In part two of Stolen Moments, Mantisia learns all she can of magic from the doomed Sarbeth. Mantisia has a plan to free him from the bargain with the eternal Valinah, maybe at the cost of her own short life. The conclusion of Lindsey Duncan’s mythic fantasy. SY
Mantisia, Age Twenty-Three
We came to the city of Sherig two days later. Sarbeth had ten tomes of magic with him; I had memorized every word. I had never concentrated on something so intently, and the gestures of power flowed through my veins. I could lift small objects with a thought and create illusions that danced in the darkness.
He was a patient teacher, always gentle with corrections, and he understood the furious pace of my mind. I devoured every scrap of history and lore. The pride in his gaze was a light, and I felt I could speak to him in a look, as I had once imagined Silt did—words of hope, words of discovery and words of the future. It was a future neither of us had, and it bound us.
I had two hours before dark, two luminous hours of freedom. I toured the city, gone mad with sensations. I heard the sussurus of fabric as people drifted past; saw fraying ribbons of paint on signs and wall-murals; tasted brick-dust and baker’s yeast on the air. Every scene—things that flashed past others as nothing more than dim impressions—was an endless story.
Mantisia experiences time differently to everyone else, and it slips away faster than grains of sand. Sacrificing her years, she journeys into a world she barely knows to face a force she cannot possibly understand. First part of Lindsey Duncan’s two-part mythic fantasy. SY
Mantisia, Age Seven
Time is more important to me than it is to anyone else. My mother says that’s impossible because I haven’t had as much of it, but I have. It’s all bunched up into a tiny space, like when you curl in your limbs and tuck your head to hide from the world. You still know you’re there, though. People talk to me about seasons and tell me it’s summer, but that doesn’t really mean anything to me.
I don’t want to talk about me. I want to talk about Sarbeth and his sideways-turned leg and his dog, the pretty hound with silver fur. The hound is important because they’re best friends. They can talk to each other by looking. Anyone can, if you know how to listen to eyes. I’ve been teaching myself, because there’s so much space in my head when I’m the only thing moving.
The final straits of the charge through the Moreland Plain are taking their toll on both the pursued and pursuer. It’s a death march to the end, and only one will come out victorious. Will Marcos Xzen and the Sartrap finally run down Logan Drewry? SY
Logan Drewry flees deeper into the Morland Basking Plain followed by the irascible Marcos Xzen, leader of the deep desert command. But the desert will present its own challenges to the invading force… SY
Logan Drewry begins his escape into the desolate Morland Basking Plain in a desperate bid to outrace the troops of the Grand Satrap. His foolhardy decision may not only cost him is life, but the cause of the people he is trying to flee. Old enemies and new will attempt to take their shot at the famous warrior, but will it be the desert that finally claims victory over him? SY
Previously, in Part 4, Johnathan and Tonie discover that the Underground had been compromised, and successfully relay the information to all the hideouts, but not before causing quite a bit of trouble for the Earthers. The Underground main HQ is blasted to pieces, and the pair barely manage to get out of enemy territory with their lives. Johnathan’s arm is broken, but the greatest pain for him is finding out that his uncle was alive and a traitor. John is home recovering and breaks the news to his mother and stepfather that he intends to have a life-commitment with Tonie and Milda.
The concluding episode of this series follows. GH.
“Well, if ya both can accept the possibility of a couple of daughter-in-laws, reckon it is okay with me.” I smiled my best smile.
He shook my hand and said, “Done.”
Previously, in Part 3, Johnathan and Tonie continued infiltrating enemy territory, witnessing what the murderous pirates do, when unleashed by the Earthers. Tonie discovers they are the same men who killed her family, and Johnathan found it extremely hard to restrain her…for now. They found temporary sanctuary with Pops, and what was left of his family. They nearly blow their cover by wiping out the same pirate force they met earlier, who had discovered Pops’ mine. Continuing their journey, and camping near their target reconnaissance area, Tonie wakes Johnathan, having found something. GH.
I followed her, feeling like I’d had twenty minutes sleep, she said it was more like three hours.
Back by the entrance she whispered, “About ten minutes ago lights came from the main road, then they were shut off, but I heard voices below. They moved off that way.” She pointed to the hill.
Previously, in Part 2, we found the narrator, Johnathan, and his friend Tonie, begin their dangerous reconnaissance mission. They took a detour at the remains of his old, pre-invasion home, and draw some impressive weaponry and other military equipment that were secretly cached. Later, they made a grim discovery, the remains of Tonie’s mother, father and young brother, who were executed by what appeared to be Earther ground troops. An intense need for revenge coursed through Tonie’s being. Following a close call with Searchers, they encounter a mysterious stranger. GH.
“Well, Seymour, what now?” I asked.
“Look, I just follow orders, honest. I ain’t supposed to let anyone past here,” he said, a touch of fear showing.
Previously, in Part 1, we find that the narrator, Johnathan Frasier, is a boy in his late teens who lives on a colonized mining planet that has been militarily occupied by ‘Earthers’. The planet has many mines and he is holed up in one of them with a small community of refugees. There are many such groups scattered over the planet, forming a loose resistance organization. The ‘HQ’ have been, much to the frustration of the communities, reluctant to order the execution of any offensive action. Johnathan volunteers for a dangerous scouting operation with one of his childhood friends, Tonie, a young girl who lost her love to the ‘Searchers’, droids designed specifically to kill the colonists. Johnathan prepares himself for the mission, his shoulders lumbered with the responsibilities thrust upon him, as well as his growing attraction to some of the local girls, Tonie included. GH.
Next I knew I was awake. The clock said 1900. Exactly ten hours, like he said.
In this, the first part of five, MF Burbaugh introduces the reader to a time not too far in the future, where Earth has taken on a rather distasteful role among the scattered planets that humanity has now colonized. Enjoy this pulp-style science fiction, through the eyes of a teenage boy. GH.
Damn it! I almost said out-loud.
I found my mouth was dry and my heart was pounding. The buzzing was grating on my nerves. I ducked behind the rubble as the noise got louder. It meant the damn Searchers either heard me, or smelled me, or, if I was lucky, someone else. Ya right.