Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 20

Dela embarrassed by Vretla's antics - art by Richard Bartrop
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Extremes of Vrel and Dem square off
<< Start at Beginning >>

"Skirts!" Vretla said in disgust.

“I’ll take care of it, Vretla,” Amel pleaded, obviously feeling protective toward the nervous groom.

"Fine,” Vretla spat back at him angrily. “Tolerate the use of hand guns! Let them talk down to you!” She shot a hot glare at Dela who stood by, blinking innocently, her heart hammering hard enough to make her ears buzz. “Let them insult your Vrellish blood!” She scowled. “Although it seem to have been amused the Gods of Resurrection to use up all your Vrellish DNA in the color of your hair! “ She got louder and angrier again. “Even a Vrellish stationer would not tolerate the insults you accept from the people you coddle and protect, Amel!"

Amel listened in reverberating silence. Then he fled from Vretla into Dela’s withdrawing room.

Vretla looked blackly around the room. "You want to kill him," she said to Ronan, "go ahead. I will make you sorry for it when I come back, but I might thank you when our souls meet in the void, free of our body's lusts."

Dela surprised herself by speaking up. "Where are you going, Liege Vrel?" she demanded.

"To cool off!" Vretla hurtled back over her shoulder, stopped, and turned around. She faced down Dela, hand on the hilt of her dueling sword, her firm body clad in leather and her feet planted wide apart. Blood slicked one side of her face from a cut she had taken in her fall. "I have to be able to deal with Amel without chewing a hole in my pants," she said. "I don't suppose you have male courtesans here, do you?"

"Male courtesans?" Dela echoed, in horror.

"Skirts," Vretla said in disgust, and stalked off. She went around the dead horse and out through the broken window, collecting a couple of hand-picked Dem'Vrel to accompany her.

Dela embarrassed by Vretla's antics - art by Richard Bartrop

Dela embarrassed by Vretla's antics - art by Richard Bartrop


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 18

Vretla gets rough with Amel
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Vretla's frustration prompts her to man-handle Amel.
<< Start at Beginning >>

All the Demish do is talk!

Amel laid a hand on the accusing arm pointed at Dela. "Vretla, the Golden Demish -- "

"Vent the Golden Demish," Vretla told him. Her arm yielded to his, then went around his back. Her other hand locked in his hair, yanking his head back to turn his face up. Her mouth latched onto his, as her hand shoved up his tunic to get under his waist band and thrust down, inside his pants.

Dela gave a soft gasp of horror. The Dee-men in the room were stunned to silence. A couple of the Dem'Vrel muttered things between themselves or snickered. The woman Vretla had called Sen came back in through the broken window with a groom from Dee's stables, and froze, staring at the spectacle.

Belatedly, Amel push back against Vretla to free himself. "Please stop!" He gasped. His face glowed, lighting him up in a whole new, strange manner.

"You can't lie with your body," Vretla husked, and pulled him back.

He twisted out of her grasp and backed off, breathing hard.

Vretla stayed where she was, glaring at him, her hands fisted at her sides and her chest working like a bellows.

"You are going to get us both killed with this stupid coyness!" She accused Amel, speaking down to him as if he was commoner. "You are going to push me too far."

"Vretla!" He implored. “We talked!”

"Talk!" Vretla made it her strongest curse. "All the Demish ever do is talk!"

A gunshot went off.

Vretla gets rough with Amel

Vretla gets rough with Amel


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 16

Amel intervenes to stop bloodshed.
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Dela's defender must decide if he wants to bar the way under Sword Law.
<< Start at Beginning>>

Don't Mess With Vretla.

Ronan came in through the study doors, trailed by a three-man guard.

"I am Seniorlord Ronan, of Dee," he announced, "and master of this house by the grace of our Princess-Liege." He did not even look at Dela. She could not decide if she was relieved, or put out.

Vretla’s response was blunt. "Amel is liege here now, by right of my win on the challenge floor. You are only a nobleborn. Not in my challenge class. I do not have to take you on." She tipped her head toward Dela. "And skirts don't fight.”

Ronan bristled. “I am the man of this house.”

“Huh,” said Vretla, unimpressed. But after a moment of silence she conceded with a shrug. “So you’ve have been running things here? Fair enough. I respect your desire to defend what was yours. So --" She whipped out her sword. "Challenge at will, and let's have done."

Ronan looked astonished by so sudden a plan to resolve the dispute. But to Dela's horror, he nonetheless reached slowly for his sword.

Is he making the same mistake Chandad did? thought Dela. Or throwing away his life in blind despair! Dela felt a pang of old guilt for failing to produce the daughter Ronan could have married to satisfy his hunger to be highborn in a future life if not his current one. But Ronan was normally too level-headed, for a man, to be foolhardy. Is he going to die because he’s too embarrassed to turn her down, now she’s condescended to kill him? Dela couldn’t help wondering. It seemed absurd!

"Wait!" Amel moved between Ronan and Vretla.

Vretla reacted fast, swinging sideways. "Good way to get yourself killed!" She lectured Amel at sword point.

He quailed, but his voice remained controlled. "Can’t we come to terms without drawing blood?" He appealed to both of them.

Vretla took a step back and sheathed her sword, contemptuous of the armed men grouped around Ronan. "You're in charge."

Somehow, Dela knew Amel was no more in charge than she was. But at least he’d tried to do something!

Amel intervenes to stop bloodshed.

Amel intervenes to stop bloodshed.


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 15

Vretla puts the Dem'Vrel in their place
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Glimpse of the rivalry between the Therd and Lekker clan seen in Kar Therd and Sen Lekker. (BTW: Sen appears in Part 6: Avim's Oath, of the Okal Rel Saga books.)
<< Start at Beginning >>

Vretla ordering the Dem'Vrel around.

"Get rid of the animal," Vretla ordered the nearest Dem'Vrel of the handful who had climbed in the window after her. "It is upsetting Amel."

"Sensitive little whore," the Dem'Vrellish man chuckled with a mocking grin.

Vretla fisted her hands in his jacket. "And a damn good one," she said, lifting him off his feet. " You good at anything, Kar Therd?" Vretla heaved him towards the disabled horse before he could answer. Kar’s companions hooted their amusement.

Amel winced as the thrown man struck the horse and jerked his head away to look around the room's décor. His need for a diversion made Dela wish the room was not so boring but she’d had never had the heart to countermand Lady Ril's sober tastes.

"Sen, take care of the animal," Vretla repeated her order to another of the Dem'Vrel.

The woman addressed shouldered between two larger men. She wore pants and a sword, like them, but she didn’t look as man-hard as Vretla.

"Yes, Liege Vrel," Sen said.

Dela noted Vretla was not addressed as 'Princess-Liege', just 'Liege'; and instead of bottling her up in the house, people did what she told them to. She also recalled it was Liege Vrel who had killed her husband, Chandad. The horse was harder to forgive her for. But admiring her husband's killer did not sit right with Dela, either. And Vretla was simply too bizarre. Like a fish who had walked out of a pond to come to lunch, or a commoner who understood Fahandlin's poems.

Vretla puts the Dem'Vrel in their place

Vretla puts the Dem'Vrel in their place


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 13

An upset teenage Amel and harder-hearted Vretla Vrel
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Working out the grammar problem. Is he really Amel?
<< Start at Beginning >>

Making a connection over the horse's plight

The horse tried to rise again. Its plight made Dela's tear ducts tingle.

Vretla sheathed her sword to help Amel get up, a red film lubricating her grip. "Break something Demish?" she asked him cheerfully, briskly checking him over for serious cuts.

Amel stumbled back, looking past her to the horse. From his expression, Dela guessed he felt for its suffering the same way she did.

"Amel?" The Vrellish woman did not understand why the horse was important.

Amel shuffled through broken glass towards the wounded animal.

"Amel!" Vretla caught him by the arm.

His eyes glistened with welling tears. "Why did you throw down the reigns?" He demanded. Impossibly for someone supposedly Purebood, he up-spoke Vretla pol-to-rel. There was no rank higher than Pureblood. Maybe he isn’t Amel after all, Dela thought. But the Vretla woman had definitely called him Amel. Could there be two black-haired men visiting Demora, escorted by Vretla Vrel and a Dem’Vrellish entourage named Amel?

"You said 'let go,'" Vretla contradicted Amel’s grammar by up-speaking him, instead. One of them had to be wrong.

"I said 'let up,'" Amel insisted, clearing up the pronoun problem by falling into line with Vretla's address. He was Pureblood! And if they’d got the grammar right, at last, she was a Royalblood, like Dela. But Vretla was no Demish princess. She was — something else.

An upset teenage Amel and harder-hearted Vretla Vrel

An upset teenage Amel and harder-hearted Vretla Vrel


Golden Souls by Lynda Williams – Post 12

Vretla crashes into Dee Manor
Golden Souls by Lynda Williams, is a story of Amel's envoy period. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.
Vretla Vrel loses control of her horse and charges through window of Dee Manor.
<< Start at Beginning >>

Vretla crashes in

The horse stumbled on a reign, swerved, and plunged toward the big front window. In the saddle, Vretla drew her sword. In the room, Ril pulled Dela away.

Too late, the frantic horse tried to turn. Vretla swung her sword into the wall of glass as the horse’s shoulder struck. Bodies hurtled through the breaking window in an explosion of sound. The horse lost its footing and fell, landing across the razor-toothed sill of the window like so much thrashing meat.

A spray of shards spread as far as Dela's feet. Lady Ril clutched her arm.

Vretla got to her feet shedding broken glass. Her flight suit had spared her any bad cuts, but blood trickled from a nick on her cheek. She took a step in Amel’s direction where he lay balled up to minimize body contact with the rain of glass, but stopped when she saw him stir and heard him groan.

The horse struggled to rise, and failed, blowing out noisily.

Vretla retrieved her sword. After breaking the window, she had thrown the weapon clear of her fall. To have such presence of mind under the circumstances was astonishing to Dela. Particularly in a woman.

Vretla noticed Dela and Ril, as well, and muttered, "Demish skirts." It didn’t sound like a compliment, but Dela was beyond taking offense. She stood rigid as a statue clinging to Lady Ril.

Vretla crashes into Dee Manor

Vretla crashes into Dee Manor

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