Barons of Oartheca | James Siewert
The Oarthecan Star Saga #2
Release Date: April 30th, 2022
Cover Artist: Ryan Carriere
Word Count: 144,683
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and your enemies bolder…
Headed in opposite galactic directions, Rowland Hale and Toar Grithrawrscion must find a way to reunite despite the myriad of challenges dogging their every step. An unwelcome surprise finds Rowland picking up the pieces of what he thought was his life, and Toar learns the hard way that the Pryok’tel always settle the score.
Can their blossoming relationship survive, or will it be torn to bits between needle-sharp teeth?
In Barons of Oartheca, the exciting sequel to the one-of-a-kind adventure Allure of Oartheca, James Siewert plunges our two heroes into an epic fight for survival with adversaries both old and new, and asks the question, Is family those you love, or those you trust … with your life?
Nothing quite like being marched down the hallway by a squad of elite Pryok’tel slavers to put a dampener on your day. Shame, especially since up until now, I was otherwise having a fantastic time aboard the Oarthecan Space Services Navy (OSSN) Grolthon’s Spear.
It’s my sixth, and by all appearances, last day aboard the Spear, and even though during this time I was both a patient recovering from a near-fatal plasma blast and a prisoner in custody for breaking the Oarthecan Decree, I felt like I’d been on a bit of a holiday, really. It’s a misery that it’s come to an end the way it has—we were scheduled to arrive home tomorrow, but that’s all gone up in smoke.
Was looking forward to seeing my Dad, I was. He’d managed, under his authority as the High Baron Grithrawr XXI, to send me a personal message, which, due to my previous conviction in getting the Baron Thursk killed, is technically against the law. However, Dad’s not used to having his will thwarted, and I suspect that my near-death experience bought him the leverage he needed to bend the rules.
The message was genuinely kindly, if somewhat stern, which is a good summation of my baron-father in general. Though he is looking forward to me being home, Dad’s not entirely pleased with my recent escapades. Have the feeling he’s going to be far less pleased with my current ones, however.
Pity about all this, especially since I’m in a much better place health-wise than when I first arrived on the Spear, entirely due to the excellent care of my doctor, Yozthren Letherclan—or due to his penchant for unnecessary needles, Dr. Pokey, if he’s cared for you long enough. I hope he’s all right; it’s been a horrid morning for everyone aboard the Spear, and I’m worried, to a rage, about what these sireless Pryok’tel ghouls have planned for us.
Under Dr. Pokey’s vigilant eye (and still quite talented hands, but that’s just between him and me), I’ve all but made a full recovery from a rifle-shot that burned a fist-sized hole in my left side, just above my hip. I’ve had an intestine graft and a freshly cloned gallbladder installed, and according to yesterday’s medical exam, both have set up shop like they’ve always been there.
And while my two vaporised kidneys and damaged liver were still on my list of things to get sorted, Dr. Pokey told me there’s no desperate need for those, as my remaining two kidneys are handling things well enough and my liver’s at just under eighty percent. An incredible recovery, Dr. Pokey remarked, but it all seems a bit of a waste now.
As for my arrest for having broken the Oarthecan Decree that prevents contact between Oarth and human males (which I most thoroughly, and enjoyably, accomplished)—well, thanks to the kindness of Derrarvral Henthrothsire, captain of the Grolthon’s Spear, that’s been more of a formality than an actuality. Never even saw the brig, so kind he’s been to me.
The Decree, put in place to prevent contact with a human male’s permanent and lethally-charged Allure (that they have no control over, either), is one that is not to be trifled with, yet trifled with it I did: about a week ago, I’d rescued said human male, the incredibly handsome, wondrously intelligent and terrifically brave Rowland Hale, after his ship had been destroyed during a Pryok’tel raid. I then made the decision to help Rowland recover both his kidnapped crew and a stolen VEILLED system, which, had it fallen into the hands of the Pryok’tel, would have resulted in them learning how to turn their ships invisible.
Normally, the punishment for breaking the Decree is essentially life-time imprisonment and being permanently exiled from your family. So far, I’ve only been charged with breaking the Decree, and there’s quite a lot of mitigating circumstances that might save me from being convicted: my meeting Rowland was under an act of mercy, and our subsequent adventure not only prevented the VEILLED technology from being harvested, but also resulted in the rescue of his crew and twenty Oarth. Importantly, two of the rescued Oarth were barons, and one was an embercoat drone, our red-furred cousins who up until that rescue were thought to have been driven to extinction.
So instead of being sent to the brig for my crime, Derrar gave me the Spear’s guest suite, the one that’s usually reserved for high-ranking dignitaries. While not as fine as the Spear’s barons’ quarters, my room was nevertheless quite on the luxurious side. Tastefully decorated and wonderfully spacious, with good, sensible Oarthecan architecture throughout—curved walls, flowing lines, and not a sharp corner in sight.
On my first night, I discovered that I could stand fully upright, even on my tippy-toes, and still have excellent clearance for my head, which was a treat I’d not enjoyed on a spacecraft for quite some time.
That, and my sleeping pit was so large and lush that I could stretch out entirely and not even reach the sides, and sink down deep for a proper sleep. Ah, I’ll miss that, for certain—the Pryok’tel don’t deem us Oarth worthy of proper rest, let alone proper bedding—it’s the cold floor for us drones, if we manage to survive ‘till bedtime, that is.
At this particular moment, I’m being led down the hallways of the Grolthon’s Spear by my nose via a sturdy metal chain that’s attached to a muzzle I’ve been forced to wear, and with the other end in the hands of the lead Pryok’tel raider. It’s not your typical muzzle, like the one you’d use to train a sharp-toothed cretralth, but a custom-built one the Pryok’tel designed specifically for us drones. It’s a full metal casing that fits round our heads and tightly over our nose and mouth, preventing us from using our sharp teeth as weapons, but that’s not the worst of it.
About The Author
James and his husband live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Part-time office drone, part-time storyteller, full time science-fiction and fantasy aficionado, James couldn’t find enough stories involving characters who are like him and his husband: big men with big hearts!
Taking matters into his own hands, James hopes to share stories where brawny blokes with hearts of gold take centre stage. Join him in his worlds and discover authentic characters, gripping scenes, lush imagination, a touch of the mushy stuff and one-of-a-kind heroes in truly daring adventures!