Chapter Five of Falling: Adalta Vol III

This is a preliminary sketch of Daryl by Kurt.-except he should have long hair in a tail.

Last night I emailed the “polished draft” of Falling to my editors, so what you read here is a work in progress. in the comments section you have a last chance to tell me what you like, what you don’t like, how many mistakes I made, what’s missing, what’s too much. Or even if you don’t like it at all and I should quit trying to be a writer. Sending off a draft to be edited is a scary thing. But I’m planning on releasing Falling in July, so it had to be done.

Natalie Naudus is also beginning to record the audible book of Hunter now. The big question is: Will I have fingernails by the end of June? Actually, I won’t have time to chew on them as I have started Book Four. I can’t decide between these titles: Betrayal, or Betrayed. Which should I use? What does Betrayed invoke in you, what does Betrayal? I like Betrayal.

Chapter Five

Every time Readen Me’Vere pulled one of the ancient books from his library shelves he heard Daryl’s voice. “Wear the cotton gloves. These books are precious and fragile.” It irritated him, but he always did it. Why had no one ever made copies of these? 

He knew the answer. No one had expected the Larrak to reappear––the Itza Larrak, the last Larrak. But Readen brought it back—freed it from its prison in the columns of the now blocked cavern beneath Restal Hall.  He discovered it as a child, by accident. It had never stopped teaching him its own magic. I’m more powerful now than the strongest talents. I have the Itza Larrak

All the long winter Readen spent every spare moment perusing the ancient books. The stories of the war against the Larrak fought when the colonists first arrived on Adalta. The stories they’d learned about the first war, fought a millennium before between the Karda and the newly invading Larrak. He turned the last page of the last book, closed it, and pushed back from the table. No one, either Karda or human, had ever connected with a Larrak like he had. He put it back on the shelf. 

All that time wasted, all that power wasted breaking the preservation field on the five-hundred-year-old books and he’d learned nothing. His head heated with the familiar surge of frustration. He didn’t have talent. He’d never had talent. He was never going to have talent. The only person on Adalta ever born without talent. Readen pushed the old frustration back down––a distraction, a waste of time. And irrelevant. He didn’t have talent, but he had power. A little worm of thought asked, was the power his or was it borrowed? He ignored it.

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Falling Adalta Vol III. Chapter Four

(A work in progress)

“No. I will not allow you to go, Cedar. I cannot allow it. Astarte15 isn’t safe.” 

Cedar closed her eyes and took a long, slow breath. “This isn’t Astarte15, Mother. That was years ago. This planet is Adalta, and it isn’t the same at all. Galen is down there. And Marta. Glenn is going with me. And Assam. It’s safe.” She squeezed her mother’s shoulder. “I’ve been ordered to go.”

Truth be told, she’d begged and pleaded and coerced whomever she could corner to finally admit the ship had major problems. Not everyone was yet convinced it was failing, but at least they finally admitted the ship was never leaving Adalta’s orbit.

“You understand that. I’ve asked Amalie to come stay with you while I’m gone. She’ll help you start packing.”

“Pack? Why should I need to pack?” Marion’s voice rose higher with each word. Her thin hands, blue veins showing through translucent skin, traced back and forth on the folded coverlet at the end of Cedar’s bed, never stopping. “I don’t understand what I would need to pack for. You’e not going, Cedar. I won’t pack your things.”

“My things are packed, Mother,” said Cedar, her voice calm, her words evenly paced. “See? This is the last of them––” She tucked a jacket in an outside pocket of her soft-sided duffel. “Everyone will leave the ship over the next months, Mother. We discussed that.” She  took both her Mother’s frail hands in hers. “The ship is failing. It’s dying.”

“I’m not leaving.” Marion snatched her hands back. “I’m not. Not ever. I will not set one foot on another planet. You know that. I won’t. I lost your father, and you lost…you lost…you lost your foot on that planet.” She turned and walked out of Cedar’s room. “I will not go down there and neither will you.”

Cedar fastened her duffel and walked into the central room of the apartment. Marion sat in her chair, her body curled over over her tablet reader, locking reality away again. Cedar stood at the door to the hallway for a long moment. “Watch over my plants for me, Mother.”

Marion didn’t look up. Cedar opened the door and walked out, closing it quietly behind her. She leaned back against it, her eyes closed, her head aching. A frond from one of the plants that lined the hallways of the ship brushed her leg. What am I to do about her? Will I have to knock her out and wheel her to the shuttle on a gurney? What choice do I have? If she stays here she’ll die alone and afraid. If I stay with her I’ll die––we’ll both die with the ship. How can I make a new life on the planet when every time I look up into the sky I see my mother dying?

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