The Black Sky, Chapter 1

The second novel in the Makalang series, The Black Sky, is available for pre-order now, and will be released Dec. 15. Since we’re getting close, I’m going to post a couple of sample chapters between now and then. The third installment, The Golden Staff, will be available to pre-order the same day, and I’m going to preview the cover next week.

Note that this sneak preview is very NSFW and contains some spoilers for Book 1. So proceed with caution.

There were days I could almost forget I was trapped on an alien world. Today was one of them. 

If I closed my eyes a bit, the sky above me wasn’t just a bit too purple, and the sun wasn’t just a little bit too small. I was simply lying in the sun beside the wading pool on the balcony of my newly acquired and very large house. As long as I didn’t look off to my right, out into the city, I didn’t see that the house resembled a Mayan temple, didn’t see the armed cat-girls patrolling the exterior, and didn’t see the clusters of not-quite human people outside the walls looking up at me.

But I didn’t want to keep my eyes closed for long, because that would mean not seeing my five beautiful wives as they lounged and played in the water. 

There was Ayarala, my first wife, who was the most human in appearance with her elfin features, pointed ears, and pale-to-translucent skin. She was of the Taitalan race of dwenda and had the purple eyes and metallic golden hair that was common amongst her kin. 

There was Kisarat, my second wife, the talalong with serpentine eyes, patches of scales across her skin, and a long snake-like tail. Her emerald hair sparkled in the sun like strands of green glass.

Narilora, my third wife, was linyang, the same race as the cat-girls patrolling my house. She had small cat-like ears poking out of her obsidian hair, feline green eyes, and a long, furred tail. Instead of nails, she had small retractable claws at the ends of her fingers.

Then there was Eladra, the cunelo, who looked like a literal Playboy bunny with her big breasts, long white ears, and a small fluffy tail. But that contrasted with her light brown hair, light blue eyes, and perpetually innocent expression that made her seem more like that girl who grew up next door.

Finally, there was Merindra, with her ruby hair, red-brown eyes, and a body like a lingerie model. She was sorai and had the foxlike ears and long fluffy tail that distinguished her race. She was the tallest of the five, though she barely came up to my chin. 

Taitalans were a short people, and I towered over everyone I’d met so far.

I watched them playing together but stayed where I was on the sunbed along the edge of the balcony. Swimsuits were not a thing on Taitala, so of course they were all naked. It made sense when you thought about it. Taitala was about 99.9% female, and absent patriarchal ideas about female modesty, there was no practical reason why you would need clothes to go swimming.

I had several dozen other wives, but these five were the inner circle and my favorites. The overall total was constantly fluctuating because of the agreement I’d worked out with the clan leaders.

When I arrived here six sampars ago – roughly two Earth months, as a sampar was ten Taitalan days – through a strange crystal cave in the mountains above San Diego, I was received as a legendary creature known as the makalang. The makalang was a sort of Taitalan analog to Bigfoot, that is if you imagined Bigfoot as the ideal specimen of masculinity. Taitalan males, who were about as rare here as a four-leaf clover on Earth, were effete, degenerate, three-foot-tall blue-skinned creatures who largely kept to themselves while the females ran everything.

Everything, that was, except the process of reproduction.

Taitalan females who wanted to bear children had to present themselves to a receptive male and hope to be chosen as wives, and then hope that their chosen male might get around to having sex with them some time within the next five or ten talons(a talon being a Taitalan year and about twice as long as a year on Earth). Because the act of reproduction was a very brief, mechanical process devoid of pleasure for either party, the males cared little for it except to the extent it allowed them to extort concessions from females.

And that was in the best of circumstances, which the present situation most certainly was not. Not only were Taitalan males generally uninterested in mating, it was a thing only the younger ones were able to do with any frequency. Males lived a lot longer than females – at least twice as long – but almost all of the males who were still alive were so old that they had little ability to mate at all. 

So few children, male or female, were being born now that their entire society was on the verge of extinction. I’d been told that it hadn’t always been this bad, but over the past several centuries – Taitalans used a unit known as a kumala-talon,roughly 80 Earth years – the number of male children, as well as their vitality, had been slowly declining. 

The upshot of this was that Taitalan civilization was dying.

Around this grew the legend of the makalang. The makalang, the stories went, was a tall, virile creature who took many Taitalan females as wives, mated with them regularly, and sired many strong children. So strong was the attraction of this legend that it supplied a substantial amount of plot material for the Taitalan equivalent of romance novels and dramas.

Except, as I’d found out, the makalang wasn’t just a legend. There had been other makalangs before me, and though there was still a great deal I didn’t know, I had come to the conclusion that the makalang played some key role in the survival of Taitala. 

My main job here, then, was to father as many children as possible. On that point, I was off to a good start. I figured Ayarala and Kisarat would be starting to show soon, while Eladra and Merindra likely wouldn’t for a while longer. About half of my other wives were also pregnant. 

Those other wives included some I’d taken from the previous owner of my house, a male named aJia’jara, who had tried to confine me in an assembly-line breeding operation. I, naturally, objected to this, and our disagreement ended with a sharp stick through his head. The custom on Taitala was that if a male with wives and assets – the term was tsulygoi – defeated another in combat, the winning male took all the loser’s wives and possessions. So I ended up with a house, lots of females, and a shit-ton of Taitalan money. 

The remainder of my current wives had been sent by the leaders of the clans. I agreed to do what I could to give them children, though I insisted on keeping my wives here instead of having females come and go. Some of the pregnant ones had since returned to their clans, but as I also agreed to let them go if they wanted to, that wasn’t an issue for me. It cleared out room for the next batch. There was only so much room in my house, after all. By working through the clans, I figured we could keep things fairly orderly.

Though my idea worked well at first, the approach was starting to show its limitations. Once word got out that the makalang was real and living in Phan-garad – this city I now resided in – quite a lot of females were not willing to wait for the clan leaders to decide who got to mate and who didn’t. 

Day after day, females from all five races were showing up outside the gate to my compound wanting to be considered as wives. That was why I had a group of linyang guards controlling entry. Some of the guards had been aJia’jara’s; others had been sent by Ceriniat, the leader of the linyang, who lived more or less next door to me in what was the wealthiest area of the city. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t sympathize with these females. It was more that the clan leaders wanted to make the most of the opportunity I presented, and they wanted to ensure that I was inclined to continue mating with their females as long as I could. So they’d been sending me the most beautiful, intelligent, and skillful girls they could find, though each clan differed in what skills they prioritized. Dwenda were mostly healers and administrators; talalong were scientists and scholars; linyang and sorai were fighters; and the cunelo focused on domestic skills. Given all that, I just didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with the random girls at my door.

Today’s crowd was the largest yet. I looked down from the balcony out across the field, seeing about a hundred females of all races milling around and looking up at me as I sat by the pool. Many of them held crystal tubes to their eyes, which I knew functioned similarly to binoculars; others held signs written in Taitalan. I didn’t understand their language yet, but my wives told me they said things like Makalang, pick me! and Please mate with me and I will be your wife.

Merindra rose from the pool and walked slowly in my direction, squeezing the water out of her ruby hair and long tail. She shook herself briefly in a manner that reminded me of a wet dog, except for the way her firm breasts bounced around as she did it. 

She climbed onto the sunbed, straddling my legs, and I reached up to play with her damp boobs. She bent down to kiss me, then looked out toward the crowd.

“They’re watching. Should we give them a show?”

Almost on cue, I could hear murmuring from the crowd.

“No need to be mean.”

“I’m teasing. We should go inside. Narilora is waiting.”

I looked behind her. My cat-girl had disappeared. 

“Lead the way.”

She stood up, taking my hand. The crowd moaned in disappointment as we went inside.

I found Narilora lying in our bed. All of my five main wives were close and good friends, but they had certain dynamics amongst them, and Narilora and Merindra had taken to each other in a way I found intensely arousing. It was probably because both of them were deadly warriors, and they enjoyed sparring with each other and me regularly. They tended to view sparring as foreplay, so our workout sessions often ended in sex.

I lay down between them, and for a little while we just kissed and fondled each other. Then the girls slid down and took turns using their mouths on me. Oral sex between males and females didn’t exist on Taitala – mating was about children, not pleasure – but once I explained how it worked on Earth, my wives all embraced it eagerly.

I withstood their attentions as long as I could before pulling Merindra up to my mouth and Narilora onto my hips. She backed down on to my erection as the two of them came together above me, kissing. 

One of the weird things about being the makalang was that I could sense the emotions and arousal of my wives on a visceral level, as a sort of unique telepathy-empathy. I couldn’t read their thoughts, but it was enough for me to understand what they were saying even though they were speaking Taitalan. And it also allowed me to know exactly what they enjoyed in bed. 

So as Merindra rode my tongue and Narilora rode my dick, I could feel them growing closer to orgasm, could feel everything inside them as if it was happening to me. And this same weird connection also caused me to absorb energy from their bodies at climax, drawing it out of them. Among other things, the process dramatically accelerated my healing abilities. And if I did it enough times in a short period, I grew strong enough to, among other things, wipe out an angry group of armed linyang without a scratch, which I’d done escaping from the cell aJia’jara had me confined in.

Narilora came first, legs shaking, tail thrashing over my legs, and fell to the side. Merindra fell forward, taking me back in her mouth. Then she shivered in release herself, thighs and tail battering my head. 

I let her coast down, then rolled her over. I sat up on my knees and moved between her legs. She welcomed me into her. 

Taitalan males, with their tiny stature, had penises about the size of an average earthworm. That meant the females had some adjustments to make when I came along. My wives were used to me now, but they were all still wonderfully, deliciously tight. I looked down at Merindra as I drove into her, watching her breasts shake under me and a lustful look contort her face.

I wasn’t going to last long. But as I grew close to orgasm, she began tapping my hips.

Tsulygoi . . . my body is yours . . . but you should give your seed to Narilora.”

Shit. I had forgotten about that. I stopped and withdrew. But before I could do anything, Narilora jumped up from the bed and ran over to a couch across the room. She pulled her knees up to her chest and looked out the window.

I went after her, sitting down next to her and hugging her. But she remained rigid in my arms, and I could see she was fighting tears.

“Hey, hey, pussy-cat, it’s okay.”

“I don’t need your pity.”

“It’s not pity. We just want what you want.”

She tried to pull away from me.

“I failed you as a warrior, and now I have failed you as a wife.”

She was referring to the fight with aJia’jara, when he’d taken her hostage. I’d killed him, but he’d then nearly killed her. Only the energy I’d stored during my escape had been enough to heal her.

“You did not fail me. I couldn’t have escaped in the first place if you hadn’t unlocked the door.”

“I should not have been taken like that. I knew he was in there, yet he surprised me like a rank kitten.”

“We beat him. We. You were part of it.”

Fine. We beat him. Then maybe I should join the guards. I am of no use to you otherwise.”

I pulled her to me again, and this time she relaxed, leaning against me and crying.

“Babe, it’s only been a few sampars. These things don’t always happen right away.”

“Yet you have somehow put every other female in this house with child.”

I wanted to say, not every one, but I knew that wasn’t the point.

“Even your bunny-girl,” she spat, using my term of endearment for Eladra.

“Hey. That’s not fair. This has nothing to do with her.”

She sighed.

“I am sorry. I love Eladra. I do. But she conceived the very night you took her for the first time. I am sure of it. Kisarat as well, and likely Merindra. Yet I have nothing despite all the times we have mated.”

Merindra had come over, sitting behind me.

Awasa-late, if I could give this child to you to ease your anguish, I would.”

Narilora climbed over me to embrace Merindra. I held them both. 

“I want you to have many strong children, awasa-late,” Narilora said, using the Taitalan term for sister-wife. “I just wish that for myself as well. Even one.”

She took my hand and put it on Merindra’s stomach. The emotional connection I had with my wives, when I tried, also allowed me to sense the children within them. And I could sense our daughter within Merindra, a tiny little spark of Merindra-and-Will energy in her belly. A tiny fox-girl. I knew, somehow, that it was female, as were all the children I’d fathered so far. 

I would almost certainly never see a male child, given how the birthrate was even more skewed than the population. Maybe one in a thousand Taitalans was male, but at best one in ten thousand births these days produced a male child. Those few females who did so were regarded as something like Super Bowl MVPs, if not national heroes. So rare was it now that most Taitalans could name every female in their clan who had birthed a male child in the last two kumalatalons.

Narilora pulled my hand back and put it on her stomach.

“I’m sorry, baby,” was all I could say.

She sighed, then rose, taking our hands.

“One more try, then.”

We went back to bed. I finished inside her. Then we held each other, hoping.

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