Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chapter 27

The great ritual scheduled for the Day of Awakening is about to begin. Ony'a takes in the view with awe. It has been so long since the ritual was actually allowed to take place. Lagos is nervous about leading the ritual but is ready to begin. Ony'a promises Erut they will leave before the light grows too bright so that no one will see him there. Lagos prepares the three sacred elements before him and begins the ritual which includes blessing each person assembled. Before he can too far, however, the rising sunlight reveals the presence of two banners representing the leader of the Kevutian invasion force: Yavech Yaves. He and the others are infuriated and attack the temple. Heavy fighting ensues as the Kevutian soldiers were hiding nearby.

A sample of the manuscript:

Lagos put his arms down and turned around. Before him was the temple. A swath of bright light had worked its way from its base and was rising up the columns and the front portico the way water can fill a dry and thirsty river bed. As it climbed it revealed the soft undulations of two large banners attached to the front columns. The banners were colored a light red with gold markings in its middle. The breezes were soft so the banners moved slowly and made little noise but their great size assured that they fluttered in great rolls and waves. The gold inscriptions were bright enough to send flickers of light out into the few remaining shadows and onto the faces of the onlookers. The constant folding and unfolding of the banners made it difficult to make out the full shapes of their symbols and all the faces below were trying to decipher its shape and significance.

“Oh no,” whispered Erut in a hushed but deeply troubled voice.

Ony’a looked up toward the banners and studied the shape that was trying to assemble itself in the moving breeze. “What is that?”

“The Double ‘Y’ Diamond.”

“Double ‘Y’?” Ony’a thought about it for a moment then looked at Erut. “Yavech Yeves, the Supreme Magnate of the Conglomerate?”


Ony’a could see the same thought process going in on the head of her brother until the realization came to him.

“The Banner of the Conglomerate on the walls of our most sacred temple?” He called out to the crowd. “This is a sacrilege!”

Erut tugged on Ony’a’s bodysuit. “You better get to him before he goes into an outrage.”

Ony’a grabbed on to Erut and started pushing her way through the crowd. “We may already be too late.”

Ony’a did her best to ramrod her way through the pack of confused faces with one hand and hang on to Erut with the other while Erut did his best not to get pressed between two or more increasingly angry Myshkans. Ony’a knew she was already too late. Lagos’ temper was lit and its heat was spreading. He was stirring up the emotions of all those around him. The feelings of horror and disgust were palpable and growing. Before she could even reach him, he had already started to lead a flow of people toward the columns.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Chapter 26

Ony'a has another dream. She sees her father again leading a battle: what her people used to call the Feuds. They were battles fought between provinces long before the invasion. The Masters encouraged them to have these feuds to keep the people fit. They were like a kind of competitive game but the fighting was real They fought for glory, honor, and the banner that proclaimed their province the best. They may not have fought to the death but they did fight to win and sometimes that meant injuries, sometimes fatal ones.

This dream, however, turns different. Ony'a sees a stranger in the distance. It seems to be trying to warn her. She does not understand until she sees a horde of fighting Kevutians coming her way. Mixed in with them are several strong and determined mercenaries from the planet Pa'Crolas. They are powerful fighters as well.

She wakes to find herself at the house of Moku, the merchant and Myshkan spy. She tells him of her dream. He explains to her about the Crolats and opines that there may be someone out there trying to send her a message.

From the chapter:

Then she sees the cause of the hysteria. Following the rush is a horde of people she has never encountered. They are large with long dark hair pulled high and tight into a round knot at the tops of their heads. They are full of muscles and their dark brown skin is adorned with dark wavy and curled lines. They cry out a high pitched wail as they run towards her and the fleeing fighters. They carry pointed spikes and swing them above their heads. Mixed within their frightful ranks are scores of Kevutian soldiers with their ubiquitous shock wands. As they move toward her the sky opens above. Dark projectiles rain down through the canopy of dipda branches and kova leaves. Her people are hurt, injured, killed. Those not hurt by the falling debris are chased and attacked by the Kevutians and the strangers that have joined them. Her comrades fight brave and strong but they are no match against the sheer number of attackers–both large and small–the debilitating surges of electrical energy, and the speed and fury of the missiles. They are cut down, captured, destroyed. And through it all she is unable to offer aid or defense. She is blown about by tides of movement, but is unable to affect change herself. She prepares to fight but can do nothing. She cries out in anguish.

Her body bolted upright in the bed and sent layers of blankets flying. Her face was locked in horror. Her arms flailed trying to defend herself but there was no one there in the room with her. She stopped swinging and relaxed. The room she was in was small but comfortable. Its walls were hard stone but the flickering torchlights attached to them softened their texture. Tapestries hung along most of them adding to the peaceful effect. The bed, too, was small but high and soft. Thick plush quilts and sheets lay about her in a heap and drifted down to the soft carpeted floor. All the gentle lines and airy textures so carefully placed in the room and its furnishings helped Ony’a relax and settle into her surroundings–until a knock came at the door.

She gasped and her body jolted before she caught herself. She knew she was still within the influence of her dream and struggled to gain control. She focused on her breath and a feeling of inner warmth. A second knock came and she barely reacted.

“Come in?” she said with some uncertainty. She still was not sure where she was and who might be on the other side. The door opened gingerly.

“Excuse me,” said a voice pushing the door aside. “I thought I heard sounds. Are you alright?”

Of course, the house of Beyna-Moku nestled within the rock face of the gorge in Kodok province, it all came back to her.  After the leadership meeting Moku had invited her and Lagos to stay with him. Since she and her brother had no place to go and since Moku and his wife lived so close to the temple, it made sense to accept his gracious offer.

Ony’a collected herself. “Yes, I’m fine. I’m sorry to have woken you.”

“Oh, think nothing of it.” Moku looked at her. Lines of stress remained etched into her face. “Bad dream?”

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Chapter 25

The Ambassador meets with the Myshkans and tells them the new maceoran will allow them to have their annual ritual at the Day of Awakening. They debate whether or not they should go through with the ritual without the Masters as was the tradition. They have not celebrated the ancient ritual since the invasion. Lagos describes his revelation about the independence of the Myshkan people and encourages them to go through with the ceremony. They decide to go through with it.

Here is a bit of the chapter:

“Are you sure, Ambassador?” Avin asked the man seated at the head of the conference table.

“Yes, I am quite sure. I just spoke with her recently and I was assured that we could celebrate the Day of Awakening at the Temple.”

“This is great news,” beamed Ony’a. “We can once again hold our most sacred ritual in its rightful...”

“Just a moment,” Mirov broke in. “I didn’t ask permission to engage in any extensive ritual.”

“Why not?” asked Avin.

Ambassador Mirov looked down the length of the conference table at the faces staring back at him. To his right sat the majority of the Myshkan Leadership: the representative commander from each province except Lukva. To his immediate left sat Lagos who had been asked to join this meeting because of his recent raid. He, in turn, asked that Ony’a, Lyrin, and Erut be allowed to join him. Getting Ony’a and Lyrin to sit at the table was not a problem, but the appearance of Erut was making a few attendees uncomfortable.

Mirov straightened himself. “I had only just met the new maceoran. I did not want to strain the relationship.”

Lyrin’s thunderous voice cut across the room as he leaned forward. “Strain the relationship? She’s a maceoran. You think she’s going to invite you over for tea now? Maybe you two will talk about the latest design in bodysuits while you nibble on cookies.”

On the other side of the table from the him the commanders of the other provinces gave Lyrin an incredulous look. Lagos, trying hard not to laugh, saw them and then shot his friend a look as well, one that asked him to kindly hold his tongue. Lyrin settled back into his chair.

“What was your impression of the maceoran?” Ony’a asked the ambassador.

“She’s stiff and formal, but tolerant. She seems to be most concerned with maintaining order,” Mirov responded.

“Well, if that is the case,” said Lagos. “The re-institution of our sacred rituals may be in line with that goal. Do you know anything more about his new maceoran, uh…”

“She calls herself Rin,” Mirov added.

Lagos nodded to the ambassador. “Do you know anything about this maceoran Rin, Erut?”

Erut glanced at the faces looking in his direction. It was hard not to miss the animosity that prowled just behind the eyes of many of them. “I’m just a lijun. I know very little about the goings-on in the halls of the officers and leadership.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chapter 24

A new maceoran has arrived on Myshka and Ambassador Mirov is on the way to meet her. They discuss the upcoming celebration of the Day of Awakening. The new Maceoran Rin also tells the ambassador that she plans to make improvements to all the systems and establishments of the planet much to the ambassador's delight.

A snippet:

The maceoran continued to look through her papers taking the chance to learn as much as she could about her new post. When she noticed that the ambassador was just standing quietly, she looked up. “What can I do for you, Ambassador Ry?”

“Well, uh, it’s Mirov, Ambassador Mirov. Our first names are our family names.”

“I see,” said the Maceoran as she made a few notes. “Well, then, Ambassador Mirov, what can I do for you?”

Mirov took the chance to look at the new administrator of the planet. She was average height for a Kevutian, but appeared thin and strong. There was nothing on her that did not serve a specific purpose and her frame and attitude demonstrated her pride and service to the military. Only her dark rimmed glasses displayed any sign of decoration. Even her short silvery hair, cropped high and light, appeared as if no hair moved in any different direction that she did not deem proper.

“I have to admit that your arrival so soon has taken us all by surprise, Ambassador, uh...” said Mirov.

Looking a bit perturbed the maceoran collected her papers in her hand then put them at her side. “Rinishetti, or Rin, if you prefer. I had been dispatched to this post before Maceoran Kotygal met his early demise.”

“You were sent to relieve him?”


“May I ask why?”

The maceoran moved to a point behind her desk set against the far wall and flung down her papers before taking the simple chair behind her. She motioned towards another plain chair set in front of the desk and sat. “Suffice it to say that there have been reports of erratic behavior concerning the leadership here. The Supreme Magnate felt that it was time for a change and I was asked to fulfill the position.”

Mirov moved to the chair shone him and sat. “Well I hope that this may mean a greater degree of peace and harmony between our people.”

“In my experience, ambassador, peace and harmony are not the result of wishful thinking. Cooperation will be maintained through discipline, clear lines of information, and well defined responsibilities for each member of the Conglomerate and its custodians.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chapter 23

A debtor on Fleet Street (public domain)

The prisoners of the Detention Center are released. Ony'a finds Erut in the midst of the crowd. She also manages to get to her brother. He tells her that their father died in the prison.

An excerpt:

Amidst a crowd of others rushing out of the Detention Center and into the arms of freedom, Ony’a walked the few steps that separated the Center from the surrounding landscape. That background reflected the gloom and abandon of the building it held: it was nothing more than the burnt out remains of what was once one of the largest and most beautiful provinces that the land once called Rishivon had known. Here the dipda trees had grown to their mightiest height creating a ceiling twice as high as those of any other province. Their mighty branches reached out across the sky like the arms of parents welcoming home their children. There was plenty of room for them to grow so a dense forest of the trees developed in great clumps large enough to house multiple families. The kova vines, too, had been thick here with some leaves so large that people often used them as hammocks.

That had all changed when the Kevutians arrived. They first approached from the east of Lukva province and turned that great forest into a raging tinderbox simply to demonstrate to their new captors that they could. The high ceiling made them decide to turn that entire province into their own military base complete with a landing port for their ships. That port was the gateway for the Kevutians and, even  now, a warship with two escorts from the home planet was on its way into the port to deliver an important passenger.

The invaders built up the fourth province for their own needs but did little to return it to its original beauty. Naturally, the residents were upset with being displaced to other regions and when they rose up to challenge the new occupants of their province, they were quickly put down and a detention center was built to house and question them. All that remained of the great forest were charred remains. None of that mattered to the former occupants of that detention center. They had been given their freedom. For what reason? They did not know, nor did they care.

Ony’a looked out across that landscape. Much of it was obscured by the waves of people that flowed out of the center and into the sunlight. It was a scene full of stark dichotomy. There were people moving about in joy and excitement,  joining and embracing their families after the extended absences. There was life. Against that commotion stood a bleak background of burnt trees and low hanging vines. What made it even more so was the muted light of the sun. This was one of the last few days when the sun continued to send its light across the land but that light was weak and feverish and it gave the countryside a jaundiced appearance. The sepia light mixed with the images of the depleted landscape. There was death.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chapter 22

The Torture Chamber at the Castello di Amorosa by David Ball

Ony'a is about to be tortured by Riahn at the detention center, the same man who witnessed the suicide of her father. She is able to use her perception as an empath and get into his head. She reads within him his confusion and fear about the religion of the Myshkans. What is even more frightening to him is her total acceptance of the possibility of death. He becomes even more confused. He asks about her religion. She uses the opportunity to make him think about all he has done which causes him to have a break down but not before he promises to release the prisoners.

An excerpt:

She was frightened, more frightened than she ever remembered being. Learning to fight in the provincial feuds in her youth, gliding through the gorge for the first time, seeing the Kevutians arrive on her planet: these were all terrible events in her life but none were like this moment because she knew she was about to be subjected to pain beyond anything she had ever known, pain so intense so would beg to be killed or, worse, she would reveal all she knew to the curious Kevutian now before her.

Oyn’a had every reason to be scared except that fear inhibited her strongest asset and that was the one thing that might help her survive the situation.

What was even worse than pain, of course, was the anticipation of receiving it. Up until this moment she had been handled roughly and was the subject of ridicule from arrogant Kevutian guards like the rest of the Myshkan prisoners, but nothing more. But now she was in the bowels of the detention center itself, in an interrogation room, and placed in the care of their lead questioner–the one in charge of the facility. It was no wonder her imagination ran rampant with fear.

What seemed like cycles of time had passed while she sat there strapped to a chair in the middle of the room. The room was all stone with a single window slit up above. Chains and restraints were set about the room in various places. She could have been strapped and stretched into uncomfortable standing positions but, instead, she had been forced into a cold hard chair and restrained. The man in front of her had been doing nothing but pacing: no words, no questions, just pacing. In one hand he carried a single shock wand and tapped its end into the ground with a rhythmic click that echoed throughout the room like the ticking of a timepiece counting away the final moments of life.

“What will happen during the Days of Darkness?” the man muttered between floor crossings.

Ony’a said nothing.

“Come now. Let’s not pretend like all the others that nothing is in preparation,” Riahn said without stopping to look at her.

A tinge of something strange broke through the sea of fear roiling inside her. The man’s persistent strides allowed her to calm down. She worked to slow her breath and let go of her fear but it was not so easy. The dread within her was like the honey of the kova vine: so thick, so sticky that, once it covered you, it was difficult be free of it. Fear is not a solid substance like a stone or a wall, it is viscous like wax and has to be patiently and conscientiously melted away. Ony’a was working to ignite a psychic crucible and something had come through. This man before her was known for his cruelty, his ability to break the will of his victims without remorse or regret and, yet, he appeared to be acting with… what? Caution?

“Look!” The man before her broke her concentration and stood directly before her. “This is all pointless, really. You will tell me what I want to know or I will be forced to hurt you to the point where you will eventually want to tell me every detail about your life from your earliest recollection. Why not just tell me before we have to go through all that ridiculous torment and agony?”

Still, Ony’a said nothing. She felt small tendrils of fear crawling into her consciousness.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Chapter 21

Ambassador Mirov is a Myshkan appointed by maceoran Kotygal to act as a liason between himself and the people he dominates. It is an understandably uncomfortable position to be in and the ambassador does his best to fulfill his duty. Kotygal delights in telling him that he is not dead and had no future plans to become so. Kotygal tells about how he has strived to have the people of Pa'Myshka love him for all the things he has done for them. To insure this adoration, Kotygal informs the ambassador that all the leaders from each province will be rounded up and taken to the detention center. He plans to kill them when he dies so that a thousand tears will fall for him. The ambassador tries to tell him how misguided that idea is, but to no effect. He warns that the Sifuti will take swift action. Before the maceoran can answer the challenge, however, Kotygal collapses.

An excerpt:

Maceoran Kotygal. Thank you for agreeing to see me. I was sorry to hear about your recent medical mishap. I trust you are getting better.”

Kotygal looked up from his seated position. “Ah, yes. News of my early demise travels fast. Pardon me if I do not get up to greet you, ambassador. My medical overseer here insists that I stay seated and relaxed.” Kotygal brought his hand up feebly and turned it in the direction of the thin man in a medical tunican standing next to him

“Would your eminence prefer I come another time?” Mirov studied the man before him. Kotygal barely moved–a difficult feat for the highly animated figure that he was known to be. He must be straining against himself underneath that blanket.

“Oh, no, please, ambassador. I welcome pleasant conversation, especially now. Everybody is so filled with gloom and doom these days.”

“There are so many who would mourn your premature passing. I’m sure they fear for you and for the whole of Pa’Myshka.”

Kotygal laughed. It was not the booming, powerful laugh that normally reverberated along the stone hallways of the great temple. It was more a guffaw that shook the hidden rolls of fat rolling beneath the covering. His face hinted a smile, however, and it looked like there was great effort involved in its formation.

“Oh, we chose well when we chose you,” Kotygal said just before a couple of mucus filled coughs interrupted his almost jovial attitude. The thin medical chief bent over him and observed his condition. Kotygal pushed him away with a wave.

“Stop fussing over me, would you?” the big man in the chair said, swatting away the carefully trained and invasive hands flapping over him.

Mirov walked over to the central table and motioned towards it. “May I?”

“Of course, ambassador.”

Kotygal was seated in a polished wooden chair with thick carved arms in the corner of the room, conveniently raised to cause anyone speaking to him to half to look upwards about half a foot. Mirov chose to break protocol and moved to the side of the table nearest to the corner where the Kevutian leader of Myshka sat proud, but not firm. Instead of turning around a chair Mirov pushed the seat over and placed himself on the edge of the table to avoid having to look up any further. It was a subtle signal, the slightest of provocations, one that the maceoran would notice, but not acknowledge.

Kotygal finished his thought. “Diplomats have the unique ability of saying just what their audience wants to hear while still managing to weave bits of truth into the fabric of their words. It is truly a gift.”

“You flatter me, your eminence.”

“Do I?  As much as you do me, but your words gloss over the reality.” The maceoran leaned back and let his head gaze to a far corner of the room. “I have walked amongst your people, Mirov. I have seen their faces, the looks they try to hide from me, but cannot. There is fear, of course. I cannot deny that we have brought that into this world, but there is more than that. I see contempt, anger, defiance even.”

“Your eminence cannot please an entire population.”

“Perhaps not, but I had hoped that more of your people might appreciate the things I have done for them.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chapter 20

Ony'a finds herself in a dream vision. She is inside the temple and is floating towards a body on a table. It appears unmoving, dead, but the appearance is deceptive because the eyes suddenly fly wide open. She wakes in shock and realizes that she had seen the face of the dictator Kotygal who was thought to be dead. She shares the vision with her brother Lagos who takes it to be a warning. They plan to leave the sanctuary before Kotygal can send any troops.

An excerpt:

A room. Large and imposing. She does not recognize it. She’s never seen it before. Its floors are hard and polished; its walls, cold. There are things on the walls: banners, flags, hangings. Maybe signs, Maybe messages. Maybe just broken fragments. There is light: a soft white light. Candles. Candles everywhere. They jut from the walls. They sit on tiny tables, crevasses in the wall, on the ends of sticks short and tall. They float. The ceiling: she does not see the ceiling, only a grayness that disappears into darkness. No stars. No closing of the space within. A glimpse of forever.

There are people in the room. They are silent. They are huddled together. They stand around a large table. Their heads are bowed. They stare at the table. They move and sway to no sound except the wind: the wind from above. It sings to them a hushed mournful wail. The people move in its rhythmless tempo, but they do not really hear it. They feel it. It comes from beyond the ceiling and plays with the furniture. It runs along the walls until it finds no where else to go and dies.

She decides to move. Her feet are in stride, but she does not touch the floor. The floor: it is no more solid than the ceiling. It is more like a cloud that struggles to define above and below. It looks like it could envelop a sanctuary. The building would simply and softly float down into it. It would sway a bit, but there would be no resistance. Its colors would just be washed away until they were wiped clean of existence. But is does not swallow anything now. Maybe it is not hungry. Maybe it is sleeping.

She moves across the room towards the table. The people surrounding it make no movement to confirm they recognize her. They do not turn toward her, yet they move aside. They make room for her. She steps into the space. There is a figure on the table, a body. It is a man, an important man. His clothes tell you so. They are ornate, decorated in colors that dare you to challenge his pomposity. They scream “laugh well, it shall be your last.”

She comes closer. She looks at the face. It is locked in pain, frozen in anguish. His face holds on to its past, but he sees nothing of the present. That face. She knows this man. She has seen him maybe just a few times, maybe as a child. He brings pain. He brings fire from the empty sky. He kills the fighters of the battle of glory, but knows no honor. He is feared. He is hated. Those about him do not worship, do not praise. They are workers dispensing fear to assuage their own. They are drones repeating his words and spreading his policies so that they do not fall victim to them. They stare at him in dread for the possibility that they may lose their shadow from a burning sun.

She moves even closer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chapter 19

Riahn, the head of the Kevutian Detention Center, begins to torture Lagolen to get information about possible attacks on the Kevutians. A sacred holiday called the Day Of Awakening is coming soon and Riahn and his superiors are worried that it will become an excuse for more attacks. Lagolen gives him no information. In fact, he manages to get into his tormentor's head.

An excerpt:

Riahn entered the special room at the end of the hall. He was on the lowest level of the detention center–the level few people visited, fewer still by choice. The room was all block walls made of stone and crushed dirt. Gone were the brown dipda trees and the lush green leaves of the kova vines. The brown-black dirt that once mingled with leaves and branches was the only reality here. Though there were two thin slots up above designed to let in a small amount of filtered sunlight, they currently added nothing to the dullness of the room. By now there were only a few horons of sunshine each cycle and those horons had long passed. Instead the room now was lit only by a few torches. The solar powered lights preferred by the Kevutians were becoming useless; there were not enough horons of light during the day to keep them charged. Riahn noticed how the light from the torch flames flickered along the walls of the stark room. It seemed to him that they were dancing in celebration. Let us rejoice! We have another one in our midst! And in the center of the room was the prize.

Riahn walked toward his catch with the pride a hunter enjoys after bagging his prey. With arms tied to thick ropes above his head and his feet similarly bound below stood a man old in years but young in spirit.

“The days grow short,” said Riahn.

The prisoner said nothing. Though his body hung in painful exhaustion, his eyes glared with a seemingly endless source of strength. Encircling those eyes were patches of blood and abrasions. Mindless guards!

“Soon it will be the… what do you call it?” Riahn continued, undeterred. He watched the man’s eyes follow him realizing that, if they could, they would have jumped from the man’s face and strangled him on their own. As it was, they had to just watch.

Riahn paced back and forth in front of those burning eyes. “The, uh, Day of Awakening. Isn’t that what it’s called?” He took a few more circuitous steps and watched the face of the prisoner move only enough to allow the eyes to maintain their cursed grip on him. “Once every painfully long and gruelling cycle, the sun… uh, pardon me… Yocu dips further and further into the horizon until there is nothing but darkness for five days. Then there comes the glorious day when Yocu returns on the horizon and a new light fills the world. That is the special day, isn’t it? The Day of Awakening.”

Riahn stopped his pacing and stood a small distance away from the prisoner so that he could see the whole person and observe his reaction. He had to admit the man was working to maintain control, though nearly physically depleted. Only a slight flicker in those piercing eyes gave him away. He had endured horons of pain and agony under the Kevutian’s sadistic hand whose training and experience made it possible for him to inflict such torture for long periods of time. He knew when to inflict pain and when to stop so that the victim’s body was forced to endure just enough before it shut down in shock or death. He was truly talented and took great pride in his work.

“Ah, you see?” Riahn said. “I have read your sacred book, your Yocu Sachen. I have seen the covenant.” He began his pacing again. “Every Myshkan, or should I say, every Yocugan must pay honor to the Temple at least once every cycle before the Day of Awakening. Yes? Then on that sacred day the Masters come forth and bless their people, bestowing upon them the Sacred Dust.” He stopped to look at the flame of one of the torches. “Sacred Dust. Seems a bit strange to have the culmination of a hallowed day be the gift of a handful of dirt! It’s not even sacred dirt, special dirt, dirt from some hallowed ground. It’s the same stuff you step on every day.” He paused to think, then continued. “I suppose there is some hidden significance to the act or maybe it is simply because it is given by those most pompous and arrogant despots you once called your Masters.” He turned back to face his prisoner. “Yet surely you know these pointless practices have been banned. We constructed sanctuaries in every province as alternatives to the temple. Even your cherished Yocu Sachen allows for that. Oh yes, I know that some of you pass the Temple innocently by and pretend to ignore it while in your mind you are going through the illustrations. But you…” He turned to directly face the elderly detainee. “You had the audacity to step on that pile of dirt in front of the Temple and bow to it.” He paused. “What were you thinking, old man?”

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Chapter 18

The Myshkan rebels with Lyrin and Lagos leading rush the Kevutian Regional Command Headquarters in Lunik Province and overtake it with little effort. With total surprise on their side, they are able to capture the buildings and take many officers hostage. They are all too happy to destroy the office of the fee collector. The Myshkans start to take out their anger and frustration on the captured soldiers but Lagos makes them stop. Ony'a finds the officer in charge of the Kevutians and he is made an offer. Lagos will release all of them if they go peacefully and tell the maceoran that they should leave Pa'Myshka. The officer tells Lagos that the Kevutians would never allow that.

An excerpt:

Minlennavi 9 “Lenn” stood at his post. He had been there for three horons now and was due for a shift change but no officer had yet come by to relieve him. He would just have to wait. He recalled one time when he had been on duty for six horons and there was no officer in sight to let him go. It turned out his immediate officer had discovered the joys of kova wine and had passed out before she remembered to check on her posts. That was a long time to stand guard and guarding was one of the least exciting jobs for a Kevutian soldier. But, he stood tall and did his job like he always did. He knew that if he was ever going to move up in rank that he was going to have to do a good job so he stood his ground and did his best to look like the model soldier just as he had done for most of his adult life. It didn’t seem to faze him that he had never been offered a single promotion in all his time in the security service nor that he was still just a light junran, he was certain that one day he would be noticed and rewarded.

This day had started much like any other. He started his guard duty at the Kevutian Regional Command Headquarters of Lunik Province just before light and remained there until he could be relieved. Like most days this one had started quietly. The Regional Headquarters was never as busy as the main temple in Kodok Province and since the main temple was not far away, most people preferred to do their business there. Still, this province had its own needs and requirements and a handful of soldiers and officials could be seen occasionally moving through the buildings. As the day progressed, however, the activity around the buildings increased.

Lenn had been on guard through the short daylight time and now, as dark descended, there was an increase in activity. It started with just a few soldiers moving quickly through the buildings then the number of increased. They were running about with worried and confused looks on their faces. They were dashing into buildings then out of buildings. Soon a pattern of people was criss-crossing the grounds. It was pandemonium and Lenn had never seen anything like it before. But, with all the people moving about, not a single one had come to him to explain what was happening nor had anyone thought to let him leave. So, he remained loyally on guard, without moving, as turmoil erupted all around him.

He maintained his gaze forward but watched things develop with his peripheral vision. His back was to the entrance of the main building and he could hear constant movement behind him. His job was not to restrict Kevutians from entering the building but to prevent Myshkans from causing any trouble. In all the cycles in which he had come to stand at this or any other building in the complex, there had never been any trouble. He had come to see his job as one of the easiest though it certainly wasn’t stimulating. The only Myshkans he had seen here were escorted by other soldiers. For good reason, they tended to avoid these offices.

Today would be different.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Chapter 17

The Sifuti meet with Lyrin, the head of the resistance, in the Lunik Province Sanctuary. Lyrin recognizes Ony'a as the daughter of Sizo. The Sifuti tell him they have come to rescue him and his people. Lyrin declines the offer. He tells them he and his people would rather die free where they are than live in bondage. As they talk a rumor of the death of Kotygal runs through the camp. They believe it is their chance to make a successful attack against the Kevutians.


“Who are you?” Lyrin demanded harshly. He standed before them like a mountain, bodysuit covered in layers of other fabrics that hung loosely in an ill-defined pattern. They looked like fragments torn from previous suits thrown together to cover the great surface of his body. The long beard and scraggly hair completed the picture of a wild countryside capped by white peaks.

“We are Sifuti,” responded Avin.

Lyrin turned to look at the five of them before them. “I can see that,” he said. “Yet you bring a Kevutian here with you.”

“He helped us get here,” said Avin.

“No doubt,” said Lyrin with a hint of sarcasm. “What do you want?”

Avin looked at the big man with curiosity. Was he playing with us? “We want to to help you leave here and escape the siege you are under.”

Once again Lyrin looked over the faces of the people before him then turned in one grand motion that set the fabrics on his body in a swirling motion. Maybe those shards had been added just for this effect. He walked to the door of the temple, opened it, and started to step inside. “We don’t need your help,” he boomed.

“Oyn’a?” whispered Lagos to his sister.

The big man went to step through the door of the temple. Oyn’a was about to whisper her response but then picked up her head and looked directed toward Lyrin. She answered in full voice: “Anger, mistrust… emptiness!”

Fok Lyrin stopped in mid-stride. His hand held the latch that opened the door to the temple and had it not been for that fact the great mountain may have toppled on the floor. As it was, he maintained his position for a moment’s hesitation, regained his balance, and turned around. He walked directly toward Ony’a. As he stepped, the others parted the way for him the same way the bow of a ship parts the seas. He came to stand directly in front of her, took her face in his hands, and studied it. Such a move may have cost a limb to any other man but not this one. There was something overwhelming and captivating about him. She chose to remain still.

“What is your name?” Lyrin asked, but his voice made it sound as if he already knew the answer.

“I am Ny Oyn’a.”

“Daughter of Sizo?”

“Yes,” said Oyn’a.

Lyrin lowered his hand and looked away. “No,” he said to no one. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.” He turned to look at the young man standing next to Oyn’a. “And you? You are Lagos?”

“Yes,” said Lagos. “But how....”

“I knew your mother,” said Lyrin.