Books, Books and More Books!!

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

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Snippet 01 from the next book in the Familiar Magic Series - Unfamiliar Pathways


I am hard at work on multiple books right now. One of them is another adventure for TT, the scarred, white Persian Familiar. I thought you would find this snippet interesting.

Remember that this section is unedited, please.
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Exhausted, TT collapsed onto the stony ground and panted, breath burning in her throat and swirling with the taste of sweat in her lungs. She couldn’t remember a time in her life that she had hurt more or been as tired. All the young cat wanted to do, was lie still and try to remember how to breathe. It was soon evident, that was not going to be an option.

<< Come on, TT. We need to move faster! Lives could depend on us, and we shouldn’t be this slow. >>

<< At least, let me catch my breath! >>

<< The Trials won’t give you the time to relax, and you know that real life doesn’t either. >>

<< I am still recovering! >>

<< Welcome to the real world, Princess. Now, get your furry white butt up and let’s run through this course again. >>

Slave driver! TT thought to herself. Even though Dascha was her best friend, the Familiar didn’t understand that others might be just mortal. Well, that isn’t really fair, either. Dascha is just trying to whip me into shape for the Trials. After all, we don’t have much time to get ready. And I did promise to help her exercise her skills, too.

TT wasn’t exactly sure how she had gone from helping Dascha to prepare for the Familiar Trials and practicing for them herself. The white Persian had tried to argue that she was not a Familiar any longer, but that certainly hadn’t worked. Dascha’s response had been short and sweet.

<< You are still a Familiar! That didn’t change simply because you had a creep for Witch who repudiated and tried to kill you. It just means that you are unbonded, and that is no excuse for letting your skills deteriorate. >>

Frustrated, TT had complained in turn to her Uncle Jack, but he had been even less sympathetic. First, he had made a hissing sound of derision and then treated her to his distinctive stare that said how much he was disappointed in her attitude and behavior. When he thought that she had gotten that message, a verbal chastisement was added.

TT had never heard her Uncle Jack sound quite like he did that day, when he said, << Many Familiars go through periods where they are not bonded. I still consider myself a Familiar because I have the capability of supporting a Witch, but I am simply not connected to one right now. In the future, you may choose a new Witch, and it would be pretty stupid for you to have let your skills wither. >>

Stumbling over her words in a rush to explain, TT found herself whimpering and whining. Jack listened for a little while before interrupting her, << I know the whole situation was horrible. You almost died and encountered a very evil magic user. I also know that you’re scared to touch your skills for fear that exercising that part of your abilities might bring her back. That won’t happen. >>

<< The danger is too great! She found me before by my abilities. What if she finds me again? >>

<< Then Zhanna and Dascha will protect you. I will help you. You have friends here and allies. Trust in us, even if you can’t trust yourself. >>

<< It would just be safer for everybody if I never touched my magic again. >>

<< You can let that disgusting excuse for a Witch triumph and avoid your own strengths to stay hidden. But ask yourself this question. Why would you want to give her that power over you? Does she deserve to destroy a beautiful, strong part of you? Are you still letting her win? >>

The young and scarred white Persian had no response to that. Neither Jack nor Dascha pushed her anymore that day, but nightmares plagued TT’s sleep that night.

The overwhelming waves of pain that the Witch that supposedly loved her Familiar had inflicted crashed against the young cat’s subconscious like ocean waves pounding on the shore. A parade of images appeared and disappeared, like a roster of all those that helped her. TT's sleep was fragmented, and she woke more tired than when she went to bed.

Dragging her aching body out of the warm bed by Baba’s fire in the new cottage, TT walked to the practice yards that Dascha was using for training and conditioning. Without any further discussion, the white Persian began to mirroring Dascha and Jack’s exercises. Neither of the other two cats made any comment, respecting both her presence and her courage.

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

A Perfect Writing Weekend!



This is another writing weekend for me. I am hoping to get a substantial amount done, and the setting is good! No extra work, no security calls, I am not sick or hurting more than usual, dogs are content, cat sound asleep in the sunlight on a wooden floor, looking peaceful.



Monday, May 6, 2019

Snippet from Mage Ascendant - a Spanner in the Unfettered Mage Series



This is a small snippet from the spanner in the TUFM series. Remember that it is unedited!
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The hardened mercenary officer dreaded this possibility with a backdrop of fear that goaded him into action, shortening his sleep, and pushing him into a flurry of intelligence gathering. Logic and intuition both told him that this was the most straightforward answer. It was the one most dangerous to him and his, and likely two the Galaxy at large.

If such a Mage had emerged in possession of their powers, how would they contain and control such a force? How could they determine if, and how, to fight that power?

No traditional source of information, no contact, no quiet query Gwilliam had tried resulted in even a hint of the driving force behind the Insectoid disappearance. Solving that mystery would require a defter touch than the Mercenary Commander possessed.

For the skills and power that was required, Gwilliam needed a mind unrestricted by the usual perception of time. With unsettling feelings of dread, Gwilliam acknowledged that something far beyond his talents and skill was demanded.

There was one place he knew to find that talent. It was a dangerous location for him and his crew, especially now. As much as he had cast his mind around looking for another solution, any solution, the answer came back to one option.

He would have to take a trip to the colony of Seers’ Rock.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Snippet - Fleet Genesis - Snippet 2


Note: This snippet is unedited!

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<< Alan, wake up, please. Alan, WAKE UP!! >>

<< What? What’s the problem? >> grouched the man, resenting the interruption of a pleasant dream.

The telepathic touch of his AI weapon finally registered, sending a cold chill down the former Marine’s spine and bringing him to full alert. It had been a decade since he had felt that sort of urgency from the intelligent gun that was his constant companion. He wasted only a brief flash of regret on that memory, having long ago made peace with his altered circumstances.

<< There are people approaching, and the pattern of their movement says that they are not friends. >>

Old patterns reappear under moments of stress and Alan was no different than the rest of his old unit. << Report! >> he demanded.

<< Approximately five minutes ago, two vehicles approached our property. One of them stayed at the end of the drive and remains closed up. The other came halfway down the driveway, and a squad in loosely disciplined order spread from the vehicle leaving the driver inside. >>

<< Are there other signs of activity? >> 

Alan knew that the capabilities of the new weapon that housed his old friend included some features that hadn’t been fully explored by the two of them. The old soldier knew that that was really his fault. 

Arturis, the AI, had tried to share his enthusiasm for his new home, but Alan had sunk so far into despair that he couldn’t manufacture the energy.

Quickly, the AI detailed the invaders’ set up of an observer post within the clump of trees closest to the house and their concealment of manacles in a bag that two men were now carrying toward the front door.

Grunting in effort, Alan swung himself into his motorized wheelchair and strapped the safety restraint across his waist. His mind was working furiously as he considered options, but could not find a clear course of action. 

Quickly, he asked his companion, << Do you have any suggestions? I can’t think of a defensible position here. >>

The AI’s mental voice was hesitant as he said, << You know that I have been playing a little bit with the upgraded capabilities that we have since Archmage Ruth replaced the old gun. >>

At Allen’s acknowledgment, Arturis continued, << Some of those capabilities allow me to monitor and set up other units. Since you have been sleeping so much, I’ve been amusing myself by exploring the things that I can do. Some of your old unit members, both biological and AI, have been generous in supplying items for me to play with. >>

<< Stop worrying about whether I’m going to approve, and just tell me what options we have! We can argue about it later, but you know as well as I do that I’ve just been crawling into a hole. You shouldn’t feel responsible for that. It is my own cowardice, not yours. >>

Alan knew that the AI wanted to reassure him that it wasn’t cowardice, but the old soldier knew that he had been shutting down. He could feel the exact moment when Arturis decided to cut to the chase. 

The AI went back into reporting mode as he said, << I placed observational units that are very small around our property. I also deployed some perimeter defenses that are not individually very powerful but in aggregate will be a deterrent. Additionally, the perimeter of the house is guarded by stronger armor and weapons. >>

The wheelchair-bound former soldier felt an energizing wash of power run through him, and he sat up straighter in his motorized vehicle. An unfamiliar expression stretched his face, and he was surprised to realize that he was smiling.

<< Activate whatever passive protections that we have. Bring any weapons online that we need but don’t fire until they reveal their intentions. >>
<< Done. I don’t think we are going have to wait long since they are climbing the porch steps right now. >>

Alan sent his wheelchair toward his front door while slipping his gun into his left hand. He was almost at the door when the hollow reverberation of strong knocks echoed through his mostly empty hallway.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Alan chose not to answer that preemptory sound and waited for a moment. He heard the murmur of conversation on the outside of the door but could not make out any specific words. 

Arturis said over their bond, << One of them wants to break in through the window, the other wants you to position yourself right by the door so they can take you out quickly. Apparently, they are after me, but they have orders not to kill you. >>

A sharp stab of fury brought a snarl to the retired soldier’s face as the threat to his companion did what no concern of his own danger would ever have done. The man who had been the leader of the planetary Marines for over a decade, commanding from the front lines, was on the edge of going berserk. Every one of his protective instincts had kicked in and what had been a mild challenge was now something far more severe.

“Maj. Culhane, the Council commands your appearance. You are directed to come with us, so please open the door.”

Arturis murmured, << That is the senior of the two. He probably thinks that we have a camera on the door because he is waving a fancy document in the air in front of it as if we were stupid enough to fall for that. >>

The snarl on the major’s face became a little more amused as he answered out loud, “I think you are confused, sir. I do not live in the town ruled by the Council, and I am no longer a member of the military under their command. In fact, since they disbanded the Navy, they have no military to command.”

Another voice intruded, snarling contemptuously, “You may have been important many years ago, old man, but now you have to obey your betters. Open this damn door, or we will break it down.”

“You are trespassing on private property, gentlemen. Please leave immediately, or I’m going to call law enforcement.”

The angry voice from outside continued at a shouting level, “They won’t do you any good, because we are going to have you gone before then. So open up the damn door and maybe we won’t kill you.”

Arturis said, << All defenses are now on active mode, and the weapons on the perimeter are live. Do you want to direct them? >>

<< You’re the one who’s been playing with them, not me. Don’t respond with deadly force unless they do something outrageous. Then let’s figure out what we are going to do because these jerks have seriously annoyed me! >>

In a private part of his mind, Arturis thought to himself, I suppose it is reprehensible of me, but I can’t help but be glad for the stupidity of these two. And the idiocy of whoever ordered them here. If I would’ve known long ago that attacking us would bring Alan out of depression, I would’ve engineered it myself.

No whisper of that came through their bond, and the old soldier was not interrupted as he listened to the forces outside start to deploy. The low hum of a force field could be felt in the hallway as the house defenses became active and ratcheted up. Curses from the two men on the porch started suddenly as small, and irritating shock attacks began to force their retreat from the house’s foundation.

Trusting his longtime companion, Major Alan Culhane (retired) set about planning the downfall of his enemies with a smile and reenergized appreciation for life.

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