I mentioned the other day that my computer desk was lost (destroyed) during our re-carpeting adventure. This wasn’t unexpected, as it had been a second hand desk and had been taken apart and put back together more than it was structurally capable of being. Well, I got my new desk last night and quickly set it up. Now I’m ready to get back to really doing some writing. Here is a quick look at my new work space. You will note the two external hard drives on the left. I am obsessive about backing up. These two drives alternate backing up my system every hour. In addition, I back up my writing to an online location.
“You know I always thought you were too thin,” said Mrs. Gopling, “though I dare say you’ve put on a few pounds recently.”
Mrs. Gopling owned and operated a cart from which she sold smoky sausages on a stick. It was one of five such vending carts in Port Dechantagne that operated within fifty yards of the dock. In addition to Mrs Gopling’s there was Mr. Kordeshack selling fish and chips, Aalwijn Finkler selling cakes and scones, Mrs. Luebking, selling scarves, mittens, and knit caps for those who had either not brought warm clothing or were unable to find it in their luggage, and Mr. Darwin, who sold purses, wallets, belts, and hat bands, all made of dinosaur skin. Since it was well past lunchtime, Mr. Kordeshack and Aalwijn’s employee had packed up. Neither Mr. Darwin nor Mrs. Luebking had been present today because a ship had neither come in nor gone out of port. Mrs. Gopling had been closing up when the young sorceress arrived, but she had a few remaining sausages to sell.
“Give me one more,” said Senta, her mouth still full.
“Here you go, Dearie.”
Senta took the sausage in one hand and passed the woman a quarter mark piece with the other. Taking a bite of the new sausage, she looked at Mrs. Gopling. If she kept eating like she was, it wouldn’t be long before she resembled the round shape of the food cart proprietor, though with her blond hair and fair complexion it was unlikely she would ever have Mrs. Gopling’s mustache.
Senta knew she should be seeking out Graham and either apologizing for her behavior the previous day or at least insuring that he wasn’t still spending time with that what’s-her-name, but every time she thought about it, she started fuming. She didn’t want to stay around the docks too long or go to visit Hero, because she was in no mood to meet that blond girl. Though she had gotten up early that morning, she had stayed close to home, eating breakfast several times. All in all, it had been a pretty poor birthday so far. The only bright spot was the present she had found under her bed. Inside a brightly wrapped box was a woman’s black top hat decorated with a black bird, its wings outstretched. It just matched the black lace dress that was the only one she had found that she could still fit into.
She strolled north toward the park, walking between the warehouses rather than following the road because she wanted to avoid lookie-loos in general as well as a few specific individuals. She was just about to exit the narrow passage between one of the governor’s warehouses and a private one when two men stepped into her way. They were both at least six feet tall and broad shouldered. They both looked to be in their early twenties and they both dressed poorly.
“It looks like we’ve found our little bird,” said one of the men to the other.
“I think you owe us a good time, little girl,” said the other.
Senta took the last bite of sausage and threw the stick on the ground.
“How about it? Are you going to show us a good time?” the second man continued, though the first man’s face showed the first hint of confusion. Why wasn’t the girl showing any sign of fear?
“Here’s a good time for you,” she said.
Reaching out, she touched the second man with her index finger. He let out a bloodcurdling scream and dropped to the ground clutching his crotch. He continued to scream and scream. The first man looked from his friend to the girl and back, panic slowly crawling up his face. At last his gaze stopped on the girl.
“Here’s an oldie, but a goodie,” said Senta. “Uuthanum.”
A blue cone spread from her finger to engulf the man. His skin turned blue as frost formed on his skin. Within a few seconds, he was frozen solid. The sorceress stepped over the prone man, still screaming and holding his privates, and around the standing man, still completely stiffened.
“How much fun are you going to have now, I wonder?” Then she continued on her way to the park.
Well, the disruption in our house is mostly over. We’ve just got new carpet– something my wife has wanted for twenty years. Now we’ve got to put everything back. One of the casualties of the move was my computer desk. I’ve ordered a new one, but it won’t be here for a week. In the meantime, I’m working with my little Macbook.
Over the next two weeks, I plan to finish editing the new Senta and the Steel Dragon book– The Dragon’s Choice. As soon as I can figure out how long it will take me, the book will get an official release date. After that, I can get to writing something new.
I’ve been a bit negligent over the past few weeks in keeping up with this blog. I’ll do better.
As many of you know, I am a citizen of Southern Nevada. I live in Henderson, which once upon a time, was quite a ways from Vegas. The two have since grown together so much that you don’t know when you’re leaving one and entering another.
We in Southern Nevada experienced what is rapidly becoming a common occurrence in our country. I refer of course to the mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip. My family and I are all safe, but we teachers at Brown Academy of International Studies were deeply saddened to find that one of our former students, Quinton Robbins, was killed. I am attaching a link to his family’s Go Fund Me page here. They have surpassed their goal, but I am sure they could put any excess to good use. And here is a link to the Las Vegas Victim’s Fund.
Thanks for any contributions to either of these causes, as well as for your prayers and kind thoughts for the people and visitors of Las Vegas.
It’s been wild around my house lately. For one thing, we’ve had power issues. For another, I’ve had a hard time connecting to Word Press so that I could write this blog. Finally, we are getting ready to put new carpet in our house. We are moving everything out as we wait for the carpet to arrive. Soon I’ll have to move my workstation, so I may be posting just as sporadically the next couple of weeks as I have been this past week.
Still, work progresses. I should announce the next Senta book in a few days. The Dragon’s Choice is going through final proofreading now. Watch this space for more information. I kind of thought I would have time to work on some other things, but time is getting away from me, so as soon as I’m set back up again, I’ll probably jump right into writing His Robot Wife: Patience Under Fire.
As flame and ordinance shot through the air all around the ship, I gathered my company together on the deck of the vessel, as did the five other security companies on board. Our squadron and the one commanded by Ulla Yerrontis were flying high above the city drawing fire, and engaging the battleships. Vandan Lorrinos was moving his squadron in low and attacking the ground installations with shipboard weapons, as well as landing thousands of Amatharian troops. The final squadron under Reyno Hissendar waited in the rear as reserves.
A huge explosion on a lower deck indicated that the cruiser had been hit by one of the Zoasian missiles, and it brought my mind away from previous plans and into the present. The missile had been fired from one of the battleships, and it moved toward us. Amatharian light guns from the batteries above and below us opened fire on the approaching enemy and explosions ripped across her bow but she still kept coming. For a moment, it looked as though the Zoasian would plow its squared front end into our side, but at the last minute, it pulled up and crossed above us.
Several dozen bombs dropped from the open decks on the lower portion of the black death machine, and ignited all around us, sending flaming metal and Amatharian body parts across the deck. Then two score or more long ropes fell from above, and hundreds of heavily armed and armored Zoasians slid down onto our ship. My team began cutting them down with our light rifles, but for every one we shot from his rope, two more landed on the deck unharmed, and ready to engage us in hand to hand combat.
I yelled to my company to attack, and together we rushed forward to meet the Zoasians. I pulled my long sword from his sheath, and as I raised it high above my head, I saw it glow brightly with the power of the soul within. I brought it down upon the first enemy soldier and it left him two smoking halves of his former self.
These black reptilians were slower than we, but they were powerful. One picked up a large piece of jagged metal about ten feet long, which had torn loose in an explosion, and attempted to hit me with it, as though it had been a great bat. I ducked below it and jumped toward him, sword outstretched. For a moment, he looked down at the smoking hole I had left in his chest, and then he toppled over dead.
Another security team from the other side of the cruiser arrived to help us repel boarders, and we began pushing the Zoasians toward the rail. A black beam shot past my head, scorching my shoulder. A shot from one of my men blasted through the body of the attacker. I bounded forward to meet another enemy, but there were none left. This group of Zoasians had been repelled.
“Look over there,” said Tular Maximinos, suddenly at my shoulder. It was his company who had come to our aid.
I turned to see one of the black Zoasian battleships explode into a huge fireball and fall into the city below, setting off even more explosions. The battle seemed to be going well, and I could see three other enemy ships burning in the sky, as they spun out of control. All of the ships in our squadron were still in the air, though many had taken quite a bit of damage. I imagined that the squadron making the direct assault against the city was incurring even greater losses, but we had our reserves, and we knew what we were after.
Suddenly all the soldiers on deck were knocked from their feet, myself included. I jumped up to see another Zoasian ship grinding along our bow. The two ships had collided in mid-air, and the enemy was sliding down our side. As the black battleship moved closer to where we stood, it began to move away.
“Come on,” I shouted to my men, and taking a running leap into the air, I crossed the distance to the reptiles’ airship. This wasn’t really part of a plan. It just seemed like a good idea at the time to take the battle to the enemy.
Landing on the deck with a thud, I turned around to see how many of my company had made it across with me. About thirty others, including Tular Maximinos, had made it. One young warrior had not been able to make the jump, and was still falling the several thousand feet to the ground below. The remainder of our small battalion had remained behind, being unable to cross the distance before the two ships had moved too far away from each other.
“Where now?” I called to Tular Maximinos, as there seemed to be no Zoasians on deck.
“To the engine room!” he called back, and the two of us rushed toward the back of the ship, followed by thirty or so men and women.
A wide path ran along the side of the vessel between the superstructure and the edge, gave us a metal avenue down the length of the ship. It was good that it was a broad space too, because there was no rail along the side, as there was on Amatharian ships. We had gone down about half the length of the mile long vessel when I heard weapons fire behind me. I turned to see over a hundred Zoasians at the bow of the vessel, where we had just been. They were firing at us, and had already shot two of our team.
I sheathed my sword, and whipped out my light pistol. The Amatharians with me did the same, and we soon had the hulking reptiles diving for cover.
Looking up frequently at the flying marvel above us, Vena Remontar and I made our way back to the home of her cousin. The great battleship was not alone in the sky. Beyond it I could just make out two similar ships hovering above the city. I hoped that they were part of the fleet that Norar Remontar was preparing for his sister’s rescue. Vena Remontar stopped at the entrance of the building, and said her goodbye.
“Thank you for everything,” I said.
“It was my pleasure, knight,” she replied. “We will meet again soon.”
I made my way up the forty-five flights of escalators to Norar Remontar’s apartment. No sooner had I entered, than my Amatharian friend appeared from another room.
“You are finally here,” he observed.
“You are to come with me,”
“What now?” I asked.
“My grandfather wants to see you.”
I nodded in understanding, and followed the tall Amatharian out the door and up three more flights of escalators. We stepped thorugh a large entryway and waited outside a large navy blue door. This was a type of waiting area that one might find outside any large office. Had I been in New York or Los Angeles, I would have expected a secretary or a receptionist at a desk, but in Amathar they don’t have receptionists and a secretary’s job is a bit different than on Earth—more like a librarian. Visitors to an Amatharian office observe strict rules of etiquette, just as they would when visiting an Amatharian home. And those Amatharians who work in an office, are pleased to receive visitors themselves.
The door was opened and we were admitted to the room. Inside we found a magnificent hall, the center point of which was a great long table of carved wood, lined on either side by forty heavy wooden chairs. One entire wall of the room was glass, and looked over the courtyard that was the most impressive feature of the building. The other wall was lined with banners, each carrying the crest of a knight of the Sun Clan.
Four Amatharians waited for us within the room. The man who opened the door was the tallest man that I had yet met, something over seven and a half feet. Just looking at him frightened me. I could imagine how an enemy facing him felt. He was middle-aged, with streaks of grey shooting through his straight black hair. His hawkish nose and a large scar across one cheek, gave him the look of a predator. He was clad in the garments of a knight, though his tabard was fringed with gold trim; his crest was an eye with a flaming sun as its pupil. He was Reyno Hissendar, Norar Remontar’s uncle, and the chief of the Hissendar Trading Group.
The second fellow was equally impressive, though not because of height. He was a formidably muscular man with a piercing gaze and a tightly set jaw. His tabard too was fringed with gold, and his crest showed a flaming sun within a circle. His bodysuit wasn’t black though. It was tan. I had seen Knights in other colors, Nicohl Messonar for instance, wearing the colors of a teacher. Tan was the traditional color of archaeologists. He was Vandan Lorrinos, a highly respected member of the Sun Clan, and a fleet commander.
The third person in the room was a woman. She was a breathtakingly beautiful older version of Vena Remontar, or for that matter, of the Princess. She was just over six feet tall, with long straight black hair framing her beautiful dark blue face. She had the same stern look about her that I had found in Nicohl Messonar, and the same ability to seemingly look into a person’s heart. She stared at me with what I thought was a look of more than simple appraisal. She was the mother of Vena Remontar and the aunt of Norar Remontar, and her name was Mindana Remontar. She wore a bodysuit and tabard, but without the crest, indicating she was not a knight. Her bodysuit was dark blue, marking her profession as biologist.
The final individual in the room was the man for whom I had been summoned— the Overlord of the Sun Clan, Nevin Lorrinos. There was no doubt that he was Norar Remontar’s grandfather, for he was tall and handsome, with the same prominent features and the same noble bearing. He wore a great black robe with a golden crest above the heart— crossed swords over a flaming sun, the same crest that Noriandara Remontar had worn. I bowed low to him.
“Greetings knight,” he said.
“Yes,” said Mindana Remontar. “You have certainly wasted no time integrating yourself into our culture.”
“I was drawn to Garden of Souls when I came near,” I said. “Of course I still have much to learn about Amathar, but I already know that I want to make a place for myself here.”
Vandan Lorrinos grunted approvingly.
“That is one of the things I wish to speak to you about,” said Nevin Lorrinos. “You are without a family, which is a great handicap for you. But my heir tells me that he thinks you are worthy and a good friend and I trust his judgment. For that reason, I would like to offer you a place in the Sun Clan.”