Books, Books and More Books!!

Books, Books and More Books!!
Publications from Taki Drake

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Final Snippet before Publication! UnFamiliar Pathways

It is Sunday and time for another snippet! I am deep into the finish cleanup of the next book in the Familiar Magic series, titled UnFamiliar Pathways.

This story was planned for release today, but it will be another day or two. I do not want to send the manuscript out without following our quality checks, because I feel that it is disrespectful to my readers.

Remember!! This is not edited and may be altered before publication.

-------------------<<< Snippet 12 FAMM UPW >>>-----------------------

The discussion with Zhanna and Bolormaa had gone well. Neither woman had argued with TT’s plans or desires. Instead, they offered suggestions and guidelines, as well as a variety of assistance. The Seer told TT that she would check to see what her scrying bowl showed her about possible opportunities and dangers. At the same time, the young Witch promised to travel to the BHP and bring items that would possibly assist the Clothier in the construction of protective armor for Jack and the younger Persian.

The young Persian left that discussion feeling supported and loved. Her eyes burning with unshed tears, TT looked over at her friend, Dascha, as they paused by the portal that led to the BHP. Awkwardly, TT said, << I have not mentioned this enough, I know. However, I am honored and have been blessed to have you as a friend. If this is the last time we are together, please realize that you will hold a place in my heart until I draw my last breath. >>

The look in the eyes of the black Familiar spoke volumes, but her comment was typically snarky, << Only till then? I would have expected to have that spot reserved for several lifetimes, girlfriend! You need to work on your gratitude arc! >>

Choking on her own laughter, TT turned and walked into the portal, knowing that her friend understood. As the cat’s foot broke the plane of the doorway, she felt the familiar feeling of rushing through along to the twisted and turned until, between one step in the next, she was walking from a protected courtyard in Blagogarsk and striding into the warmth of a busy bar.

Waiting for TT were two smiling people. One was Madrik, the Anchor of the BHB, and one of TT’s favorite people, the warm and welcoming waitress, Wynn. It was the woman who broke into speech first, saying, “Welcome back, TT. I am so pleased to see you again! Are you here for something specific, or are you chasing after Jack?”

<< Yes, to both. I have several specific errands, but I am also chasing after Jack, >> answered the Persian.

Before either Madrik or Wynn could say anything else, a familiar mental voice intruded, asking TT, << Hello, Princess. Rumor has it that you and that old reprobate of an uncle are going to be making a rescue run back to our former home. Is that right? >> It was one of the Mercenary Guild members that had been initially part of a mercenary company under Dov that was voicing the question.

Surprised, TT answered, thinking that there was no need to keep there plan secret. << Yes, we are planning on going back and collecting whoever has managed to get to Paris for a final rescue run back here. Both Jack and I have been haunted by dreams of those that we left behind. While Jack sees it as his guilty conscience, both Bolormaa and Zhanna think it is a message to us from a deity or at least some higher power. After careful consideration, we decided that it is reasonable for us to attempt this. >>

The man turned to the others at his packed table, putting his hand out with the palm up and saying, “I told you, boys and girls. Now, pay up!”

The other men and women at the table laughed and began to lay money into his open palm. Still wearing a broad grin, the man turned back and asked, << Would you accept several people to go with you? >>

Startled, TT peered closely at the man’s face and saw shadows the same fears with which she had been dealing. Even from halfway across the room, she could feel the burden of guilt that lay on his shoulders, continually battering him with questions like, “How could I survive and escape when so many others died or have no chance to live?”

The Persian’s throat caught with a swallowed sob, and she murmured, << You do understand how dangerous this is and that anyone that goes has a good chance of being severely injured or killed? >> When the man nodded wordlessly, TT responded, saying only, << It would be helpful if we had a couple of humans to go with us. As determined as we are, at the bottom line, we are cats. No opposable thumbs and without a voice that most people can hear. I tell you, it significantly cramps my style! >>

The mercenary Witch immediately said, << My name is Fyodor, and I want to go with you. I keep dreaming about two members of our company that stayed back in Brasilov. I keep picking up feelings of fear and pain from them and hope that somehow they can get to Paris. Whether they make it or not, I can at least feel like I have done my part. >>

<< Welcome Fyodor. I need to go to the Clothier and talk to her about some protective armor. I believe that Jack and I will be ready to go within another day or so if that is possible for you. >>

Smiling, the mercenary Witch answered, << That is perfect. It will give me plenty of time to arrange for supplies for us and get them packed in a reasonable manner. >>

An abrupt movement at the bar startled TT and drew her gaze. A massively built man in the undress uniform of the new Mercenary Guilt had come to his feet and was striding back toward where the Persian cat was talking to Fyodor. Reaching the cluster of people around TT, the man completely ignored Madrik and Wynn. Locking his eyes on TT’s face, a gravelly mental voice said, <<Gennady Igorovich Kalinin. I wish to go also. >> Then as if tortured, the man added, << Please! >>

In a private aside to TT, Fyodor whispered, << Gennady never volunteers for anything! He is immensely powerful but as quiet and stubborn as the Earth. >>

Equally softly, TT asked, << Is he an Earth Elemental Witch? >>

<< Yes. >>

TT began to reply, planning on putting the man off, but then she saw the horror and the buried agony that shattered into shadows behind his eyes. Despite her best intentions, TT heard herself say, << Then, you may come with us. Welcome, Gennady, to what may very well be a suicide mission. >>

-------------------<<< End Snippet 12 FAMM UPW >>>-----------------------

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Last Snippet for UnFamiliar Pathways! Publishing this week!

It is Sunday and time for another snippet! I am working on several books right now, but the one on the last chapters is the next book in the Familiar Magic series, titled UnFamiliar Pathways.

I hope you enjoy this small preview of the story. I will continue to post snippets up each Sunday as I can. The feedback, suggestions, and other comments I get are much appreciated!

Remember!! This is not edited and may be altered before publication. And luckily that publication is coming soon!

-------------------<<< Snippet 11 FAMM UPW >>>-----------------------

Khan Oktai’s mental voice answered her thought, saying, << Probably for the same reason that very few people have heard of Familiars that are raptors. This world does not have much of a place for our kind any longer. >>

<< I do not understand how that can be true. Everywhere I look right now, the Familiars are helpful. And looking back at my life, I can see where the Witches I know would all have benefited and been thrilled to have someone closer than a friend and intertwined in their Magic, >> Chimeg answered.

<< The situation is made worse by the lack of qualified Russian Witches. Since Familiars will not bond with any Magic user that has slipped over into the darker uses of their Gift, and many Magic-user lines have lost the means or knowledge of maintaining their own honor and ethics. There simply are not many Witches or Mages left in this world that can bond with a Familiar. >> With that one last comment, the massive Black Eagle sprang into the air and headed out on his planned sentry sweep.

Chimeg knew that this was his periodic check to see what lay ahead of them, as well as a double check to detect any long-range pursuit that might have started. The young party leader felt more comfortable knowing that the big Familiar had taken responsibility for this aspect of their safety. However, she believed this subject needed to be reopened again, and soon. An amorphous sense of pressure and dread told her that it was important to continue the discussion, and any delay would be dangerous.

Muttering to herself, the young Journeyman started to think about the force that was driving her, realizing in a flash of insight that they needed to get to their goal quickly. At first unsure of why, Chimeg cast her mind around, trying to perceive the source of the warning. The young woman only had a split second of warning before a vision crashed into her, swamping her senses. A swirl of partially seen images surrounded her as she was pulled down deep inside the River of Time with only enough time to issue one incoherent mental alert as the familiar wrenching feeling of a Timedive overtook her.

Spinning and twisting in the familiar, but still frightening waters of the River of Time that ran through all aspects of time and choice, Chimeg concentrated on maintaining her sense of self. She knew from her training that without a clear boundary, a Seer would quickly be lost in the illness that inevitably killed all of their kind. Dochin had taught her well, so her practiced discipline kept her from fragmenting as the Timedive dipped her into the chaos of the River.

Focusing on sensory input that anchored her to the current reality surrounding her physical body, the young woman replayed the feelings of how her body stretched and moved during her ride, as well as the pungent smell of her horse and the sound of the Eagle Familiar’s takeoff. With these landmarks to help her, Chimeg managed to center herself well enough to take in the images that flashed with importance as they slid in front of her spectral vision.

Scattered among the fragmented glimpses of unconnected events, the young Seer managed to grab many of the fragments that glowed with the unique light she had learned to recognize as indicators of importance. Now bombarded with those pictures that she had saved, the Seer felt bruised and pummeled.

Chimeg dug deep inside of her core, mining her spirit and her strength of will to successfully navigate the minefield that she had ingested. Holding on with determination, and fighting the weakness of her body and doubts in her own ability, the young Journeyman fought the barrage to a standstill. Clutched into her insubstantial hands were a small number of unmoving images that would provide her guidance and clues on what lay ahead.

Her spirit body shook with exhaustion, and Chimeg could feel her heart stuttering and the rasping of breath in distant lungs. Frantically, she pieced the stabilized images together until, with a sudden flash of intense light and a loud snap of sound, the partially-seen images coalesced into a coherent message.

Feeling like she had been stabbed to the heart, Chimeg screamed at the top of her immaterial lungs, “We have to be there in three days! How are we going to make that distance?”

As soon as the tortured words ripped out of her throat and exploded into the strange atmosphere, Chimeg felt two large hands reach up from within the ground and grab her ankles, beginning to pull her down. Twisting and turning, the young Seer fought against an enemy that she had never encountered before. Frightened but unwilling to even divert one erg of energy or sliver of attention from where she was fighting for survival, Chimeg screamed, “Help Me!”

As the massive hands yanked her forcibly into the dirt, the young Seer felt a smashing entry of someone that she knew intuitively was her ally. Large arms swooped around her and brought her to cradle against a massive chest. A rumbling voice in her mind said, << I have you! >> before the exhausted Seer began to slip into the cushioning embrace of exhausted sleep.

Just as she lost consciousness, Chimeg’s body thrummed with the sound of a massive snarl. Comforted, rather than terrified by the reverberation, the young Seer’s fading senses brought her a powerful voice, roaring, “You shall not have her! She is mine, and I am hers!”

-------------------<<< End Snippet 11 FAMM UPW >>>-----------------------

Monday, June 22, 2020

Another Snippet for the Familiar Magic Series - Book is Almost Done!

It is Sunday and time for another snippet! I am working on several books right now, one of which is the next book in the Familiar Magic series, titled UnFamiliar Pathways.

I hope you enjoy this small preview of the story. I will continue to post snippets up each Sunday as I can. The feedback, suggestions, and other comments I get are much appreciated!

This book is almost finished with only a few chapters to go. Hopefully, in the next week, it will be published and I can turn my focus to finishing the next Vorcian book! Wish me luck!!

Remember!! This is not edited and may be altered before publication. And luckily that publication is coming soon!

-------------------<<< Snippet 10 FAMM UPW >>>-----------------------

Conveying the information to those that had no mindspeak, Chimeg and Gan Gerel turned back to the Eagle as Ganhsuk asked urgently, “What are they trying to protect from? Is it Blood Mages?”

The big avian huge beak one more time, and said, << Blood Mages would be easier. I could see some of the Tibetan Temple dogs in the back of the wagons, guarding the children, while a whole group of Tibetan mastiffs prowled around the perimeter. All of these I have seen at the Familiar Trials, so I am going to assume that they are also Familiar lines that have decided to emigrate. >>

Exchanging glances, Geriel and Chimeg both looked stunned. Almost whispering, the Healer asked her companion, “What are we going to do with them?”

The Seer shrugged her shoulders and said, “Dochin set out a call to Familiars. I would expect that is who responded. If they are Familiars, we can have a reasonable discussion and figure things out as a group.”

Geriel raised her voice, panic underlying it, and screeching, “How can you be so calm? It sounds like removing a whole horse herd and almost a zoo!”

First Chimeg and then Batsorig started to laugh. Pretty soon, all of the humans were laughing until tears ran down their faces. Struggling to stop, the Seer said, “I realize that is not what we planned, but that is what we have. I am sure that Dochin did not make a mistake when she called.”

The great Black Eagle ruffled his feathers and remarked, << I hope that viewpoint will survive the fact that there is a whole group of Bankhar dogs, and that is one of the things that the horses are trying to guard against! >>

Almost afraid to ask the question, Chimeg queried their scout << What else did you see? >>

<< I saw movement in the woods and brush, but could not get a clear view of the animals that skulked there. All I know is that most of them are larger than the typical cat Familiar. >> stated Kahn Oktai.

Murmuring aloud, Chimeg looked over at the warrior woman and stated, “I think this is very interesting. I cannot think of a large cat that has the capability of being a Familiar. Can you?”

A totally unknown voice pounced into the conversation, << Yes, we are all Familiar lines. The Blood Mages have been preying on our kittens, and the call from the old Seer fell on receptive ears. Three lines decided to come with you. Will you honor Dochin’s promise? >>

Immediately, Chimeg responded, << Of course. As my mistress promised, you are welcome to come with us. >>

Appearing as if they had sprung out of the ground were three different large cats. One looked like an extremely large house cat with a dense fur. Chimeg recognized it as the so-called Steppe cat, a tough ring-tailed cat that she knew did equally well in the desert and the cold mountains.

The other cat was approximately the same size but was more delicately formed. Moving with sinuous grace, it approached Chimeg and sat with its tail curled around its feet in front of her. The young Seer nodded her head in greeting, but her attention was pulled to the Healer, who uttered a strangled sound of fear.

Following her gaze, Chimeg saw something that she never could have predicted. Standing in a majestic pose, as if it wanted someone to paint its picture, was a huge snow leopard. The sun glinted off its light fur and accented the dark spots. Against the dramatic coat, the animal’s silvery-gray eyes appeared almost to glow. Moving closer to the humans, it stalked instead of walking.

The young Seer could hear the abortive movements of the warriors around her after their weapons. Only the Eagle Hunter stood still.

When the large cat was only a few feet away from Chimeg, it tilted its head to the side and scrutinized the young woman. There was a movement in the gaze, and the Journeyman Seer was conscious of a wave of approval.

Switching his focus to the other members of the party, the big leopard examined each of them before turning its attention to Geriel. Tilting his head further to one side, the big cat opened its mouth, displaying its huge fangs. Suddenly, a sound erupted from his throat, “Mew!”

There was a thump beside Chimeg as the Healer fainted, crashing onto the ground. Instantly, Ganhsuk swept the woman up in his arms and moved her away from the cat.

Trying with difficulty to keep a straight face, Chimeg looked at the leopard and said, << That was really cruel! >>

Making a purring sound, the leopard responded, << But you have to admit it was pretty funny! >>

-------------------<<< End Snippet 10 FAMM UPW >>>-----------------------

Monday, June 15, 2020

I won the writing contest! Cycle 5 in Inanna's Game on Wenebojo!!

I am stoked! The game people give us prompts and we have to pick on from each of three categories and incorporate them into a story. It was a blast! And I got the most votes!!

I am already looking forward to the next one!