ASCENSION-THREE

Mortas 4

Thorin held her breath; he was tall, with the characteristic indigo blue hair grey eyes although they were the same as Loreck’s there was also something different and familiar about them. His skin shown blue in the light although he was taller, younger, his features were defined. Fine boned and elegant, the handsome aristocratic demeanour and the exactness of his movements did not belie his strength and agility, adorned in regal attire and golden sandals, he carried no armour, yet the fact that he was a warrior was clear. As he drew nearer the others made a path for him each bowing in turn.
Thorin looked up trying to meet his gaze levelly, as he approached her. “I understand that you are the reason I am here, what I do not understand is why I’m here.” She said flatly trying to sound matter of fact and unaffected by his presence.
Without taking his eyes from her, he instructed “Loreck take the lady to the shimmering pools, I will join you there” Loreck nodded his assent and to Thorin he said “yes, I will explain all in time,” sensing her silent protest more softly “be patient and remain open-minded.” It unnerved Thorin that she was suddenly not afraid of him. She watched him until he was out of sight and nothing but a small speck on the balcony of the Citadel.

Moving silently over the plains and a small desert area, except for the occasional commentary from Loreck Thorin was grateful for the silence; her mind was racing in this new land. She kept coming back to how Mortas had appeared, there was much about him that was strange, his black feathered wings was certainly a showstopper, and yet there was something familiar in his air, the manner in which he approached her, his sure self-confidence brought back memories of another Thorin did not want to think on. In the distance there was a shimmering line, its shape continually adjusting.
“What is that up ahead, it seems to be alive?”
Prompted by Thorin’s curiosity Loreck said, “That is the Iscarza, it is quite literally living water, and it is a part of the equilibrium in our world once spanning many leagues.” He pointed as he spoke. “It is the largest body of water in the Kingdom of Effieron, flowing through the land from the western Silver Graveyard ancient ruins to beyond Osidian the Eastern Kingdom, but now it is slowly diminishing.” Loreck continued “our world is beginning to die and with added conflict, it seems hopeless.” His dejection did not escape Thorin who felt silent pity for the loss occurring in his world, as they passed over the still considerable expanse of water.

Beyond the pools, towards the horizon rising majestically out of the landscape was a tower, like the one she’d seen belonging to the King. “Wow” she exclaimed “what is that?”
Unable to contain her open fascination, she drank in the sight before her. What seemed a tower at first was more than just a building. As they passed through, it was also the doorway into the hollow shell of the mountain. Leading to the center of the great Citadel city stood a building higher than the rest. The aerie of Marble and gold, it shone in the glimmering light of the twilight sun. Encircling it, bent majestic branches of perfumed flowers, clinging and climbing ever upwards. Columns of white stood in the shape of a sphere at its base. It boasted of wealth beyond imagination.
“That is the Silent Tower, the Citadel of Prince Mortas. It has an interesting history. The lady who once occupied this great place had the stones strategically placed to create a large hollow pillar inside it is circular and the roof is designed so that light may travel from outside all the way to the very depths.” Loreck’s voice was proud as he expounded the facts.
“Such height, the view must be breathtaking,” said Thorin.
Loreck soared up on an air current, rising above the unruly gusts of the Great Sandor Mountains and the Gold Prairie below circling the tower. Thorin found that she loved the heights, for one she could see the landscape much better Loreck’s wings swept them effortlessly through the clear air, his feathers gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight.
“It is five thousand kilometres high.” Loreck said. “I will take you there, you must wait for Mortas, Gadzara will be your companion, she is level-headed and trustworthy I think you will be safe.” Loreck said.
“You will not be staying with me?” Thorin questioned, she felt uneasy to remain in an unknown place, not that she knew Loreck well but she was more at ease with him.
“There is nothing to fear. Gadzara is a very good warrior and you will come to no harm under her protection.” Loreck seemed certain and Thorin felt she had to trust him. She nodded quietly.

They landed on an open balcony, decorated by ornate vases; veiled curtains billowed and with them came a woman who was the image of the Prince. Although smaller in build. She had the same quiet strength, long blue black hair floating gracefully past her shoulders. Fine features and an elegant nose added to her haughty demeanour; her apparel although regal was more feminine, revealing ample attributes which when she moved, saw to it that none of her charms were missed. The metals in her ears arms wrists and neck like Loreck’s glistened.
“This is the one?” She asked
“She is the one.” Loreck confirmed, ushering Thorin in the footsteps of the woman.
They arrived to a central room that reminded Thorin of a Persian harem. Filled with cushions, subdued lighting lent a rich glow to the fabrics. In the centre food and wine had been placed and the scent reminded Thorin that she had not eaten for some time. The woman settled motioning them to join her.
“Where is Mortas?” She asked and Thorin noted the intimate way in which she spoke the name.
“He is at the gathering, there is unrest, and Larion is still away.” Loreck supplied briefly.
“I can guess who is causing the unrest.” She stated looking Thorin full in the face, the other becoming very conscious of her intense stare.
“Forgive me” Loreck interjected “this is the lady Thorin.” He said to Gadzara and to Thorin. “This is the Princess Gadzara-heir to the east lands and the Hieron clan (now occupied by the Cayjuns)-daughter of King Melfeshos-whose name is immortal-he died well.” Loreck concluded the lengthy introduction and Thorin noticed the change in the other woman as her past was revealed, there was proud silent defiance.
“I have had comfort prepared for her stay if she is to remain here, that is assuming she can survive the climate in this region.” Gadzara said in a stately manner. Thorin knew from her voice that the woman considered her “competition” and had no genuine liking for her.
“She is and she will.” Loreck nodded briefly. Gadzara rose in a fluid motion, bowed and withdrew to make further arrangements. As if sensing Thorin’s unasked question Loreck answered “do not be afraid of her, she is jealous, she considers Mortas hers and she does not like opposition, but she will honour his wishes.”
“How long will I have to be here?”
“Our gathering lasts two cycles-(four of your days) after that his Highness will be here …”
“But I don’t want to wait four days,” Thorin interrupted “why am I here, what is here, when do I go home?” Was that shrieking voice really hers.
“I have stayed too long already Mortas will need me.” Loreck said there was an underlying urgency in his voice as he signalled his goodbye.
“I have prepared refreshments for you; I think you will find them to your taste.”
Thorin turned. Gadzara had entered the room from another entrance, and following behind her was a servant with a tray made up of a strange gilded metal. On it was spiced cooked meats, bread, fruit and a wine pitcher with goblets. The servant set the tray down in the centre of the pile of cushions and withdrew. Gadzara motion Thorin to join her as she poured some wine into the goblets, giving one to her unwilling guest. Settling back she eyed Thorin openly.
“I am sure that you are aware that I do not like strangers, especially those who do not understand our ways,” she said, sipping briefly from her goblet. “Allow me to explain that in our world each chooses whom they wish for a mate, although it is true to say that royalty may forego such a luxury where it benefits the greater good, but unlike humans, our choices are for life, unless there is more than one favourable suitor, when such a situation exists then there is a battle to decide the victor, after that the natural choice is made.” Thorin listened intently she knew Gadzara would be telling her something soon.
“You speak as if each party has little choice in the matter, what about love, understanding and respect?” “To sacrifice everything for an action sanctioned by others seems, well to put it bluntly, cold.” Thorin said slowly.
“Of course to an outsider such as yourself you would not see the privilege of being chosen, by one of royal blood no less, certainly compatibility exists and great care is often taken when choosing a concubine.”
The words resonated in Thorin’s head. Gadzara continued smoothly “our land is dying and so to preserve it, we can no longer look to inside our own species. We have had to make a choice for the survival of our future that is why you are here, new genes are needed. A suitable breeding vessel, to bear a child carrying royal blood …”
At this Thorin who had been listening with quiet intent, dropped her goblet from suddenly cold hands, recovering she tutted at her own clumsiness she was not going to let Gadzara frighten her after all, the tactics being used could only be from a jealous desperation, but then again what did Gadzara stand to lose or gain she was royalty.
“That is not what I imagined the story to be. Loreck …”
Gadzara laughed sneeringly “Loreck knows nothing, correction forgive me, he is to say nothing, you must decide whether you will be a concubine, after all I am the chosen mate for Prince Mortas , our compatibility benefits both land and people, so you see you could have no place here.”
Thorin felt the bile rising from the pit of her stomach, she tried desperately to remain focused and composed.
“I can alternatively make arrangements for you to leave here this night; I could send you back to your own world.”
Thorin raised her head proudly looking the other woman straight in the eye. “I was told that you are jealous so I should expect such actions from you. How do I know that what you’ve revealed is not just some scheme to get me to leave?”
Gadzara smiled. “I consider you no threat my dear, I was merely offering to help you, in discovering the truth about your purpose here. How do you know that I am not showing you kindness, by telling you what is in your future, giving you the chance to leave before you are forced to stay?” Gadzara drawled “if you do not believe me when Loreck returns ask him and watch his reaction to your questions, he will not give you an answer, nor will he deny what I have said.” Gadzara was triumphant.
Thorin’s emotions were in turmoil; shakingly she reached for the spilt goblet and poured more wine taking a deep drink. She forced herself for composure, trying to steady her nerves and wild beating of her heart, levelly holding her gaze and courage she said to Gadzara “I will ask Loreck when he returns tonight, if what you say is true, then you can help me to go home, as long as you are sure you can do that.”
Gadzara smiled. “Of course and I will handle any questions that might be asked about your absence.”
With that she rose to leave. “I think you have made a wise decision.” And with that she was gone.
Thorin mused. This was Effieron, a land alien to her, that was dying, on the verge of war, her reality did not exist here nor the basis for rationality, everything was surreal there was nothing to attribute to normality. How could she explain this when it defied all logic and understanding, her being here simply could not be explained, all she knew had changed. The wine was taking effect Thorin fell asleep shortly afterwards.

ASCENSION-TWO

Ascension Cover White

A faint stirring woke Thorin, struggling to focus clearly, the past events rushing back to her she rose with a start. Immediately becoming aware of her attire, the gown she wore revealed her skin and was made of a long flowing material, the iridescent colour rendering it indescribable. On her left arm was a bracelet of burnished copper encrusted with stones and sandals on her feet. She became conscious that she was not alone. Her eyes constantly shifted to adjust to the darkness. The room- dimly lit by a torch which elongated the shadows-was large and circular, furnished with highly decorative furs and throws. Thorin imagined that from the ceiling she must be in the turret of a tower and yet there was no ceiling only carved interlaced lattices, the intricate patterns simultaneously forming beautiful and horrifying shapes which moved … the periphery of her senses became alert to movement and she heard the soft padded steps-which drew her attention to the shape looming out of the gloom which itself were a shadow.
“Ah, you are awake.” the voice was low and soft, it bubbled darkly reminding Thorin of treacle.
“Who are you, where am I?” The voice that came from Thorin sounded unfamiliar as if it had slowed down.
“You are in the Citadel of Kailan, but I expect you have many other questions to ask.” As it spoke the figure stepped out of the darkness into the flickering light. “I am Loreck, Guardian of the Diaks.”
The sight of him made Thorin instantly recoil, retreating against the wall behind her, struggling to hold her ground. “Oh my God, what are you?” Fighting every urge and instinct to move she remained suspended against the wall, unable to withdraw her gaze from the monster before her eyes.
“I am a Diak,” said the thing calling itself Loreck.” And most of my race looks the same, although it is acknowledged that some are better looking than others, but that is usual in the younger of my kin.”
Thorin surveyed him slowly; he was tall, with whole dark eyes evidently stronger than a human, flaming blue black hair with flecks of white lent an iridescent glow to skin of apparently lighter blue, sinuously muscular, the surprisingly elegant face with high arched eyebrows and a somewhat large straight nose lent him a superior air, the pursed lips did not entirely concealed the notably large canines, narrowing to a striking chin. All this was nothing in comparison to the piercing stare, save perhaps the prominent black feathered wings. He was obviously a warrior, denoted by the carved decorated tunic and sandals, none of which concealed the large dagger in its intricate scarab held by the baldric at his waist. He was in peak physical condition, the metals about his ears, arms and neck glistened.
“Why am I here?” Thorin asked.
“There is much to tell you and not much time, but it would be better to show you our land and people … if you would come away from the wall. I promise I shall not bite.” He smiled, his gaze holding hers.
The bared teeth were extended and Thorin felt herself shiver. Feeling the absurdity of her position surpassing her fear, she reasoned that if Loreck was going to attack her he would have done so already.
“Come with me” he said stretching his hand. The clawed nails caused Thorin to hesitate several moments before taking it. “-Venkaris!”
Thorin followed his gaze- upwards and saw-the movement she had sensed earlier unfurl itself from its concealment, camouflaged by the darkness. The amber coloured eyes glowed feral as it moved with swift glided efficiency to clear the entrance of the turret. Unable to suppress a gasp Thorin stared at the animal it was difficult to tell where decoration and its natural appearance ended for they were intertwined in such a way to create intricate patterns indecipherable from its surroundings. Dusty dark pock marked metallic skin, the elongated jaws displayed a ferocious smile, the spines along its back quivered as knives, leading to the thickly tapered tail with its clawed four toed talons and sharply horned elbows the air of menace was unmistakable. Thorin swayed violently. Leaning towards her, Loreck whispered soothingly.
“You will come to no harm.” he took her and they began to ascend the turret falling away beneath them.

Thorin held on for dear life, she had never been flying outside of a 747, it was exhilarating Loreck’s wings beat occasionally allowing them to rise above some of the low-lying buildings. Daring herself to look down she was stunned by the sheer beauty of the city. Towers and steeples rose and fell; lights shimmered and shifted with the coming and going of the inhabitants as they moved about their business. Some noted her presence and whispered hushed tones while others simply frowned with displeasure.
“What is this place exactly?” Thorin asked.
“It is complex to explain. We are a race who exist between the fabric of time to us this place is called Effieron. We have watched humans developed through the ages, we have seen your wars and destruction, but it is your propensity for love and compassion that I find most intriguing about your race.”
“How is this even possible?”
Loreck smiled. “Our natural ability, we move through shadows the time in these areas are non-existent, so in many ways it is instantaneous and when you are here movement appears reduced, however the longer you remain it becomes apparent that movement here changes into normality. The benefit of which is that you will age slower.” Loreck stated satisfactorily.
Thorin noted the change in his voice as he changed direction; he circled above a tall impressive citadel built a massive outcropping of rock, several kilometres high, with geological striations peeking out of the vegetation covering most of the rock face. A number of slender stone towers pierced the sky, topped by slate roofs and ringed by narrow balconies that provided safe docks for the Diaks who were constantly coming and going. The tower’s grounds were covered with arched walkways and fountains.
“What is that?”
“Rhomadar, it is the palace of our king Larion; he is presently a way in the East. This “citadel” was built centuries ago when the realm had first been formed and was still primal. At that time, the location had been a matter of security. It was tradition that the gathering was still held in such an inaccessible place, even though Effieron is no longer a young kingdom.”
Loreck’s voice was calm, yet Thorin sense the tension in his hesitation there was something he was not saying. Dismissing the thought she changed the subject.
“I saw one of your people; he seemed to know me, although I don’t know him.” Thorin ventured.
“He was the one who brought you to us, Prince Mortas has chosen you.” Loreck said quietly.
“Chosen me, for what purpose?” Thorin asked in alarm.
“He must tell you that himself, when you meet him at our gathering this eve.” Loreck answered evasively.
Thorin’s senses were on high alert, so his name really is Mortas, he is Prince of this world, and she was involved. Thorin found this information too much to absorb. Her conscious mind wrestled with her fear for subjugation.
She fought for calm as the stark reality that she was alone in a world of monsters began to dawn. She sought refuge in the sights before her as they descended to the ramparts landing in the archway of an open balcony leading into a large circular hall, its occupants the image of her guide and yet some were more fearsome than others. Lights from a thousand torches and oil-filled mud lamps lined the ledges; the richly embellished pillars in the palace were adorned with colourful buntings and streamers. The courtyard within the walls of the palace was abuzz with a myriad of cultural happenings, all taking place at the same time.

“We at the gathering have decided that king Larion is being obstinate we should not negotiate with the rebels, for they will never accept the treaty to share the Badlands with us.” Said a tall Diak in regimentals, as Thorin entered with Loreck.
“Aye if that be the truth then none will be safe, when the Cayjuns attack, they have no love for us or our ancestors, we have been enemies for centuries and now they are among us even as we speak, in the guise of their weak cousins!” Another glared as he waved towards Thorin, swinging sharply on his heel he approached in loping strides, reminding her of a very large dog, well built and handsome, long azure hair was subdued by a diadem, whole black eyes reflecting the metals adorning his body, wearing knee length boots his sleek elegant appearance did nothing to subdue his underlying menace. “How dare you profane our sanctity with Cayjun filth; it cannot be tolerated.”
Loreck came readily between Thorin and the newcomer; there was silence as he spoke and the other stopped midstride. “There are no spies in this camp that you have not sanctioned Lord Mirach, unless you mean to tell us that you are losing touch with your prized informants.”
Mirach’s eyes glittered as the light from the torches setting them ablaze. At this there was a great uproar of laughter, Thorin felt the tension in the air and Loreck’s fingers gently tapping his blade did little to quell her fears.
“He has you there my friend,” said another voice from the crowd.
“The lady is here at the invitation of Prince Mortas and it is he who will decide whether she remains or not at this meeting.” Loreck continued in measured tones.
“I tell you having that human here will bring us all to ruin and destruction, her presence here has cursed our clan, in contacting her Prince Mortas himself has been contaminated by her, she should be treated as an enemy.” Mirach raged angrily. The snarl on his face lending him such a feral air – that Thorin cringed nearer to Loreck.
“Our meetings are sacred and none that is not of our clan can attend.” The Diak who had spoken when Thorin first arrived stressed pointedly, never removing his eyes from her.
“I concur, with Lord Devron,” said Mirach.

The mode of the meeting had become electric and it was evident that the slightest action could incite bloodshed. Thorin tensed, as Lord Devron eyed her openly, she felt her skin begin to pimple as deep revulsion settled in, she found it difficult enough to come to terms with the presence of the Diaks let alone their fury.
“There will be no choosing a fate this night, unless he who opposes me is willing to do so at his own peril.” A cool voice rose above those whispering veiled threats.
There was silence then all bowed, Thorin turned becoming aware of the figure framed in the moonlight. She watched as Loreck went to greet him. The approach was sure and steady as he seemed to glide towards them. A head taller than Loreck, the muscled sinew arm which grasped in fond acknowledgement carried not a trace of fat. His blue black skin glistened in the light of the torches, the silver pearlescent smile startled Thorin and she felt her heart beat drumming in her ears. Turning his head the stranger surveyed her, she felt the cold appraisal to her core, and it was all she could do to try to swallow the lump in her throat. Beads of sweat had broken out on her forehead, her heart raced wildly and the dryness that enveloped her mouth refused to leave. As he approached, she felt fear.

Five Things

My very nice T-Party (genre fiction writers in the UK) here: http://tpartywriters.wordpress.com/, member friend (not to be confused with irrational nuts!) David Gullen here: http://davidgullen.com/ (tagged me for a Writer’s Hive Mind) share 5 things about your current WIP (Work In Progress).

Well here goes:

1) I am in the last chapter and final edit of my novel The Symbol of Wrath. I started writing it on 17/03/2013@ 02.55am (yes it’s alarmingly precise!)

2) It’s about a demon, Phare, who is created as the Mouth of Hell to bring Armageddon to humanity, along with two others forming the Trinity. He gains a conscience, (these things are inconvenient for a killer) when he forces the man in whose body he resides to kill his fiancé. He becomes remorseful. He is offered atonement by a demon hunter, Silt,who is an Antediluvian with his own problems (he sold his soul for immortality to Dwellers- demons thrown out of hell, who now reside in the Fourth Realm). The plan is to get rid of their respective bosses.

3) I was toying with the idea of the Ripley Scroll (notes on alchemy), and especially the Red and White idea about the Bird of Hermes it refers to. The question came to me: What happens when you create so much restriction for the sake of stability, you can no longer move freely, can you restrict the essence of nature?

4)The Symbol of Wrath has gone through 7 drafts before I was finally happy with the current one… (yes, yes, I know!!) It resides around the 83,000 word mark.

5) I am astonished to find that the end has presented itself and I am still wondering if the gods of chaos are yanking my chain, so I recheck with fevered animation every chapter, as I am accompanied by my crushing self doubt (he is getting slimmer).

I will be posting this to my author forum at JHP on FB in case others want to join the circus of enchanted minds.

ASCENSION-ONE

Guard Vedril

The rising of dawn was imminent, signalled by the blue grey and orange spectrum, Mortas had made it just in time, entering the abandoned church he retreated from the light into the comfort of shadows. He saw the silhouette of another emerging from the darkness, momentarily at one with the gloom. He strode forward, Eon was waiting for him.
“You leave it late, brother” he said.
“I know,” Mortas sighed, “but it was necessary to see Thorin again.”
“You must know that part of your life has ceased Mortas. There is little benefit in prolonging the inevitable. Diaks cannot consort with humans, it is not our way. If Larion discovered this he would find her, you risk her life as well as yours.”
“I would fight for her, should any think himself able to take her life.”
“Mortas, she no longer remembers you.” Eon said gently. “At least not in this body.”
“I will find a way,” said Mortas.
He flexed his wings and glided to the summit of the tower. The moon was still up and it cast a silver glow briefly illuminating the murky shadows and his features. His sharp angular nostrils flared scenting the air, dark shoulder length hair hung in loose waves framing an equally shadowy countenance. The metals around his arms and neck glistened. Powerfully built and sinewy, he was naked to the waist. Dagger like spikes protruded from his elbows like sharp horns. Ornate straps decorated his calf-length fur boots. Turning sharply he dived downwards to the caverns below. Eon watched. His brother was in love, and when a Diak loved it was as pure as the black blood which coursed through his veins.

Thorin awoke to the sounds of the city after another restless night. Downtown was always noisy and somehow this was safe and reassuring. It had given her comfort, until recently. By 7-am she could hear the shouting of taxi drivers, somewhere a dog barked and a baby cried. She stirred softly, running her hands down the length of her spare pillow, against a touch of velvet, soft and smooth. Instantly she was awake. Turning over she drew the curtains and was breathless at the sight, indigo rose petals but it was impossible and yet there it was. Coming to her feet unsteadily, she felt dizzy as if the ground were about to give way. What she had experienced could not have been a dream, nothing physically came out of a dream, yet the blue rose petals were here, scattered across her pillow. Her mind raced, rushed thoughts were interrupted by the sharp ring of the telephone bringing her back to reality with a start.
A warm voice chuckled, “Girl, you’re still in your house, you’d better start making tracks or you’re gonna be late for work.”
“Thanks Lila,” Thorin said quietly, unable to remove her gaze from the bed as she spoke. Her small apartment suited her perfectly. Since selling her future home after she had lost her future she’d come to love the bustle of city life. It created a diversion that held her attention. The rent was low and she had all the modern conveniences necessary yet she felt longing. Getting ready hurriedly she looked around her apartment one final time. How was she going to explain to her best friend-who knew all her secrets- that she had blue roses and had spent the evening in the company of an inexplicable figment of her imagination called Mortas? She gave herself a mental shake.
“What are you doing, what’s wrong with you, this isn’t real.”She chided herself loudly.
Sophiles watched from the roof as the woman exited the apartment building opposite, making her way to the taxi rank.
“What’s wrong, you haven’t heard a word I said “Lila was watching Thorin closely.
-Her café au lait skin, hazel eyes, and her lithe waif like figure and a winning smile. Her solid determination had earned her much respect with all those who knew her and despite her naive appearance experience was in her eyes.
“Nothing, I just felt a little tired this morning.”
“Ryland phoned again, he wants to know if you’re going to have dinner with us, and I think he’s got plans for you” said Lila, with a wicked glint in her eyes.
“I know you mean well Lila, “said Thorin, “but I’m not ready for a relationship.” Rising to leave Lila says “All right I’ll see you back at work. “

Sam’s cafe was beginning to get busy with the midday crowd. Thorin decided to go for a walk in the local park before she was due back to work; she needed to clear her head. The crisp spring weather of Guangzhou city and Qilou buildings brought memories flooding back. Thorin recalled the old home where she grew up, the two storey wooden building with it long colonial windows and verandas that ran the length of the building on both levels, her family has always been fond of old architecture, the large leaf laden Redwood at the edge of the garden leading to the lake and the swing that had been erected in its shade. She had spent countless hours in that place surveying the green lawn with the small colourful posies that dotted the edges. The hedges had been trimmed with wild bougainvillea, the various colours culminated in a visually resplendent prospect. She took a path arriving at an unknown turn, retracing her steps into a clearing she came upon an old man in dark glasses sitting on a bench face upturned, she sat down at the end of the bench, surveying this new part of the park.
“Do you think we are alone in this world miss?” Before Thorin could answer he continued. “And if we are not do you think we could be content with knowledge such as that?”
Thorin looked at him questioningly. “Why do you say that?”
Behind his glasses he smiled, reached into his pocket, he withdrew a shiny object and placed it on the bench before he stood and walked away. Thorin drew nearer to view the glittering globule, it was a pearl, but it couldn’t be gold, and still she was not mistaken. Hesitant at first she carefully moved closer, wonder filled her eyes and with every tug of curiosity extracted the first air of vigilance. She reached out and touched the sphere. There was a sudden rush of air- the action had rendered her immobile, and try as she might Thorin could not remove her hand. The small bead began to spin on its axis and Thorin watched as if in a trance while it wound its way around her arm- at first flattening like a medallion, then extending until it had formed a thin sliver of metal. As it touched her skin it became warm and liquefied, penetrating the epidermis. The area took on a lustrous glow which rapidly dissipated.
Conscious of every detail yet unable to prevent the result. She felt a swell of panic and desperately tried to move, this time discovering that she could, she began to rub furiously at her hand. Standing up swiftly she hurriedly made her way to a more populated spot in the park, the hairs on the nape of her neck stood up, and her senses tingled with the inkling that she was being observed. Increasing her pace, she exited the park at a side entrance, into a short alley, leading to the main street to her office. As she came to the end, she could fight the sensation no longer and turned, at the opposite end stood the same dark peculiar stranger his hat pulled firmly down the collar of the long robe like coat turned up.
Thorin felt her legs propelling her in the opposite direction, beads of perspiration stood out on her forehead unconsciously she wiped them away her fingers brushing against the small golden stellar dendrite like shape formed just inside her hairline.

Her mouth dry and heart racing, her thoughts an erratic rush Thorin had been unable to concentrate since returning back to her office at St Helena’s College of Performing Arts.
“You have a phone call “Lila peered around the door of her office, Thorin had been staring blindly at the paperwork on her desk.
“Who is it? “She asked dully.
“I don’t know, he wouldn’t say but he seemed to know you pretty well, you sly girl.”
Thorin was confused, since Jake died no other man had ever taken any interest, let alone make personal calls to her, although she had her fair share of admirers none could touch her heart.
“You’re sure it’s not Ryland fooling around?” Lila looked serious shaking her head, speaking briskly into the receiver “Thorin Parker.”
“Good afternoon Thorin I hope you like the roses” she froze.
“Who is this?” Thorin squeaked trying to control the tremor in her voice and the turbulence that the statement had awoken in her.
“I am sorry I did not mean to startle you, I just wanted to see you, to talk, explain…”
With rising alarm Thorin cut in brusquely “I don’t know who the hell you are, but I am dammed if I’ll listen to another word, you’re obviously some sick bastard who got into my apartment, I’m about to call the police.” She slammed the phone down shaking, tears threatening to overwhelm her, she hugged her shoulders.
Lila who had been watching Thorin came closer. “Are you all right, who was it?”
“Nothing of importance, look can I camp at your house tonight, I feel a little bit silly and I need a girls night in to snap me out of it.” Thorin said even as she spoke there was a niggling thought at the back of her mind, which now surfaced, solidify confronting her and refusing to be suppressed, yet she attempted suppression-why did it sound like Jake on the phone, it was familiar and yet alien. The thought remained with Thorin for the rest of the day.

Thorin arrived at Lila’s just before 8-pm, she rang the doorbell, there was no response, she guessed Lila must have stepped out to the shops, there was a small piece of paper protruding from the letterbox-Thorin took it out and looked at it. Torry darling just stepped out, keys under the mat, let yourself in.
“Figures,-” Thorin said under her breath. She found the keys and went in switching on the lights it was warm in Lila’s Lounge and Thorin opened the window to let in some air, she switched on the television to watch the evening news after storing her overnight bag in the spare room. Settling back, she heard the clock in the kitchen chiming, and with it came a sound so faint Thorin thought she must have imagined it, until a small draft entered the room causing the hairs on the nape of her neck to tingle, she lowered the television and listened intently, the sound came again more distinctly this time the window sash frame being slid open was unmistakable. Thorin got up as silently as she could, trying to hold her nerve, she cautiously approached the kitchen as she neared the door she saw an outline of a figure in the dining room doorway, she gasped, instinctively placing her hand over her mouth willing the sound to be silent, but he had heard it. He turned. Grey eyes met brown. Thorin felt her head swimming and darkness rapidly descending. Before it engulfed her, she was sure she saw wings.