxer was at the kicker’s ankle at the moment of supposed impact and closing. By the time the kicker realized the kick’s over-extension the boxer was at his knee.The kicker still had a plethora of elbow, arm and hand blocks and grapples; except all his power has gone down that kicking leg, leaving him with on point of balance; his other leg. Sure he could get an arm up, but it only had the strength and weight of that limb to call upon. The upcoming hit? It had the mass times acceleration of the boxer’s body coming at him. Good luck.Felix could have beaten me, except it would have taken time. Closing would have allowed him to use all those nifty elbow, palm and hand strikes. It would have also allowed me to do what boxers to best; box. This wouldn’t give me an advantage, just leveled the playing field a bit. He didn’t want to grapple. I had an entire school devoted to grappling while it was an addendum to what he did.Felix’s saw me go to a boxing stance, and like most practitioners of Savate and Muay Thai, he laughed inside. He was going to make a mockery of me because my style sucked and his styles were the ones that best broke your enemies and caused them pain. He was going to knock me back with his kicks then close in and pummel me with every part of his body before I could slip into jujitsu. It would be lightning fast and bloody.Nice in theory; bad in practice. He should have worn me down with his stronger legs. Things fell apart when I stopped running away after the second kick. I couldn’t do much about the piston kicks. The reverse roundhouse on the other hand…allowed me to get close. I put him off-balance with two jabs, not letting him escape and out came the right with my entire mass behind it. I’ve hit a guy with that before who didn’t go down.He was 160 kg, almost 2 meters tall, a jaw made of chromium-steel and a bar bouncer. When he picked me up off the floor and helped me outside he told me I had a good punch. He wasn’t even angry with me. He was amused. I am far luckier than I deserve. His name was Amos. When I found out he had a sister, I got a good look at her picture to make sure I never, ever hit on her.Felix wasn’t that guy. He also wasn’t getting back up. 'Best’ of all, no one was going see how he was. I hoped I hadn’t killed him, or broken his neck. Before I could go to him I heard a voice behind me.“Is this the part where you take his underwear as a trophy?” Dora asked.“For the love of G; the Goddesses, tell me you are joking,” I gasped.“I got you!” Dora snickered.“Is someone going to help Felix?” I inquired. I sensed a bit of combat etiquette I was ignorant of. My previous Amazon opponents had always came to me when the fight was over and I’d lost.Usually they stood over me until I regained consciousness. Felix wasn’t getting that courtesy. He was being studiously ignored and I would have been separating myself from the 'lioness pride’ to help him. It was moral judgment time; Felix wasn’t worth the grief I’d get for disregarding the lesson the rest of the Amazons were administering.I waited at the closest mat edge, doing my cool-down with Yasmin and a few of my female…I guess I had to consider them friends now. What Felix did in front of them was bad, but they had gone above and beyond in coming to this gym and shattering his sexual anima and turning the crowd against him.Worse, while the 'new’ hires couldn’t justify an official corporate campaign against Felix, at the gym he was vulnerable to a propaganda blitz. By lunchtime tomorrow every woman in the building would know of Felix and his predilections toward the female gender. Amazons would still desire him alright. Felix better watch his precious Henie though in case someone decided to explain to him who was really the boss.After eight minutes, Felix stirred. He leveraged himself, took in his surroundings before letting his gaze settle on me. Any anger over my rudeness was dissipated by the social hostility focused on him. I silently offered up a water bottle. Felix hurriedly sprang up then blew the macho display by nearly tumbling back over.Felix took the water, splashed some in his face then drank the rest.“That was fast,” he finally spoke. “Damn fast.”“It was what it was, Felix,” I stayed neutral. “I hope this settles matter between you and I.” I could read it in his eyes; no way in Hell was this over.“I’ll stay away from Brooke,” Felix conceded. “Until next time.”“It was never about Brooke, Felix,” I sighed. “It was about using a woman to get at me. I never cared about anything like that before yet I do now so just don’t do it.” Felix snorted in amusement. He took up a towel and began drying off as he exited the gym.“He should be…” Oneida got out. I took another gamble.“No, Oneida,” I rested a gentle hand on her shoulder. “He did what a thousand other men would do. He’s an egotistical pain in the ass. He is also a fighter, brave and he refuses to accept defeat easily. You can’t instantly dissect his good qualities from his foul ones.”“It takes time,” Daphne supported me. She was also soothing any anger over the over-familiarity I was showing to Oneida. “Along with the rest of us, Cáel is showing Felix the delicate position men will hold in our world. It is a learning process for all of us.”“Felix is not a good man,” Oneida stated, “not like our Cáel,” she added, clearly crushing on me. Eek!!“Umm…ladies, thank all of you for your help this evening,” I looked over the group around me. “Having the room divided over Felix’s predations wouldn’t have done any of us much good. I’m glad this morning’s encounter was brought to light. Thank you all.” If someone does you a favor, thank them.If it is a woman, make doubly sure you tell them exactly what they did and risked for you. They will appreciate it; it strengthens your bond aka the promise of sex. Yes, I’m a sex-obsessed bad little piglet. The looks my Amazons were giving me told me how well my words were working, except for Yasmin, who seemed terribly amused by the whole romantic spectacle.The resulting shower scene was its own interesting ballet. As a male, I couldn’t be in the center. As a gravitational point in space, the tightest group of Amazons decided on who got into which orbit. Yasmin, despite me being on 'date’ with her, was exiled to the periphery. I wasn’t going to get into a shoving match over a six minute shower.Exiting the building was its own paranoid experience. Yasmin and I were leaving together. She was going to take a taxi home, check up on her son, then circle around to my place. We’d figure out 'where to go out to eat’ from there. Before Yasmin could stop me, I paid the cab for the trip, the wait and the delivery to my place.(The Ash Men; a history dump, for those not interested)I strode into my apartment, bike on my shoulder, when I realized I wasn’t alone. Elsa and Katrina; sigh. Breaking and entering? Disrespecting my domicile? This was not the time to be petty, or a stickler for boundaries. I put my bike in its customary place.“Can I get you something to drink?” I offered as I made my way to the kitchenette.“Lemonade would be nice,” Katrina stated.“What is that orange stuff?” Elsa inquired. Yeah, they searched my place already.“Dark orange, or light orange?” I countered.“The darker one.”“That’s carrot juice,” I informed Elsa.“I’ll try some of that,” she said. I fixed three drinks in tall glasses, handing them out before I joined Katrina on the sofa. Sipping my own lemonade, I turned to face Katrina.“Oneida is becoming a problem,” Katrina began. “She’s told you some things she shouldn’t have.”“The Ash Men,” I sighed. “You two being here makes this nothing but bad news.”“Not so,” Katrina corrected me. “It is a shameful episode in our history; so disgraceful we keep the truth of what really happened a closely guarded secret. Unfortunately, it is something House Arinniti has always felt strongly about and teaches their young.”“Amazons keep rather accurate histories, basing everything on lunar cycles. Our records, with minor gaps, date back to the Great Betrayal,” Katrina began. “By modern parlance, around 1000 BCE, our ancestors stopped a millennia of a nomadic existence to settle in the land between the Váh, Hron rivers and Danube rivers.”“You bitches know who the Magyar are,” I interrupted abruptly. Sure, that region was in current day Slovakia, but it bordered Hungary, my ancestral homeland, even though our residency was separated by over 1500 years.“Of course I know who the Magyar are,” Katrina shook her head mirthfully. “I simply can’t resist busting your balls.”I muttered angrily while avoiding using actual words.“Our numbers were enough to seize and hold the land,” Katrina continued. “For centuries before that, we raided for men from tribes whose land we were moving through. After a few seasons, we disposed of the men and took some more.”“When we chose to settle down, our Council decided to raid distant tribes and steal boys to be raised among our people. At first the males were virtual slaves yet in three generations, our people began seeing males as fathers, brothers and sons. We trained them in crafts. A few generations later, we voted to train them to be guardians; protectors of our hearths while the Host made war.”“For eighteen generations things went well. We prospered, grew rich and strong. The tribes around us feared our wrath which made us proud yet was our undoing. New, stronger tribes migrated into the region from the West; we now know them to be Celts. The genesis of House Epona is from those first meetings. Many Celtic women embraced the Amazon lifestyle.”“Though they knew of our strength, the first of these new tribes quickly went from peaceful coexistence to warfare. The Host crushed them. The problem was that new tribes kept coming and coming. Dirges of Mourning replaced the sweet taste of victory around our fires. We were always winning the key conflicts but our numbers were diminishing.”“The males came to the Council and begged for the opportunity to join the Host in battle. Twice we rejected them. The third time, we relented and allowed a select few males to join us in the fight and for a time the balance was restored. Our doom crept upon us. More conflict resulted in more men taking up arms to fight.”“What the Council could not perceive was the insidious influence of our enemies and it swept upon us on the wings of ravens by night; druids. Masculine deities, ethos and egos combined with our own blind arrogance to bring about our downfall. Constant contact with the Celts brought a different cultural view to our men. They began to question why women should rule.”“Somewhere around the year 680 BCE, it began. It was not a calamity over in a night, or even a week yet once it began there was no stopping it. Most of our males, never fighters, were taken as slaves by their former brothers and their new Celtic masters. Not all fighting males betrayed us. Those males risked their very lives to sneak into fallen towns and villages to rescue their daughters.”“The penalty our enemies exacted on our remaining fighting males was meant to keep the rest in line. They burned those brave men alive, in public. They burned them slowly, in much agony; the druids showed them how it was done. There is no record of any of our fighting males switching sides, or failing to undertake any mission for the Host. We survived as a people because of them.”“When all hope of remaining in our new homes faded, we fled east into the mountains. My ancestors were furious, frightened and shamed. They decided they had let down their guards around men and swore to never do it again. The only obstacle to this way of thinking was the handful of men who risked all for the Host’s survival and still lived.”“They sent those male survivors on one last, suicidal mission. They were to return home and incite the Celts’ wrath against the traitor males. For the Hell they unleashed, the druids were chosen for this final act vengeance. Amazon males slew the druids. The angry Celts fell upon their former allies, slaughtering the lot."Somehow, a tiny band returned to their mistresses. Their return was unexpected. In their absence, the High Priestess and Council decided to rectify their centuries’ old error in judgment. Only a few Houses; Arinniti among them; knows how each Council member voted yet the final decision is something we are dealing with today.”“The 'valiant’ Host went to their defenseless sons and butchered them. When the last Amazon males made it back they were rewarded with death as well. It is recorded that they didn’t even resist, loyal to their last drop of blood. In less than ten minute’s time, the last of the male line of Amazons perished.”“These are the 'Ash Men’ Oneida mentioned. Burned to death by our enemies for their devotion to us, burned to ash by the Host to hide our shame after we killed them for the crime of never betraying us. All full-blooded Amazons are taught about the Second Betrayal; except that last, pathetic and tragic addendum,” Katrina educated me.“Oh shit,” I interrupted. I was sure Katrina had more to tell me but I felt the hideo
As Napoleon famously stated, "If I had 2 Suchet's, I could've held all of Spain." Learn more about this reserved but brilliant general in this episode. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/generalsandnapoleon/support
Join Keith and Marshal as they trek with newly refit starship USS Enterprise (NC-1701), captained by Spock, along with the familiar Doctor McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and new faces such as Commander Saavik and a bunch of new cadets. When Admiral Kirk joins them for a shakedown cruise, they soon get alerted to someone trying to commandeer the terraforming Genesis device, and Kirk races to reunite with a former love as well as an old enemy.To download, right-click here and then click SaveJoin the Journey Into Patreon to get extra episodes and personal addresses, plus other extras and rewards.To comment on this or any episode:Send comments and/or recordings to firstname.lastname@example.orgTweet us us TwitterPost a comment on Facebook here
Tune in from October-December to our Christmas MuVies Spotlight show where Pam and Dawn chat with stars of the upcoming holiday movies from Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Great American Family, Lifetime tv, UPtv, etc. and new holiday music. Saturday, Nov. 26th at 7pm eastern - Join Christmas MuVies Spotlight with Pam & Dawn as we speak with actor, producer, director, writer, Steve Bacic about his career and his new starring role in the upcoming holiday movie, Time For Him to Come Home For Christmas with Tyler Hynes, Holland Roden, & Tenille Townes. Premiering Saturday, Nov. 26th at 8pm eastern on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. About Steve: A leading man who is just as comfortable playing scary villains or comic sidekicks, Steve Bacic has gone from strength to strength culminating into a half-decade of non-stop work. He landed a guest-starring role on the TV series 21 Jump Street, multiple episodes of Street Justice, M.A.N.T.I.S.,The Commish, Highlander, Viper, & The Marshal followed, along with important parts on The Outer Limits, The X-Files, Millennium, Andromeda, a recurring role on the short-lived but critically lauded Profit, Virgin Rivers, & Garage Sale Mysteries. Follow on social media: Twitter @take2radio @xmasmuvies Instagram & Facebook @take2radio @christmasmuviesspotlight Websites: take2radio.com christmasmuviesspotlight.com
Ride your horse over to Disneyland's Frontierland but check in with the Marshal before you start fishing. Fun Frontierland history in this week's episode. Below are some of the regulars on Art Throw Down, Follow all of them on Instagram anyway for great art and postcards in your Instagram feed: hipstadufus luluvision jlynch9923 greenmosspaper georgemailsart state_of_the_funyun RussRomano2021
Bonus episode on the life and times of Marshal Davout! We have a special guest, Jimmy Chen of NapoleonicImpressions.com, which is an online store selling unique printed products inspired by the Napoleonic era. Please checkout their site as they are a big supporter of ours. This episode focuses on Marshal Davout's role in the Russian campaign. We also discuss the battles of Austerlitz, Auerstadt, Eylau, and Wagram as well as the downfall of the Empire. Thanks for listening! --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/generalsandnapoleon/support
This week on the OTCBPodcast- we're back, baby! With the NLL 2022-2023 season just a few weeks away we get back into the swing of things with Marshal King of the Desert Dogs. After taking a year off from the NLL to be with his partner in her battle with Cancer, the younger King brother is ready to roll in Vegas. In the past few weeks there have been some interesting transaction moves, and we'll dissect where Rhys Duch may end up. Plus which new face will have the biggest impact on his new team and some BoxBets teasers before our Parlay returns next week. All that and more on this week's OTCB
In the second of two episodes on moral injury in the military, hosts Demi, Emma and Ed are joined by Katharine Campbell, a writer and neuroscientist. Katharine's biography of her late father Sholto Douglas, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Douglas of Kirtleside, was published in 2021. It highlights his lifelong battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and was shortlisted for the 2018 Tony Lothian Prize. Katharine collaborates with historians across Europe and with world experts on PTSD and has participated in the Australian Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. She also campaigns for the charity Combat Stress.
Marshal Davout, aka "Duke of Auerstadt", "Prince of Eckmuhl", "the Iron Marshal", and "The Just" had many titles because he earned them. The total dedication to his craft made him one of Napoleon's best. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/generalsandnapoleon/support
“That's what God does! When you listen, He moves!” In today's episode, Andi and Hannah enjoy a lively conversation with Rebecca and Marshal Fraiser, founders of Way Missions. The Fraiser family has become part of our Heritage Family over the last year ministering to our students, so while they were in town, we sat down to hear their incredible faith story. Two lovebirds share openly their touching story of how they got together with us. Their life is by definition- entirely led by the Spirit of God, and He is taking them on the most amazing adventures! They share that their primary goal as parents is to teach their children how to reach the heart of the Father. Family is ministry, and it's the center of everything they do. The next time we hear from them they could be in Costa Rica. As you listen, join your faith with theirs and hang on for a very fun ride! Resources: https://www.waymissions.com https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/way-missions/id1649874346
In this solo episode, I share my "Blue Chip Prospecting" Strategy that I've used to close more than $500k in organic sales just from Facebook... and EXACTLY how you can do the same thing for your business!I also dive into "Scarcity Mindset", and how trying to convince someone else to buy your product or service, is ACTUALLY a type of scarcity mindset.This episode is HIGHLY VALUABLE.Want to work with Marshal?https://www.TopPaidSpeaker.comFollow Marshal:https://www.Instagram.com/MarshalGillenhttps://www.tiktok.com/@MarshalGillenhttps://www.youtube.com/MarshalGillenhttps://www.facebook.com/MarshalGillen
Ladies and Gentlemen its time for our 3rd installment of FaBsgiving! This week we have special guest Marshal Meador return to the show to talk about Dynasty, gripe about Limited, and suggest that UPF and wild Deck Building is the key to Flesh and Blood Success! Over all its a Standard Bottom Tier Episode! Hope you enjoy! If you want more Bottom Tier content make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel! https://youtube.com/@bottomtierpod Our theme song was made by the AMAZING, Emilio Alcaraz. Follow him on IG: @emilio__alcaraz
Frank Canton was not born; he was created. The mental fabrication of a notorious outlaw and escaped convict by the name of Joe Horner. After possibly killing his first man at the tender age of 15, Horner would spend the next several years as a cowboy and ranch hand before forming the infamous Horner gang, that would terrorize north Texas during the mid-1870's. After a full-on gun battle with the United States military in broad daylight, Horner is arrested but escapes. And, following the successful robbery of at least one bank, Horner was once more apprehended and jailed – this time in San Antonio – and once more escaped. Arrested again after yet another gunfight, Horner would be tried, found guilty and sentenced to 15 years hard labor in Huntsville State penitentiary. He would only do two of these years, escaping once more – this time never to be seen again. At least not as Josiah Horner. The escaped convict would travel north, to Wyoming, and reinvent himself. Becoming Frank Canton, the epitome of law and order and a relentless pursuer of neerdoells. First as an inspector and detective for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and then Sheriff of Johnson County, before being a key player in a little something called the Johnson County War. Canton would then mosey on down to Indian Territory, and once again pin on a badge, first as a sheriff and then as a deputy U.S. Marshal, chasing bad guys Rooster Cogburn style. This was at a time when the Territory was nearly overrun with outlaws and the area Canton was initially stationed in was so bad the county commissioners were asking for martial law. Turns out all they needed was Frank Canton. But then a new frontier beckoned. What some were taking to calling the last Frontier. Alaska. There was gold up there in the great white north and with gold comes crime. More than enough to keep a man such as Canton busy. But what about Frank's past as an outlaw? The former life of Josiah Horner, the escaped convict? Would this ever catch up with him? And was he really Mr. Law and Order, humble public servant or was this just a façade? A way of him ensuring that he was always aligned with the powerful and influential. Believe me when I say, this story has it all. Cowboys, outlaws, moral quandaries, Buffalo soldiers, female rustlers, questionable morals, cattle drives, stampedes, a damn range war, a mercenary army, assassinations, murder, a whole lot of hangings, Tom Horn, the Pinkertons, Teddy Roosevelt, hell – even vampires! Yes vampires. Check out my website for more true tales from the wild and woolly west https://www.wildwestextra.com/ Email me! https://www.wildwestextra.com/contact/ Buy me a coffee! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wildwest Free Newsletter! https://wildwestjosh.substack.com/ Join Patreon for bonus content! https://www.patreon.com/wildwestextra Become a YouTube Paid Member for bonus content! https://www.youtube.com/c/WildWestExtravaganza Alias Frank Canton by Robert K. DeArment - https://www.amazon.com/Alias-Frank-Canton-Robert-DeArment/dp/080612900X The Johnson County War by Bill O'Neil - https://www.amazon.com/Johnson-County-War-Bill-ONeal/dp/1571688765/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1ODICTBSEA038&keywords=johnson+county+war&qid=1668567269&s=books&sprefix=johnson+coun%2Cstripbooks%2C155&sr=1-2 Wild Bill Hickok | Part 2 - https://www.wildwestextra.com/wild-bill-hickok-part-two/ Britt Johnson & the Searchers - https://www.wildwestextra.com/britt-johnson-the-searchers/
Legendary knight William Marshal sets off on a dangerous pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He's determined to follow through on his vows to the dying Young King and take his friend's crusader cloak to Christ's tomb. The journey east is perilous enough, but when he arrives in Jerusalem, Marshal finds a city teetering on the edge of disaster. This is History is a Somethin' Else & Sony Music Entertainment production. Find more great podcasts from Sony Music Entertainment at sonymusic.com/podcasts To bring your brand to life in this podcast, email email@example.com Written and presented by Dan Jones Producer - Rosie Merotra Series Producer and Story Editor - Georgia Mills Executive Producer - Dave Anderson Executive Producer - Peggy Sutton Production Manager - Jen Mistri Composer - Matt Acheson Sound Design and Mixing - Chris O'Shaughnessy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Augereau's life was almost too incredible to believe. Learn all about this intriguing character in this episode. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/generalsandnapoleon/support
Persistence pays off as Jeanette Ward continued to submit this film until it won. This sequel to the widely remembered "The Fugitive" is itself widely forgotten, but not this week. An action film with the Marshal team reassembled in pursuit of a different fugitive seems like a perfect set up and when you add Wesley Snipes and Robert Downey Jr. , how could you miss? We debate whether this sequel hits the bullseye or misses the target, but everyone seemed to be glad to revisit this 1998 film. Come listen and find out why.
And here's the copy: A brand new Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars! "Don't Go Stealing Waterfalls" Written by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker Starring Marc Evan Jackson as Sparks Nevada; Mark Gagliardi as Croach the Tracker; Busy Philipps as the Red Plains Rider; Phil Lamarr as Ranger Mannogman; Joy Osmanski as Bernice Mannogman; Cyrina Fiallo as Delcomb; Katelyn Tarver as Yassandra; Marcus Bishop-Wright as the Automaton; and Hal Lublin as Folksy Hal. Engineer/composer/producer: Jordan Katz Video of this episode can be viewed via our Patreon, where you can also find the entire back catalog of The Thrilling Adventure Hour plus Bonus Content, Complete Libraries of Classic Segments, and more: https://www.patreon.com/thrillingadventurehour Follow The Thrilling Adventure Hour: https://twitter.com/ThrillingAdv https://www.facebook.com/ThrillingAdventureHour The Thrilling Adventure Hour Treasury is a Forever Dog podcast https://foreverdogpodcasts.com/podcasts/the-thrilling-adventure-hour Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Marshal is an aspiring stand up comedian who wasn't raised in the ideal circumstance but has forged himself into a great human and a spectacular guest on our show. We tour through Marshal's past and present raking up many quality conversations along the way. This is one of those that makes 3 hours feel like 45minutes.
One of Napoleon's oldest acquaintances, but probably the most odious of all the marshals - Victor had a long, checkered career in the Empire. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
Marshal Bernadotte aka King Charles XIV of Sweden was an interesting man. He had many talents on the battlefield and in the political arena, but he was never fully trusted by Napoleon - for good reason. Find out more about this marshal who still has a dynasty in Europe to this very day. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
Sheriff Morgan transports a federal witness to Tucson only to see the U.S. Marshall gunned out and himself tasked with capturing the criminal behind the whole thing. Season 2, Episode 39 of Sheriff of Cochise Original Sheriff of Cochise Air Date: December 13, 1957 Order/Air Date for U.S Marshal unknown
A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.DirectorsEthan CoenJoel CoenWritersJoel Coen(screenplay)Ethan Coen(screenplay)Charles Portis(novel)StarsJeff BridgesMatt DamonHailee Steinfeld Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched! If you liked this episode, please rate/review us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @ApexMountainPodSend us an email: firstname.lastname@example.orgCheck out our TikTok: tiktok.com/@apexmountainpodcastCheck out our movie list: letterboxd.com/apexmountainMusic from bensound.comSupport the show
This podcast was made possible by www.labrottiecreations.com Check out their merchandise and specifically their fun pop pet art custom pieces made from photos of your very on pets. Use the promo code CRIMEXS for 20% off a fun, brightly colored, happy piece of art of your own pet at their site.Music in this episode was licensed for True Crime XS. Our theme song today is Indestructible by Noah Smith. Additional music is The Pull of the Tide by Holiday on the Moon.You can reach us at our website truecrimexs.com and you can leave us a voice message at 252-365-5593. Find us most anywhere with @truecrimexsThanks for listening. Please like and subscribe if you want to hear more and you can come over to patreon.com/truecrimexs and check out what we've got going on there if you'd like to donate to fund future True Crime XS road trip investigations and FOIA requests. We also have some merchandise up at Teepublic http://tee.pub/lic/mZUXW1MOYxMSources:www.namus.govwww.thecharleyproject.comwww.newspapers.comFindlaw.comVarious News Sources Mentioned by Name
Marc Cameron is a New York Times bestselling author. Cameron's Jericho Quinn Thriller Series debuted in 2011. Since then, he's written eight Quinn novels and four Arliss Cutter novels featuring a deputy US marshal based in Alaska, including the most recent Cutter, Cold Snap. Marc is the author of five Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan novels for the Tom Clancy estate, including the most recent, Chain of Command. A retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, Marc spent nearly thirty years in law enforcement. He holds a second-degree black belt in jujitsu and is a certified law enforcement scuba diver and man-tracking instructor. The job of a deputy US marshal is extremely varied. Marc's career focused primarily on dignitary protection and fugitive operations. As a member of the rural Tactical Tracking Unit for the US Marshals District of Alaska, Marc routinely tracked lost hikers, hunters, and fugitives in the vast Alaska bush. His assignments have taken him from Alaska to Manhattan, Canada to Mexico and dozens of points in between. Interviewer Michael Wiley writes the Sam Kelson Chicago PI mystery series, the Shamus Award-nominated Franky Dast mysteries, the Daniel Turner thrillers, and the Shamus Award-winning Joe Kozmarski hard-boiled detective mystery series. He lives in Jacksonville and teaches at the University of North Florida. --- Sign Up for Library U to hear about the latest Lit Chats and catch them live! — https://jaxpubliclibrary.org/library-u-enrollment Marc Cameron Borrow Marc's books from our collection: https://jkpl.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default/search/results?qu=AUTHOR%3D%22marc+cameron%22&te= Website: https://marccameronbooks.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarcCameron1 Michael Wiley Borrow Michael's books from our collection: https://jkpl.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default/search/results?qu=AUTHOR%3D%22michael+wiley%22&te= Website: http://www.michaelwileyonline.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/mwileyauthor Jacksonville Public Library Website: jaxpubliclibrary.org Twitter: twitter.com/jaxlibrary Facebook: facebook.com/JaxLibrary Instagram: instagram.com/jaxlibrary YouTube: youtube.com/user/jaxpubliclibraryfl Contact Us: jplpromotions (at) coj.net
Germany, 1806: while Napoleon was winning another triumph at the Battle of Jena, the Third Corps of his army was forced to fight alone in a desperate battle against a superior force. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What became of Moni and Patience after their encounter with the shimmering creature in the desert? Will Chester be able to solve the mystery or perhaps even save his friends?Content Warnings: Profanity, Violence, Gun Violence, Self-Harm, Harm to Animals, Fire, DrowningKeeper of Arcane Lore: cuppycupCampaign Author: Graeme PatrickExecutive Producer: cuppycupContent Editors: cuppycup, Graeme PatrickAudio Editor, Sound Designer, Music Supervisor: cuppycupPlayer CharactersBrandon Wainerdi as Chester McCoyBridgett Jeffries as MoniRina Haenze as Patience CartwrightNPC VoicesScott Dorward as Professor GristNic Rosenberg as Professor MillsKeith Houston as Professor FenshawDelton Engle-Sorrell as Professor Church and Chester Creature FXDanny Scott as Mr. Friend and extrascuppycup as Jimmy“Dead Man Walking” Theme by Cody FryCover Art Designer: Ewerton Lua https://www.artstation.com/ewertonluaThank you to all of our Patreon posse members and special shoutout to our Marshal and Bounty Hunter level patrons: Althalos, Altheren, Anthony D., Brandon B., Call Me Dirt, Caolán M., Chris B., Cody N., Dan A., Dan F., David D., Drew M., Dustin B., Dylan M., E.M.F.D., firecop890, Heather P., Jeff F., Jessen, Kevin M., Killius Manjaro, Lancey Pants, Mario S., Matthew C., Michael H., Mikah S., Nathanael C., Rich P., Sig-Free & Roy, Stephen D., Tensoon's Shadow, YouHaveABuddy**Buy Ain't Slayed Nobody Shirts**https://slayed.me/merch**Chat with Us**https://slayed.me/discord**Add our Patreon Feed to your Podcast App**https://open.acast.com/public/patreon/fanSubscribe/3607115 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.