Sunday, May 17, 2020
Another Sunday, Another Snippet
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 Vorcian Imperial Chronicles, titled Power Surge. This is the third book in the series. It continues the story of Corda Devlin Watern, a student at the Barkin Prime Academy.
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.
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Corda still felt strange about moving about the spaceship. The opulent interior and the servants that surrounded her grandmother intimidated her. Even when she had been an acknowledged member of the wealthy Watern family, they had not lived like this.
The young woman knew that her grandmother was quite amused by her awkwardness with servants, but Corda wondered if Misha really understood the problem. Growing up, the only people that really seem to care about me were the servants. My happy moments occurred mostly with them unless Bertor was home, she thought to herself.
Of course, now it would not be really appropriate for her to go hide with the servants. In her position as the Imperial Seer, her grandmother was expected to interact with many different types and ranks of people. That meant, as much as she dreaded it, that Corda would be meeting and interacting with those people also.
As the young woman exercised her healthy appetite on the plate of perfectly cooked food that had been set in front of her, she reassured herself mentally, thinking, at least I have a few years before I have to really step up to that. I know Nona wants to present me at court after I graduate. That gives me several years to get brushed up on all the protocol, memorize titles and names, and learn more about how to safely navigate the political environment.
Suddenly, the room felt colder and darker, and Corda knew that she was experiencing one of the strange episodes that had haunted her since she survived the multiple near brushes with death a few months ago. Sometimes those episodes took the form of a panic attack, while others seem to be as if she was trapped in a virtual reality game, showing her pictures of situations and places that she did not know.
Both the Healer that came to help her physically recover and the gentle and supportive old friend that her grandmother had called in to talk to Corda had told her that it was inevitable that she had some leftover reactions. Even knowing that, the young woman tensed as vague feelings of danger and warning became more forceful and strident.
The back of her neck ached as if someone was taking aim at it, and the area between her shoulder blades itched. Trying to calm her breathing, Corda felt like she was arm-wrestling for control. Unable to see any specific attacker or opponent, Corda felt herself reaching for a weapon, and unable to find one.
Waves of panic flowed over her, and Corda focused on breathing her way through the pressures that might have once crushed her. The young woman pulled up the remembered mantra of the Healer, who had coached her through several episodes. In Corda’s memory, bright blue eyes stared at her, and a soft age-roughened voice repeated a calm litany, “Breathe in through your nose, as you push your awareness outside of you to check for danger. Hold your breath for a count of three before releasing it through your mouth. Count to three, then repeat.”
Corda felt her body being buffeted with sharp pushes from many directions. There was no consistency to the blows, just disorienting and distracting pinpricks of attack that did not seem to have a purpose. Still focused, she kept up her breathing in time with the remembered voice, expanding her awareness wider with each breath.
By the time the images that surrounded her started to thin, Corda felt more centered and in control. She had pushed her awareness to far beyond the enclosing decks and walls of the spaceship as part of her breathing exercise. Relieved that she had found no sense of danger within that sphere, Corda felt her muscles start to relax as the dark, swirling cloud that had surrounded her seemed to dissipate in the light of the dining room.
Abruptly, the episode ended, leaving Corda limp with relief. Her hands shaking, the young woman grabbed the glass of water in front of her and drained it in a single gulp. Smelling the acrid odor of fear on her skin, she half rose from the table to go and take another shower when her grandmother came into the room.
Usually, Misha greeted her granddaughter with a cheerful comment, but the Seer was notably silent this time. Instead, the older woman walked into the room with a frozen face, searching for her granddaughter. When the Seer’s eyes met Corda’s, the young girl could see layers of concern and worry in her Nona’s expression.
“Nona, what is wrong? Has something happened to Bertor?” quickly demanded Corda, starting toward her grandmother. Immediately, Misha raised a hand to stop her grandmother, pointing commandingly toward Corda’s chair.
The Seer did not answer the question until she was sitting at the table and had both hands wrapped around her usual hot cup of morning drink. Only when the hovering servant had been sent out of the room did Misha speak to her granddaughter.
“I cannot say that there is something specifically wrong, Corda. And Bertor is just fine, as are all of your friends. However, I am afraid there has been a change in plans. I just received a summons from the Emperor. He wants me back in his court as soon as possible.”
Corda was conscious of a flash of disappointment but understood the demands of duty. Smiling at her grandmother, the young woman said, “I understand, Nona. Will you have time to drop me off, or am I catching a connecting transfer to go back home?”
The worry in Misha’s face became more evident as she said, “You will not be heading back to Barkin Prime now. Instead, the Emperor requested your presence at my side when I rejoined his court.”
Startled, Corda blurted out, “Why? I am just a student!”
“I do not know, my dear. I cannot understand the Emperor’s motivation, and that worries me. To my knowledge, this is the first time that the Emperor has ever made such a request.”
When Corda stared in horrified disbelief at her grandmother, the Seer’s frustration and worry came out in the tone of her slightly raised voice. “I have no idea what is going on, and that is never a safe place to be when dealing with Imperial politics. This is probably going to be the most dangerous thing that you have ever done, and I am limited on what I can do to protect you.”
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