Thursday, March 21, 2013

"revenge... grave..."

Again and again the past has plunged their lives in darkness, into the lane of destruction. Stabbed by their juiceless and miserable past, Deborah and Jimmy went on a journey that ignited their rage and, mercilessly, extinguished them. Only one of them escaped the mocking manipulative grave of revenge.

Tales of Deborah

Coming Soon!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Published Author Interview | K.B Lever | Manipulating the List Novel


D.O: As He... Revealed Death to Humans? On the contrary. Grasping that truth about who or what death really is in a inform remains a mystery to anyone curious as a cat like me hasn't been able to elucidate. But K.B. Lever did spontaneously with his book Manipulating The List. This novel is what I called The Sum of All Mysteries. Someday I think I would like to write a book like this. *smiles* I hope I'm lead!

Welcome on the blogs K.B. It's a pleasure to have you here.

K.B L: Thanks for having me!

D.O: Who is K.B. Lever as an author? Who is she when she is not a writer?

K.BL: Writing is one of my favorite hobbies and I enjoy getting the chance to let others share in my enjoyment, but I keep it harnessed. My author side only works at night after the family is asleep. Writing is one of those things that can take over every aspect of your life - people become characters, life's journeys become a storyline, etc. I try to keep my home life separate from my work. So, when I'm not a writer, I'm a mother first and a paramedic second - my two "other" jobs.  

D.O: 'Manipulating the List', what aroused the title?

K.B L: The entire first novel in the series is centered on a list of people's souls that must be collected. When Katherine, the main character, finds herself on the list, she decides to save herself and in doing so she must Manipulate the List. Seemed fitting. 

D.O: Where was the stimulation to write about death in such a way you did, in this book drawn from?

K.B L: I deal with death and dying on a daily basis at work as a Paramedic. The idea of there being a Grim Reaper type entity following me around on the ambulance while I work gave me the idea. 

D.O: How was it creating a character like death, and making his goals so captivating?

K.B L: The whole book was extremely fun to write. Actually, the whole series has been extremely fun to write. It's amazing to watch where my creative mind desires to twist and turn.  

D.O: According to Katherine, she said The Soul Collector (death), would patiently wait remaining motionlessly as he lurked in the view of only the unseen eye, waiting for the exact minute of the victim's predictive death to pounce and collect the soul. "The transition was an entrancing dance where the partner had no choice but to follow."

Hmmm..... How did she come about the ability to see The Soul Collector (death), collect people's souls from childhood?

K.B L: The first time Katherine encounters Jonathan, the Collector, is when she is six years old and becomes a witness to him collecting her Aunt Audrey. The two realize that they can see one another, but neither feels any fear. Being six, Katherine is easily able to adjust to the fact that there are other entities at work. Jonathan, on the other hand, is elated at the possibility of having a friend. 

D.O: For some like Aunty Audrey in the book Manipulating The List, death was a beautiful ending to a sorrowful story. As a human who knows that we won't live here forever, what is death to you?

K.B L: Well, let me entertain you with an excerpt from Legacy of the List - Book 3 in the series. "Every life has a specifically allotted amount of time before an inevitable death. Whether it is short, long, rewarding, empty, or impeccably flawless can only be determined by the Great Designer. As a person, one may never know how, why, or for what purpose we were created. Children die before their time and elderly live past the age of functionality. Some may inevitably take their lives in an act of selfishness believing in the divine ability to control their own destiny. Others may be maliciously robbed of their years prematurely; time suddenly stolen from them, as well as their family, friends, and loved ones.
The only thing that is known about life is that it is unknown - length, purpose, direction. What choices one will make are left entirely up to chance, thought, upbringing, morality, and persuasion. A person's split-second decision has the strength to uplift or destroy, to condone or condemn, or the power to cause a mild rift to turn into a disastrous war..." 
As you can see, the books are riddled with my thoughts about death.  

D.O: Is Katherine gift a long one? I mean will it last till her old age? Did she even grow old or the soul collector also snatched her soul?

K.B L: The gift thus far (Now that she is twenty two in the first book) has lasted her, her whole life - But I don't want to get into too many details about the gift, how it works, and whether or not the two are able to Manipulate the List. 

D.O: What should be expected ahead of her?

K.B L: Once Katherine's name appears on the list, Katherine is expected to help hand over the other names on the list as a way to bypass her own death. This unfortunately does mean she may have to actually commit murder.

D.O: What is the situation in Manipulating The List that is extremely exciting?

K.B L: The most exciting situation, for me, is the fact that she can't simply go around helping the Collector collect. The law takes notice and causes her to run from the living and the "undead". 

D.O: Did this book end with cliffhanger?

K.B L: It does and I know a lot of people hate that. The thing is, the book keeps you guessing at its twists and turns throughout the entire story. There was no MORE perfect way to end it than with another twist. I did ease the cliffhanger for the reader though by providing the first few pages from the second book. 

D.O: What moral should your potential readers take away from the book?

K.B L: Things don't always go the way you would want them to go. Fight for what you desire. 

About Author:
K. B. Lever is quickly becoming a most beloved storyteller. A life full of love, laughter, and curious twists and turns has brought her happiness, success, and fulfillment of her passions!
The author lives in North Carolina with her family and also works as a Paramedic for a large municipality.
Her first series, The Immortal Companion, has released two books, Manipulating the List and Executing the List. The third book,Legacy of the List, is set to release in July 2013.
K. B. has multiple works in progress in conjunction with Legacy of the List. She has begun a children's series in dedication to her daughter entitled Laloo, the Dream Weaver and is working on a YA romance, Thirty Days in May. Both are set to release in 2013.

Book Title: Manipulating the List

Book Blurb:
Manipulating the List - Katherine Sheppard is the exception to the rule. That is, as long as she continues to run from the law; murder innocent people; and manipulate the Collector’s List… 

Shouldn’t be hard, right?

Since the tender age of six, Katherine has always loved to hear Jonathan’s nightly stories about tracking, stalking, and collecting his victims. She’s even had the privilege of watching souls transition into the afterlife, led by the hand of the Collector to their paths where angels or demons escort them home. It has been an unwavering friendship that has flourished for sixteen years. That is, until an unexplainable twist in circumstances causes Katherine’s name to appear on the Collector’s List.

Although, If you think her life would end there, you'd be mistaken. This is just the beginning. Katherine refuses to hand over her soul quietly and Jonathan upholds the decision of his only friend, feeling the bitter sting of helplessness as he realizes the possibility of being the cause for her demise. So now a new relationship unfolds between them, one of checks and balances, hints, clues, and mysteries, where the two must work together to manipulate the list despite a forbidden friendship.

But just as resolute, the law won’t stand idly by as Katherine assists in the deaths of others. Every form of law enforcement is preparing to conduct a global manhunt to bring her to justice. Nor will the Creator of the List tolerate a friendship that goes completely against his rules. The collections continue to increase in difficulty, pushing Katherine into an irreversible life of crime where the only possibility of escape is her own death.

Instead, Katherine chooses to fight as impassionedly determined as a trapped animal trying to escape its captor in her decision to overcome Heaven, Hell, earth and … the Collector.

Executing the List - Katherine Sheppard has been forced into an impossible existence. She’s been friends with the Collector for as long as she can remember, avoided her own death multiple times, and has been recently the prime suspect in a double homicide investigation from the U. S. Marshall's office. Life has hit a new level of extreme, but she can’t stop now...

As a woman fleeing from every law enforcement agency across two continents, Katherine is being forced to face what her life as a fugitive has become. She must learn who to trust, who to follow, and what rules must be obeyed in order to keep herself from falling victim a second time. With no moment of hesitation to catch her breath or collect her thoughts, she must assist the Collector in his gathering of the souls.

Can she continue to live the life that she has been thrust into? It’s a question that plaques her every move, every thought, and every emotion. Die or die trying. Kill or be killed. Can she continue to Execute the List?

Formats Available: Kindle, Paperback

eBook Cost: $2.99

Paperback: $14.99

Author Links: 

D.O: It's been very wonderful having you on the blogs, K.B. I hope you would come again? Do give my love to your beautiful daughter.

K.B L: I would love to and I absolutely will pass it on. Thank you!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Novel Profile-Raising | The Forever Saga | Sean C. Sousa

DO: Thanks Sean C Sousa, for joining us today on Authors Curtilage Novel Profile-Raising.

SCS: Thanks for having me - let's do this!

DO: "Prince Ahya laid eyes upon his kingdom for the first time - and was desperate to escape it". Mmm. From my understanding kingdom is a territory or country subject to a king or queen. It's a place of a monarch, the place in which there is so much wealth and riches! What could make a prince want to flee from such a domain?

SCS: As the reader will find out, Ahya's master is Grigori Geist - an ancient tyrant who ruled over the Earth long ago, now returned to reestablish his rule. To him, Ahya is less of a prince, and more of a conquering general who will lead Geist's armies against the nations. However, Ahya understands the value of human life, and would rather defend mankind than conquer it. That's what drives him to leave the realm of Regnum Aeturnum, where Geist resides.

DO: The Forever Saga: Flash is the title of the novel we're featuring today. Was that title inspired by Prince Ahya, or by something from your own life?

SCS: From my own observations, mainly. The word "forever" gets thrown around when it comes to love, or friendship, or diamonds, or boredom, etc. But what if this life is our trial run for an eternity of purpose and peace? What can we, as human beings, accomplish that will last after we pass away? The Forever Saga is a contrast of today's innovations with wisdom of an older nature. Which kind of wisdom, ultimately, will endure our lifetime and beyond?

DO: I read that Prince Ahya is not made of flesh and blood, but of metal and circuitry. Can you throw more light on that?

SCS: Ahya is the the last and greatest of the Vaucan race - colossal robots constructed by Dr. Dietrich Schmidt, meant to aid him and Geist in building Regnum Aeturnum as a utopia for human and vaucan alike. Geist has perverted the vaucans to become blunt instruments for his purposes, but Dietrich has always intended for Ahya and the others to be much more.

DO: Is Prince Ahya our protagonist?

SCS: For the first chapter of Flash, Ahya gives us a window into the fantastical world of Regnum Aeturnum. On the whole, though, he acts as a pupil for Brian Renney, and as mentor for Brian's son, Jason. Both Brian and Jason are the protagonists in Flash.

DO: What's the story goal and what are the physical things your protagonists did to achieve it or he didn't accomplished it at all?

SCS: Flash is what I call a father-son redemption story. That term is used for the Star Wars saga - the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, aided by his son, Luke - but The Forever Saga takes a different path. Brian Renney is a Vietnam War veteran who carries physical and emotional scars from his last days in combat, and it drives a wedge between he and his wife and sons. In Flash, Brian is thrown into a new conflict that both terrifies him, and offers him a chance to redeem himself. On the flipside, his son Jason struggles to understand just who his father really is - is he the hero he's only heard of, or the grumpy recluse Jason's known all his life? How the Renney family responds to the threat of Grigori Geist is what drives The Forever Saga as a whole.

DO: Would you describe the protagonists as well-rounded characters?

SCS: Brian definitely is not - at least not at first. He's rough around the edges, not very sociable, and avoids situations he can't handle well. On the other hand, Jason is generally likeable, but he can't shake his father's demanding opinions, and it causes a great deal of confusion. Both Brian and Jason are flawed, to be sure...but as the novel progresses, they find similarities in each other that they appreciate - and eventually take pride in.

DO: What is the status quo for The Forever Saga: Flash, and when does it take place?

SCS: Flash place in present day, in the world we all know and live in. Regnum Aeturnum is hidden beneath the continent of Antarctica, shielded from the outside world, but that will soon change. As for the status quo, we have Geist using Dietrich's vaucan creations to regain his lost empire, and that thirst for conquest gives Brian a new cause to rally behind, and a chance to again become the hero he once was.

DO: In what ways did you generate a clear moral in the The Forever Saga: Flash, to entertain, instruct, inform and improve your readership?

SCS: Today's world is technology-driven, and it's a double-edged sword: thanks to the Internet and smartphones, we can have the accumulated wisdom of mankind in our pockets...but we mostly use it to play Angry Birds. That flood of information often distracts us. It's ironic that I touch upon this in a book, during a time where books seem increasingly overlooked in favor of TV/movie/computer/phone/tablet screens. The real question is this: is it mankind's technology or its capacity for faith and devotion, that determines how advanced we really are? I look forward to entertaining and challenging readers with Flash, and the upcoming installments of The Forever Saga that will follow!

DO: Hello Audience, Friends and Writers, it's Novel Profile Raising on Authors' Curtilage and my other blog I AM Darmie Orem. When I read the novel The Forever Saga: Flash, I was wowed! But, my lips are sealed. These are just two reviews of many for this intriguing book.

"Great Promise, inventiveness, and creativity" - Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review.

"It's an impressive bit of world building... The shining secret is world fits perfectly with the real Earth." - Kirkus Reviews.

DO: This book has a very captivating plot, and all you could ask for in a science fiction adventure. You must check out this novel - it's a great read and I recommend it. Enjoy the first chapter in this section of book feature; and click the link below to read the first five chapters.

Book Chapter One

Prince Ahya laid eyes upon his kingdom for the first time – and was desperate to escape it.

He observed his people – blissful yet enslaved, with no will of their own – and refused to let the same fate befall the Earth. That was why, despite the grandeur of the kingdom before him, the prince could not obey his king, Grigori Geist. It was Dietrich Schmidt, the prince’s only ally, who had convinced him that he could be more than an instrument of destruction; but rather, a freer of the enslaved. It would begin with an escape from the city, the exposure of Geist to the outside world, and the rallying of allies to their cause.

The prince surveyed the city of Regnum Aeturnum, a megalopolis of over one hundred million people, built from a round, basin-shaped cavern excavated beneath the continent of Antarctica. Gleaming towers, temples, ramparts, and terraces sprang from the city floor, while Aether, a second city, hung from the cavern ceiling above. This suspended series of towers comprised a glowing ceiling of blue-white light – imitating the true sky, far above, that Prince Ahya had never witnessed.

Ahya…the meaning of the prince’s name was never given to him, nor could he discern it. Frustrated, the prince stood on an open air balcony on the lower levels of the Great Spire, an hourglass-shaped fortress of gleaming white quartz that lay in the center of Regnum Aeturnum, and the only structure that reached both cavern floor and ceiling. The Great Spire had been the prince’s home for the entirety of his young life.

In the solitude of the balcony, the prince watched and waited for his opportunity. Ahead of him, the Jupiter Terrace – the primary road of the city – stretched out from the base of the Great Spire toward the castle-like Gate of Ishtar, twenty-eight miles away. It was a dangerous gauntlet to run. In his youth and inexperience, the prince was not at the height of his power, nor did he expect Geist to simply let him leave. Despite the peculiar sensation of doubt creeping from his chest to the ends of his limbs, the prince had to try. Until he succeeded, millions of citizens would remain Geist’s puppets.

The prince spoke aloud with resolve in his voice. “Is it time?”
A quiet, slightly hoarse voice answered, heard only by the prince. “It is.”
At this, the prince leapt over the railing of the terrace, falling hundreds of feet below and sliding along the base of the Great Spire as it leveled off toward the ground. Such a fall did not faze the prince, for he was not made of flesh and blood, but of metal and circuitry – his sixty-foot body adorned in shining plates of gray armor, sculpted as like broad human muscles. As the prince sprinted from the Great Spire to the Jupiter Terrace, his glowing red eyes burned with determination – like Dietrich, he wished not only to escape Geist, but to one day defeat him.

Within the prince’s chest, in lieu of a heart, were human quarters, where Dietrich Schmidt sat uneasily in a leather armchair. A ponderous, kind, gentle man on the verge of his seventies, Dietrich appeared the slightly mad scientist at first glance: disheveled white hair and wrinkles spanned a pale face of sagging brown eyes, ears, and nose, his tired body draped with a white coat over a black shirt and slacks. His meager appearance belied the fact that he, not Grigori Geist, was the true architect of Regnum Aeturnum.

Around Dietrich, the room’s sparse furniture and shelving remained still, even as the prince darted amongst shining towers, hoping to avoid the armies now searching for them. In front of Dietrich was a three dimensional image, a map of Regnum Aeturnum; a miniature model of the prince appeared in white upon the display, and Dietrich nervously watched as hundreds of gray dots lit up around their position.
 “How many has he sent?” the prince asked anxiously.

“Nearly every Protector-class division.”
Dietrich activated a switch on the chair’s armrest, and as the 3D display dissolved, every surface in his quarters became a projection of the view outside the prince. He disliked the Vigil display – it had always given him motion sickness – and nausea now gripped him at the sight of Regnum Aeturnum.

Unable to watch the rapid passing of scenery, Dietrich focused straight ahead on the Gate of Ishtar, which now seemed even farther away than it was from the Great Spire. He wondered where Geist was at that moment; the tyrant had no doubt waited for the prince to reveal himself, and now he unleashed an army of vaucans upon them.

It was this vaucan race that had been Dietrich’s greatest creation, and although the prince was intended to be the seventh and final of the archvaucans, leaders of the vaucan race and generals in war, the newly created prince’s powers had barely developed. Dietrich’s treachery had been exposed, however, leading to this desperate gambit.

Within seconds, the first wave of five hundred vaucans took flight from all directions to chase the prince as he dashed across the silver Jupiter Terrace, between the colossal towers of Invidia to his left and the amusement region of Promenade to the right. The silver-clad, thirty-foot vaucans split into squadrons of twenty, fell into phalanx formations resembling massive arrowheads and closed in on the prince. These sentient, humanoid assassins were both numerous and dangerous, the thick armor of their carbon nanofiber bodies, like the prince’s, mimicking powerful human musculature.

The vaucan squadrons flew above the prince as he dashed forward, each footfall far more agile than the pursuers half his size. As vaucans descended upon them, Dietrich observed the distinct insignia upon their shoulders, denoting their Protector class, Geist’s homeland infantry.

Powerful, short bursts of laser fire opened up above the prince, who deftly anticipated and dodged past the flashes of deadly light. Dietrich tried to remain calm, though the gate ahead seemed unreachable. Yet still, the prince advanced.

Far ahead, dark shapes amassed on the terrace, and more still rallied at the Ishtar Gate, fifteen miles away. All of them trained their weaponry on the prince and prepared to open fire.
“I can make it to the gate,” the prince said, dodging laser fire from behind, “but I fear it is too well defended to pass through.”

“Not if you’re at your best,” Dietrich countered, deactivating the Vigil and queuing up a wireframe hologram of the city that emitted from his chair. He was no pilot or war hero, but only he knew what the prince was capable of. The tactical display in front of Dietrich registered the prince as one white dot amidst a sea of gray; in Dietrich’s wildest dreams, the prince could eventually overcome even these odds, but every fiber in his being told him that it was too soon, that the prince wasn’t ready.
Before Dietrich could offer any course of action, a cold, authoritative voice filled the quarters around Dietrich.

“My lord,” said Dyne, the Protector Supreme, “I have held back my division’s artillery at the gate out of respect. This is your last chance to relent without punishment.”
The prince halted as Dyne blocked his path. Clad in gray, with large white paulders upon his shoulders, and nearly as impressive as the prince in stature, Dyne held his powerful arm up, ready to call forth the gathered legion of vaucans that grew with each passing moment.

 “Prince Ahya,” Dyne declared formally, “Dr. Schmidt has sabotaged you and your six archvaucan lieutenants. Surrender him to us now, and all shall be forgiven.”
The prince said nothing, and Dietrich sighed through gritted teeth. Around him, human faces now stared up at the prince and the vaucan assault force both on and above the Jupiter Terrace. Do they even want to be set free? Dietrich considered.

“Ahya! You must decide where your allegiances lie,” Dyne asserted.   
Dietrich opened a communication channel on his chair’s command panel and spoke aloud to Dyne. “Would you destroy me, Dyne? Your own creator?”
“As my creator, you know my allegiance is always to Regnum Aeturnum.”
“So is mine, but to its people,” Dietrich answered. “Not to a tyrant. What lies has Geist told you?”

Dyne’s face lowered to a glare. “You are a traitor and a saboteur.”
Dietrich chose his parting words carefully. “Our fight is not with you,” he reasoned. “I made you to be more than just an enforcer for the wicked.”
Dietrich closed communications and fixed his eyes again upon the Ishtar Gate. As vaucans continued to swarm around them a ray of hope dawned upon him; the more their attackers used their powers to stop the prince, the quicker he adapted to and acquired those abilities. Could it save us now?

“Fly,” Dietrich urged the prince.
“Doctor, I cannot yet—”
“You know as well as I that Geist will not stop at ruling over one continent,” Dietrich warned. “If we have any chance of stopping him, you have to try.”
The prince hesitated. “Understood.”
Dyne waited as the prince stepped forward slowly, anticipating his prince’s surrender. But the prince broke into a run, and just as he closed in on Dyne, he suddenly leapt upward and stayed aloft, as budding wings extended upon his back, soaring in the open air for the first time.
“Well done,” Dietrich said, astonished and relieved.

Dyne signaled the withering assault upon his general. Around the prince’s body, laser light again danced through the air, but it was sparse; the vaucans hadn’t expected such an audacious act.
“Your Prometheus system is providing enough energy for sustained flight,” Dietrich said, studying the prince’s power levels. “Now, let’s test your Taxis ability.”
“It grieves me to strike my own brethren,” the prince admitted.
“And I, as well. When Geist is defeated, I will restore them.”

Over a hundred yards away, a platoon of fifty aerial vaucans crossed the prince’s path, flying at him in close V-formation. Holding out his outstretched right hand toward them, the prince activated Taxis, exerting an invisible, kinetic force upon the squadron and forcing their formation into a single file column. The prince then seized a nearby vaucan with his left hand, and plunged his fist through the vaucan’s midsection.

Readying himself, the prince used the fallen vaucan as a battering ram and launched forward at the others, still constricted into a thin column. With a deafening series of collisions, the prince slammed into the line of vaucans, who each fell one by one like dominos onto the terrace below, and he resumed course for the gate.

Behind them, more vaucan forces rose from the depths of the fortress region of Arx, on the far side of the Great Spire, and rapidly closed in. Although he had successfully tested his Taxis ability, the prince’s chances of escape were rapidly deteriorating in the face of Geist’s strength in numbers.

Dietrich faced the heavy fortifications upon the Gate of Ishtar in despair. The prince could not hope to fend off the forces surrounding them now. In spite of all his intellect, Dietrich’s haste to escape had put them both in mortal danger.
“I’m afraid I’ve set you up to fail,” Dietrich admitted, as the prince was grazed by a laser blast from the gate ahead.

“I am here of my own volition, Doctor,” the prince replied, and despite their dire situation, Dietrich appreciated the resolve of his greatest creation.
Encouraged by his expanding array of abilities, the prince increased his speed, outmaneuvering the squadrons behind him while he careened straight toward the cannons upon the gate.
“What is so important about Geist’s target, the man called Brian Renney?” asked the prince, deflecting the incoming laser volley from the gate into a hapless vaucan.
“I do not know, but Geist and his Camarilla must fear him, if they ordered you to carry out his murder. We’ve got to find Renney at any cost.”

The prince sped toward the Ishtar Gate, evading lasers and explosions from all directions. He could feel himself growing stronger with each passing moment, leaving his pursuers behind, and Dietrich gazed urgently at the open gate ahead, so close now—
Without warning, artillery shells erupted from the gate’s cannons, exploding in front of the prince before he could evade them, and they dispersed a shimmering cloud that enveloped him. Within moments, the effect became clear. The nanites that Dietrich used to construct the vaucan race had been weaponized, now a poisonous vapor that began to eat at the prince’s armor. The power he drew from Regnum Aeturnum was fading, leeched from his body by the mist, and his body grew numb.

Dietrich could see the end coming before the prince did. But there was still a glimmer of hope; to their right, Promenade’s borders had little vaucan presence, for they saw no tactical advantage for the prince there. Dietrich did, however: Promenade’s dense tree canopy and lush foliage – a sharp contrast from the city’s gleaming terraces and towers – would provide ample cover, if only for a precious few seconds, for him to form a plan. They just had to make it there.

Struggling to stay aloft, the prince was struck in the back by a laser blast, and for the first time he felt a sensation akin to human pain, as the nanite mist crippled him. Dietrich could see on the display that the prince’s internal functions were turning against each other. For a moment, Dietrich resigned himself to the prince’s likely fate – his free will would be erased just as the citizens below, forced to obey Geist and commit unparalleled atrocities. As the prince’s descent quickened, the Protector-class vaucans crept around him, encircling him like vultures.

Dietrich left his chair with great difficulty, as the prince’s weakening functions destabilized the quarters around him, which shook violently. Reaching a small control console hidden on the front wall of the room, Dietrich hurriedly input a series of commands upon it, enacting a safeguard he had built into every archvaucan. With enough time, Dietrich could protect the prince’s sentience even if captured, but he had only seconds…

“What are you doing?” the prince asked weakly, plummeting further.
“Trying to protect you from Geist,” Dietrich answered. “There are ducts by the terrace that lead to Lupercal, under the city. I can hide there and devise a plan.”
“But I must protect you, Doctor.”

“You’ve done more than enough, my friend,” Dietrich assured, as a red light blinked upon the console; he need only input a voice-activated trigger.
Before Dietrich could speak, a cry from the prince warned him to brace himself, and Dietrich clamored for his chair and activated the emergency harness, causing cushioned braces to extend from the seat around his waist and chest. The crash came sooner, and harder, than Dietrich anticipated. His harness had not fully deployed, and though it took the brunt of the impact, Dietrich was still flung across the room, slamming into the front wall by the console and crumpling to the floor.

How long he lay there, Dietrich couldn’t guess. Thoughts swam in his mind, about his first days in that doomed place, about Grigori Geist and his grand promises that had deceived Dietrich. All of his achievements had since been shaped for evil purposes, and only too late did he decide to act – the regret needling him as he lay there.

Dietrich tried to move, even as pain shot through his head and blood gurgled in his mouth, but it was nothing compared to Geist’s wrath. From the awful silence, a quiet voice dispelled his fears: This is not how you are supposed to die, it said to him, in the voice of his wife, Helen, whom Dietrich had left behind to chase achievement and fame with Geist. It was her memory that had compelled Dietrich to escape with the prince, and her voice offered him comfort. Voice…

Willing himself to stand, Dietrich swayed clumsily back to the hidden panel where he had been working, and he uttered into the panel’s sensors one simple code, a saying of Helen’s that honored her memory and insulted Geist’s pride in his own power:
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
With the encryption finished, he prepared to depart—
“Doctor…you must go. You must not be captured,” Dietrich heard suddenly, and he froze with compassion; there was fear in the prince’s voice.
“I will come back for you,” Dietrich promised with wet eyes.

As Dietrich sealed the hidden panel upon the wall, he felt the prince crawling forward on his hands and knees. Reaching the escape hatch upon the Prince’s chest, Dietrich grasped its latch and pulled. Amazingly, the mechanical hatch still opened, revealing that the prince had indeed reached Promenade, not far from the hundred-foot steel wall that led up to the Jupiter Terrace. At its base, only several yards away, was a vaucan-sized service entrance.

Lowering himself down carefully from the prince’s chest to the forest floor, wincing with every step, Dietrich heard vaucans closing in from above, his view obscured by the towering trees around him. Hurriedly, Dietrich hobbled toward the open passageway, passing through it without looking back, too anguished to watch the prince’s capture. As the service entrance door slid closed behind him, explosions met his ears, along with shouts of surprise and blows being landed – the prince was making his last stand, buying him time to flee. Immensely thankful, Dietrich limped down the dark passage, following a track of red lights along the floor to a service hatch and ladder, which descended into a larger cavern meant for the ten-foot Proletariat-class vaucans that maintained the city.

Struggling upon ladder rungs and through cold passages for what seemed like hours, Dietrich descended further, glancing over his shoulder and listening for any sign of pursuit. A little further, and he would reach Lupercal – a series of interconnected tunnels carved into the Earth’s mantle that snaked through the foundations of Regnum Aeturnum. The technological paradise of above did not reach Lupercal; it was nearly inhospitable for humans and lower vaucan classes due to its unforgiving heat.

When he had at last passed from metal passages to warm, jagged rock, Dietrich collapsed in the recess of an infernal tunnel, devoid of strength. If any vaucans had hunted him this far, he had nothing left to give. Yet Dietrich could hardly afford to recover. He had to reach the one place where the prince would be held: the Genesis Chamber, the lowest level of the Great Spire, where the archvaucans and all their brethren had been created. If Dietrich could get there in time, he could still rescue the prince.

Dietrich laid his head upon the crude, earthen floor, utterly miserable. The outside world did not know that its freedom now hung by the thinnest of threads. They had to be warned, but rest was now most important. Strength had left Dietrich as he lay upon unforgiving ground, exhausted and in despair, and he thought of the only man whom Geist feared.
“If he can save us,” he prayed feebly into the dark, “please protect Brian Renney.”
Dietrich drifted into fitful sleep, uncertain about his survival and the outcome of his actions. Yet his act of rebellion would lead to a lasting freedom even greater than he could imagine – one that would last forever. Book Three Pages

The Author's Bio:

"SEAN C. SOUSA never planned on writing a novel – that is, until the idea for The Forever Saga came along. He first conceived it as a video game design concept, then a screenplay, and finally a written work of fiction. His debut novel, The Forever Saga: Flash, marks the end of one six-year journey toward publication, and also the beginning of another: to bring his stories to a worldwide audience.
His dream is to see fiction inspire positive social change in the world, calling attention to issues of social justice and mobilizing his readership to meet the needs of those afflicted.

Sousa resides in Southern California with his wife, Shelley, and when he is not writing further adventures about the Renney family, he is usually up to socially acceptable mischief with his friends and family."

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