|Deviant Login||Shop||Join deviantART for FREE||Take the Tour|
Mandrake chapter 1Chapter One : Mandrake
Ariel Mandragoras stood at the view-window, hands clasped behind her back in the traditional captain stance, looking out at the ﬁeld of stars. Tiny but exceptionally brilliant dots—planets and a system primary—scattered among the black grew brighter by the moment, showing that her ship was drawing closer to the stopover point, where she and her crew would drop off the cargo stashed in their hold, pick up another delivery, and probably take on a few passengers for extra cash. Due to unforeseen expenses, Ariel’s account had recently dropped below one thousand Cosmos, and though she was sure her shipmate Jack’s afﬂuent parents would more than willing to help her and her ship stay aﬂoat, she did not want to rely on them. The courier business was a good, steady income most of the time. Everyone knew that all the glamour and excitement belonged to black-market jobs, but the Mandrake—an overhauled Rutherfo
Mandrake prologuePrologue : Diaspora
It was New Year’s Eve in Chicago, 11:45 PM on the last day of 2097. Revelers packed the streets, lights blazed on every corner, and invisible transmissions shot into the heavens, passing through orbital wave-relays to be sent on to family members on Luna and Mars. 2098, promised all the scientists, would be the year science ﬁction really started to become science fact—at least two competing aeronautic engineering ﬁrms were tantalisingly close to breakthrough improvements in the magnetic grav-suspension propulsion system used in extra-atmospheric craft, with industry watchdogs predicting powerful new engines capable of thrusts of up to one-hundredth the speed of light. Humanity had expanded considerably in the past half-century. The colonies on Luna and Mars, initially small domed habitats maintained by rotating groups of astronauts, had proved sustainable and were growing more rapidly now as families moved in. Manned ﬂights ha
Nandar, Isle of Shadow: Chapter 6Chapter Six : Break in the Forest
The third day on the trail saw them over the border of Charanië, into the kingdom of Torien. Fahrush remarked that they were making very good time; Urila, who had not travelled overland since she was too young to remember, thought that even this ‘good time’ was a stultifyingly-slow pace; and Lhymtwen had little experience in the area, being more accustomed to marching as part of an army than travelling in a convoy of wagons. Graitah barely spoke, and when she did, it was only to Lhymtwen; it seemed she could not actually speak either Charanian or the common trade-tongue, and had only affected the ability to do so with spells when she was masquerading as a castle-maid. She was either unaware of or uncaring about the fact that Urila and Fahrush had the ability to read her thoughts, so her whispers and mutters in Kiraunon were not as private as she must have hoped.
“(Aren’t you afraid that the Princess will come after u
Nandar, Isle of Shadow: Chapter 5Chapter Five : The Second Seal
The fane was empty when they arrived, save for a lone woman who dropped a coin into the jar on the altar and thanked the Gods that her daughter had safely borne her ﬁrst child; the woman saw them as she turned round, dropped into a deep curtsy, and rushed from the room, muttering an apology for inconveniencing the nobility. Urila shook her head, watching the woman leave, and followed her elven companion up the aisle and through the curtain-draped door at the back of the chapel.
A lone monk in brown woollen robes glanced up as they burst in, nearly dropping the whitewood bowl he held in his knobbly-ﬁngered hands. “Oh! Er, I’m sorry, Milord, Milady, but, ah, Father Ingohs isn’t seeing any petitioners at the moment—”
Lhymtwen shook his head. “Where is your reliquary?” The monk stammered, took a step back, and nodded in the direction of a torchlit hallway.
“Down—down there,” he s
Nandar, Isle of Shadow: Chapter 4Chapter Four : Set Free
Urila discovered Lhymtwen staring at himself in a mirror in their shared presence-chamber, running his hands over his hair and peering critically at the reﬂection as if trying to find some ﬂaw in his appearance. She felt a strange lightening of her heart as she regarded him, and he gave a start as he noticed her.
“Is…something wrong?” she asked, approaching him. The scar over his right eye was gone. “What happened to your scar?”
Lhymtwen clapped one hand over the right side of his face, his mouth rounding in a very uncharacteristic O of surprise.
“I knew I forgot something!” he hissed in Charanian, and vanished. In his place, a sparrow took to the air and ﬂuttered from the room.
For a moment, Urila could only sputter. “FAHRUSH!” she bellowed after the bird, not sure whether to be furious or to laugh. Practising her shapeshifting by mimicking other people! The nerve!
Nandar, Isle of Shadow: Chapter 3Chapter Three : Fallen Stars
“Now,” Kaena Ma’abralei said ﬁrmly, “do you understand what you will say to the King and Queen?” Urila nodded silently, unable to ﬁnd her voice. “There’s no need to be so afeared, child. They are benevolent and just, and will hardly throw you in the dungeon for stumbling over your words. Bolster up your courage and speak normally. You won’t even need to say much—I shall do most of the talking. Answer respectfully if you are asked a question, but remember not to be afraid! Above all, King Agandros and Queen Lalandria are the Royal Sire and Dam of the kingdom. Would you fear your own parents so?”
A tiny bird ﬂuttered in through the transom, hovered near the ﬂoor, and suddenly shape-changed into a younger image of Kaena Ma’abralei, save for her darker eyes and redder hair. “She still looks very pale, Mother. Perhaps she should lie down?”
Nandar, Isle of Shadow: Chapter 2Chapter Two : A Single Step
Urila awoke suddenly as a wet droplet hit her nose. Ugh, was Fowler standing on her bed again, drooling on her face? The dog was sweet, and Urila loved him dearly, but he could be as stupid as a box full of rocks.
“Go away,” the woman muttered, reaching up to push aside the animal. But her hands encountered no resistance, and her eyes snapped open. Pale ivory sunlight was streaming through the branches of a forest canopy, not yet at an angle to strike her face, so it must be just after dawn.
Urila sat up in a hurry, immediately remembering where she was…and what had happened. The horror of yesterday came rushing back in a torrent of anguish, and she cried out in grief and frustration.
“Thank you, but I was already aware you were awake,” Lhymtwen grunted, squinting at the pain to his sensitive ears. She twisted round, and saw him sitting against the western side of a moa-tree, where the slanting rays of sun would not stri
Nandar, Isle of Shadow: Chapter 1Chapter One : Eclipse and Destiny
Urila Aizavian stood up and stretched, kneading the small of her back with one hand. The silver sun of Everarda was sinking toward the distant horizon, its lengthening rays painting the landscape orange and red, and she gathered up her tools and headed home. Almost all of the rice-ﬁeld had been planted, and Urila was proud, having done most of the work herself. Undoubtedly, this was why her parents had still not seen to her marriage, despite the fact that she was one-and-twenty years of age: She was the youngest of eight children, her parents’ dotage was fast approaching, and they hoped to have someone remaining in their home to care for them. The other ﬁeld-workers called out to her and to one another, some bidding good-day, others grouping together and heading for the tavern in town.
Urila’s close friend and age-mate Malisa moved over toward her, nodding to the west. “The wind is changing,” she said.
Nandar, Isle of Shadow: ProloguePrologue : To Dance with the Fates
Kamiras viela Malithos plucked absentmindedly at her vermilion-fringed sash, then irritably dropped her hands to her sides when she realised what she had been doing. Fidgeting was not a habit she wanted associated with the head of the Anifeira Order, stewards of Fire magic. Tanilela, standing a few steps to her left, arched an eyebrow but said nothing.
“Where is that man?” Kamiras burst out, clasping her hands behind her back and beginning to pace before the ornately-carved goldwood desk. “He agreed to an audience with us, and is seven minutes late! He, who tolerates tardiness under no circumstances! I swear, when he gets here, I’ll—”
“You will do nothing,” Tanilela said coolly, “since we all know how much you value your position.”
Kamiras whirled around with a huff, twitching the lacy shawl on her shoulders despite the fact that it needed no adjustment. “It’s just that
Keep in Touch!
Bluefley has a gallery filled with artwork that whisks you off in to a Sci-fi daydream, and keeps you captivated for hours. Marc has been a member of our community for over a decade and has achieved nothing but success with his astounding commitment to interacting with the community, sharing a prolific amount of video tutorials and generally being an all round rockstar deviant. It is no joke that we are absolutely delighted to award the Deviousness Award for April 2014 to ... Read More