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Tales From Tharassas

Tharassas Cycle Book 0

by J. Scott Coatsworth

These three tales tell the story of Tharassas before the Tharassas Cycle, including the origin of the hencha queens, the ce’faine, and the colonization of the Highlands, essential companions for the four novels that make up the cycle:

The Fallen Angel

Charlie Fah, Cha’Fah to most of the world, has never fit in with the other citizens of Gully Town, thanks to his darker skin that sets him apart. But one day, an Angel arrives on a supply run from Earth, and what happens next sets Charlie on a new path that will turn his life upside down.

The Last Run

Sera is the last runner from Earth, bringing badly needed supplies to the Tharassas Colony across a twenty-five year gulf between the planets. Jas works on a hencha farm to make ends meet, harvesting berries from the semi-sentient plants. Neither one that knows their lives—and worlds—are about to change forever.

The Emp Test

Jey awakens to find himself in the care of a handsome stranger—a cheff from one of the mountain tribes. Afraid for his life, Jey has no choice but to let the man take care of him and his broken leg. Avain is on his Aud'ling—the coming-of-age test that requires him to spend a couple months away from his own people. The two of them will have to come to an understanding if they're going to help one another.

The Last Run and The Emp Test have been published before in previous stand-alone editions, but The Fallen Angel is a new story written exclusively for this collection.

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Excerpt:

“Grappa, tell me a story.”

I sit back and stare at little Ellya, looking up at me from my lap—all of six years old, and beautiful, her skin the color of the wet earth down by the river. Lighter than mine, but her hair is kinky too, a throwback to one of our ancestors. Probably an Angel.

Wind whips the heavy cloth of the tent. Outside, a summer storm lashes the mountain valley where we make our home in the warmer months. Their parents are likely happy for the break from all those inquisitive minds.

Inside it’s warm and comfortable, and all the children of the village have gathered here for story time, seated on the woven purple rug that takes up a good part of the tent.

Ioyo, my grandson, sits in the front row, next to his best friend Onley, watching me eagerly.

I kiss Ellya on the forehead, feeling her eagerness through the emp nestled in its pouch on my neck. “What would you like to hear?”

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I have many stories from my life of almost seventy years—more than fifty of them spent here in the mountains, taking care of my little flock. In that time, the ce’faine have grown to almost five hundred, living a nomadic life spanning three generations. They are my family in the truest sense, my proudest accomplishment.

She reaches up to touch my cheek, her little fingers warm against my skin. “Tell me about the Long Trek.”

I close my eyes, a mixture of pain and pride filling me. Such a long time ago, but I still dream about it often, that rough passage that brought us out of Egypt and into the holy land.

I laugh at my own erudition. None of the children here have even the slightest idea what Egypt was. What Earth was.

In our great wisdom, or perhaps our obstinate stubbornness, we decided to make a clean break with the old culture of the Heartland, discarding everything we've been taught and beginning fresh.

I rub my wrinkled chin. “Let's see. It was a very long time ago. You weren’t even a wisp in your mother's eye.” I look at her—my granddaughter—so perfect in every way. I don't want the world to change her. I don't want her to face the ugliness that I did, growing up in a repressive culture. I want to shelter her from all of that.

Of course, none of us can protect our children from the beauty and peril that life brings.

I stretch out my hands, cracking my old knuckles—a bad habit, that. I take a sip of the herbal tea Merwyn, Ellya’s mother, made for me, measuring my time. It’s a poor substitute for akka, one of my only regrets about leaving the Heartland.

So many years passed. So few left to me. I must teach them while I can, this new generation.

I clear my throat, and the chatter of little voices silences. “Once upon a time, I lived in a wicked place, a cruel city by the sea called Gully Town. There were five islands, like five long fingers—we called them spines. And beyond, only a few small villages and many farms.” I close my eyes, remembering that dark time. “They called me Charlie back then. Or Cha’Fah…”

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Scott lives with his husband of 25 years in a leafy Sacramento, California suburb, in a little yellow house with a brick fireplace and a couple pink flamingoes out front. He has always inhabited the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up and read the golden age classics and more modern works as well, he began to wonder where all the people like him were.

After he came out at twenty three, he decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t many gay characters in his favorite genres, he would reimagine them himself, populating them with a diverse universe of characters. He would subvert them and remake them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read the things he wrote.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. Although he was born an introvert, he learned to reach outside himself and connect with others like him.

Scott writes stories that subvert expectations, that seek to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something new and unexpected. He also runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring people like them together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.

His writing, whether romance or genre fiction (or a little bit of both) brings a queer energy to his stories, infusing them with love, beauty and power and making them soar. He imagines a world that could be, and in the process, maybe changes the world that is, just a little.

He was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel “Skythane” received two awards and an honorable mention.

He runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

You can find him at Goodreads here, on Amazon here, on QueeRomance Ink here, and on Facebook here.