Chapters Two and Three of Falling Adalta Vol III

Here are the next chapters of FALLING. Chapter Two is the one formerly known as Chapter One, but changed a bit, because I realized it was in the wrong place. So I posted both chapters to make up for getting in a hurry. Blame it on my sister Alice. She made me go back and do some plotting, which I hate, but, OK, she was right. This time. Maybe the only time.

These chapters are works in progress, so if you see something you don’t like, something that doesn’t make sense, God forbid, something misspelled, grammar mistakes, or—Maybe even something you really like, please make a comment in the box below. I promise to pay attention. It takes a village to write a book. Don’t leave me out there, all alone, hanging in the wind when I’ve said their instead of they’re or there. Or have a character sitting in one paragraph and standing in the next, but he never stood up. Or pulling out a sword she wasn’t wearing. It happens, but I don’t write about magically appearing swords.

Thanks for reading, and sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already. You’ll be lucky, you’re probably happy to know, to get one a month. But I have a couple of things coming up I’d like to let you know about. (Hint—audiobook)

Enjoy reading:

Chapter Two

Cedar Evan’s ears popped. The quarantine pod shuddered. The watering can fell off the bench. She lost her balance and smacked her hip on a seedling table. The light over the containment hatch blinked red—on-off on-off on-off––again. Shit.

Cedar moved to the control panel. Oxygen levels were down but climbing. Pressure was down, but climbing. Her stomach was down but climbing. And climbing. Climbing a rope in her throat on its way to panic.

Yet another glitch. One or two or more––they increased every week now on Alal Trade Consortium’s five-hundred-year-old-and-then-some spaceship.

The light switched to steady green. Her stomach slid back down the rope, and the sigh she didn’t know she was holding burst like juice from an over-ripe orange.

Read More

Falling Chapter One Version 1.2

Falling Chapter One Version 1.2

I wish writing a book was maybe a little more straight forward. I seem to do a lot of back and forthing, and that’s what happened to my beginning Chapter. The major struggle in this third and final book is between Daryl and his brother Readen, so the book has to start with Daryl. So I scrambled the fist two chapters and finally ended up here. I’ll post Chapter Two in a couple of weeks.

I hope you enjoy this. It’s still a work in progress, so comments and corrections are more than welcome.

AND—Ta Da—Click read more to see the cover for Book 3 by Kurt Nilson.—and the rest of the chapter.

Chapter One 

Fifteen riders on magnificent hawk-headed flying horses circled the landing field outside the small town of Flat Rock. Enormous monstrous dog-like creatures, half metal-half flesh, with scales of armor, swarmed over the walls into the village. Their stubby metallic wings beat with a ringing Daryl Me’Vere, astride his Karda, could hear from high in the air. A sound he hated. He forced down the pressure building from his chest into his throat––hatred, anger, fear for his riders and for his people below.

At his signal, Karda and riders swooped across the field, snatching unwary monsters, the urbat, in their wicked talons, carrying them high above and dropping them to their deaths in the middle of the throng attacking the gates. Other riders aimed arrows at the urbat tearing through the streets after townspeople, most of whom fought with swords, spears, axes––whatever was to hand and sharp.

Daryl and Abala dropped down to about twelve meters, twice as high as the urbat could reach with their stubby wings and massive bodies. They crossed the walls, circling the village. Screams and cries and urbat snarls and howls rose, and he heard the clang of swords and hoes and scythes against the urbat armor. The savage brutes swarmed through the small town, and Daryl shoved down his anger. He needed to fight urbat, not his emotions.

Below him, a terrified unarmed villager stumbled to his knees, an urbat half flying, half falling directly at him. A second villager ran to shove his short-bladed spear overhead at its belly and impaled the creature. The impact knocked him down, but he scrambled to his feet, put his foot against the urbat, pulled his weapon free and slashed it across the throat. Thick, yellow ichor ran in runnels between the cobblestones.

Daryl flew on, drew on his talent and fire bolts, long, narrow bursts of flame from his spread fingers, incinerated every urbat he caught in the open, careful of the villagers and the buildings. He fired and fired until Abala peeled away to beat his way up into the air and beyond the walls. 

~What are you doing, Abala? They’re still fighting.~ He spoke telepathically.

~And you have depleted your talent. You are so tired I can feel you sway in the saddle. We have other work to do. Another kind of monster to find.~

Daryl scrubbed his hands through his hair, wishing Abala didn’t know him so well. When frustration tried to clamp down on his chest again, he shoved it away to take long, deep breaths, pulling strength from the air, the clouds, the sky. Restoring his power through elemental Air was difficult--impossible for most--but Daryl was a formidable Talent and there wasn’t time to land to draw power from deep in Adalta.

Read More

Here’s Chapter 14 of Karda and a brief note about—well, stuff

This is the last chapter I will post. I am frantically working on getting the books up and running for publication next month.

It’s spring here, finally, and I’ve been working outside, planting all my pots with begonias, geraniums, petunias, sweet potato vine—did you know there are black sweet potato vines? 

My one small pot of herbs is doing great already. The sage plant is getting old and woody. The pot is slowly crumbling—I dare not move it. It's been in the same place on the porch there are violets growing out from under where it sits on the concrete. So next year I may have to plant a new sage. The chives, the thyme, the oregano I can repot, but the sage—not so much. Yesterday it was 95 degrees outside, and I had the top down on my car with the AC running. Today is cooler, but yes, summer heat approaches. We’ve had about three days of spring. It would be nice if summer could be cool, too. But—it’s Oklahoma. Probably not much chance of that. 

Enjoy this chapter and look for Karda and  Hunter—Vol II soon.

If you are not already signed up for my newsletters, please do so, because I want you to be the first to know when they are available. 

Here’s Chapter 14. Enjoy

Chapter 14

"Readen has assured me that there are no groups of marauders sheltering inside our borders." Roland looked to Readen. "Tell Altan what you found when you took the Mounted Patrol out there." He looked back at Altan. "He spent two tendays in the most deplorable conditions." His steward entered the room and stood behind him with a handful of papers. Roland flapped his hand at Readen in a come-on-tell-all motion and started going through the papers, carrying on a sotto-voce conversation with the steward.

Read More

Chapter 13 of Karda: Adalta Vol. I

Marta breathed in the brisk upper air of the foothills as Sidhari circled up the rising thermal. She'd fought to be the Mi'hiru for this expedition. Altan was taking Guardian Stefan's place in the annual trade talks with Restal, and Marta knew her assessment of the politics between the two quadrants, as well as the outcome, would be information Kayne would relish. Restal and Toldar were both her territory.

But it was difficult to keep her mental barriers up when she and Altan were together so often. She was still getting used to hearing Sidhari in her head. Altan's voice brought on vicious headaches—and the occasional doubt about her sanity.

Read More

Chapter 12 Karda: Adalta Vol. I

~His name is Baltu,~ said Sidhari. Her head hung over Marta's as she and Altan groomed the little male. Marta handed Altan a soft cloth and the green bottle of the oil she used on wing feathers. She scratched Baltu's head to keep him calm. Altan worked, crooning softly to the little Karda. They ran loose in the mews when they weren't being fed or groomed. Baltu followed Altan everywhere he went, his cries piteous and his immature wings beating futilely whenever Altan flew off on Kibrath. Despite herself, she had to admit Altan was good at soothing the skittish baby.

Marta scratched the downy feathers under the fledgling's neck, irritated that Altan was so close to them. He was there with her every moment he could spare. She couldn't complain that he was interfering. He knew what he was doing. It was just so--irritating. Her fingers tangled with Altan's as they both reached to scratch the same soft spot under Baltu's beak.

Read More

Karda: Adalta Vol: I Chapter 11

Six Karda met them when they were still miles from Toldar Prime. They settled into a V formation around the four weary travelers to ease their flight. When they landed, the mews was a madhouse of Mi'hiru, Karda, as well as Guardian Stefan, Elena, and others from the Guild House and the Keep. Marta was relieved to get away when things settled enough to leave the babies under the care of a tired Eanna who assured her they would be fine for the night. The shutters on her empathic shield were flapping open, and she was getting bombarded.

She pulled off her soft riding boots and found a pair of slippers on one of the shelves in the entryway to the long central hall of the red stone building. She followed Mother Solaira across the flagstones through an archway to the right into the dining room filled with heavy, worn, polished benches, chairs, and wooden tables with bright pottery vases of fresh flowers. They walked through into the big kitchen. A cheerful fire of magma stones, the strange fuel Marta hadn't figured out, glowed in the big metal cooking stove. The smell of fresh baked bread poured out of the hot adobe wall oven to fill the kitchen. Several large loaves cooled at one end of the big worn central table. Piles of papers littered the other.

Read More

Karda Chapter Nine

Altan picked up the heavy pack, carried it to the nest as close as he could get without agitating the babies more than they already were. How could he calm them enough to accept his touch? He'd have to handle them a lot, and it wouldn't be gentle if he were to get them off this narrow mesa. He started singing a song his mother sang when he was little. They watched him; heads cocked at the same angle.

But as soon as he approached the nest they scrambled to the other side, stumbling and climbing over each other. They snapped at him with shrill, agitated cries.

"Ok. I know I’d starve if I had to sing for my soup, but I’m not that bad."

~Keep singing, perhaps it will help calm them. They’ve never seen anything like you,~ spoke Kibrath. ~They are too young to understand when I talk to them, but I'll comfort them as well as I can.~ 

Altan pulled small pieces of the soaked meat and vegetables—which they weren't too sure about—and toss them into the fledgling's mouths, moving a step closer each time. They squabbled and pushed at each other like "me first, me first." He ran out of the soaked morsels and couldn't cut more fast enough. Are they ever going to be satisfied? I don’t think I brought enough. Each toss a little shorter, he coaxed them closer and closer. There was little left when they approached close enough he could touch them over the sides of the nest. They let him scratch their heads, fingers gentle in the soft feathers. They butted against him, knocking the side of the nest trying to get closer, wanting more food. I wonder if they think I am a crippled Karda with no wings and not enough legs.

Read More

Karda Chapter Eight

Altan and Kibrath spent their first night on the bank of the southern fork of the Barleyn River and a lazy morning waiting for the air to warm enough for thermals to form. He sprawled against his packs drinking tea, relishing growing warmth from the sun moving up the cobalt sky. The sound of the river flowing noisy and icy cold out of the craggy mountains to the West carried away thought. They weren't far from the southern pass through the mountains to the Coastal Holdings.

The energy of Adalta beneath him was tangible, the gentle force that always pulsed through him. He pulled on it and pinched a tiny mix of Earth and Air to form a ball of fire between his fingers. He set a water shield and played with the flame, passing it back and forth between his hands, rolling it from the fingers of one to the other, keeping it small as a match flame. He let it go after several minutes, and it floated away, fading as he withdrew the tiny tendril of his talent connection. He rolled to kneeling and spread his hands flat on the ground in front of him. He stayed that way for a long time, feeling the power curl through him.

Kibrath looked up, his beak stained from tearing at clumps of succulent green grass. ~Let's go, lazy one. It's warm enough by now.~

Read More

Karda, Chapter 7

The dining hall at Toldar Keep was more welcoming than the one in Restal Prime, Marta thought as she looked around. Polished red granite walls, paneled above in rare pale bleached walnut, glowed in the golden light that streamed at a low angle from the tall windows on the far side of the room. A steward lit bronze oil lamps in ornamental brackets on the walls. Several large round tables with chairs stood in no particular order around the room. No head table on a dais separated the "important" from the "unimportant." It was a room designed to make people feel comfortable, not to impress or intimidate as Guardian Roland's hall in Restal had been.

The boy manning the door was as awkward as Marta felt. He blushed as he asked her name, though she knew she was the only Mi'hiru invited for tonight. It was her introduction to Toldar, to Guardian Me'Gerron, and probably at least some of his Councilors. Certainly Altan Me'Gerron, heir and Commander of the Karda Patrol, whom she hadn't met yet. She'd only arrived four days before. They were more prompt to welcome her than had been the case in Restal. She hoped it was indicative of better relations with the Karda. The boy stumbled over his too large feet as he led her to a table at the far side of the room and introduced her.

Read More

Karda Chapter Six

Marta hurried through the growing darkness, cloak wrapped tightly around her against the chill and drizzle, hood up, glad for its heavy wool. And glad for the long wool divided skirt and high necked jacket of her blue uniform. It would be good to be inside a warm tavern.

Was it summer? Did this planet even have a summer? The red sun gave far less heat than most of the planet's she'd been on, and it rained three out of five days of the long four hundred thirty-two day year. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. But surely not by much. I may never dry out. At its best summer was only a little less cool than the winter season. And a little less wet, which wasn't saying much.

The lamplighter hadn’t gotten to this part of the Prime yet. The narrow street she turned into was dark between the tall buildings and smelled. She walked faster, careful on the wet, slick stones, still mindful of the lighter gravity on Adalta. A prickle of warning sent her hand to the hilt of her sword. Quick footsteps sounded from behind her. She pushed the right side of her short cloak over her shoulder, flipped the hood back, and loosened the weapon in its scabbard. Whoever followed closed fast, too fast, and threatening intentions battered against her shields. The street was too dark and too empty to be careless. She turned.

Read More

Karda: Adalta Vol I Chapter Five

The restaurant hummed with quiet conversation when the two Mi'hiru walked in. Marta strengthened her mental dampers. She didn’t need the assault on her emotions that intruded even in small crowds. She was hungry, and Philipa said this place had exceptional food. Three men at a table in the far corner of the room were the focus of the energy in the room. One, whose long brown hair and face resembled Daryl’s, looked up as if expecting someone when they came in. Irritation flicked across his face, then disappeared in a laugh at one of his companions. Marta had seen him, Readen, the oldest of the guardian’s two sons, in other taverns several times in the tendays she'd been in Restal, often with the same two Mounted Patrol guards and the center of activity, laughing, joking.

"Watch out for those two guards. The Karda refused to carry them when they applied to the Karda Patrol. They don't like Mi'hiru," Philipa murmured. "Readen’s friendly enough and fun. He tolerates Mi’hiru, but that’s about all. Karda won’t accept him either. If the revolt against the so-called aristocracy of talent every amounts to anything, he’s probably the one who will lead it. He was born without any. Not even a hint. The only person in all our history to not have talent."

There’s that word again. Talent. I know it means something more here than the ability to play an instrument or write a poem. I’m missing something critical about the people here.

Read More