Monday, January 16, 2017

Ilfin of Arc Epilogue Part 2 (SPOILER ALERT)

Herewith the last in the story of the Ilfin and the Glonu and their war of ages! There are extras in the published version, so feel free to grab a copy :) Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me!

Epilogue - Part 2


Outside in the warm sunshine of Makaran, a carriage awaited.
This contraption was the formal carriage used for processions, not the usual mode of transport on Makaran. A beautiful woman sat primly upon the scarlet leather seat, her honeyed hair intricately braided. Bright blue eyes focused upon him as he approached. She preferred the old style of travel when on the ground, claiming technology was for space faring.
Enris laughed under his breath. Prim she might appear to watchers, but those eyes promised devilry.
He clambered in to sit beside her, waving the driver to his duty. The horses pulled at the traces to start the vehicle moving, and he said, “It is done. He chose death. Pity; he deserves to suffer.”
“Will he confess?”
“To all of it.”
She lifted a slim hand and rested it upon his cheek. “Enris, then it is over and we have learned the lessons of the past. Release those burdens and set aside thoughts of vengeance. I have, and my heart sings in the release from that darkness. It is time now to summon a new future.”
Indeed, the future now called to him daily.
Capturing her hand and bringing it to his lips, he murmured, “Leffandir, will you marry me?”

The End

9 Signs you're an Old Soul

Saturday, January 14, 2017

ILFIN Epilogue Part 1 (SPOILER ALERT!)

Ilfin of Arc


The Makar Palace Dungeons

CANDLE LIGHT FLICKERED in the draught created when Enris Makar shoved the massive iron door open.
Here the ancient methods of incarceration reigned. No technology had ever been installed in the dungeons underneath the Palace, not even basic electrical fittings for lights. In other cells on other worlds such installations were frequently employed towards escape. An electrical cable could become a strangulation device. A technological keypad had once been used to trip all locking mechanisms, thereby opening the cells for mass exit. Many died that day.
Great keys and ancient locks kept all prisoners captive here. Removing from them the comforts of modern living formed part of their punishment.
As dungeons went, this was a small one, maintained for political captives and traitors, men and women regarded as too dangerous for the general prison population, although the danger they posed was not physical; it lay in how they were able to sway others. The buried space was dry and warm, however, unlike the stone pits of times long passed, though the air was stale and stank of urine and fetid breath.
Enris gestured the two inner guards to leave and thereafter strode along the row of cells, his boots loud upon the flagged floor.
There were twelve such, but only three were currently occupied. Holi Ker came into view first, his cell closest to the great door. Enris had given orders that the three prisoners were to be kept separate with empty cells between them. They could, of course, talk, but needed to do so with voices raised. No secrets could be shared here; the guards recorded every word uttered.
The Ultimo of the Faith had lost his rounded stomach and his once fleshy jowls now hung slack. He stared at Enris pressed against the cold stone at the back of his cell.
“Your fate has been decided, Ker,” Enris said in a firm voice, his eyes revealing no emotion.
The man dropped to his knees in his tattered scarlet gown of office and wrung his hands together. “Mercy, Lord Makar. Please.”
“Mercy you shall have …”
Holi Ker’s eyes lit up.
“… in that your death will be swift. You will be executed at first light and may your god have mercy on your soul.”
As Holi Ker gave a low moan, Enris moved on.
He halted a few cells down to glare at Fenn Moravin. The Brigadier-General no longer remotely appeared as a soldier; he was unkempt, his hair curling around his ears and his bearing was that of a man defeated.
He drew himself erect, though, when Enris stopped, and waited wordlessly. He might not look like a soldier, but it remained what he was.
“Athol Gennerin is now Brigadier. You are stripped of all rank,” Enris stated.
Moravin nodded. “Gennerin is capable.”
“You will be dropped into the badlands, Moravin, without supplies or weapons. If you emerge, you will be granted a second chance.”
Moravin cleared his throat. “You are aware no one survives the badlands. This is a death sentence, a slow death.”
Enris inclined his head. “Two have walked out before. A man of your abilities might do so, do you not agree?”
The soldier drew himself up even higher. “I might, yes.”
Enris bent a cold gaze on him. “Of course, I feel I must warn you that the insurgents know you are coming.”
Fenn Moravin blanched, but offered no further words. Smiling, Enris swivelled to approach the final cell, the smallest one at the end of the row.
It was time to face Lorn Makar.
Lorn lounged insolently upon his straw bed. “So, nephew, my turn. You have news?”
His traitorous uncle’s hands were bound with linen still; the injuries to his hands had not been healed. The man remained the most dangerous individual on Makaran; with healed hands, the sorcerer in him would be an annihilating force.
Enris did not respond; he simply watched him. He had trusted his uncle with his secrets and with his heart, yet this man murdered not only his daughter Didra, but his sister Iliri too. Lorn nearly succeeded in killing his father as well. By rite of blood, he, Enris, had the right to mete out punishment in whatever form he desired.
Eventually he spoke. “What do you care more for, uncle? Your own skin or that of your son’s? Which answer do you wish for?”
Those shaded blue eyes narrowed to slits. “What have you done to Brant?”
Enris tapped at his chin. “Ah, your son comes first. There is a point of mercy in there for you.”
Growling, Lorn clambered to his feet and haughtily approached the bars. Coming to rest braced, he demanded, “Does Brant live?”
“For now. His trial starts next week.”
Silence reigned as the two men traded stares. Long minutes went by with neither severing the duel of wills.
“What must I do?” Lorn Makar finally whispered and dropped his gaze to the filthy floor.
Smiling inwardly, Enris murmured, “Confess, uncle. Clear Brant’s name and he will remain our royal cousin with all privileges. Tell the whole truth, and your punishment will be merciful.”
Lorn jerked his head up.
“We shall surgically remove your hands and allow you to live in an isolated place for as long as life desires your presence.”
Snarling, Lorn gripped the bars with his bandaged hands. It had to hurt, but he shook the iron rods repeatedly. “Without my hands I am nothing!”
“But alive,” Enris whispered as he placed his hands over his uncle’s and squeezed. “I like that you will be nothing.”
Screaming agony, Lorn ripped his hands free and stumbled back. Had the wall not bit into his spine, he would have fallen. With tears of both rage and torment tracking through the dirt smudged upon his cheeks, he whimpered, “I need to hear this from my brother. Linus is king.”
Enris inhaled to straighten. Legs apart with his hands clasped behind him, he assumed the soldier’s stance. He also assumed the soldier’s inscrutability.
“I am your king.”
Lorn Makar stared at his nephew, his mouth working. Cradling his hands to his chest, he was unable to move.
Shaking his head, Enris muttered, “Your hands will be removed within the hour.” Swivelling, he then stepped forward to walk away. Enough. He could no longer stomach looking at this traitor.
“Wait!” Lorn lowered to his knees. “Majesty, I shall confess. All I ask is a swift death.”
Because death also meant rebirth. Enris did not again look at him. Striding away, he said, “I shall send the scribe.”
As he passed by Moravin, the man bowed low. Holi Ker was already on his knees when he came abreast of that cell.
“Hypocrites,” Enris muttered and gave the dungeon as a whole the finger over his shoulder.
Waving the guards to return to their positions within, he left the candle-lit space.
The iron door clanged shut.

Epoch and Epiphany


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ilfin of Arc Final - Part 2 (SPOILER ALERT)

Hi, all, here's part 2 of the final chapter! (Part 1 here)


Ilfin of Arc Final Chapter - Part 2

The shuttle touched down in the open area between the forest and the first of Grenmassin’s ruined cottages, and Iniri, Ross and the pilot left the vessel behind after the pilot had secured it.
Grenmassin remained a burnt out husk of a once thriving village. The land would recover, but every cottage, well and stable needed to be rebuilt. Iniri said not a word as she led her two Ilfin protectors towards the system of caves; every step she took confirmed to her that in this place she would not again live. Averting her eyes from the blackened wreckages of the homes of dead family and friends, she ascended the rocky path.
A buzz of voices greeted her long before she saw anyone. The sound was hopeful, warm and welcoming. Somewhere Siri’s laughter rang out and she heard Kay’s chuckle in answer. She smiled for the first time since landing and even managed to set aside her grief over losing Enris again to another time and place.
A loud snort in the distance caused her to halt at first before she moved to a gap in the jumble of boulders lining the path. Gazing towards the west where a sizable plateau of green grass and lacy waterfalls rose above the high water mark of the river, she discovered a herd of horses contentedly grazing.
A wide smile erupted onto her face.
Horses. Messengers. It meant all surviving Messengers had congregated here as well and they had obviously made a point of gathering together their mounts.
Massin as civilisation had a much greater chance of success with the Messengers in full trot once more.
“They saved parchment, quill and ink as well,” a man’s voice intruded into her thoughts.
Smiling, Iniri looked up to find Coltern watching her from a vantage slighter higher up. He was the soldier she fell in love with on Makaran, but he was also Damin of Massin, tanned and fit.
Her smile vanished as she stared up. “Go on, you two,” she murmured to her protectors and waited until they had moved past Coltern before moving herself.
“What is it?” he asked, stepping down to meet her on the path.
“We do not belong here.”
Blinking, he bent his blue gaze on her. One hand shoved fair hair from his face, and it shook slightly. “What do you mean, Iniri?”
Reaching up, she cupped his face. “I mean that Iniri and Coltern do not belong here …”
He jerked away. “You want to return to Makaran?”
“No,” she whispered and recaptured his face to bring it close to hers. “I mean that here we are Lyra and Damin, my love, and I will be happier living out our days as the people we were born to be for this world.”
Placing his hands over hers and pressing her warmth into his cheeks, he stared deeply into her. Not merely into her eyes, but her mind and her soul. And then he smiled; a gentle, beautiful gesture of pure wonder.
“Lyra,” he murmured. “I have missed you.”
Laughing softly, she placed her lips upon his and whispered, “Hello, Damin.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: The Treemakers by Christina L. Rozelle

Ineffable and Illicit

Ilfin of Arc Final - Part 1 (SPOILER ALERT!)

Hello! This post is for everyone who followed The King's Challenge, those daily episodes that eventually culminated in ILFIN OF ARC. If you recall, I promised to share the final chapter and Epilogue with you after a period of around 3 months after publication (see this post) and here it is, the first half of the final chapter!


(If you have followed the episodes, do read on. This is my gift to you for accompanying Lyra and Damin of their journey! If you haven't yet discovered this challenge, GO BACK! Click The King's Challenge/ILFIN OF ARC page and start from the beginning!)

Oh, btw, the style below is different from the episodes. The greater tale morphed and grew and became something more, something 'other')

Ilfin of Arc
Final Chapter - Part 1

THREE DAYS LATER the space surrounding Massin emptied of all vessels from other worlds, except one.
A large carrier squatted upon the plain southwest of Normur and aboard was a skeleton crew able to ferry Lord Enris Makar back to his homeworld, Makaran.
The Ilfin and Glonu had declared a truce and were in negotiation for permanent ceasefire. The final meetings would transpire in the greater spaces out there and, to that end, Empress Leffandir and His Majesty King Linus currently travelled together through those spaces. Massin was now returned to Massinians and neither Glonu nor Ilfin held future claim upon it.
It was done.
The fireball came; the fireball skipped into a new trajectory.
The spaceships arrived; the spaceships retreated.
Arc would recover in time, a haven for the natural habitants of the world. No sentient would ever set foot inside that ring of mountains again. Thus it was whispered, but the Ilfin knew how time played with memory.
Mirlin waited upon the drying sands of the plain they marched across. Rivers flowed full, but already the vegetation retreated. The dry season was upon Massin. He gazed towards the west, his face stilled. He would miss the ocean breezes there. He would miss the hot and humid summer nights in Orlean. Truth was; he would miss Massin as world. His place, however, was at his prince’s shoulder and he desired to reassume that particular space.
He glanced back to where Enris and Iniri were in conversation in the craft’s cavernous doorway, two dark heads bent together. Brother and sister were about to be parted and there was much that had been left unsaid. More would probably remain unvoiced. How alike they were, Mirlin mused.
He shifted his gaze to the young soldier standing guard at the foot of the lowered ramp. Ross had chosen to remain at Iniri Makar’s side here on Massin. Mirlin’s lips tightened. He thought the soldier would be of more use to the Makar back on Makaran, but Enris did not listen to that advice, saying he preferred transparency in the future and therefore did not require the services of a soldier able to vanish from thought and sight without even trying. Pity.
A shuttle was to remain behind for Iniri, along with its pilot, Benin, the same pilot that aided them inside Arc. Enris trusted the man to do his best for his sister. The vessel, of course, could not travel far in the greater spaces, but would be useful for communication with the homeworld. Brother and sister intended to remain connected in this time. A better equipped shuttle would return with King Linus after his abdication when he followed through with his intention to retire on Massin.
Mirlin snorted. King Linus would likely return with a small host of Ilfin and that would somewhat upset the status quo here. He shrugged a moment later; Massin was no longer his problem.
A low whine filled the region as the shuttle exited the carrier and executed a sweeping turn before settling upon the gorse a short distance away. The thrum of the drive reverberated through the drying sands, causing granules to skitter and dance. Mirlin gazed at his feet, at the fawn sand, and swallowed convulsively. By the sands, Massin had crept into his soul.
Parting was upon them.
Brother and sister embraced long before Iniri strode down the ramp with determination. Tears streaked her cheeks, but she did not look back. Mirlin noticed how Enris inhaled deeply as if searching for equilibrium.
Ross fell into step behind the daughter of his king, his face without expression.
She halted before Mirlin. “Take care of him, Mirlin. And take care of yourself as well.”
Mirlin bowed low. “I shall be there for him, have no fear. Please be careful here, my lady; many will not quite know how to regard you.”
Iniri offered a small smile. “Coltern will be with me.”
The farming commune known as Grenmassin had filled with familiar faces, among them Siri Mur and Kay Laremer. That particular parting had been the hardest for Mirlin to accept, but he understood that Kay loved Siri and therefore no travel to another world held as much allure for him than the woman he intended to spend the rest of his days with. And, indeed, the great General Coltern waited there. Iniri Makar would be safe from all harm.
“Will you remain in Grenmassin?” Mirlin asked as she was about to move on.
“Grenmassin holds too many painful memories,” she murmured in response. Drawing a breath, she stared into his eyes, her two-eyes bright in the sunshine. “Thank you for saving my life, Soul Keeper.”
He reached out and took her hands into his. “You saved mine first, my lady.”
She gave him a quizzical look. “You called Lyra highborn before you knew she is me. How did you know?”
“Nobility is a state of being, an inherent characteristic. You cannot unlearn the lessons of a long past even when reborn as a country girl.”
Iniri smiled a final time, squeezed his hands, and then went on walking with Ross beside her. Together they entered the shuttle, neither looking back, and minutes later the small vessel took to the skies.
How final it felt.
Retracing his footsteps over the sands, Mirlin returned to the carrier and joined Enris at the head of the ramp. For long moments they stared at each other, both aware of how wrenching the parting was, not only from loved and familiar faces, but from a world that had nurtured them until the endgame befell them.
“There is one final task I must attend to,” Enris murmured.
Of course there was. Mirlin waited without speaking.
Shaking his head, Enris grunted, “How patient you are, Mirlin Moranth. Your presence brings to me clarity of thought.”
Mirlin simply lifted one eyebrow and, rolling his eyes, Enris brought forth the orb. He had told Iniri it remained with her twin in the spaces beyond perception, but he lied. The orb ever remained with the one needing it most and, at the time of seeking escape from that otherworldly space, Enris needed it more than Iliri Makar did and thus it returned to him.
The sphere rolled slightly upon his palm as he extended his arm to the empty plain.
“Choose,” Enris whispered and it burst into emerald brilliance.
Holding his breath, Mirlin watched it in fascination, wondering how it would choose.
The glow lifted from Enris palm and hovered before the Makar heir at eye level. It bobbed twice and thereafter hurtled towards the plateau as a streak of green light.
Open fingers fisted as Enris watched it leave.
“She does need it more,” Mirlin said.
Enris nodded.
“Will she be aware of it?”
“No, not unless there is danger for her.”
“Coltern will be with her, my prince.”
Enris smiled. “Thank the stars.”
Both shrugged then and turned their backs to the plains.
The march was envisioned; the long march ended in every manner conceivable. It was done.
The carrier lifted and swiftly left Massin airspace.