ON THIS PAGE WE MEET CHARACTERS.
They come from independently-published books and have interesting things to say.
One of the villains from “Planet Woman” by Judith Rook
DARLAND COURVENIER REFLECTS
It is not easy, being the First Peer of one of the five leading families on the planet of First Home. Not easy at all, although some don’t appreciate the fact.
Why, only the other day, the idiotic Press linked me yet again with Adélaïde of Guignonne. I usually read “The Planet Voice”—it’s not stupid, like some of the other dailies—but Adélaïde… again? I’ll have to send my friend Vaire to speak to the editor and tell him to kill that particular story—or himself, if he prefers. It should never have appeared. As I say, it’s not easy being First Peer of Courvenier.
I do hope the Guignonnes are not feeling serious about getting me into a genetic partnership with their heiress. If they are, they’re going to be disappointed. They may need contracts with Courvenier, but Courvenier doesn’t need contracts with Guignonne. No, I can certainly pass on Adélaïde, but I’ll dance with her—very closely—at the next first families ball and leave her hoping. That will be funny.
What I can’t ignore is Lewis Brock d’Haute-Forêt. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be the top First Peer, and one day, Courvenier would rule the whole of First Home. I’d see to that, and I’d do whatever might be needed to make it happen—and I mean, whatever.
I can’t do anything about it yet, because Lewis of the High Forest is always in my way. Lewis is too nice. He’s honourable, and I’m not. Scruples make for stupid moves, and you wouldn’t call me a stupid man.
The trouble is, the other families like Lewis too much. He’s trustworthy, they say. Trustworthy? The man’s an idiot! Look at the opportunities for his own family he misses.
He was sent to that funny little planet, Circe, to make contact with it again after hundreds of years, and he did nothing to get High Forest established as the main line of negotiation. Once he got back to First Home, he turned the whole thing over to the General Conclave and the Peoples’ Council, without keeping anything for himself.
But he did seem to make himself very popular while he was there, and he picked up a Circean woman, who’s a bit out of the ordinary, and I’ve got to admit, she’s taken my fancy. Vaire tells me to stop thinking about her, but that’s a bit difficult.
I made a bad mistake in following Lewis to Circe. How was I to know the place was so weird? It seemed to take a dislike to me—why, I can’t imagine. I’m a very reasonable fellow.
I was more than reasonable when we found that other planet Lantora, and I had to deal with their Primary Space Ops Director. He thought he could trap us. He suspected we have developed our time drive far beyond what they have, and naturally enough, he wanted it. But he made a mistake too. He thought force would do, when subtlety would have been far better. I am always subtle.
As it was, he lost out completely. I got the upper hand, and we left, but not before I had collected an intriguing fact which I think I will be able to use against Lewis.
Haute-Forêt is always on my mind. If it wasn’t for him I would be completely happy. But I’ve got time on my side, and I’ll keep on with my plans. I’ll have the Circean woman, and I’ll have Lewis d’Haute-Forêt, then the whole of First Home, as well. Just keep checking in with me. You should see some very interesting things happening.
From “The Shiva XIV Series” by Lyra Shanti
My name is Meddhi, and I was born into a poverty-filled life that led me onto the streets at the age of ten. Soon, unfortunate circumstance turned me to the priesthood. I then grew up at the Holy Temple on the planet Deius, and through my studies, I found a way to accept my difficult childhood.
The only thing standing in my way on the path to enlightenment was the vow I took to deny all sin, which kept me from being with the woman I deeply loved. When I could no longer take the pain of our forbidden romance, I found myself journeying to another planet – the planet Kri, where my dearest friend, Prince Atlar, would soon be marrying Pira, the younger princess of Deius.
What will I do now that I have a new life on Kri? Will I be able to forge a new path for myself, not as a priest, but a friend and advisor to the prince? More importantly, will I be able to forget the haunting hazel eyes of the only woman I’ll ever love? Anything is possible now… this much I know. Perhaps I can follow my desires and let go of the past. Maybe I could even become a warrior, finally letting the dark dragon inside my soul be free! Only time will tell…
Find out more in “The Dragon Warrior of Kri”, A Shiva XIV prequel novella!
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lyra-Shanti/e/B004RZZEXW/
BECKETT STANFORD Army 22 years old
From “Leveling: Season One”: Episodes 1-7 by H.D. Knightley
BECKETT STANFORD CONSIDERS HIS FUTURE
I volunteered. I had signed up to sling sandbags against the always encroaching water, biding my time for the end of my six years of duty, when I heard the Government of the Unified Mainland wanted someone to man an Outpost, to sit out in the middle of the godforsaken ocean and warn the Nomads to head east. The water is coming. Go east fast. And me, stupid as always, volunteered without planning to, without thinking, without considering the implications. I hate the water. Every climbing, sucking, deep ass bit of it.
But now I’m here. The rooftop of a building that used to soar into the sky at some 120 floors, and now looks to be two stories, floating on top, but not, not floating at all, instead: Still Standing. Despite the water, the rust, the structural impossiblities, the currents, and storms: Still Standing—but for how long? The water is coming, this building could collapse from under me. Any day.
So I wait. I wait for Nomad families to paddle up and ask for food. I read the edict and tell them to head east, or else. I wait for my duties to be over, for the helicopter to come and pull me off, finally. But really, I’m waiting for that moment when the water will be one drop too many and with a creak, a crumble and a roar, the whole building will slide away and disappear carrying me with it. That’s what happens when a stupid, not thinking person volunteers.
To bide my time I watch the marks carved onto the port window of the 118th floor. I try to check them once a day but can’t stop checking them all the time, climbing down through the stairwell and noting that the water keeps getting deeper. Deeper and deeper unrelenting and always the same.
Until today. I was checking the marks, worrying about deepnesses, not paying attention to the empty endless terrifying horizon, when a young woman on a paddleboard, soft-paddling in a lazy circle, alone, a few feet away, asked, “Where’s Sam?”
And startled me so much I just about lost my footing.
But that’s the thing about finding someone in the middle of the endless ocean, it could be a near disaster with a splash, but it also might be a beginning; if the water doesn’t collapse us first.
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/H.-D.-Knightley/e/B00J6VI9TS/
Facebook Page: facebook.com/hdknightley
Twitter Account: twitter.com/hdknightley