What do you get when you combine a greedy Great Tsar, his two cheating, bullying older sons, his youngest esser (shh! no saying that aloud) son, stolen gold apples, a Firebird quest, A. Wolfe who has the power t’assume a pleasing shape, a magickal sandstorm, as well as two bands and a full Symphony of Gipsumies?
A rollicking, roisterous Russian Fairy Tale, with vigorous esser activities in tents, halls, bedrooms and alcoves, with and without the assistance of PSTs. Plus princely parades, a duel over Gus, new lyrics to an old drinking song, and the possibility of bits of blood, gobs of gore or moments of mayhem. As required by CORA (the Code of RFT Authors), should these occur, your author will give you timely warning.
Ah. Still not ready to part with your kopek-equivalent? Consider the fun you’ll have reading chapters like:
“To Kvetch, Or Not To Kvetch? A Reader’s Choice”
“Ivan Has A Close Encounter Of The F-Word Kind”
“Second Direction Questers vs. The Caliph’s Sayer Of Sooths”
“Will Sasha Succeed In Seducing Prince Ivan?”
“Bad Prince Ivan! No Touch Cage!”
“A Travel Pause For Gratuitous Sex In The Tent—Which Does Not Advance The Plot—At The Insistence Of The Characters”
“A Necessary Interlude To Consider The Age-Old Questing Question: What The [Expletive Of Your Choice, Dear Reader] Do We Do Next?”
If you buy it and try it, you’ll like it, or so says your most talen…er…humble author.
p.s. If Karrie Jax and I have covered you and blurbed you to buy, look for “Dear Reader, Along The Way, Did You Happen To See The Allusion To Olivier?” in the TOC. It’s a spot-the-allusions chance at gift cards of $25, $15, or $10.
166,000 words of story fun and frolic, plus a 2160-word teaser from another MM fairytale: The Tinderbox
Author Name: Eric Alan Westfall
Publisher: Eric Alan Westfall
Release Date: Monday, September 7 2020
Cover Artist: Karrie Jax
Genres: fairy tale, fantasy, MM(M), Russian fairy tale
LGBTQ+ Identities: Gay
Keywords/Categories: Russian fairy tale, fantasy, magic, magick, shifter, fairy tale, gay, queer, LGBTQ, fairy tale, new release, announcement, giveaway
Soldiers Watching, Watching, All Through The Night
The finest soldiers in the Imperial Army—or at least, the finest of those in and about Moscow and unfortunately readily available by nightfall—stood guard around the tree. The first-finest stood shoulder-to-shoulder around the outside edge of the grass circle, facing the tree. The second-finest were facing outward, shoulder to shoulder, and butt to butt with the inner group. No thief would get through their lines. The apples were safe.
The soldiers stayed awake the whole night, those on the inward side of the circle watching the tree, those on the outward side watching…everything outward.
Very well, if the truth must be told, and it should be, when one advertises a tale as a true tale, not every soldier stayed awake. There were a surprising number whose years of service had led to the development of the skill of sleeping while standing up. A lesser number within that group could sleep with their eyes wide open. Soldiers with those skills were envied, and deserved emulation, rather than being poked and prodded into wakefulness—which only annoyed them and made them vengeful at a later date, time and place of their selection.
The others employed a variety of methods for staying awake, including several piss-challenges, the primary one being, for those who have never engaged in them—whether from a physical inability or other reason for not—hauling out your prick and seeing if you could piss farther, or perhaps further, than your competing comrades in pissery. The grammatical distinction was not something Imperial soldiers were ever taught. While the stars and a sliver of moon produced enough light to decide the piss-distance winner, or leave room for reasonable wrangling over who’d won, there wasn’t enough light for reading any piss-writing.
One particularly creative group of soldiers, carefully on the side of the circle opposite the side leading in the direction of the Palace, had another use for their pricks while staying awake. They pulled them out, stroked them hard or fast or slow, with a variety of twists, and swirls, and knob or slit thumbing, bringing themselves off in various challenging ways, such as greatest and least volume, greatest and least distance of the furthermost spurt—or fartherest, as the strokers weren’t any better educated than their pissing colleagues in another part of the circle—greatest and least length and girth, et cetera.
Both pissers and strokers were confident the traditional morning dew would, if not wash away, at least obscure the offerings they gave to the grass.
With the exceptions noted above, the circled soldiers were reasonably alert, fairly wakeful and watching as well as they could. Not one of them noted the brief, bright flash of red-gold-white above the branches and then in the branches, nor heard any fluttering or flapping.
Being the astute reader you are, especially with the stonking great clue in the title, you’ve already figured out who the apple-thief is. For the sake of readers less erudite than yourself, when leaving a review, or telling your friends what a great read you just had, do as audiences did when being fortunate enough to see that brilliant play, The Persecution’s Witness. The Tsarevich who penned the play commanded, more than suggested, in the playbills and large signs in the lobby: “On penalty of possible participation in a spectacle, don’t disclose the ending.” Or, as here, the identity of the thief.
Just a thought. A simple expression of authorial concern for reader health, safety, and heads-on well-being.
The rings of finest and second-finest soldiers were justifiably proud of themselves. They’d stood there, absolutely still, not budging—well, for the most part—until dawn crept over what would have been a window sill if they’d been back in the barracks. The apples were safe.
Except…when the Great Tsar and a gaggle of Greater and Lesser Generals made their way to the tree as dawn did its creeping thing, and the circles of the finest (inner) and next finest (outer) soldiers opened to let the Great Tsar, his magickal platform, and the generals through, the count disclosed another apple was gone.
True, only a golden apple. But still…[see above].
The soldiers, frightened by their failure, faced the Great Tsar’s renewed fury with something less than equanimity, as visions of Axemen comething all over the place danced in their heads. The Great Tsar was ready, willing, and might well have reverted to a faithful, down to the last stroke, swish and fall, imitation of his ancestress, the famous—no one quite dared to put the “in” in the front of the word—Red Tsarina, known throughout All The Russias, et cetera, for her famous phrase, having the same word issue—“Off with his head!”
But a more mathematical head prevailed, allowing the soldiers to keep theirs. Well-acquainted with the Great Tsar’s skills at both counting apples and calculating value for both varieties, Lesser General Andrei Levovich Tolstoy pushed his superiors aside, not quite begging a pardon per push, and asked the Great Tsar to assist him with a mathematical problem. An apple-related mathematical problem. One which could not wait until later for resolution.
The Great Tsar could not resist the lure of numbers, especially numbers closely connected to past and possible future apple losses.
General Tolstoy pointed out the tree numbers. The magnificent tree, the largest apple tree of all the apple trees in all the, et cetera, et cetera, with its forty-foot height and crown diameter. The twenty-foot width of the glorious green sward circling the tree. An eighty-foot diameter. A circumference of three thousand sixteen inches.
The General pointed out the soldier numbers. The Imperial Army’s finest (available) soldiers, with the best muscles and broadest shoulders in All The…et cetera, had an average shoulder width of sixteen inches. It had taken one hundred eighty-eight soldiers rubbing against one another—in a most manly, soldierly, shoulderly manner—to form the inner circle. Using six inches as the average soldier’s depth, from the back of his butt to the front of whatever might protrude the most (not considering prick-protrusions in the calculations), added another foot to the diameter. It took one hundred ninety-one soldiers to form the outer butt-to-butt ring.
Three hundred seventy-nine of the Imperial Army’s finest/second-finest soldiers gone, if the Great Tsar in his infinite wisdom and fairness—and he was more infinitely wise and fair than any other ruler in All The…et cetera—should decide to have a gloriously bloody Axeman Cometh spectacle.
Consider the cost of cleaning up all that blood, all those bodies. Consider the cost—all that gold gone from the Imperial Treasury—for replacing them.
It was a dilemma.
Eric is an American Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “He’s old enough to have sailed with Noah.” In the real world he writes for a living, with those who would claim what he writes is fiction. His partner of thirty years—who died unexpectedly in 1995—enthusiastically encouraged him to try to get his writing published (mostly poetry back then, plus some short stories), but he didn’t have the guts to do so until 2013. At this point he’s not sure which was officially first, The Song, or Like a Mountain, Waiting.
Starting then, he’s published 13 novels and novellas, 1 poetry collection, 2 short story collections, and 3 short stories. God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, 2020 will also see The Tinderbox out and about. But since real life is, as we all know, a pain in the (anatomical site of your choice)…no guarantees.
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Alan-Westfall-1045476662268838/
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/eawestfall43