Polychrome: Second Vision and Chapter 27

  A second glimpse at an important viewpoint, and Erik arrives at his destination:   ------     Second Vision:      Agony of boiling light, cruel radiance tearing her slowly apart, pieces of her own self taken away, forged with hammers of blazing selfish will and cruel luminant ambition. But the tiny comfort of the point of darkness remained, and she clung to that. Over days and weeks and untold passage of time, when her eyes and soul felt tormented beyond endurance, she could seek it out, so small, but [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 1

  And before we get back to our main heroes, we need to look in on a more conflicted adversary...   ------     Chapter 1.      Aran felt cold, cold inside, so cold that he was able to ignore his fear entirely. There is nothing to fear here, not now. For what I want and what It wants, they must be the same now.        Even so, he had to steel himself to knock at the great stone and metal portal which was the Hall of Balance, the innermost area of the Justiciar's Retreat… and the chosen quarters [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Prologue

Now we begin the sequel to Phoenix Rising, Phoenix in Shadow, second in the Balanced Sword trilogy! And we start with a look at the real bad guy in the whole trilogy...   ------     Prologue.      This is… most interesting.   It surveyed the clearing, smoke still drifting from multiple scattered fires which had – mostly – died out by now, dozens of bodies of monstrous, twisted… things lying everywhere, and a huge scar of blackened earth that stretched from an underground opening to fan out all the way to [ Continue reading... ]

Polychrome: Chapter 26

Well, we should look in on what our villains are up to...   -----     Chapter 26.      Ugu found Queen Amanita in the Third Garden, one of the few spots of green in the Gray Capital. She was apparently experimenting with transformations, morphing a butterfly into a sort of winged centipede with a dozen sets of brilliant wings, then into a bird with butterfly wings, and other variations on flying pretty creatures. She has an excellent eye and appreciation for beauty, but her art is as cold as her smile, [ Continue reading... ]

Castaway Planet: Chapter 18

Things were busy and confusing around here yesterday -- apologies for missing my schedule! Sakura's out exploring...   ------     Chapter 18            Sakura cut, perhaps with unnecessary viciousness, at a bamboolike stalk that blocked her passage. The machete—cut and ground down under Whips' direction from one of the pieces of steel that had formed a major wing support—sliced cleanly through the stalk, which fell, spattering her with drops of blood and an explosion of crimson tendrils from the [ Continue reading... ]

Castaway Planet: Chapter 17

  Time to relax, it's been a long day...   ------     Chapter 17            Whips jolted awake as a loud, strident beep! beep! beep! sounded from somewhere above him. That was the camp alarm! Something was coming through the perimeter! The night of Lincoln was, by Earthly standards, pitch-black; even if one of Lincoln's two moons had been up, they were too small to shed very much light. But Whips' ancestors were from the utterly lightless sea of Europa, orbiting Jupiter in the farther [ Continue reading... ]

Polychrome: Chapter 25

Well, let's see what Erik's up to now...   ------   Chapter 25.      "Chancellor, we have stormclouds ahead." Inkarbleu glanced up from the small dining table we were sharing. "That is… unusual, is it not?" "Very, sir. Weather indications for this time of year are usually clear – for weeks or months at a time." The Captain looked grim. I rose and ran up the steps to the forward deck. Black stormclouds loomed up in a narrow front, focused on the Pearl of Gilgad, our ship, and her escorts. I narrowed my eyes, [ Continue reading... ]

Castaway Planet: Chapter 16

Well, Hitomi hadn't gotten herself killed after all...     ------     Chapter 16            "Barkcloth," Laura repeated wonderingly, looking at the green sheet which was slowly coming apart under repeated handling. "A beginning to it, I think, yes," Caroline said. "The Polynesians made something like this, called tapa. We'll have to do some experiments, but… I think Hitomi might have found us something really important." Hitomi looked very proud. Laura bent down. "But you also could [ Continue reading... ]

Castaway Planet: Chapter 15

  Sakura did some exploring before; now there's time to do some work...     -------     Chapter 15            "Can't I please come with –" "No." Her mother's answer was firm. "You seem recovered, mostly, but you were in very bad shape for a while yesterday. I don't expect to see any more trouble, but for today you're staying near camp. You'll have plenty more chances to explore, I promise." "Sorry, Saki," her father said, and gave her a consoling hug. That didn't exactly make up [ Continue reading... ]

Polychrome: Chapter 24

  We should see how our Heroine is doing...     ------     Chapter 24.      "He is clever! And lucky! Oh, Father, this might work, it might really work after all!" Polychrome was dancing around the viewing pool, the perfectly circular bowl of mist and rainbow through which Iris and those in the throne room could, when he willed it, see that which passed in the area of the Jewel of the Bridge. Iris watched her closely, a faint smile on his lips but a chill in his heart. He glanced over at Nimbus, [ Continue reading... ]