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The Children Of Lir
Emporal Fugue And The Space Between: Book Two
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-199-4
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 823 Pages
Published: September 2014



From inside the flap

The Children of Lir continues the story from The Talisman Matrix which began the Temporal Fugue and the Space Between cycle with the discovery of the first talismans in an antique store on the earth-like world Terranova. In the new novel the Terranovan characters on all three worlds of the Talisman Matrix learn more about the powerstones and the gods and goddesses of the Tuatha de Danaan and learn about the roles they will be playing in the impending invasions from Midhir and the trans-universe. Meanwhile, the group led by the bard Finn of the Long Road works to determine the extent of the invasion from Midhir and to counter that threat while also fighting to free Gallatin from the Lord Advisor Magnus Kastro. New characters on all three worlds are introduced as the quest of save the world called Caoilte Dhu continues. Gonzalez Smith, separated from his companions, finds himself apprenticed to the legendary wizard Markand in the Mountains of Mourne. J.T. Crowe and Lisa Aubrey work to prevent more Terranovan weapons from being shipped to Midhir in alliance with Finn of the Long Road and the Thieves Clans of Gallatin Trade Town. A young prince, Conor Cullen Mac Lir, escapes from Gallatin and the Lord Advisor with the help of a mysterious presence and becomes involved in a perilous quest that may be the key to saving the world Caoilte Dhu!

The Children Of Lir (Excerpt)


Prologium

"After the first terabyte computer 'squares' and then 'cubes' its power and inaugurates the age of 'zettabyte' and 'yottabyte' computers, then will begin the twofold process of true super computers miniaturizing themselves and expanding the power of their chipsets . . . exponentially . . . until almost anything becomes possible.Nanotech . . . the modern sorcery!A small item of jewelry, for example, might replace the function of warehouses filled with machinery!"

Reinhardt Hartmann.On Technology: The deus ex machina principle.

Berlin: Neue Welt, 2107.

"In my secret thoughts, I fear that the crew of TFSS Redemption has come to the stars carrying a technology so great and so new that we only understand a fraction of the possibilities . . . and even less of the dangers.Unfortunately, the admirals and the other military types with their testosterone egos refuse to heed my scientific opinions."

FLIGHT LOG ENTRY 10032: Dr. Birgit Lundegard-Riley -- Commodore, TSFS, Chief Astrophysicist, TFSSRedemption [Dispersal/insertion-minus 2 hr. 30 sec.]

White moon over the mountains.Blue-white recalling veins under pallid skin. Cold white.Not a pretty picture white -- more so the color of shrouds.Hanging like a dead eye over the Mountains of Mourne.Ghost moon, the romantic turn of phrase, would only apply to a sickly ghost.Blind watcher above the great peak Ard Erin, Lord of Mountains.White moon in a flat gray winter sky pressing down on the snowfields that lead to the high places.Mountain fastnesses of Caoilte Dhu, fairest of worlds . . . the gift of Dana, some said.

An artist, or a poet, might have been tempted to color in a single crimson tear.

The wolf clan fled into the mountains only hours ahead of its pursuers.Like beaten curs . . . running, limping, dragging themselves to the refuge of the high places.The gibbous moon did not affect them one way or the other.Their concerns were more pressing, prosaic.Refugees running for their lives have little time to spare for aesthetics.The hunters were too many.Too close.

Nor was there time for more than flashes of memory of the past time of death and sorrow.Single pictures captured for an instant.Sometimes clear, sometimes blurred.Shapechangers, even fuil, have a certain degree of control, a conscious sentience, in normal times.Hurt and under great stress they revert to type.The pure beast consciousness takes over almost completely.Things become wavery and the flashes of constant control grow intermittent -- stop action pictures of uncertain definition.Images, not ideas.Glimpses into a past that flickers behind clouded glass.

The Shapechanger War of the clan's individual and collective remembrance was a vastly different proposition from the accounts that found their way into the chapbooks sold in the markets or the scholarly monographs of court historians.Memory and understanding differ wildly among creatures under even the best of circumstances.Moreover, the Shapechanger War was not a single coherent event -- not something that was particularly easy even for the participants themselves to understand.It was more a drawn-out series of encounters made even more confused and confusing by the fact that it took place in the fugue worlds of the Talisman Matrix, spread over time and space in a way that even those with special powers could not easily comprehend.The confusion easily explained why there were many who spoke of Shapechanger Wars in the plural.

Past memory was only an eidolon ghosting by the mind's eye, subsumed by the danger and fear of the present moment.In the end, as always, the past was outweighed by the present, by the more urgent demands of survival.For now, they were too busy to keep score, too busy to think of revenge.That would come later.

Now there was the pitiless frozen moon over the mountains glaring down upon the flight of the pack.The present was the pain of long muscles, stretched to the limit and straining under gray fur.Running, breathing, fear defined the present.The smell of fear and the copper reek of blood was the current reality . . . the reasons for the now.Flight was the present reality, all that mattered for now.Survival was the engine that drove the present, the need that ruled the pack's consciousness, the wolf-mind that controlled the desperate race for the sanctuary of the high places.

For now, all that mattered was flight.For now, at least, the pack would survive.


***

The Hidden Tower was not built in a season -- nor even in a hand's count of seasons.Shapechangers and fuil could never have achieved that much in that short of a time, not even with the help of Rif Valley tribesmen who were enslaved and forced to help with the labor in later years.One hundred years passed before the slim black tower finally stood completed in the depths of the Mountains of Mourne.

Shapechangers, once lords of the Sidhe, were not at all well versed in the manual skills of masonry and stone cutting required for the project.The fuil, mutated children of the shapechangers, were prolific breeders and came to their maturity early, but even with numbers, the wolf children also lacked the strength, skills and predisposition needed for the great work.Skills that would have sped the completion of the project.

Magic helped . . . to a certain degree.The lord who had been Baran Spellcaster and some of his followers had been among the great magic users of the Sidhe.But the transformation, the "change," had affected the powers of magic users, lessened them in many ways -- and there were also limits to the effectiveness of magic with physical things.Some tasks could only be done by muscle and sweat.Triskelions might cut blocks of granite and basalt for the tower, but muscle-power was still needed to move the rock. Too, there was a long time where the shapechangers avoided the use of magic or powerstones out of fear that someone might be "listening" -- the ever-present fear that Sidhe or even Tuatha might still follow them even to the most remote fastnesses of the Mountains of Mourne.

During the time of the building of the tower, the shapechanger clan and their mutant children lived in natural caves and dens.Like the other . . . ordinary . . . animals of the mountains.The memory of those times was a vast source of bitterness for those who once had been among the great ones of the Sidhe, lords of the Greenworlds.Gradually over time, the fear diminished and the shapechangers were able to risk using travelstones selectively to bring certain luxuries and amenities to the Hidden Tower -- mostly from the more vulnerable cities of the Southlands.Beautiful art.Jewels.Expensive fabrics.Silver plate and goblets.Delicate crystal.Superbly crafted furniture.Fine wines.

But the bitterness always remained.Sour dregs in a crystal glass.

The mutant children of the shapechangers, during this same time, developed their identity as fuil.The Blood.Members of the fuilghruppa -- fanatically loyal to the high beings who had given them life.The fuil thrived in the high mountains.Prolific breeders, litters of five or six were common and the numbers of the fuil grew rapidly.To the fuil, the high places of the Mountains of Mourne were home.Not the mountain exile that it was for the former Sidhe lords.The children of the shapechangers never wasted time thinking of the Greenworlds they had never known.Caer Ankenny and Caer Adamant were only names to the fuil.The Blood, as they called themselves, were concerned about other things.The hunt.The prey.The blood sustained them.