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Sons to Keep: Sister Seekers Prequel

by A.S. Etaski

A century ago, one Priestess left for the surface world. She vanished. This is her story.

Irrwaer is an acolyte serving the Priestesses yet lacks the consuming urges which drive their ambitions. She would rather stay small, quiet, and avoid the bottomless appetites of her matriarchy but understands passively hoping leads to a short, miserable life. Or worse: a long one.

In the Sanctuary of the Spider Queen, the only way to keep any choice for herself is to gain power over others without becoming addicted to them. As the healer works among meek males, rowdy Red Sisters, and the sinister sons of demons, she asks a troubling question.

In a place where power passes through daughters, why are the Priestesses only competing for sons?

Even asking this question is dangerous.

Sooner or later, everyone disturbs the Queen's web.

In "Sons to Keep," Etaski introduces the political sphere of Sivaraus through the eyes of the least ambitious.

These events occur one hundred years before the birth of the protagonist Sirana in Sister Seekers #1: No Demons But Us.

Their effects still ripple out from the center of a vast, interconnected story.

Cover Artists:
Tropes: Antihero, Becoming a Monster, Death by Sex, Demonic Possession, Enemy to Ally, Evolving Powers, Found Family, Lucky Novice, Secret Heir, Secret Society, Sex Magic, Training, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 40,000
Setting: underground city temple
Languages Available: English
Tropes: Antihero, Becoming a Monster, Death by Sex, Demonic Possession, Enemy to Ally, Evolving Powers, Found Family, Lucky Novice, Secret Heir, Secret Society, Sex Magic, Training, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 40,000
Setting: underground city temple
Languages Available: English


Irrwaer continued a few more steps. Just in case the Priestess spoke to someone else.

“Acolyte. Stop.”

There wasn’t another acolyte nearby. Damned web.

The apprentice paused and turned around. “Yes, Conceiver?”

The Priestess Wilsira Tachnathon stood just outside the ritual hall in a wrinkled, spider-silk robe of purple and black, smelling of sweat and blood. The powerful elder tilted her blonde-streaked head, her face still framed by an ornamental black headpiece. Irrwaer focused on the silver-web pendant resting in the hollow of her throat.

“Come,” she beckoned. “We require more hands to clean the Assembly.”

“Yes, Conceiver.”


Irrwaer breathed out, a slow chill oozing down her spine as she followed the Conceiver into the one place she’d never been when the full Priestesses displayed their true power. The crush of Davrin Nobles who had been here last eve gone back to the Palace or wherever they could rest in relative safety. The heatless torches were still lit, mostly red in color, and three other Priestesses were present, their servants and acolytes cleansing the polished stone under their supervision. The place still stank of fighting, magic, sex, and blood.

Irrwaer hesitated upon spotting three bodies lying upon the floor, those working giving them a wide berth. Two buas and one cait, nude and covered in fluids not far from the steps leading to the altar.

“Don’t linger,” Wilsira commanded, strolling directly toward them.

Hang my legs…

Irrwaer hurried to catch up, breathing shallow through her mouth to lessen the disconcerting odors filling her nose.

“You are Juliran’s acolyte, correct?” asked the Conceiver like she already knew. “You work in the infirmary and help govern the children.”

“Uh,” Irrwaer cleared her throat. “I am, Conceiver. I-I do.”

The Priestess lifted the hem of her robe and nudged the naked cait on the floor with the soft toe of her shoe. The youth didn’t react. She wasn’t breathing, either.

“Good. You will wash these three and wrap them for disposal. See that they are moved to the loading berth outside the kitchens. They shall be removed from the complex there.”

She didn’t share by whom. The cait swallowed. “What happened to them, Conceiver?”

“Braqth called for them, of course.” The Conceiver narrowed dark maroon eyes. “I haven’t seen you volunteer as tribute, have I?”

“Not since I arrived, Priestess.”

“And when was that?”

Irrwaer bowed. “Not yet a decade. The infirmary and the third floor keep me very busy.”

“So you haven’t set foot in here at its most magnificent. Hmph. A decade, you say?”


“Well. If Juliran wove your education better, you could have seen for yourself what happened here.”

“I confess my ignorance, Priestess.”

“Have no worry, I shall speak with her about this.” Casually, Wilsira pointed where the altar stairs formed a corner and continued around the platform. “Don’t forget to burn their clothes.”


About the Author

Etaski writes mature epic fantasy with an ever-broadening scope. ​​​​​​​Inspired by table-top RPG, her stories weave through subgenres, so things never get stale. Found Family is a core theme throughout her world​​​​​​​.​​​​​​​ She adores sensual, subversive Dark Elves facing off with cunning demons, clever dragons causing trouble, and deadpan necromancers summoning the walking dead alongside dwarves in battle through high-stakes adventures.

Her series begins underground with an isolated race of Dark Elves. The beginning is not for the faint of heart, and perfect for fans of entwined plots, challenging themes, immersive worldbuilding, and elements of erotic horror. Sexuality and inner conflict play into character growth with nuance, intrigue, action, and fantastical magic.

Her most inspiring epic stories are Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Wendy Pini's ElfQuest, Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince, and J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5.

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