Saturday, October 31, 2015

The King's Challenge #92

We are now a quarter way through this challenge - how time flies! Here's to hoping you are enjoying this journey with me :)

TKC 92

After the flying shields we are left alone. No one follows. Nothing of a magical nature comes at us. It is us, the great empty plain and the eye in the sky. Even Damin admits it feels as if we have severed all claim to what was, as if we are now abandoned to our fate. I agree; this is loneliness, despite the thousands walking towards the same destination.

Siri claims we are captured in time, walking seemingly nowhere. I desire to investigate her concept of time, but Damin throws me a warning look.

The orb in the heavens is huge. Soon it will be the fireball we hope to escape.

It does seem we walk nowhere. And yet the mountains loom large now. Thanks to Horin’s bridges, we are a day from the mountain pass that will take us into Arc. Given Siri’s analogy, however, the ancient rock appears forever unattainable.

As we prepare to march in the pre-light of dawn, we hear hoof beats. A great thundering approaches from the north. Surely the cavalry is finished? Unless – and I jerk to Damin – only the archers were on the shields. Cavalry is about more than archers.

“Get down!” Damin hollers. “Horin, where are you?”

The lad runs towards us, fingers around his glowing green orb. Everywhere people crouch.

Damin starts laughing.

“What?” I demand. There is nothing amusing about this.

“The Messengers!” Damin crows, punching the air. As Horin skids to a halt beside him, he adds, “It is all right. These are friends.” The boy heaves and nods, relief clear in his expression.

Three hundred men and women adorned with red sashes join us mere minutes later, calling out greeting to the Messengers already with us. Apparently they used the same route Lyra and Hanna had. Leading them is Joseph, an older man. He and Damin pump hands, grinning at each other.

Joseph has much news to share.

Your stories

Friday, October 30, 2015

The King's Challenge #91

TKC 91

Someone starts clapping, the sound loud in the silence. Horin lifts his head and I notice how unfocused his eyes are. Another joins in, and then another, and soon applause fills the air around us. Horin swallows and smiles, although it is an uncertain action.

Whistles join the acclaim and someone shouts “Thank you, Horin!”

Yes, a terrible coercion came to pass, but it means we are alive. Five minutes ago we all thought we would die.

I lift my hands to join in with the applause.

Damin places his hands on the lad’s shoulders, squeezes, and leans in to whisper in his ear. What he says I do not know, but Horin nods and bows. He then throws his hand out to release the green orb, and the path of light falls between us, beckoning us onward to our destination.

“Gather the shields and weapons,” I call out, “and start walking!”

The acclaim dies and most spring into the action.

“We will see to the wounded!” Damin adds.

How? We have no means to heal. Ah, I see. The girl, Siri, is a Healer. She falls to her knees beside a man with two shafts protruding from his chest. She touches them and they disintegrate. She lays her hand on the man’s chest, and moments later moves to the next victim. The man sits up, healed, staring at her.

Damin moves to my side. “She is an actual Healer. Lyra’s power is used on a grand scale, while Siri is hands-on. She is about individual succour.” He watches me with a slight frown.

“Has she done this before?”

Damin nods. “In Grenmassin, but only with animals, she tells me. She thought it a facet of compassion, but now realises it is an actual talent.”

“One we desperately need,” I murmur.

“Indeed.” Damin smiles, and gestures Horin nearer.

Review - Bad Blood by BA Morton

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The King's Challenge #90

TKC 90

Red tendrils, reminding me of blood, weave into the pulsating green substance, forming a lattice within the fluidity.

Abruptly Horin clenches his hand into a fist. We flinch as sound and movement resumes in a heartbeat.

It is chaos. People run and stumble, scream and groan. Arrows caught in mid-flight smack down. Donkeys bray and horses neigh. Shields in the sky buckle a bit before righting for the next pass.

I see terror in many eyes. The men on those shields stare at the rising substance, and they are afraid.

On the ground, silence falls as we gaze up. Even the animals are quiet.

Arrows are nocked and loosed ever faster, but now they do not find ground; the spreading green and red ‘net’ absorbs every impact. It lifts ever higher and stretches wider and further, becoming almost transparent, it is that thin. It is now a veil between us and the archers on their flying shields.

My heart threatens to escape its cage in my chest. Peripherally, for the spectacle overhead has all my attention, I notice Horin punch the air.

The miasma explodes.

The sonic boom accompanying it fells us. We stumble to our knees, but still we stare up.

Small pellets of sorcery target the archers. Those tiny missiles smack into flesh with popping, wet sounds that serves to empty a few stomachs here on the ground.

I expect the men to explode also, by the sands, but instead they become as nothing in an instant. One moment a man perches atop a shield, the next he is ether. His shield hurtles to earth, and his bow and arrow pouch joins the headlong tumble.

Within two minutes the sky is cleared. The ground is littered with shields, bows and arrows.

Horin opens his hand. The miasma forms anew and then contracts swiftly until a green orb rushes to him, and smacks into his palm. His fingers enclose it and he stares at it in horror.

Review - Claus (Legend of the Fat Man)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The King's Challenge #89

TKC 89

“Off the path!” Damin shouts.

Not everyone hears, but somehow all understand Horin needs the substance we walk upon. Everyone jumps into the scrub, hauling animals with them. It is a mess of limbs and groans, but happens fast.

Arrows thud to earth. Some find flesh. Groans become screams.

Damin and I form a buffer over Horin after Damin tells him to kneel. I feel a thousand arrows smacking into my exposed back; no doubt Damin feels the same. Siri crouches between Forest’s legs beside us. She is praying.

“Quickly, Horin,” Damin murmurs.

The rain of barbs intensifies and the shields overhead now blot the sun. A twilight of death.

Horin,” I urge also.

The lad shakes head to toe. Fear has him. He swallows convulsively, eyes flitting in every direction.

“Concentrate on what you must do,” Damin says. “We deal with pain after, all right?”

“Do it,” Siri adds.

Horin stares at her for a moment, and then nods. He lifts his hand and, thank the sands, the ‘bridge’ lifts and begins to alter both substance and shape. It becomes fluid, as heavy water.

Everything freezes in the next moment. Arrows jerk to a stop in the air. Shields halt in mid-flight and -turn. People are paralysed in various poses. The green barrier does not move.

Horin gazes at Damin. It appears only the four of us are able to move now. “The only way to end it, Damin, is by killing all of them.”

Those words explain the freeze. Horin seeks permission to do what he must … or hopes for absolution before the act. Siri is pale, but remains silent, her gaze going to her brother also.

Damin closes his eyes. “It is us or them, Horin. This is defence, not cold murder.”

Horin nods … and his fingers open to bleed tendrils of red light.

The Favourites' Feeling

A few favourite movies and their soundtracks :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The King's Challenge #88

TKC 88

On the third day of following Horin’s bridges, it changes for us.

The plateau dwellers have needed to fight the authorities to leave their cities and towns, they have escaped slave masters, run from raiders, coped in extreme weather conditions, and have even had cavalry chasing them. All this happened while they were filled with both fear and hope.

They have also seen and lived sorcery now. The latter has saved them numerous times.

I, Mirlin, grew up accepting the talents as a natural condition, but even in the west it was not common place. I too needed to fight the authorities to leave and walked across the great plains in the hottest dry season in living memory. It nearly killed me.

Thus we know hardship and we expect the unexpected now, but we overlooked something.

The authorities tested for the talents and did so long before Damin sprung the Porlese trap. It means, if we are logical about it, they now have certain talents as theirs to command. Those caught before this march began are not with us, are they?

It does not occur to me to factor that situation in until everything changes, and then it is too late.

We are on Horin’s second bridge of the day when we hear it. The drone of insects, many insects. At first I think of a swarm of bees, perhaps even locusts, but there is nothing to be seen.

In consternation, I halt. The girl’s face drains me of all hope. I see Siri jerk her head upward and I see her lose all colour. Her jaw hangs slack and she cannot move.

With shivers of dread coursing through me, I too look up.

Shields. Blue war shields. In the air, flying, on swift approach, and atop each perches a man, bow raised, face manic.

The first arrows fly.

Why are we doing this?

“Why are we doing this?”
“The short answer?”
“Give me the complicated one,” Torrullin sighed.
“We are here for different reasons,” Elianas said in an even tone. “We say it is to right a wrong, for the echoes to spread out, for your heirs to find peace in a wholesome universe, but it is mere excuse. We would like to be charitable and altruistic, the benefactors of time, and it is indeed a noble goal and, of course, Grinwallin is a threat, one we hope to contain. Still, it is excuse. Grinwallin unleashed means change, catastrophic change, and yet change will always have merit. Grinwallin unleashed will bring on a new era, difference to the long future ahead, but would it be bad? Sentience is good at survival, evolution and adaptability; life would go on. Such change could herald a new order of togetherness, as righting an ancient wrong would.”
“Gods,” Torrullin muttered.
“Exactly. Let us step aside from the great goals here and speak of the truth of each individual. We are the reason we do this; us, our souls, hearts, minds and the rest of it. Sentience is selfish, and no one in this realm right now has ever risen above selfishness.”


Monday, October 26, 2015

The King's Challenge #87

TKC 87

Horin’s arm glows green and then he points.

We all gaze in astonishment when the net lifts in silence, flies overhead and settles in a curve over the expanse of water. The moment it touches, it solidifies. It is no longer a net.

Horin walks over as if the bridge has always been there.

Swiftly Damin and I exhort the others to follow. The crossing is achieved in minutes, rather than the hours one expects when the line is as long as this one. The instant a foot touches the bridge, the man, woman, child or animal appears on the other side, magically sped across.

The lad then points again, and the bridge lifts, swirls, and settles upon the land, dead straight upon rock and scrub. It points directly to the mountains of Arc. Blinking, I gesture, and again we cross in minutes. We gather in miles instead of mere yards.

He does it twice more before Damin commands him to stop. We all see the weariness in the boy’s every muscle and gesture. Accepting no argument, Damin lifts Horin onto that horse of his, and says we will now walk.

We march on the usual way, for it is not even midday yet. Looking back, I realise how far we have travelled in only hours. The plateau is now the smudge, while the mountains ahead have taken on some definition.

“We will make the deadline,” I murmur to Damin, joining him in the rear of the column. I notice the net is again behind us, but it is now a sliver of what it was. I frown. “How is this a warrior talent?”

Horin lifts his weary head from Forest’s mane. “It’s a shield. It protects from the rough ground.”

Siri walks on the other side. “It also protects us from time,” she adds.

Just because ;)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The King's Challenge #86

TKC 86

When I see how the burly Grenmassin stonemason controls the stores as we halt for the night, I see why Damin left him in charge. Artur denies all pleas for something tasty to eat. He roars at everyone that the food must last, and be damned. I smile. Everyone is hungry after the long march, but Artur is right; our stores need to stretch.

Damin grins and shakes his head and waves at Artur to go on before approaching me.
“Why are we heading west instead of south?” he asks.

I explain about the rough terrain, that I seek an easier crossing. “At least the water isn’t too deep.” I add, gesturing at the river. Moonlight picks out the peaks of the current.

This is when Horin comes upon us. The lad is almost asleep on his feet, but he has something on his mind. “We can use the net.”

Damin frowns down at him. “Meaning?”

“It can be told to make a bridge for crossing water or any land.”

My eyebrows shoot up. Really? That will make it easier indeed to traverse this plain. It may even speed our path. I am about to question him further, when Damin lifts the boy into his arms.

“Sleep first,” he murmurs. He walks off with him to where Attis has a fire going. Most of the kids he has in his care are already asleep. They were fed first. Damin lays Horin down, and then inclines his head at Siri. She follows him into the darkness.

What is Damin up to? Casually I stroll nearer.

“… his mother for a while,” Damin tells his sister. “Talk to him, find out what he can do.”

Siri glares up. “I need help as much as Horin does. I too struggle with a burgeoning talent.”

I knew it! Quickly I turn away. Damin must not know I overheard.

Expert hands

Friday, October 23, 2015

The King's Challenge #85

TKC 85

The boy turned out quite the surprise. It appears we have a saviour waiting for us, and one to accompany us on the journey to reconciliation. Horin requires further scrutiny indeed. Now I wonder if the girl Siri possesses something extra, given her brother is a Delver. Talent is genetic, but does it manifest in multiple ways in the same generational time frame?

My brother, rest his soul, had not one iota of talent. I smile inwardly. Axel was a marvel at sports, and often it seemed like magic, what he did to his competitors, but his was purely a physical mastery. Until the day the bulls ran faster than he did. At least he died doing what he loved.

I grin openly, imagining him challenging the cavalry. He would have shouted at them, told them to take him on … my grin vanishes. I miss him.

With my horse picking the way, I study the terrain. Our first test will come with the river glinting ahead. It is wide and fast, and its strength is obvious even from here. Hopefully it will be shallow. Beyond is tightly packed scrub, the kind to lacerate bare legs. Many bare legs among the marchers, for slaves wear robes. We cannot afford injuries, even the surface kind. Haste is our ally and wounds will slow us.

It may be best to follow the river on the softer sand for a while before crossing. Feeling like to a genie, I nod to myself, and swing back.

“We will follow the river until nightfall!”

Far back, I see Damin wave. He does not hear my words, but he does not need to. A remarkable talent, that. I notice the net curves to flank the stragglers. It appears the device has the power of reason, for it herds them together, ensuring none will be lost. Amazing.

Review - Bratva (Holy Moly!)

Warning: this is an ADULT read.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The King's Challenge #84

Part 3

TKC 84

As I watch Damin coming to terms with the boy’s talent, I wonder what he will say and do if he learns about mine. In the west, beyond this great stretch of no man’s land, sorcery is more accepted than these plateau dwellers have even considered.

A narrow-minded bunch, ever afraid, even of their own shadows. I have watched the nobility among us and realise they are as afraid. They have clung to authority and status by their fingernails, using historical supremacy to rule the present. No more, for the great eye in the sky has levelled everyone to one status, that of survival.

As it is for my kind in the west. Whether sorcerer or scholar, layman or lawmaker, the orb above has erased all delusions.

I press my lips together to contain the need to shout my frustration. I desire to race alone to Arc, and everything be damned, but the truth is I need this march as I need those marching. We cannot restart a civilisation without willing hands and minds. Every living soul will count in the aftermath.

In the present, however, Lyra is all important. She is the reason I trekked across the plains and climbed the plateau. Our sages saw the two eyes in visions and began searching for one such among our own. One was found – a girl child of three years. She is too young to change the future for anyone, and thus it meant the one we sought was in the east.

I wish to be at her side as she stands before the Spire, but Lyra will not trust me if I arrive there alone. Not only are these marchers needed for the future, but I need them to prove trust to our saviour.

Damin Mur is the ultimate means to proof. For the present I aim to tell him as little as possible.

Collage 7 - TKC

I feel Damin's task of saving his loved ones from the slavers is over, and therefore the point of view in the King's Challenge needs to shift ... to the mysterious Mirlin, the man from the west.

The final collage, therefore to end off our journey with Damin:

88 000+!

Thank you to everyone for stopping by!!


Review - Anima Mea

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The King's Challenge #83

TKC 83

After negotiating the path down to the plain, I look back. Soldiers stand on the edge of the plateau, most dismounted. I sense not only anger, but disquiet. Some of them must be wondering what the future now holds.

My gaze descends to our level. The magical web has elongated to a barrier many miles in width. Even the most intrepid soldier on the swiftest horse will not haul in an edge before it has moved beyond his reach. We are indeed safe from all threats to our rear.

It is what lies ahead we need now deal with.

I transfer my study to the great emptiness before us. Many rivers need crossing, also large tracks of dunes, much rough and rocky turf, even marshes. This place has it all, and it will test endurance.

Mirlin moves to the head of the column, pushing the horse he appropriated from the Messengers. The man is a tracker also and has already crossed this emptiness. I leave him to do the leading; he will find the sure-footed way.

Far in the distance I notice smudges on the horizon. That would be the mountains surrounding Arc. By the stars, we need make haste.

Before I knee Forest forward again, I look up. It is past midday and the cloud cover has retreated somewhat. The glare shifting through errant wisps is intense, and already I feel the heat building. Soon we will wish the wet season follows with us.

The orb we seek to escape is dim in the brightness, but the fact it is now visible in daytime is sobering. It will follows us across the plain, growing every larger and in brilliance.

The soldiers are looking up also, and I sigh. As Mirlin says, they must make their own choices.

“Come, Damin,” Horin murmurs. He points, and I knee Forest forward.

True love

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The King's Challenge #82

TKC 82

Will an arrow pass through? That is the question. A net, after all, by nature possesses holes. A competent archer should have no difficulty finding the chink in this armour.

Horin and the others have retreated and do not think to look back. Mirlin and I stare in fascination at the approaching arrows; it is as if they travel in slowed motion.

Thunk! Thunk! The projectiles smack into the net and bounce back, skittering away in uncontrolled movements.

As the archers stare in amazement, we grin at each other and turn away. Swiftly we catch up to the others, and I lift Horin to sit on Forest in front of me. The donkey follows, ears twitching.

“Start talking,” I say to him, kneeing our mount to one side as we amble back to the line of people.

He stares ahead. “I didn’t know, not until they started testing for talents in Porlese. They never got to me, but I started seeing and feeling things the closer they came. They had us in batches, and …” He shakes his head.

“How did they test?” I ask.

“A rod. They touched it to the neck or wrist and it changed colour. Every time it changed, I felt something strange. At one time I saw you through snakes.” Horin cranes his neck to look at me.

“Yes. I was aware of you also,” I murmur. “I told Lyra you may have the warrior talent, which you displayed here today.”

Horin stares ahead again. “I felt a shield around me and saw it spread out to guard us. All I needed to do was believe.” He gives a laugh. “It worked. Damin, what talent is yours?”

“Delver,” I say. “It is of the mind.”

“And Lyra?”

I heave a breath. “Lyra may have all the talents.”

“I knew it,” I hear him whisper.

Review - Doorkeeper of the World

Monday, October 19, 2015

The King's Challenge #81

TKC 81

With Horin as our leader on his donkey, we retreat. All of us glance backwards repeatedly to see if the net follows as Horin claims. It does. Never has a more surreal sight been seen. It is pure sorcery; it is also absolute relief.

The cavalry is stumped. Horses swirl in near panic, and men shout at each other. I hear some exhorting others to attempt a breach, while others loudly deny it. They are in quandary.

I bring Forest to a halt and turn back. There are innocents among the soldiers, those who saw no other means to survive but by joining the army. They simply follow orders and are not without compassion and probably suffer guilt over what they have been told to do.

“If anyone desires to join us with open hearts and minds, know you will find welcome among us!”

The centre of activity does not even acknowledge my words, but I note how, at the outer edges, men glance at each other. Some are no doubt aware of what comes from the heavens and seek safety.

“We could use your talents!” I add.

A burly man in his blue breastplate, sporting a bushy black beard, shouts, “Deserters will be shot!” He gestures, and swiftly six men step clear of the chaos, bows at the ready, arrows nocked.

Mirlin joins me. “Let it go, Damin. They must make their choices; we cannot do it for them.”

I nod, but a lump grows in my throat, for I know there are many who wish to join with us. I feel their pain across the divide. I see the knots of fear they live with.

The big man then shifts his arm and points at the net. He chops downward.

The archers turn on the balls of their feet and loose their arrows directly at us.

Words commonly used to describe sounds

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The King's Challenge #80

TKC 80

Tendrils of emerald creep out from the main glow, and spreads. Swiftly a web of connected green light hovers between us and the approaching cavalry.

My entire body is stiff with tension. I concentrate more on Horin than what he brings forth, for the lad is precious to me, as Lyra is, as Siri is. I see his tension. He is frightened, but is also incredibly focused.

A gossamer net now separates us from the Blues. I realise they have slowed. Many soldiers jerk their mounts to a standstill and eye the net warily.

Then, as if an external force has made a choice, keening fills the air. We grab our ears, as do the milling soldiers beyond. Horses here and there prance, about to bolt.


The net is no longer gossamer; it is a solid barrier. Sound has created something tangible from weaves of air and light.

Horin retreats, carefully back stepping his donkey. He does not remove his focus from the net. I wonder if it means he needs to maintain eye contact for it to function. My answer is swift in coming, for Horin nods emphatically, as if satisfied, and turns away. The shield holds.

Someone laughs in derision beyond, and spurs his horse forward, racing at the barrier, sword raised to cut it to shreds. Others shout encouragement, and his feral grin of intent closes in.

I hold my breath, Mirlin does, and so do the Messengers. Horin no longer bothers to watch; he clearly knows what the result will be.

The soldier hurtles into the net … and man and horse scream. I flinch. In the blink of an eye, man and horse vanish.

Horin is alongside. “It will move with us to protect us from behind. We are safe.”

I stare at him, at a loss for words.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The King's Challenge #79

TKC 79

People still snake towards the edge of the plateau, too many to safely run. By the speed of the approaching mass, I can tell they have no intention of stopping to parley. The cavalry intends to ride them down.

Mirlin and I push our mounts to haul in the back of the line, there to make a stand. Many laden horses and donkeys are at the end of the immigration; they too will soon know agony.

Hauling our horses around to face what comes, we halt there and draw swords. I know I have no experience fighting on horseback, but even if I did, I will make little difference now to the outcome.

Hoof beats sound behind us. By the stars, have the Blues split their forces to take us on two fronts? But no, the Messengers ride towards us, all with swords drawn. They at least have some fighting experience. Swiftly fifteen of us stand between what goes and what comes.

We will not be enough.

Panic sounds behind us now, but we cannot afford to look. I hope folk flee; I pray they make it.

Clods of mud hurtle into the air as the cavalry races towards us. The ground shakes. The rumble of hoof beats removes all other sound from the region.

We see blue shields and plumes. We see armoured horses. Spears and blades glint in the gloomy light. I wish for a downpour; it may obscure the innocent long enough for them to reach safety.

A donkey nudges between Mirlin and I … with a determined rider upon its back.

“Horin!” I scream as the lad goes boldly forward. Mirlin grips my arm and holds me back as I knee Forest. “Let me go!”

“Wait!” Mirlin hisses.

Horin lifts his right hand, fingers splayed. Bright green light erupts from his palm.

Hemingway Magic

Friday, October 16, 2015

The King's Challenge #78

TKC 78

We are not yet safe. Despite a sense of ease, I am not a dreamer. We are not out of danger.

The asteroid, according to prediction and science, is but ten days from impact with Massin. When we see the flames surrounding it as it enters atmosphere, only hours will remain. The unwieldy line of people snaking towards the edge of the plateau and then down have elderly among them, many weak and ill, children too young to understand haste or with the ability to employ it, and many weary souls carry weight upon their backs. All of this will slow the march.

Last night Mirlin told me we need fourteen days to cross the plains. We have eight, for we need two days to negotiate the pass into Arc. I foresee the front runners abandoning everyone when flames wreath the skies.

I pray for a miracle.

And now a more immediate threat is upon us, and it comes not from the heavens.

Thunder reverberates to the north and east, and tremors shudder the earth. I feel them in the fort’s ancient foundations. This is not weather, I immediately recognise.


A host on horseback gallops our way. Do they seek to join with us, aid us to haste and safety … or are these the masters who refuse to release us, whether enslaved or free, to a new future?

Mirlin hurtles into the courtyard below, shouting and already turning the horse he is on. “The Blues from Alarn, Damin! Get to your horse!”

Ice fills my veins. Massin’s main force approaches. These are hardened soldiers, without compassion and reason. They follow orders, whatever those orders are. The masters of Porlese must have summoned them.

I race down and jump onto Forest.

We cannot run. We cannot fight them either. We are doomed.

87 000+!

Thank you for visiting!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The King's Challenge #77

TKC 77

Beyond the fort the plateau dips towards the plain. A narrow pass allows for access to the lower regions; this we will now use, although it will take time to move so many people.

During the night we apportioned the supplies. Everyone will carry something. Artur has put himself in charge of stores, where everything is and who carries what, and I leave him to it. My burden of logistics is thus less. Heftier items are loaded onto the donkeys. Most are tools, I note.

Attis is my unsung hero, for he takes the young under his wing, those with no elders to take care of them. With Horin, he keeps them smiling, and another burden lifts.

I notice Alyssa and Emily gathering their kind together. It is not about keeping apart, I realise, but about gifting them the means to go forward with less soul searching. The nobility are out of their depth here.

The Messengers, obvious by their red sashes, organise the horses. They will be led down and then those struggling along the march will take turns on them. I trust the Messengers with our mounts more than I do the nobility, and thus leave it to them.

Mirlin is at the head of the pass, showing the way down, while I remain as rearguard until the last have left.

Standing on the battlements, I watch the line as it snakes to the edge and vanishes into the defile. There is much talk among the walkers; there is also much silence. Both the serene blue flower and the coiling snakes hover above them as they amble away, heading to a different future. I close my eyes to banish the images … and see Lyra laughing in a field of wildflowers.

Smiling, I reopen my eyes. Lyra is safe. We will be too.

Review - Enoch's Device

Collage 6 - TKC

Two weeks of episodes from Damin's point of view have now passed, therefore it is time for a collage:)

Remember, if you have missed any, the episode links are on The King's Challenge page in the sidebar.