This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!
Prologue ~ Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~
Ch 12 ~
Ch 13 ~ Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~
True to Nereida's word, when Kairavini was released from the infirmary he was assigned his own quarters. He stood just inside the door and looked around curiously. There was a freshly made up bed against one wall, a size larger than the ones in the dormitory, and a small table with a lamp on it beside the bed. There were a series of drawers, for storage, set into the opposite wall with a clothing refresher above them. A desk with a computer terminal on it was next to the door.
Crossing over to the bed he sat down and gave an experimental bounce, grinning when there was no attendant to tell him to stop. His smile faded as he looked around again. There was nothing wrong with the room, and he'd been told he could use colour and images to change it however he liked, but he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to get used to being alone.
There was always someone to talk to in the dorms. At night he found the sound of the other boys breathing, even their snoring, soothing. Yes, this was going to take some getting used to.
You're never truly alone, Nereida whispered in his mind. I'm with you always.
Not always, he corrected sadly. You blocked me from your mind in the infirmary.
I only blocked you from part of my mind. Everyone needs a little privacy some time.
Not yet you don't, but I daresay there will come a time when you won't want to share everything either.
I can't see a time like that.
No? Do you really want me in the back of your mind during your first breeding?
Ravi shivered where he sat on his bed. No, I see your point.
Tell me about your room, she asked, changing the subject.
He brightened immediately and launched into a lengthy description. And you know what the best part is? he asked.
No, what? she asked, clearly amused by his enthusiasm.
My own sanitary facilities. I don't have to wait in line to shower with ten other boys ever again.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Classes resumed for Ravi the next day. It was a much smaller class, not everyone passed their tespiro and of those who did, not everyone was chosen for the breeding program. He was glad to see at least one familiar face amongst the survivors - Zephryn looked equally happy to see him.
Little had changed, as far as the classes themselves went. There was still a heavy concentration of maths and sciences, the only addition being the weekly lecture on the breeding program and their part in it.
They began with basic anatomy concentrating on both the male and the female reproductive systems. It gave Ravi a somewhat uncomfortable feeling, but he lived to serve, as did they all.
"Humans choose their mates indiscriminately. They have many poetic euphemisms for the act of procreation and use it to express the emotion of what they call love. You are Ardraci, Elementals, feelings do not enter into the act of breeding."
Now Ravi was truly uncomfortable. He loved his sister Nereida, but could never imagine expressing that love in such a fashion.
"Now, I know some of you have been researching the act of procreation." The teacher looked pointedly at Zephryn who flushed and looked down at his desk. "And you have no doubt discovered myriad ways of engaging in the sexual act, a few of them which are not conducive to breeding."
Ravi slanted a sideways look at his friend. He'd have to remember to ask about this later.
"You need only concern yourself with the one method that is used in breeding." The teacher pulled up a picture of a chart on the screen. "These are the different stages of the breeding. Memorize this chart - there will be a test on it later."
Dutifully, Ravi looked up at the couples depicted on the chart. It seemed simple enough. Was that really all there was to it? Maybe he needed to do some independent research of his own.