Saturday, January 31, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Eighteen, Everlasting

Authors Note:

  "Tuma" means "Everlasting" in African. The dog who played the role of Tuma in the book trailer for 'Finding Tir Na Nog' died a tragic death shortly after the filming.  I still feel her influence as I continue to write books 3, 4 and 5 of The Stelladaur Series. 

Chapter Eighteen: Everlasting

(End of chapter: Though Tuma did not come with Reilly through the portal at the Suzzallo Library, her influence remains with him as he faces the Deceptors and continues his search for his father, Norah, and Tir Na Nog.)

     Without warning, and as if awaking from a dream, Reilly thought he heard the clink of James’s key, which had dropped to the floor of the Suzzallo Library when he came through the portal door.
    Then he heard Eilam whisper, “Tuma will help you see the door and perceive the everlasting.”
    Another haunting déjà vu crept over Reilly. He shivered, knowing without a doubt that what happened then was simultaneously happening now.

Friday, January 30, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Seventeen, Possibilities

Chapter Seventeen: Possibilities 
(Mid Chapter: Reilly and Lottie have gone through another portal and are riding in a coracle-blimp.)

     They rode out the swell. When they pulled themselves up, they could only see flames again, soaring above them like a tidal wave.
     “Burned alive or buried alive!” Reilly shouted. “Take your pick!”
     “I don’t care for either option!”
     “Then we need other possibilities—fast!”
Lottie gripped the side rope as she reached for her Stelladaur. “This works every time. Why do I wait until circumstances are bleak before I remember how powerful it is?”
     “Don’t be so hard on yourself. I mean, sometimes I feel so consumed with what’s going on around me that it’s hard to remember there are any solutions at all.” Reilly smiled.
     “Why are you smiling?” Lottie scowled. “It’s hardly the time to relax and grin.”
     “But that’s just it, Lottie. It’s impossible to see through the flames if we don’t relax and look past them.”
     “Whatever do you mean, Reilly?” She flipped her soaking hair over her shoulders. “Will you stop speaking in riddles?”
     Reilly ignored her comment and held up his Fireglass again. “All things are possible, Lottie, if we look further.”
     “Further than where?” she demanded.
     "... than whatever is blocking our view." They ascended on another great wave of fire and Reilly looked into his Fireglass. " There's something ahead ... I can barely see it ... but it looks like ... "

Thursday, January 29, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Sixteen, The Exchange

Chapter Sixteen: The Exchange
(Reilly has returned to the McKinley's tree home.)

    Reilly had been asleep for just an hour when Roisin started to wail. Not having younger siblings of his own, he couldn’t remember ever hearing a baby cry so loudly. He tried covering his head with a pillow and plugging his ears. He even ate two rowanberries, hoping they would help, but nothing lessened the noise of the bawling baby. Reilly gave up and got out of his hammock..
     He emptied his pockets and counted the remaining berries. Small, perfectly round, and shiny, there were one hundred and thirteen left. As an experiment to determine if the magical effect of the berries he had eaten earlier was still potent, he focused on thoughts of Norah. He was relieved to discover that the only pain he felt was in his ears, which was more of an annoyance. A sense of urgency about Norah’s fate weighed on his soul.
     Reilly pulled the flower from his pocket, and set it on the table beside the pile of berries. When the flower was red, it gave him strength. Now, although it was still as perfectly formed and soft as it was when he tucked it behind Norah’s ear, its waning hue was a harrowing reminder that Norah was in danger. She, too, was fading fast.
     Roisin’s shrill cries added to Reilly’s sense of unrest. Tomorrow night was too far away—he couldn’t sit around and do nothing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Fifteen, The Rowan Tree

Chapter Fifteen: The Rowan Tree
(Mid Chapter)

     Reilly knew how frustrating it was to get tidbits of information … to see only scattered puzzle pieces … to have more questions than answers. He knew what it was like to wonder where someone he loved had gone, and if he would ever see that person again. He also knew that life’s uncertainties often came in large doses—and that the only antidote seemed to be love.
     The trouble was, the more Reilly thought about how much he loved Norah, the more he thought he might never be able to tell her. Determining if that thought came from his head or his heart, or somewhere in between, seemed more perplexing to him than the fact that he was trapped back in time, walking further into the East Forest of Wicklow, Ireland. For now, he was simply grateful that the berries allowed him to dwell on thoughts of Norah without any pain.
     When they arrived at the lift to the McKinleys’ tree home, Reilly noticed something was different.
     “You’re right, Reilly! Look at this.” Lottie knelt down and picked up a small chunk of fallen wood. “I’ve never seen one this big before. Not even when Sorcha was in trouble … before she was taken.”
     They reached the top and greeted Katell.
     “Stalwart 59,” Lottie said.
     The bird struck his beak on the door in the usual staccato pattern, and it swung open. Reilly stopped and looked back at the bird. “Did you detect any danger near this tree home since the last Crumble?” The bird blinked only once and twisted his head sideways, and then toward the ground.
     “Katell?” Lottie asked. The bird flinched and ruffled his feathers. “Did you see anything?”
     Katell blinked twice and shook his head.
     “Thank you,” Lottie said, as she stepped inside her home.
     Reilly and Lottie followed the smell of bacon, fried zucchini, and fresh bread, and found the McKinleys seated at the kitchen table. Cormack sat across from Dillon, and snorted loudly but did not look up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Fourteen, The Great Basin

Chapter Fourteen: The Great Basin
(Mid-Chapter: Reilly and Lottie have just gone through another portal.)

     “I am called Sitara,” said the fairy. Her translucent wings whirred like a hummingbird in front of Reilly. “You are in Jolkavatar.”
     Reilly pushed his Stellagoggles further up on his nose and tucked the bendable rims tightly around his ears. “Then we are near Jolka?” he asked.
     “Jolkavatar is found deep within Jolka,” Sitara replied.
     “Then we are also near Tir Na Nog!”
     “Tir Na Nog is always near. It, too, is within.”
     Reilly sighed, frustrated because the portals always provided few answers and always more questions.
     “Follow me,” Sitara said. Her black pixie hair shimmered against her iridescent wings, and her flowing dress trailed behind her in a blur of white light. “The Fairies of the great Star King and Star Queen await your arrival.”
     Again Reilly thought about the portals he’d been through. They all started to blend together. Although he knew each one was as real as the next, sometimes he couldn’t distinguish one from the other. It was as if all of his barely-sixteen years of existence melded together in a recurring, familiar dream … that recently felt more like a nightmare.

Monday, January 26, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Thirteen, The Pawn

Chapter Thirteen: The Pawn
(Reilly and Lottie returned to the Embassy, after another nearby attack by the Deceptors. They speak with Flynn, the woman at the registration desk, who has gone mad due torture by the Deceptors. She knits red wristbands for everyone to wear at the Embassy, but Reilly doesn't know why she does this.  Reilly and Lottie bring Flynn a basket of food.)

     Most of the critically injured people in the auditorium were still asleep or unconscious, and those who were awake seemed delirious with pain. Even the Infusionists could not provide adequate remedies for severed limbs.
     Reilly and Lottie headed down the spiral jade staircase. They moved aside as three people carried another casualty out of the building. The bodies were taken to a burial site between the West Woods and East Forest. Survivors of the Crumble knew to look there for their missing family members.
     Pucatrows still guarded the Infusionists’ doors down the long hallway to the main entrance, and they sniffed loudly as Reilly passed by. Lottie asked several of the trolls if they had seen her father, but they had not. Reilly and Lottie passed Flynn at the registration desk, and offered her something from the basket of food.
     “Such a lovely color,” Flynn said. She held a single strawberry in her hand as if she had never seen one before. “It will make a beautiful dye.”
     Lottie glanced at Reilly. “You have plenty of red yarn here,” Lottie said. “These berries are for you to eat.”
     “How kind of you, my dear. I will save them for a special occasion.”
     Reilly stepped closer to the registration counter. “Today is already a special occasion, Flynn. Everyone in the Embassy is wearing the wristbands that you made …  and …” He looked to Lottie.
“… and without you, Flynn, none of us would be protected while we are here at the Embassy.”
     Flynn held the berries in her hand, squeezed them, and watched the juice run through her fingers. “The wristbands will soak up the blood.” She licked her fingers and smiled as Reilly and Lottie walked outside to the Square. 
    “What are the wristbands really for?” Reilly asked Lottie.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Twelve, Ladder of Bones

Chapter Twelve: Ladder of Bones

(Mid-Chapter: Reilly and Lottie have begun to climb a ladder at the base of the Cliffs of Black Castle, attempting to reach the top before a storm overtakes them.)

     Lottie gripped the ladder and screamed again. “It’s made of bones … and hair!”
     “Just start climbing, Lottie!”
     The ladder swayed and the bones rattled as they began their ascent. Reilly looked down, and noticed the beach was now covered by the tide.
     They climbed in silence for several minutes, carefully placing their bare feet and grasping each rung. Reilly looked up, but he still could barely see the top of the cliff.
     “Take your time,” he said. “Rest when you need to.”
     She groaned softly, already weary from the climb.
     Reilly felt the bones—some smooth, some knobby—and shuddered at the possibilities that flooded his mind. He couldn’t tell if the bones—or the hair that was used to bind the ladder—were human or not. He hoped Lottie was thinking of something else but didn’t want to engage her in unnecessary conversation. She would need her full strength to reach the top.
     A wind blew in from the coast, swinging the ladder beneath them. Lottie stopped climbing and looked down at Reilly. 
    “Are you okay?” he shouted.
    “Yes, but I’m getting tired.” She titled her head back to look up. “We still have a long way to go.”
    “A storm is coming in. We need to pick up the pace.”
     Lottie started to climb again, moving faster. The wind surged, and Reilly heard the waves crashing against the rocks below. They climbed hard as the ladder began to sway in the approaching storm. The blue sky turned grey, and Reilly began to feel the blackness press in around him. Flashbacks of the storm that took his father’s life flooded his mind. His breathing became shallow as he consciously tried to shake the images from his mind. Lottie continued to climb, but Reilly slowed to a stop. He felt his hands slipping, shook his head to regain his composure, and gripped the rung above him more tightly.
     He looked up and saw that Lottie had climbed further ahead. He shouted for her, but his voice was lost in the whistling wind. A gust blew hard against his back and slapped him against the cliff. He wondered how Lottie could hold on. Struggling to catch up to her, his foot slipped on a moist bone.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Eleven, Sam

Chapter Eleven: Sam
(Reilly and Lottie have gone through a portal into the depths of the sea.)

     Reilly knew he possessed a keen imagination and often saw or heard things differently than others did. In Jolka, he’d learned imagination can help a person discover their greatest desire; until then, Reilly hadn’t considered the connection between the power of imagination and the power of love. He decided there, in the depths of the ocean, if love was never-ending—which he believed to be true—then imagination and the creative soul also had no limits.
     Remembering when he was in Glesig, where the Affirmations of the Stelladaur were seared into his Stelladaur, he turned to Lottie. “The second Affirmation of the Stelladaur is ‘I am imagination and creativity without end.’ If we’re going to face the Deceptors and help the prisoners, we’re going to need every ounce of imagination and creativity we can muster.”

Friday, January 23, 2015

FADING HEART: Chapter Ten, The Grand Book

Chapter Ten: The Grand Book
(Quotes by Lottie)

     “Do we write our own story and then live it?” Lottie asked. “Or live it and then write it?”
                                                                            * * * * * *
     “She never felt she was good enough.”
                                                                            * * * * * *

     “It seems strange that true love would include pain,” Lottie said.

                                                                            * * * * * *
     "But hearts fade and die without hope."