SEARCH FOR THE PATH
Bombings, sniper attacks, assaults, hijackings, assassinations, and worse unleash untold devastation heretofore unseen in the entire history of planet Thuria! The blame for all of the pain and agony of this most dreadful of dawns is laid upon the mixed bloods, and all of the gains they have made seem destined to disappear in the smoldering embers of ruin and despair. Can the ancient legend of tribal Nephti healer and her forgotten religion save them?
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Bombings, sniper attacks, assaults, hijackings, assassinations, and worse unleash untold devastation heretofore unseen in the entire history of planet Thuria! The blame for all of the pain and agony of this most dreadful of dawns is laid upon the mixed bloods, and all of the gains they have made – their rightful place in the world – seems destined to disappear in the smoldering embers of ruin and despair.
Sahnassa, newly appointed Teldear of her planet, and her friends must do all they can to stem the flood of destruction and suffering while those who led the mixed blood cause scramble into hiding. Meanwhile, the honored and beloved matriarch of house de Dothnar is poisoned and hovers near death, her house on the brink of civil war!
With an age of darkness taking hold all around, a young Perratti, Lyssia de Oterbythe, searches out a legendary Nephti healer of the ancient past whose wisdom and power have the only chance of reversing the dreadful night falling upon purebred and mixed blood, alike. Under the threat of being ostracized by her peers and disavowed by her house, Lyssia bravely struggles to prove that the healer’s ways are the only hope Thuria has to bring back an age of light, warmth, and hope!
Hope is failing, and time is running out!
On the de Orturu estate, waking in the comfortable bed she shared with Tallen in her lair, Sahnassa stretched and looked down at her mate, still peacefully sleeping. Sluggish and still drowsy, an abiding sense of anxiety lifted her from her bed and demanded she look out the window. For the last three sols since they returned from the lake, something had been gnawing at Sahni, a kind of tense uneasiness that couldn’t really find a form in words or portents. She had actually gone so far as to visit the Torleon, the Allarraen ship Theo had given her, to consult with Caloizar, the ship’s Izar. The Izar, who, in Thurian form was Kylie’s mate, and Dynaea, a senior Teldear, had both seen her worry and concern and offered to help her discover the cause of her dread. Objectively, there was nothing to be worried about, and she had even had Cal scan her looking for any medical issues that might explain her lack of ease with the world around her. Again, there was nothing wrong, which was as equally a relief as it was dissatisfying.
As she moved around her bedroom and exited into the hall, she thought through all of the possible reasons why she would be worried. Negotiations were slated to occur within the next moon, and, as always, Sahnassa had arranged her schedule so that, as Sylvie or in some other alternative form, she could be near. However, the negotiations were hardly a matter of spectacular import – a petition on behalf of the Allegiance so that mixed bloods could sit in the same waiting sections as purebred. There had been a few ripples of discontent within the mixed blood family members she watched over, but it did not appear to be anything serious. She wondered if the fact that her appraisal by Rothnerra was coming up was the source of her worry, but, that also wasn’t a cause for concern – her dame had said as much just a few sols earlier.
“I’m … getting paranoid,” she thought to herself as she sought out a drink from the cooler.
“I feel it, too,” the stone told her. That surprised her, since the stone rarely spoke to her so clearly. “Something is wrong, but … I don’t know what, yet.”
As she was about to pour her drink into a cup, the world around her changed in an instant, and Sahni yelped. “Teldear Sahnassa, I’ve brought the Torleon back in time and pulled you aboard,” Caloizar’s voice said in warning. “We have a serious situation – attacks are occurring all across Thuria targeting multiple institutions – military, familial, and business.”
“Attacks – what?! What … what do you mean, Cal?! Who is attacking?! What are they attacking?!” Sahni shouted, startled by her sudden transference onto the bridge of her ship, not to mention the fact she was only in her under-things.
Caloizar displayed a map of Thuria on the central view screen with numerous cities across multiple continents highlighted in red. “The attackers I could scan before bringing the Torleon back in time were purebred of every species, sometimes masquerading as those of mixed blood, and those of authentic mixed blood. Notable nearby targets under attack include Shanandrae Commons, the Pinnacle Center, and Harkstone Flyer base.”
“Are we in temporal hover, Cal?” Sahni asked, quickly remembering what Theo had done when situations at the Meeting Den required an opportunity to plan that didn’t exist in the normal flow of time.
“We were as soon as I brought you aboard. However, to anticipate your next question, several of the more serious attacks, even at this position in time, are already underway.”
“Can you show me?” Sahni asked as she nearly groped her way to the command chair.
“Location: Harkstone Military Flyer Base, Thuratan – explosive detonation from inside of a munitions bunker. Multiple high order explosions in proximity to the hanger area. Commercial flyer destroyed on takeoff; all passengers lost. Numerous injuries and deaths within a quarter course area. Additional munitions bunkers at risk due to ordinance destabilization. Location: Restricted airspace one seven over Shanandrae. Commercial flyer diverted from route now crash diving in the direction of the Pinnacle Center Archive. Location: Shanandrae Commons Hospital. Explosive release of diasposene gas. Numerous casualties affected with significant loss of life predicted, including the Grand Matriarch Rahnahi de Dothnar—”
“No! Cal! There has to be something we can do to stop this!” Sahni breathed in horror.
“There are currently seventy-six attacks in progress at this time across Thuria, with an initial scanner sweep prior to temporal departure indicating another twenty-three potential attacks about to occur.”
“By my soul…” Sahnassa breathed out in horror. “Cal,” she uttered weakly. “What … can we do?”
“We have a number of alternatives we can pursue, but you should know that we are limited in what actions we may take. First, anything that I have perceived via my scanners are a part of my timeline, and I cannot make significant deviations from that course of events. Attacks recorded up until the point in time I moved the Torleon back to come get you must still occur. We may take actions from that point forward, but we may not alter events I have perceived.”
“Theo,” she argued, “Theo made changes to time when we were at the Meeting Den!”
“The amount of computational power required to ensure that temporal cohesion is maintained exceeds what I am capable of, or what I have access to. The Torleon is a good ship, but it is not the Tashar,” Caloizar apologized.
“What about the you that’s out there, on the surface?”
“I brought myself and Kylie aboard before departure, as we were by ourselves. I am telling Kylie what is going on now, and we are getting ready to join you on the bridge.”
“Dynaea?” she asked.
“We have the ability to pull Dynaea aboard. Should I?”
“Please, Cal. We have – I … I need help with this! Can we send a distress signal to Theo?”
“We can, but even Allarrean ships require travel time, and there are restrictions on their ability to travel within the temporal confines of this crisis, lest they create a separate discontinuity by their premature arrival.”
“So, we can get help from them, but only after the point where you brought the Torleon back in time?”
Sahnassa shook her head, tears streaking her cheek fur as she continued to see attack after attack listed on the screen. The losses that had been recorded already were heartbreakingly tragic, and the imminent loss of life was almost more than she could bear to contemplate. Voice shaking, she ordered, “Please, Cal, bring Dynaea onboard. I’m hoping she knows what to do. Have … you ever been through anything like this before?”
“I regret to say that my experience to this point does not include combating such a well orchestrated covert assault on a planet’s population,” he apologized, “but I believe that together, we can formulate a valid response to the crisis. Teldears, such as yourself, have been known to be quite innovative when faced with as uncertain situations such as this.”
“But why, Cal? Why didn’t we know? You’ve been monitoring the electronic communications all across the planet, haven’t you?”
“He has,” Kylie answered firmly as she strode onto the bridge, her fur still wet. “We’ve been talking about that. There hasn’t been anything hinting at something this big.”
Cal was behind her, and he took over speaking on the ship’s behalf. “I have reviewed my transmission records for the past season, and I have nothing which overtly suggested such a dynamic and powerful range of global attacks.”
“I don’t think I’m surprised, honestly. If you want to do something you don’t want the houses to know about, then it’s got to be kept off TransNet.”
Sahnassa nodded slowly at Kylie’s statement and replied, “Which would also mean that the de Dothnar intelligence hub wouldn’t know, either.” Looking at Cal, she asked, “Did you take any readings from their hub before you departed?”
“I did. They weren’t aware of all that I was, but the shock and confusion amongst their staff, including Shaelen, indicate they were unaware of any potential attack. They appear to have been caught by surprise, just as we.”
A flash of light from behind them attracted their attention, and Sahnassa was about to turn and explain to Dynaea what was going on, but the elder Teldear, still in her mixed blood form, was holding up her paw. “I know it all, already.”
“How?” Kylie asked, confused.
“Cal and I have a shortcut of sorts,” she explained as she joined them. “I know everything he knows about the attacks. If you don’t mind, I’d like to provide some direction here.” Sahnassa nodded, trying to wipe the tear streaks from her fur. “First, I want to look at this with Cal. Kylie, I would like for you and Sahni to go eat, get cleaned up, and get dressed for covert ops. Take the time you need to take. We’re in temporal hover, and we’re not going to change that until we have a solid plan of how we can help mitigate the impacts of this. We need to have calm heads and hearts to do that properly.”
“Al … alright,” Sahni replied, trembling. As she started to follow Kylie off the bridge, she turned around and asked, “Dynaea, have … have you ever dealt with anything this bad before?”
Dynaea nodded. “I’ve seen more conflict than Caloizar has. During my last assignment, I had to defend an entire planet from some of the deadliest predators the cosmos has ever created, and with just myself, this ship, and a native from the planet, no Izar. I have seen destruction on a massive scale, and I know how and when we can take action to mitigate the suffering of others.”
Sahnassa looked away, and her eyes lost focus for a moment. “Do … do you think we can …”
“We can what, Sahnassa?” the elder Teldear asked.
Embarrassed, seeing the continuing scroll of attacks across the main viewer, Sahni replied, “Never … never mind.” Without another word, she turned and left the bridge. Kylie looked back at Caloizar, and catching her eye, Caloizar nodded in a way she understood. Smiling gently, she, too, left the bridge.
“She understands?” Dynaea asked.
“Yes. She’s … grown so much in the last season,” the avatar of the Izar replied.
“You have, too, my friend,” she offered. “Now, let’s start our work.”
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I've read all six books in the Thurian Saga series and immensely enjoyed each one.
It's not often that I find a fiction book (much less series) that has a profound effect on me.
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I think I'm going to spend a few intervals over the next several sols trying to figure out my own future....my own path.
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