Hello readers! Progress on the Sun Child Chronicles continues. I just returned the final round of edits on Ciarrah’s Light (book 3), to the publisher, I have the mockup of a fabulous cover from Catt Ford (which I wish I could share, but can’t), and we’re rolling on to final preparations for an October release. Since I haven’t shared here in a while, I thought I’d stop in and talk about one of my favorite things about the Sun Child Chronicles—its sci-fi roots.
Ethra, main character Lucky’s home world, has little of what we think of as technology. They still use candles for light and fires for heat, and the books are full of swords and horses, talismans and spells. But I’ve mentioned before that the core of my idea for the series came from quantum physics and string theory, which proposes the likelihood of multiple dimensions, possibly with worlds proceeding in parallel fashion on each one. In the series, Ethra and Earth are twinned worlds occupying roughly the same position in space, but with varying time streams and different environments. In book three, a third world, Terrathia, is introduced, and it could not be more different from Ethra. There, science ruled, intelligence valued above all else. That proved to be a problem in the end—for the Terrathians, but also for Earth and Ethra, after the Terrathians got desperate. Here’s one of the book’s short prologues, to give you a hint of the trouble in store for Lucky, his friends, and Ethra in Ciarrah’s Light.
Pahlanus, Ancient Prime of Terrathia, sat uncomfortably in a chair made for Earthborns in the Valley City, California boardroom of an Earth enterprise known as Allied Biotech, Incorporated. The five Earthborns present, though touted as their world’s leaders in what they called “bio-development,” seemed to Pahlanus rather dull-witted. That suited his purposes, but he wondered: if these were Earth’s best minds, how had they ever managed to uncover the secrets of DNA and gene-splitting?
In many ways, though, even the crude Earthborns had advanced their technology beyond the Ethrans. To a refined Terrathian Prime, the people of Ethra seemed farmers to a man, with no more education or insight than what was required for ploughing or woodcraft. Yet Pahlanus knew this to be deceptive. In the sciences, Ethra clearly remained a backwater. Yet it had been Ethrans who’d best learned to manipulate energy with their minds, to channel that energy work into instruments, charms, and talismans for even greater strength. This excellence could be accounted for by the sheer abundance, in Ethra, of the particular energy they employed. They called it magic, but it was life force, and it sustained their world. Perhaps because of their attunement with that deep energy, Ethrans were also the first to find the double-sided, hollow, interdimensional barrier they called Naught. And, astonishingly, they’d been the first among the triplet worlds to understand the permeable nature of that boundary and exploit its weakest sections, using them as portals to other dimensional realities—other worlds.
Pahlanus shifted the pillows stuffed between his narrow Terrathian body and the arms of the chair. They provided not-quite-enough support, and the longer he sat, the more his long spine tended to curve in ways it shouldn’t, and his tall head, with only his own stiff collar to help his undeveloped muscles, seemed very heavy. Yes, he was physically uncomfortable, and alarmingly aware of it. This was another sign of Terrathian decline, which is what had brought him to this meeting.
Life-splitting, or gene-splicing as used in Earth, had been discovered in that backwater world only forty or so years earlier, but in Terrathia time had moved differently, and many generations had passed since the appropriated science had first been used in the laboratories of great Terrathian Primes. Pahlanus himself had made the key connection, adding Ethran life-force magic as a wedge to accomplish true life-splitting. With these tools, all emotional baggage—and unnecessary physicality—had been sequestered away. The Terrathian Primes were perfected, and mining lives provided all the energy needed to keep these superior beings nourished.
After many years of progress, Pahlanus was the foremost example of the end result. He was all mind, his brain capacious, attached physically to a minimal body able to handle objects and move him from place to place. His emotional “Echo,” to use a translation of the Terrathian term, had been bundled into an ethereal, barely visible form loosely bound to him by a cord of energy. For the hundreds of years he’d lived in this state, he’d been able to ignore the presence of the Echo entirely, allowing it to feed silently from the life force he consumed in lieu of material food.
Like other Primes, Pahlanus increasingly found himself aware of both physical and emotional discomfort, for the separation from the Echo had weakened. Terrathian life force, even supplemented as it had been by the energies of Ethra and Earth, had become scarce, for in their exuberant pursuit of perfecting themselves, his kind had failed to realize the resource did not infinitely renew itself. As Terrathia died, they’d taken emergency measures and stockpiled life-force energy, enabling them to create a small, temporary, substitute world. It could not be sustained indefinitely, but it must be maintained until the Primes of Terrathia had regained sufficient strength and physicality to colonize elsewhere.
To do that, they would need a vast amount of pure life force.
Pahlanus cleared his long, serpent-slender throat, preparing to speak in the reedy remnant of his voice. He surveyed the five heavy-featured Earthborns present, and then locked his gaze on the glowing eyes of the single Ethran attendee. In a deplorably emotional quest for vengeance and power, this woman had cooperated with an experiment of Terrathian science. That test had succeeded. Though technically dead, the Ethran woman now existed and acted in a kind of quasi-location between Naught and the living worlds.
The Earthborns at last ceased their prattle and looked toward Pahlanus expectantly. He spoke, his words barely loud enough to break the silence.
“Gentlemen, my lady Liliana. We need your children.”