Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lore of Sanctum (last few days!)

The King's Challenge #286 and #287

TKC 286 and 287

Shuttles surround the flyer as we near the Ilfin command ship. We are not summarily shot at and that is probably Commander Gennerin’s doing. We find ourselves accompanied to the main landing bay. Barely have we touched down before a host of Ilfin soldiers surrounds the vessel, weapons cocked.

“We have been commanded to wait,” the pilot mutters from up front.

We wait.

The soldiers do not move.

The space we are in is massive. It is a hangar for smaller aircraft and beyond the soldiers crews scurry as they work on other vessels. Massive tanks and rows of tools along with curled pipes and many gantries prove this is both landing bay and maintenance.

It feels forever, but not long after another shuttle hurtles in. Watching through a small oval, I see the ramp descend immediately and Gennerin strides down shouting and gesticulating. Instantly weapons lower everywhere and the soldiers retreat two paces. Gennerin approaches our flyer.

“We are to open,” the pilot states.

“Then open,” Damin snaps. He stands and pulls Leffandir roughly to him.

The side panel lifts and two men race forward with a set of metal stairs, attaching it to the edge.

“Pilot, remain aboard until you are retrieved. No one will harm you,” I murmur. The man does not respond, but he heard me. I step to the exit.

Commander Gennerin is there. He bows. “My Lady, I offer my congratulations. The Spire fell.”

Smiling, I accept the hand he extends. “Well done to you also, Commander.”

Placing my hand upon his arm, Gennerin turns with me as if we are in a ballroom. The man’s courtly etiquette is a surprise; clearly he has paid frequent visits to the palace.

“Leffandir?” he murmurs.

“Still with us,” I grin.

“It seems we just won this war,” he states, a twinkle in his eyes.

“Indeed,” I laugh. “Announce it.”

As Damin brings the Glonu Empress down, Gennerin raises his free hand. “We have won! I give you Empress Leffandir!”

At first there is only silence and then a roar of sound reverberates. Soldiers shout and release their holds on their weapons to applaud.

Gennerin steps forward with me on his arm. “Ilfin, may I also present to you the Lady Inirir Makar!”

Silence ensues, instantly. Hardened men kneel and bow their heads. Every soldier and every crewman. Seeing it, I realise this kind of homage was why I left Makaran. Never have I been comfortable with it. Now, however, I need to use it. I need every soldier on my side, on Enris’ side, no matter which command Fenn Moravin gives his army. This must become our army, not his.

I step forward both arms extended, palms up.

The blue light is first.

Heads jerk up to stare fixedly.

Turning my palms into a cupping gesture, I summon the orb. Merely the smallest part was employed for the Spire; the actual orb remains with me. The eerie emerald sphere hovers in the air cradled in my blue light.

I look up and smile, offering also the light from my two eyes. “The Makar are strong, my Ilfin, as strong as ever.”

I cannot accurately explain what happens next, for there are no words. My hair stands on end, for men rise in awed silence and bow deeply. Thereafter a hum commences, a baritone chant without words, and it resonates from every throat.

Tears flow over my cheeks. Beside me Gennerin clears his throat.

Laughing then, I toss the orb upward. “I love you, my Ilfin!”

The green sphere hurtles in the space above, dancing. When it descends to return to me it leaves a glowing pattern in the air. The triskelion. The Ilfin symbol.

The roar of sound then threatens to pull every rivet from its mooring.

“We love you, Lady Iniri!”


Monday, April 25, 2016

The King's Challenge #285

TKC 285

As the swift vessel races through atmosphere, I grip Leffandir by the neck and hiss into her face, “We are going where we will find Enris. Tell the pilot to obey my commands.”

The woman blinks and then gives the smallest nod.

I release her.

“Captain, we are under the command of Lady Makar,” Leffandir states in a firm voice.

The man jerks back to stare at me and then at Leffandir. He may never have seen his Empress before, but he knows her intrinsically. The recognition is inbred. “Empress?”

“Do as I say,” she snaps.

Swallowing, he faces forward. A flyer is for single combat and thus he is alone; he proceeds to punch codes and then asks, “Where are we going?”

“The Ilfin command carrier.”

Again he glances over his shoulder, paling, and then his shoulders stiffen and he continues his input. “Strap in.” He does not again move other than to fly the vessel.

We take seats. There are only four, tightly fit into a small space. While this craft is for single combat, it is also employed to ferry others to destinations in a hurry. Sometimes that can be a mission expert or it may be a dignitary needing to be somewhere without delay.

Damin is beside me, while Leffandir sits as frozen in the seat before me. I stare at her golden hair. She isn’t much of an Empress now in her earthly guise; she is dirty and appears without purpose. However, this is the Glonu ruler and one must never underestimate her.

Suddenly she looks back at me. “I believe I must thank your dog for returning to me my real form.”

“For Enris?”

A swift smile erupts. “Indeed.” She faces forward again.

Damin murmurs, “That will be an interesting meeting.”


“The Ilfin are evacuating the planet,” the pilot states then, his tone expressionless.

I smile. Gennerin followed orders. It is time for the endgame.

The most intense individualism

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The King's Challenge #283 and #284

TKC 283 and 284

We enter the antechamber together. Strangely, the lanterns that lit for me when I entered the space as Lyra are still burning. One may reason that the Glonu are in situ and therefore the lanterns remain aglow, and yet this space feels as abandoned in this present as it did then.

I am now the guide. I lead Damin to the winding stairway and he brings Leffandir with him. She does not protest, but I have the feeling she will have delayed longer had it not been for my knowledge. Why, I can only guess at.

We climb, my leg muscles protesting as much as they did in the first climb.

Never have I known Damin to be this silent. It scares me.

By the time we stand before the doors that lead into the control room I estimate close to an hour has passed. The charges set below will go off soon. We need to act now or we tumble with rock and stone into eternal dust also.

The interior space is as lit, every tiny light blinking on every console. The expression on Leffandir’s face tells me she is astonished. Through the forward windows, where once I watched the fireball in the heavens, the night is revealed as awash in sparkles. Glonu lasers, but who the soldiers shoot it is, again, a guessing game. The world outside has now retreated from its usual sense of importance.

As Iniri Makar, I am aware of what this place is. It is a technological command centre, much as one expects on a spaceship, and thus I stride forward and slap my palm upon a protruding green button. It alters to yellow.

“The flyer is summoned,” I murmur, and head for another set of doors left of the main entrance. It leads to a platform outside.

Punching in a code, I step into buffeting wind. Damin hauls the Empress out and stands behind her to hold her in place. If she attempts to flee, he will shove her over the edge. She knows it, for she does not move, although her eyes skitter everywhere.

“What is your intention?” Damin asks of me, echoing Gennerin earlier.

“This ends now, Damin,” I tell him.

The almighty screech of a flyer on approach ends our words. As wind gusts around us, the vessel manoeuvres into position, bringing the ingress in line with the edge of the platform. A small ramp slaps down.

“Go!” I shout at Damin, already turning back for the control room.

I do not know if he heeds or not, for I move swiftly to the oval cylinder set in the central island. It is empty and it is also so clean I am aware only sorcery keeps it that way. It is a sterile receptacle for magical devices. A Glonu invention to safely hold captured Ilfin objects.

As the first explosion of many to follow rocks the foundations of the Spire, I flex my fingers. The green orb appears instantly and bursts into brilliance; I toss it into the receptacle, where it transforms into the brightest white and grows alarmingly in circumference. By the stars. Swiftly I swivel for the platform.

I run.

Damin’s blue eyes are huge as I sprint across the small space. He has understood and he holds his arm outstretched to me, holding it steady despite the gusts assailing us.

A fireball races up the shuddering tower … and a fireball engulfs the control room from within.

At the last moment I grip Damin’s hand and am barely hauled to safety when the flyer jerks sideways and hurtles into the night.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Review: Social Engineer

Review: Squandered Prayers

The King's Challenge #281 and #282

TKC 281 and 282

The heart does as the heart sees fit. I cannot blame Leffandir for her efforts to again see the man she loves, but my logical mind has to deny the way she went about it.

Shrugging, I thus move away from the woman. “Bring her with us,” I say to Damin. “We will not be attacked while she is in our care.”

The man I love lifts an eyebrow. “Care?” he repeats.

“We need her to call the Glonu off,” Commander Gennerin murmurs. “She can send them all home.”

Hefting his rucksack and hauling the Empress up, Damin heads to the trapdoor. “Fine,” he mutters under his breath. He shoves her at the hole; she goes down without protest.

Watching that, I understand Leffandir hopes, by remaining in our company, to stand before Enris again. I wonder just what exactly their relationship entailed in the past. I admit, I am curious; I actually desire to be a witness at the reconciliation.

Gennerin clears his throat and gestures towards the trapdoor. I precede him to it and we go down. Gennerin pulls the door over the opening, plunging us into darkness. Below, however, light flickers. The torches affixed to Ilfin uniforms have been switched on.

Damin already strides into the darker region, firmly holding Leffandir and forcing her to be our guide. He is going the wrong way. She is taking him to the antechamber where stairs await. She intends to try for the pinnacle.

I do not call him back. Instead I turn to Gennerin. “Place the charges in the circle …” I point to an opening in the tunnel behind us. “There is the access to the foundations. Set the timing for one hour, and then return to the shuttle.”

He eyes me. “I have the clearest feeling you are not coming with us.”

I jut my chin out into the direction Damin vanishes into. “I will see that part of this done. Gennerin, wait until the explosion before taking to the skies.” I point to Marian. “She may need to finish it off.”

“What is your intention?”

“We will summon a flyer from the pinnacle. Have no fear, it will come for Leffandir and thus for us. Be sure to evacuate the whole of Arc after the Spire comes down.”

He is expressionless. “Lady, what is your intention?”

Sighing, I pat his upper arm. “I do not yet know, but I sense something must be done up there before I can leave. We shall meet again in the presence of my father.” Determined, I move away, striding into the darkness after Damin and Leffandir. I do not greet any one; I simply go. Time is now of the essence.

Gennerin will see it done. I trust him.

Swiftly I catch up to the two. Damin’s torchlight is a white beam piercing the dust-ridden gloom ahead. He no longer holds Leffandir, but walks behind her, slightly to one side for his light to go forth uninterrupted. He glances at me as I fall in alongside.

“Do not trust her. This is not just about love,” he mutters. “The woman we see here is also a slaver master and trader, and she has no conscience.”

“Then it isn’t love that drives her to Enris. Once, maybe, but now it is more.”

“Revenge,” Damin puts in. “She wants to make him suffer as he made her suffer.”

“How did Enris make her suffer?”

“Apparently there was a child born of their union. The presence of this daughter opened Enris’ eyes to who he was sleeping with.” Damin lifts a shoulder. “The girl was neither Glonu nor Ilfin and was not a combination either. She was conceived when Leffandir was already standing with one foot in the ethereal spaces and emerged as a half entity. Half physical, half ghost.”

By the stars. “What did Enris do?”

“He killed the girl …”

“… and Leffandir,” I whisper. “That was the day she became fully ethereal.”

Little Red Vessels

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The King's Challenge #280

TKC 280

The Glonu woman rears back and snarls, but she cannot break from Damin’s hold.

“You will die!” she screams.

“No,” Damin responds with amazing equanimity, “you will.”

I shove my face into hers. “Leffandir,” I whisper.

She slumps then and the ghostly host vanishes into thin air as if they were merely figments of the imagination. It is a truth the host depends on the mind-set of the controller, which has now been circumvented.

Sliding through Damin’s hold, the woman falls to her knees in the dirt. Damin releases her to stand braced before her, gazing down. Gennerin marches up and takes up position behind her.

“You are Iniri,’ she whispers, lifting her eyes to me. “This world will be the ending for both of us now.”

I kneel as well. “I will return.”

Her head lowers until her chin almost touches her breast. “I will not. The Delver is right. I will die.”

“Empress, why?” I blurt. “Why this world? Why wait so terribly long for it?”

Leffandir. Empress Eternal of the Glonu Empire, raises her head. “To unmask Enris here, where he cannot escape me.”

By the stars. “Why?”

“To join with him, to create a hybrid royal house.”

I swallow. This is a far-ranging goal. “Massin will be your seat?”

“Our seat. For me and for Enris.”

I blink at her, hearing something added in her tone. “You have known Enris in a past life.”

Her sigh moves through me, into the well of compassion I have inside me. In another time she loved Enris; she loves him still.

“He denied you,” I state.

“When he discovered who I am, yes.”

“And thus you drew him to an empty world. The Glonu ideal of slavery was merely the means to draw him in.” I stare at her. “Leffandir, Enris will never change for you.”

She stares back at me. “I simply wanted to see him one more time.”


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The King's Challenge #279

TKC 279

Commander Gennerin strides forward, heading directly to the ethereal woman.

“Gennerin!” Damin rasps. “Don’t!”

The older man glances over his shoulder. “Just be ready,” he says, and goes on walking.

Ready for what? I look quickly at Damin to find him stoic. Expressionless and calm. Whatever Gennerin intends, Damin has marked it. He does not like it, but he knows what will come next. By the stars, the men in my life are all mad and far too ready to die.

The ghostly horde tightens the perimeter, but they do not attack. When they do, we cannot survive them, but it appears they wait for the command to do so.

What is going on?

I focus on Sassen. She watches the approaching Ilfin commander with amusement evident in her expression. “Please, mortal, what can you possibly do?”

Peripherally, I notice Damin flexes his fingers, both hands.


My attention narrows to the ethereal woman. I must be ready also for what will come next.

Gennerin speaks then, his tone one of satisfaction. “My talent is the ability to reveal liars in whichever form they appear in. Did you sense this? Clearly not, or you would have dissipated already.”

The woman’s amusement vanishes.

“This gift permits me an added ability few others possess,” Gennerin continues, and in that moment he is with her, in her face, and he grips her ethereal shoulders with both his hands. “It allows me to solidify what is unreal to others.”

His fingers dig in; Sassen screeches as vapours of thin white smoke waft upward. It is akin to the tendrils of heat from a hot stew vanishing into the air as the concoction cools. Gennerin then jerks the woman forward and shifts his weight. He throws her towards Damin.

Damin catches her, and I shout, “Leffandir!”

Wharf, Quay, Pier and Jetty (clever tip!)

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Nowhere Sphere

The King's Challenge #278

TKC 278

Gennerin grips my arm. He does so unobtrusively. The others do not see him do so; more importantly, Sassen does not see him make contact. Initially I desire to jerk my arm free; swiftly, though, I feel the message in his fingertips.

Gennerin is trying to tell me something.

I give no sign; I listen to him.

The soldier uses an ancient method of sequence pressure, much like the dot and dash code employed on Massin, although far older. This method of communication does not rely on sound.

Sassen spouts some inane nonsense about caring for Arc in particular and for Massin in general; I focus my attention on her as if listening, but the true message comes to me from the fingertips on my arm.

She wears the face of the first Empress. She is the embodiment of someone long dead. Do not trust her. Her real name is Leffandir.

By the stars! Leffandir! If this is her, she is …

And then it is, quite simply, too late to give thought to those complications. Screeching and moaning, a host enters the clearing. Every Glonu felled upon the mountain, every Ilfin that died there, all who were killed in the running battles to this point, all, charge into our presence. All the souls of the dead. To the last, they are under Glonu control.

It is a terrible host.

“IN!” I scream, pushing Marian to the trapdoor entrance. “GO! All of you!”

They go, dropping into the hole without care for consequence. Injuries in the influx will be easier dealt with than fighting this host. Damin shoves those who are too slow; we hear shrieks as they stumble into the darkness.

Sassen laughs, holding one hand aloft. The host surrounds me, Damin and Gennerin. We are the last. Not even the orb is able to fight this. We will die if we stay.

Open ...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The King's Challenge #277

TKC 277

The trapdoor entry into the Spire is in a grove further from the action.

As we head towards it, the fighting retreats from us and eventually dying away. The Glonu do not follow. It is clear to me they are under orders to guard the Spire at all costs, to remain in place before it; it is also clear the trapdoor entry is unknown to them. The new arrivals from the stars have no idea there is another way in.

The entire team is soon with us. Once clear of the Spire, they are no longer seen as a threat.

“Stupid,” Damin mutters under his breath.

Gennerin huffs his agreement.

I pull the green shield back until it becomes a small sphere of influence around us. “This was made after,” I say, kneeling before the hidden door set in leaf mould and damp earth. “They are unaware of it.”

Damin is about to heft it up … when a light fills the small clearing.

I swing around, knowing both the quality of that light and the sense of presence emanating from the glow. “Sassen?” I whisper.

The ethereal woman who once appeared to Hanna and me when we were alone inside Arc takes on form nearby.

The five soldiers train their weapons. “You cannot touch her. Lower your weapons,” I state, and they lower, although everyone is on high alert.

“Lady, it is a trap,” Sassen whispers. “Do not enter there.”

Arms akimbo, I face her. “I recall you telling me not to trust the ghosts of Arc and they have proven as allies. Why should I trust you now?”

“Were they allies?” she murmurs. “They have moved on, but is it not also true that you are the last of a host that entered this place? Were the ghosts fighting for you or were they drawing you towards the Glonu? Think carefully.”

She has a point, but I saw them kneel before Enris. They gifted him his sword; they fought at his side. Squinting at her, I say, “You are waylaying us. Why?”

Sanctum Sale!

To celebrate the launch of The Nowhere Sphere, all three Lore of Sanctum books have been marked down to a mere 99c each! 

Now on pre-order - launch date 4 May

99c as well until 4 May!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The King's Challenge #276

TKC 276

It was never going to be easy, and that is borne out when we hit the ground running.

We landed on the far edge of open territory before the Spire; between us and it a host awaits. Weapons are raised within seconds, as well as shouts. There is only one objective, to reach the soaring tower and, to that end, I throw my hands up.

The eerie green shield both Horin and Enris deployed erupts from my fingers as a bird in flight and becomes an ethereal wall between us and them.

“Go!” Damin hollers.

We go.

We cannot concern ourselves by those taking the flanks; I concentrate on getting to the Spire with Damin, Gennerin and Marian. The shield, I am aware, will aid the others for some while, in the form of wings, but eventually the Glonu will discover the chinks.

Now is the time to be swift.

Even in the darkening it is obvious the Spire is plastered shale. I did not notice that before, as Lyra, but my attention then was for what lay inside, not on the outside. Sending out feelers, I reach for the weakest points, the areas where we will insert our explosives.

Suddenly I come to a halt.

Gennerin nearly runs into me, controlling the involuntary action just in time, and he grips Marian’s arm as she almost hurtles past us.

Damin, heaving, demands, “Why are we stopping?”

“The weakness lie below,” I tell him. “We need to get inside.”

“The trapdoor you used before?”

Nodding, I say, “It will be heavily guarded. Call the others back to us. We go together.”

“Damn it, this smacks of failure,” Damin mutters. “Changing a strategy is what gets soldiers killed.”

“They are not all soldiers and if we do not change strategy, Massin will be Glonu territory within a few days,” I snarl back at him.

Gennerin blows a silver whistle, the screech painful on the ears. Lowering it, he murmurs, “Allin and Ross know the whistle; they will ring the others to us.”

TKC Update (April)


As you may have noticed, we caught up with the missing King's Challenge episodes, despite continuing renovations. You may have noticed also that new work has taken my attention from keeping it up. This month I have approved and published the Spanish translation for Ancient Illumination (Llamada ancestral), have put up a short, romantic fairy tale (Minstrel of the Water Willow) AND published the third book in my Lore of Sanctum series (The Nowhere Sphere) - been kinda busy!!

Now that the publishing side is calmer again, we will catch up on episodes. We are nearing the end ... and then this book too will need to be prepared for publishing :)

Come back later; the next episode will be up in an hour or so!

Attracted to intelligence

Friday, April 15, 2016

Come with me to NOWHERE!

FINALLY! Volume 3 of the Sanctum series is now published!

It is available on pre-order at the moment and the paperback will be ready tomorrow.


At the time of Tianoman Valla’s Naming, a blue sphere hovers in the scrying bowl, along with a silver cathron in an ebony floor. The time for that future is due, for beyond realms and the known universe, a mighty manipulation begins, and it assumes the form of blue spherical space.

This is a Nowhere Sphere.

Tianoman is kidnapped and taken to the place where a silver cathron knocker lurks in the darkness of a polished surface, where also a crucible swirls in vapour, creating within an entity that cannot be permitted life.

An entire planet is vaporised and souls scream for release in the aftermath. As Torrullin Valla’s memory returns after the event on Echolone, his ability to forgive is buried in the layers time has laid down in his mind, and now he needs to care, to feel again, to forgive. He must travel the void created by anti-matter to find not only Tianoman and the other Vallas, but also Elianas Danae.

Elianas is taken in the unleashing of mighty manipulation, for he must suffer most.

In Nowhere, everything that moves in hearts, minds and souls will become the answers Torrullin requires to again known himself. It will also unmask the Danae.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Llamada Ancestral!

I hit the 'publish' button this morning for the approved Spanish version of Ancient Illumination!
Thank you to Carla Leguizamon Theodule (I know there are accent marks missing!) for a stellar translation!

Links for the Spanish translation to follow :)

Give your smile away

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The King's Challenge #274 and #275

TKC 274 and 275

Dusk is upon us as we skim the treetops. We will be at the Spire in a few minutes and everyone is tense, especially the women.

I study them. We are all strapped in for the ride, but hand movements and shifting eyes reveal their anxiety. Leaning forward as far as I am able to, I draw their attention.

“Siri, you must stay aboard no matter what happens out there. I may have need of your healers’ talent soon. Please.” I know Siri Mur can be stubborn and hope she hears me.

She glances at Kay, who nods imperceptibly. I notice Damin’s eyebrows shoot up. Stupid man; he has not yet understood about Kay and Siri. Siri looks to Damin next, who stares steadily back at her. I choke back laughter when she sticks her tongue out at her brother.

“I will remain here,” she murmurs, nodding at me. “Why bring me, though, if I am to stay behind?”

“Because you are safer with us.”

“Really?” Her eyebrows hike up.

“Yes,” Damin growls, causing Kay to flick him a look.

I focus on Marian. “You have to be with us. I believe you know why.” The Messenger inclines her head. She is able to collapse rock; we may need her. “Hanna,” I smile, “you will not like this …”

My saviour and tracker grins back. “I will watch over … the shuttle.”

She meant to say ‘Siri’, but knows that Mur will become obstinate.

Damin speaks then. “Artur, Hal, Allin and you, soldier, secure our left flank as soon as we hit ground. Kay, Joseph, Ross and you, mate, take the right. Commander, you will be with Iniri and myself. You, soldier, stay with the shuttle, and be on guard at all times. Shoot first, hear?” He points to the three added soldiers in turn. “Marian, you remain in the rear. Keep low.” He glances around, meeting each set of eyes. “We move fast, but it will be dark and the terrain is unfamiliar, so be careful also, do not stumble if you can help it.”

“Your helmet visor has night vision,” Gennerin puts in. “Tap here twice.” He shows us how to access the added vision. “Tap once if you need to turn it off. Do not stare directly into a light source or you will be blinded.”

We are all in Ilfin uniform, gear included. “What does this do?” I point at a red toggle set into the side of the slim pack we will wear on our backs.

“A parachute,” Corporal Allin says. “Handy for escape from a high point, but it will also lift you if deployed from the ground. A last resort, however.”

“Pull only when heavily under fire, then shoot for all you are worth down upon the enemy. You will have seconds only before the parachute drags you to earth again,” Gennerin murmurs.

“Twenty seconds!” The navigator hollers from the cockpit.

Instantly nerves flutter as flying ants in my belly. By the stars, Iniri was a priestess in another life and Lyra was a country girl. What do either of us know about warfare? My left hand warms without warning. Looking down, I see light leaking through my clenched fingers, but it is no longer Lyra’s light, the elemental kind. This is green; this is the orb’s magic. I now possess the Warrior within.

Damin is looking at me. He understands the Warrior does not live long. Whatever we were together in a past life and became again here on Massin will soon have no meaning. Our future will not be lengthy.

I blink as realisation dawns. This is why I have it. This is why I am the orb. Enris must live, for he is the heir, the future king. I am expendable.

The shuttle descends, the door opens, the ramp lowers. Harnesses are undone, we stand.

Damin strides across the small space. He grips me to him and kisses me. “I love you,” he says as he releases me.

I cannot answer because Siri stomps through us to grab Kay’s face, bringing his mouth to hers to kiss him deeply. “Live, hear?”

He offers a lopsided grin before lifting his gaze to Damin. Then, shrugging, he heads to Joseph and Ross.

Laughing, I drag Damin into position.

The shuttle lands.

Review: Echoes of Winter

Currently FREE


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The King's Challenge #272 and #273

TKC 272 and 273

I realise the commander is about to issue the kind of orders that will see him and his unit take to the skies also, in pursuit of the flyer. I wonder where Enris appropriated the vessel from, for it is a Glonu ship and I had not seen one in our surrounds, not even well camouflaged. I wonder also why Gennerin had one in his possession and chose to keep it secret.

Touching him on his arm to draw his attention from impulsive words, I say quietly, “Commander, Enris is on his way into orbit to rescue our King.”

The man’s jaw literally drops with a popping sound, he is that astonished. “Excuse me?” he hisses once he has his jaw in control again.

“Hush,” I issue grimly. “Keep this close, Commander.”

Gennerin inclines his head, and waits.

“The soldier revealed to Damin my father and uncle are both orbiting in secret, along with General Moravin.”

To his credit, Gennerin merely blinks. “Why?”

“To kill a king.”

Again he blinks, keeping his expression neutral, but he pales markedly. “Who is behind it?”

“Our uncle. Lorn Makar seeks to place his son Brant on the throne.”

“The soldier must have been high placed to know this.”

Damin glances at him. “Moravin’s son.”

Gennerin swipes a hand over his face. “Man, that will cause trouble for us.”

“What you regard as trouble now will become far more if they succeed in murdering my father,” I snap.

He stares at me. “His Majesty has been ill; why would he travel all this way? Is he under duress?”

“He was told a cure awaits on Massin,” Damin says. “Instead he is to die here. Tell me, Commander; how is it you had a Glonu ship?”

“We captured it on the plateau and hid it in the hold for possible stealth missions into Glonu territory. It was no great secret; it was merely not parked out in the open.”

Relief washes over me. This man is honest and loyal.

He suddenly leans towards me. “My Lady, I will accompany you on your mission.”

“You are needed here,” Damin immediately states.

“These men know what to do. Many of them have served under me before and therefore know my mind. I am coming with you.”

“Why?” I ask, studying him intently.

A faraway gaze answers me at first as Gennerin lifts his attention to the distance. Then he says quietly, “I despise traitors and I loathe men who desire chaos for the sake of position. His Majesty has ruled Makaran well for a long time and all have prospered as a result. We do not require change, not to that degree. I am certain change will come, but it will be achieved with time and patience when your brother is declared, Lady Iniri.” He focuses on me. “We take the Spire and then we turn the shuttle into space. Lord Enris requires a rearguard and I am able to command the troops in orbit.” He gestures at his soldiers. “They will follow once they mark our outward trajectory.”

Damin smiles. “I agree.”

I do as well. “Very well. Let us do this.”

Gennerin clicks his heels. “Two minutes. I need a word with my second.” He swings away and marches off.

“Damin, it will be bloody,” I whisper.

He closes his eyes, no doubt wondering if he should command Siri to stay behind. No doubt he swiftly realises it will change little, for these soldiers will hurtle into the fray soon after the Spire falls. Opening his eyes, he mutters, “It will not be pretty.”

The Minstrel and Justine

I have updated two covers, thanks to my brilliant cover designer Poppet!

(The old covers still appear on Amazon, which I have contacted them about)

All links in sidebar :)

P.S. Minstrel is available for a mere 99c and Justine for only $1.49!

Monday, April 11, 2016


Part 9

TKC 271

The shuttle lands as the sun sets. It almost disappears in the diffuse light; Commander Gennerin has summoned one of the gunships decked out in grey and green.

The flight crew leaves, handing over to Gennerin’s appointed pilot and navigator for this mission. As those two head in to check instruments, five soldiers, among them Corporal Allin and the new recruit Ross, march aboard. The commander prefers them away from the men in general at present. Neither are happy, I notice.

The Arc team boards next, with Artur throwing a last longing glance over his shoulder at the natural world before vanishing into the dim interior.

Damin is beside me, watching all preparations with an eagle’s gaze. On my other side, Gennerin rocks on his heels, hands clasped behind him. He too studies every move.

For my part, I am calm. Yes, I now return to that Spire, but this time there will be no ghosts to concern myself over. The ethereal beings that helped me before also came to our aid on the mountain. None survived. The only ghosts still resident inside Arc are Glonu. Besides, this time I have no intention of entering the shadowy space.

We will determine the weak points at the base of the tower and blow it to the ether. That is my task. Damin’s is somewhat different. My talents will find the weaknesses; he will place the devices. The latter fills me with dread, but I remain calm. However it plays out, we must do this.

As Gennerin clears his throat, no doubt to offer final words, a scream fills the air.

By the time we locate the source, a mere trail of vapour remains.

“Who took the flyer?” Commander Gennerin roars in fury. “I gave no such orders!”

A young lieutenant steps forward. “Commander, we believe the Lord Makar took it.”

I smile secretly. Enris is on his way to our father.

The fire in you

Sunday, April 10, 2016

TKC Collage (Enris 2)

We have reached the end of Enris' POV, therefore a collage before we change to a different point of view :)

TKC #270

TKC 270

Raising my hand, I move to stand beside my sister. Taking her hand into mine, I draw her closer.

Damin blinks at us and scrubs fingers through his hair. “I do not know all of it, I suspect, but your father agreed to travel this far only upon swearing all who knew of his presence to secrecy. After all, Makaran is leaderless right now.”

“Who does know?” Iniri whispers.

“Moravin, and he is aboard also. Moravin’s son, now dead.  And Lorn Makar.”

I almost spit my disgust. “While his son waits prettily back home entirely innocent.”

Damin nods.

I shift to face Iniri. “You and Damin must take the Spire. I will find Father.”

She is about to remonstrate, but then she sighs and takes my face into her hands. Kissing me on both cheeks, she murmurs, “Call for me when you have him safe.”

Taking her into my arms, I whisper in her ear, “It will be a bloodbath. Be ready for that.” I feel her nod against my chest before we move apart. “Gather what you need,” I tell everyone. “When that shuttle lands, get aboard, and good hunting. Iniri, banish the shield; we have work to do.”

Smiling wryly, she waves and swiftly other sounds intrude. Soldiers murmuring and cleaning weapons. Boot steps. And, somewhere above the camouflage, birdsong.

“I want to go with you,” Mirlin states.

About to head off to collar Gennerin, I pause. “Why?’

“I can see in the dark,” Mirlin states. “More than that; I can see through doors. You need me.”

“That may answer my ‘why’, but does not explain yours.”

Mirlin shrugs. “It will have to do … and I see it does not. Fine, this then; you trust Damin because you know who he was before. Trust me for a similar reason, for once I stood at your back, Lord Makar.”

“And always called me ‘prince’,” I blurt in a rush as enlightenment comes.

Mirlin laughs. “Indeed.” He moves then to me, takes my arm and marches us away. “We need a flyer, not a clumsy shuttle, and I know just where to get one.”

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Minstrel of the Water Willow

A short story from me about a boy and a girl lost because time does not play fair with them. All is not lost, though :)