Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: Echo - Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne

This is pure sci-fi; technological weapons and craft, and another world after humankind’s time on Earth. Despite taking to the stars, the lessons of peace are not learned, so expect brawls and battles, extreme soldier training, terrible weapons and violence.

While I don’t usually point out gender in a review, I will state here that Echo will definitely appeal to male readers first. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The insight into the mind-set of a soldier and the brilliant use of tech held me captive from beginning to end. While I wish it was longer, I see why the author chose to offer this tale in segments; this is journey, Atriya’s path through his violent life. I will be reading the next book to discover what happens to him.

There is something added, though, to this tale. There is something other on the horizon, something extra to the physical world of being and doing. It offers hope, but the journey to that new state will, I suspect, almost kill Atriya. It will certainly torture him, test him …

A worthy read!



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Soul Keeper Collage and the Challenge END!

We have reached target!! 366 episodes! A Leap Year's challenge of daily episodes has been achieved!! (exclamation marks to celebrate - I don't do doubles in my work, promise!)

Below is Mirlin's collage, but it is true that his contribution to this story isn't yet over. There are loose ends and a few issues still to deal with (such as Lorn Makar and Moravin). I foresee another chapter or two before I am able to call ILFIN OF ARC completely finished, as well as a Prologue and Epilogue.

The big edit starts now! I will update you with the adds-ins as I go along, so do continue to watch this space :)

THANK YOU FOR READING DAILY! and thank you for all the RT's and shares!

The King's Challenge #365 and #366

TKC 365 and 366

The conference space aboard a ship is always premium. Firstly, it is for imperative meetings and tactical sessions and, secondly, there is not much by way of actual space. Six Glonu generals with two aides each have already cramped what is available and when we enter – His Majesty, Commander Gennerin, Iniri Makar and myself, along with Gennerin’s summoned aide, Corporal Allin – there is barely room to move in. There certainly is not sufficient seating.

Leffandir has somehow created a space around her. She strides back and forth on the far side of the rectangular table, her expression thunderous. The Empress is much cleaner than the last time I saw her, having been allowed to bathe. She has donned an ornate gown, split in front to gift freedom of movement, and wears a man’s hose under it. Leffandir certainly appears royal, and she is glorious to behold now that all the grime has been washed away.

No wonder Enris Makar fell to his knees before her in another time and place.

“Linus!” she snaps as the king takes a seat midway at the table with Gennerin and Iniri on either side of him. “What is there to discuss? You have won this round and we acknowledge defeat. Now it is time for the fleet to return home.”

King Linus settles his gaze upon her. “Take a seat, Empress, or we go no further.”

Huffing, she flounces to the chair directly opposite the king, waving the seated general in it aside. He nearly stumbles in his haste to vacate. Smacking her hands flat onto the surface, she glares at Linus. I barely hide my amusement. Clearly the Empress is not impressed.

“We will reach for a long-term truce between our nations, Leffandir,” Linus remarks. “This cycle of war has to end and no one leaves orbit until we have agreement.”

“I cannot sell peace.”

“Can you sell love?” Linus murmurs.

She blinks, glancing swiftly at Iniri before focusing on the king again. “I do not understand.”

“I am talking about my son, Leffandir.”

She rears back and blinks repeatedly. “Meaning?”

“If you love him, marry him, and gift our worlds a new future.”

Every general and aide snaps heads sideways to stare at her, mouths agape. “Empress?” a large man sporting a goatee growls. “Glonu do not wed Ilfin!”

Leffandir ignores him. She leans onto the table, her hands in her hair. From that lowered position, she asks, “Where is Enris?”

“Missing,” Iniri responds.

The Empress looks up. “He does not wish to be at this meeting? He has absconded as the coward he is?”

I step in. I move around the table to the Glonu side and peremptorily gesture another general from his seat. He swears under his breath, but leaves when his ruler nods at him to comply. Swinging the chair to face Leffandir rather than the Ilfin complement, I sit.

“What are you doing, lap dog?” she snarls. “Why do they not answer? Where is Enris?”

“I am a Soul Keeper,” I state.

Again she rears back. “Where is Enris?”

“We do not know and even this Soul Keeper cannot find him.” Using one finger, I tap the table, a slow rhythm. “By your reaction, Empress, I believe you do care for Enris Makar …”

Pandemonium ensues as the Glonu give voice to their fury.

“SILENCE!” Leffandir screams, hurtling to her feet. Silence is given instantly, and she stares down at me. “How did he vanish?”

“There is another soul inside him, one he called to for aid. I suspect she removed him from this reality.”

This time the chaos is on the Ilfin side. King Linus roars, “And you only reveal this now?”

Iniri, placing a hand on her father’s arm, murmurs, “Mirlin told me, but it changed nothing. We still could not find him.” The catch in her tone tells me that Iniri thinks of Coltern also, caught in this trap of nowhere.

Leffandir sits, and stills my tapping hand. “Do not try those tricks on me; I need no calming. A female soul, you say?”

“You seem unsurprised,” Iniri accuses.

“Glonu play with souls, Lady Makar. There is precedent for what happened to Enris. Now allow me to concentrate on your Soul Keeper.” After glancing once at Iniri, she asks, “Does he know the female?” When I nod, she continues with, “Blood or water?”

“Blood.” I have no proof that Iliri is a Makar, but my instincts tell me it is so.

“How close?”

“My twin,” Iniri murmurs.

Well, her admission creates panic … for her father. Linus pales and doubles over, causing Gennerin to shout for a medic and Glonu to press against the walls in the event they are accused of something.

Ignoring everything and everyone, Leffandir leans across the expanse and grips Iniri’s hand. “Do NOT let go. Do you understand?” Inhaling raggedly, Iniri jerks a nod. “Gift me your talent, Keeper,” Leffandir says next, holding out her free hand. I grip it. “I will now find Enris. Do not move.”

We becomes as statues, Iniri and I. King Linus has straightened and watches us, as unmoving, as silent. In fact, all time seems to grind to halt inside the conference cabin, as if we are cast into stone for eternity, all of us, down to the smallest microbe.

For the life of me, I cannot say how long we remain in stasis, but I do see how Leffandir begins to shake. At first it is a light tremor as if she is slightly feverish and then it is full-blown undulations. She keens and wails, and suddenly collapses, releasing her holds on our hands. I catch her before she hits the deck, realising as I do so that animation has returned.

Someone roughly settles into the space beside me to take the Empress. “Give her to me, Mirlin.”

Enris. “She did it. My prince!”

Touchy Feely Words

Monday, July 18, 2016

The King's Challenge (ILFIN OF ARC) #364

TKC 364

While shuttles ferry Massinians back to their various regions, and Ilfin soldiers back to the orbiting craft, returning repeatedly to gather more, we search for Enris and Coltern. Braving the icy conditions, we range far. Commander Gennerin has seconded an entire unit to help, but we find no sign of them.

Meanwhile the issue of returned Glonu causes heavy discussion, mostly between King Linus and Gennerin. At the end of it, the decision is to let them go in peace. They must be aware that they have been defeated and will thus behave and go on with their lives. We hope all Massinians of whatever genesis choose to pick up the threads of their old lives, to continue as they were before the fireball in the sky changed everything.

A day later our king grimly states we will return to orbit. There are still the issues of the Glonu fleet, and Empress Leffandir. The generals at the meeting need to speak up and we need to hear them. After the final ferry is accomplished, we take to the heavens.

In all this, I have avoided Iniri. I have no answers for her and she expects them. I see her watching me with suspicion and understand that, in her mind, I have again proven untrustworthy. I gather she has not mentioned Enris calling to someone known as Iliri; she has not even approached her father about it.

Of course I wonder why. I suspect Iniri knows more than she is willing to share. I am therefore as suspicious of her, and thus I avoid her more.

When we descend the ramp inside the transport in space, loud acclaim greets us. Every Ilfin soldier celebrates our victory. The Makar name resounds, causing King Linus to grin widely. There is, however, no time for long speeches; the Glonu delegation awaits.

Apparently Leffandir is with them, and in a rage such as only a thwarted woman is able to sustain.

This will be interesting.

2 Episodes Left!!