Interview with Cat Dalrish

My name is Blue River Frond and I am from Charikian. We are people watchers and we are scribes. Every being in all time and space has a place and a purpose and to that end we record the words they speak, for posterity … and for insight into the past. Please call me Blue and read my dialogues:

Catalina Dalrish

(I met with Cat in the bar at the Launchpad of Xen III’s largest spaceport)

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Blue: Hello, Cat, please to meet you. Why do people call you ‘Cat’?

Cat: It’s short for Catalina. I like it better anyway.

Blue: I believe you are of the Dalrish family.

Cat: I am, but I prefer not to talk about my family. Nothing good comes of discussing the Dalrish.

Blue: Even your brother Matt?

Cat: Matt is the only good thing in this family.

Blue: I sense your reluctance. Shall we then talk about your talents as a navigator?

Cat: Anytime!

Blue: I hear you studied at Xen’s Navigational School.

Cat: One thing you must say about Xen – it has the ability to instil knowledge and the Navigational School is considered one of the best in the universe.

Blue: Would you say your charts are up to date?

Cat: Absolutely. In fact we discovered some old charts from pre-dome days that have helped our understanding tremendously … but I’m not really allowed to talk about it. We also have the latest duplicates from Beacon’s exploration ships.

Blue: Exploration ships is a bit of a misnomer, wouldn’t you say?

Cat: Yeah. Beacon isn’t known for its benevolence, more exploitation than exploration, in my opinion. Maybe you shouldn’t print that.

Blue: Your brother is a pilot, not so?

Cat: The best. Can fly anything.

Blue: Is it chance that both of you chose careers that take you away from Xen?

Cat: Did we decide together to study in a field that enables it? No. But it isn’t chance either. I think both of us simply understood that was the only way to experience freedom.

Blue: Freedom from what?

Cat: Family, of course, but mostly the domes on this diseased world. If you want to know what real sunlight feels like, you have to leave. Or to feel rain, breathe fresh air. None of that here.

Blue: And yet you return after every journey. Why not simply slip away?

Cat: It comes down to family.

Blue: What do you mean?

Cat: Families always place a sense of duty on your outlook. Sorry, that’s as much as I’m going to say.

Blue: Your next trip is to Valaris, I hear? You and Matt are flying together this time.

Cat: We often fly together, but, yes, we’re on our way to Valaris in two days.

Blue: Have you been there before?

Cat: A few times now, a beautiful world, loads of fresh air and sunshine.

Blue: Easy to slip away there.

Cat: Maybe, but I wouldn’t do it without Matt.

Blue: He wouldn’t want to stay?

Cat: He’d stay in a heartbeat, but has too great a sense of duty to family to simply leave.

Blue: What’s on Valaris that takes the Blue Domian Nine there so often? Nice name, by the way.

Cat: We call our ship the Blue Dom, and it’s produce mostly. We swap solar gear for fresh food … and there’s the tourist aspect, of course. Many pay huge amounts for a few days in clean air.

Blue: Ah, yes. Matt’s actual name is Le Matt, isn’t it? Most Dalrish have a ‘Le’ something – do you?

Cat: The Dalrish women don’t get it.

Blue: Your uncle …

Cat: I’m not discussing my uncle.

Blue: Fine. After Valaris, what’s next for Cat Dalrish?

Cat: Another journey, another chart, who knows?

Blue: If someone were to offer you change, would you take it?

Cat: What kind of change?

Blue: Employment on Beacon, for instance?

Cat: Ah, I don’t rightly like Beaconites, but yes, I’d take it for the cleaner way of life, if Matt did so also.

Blue: Would you do it for Valaris?

Cat: Without thinking twice.

Blue: Have you met any Valleur on Valaris?

Cat: One. His name’s Krikian. He teaches me magic and I teach him science. A great guy!

Blue: Magic?

Cat: Oh, nothing like the big stuff the Valleur can do, just tricks really to entertain the crew on long journeys. Blue, I must go …

 

An alarm sounds and Cat is on her feet and running.

(Next I hear of Cat, she and Matt are both employed by the Valleur on Valaris. One wonders what a techno-poor world wants with a navigator and a pilot able to fly anything, doesn’t one?)

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The Beyond for Vannis

The final short story (for now!) for Arcana and Reaume: The Beyond for Vannis

When the valley Torrke goes supernova, three men die. One of those is Vannis Valla, but death is never an ending.

This is Vannis’ Afterlife; where does he reopen his eyes in his Beyond?

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The Glittering Darkness

The short story about the history of the Dragon species is now available!

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In another realm, scaled beings of might and majesty go to war. They are dragons and a Dragon is as nothing if he is not king of his domain.

This short story tells more about the great reptiles which appear in the LORE series.

The Glittering Darkness

Legend of the Sleeper

I had a vision, a little boy listening to his father tell him of the One, Torrullin was his name, the father said, the Immortal who lived long ago and brought hope and joy and peace, and would one day return when he was needed …

Caballa’s words to the Enchanter before the destruction of Torrke

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Galactic Time Zones

Luvanor/Valaris time:

Time did not run concurrent for Valaris and Luvanor. Where the season had just moved into the first month of winter for Valaris, the beginnings of spring was showing on Luvanor. In fact the dual spring on both worlds when Torrullin returned after a two thousand year absence was a rare event, a parallel that came around every seventy years or so, some years for spring, some for summer and some for winter. Autumn skipped the cycle due to the Valarian practice of shortening their winter and summer seasons by half a moon to realign the calendar to the stars. The fact that it was spring for both worlds caused Teighlar to remark to a number of his Senlu that the Enchanter would naturally choose an auspicious time to reappear.

The days were different also. Where Valaris counted out 22.4 hours, Luvanor held to 24.2 hours, which effectively meant morning on Valaris could be midday or dusk on Grinwallin’s mountain, or some other time in the various time zones of that world. It was not a strange concept at all – no two worlds were exactly alike – but it did make for surprise, particularly as few kept track, an intricacy limited to academics and fanatics who loved to fill their minds with the many facts and figures it entailed.

The Sleeper Sword

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Interview with Rees and Rayne’s Mother

Rees

(Blue spoke to many Valarians in the week following the drowning and destruction of Galilan, Valaris’ capital city. After, when she collated her notes, she realised she had spoken to Rayne’s sister)

 

Blue: Hello! Forgive the interruption, but I’m moving from plot to plot informing people where to find food and fresh water. Have you been told?

Rees: You’re welcome. Come closer. We’re aware of the relief centres, yes, but I overheard others asking … you’d have to keep moving and keep asking.

Blue: I’ll do so. ‘We’? You have others with you? Are you coping?

Rees: A friend and her husband stay with me … my m-mother didn’t … we found her in the cellar with … sorry.

Blue: I’m sorry, too. What’s your name?

Rees: Rees … yes, after the priest.

Blue: Ha! Who named you? I’m guessing your father.

Rees: Yes! And my brother Rayne still teases me about it!

Blue: Where is he? Will he be joining you? Um, do you know if he …?

Rees: Rayne was here earlier, thank God. He’s fine, doing his thing. What’s your name?

Blue: Blue … but don’t ask me why! I’m only glad it isn’t ‘Green’ or ‘Pink’!

Rees: I’ll bet! And do you have somewhere to stay in all this?

Blue: I do, thank you … it will get better, I hope you know that. Sooner than we can believe right now.

Rees: I hope so. Thanks. I suppose you must be on your way. Good to meet you, and good luck.

Blue: Luck to you also.

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Rayne’s mother

 

(After checking her notes, Blue found a parallel in her interviews in Galilan. The place she interviewed Rees after annihilation was also the place she spoke briefly with an older woman before the destruction of the city and after the soltakin commenced the campaign of terror. She swiftly deduced she had had words with Rees and Rayne’s mother and was thus one of the last to have seen her alive)

 

Blue: My lady, you should be indoors. It isn’t safe.

Rayne’s mother: Can’t call anywhere safe, my dear. Walls and closed doors will not stop those fiends.

Blue: Lady, is there someone with you? Your children?

Rayne’s mother: Essie from next door. We keep each other company through everything good and bad. My children have their own lives … my daughter gallivants in the country as if she’s a spoilt rich girl and my son flits everywhere trying to be Valaris’ saviour … forgive me, I find I’m disappointed that they saw fit to … to …

Blue: Abandon you?

Rayne’s mother: Forgive me, no. Rees is a good girl and will be here as soon as she can. And Rayne … well, Rayne is what he is, isn’t he? How dare I deny that? How dare I deny our people his abilities?

Blue: My lady, where is Rayne now?

 

(The woman unfortunately returned indoors then, perhaps realising she had revealed too much. Blue has not discovered her name, and there is no image on record of Rayne’s mother)

 

The History of Ardosia

This short story was a ‘part’ in Lore of Arcana, which was completely removed, and yet it explains quite a bit about Millanu’s reason for returning to Valaris …

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Blurb

After ages of war, a Rift is opened between realms. The Valleur choose exile and peace over war and death. Choosing to rebuild and renew, they start over.

But, after millennia, the Rift opens and ancient loyalties are again put to the test.

This is what happened between their then and their now.

The History of Ardosia

Ugarth and the Medaillon

I regarded the excerpt below as too much backstory, and removed most of it from The Infinity Mantle, but if you’re interested in finding out more about the mighty Maghdim Medaillon, and how the Mantle came into being, read on!

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Three thousand years before the present time the human population of Valaris was essentially decimated.

First there was Drasso’s extermination, which was wholesale slaughter, and their numbers were further depleted when the Immortals descended to do battle. Using human tactics to fight a war required men, many men. That part of the war lasted three years, and at the end of it, large tracts of land were wasteland … and thus more succumbed, for the aftermath was as hard as the wars fought.

Only the Great Forest remained unscathed, but it became a physical and emotional divide between north and south.

The Guardians saw this, but were powerless to change it. Not only could neither side see beyond the wastelands in the aftermath, but also they no longer trusted their saviours. Deified they were, but the terrible power of the Immortals left the humans as fearful of them as they were of Drasso, Infinity and their kind. The Guardians chose to leave the humans to rebuild alone.

They left an inheritance for each region divided by trees and superstitions.

To the north went ten volumes, containing within the pages of antiquity universal truths. Warded within those pages were sufficient charms to promote the spirit of adventure, the need to restore the past, and a wish to cross the wastelands in search of other survivors.

The charms needed to be read aloud, which they never were, for the dead language was also an unpronounceable one. Fear of magic had stilled most tongues.

The ten volumes were and are collectively known as the Ancient Oracles.

To the south went the Maghdim Medaillon. In the Ancient Tongue it translated as ‘Supreme Wisdom’. It had the power to summon the clans of old, particularly those of the north with numbers to call to, but like to the Oracles, it was not used. Fear of magic stilled it also.

The remaining sorcerers in the south guarded the Maghdim Medaillon. Their numbers were small, fifteen having survived Drasso. From them, the continuance to the present-day Society.

The golden medal lay in its velvet casket for two centuries, the sorcerers too afraid to discover what it could do. Sorcery was outlawed before Drasso; after him, it was worse.

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There came a day a young apprentice magician, Ugarth by name, stole the velvet casket and carried it secretly to his quarters within the Society, there to study it.

In those early days of the Society, magic was more than theory, and Ugarth’s touch was the first the device received in two centuries. It burned him fiercely on first contact. His hand hurt and he was afraid, but was more fearful of discovery. Warding himself against burning, which the Medaillon unaccountably permitted, he retrieved it from the floor.

Imagine his surprise when on second contact images flooded his mind of northern lands fertile and populated, of stars near and far, of other inhabited worlds, of enchantments and wardings he never dreamed of. He was entranced and transfixed, but soon shook out of it, knowing instinctively his life would be in danger if he broadcast this newfound knowledge, not only from the outside world, but also from those within his own ranks.

The fear of the supernatural continued with manic intensity and the Society lost ground to the world, and went into hiding to protect themselves and their arts, but also there were factions within, some political, some greedy, and some arrogant. Jealousy could lead to death, and it was known certain sorcerers were secretly revealed to the authorities … thereby removing rivals. Ugarth was in love with his skin, and knew how to keep a secret.

Ugarth shaped a detailed and true replica, and replaced that in the casket, which he then returned to its usual place. The real Medaillon he wore about his neck out of sight.

As Ugarth became more proficient, he cast an intricate spell. He limited the device to one master or mistress at a time, it to be gifted secretly from generation to generation, the gifting enchantment learned only once in the receiving. Any who casually handled it would thus be burned. Ugarth did not realize that the medal itself enabled this enchantment from him. The burning was the true test in validating the Medaillon.

Ugarth cast a failsafe, perhaps recognizing a future task during his sessions with it. The failsafe was that one other was to command it, someone other than its master or mistress. That person could only be the most powerful sorcerer of the time, and only that individual would have the power to call the clans, although Ugarth regarded the latter factor as irrelevant. The device demanded this, and the legend passed down into the future would be why McSee was shocked and Aven fatalistic;

Rayne would prove true power on Valaris the instant he held it unharmed. Ugarth often wondered over the course of his life how much had been him and how much upon the Medaillon’s insistence.

Time went on. As the Society became less, the real Medaillon returned to its casket, its existence known to few. A new master or mistress was chosen by consensus, passing from old to young every generation. It remained a secret to those outside and gradually it was barred from those inside, until a sect formed to protect it, actively training sorcerers of all ranks, ever mindful of the legendary failsafe.

That sect was and is the Mantle.

Interview with Llettynn

(A Siric is hard to corner; Blue River Frond is fortunate to have recorded these words.)

 

Blue: You are the Siric leader, Llettynn. How long have you held the position?

Llettynn: Too long.

Blue: I look at you and see a smallish humanoid dressed all in white. Please don’t take offense, but how do you inspire confidence in those you are forced to deal with?

Llettynn: Guardians are not forced into anything.

Blue: I seem to have offended you, after all. I’m sorry. For the record, white isn’t the only colour you wear about your person, is it?

Llettynn: The Siric wear white.

Blue: You are being coy. I am, of course, speaking of your wings. Wings and colour together define the Siric.

Llettynn: It does not.

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Blue: Perhaps I didn’t say it correctly. I meant you wear colour upon your wings, and Siric read status by it. You, for example, carry turquoise … and that, I believe, is the mark of leadership. Others – Declan, for instance – carries red more markedly, because he is your deputy.

Llettynn: Your point?

Blue: Hmm, I see now why others name the Siric as cold. You do not share either information or emotion easily. Why is that?

Llettynn: Immortality teaches even the most emotional of beings to rein it in.

Blue: You’re jaded, is that what you’re saying?

Llettynn: No.

Blue: What do you mean?

Llettynn: Nothing. I suggest you ask a relevant question before I return to my duties.

Blue: Of course. What are your current duties?

Llettynn: The Guardians are present on Valaris, currently searching for hidden sites which may or may not lead to enlightenment. We do this because we hope to curtail Infinity in her desire to unleash chaos upon the universe. I cannot say more, and now I must return. If you seek greater insight, Belun of the Centuar is the Guardian to speak too. Not yet, Blue River Frond; time is of the essence for all of us and even Belun, loquacious as he is, cannot now be spared.

Blue: I thank you for your time and for the advice. Another time, then.

 

(Blue states years later she wished she had pushed the Siric leader harder; in Llettynn there resided a mind of absolute brilliance.)

The Life-Wheels of Pendulim

The second LORE short!

This one did form part of the original version of The Dragon Circle, but I removed it after beta readers told me it detracts from the main tale. Some of this, in a truly shortened format, does appear, but what happens in the book is now different from what happens here, particularly regarding Augin, the Palace Guard who accompanies Torrullin to Pendulim. Augin’s fate in this short is very different!

Read, therefore as an aside 🙂

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Blurb

To ward Valarian souls against soul-snatching, Torrullin Valla, along with Augin, Palace Guard, journey to Pendulim. They need a flame-wright able to fashion a Life-Wheel, a device able to protect the innocent and their souls.

But there is more to the mission. A Champion from Pendulim is being prepared to invade the Dome of the Guardians, wearing a Wheel able to confer immortality. The Dome will not survive. The Champion must be stopped.

Together, Torrullin and Augin negotiate the dangers in the forests of Pendulim.

The Life-Wheels of Pendulim

Interview with Margus

In this session, Blue speaks to the Darak Or

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(Recorded outside the entrance to the cave system contained within the Stairs Mountains on Valaris)

 

Blue: My lord, a word, please?

Margus: Who are you?

Blue: Folk call me Blue and I record the words of others.

Margus: You are akin to a reporter?

Blue: I am surprised you know what a reporter is.

Margus: I did not attain adulthood in a vacuum. My homeworld was advanced. How did you get here? Can you not see Valaris is about to enter a state of war? What do you want? I should kill you now and be done with this distraction.

Blue: Sometimes one needs take the risk for posterity. You may not win this thing you are engaged in. I may never speak to you again.

Margus: You definitely will not be speaking to me again. I do admire your courage, however. You have two minutes.

Blue: How are you called and where do you come from?

Margus: I am Margus and I come from a world beyond the Rift.

Blue: We’ve heard a tear erupted in space. And we also heard you brought an army with you.

Margus: My soltakin, yes.

Blue: The term is new to me. What is a soltakin?

Margus: A wraith. A soul without a body. It appears as a shadow and its touch is deadly. It hates and its sole purpose is to kill. It wants, above all, to extinguish the light in everyone and everything. Creatures after my own heart.

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Blue: What is you plan for Valaris?

Margus: Valaris will be mine.

Blue: Was that Infinity I saw with you a few minutes ago? Have you made a deal with her?

Margus: Your time is over.

Blue: Please answer the question … and one other. I shall be on my way after.

Margus: I want the dara-witch’s darklings under my control. The deal I made with Infinity will last only as long as it takes to achieve that. Then? Use your imagination.

Blue: Yes, she is hard to abide, isn’t she? Few will mourn her passing, I think.

Margus: Your final question.

Blue: Who is Margus the man?

Margus: I am no longer a man. Your question has no relevance.

Blue: What are you?

Margus: I am the Darak Or, little girl. Now get from my sight before I prove exactly what that is.

 

(Blue River Frond decides to leave then. She never does speak to Margus again.)