Authors note to the reader: In the second chapter of the book, the reader is introduced to a second Sprite, Helia Eradica. Helia has been banished from her world of Forestlight after she was purposefully poisoned with a deadly virus. Exiled from her family and kin, she is forced to search for a means to prevent the joining of parallel worlds of humans and Sprite, and to stop the environmental calamity. In this excerpt, Helia flees a deadly mechanical being that has just killed her sister.
Xylenia spoke up again. “After you have retrieved the objects from the daiman world, you must find another to unify the parts of the automata in the humana world. Only a humana of a special intertwined nature will be able to reunite the Interface openers and closers. Once combined, the Thinness between worlds will strengthen again, and the exchanges between our realms will be reduced. The daiman mist that is creeping into our realm will be stopped, and the true nature of our planet will be restored. This will only be a precession, and a full Alignment will be avoided.”
Helia heard the resurgent gasps at Xylenia’s casual mention of the humana world—the fourth world, hidden in a parallel shadow. “What if they do not work? What then?”
“I don’t know, sister. You may not be able to change a thing, but at least we’ll know more about what’s occurring to Forestlight.” Xylenia’s words were almost said with some honesty, Helia thought.
“How will I recognize the creature, the humana?”
“He bleeds like you do, sister. You’ll see it.” Xylenia smiled as she spoke, exposing her teeth. “He has the weakness as you do. I want you to give him the Interface closers. He will have no idea what to do with them, but you will be his guide. I know that you remain strong in your beliefs as a dissenter, but I assure you, your search and your mission may redeem you. I have influence here,” Xylenia spoke with coldness, without empathy or feeling. Helia could hardly believe that they were kin and mirrors of each other.
“You remain an outcast, an eradica, Helianthus. Nothing can change that, not even the advocacy of the Sprite council. Our forum has considered, and I retain the right (to have first claim to kill you) if you return to our clan. The edict cannot be overthrown. Perhaps you will find some solace somewhere.”
Xylenia used other threats, quietly spoken in the isolated room. Helia knew she was trapped in the Inquisitorio and that she would not leave the room alive if she did not acquiesce. Centaurea is in danger, she thought. Helia considered for a time, but she relented—she had no choice. Xylenia had always been an Illuminata, but now, she was a member of a powerful secret society that exerted influence over the council’s actions. Helia had always remained outside of their influence, partly because of her own nature but also of her own choosing. She lacked the social skills--the graces, as Xylenia called them—and training to understand the nuances of carefully chosen language and symbolism that the Illuminata used. Helia’s exile because of her dormant infection had reinforced that sense of detachment. It seemed she would never be able to re-engage with her kin and clan. In contrast, Xylenia had always followed a different path—their lives had diverged soon after their emergence into maturity. It seemed that Xylenia had been plausible and persuasive in her arguments before the clan council.
Title: At The Sharp End of Lightning
Author: Nicholas Bates
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Magical Realism
AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING. The interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. In Oceanlight, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her lover over immense seas only to find catastrophe and realization that her world is in turmoil. Meanwhile in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth afflicted by a disease of the blood, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit. Yalara and Einion must discover the causes of their near-deaths and their as yet unrevealed connections as they both face upheaval to their lives and their worlds. Book One of the OCEANLIGHT series.
NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors. He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.