For April’s flash prompt, we were given the phrase “a compelling voice.” Now, those who know me probably know how hard it was not to go full-on phangirl and do a Phantom of the Opera fic. But Fieryl, my jag’haar security chief from the upcoming Draxton’s Destiny, roared quite a bit louder. This is a snippet detailing how Ta’Naii Levegaer came to be on Fieryl’s tech team to remove Draxton’s slave bands. Enjoy!
Ta’Naii froze with her hand half-way to the palm scanner. That voice, more growl than speech, raced along her nerves in primitive warning, biting and clawing its way beneath her skin. She’d heard about the commander’s temper. This was not good.
She took a deep breath. Then another. Closing her hand in a fist, she willed her fingers to stop trembling. They didn’t. She tried again.
Something thudded against the door. Hard. She released a startled noise that wanted to be a scream but ended up a strangled squeak. She slapped her hands over her mouth to muffle the sound. A low rumble eased around the closed door, slipping under and through the cracks to raise the tiny hairs on the back of her neck.
“You are a child of the aersûl,” she scolded sotto voce. “Prove it.”
Straightening, she approached the scanner. Tanh’Shinaar’s security chief might be moody—he was a jag’haar after all—but he wasn’t violent. At least, he wasn’t violent without cause. Which she wasn’t going to give him.
“Commander.” She was relieved when her voice didn’t shake. It was a small victory, but it had to be enough.
She nodded, caught in the piercing stare of slanted eyes as blue as a clear tāniir sky. Fieryl Shadowfang prowled toward her, a magnificent creature of lithe grace and savage beauty. A pair of lightly furred and tufted ears sat high on his head surrounded by a thick ebony mane with vibrant orange streaks. His steps were silent. His lips curled in a silent snarl which revealed a pair of sharp, white fangs.
“You know of the gift Brixys, that hairless cur, forced upon the Minshaari?”
“I’ve heard rumors.” At his growling hiss, she hastened to add, “sir.”
“Someone’s tampered with the bands’ programming.” He began to pace, the low growls underscoring his every word. “I’ve tried deleting command lines, commenting them out, adding new ones in…nothing works. I’ve read your file. You’re the best trouble-shooter we have. I need you on this project before I cut off the human’s hands just to be rid of the flea-infested things.”
“I’m.” She cleared her throat and tried again. “I’m not sure that’s a viable option?”
“No, it’s not a thrice-cursed option!” Fieryl snapped, the tips of his fingers sporting sharp claws when he dragged them through his mane. “Kass would skin me for a rug if I touched his human. That’s why I need you. Can you break the code so I can get the both of them out of my fur?”
Mother’s mercy, his voice was lethal! It stroked over her senses like a silken stiletto, a beautiful, compelling danger, a threatening caress. She clasped her hands behind her back and felt the slick of sweat on her palms. The need to run was a pulse in her ears. The problem was, she wasn’t sure if she’d run away or straight into dangerous temptation.
“I’ll do my best,” she said.