Some music for editing…
Some music for editing…
And now, on to “Raven”
I thought I’d start off with an excerpt from the most recent published book, Brianna and the Three. It’s the opening scene, as our main character attends a meeting about a kidnapping.
But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
Upon the Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
Hither and tither moves, and checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam of Naishpur
“…and of course you’ll have to face the Three.”
I stared for a minute then asked, “The three…what?”
I hoped the explanation made more sense than the previous statement. I twisted a lock of blonde hair around a finger and waited for the answer. Around us, the other patrons in the crowded dining room were oblivious to us, more concerned with their own lives. (Seeing all the patrons enjoying their meals, combined with the various aromas wafting through the dining room reminded me that I hadn’t eaten yet. But I ignored my growing hunger and focused on my meeting.)
The man sitting across from me squirmed, as if trying to settle his large frame onto the chair. To say he was overweight would’ve been an understatement. Corpulent would’ve been a better word. I was surprised the chair could support him. (Stop it, Brianna!) He was dripping with sweat despite the restaurant’s air conditioning. His thinning hair was pasted to his scalp and his expensive suit was soaked. The odor, a mixture of cologne and perspiration, was beginning to pass the point that I could ignore it. His heavy, labored breathing didn’t sound healthy.
None of that seemed to matter to him. Then again, when you’re Russell Bilinco, third richest man on the face of the Earth, you can afford to not care what people think of you and your appearance.
A thin smile crossed his doughy face. “That is the problem,” he said between heavy breaths. “All I know is that Alyce is being held on Lowell Theta and is being guarded by the Three. The actual source of the name is the mythology of the T’quesh’ren people native to Lowell Theta. Some kind of ancient class of warrior, I believe. Does it matter?”
I took a long drink from my glass of mineral water and looked around the dining room. “It’s always good to have as much intelligence as possible before tackling a new situation. Why did you pick such a public place for this meeting? I would’ve thought you’d rather conduct business in a more private setting.”
Bilinco waited almost a full minute before he answered, as if he were trying to come up with a plausible answer. “Under other circumstances, I would prefer more secure surroundings. Unfortunately, my office is no longer a secure location, and I’m not sure about my house. Enough has gone wrong. I don’t want to make the situation worse.”
I didn’t mention that he could’ve come to Heaven’s Gate and met me there. “Logical. With all the ambient noise, we should be sufficiently masked. Still, it never hurts to check. Excuse me a moment.”
I turned to one side and said, “Parsifal?”
There was a tingling sensation across the back of my head, accompanied by a soft male voice. “Yes, Archangel.”
“Scan the building. Any sign of monitoring?”
My AI was silent for a moment. “Scan complete. I’m detecting no sign of surveillance beyond the restaurant’s security system. You’re clear.”
“Thank you. Parsifal says we have nothing to worry about, Mister Bilinco.”
He looked confused. “I’ve never understood how you Archangels do that.”
I patted the back of my head. “It’s called a neurolink. It’s a communications array linked to my brain. It allows direct, private communication with our AIs.”
“Privacy on one side.”
I smiled and nodded. “I have ways of ensuring private communication when necessary.”
“Oh? How would you do that?”
I tugged at the collar of my uniform jumpsuit and took another drink. Was he trying to steer the conversation away from the assignment? “That would be a topic for another day, Mister Bilinco. Back to the situation at hand. How long has your companion been missing?”
Bilinco had contacted the hierarchy of the Angel Corps about the kidnapping of his companion, Alyce Benton. The only contact with the kidnappers was a single transmission, too short to be traced. According to the transmission, she had been taken off the cruise ship she had been traveling on during its scheduled stop at Lowell Theta. She would be held there until the ransom was paid, though no details were included. It also said that any attempt at rescue would fail because of the presence of the Three.
Since then, nothing.
The Corps assigned me to the task of rescuing Ms. Benton and bringing the kidnappers to justice. Rescues and retrievals have become something of a specialty of mine. Whenever there’s a person that needs to be brought home, an heirloom or relic that has to be returned to its proper place, it comes to me. (Kidnapping has always struck me as cowardly. The trauma it causes to both the victim and the family can take years to overcome.)
Bilinco drained his wine glass and sighed. “Alyce was taken nine days ago. She went on a groundside excursion and didn’t come back from it.”
“Why weren’t you with her?”
“I had business to attend to. My many concerns can’t take care of themselves.”
“Any enemies? Anyone who would profit from this?”
“Someone in my position always has enemies, Archangel Pandora. It’s the nature of the business world.”
I looked down at the table and gathered my thoughts. As I took a business card from a compartment on my belt, I said, “I have everything I need to get started, sir. That’s my call code should anything come in overnight. I’ll be leaving in the morning. You’ll be able to contact me through Heaven’s Gate after that. If there’s nothing else…”
The card almost disappeared between his fingers. “I do have a few more questions, if you don’t mind. Where’s you sword? I thought members of the Angel Corps always carried their swords.”
I reached for the place on my belt where my sword’s scabbard would be attached. I had left the sword in my car, feeling it would not be needed for this briefing. “It’s not mandatory. My sword is handy, should I need it. In the past, when my great-grandmother was alive, most Angels had to keep their swords with them at all times.”
“You mentioned your great-grandmother. That would be Antandra Pandora?”
Wasn’t my last name enough of a hint? “Yes. I’m a scion of Family Pandora-Crowe. I decided to follow my family’s tradition of service to the Corps.”
I pushed back from the table and stood before he could ask another question. “I’ll contact you when necessary, Mister Bilinco.”
“I hope it will be soon, Archangel Pandora.”
So there we have it, the opening of Brianna and the Three. The story took a long, tortured path to publication. I’ll probably talk about that in another post.
If you’re interested in finding out what happens next, the links for Brianna and the Three, along with the other books, With Eyes Open…, Campfire Stories, A Bright Symmetry, On A Cold Wind, The Fault Lies Not…, and Rae, can be found on my site, Wordboy’s Words – http://wordboy1.wixsite.com/wordboyswords/books
Anything you want to know? Any questions for me? Ask away.
Until next time (and there will be a next time…I promise)
MPD / 12 February 2018
Working on being a more disciplined writer, both in fiction writing and blogging.
This time, I mean it. No, really…I do.
I’m going to work on blogging regularly, be it a blog post about some aspect of writing or life, or an entry in “Trivia From Another Universe.”
So I’m going to start now with the next post, which will be up in a couple of minutes.
We’ll see how it goes.
Going through “Upon A Far Distant Shore” again…paying attention this time.
Continuing to edit “Upon A Far Distant Shore.” Hard woek but it makes me happy.
And back to editing, starting with “Upon A Far Distant Shore.”