28 Apr 2012

Part three: Caleth invades Troubled Waters

If you're looking for the letter 'Y', check on the right-hand side of the page. However, you might like to read this free mini story.

Today, I'll share the final part of a three-author serial. Caleath invades Troubled Waters. First, you'd better blog-hop over to see Rosalie Skinner, who began on Friday, followed by Edith Parzefall yesterday.

Beware! When serial snapshots collide mid-fiction, the future will never be the same.

Part III. Find out what happens as ... Caleath Invades Troubled Waters. 

Caleath risked the pain and lifted himself slowly onto one elbow, not wanting to alarm Wen.I swear you have nothing to fear from me, lady. On my life.
Wens hand clutched at her chest.
Food would be most welcome. Seriously, feed me and I promise I am not as scary as you think.
I see vipers, death, pain, loneliness…”
All true, lady, but they are not your problem. I am not going to harm you or hinder your quest.
Trevly stepped close, dropped the bodies of three hares on the ground beside Wen. He must have ended their lives out of Wen's sight.
 “Can you explain these? How do you know about our quest?
Caleath squinted into the morning light, reading Trevlys talent to commune with Mother Nature, his reverent love of all living things. For a moment Caleath absorbed the beauty of such skill and suffered a heartbeat of envy. His talent lay in malign use of magic. As Wen correctly pointed out, rarely did his use of power bring peace or healing. Recently the destruction he caused...
He didnt want to go there.
Humbled by Trevlys ability, he struggled to find words to explain.You hear Mother Natures voice in ways others miss. Lets say she spoke to me, too. Warned me how important Wens quest is. If I can do anything to helpWhile I am hereI am at your service.
I dont know if we should accept your help, or even help you.Wen twisted her hands together. “Since you woke, your tainted aura glows. All colours flowing into each other. No man can unite all these virtues … and vices.”
I understand.Caleath smiled.Lets not waste Mother Natures bounty, though. I believe the fire is still burning in the cave. I'll get some more burning logs.He struggled to his feet, ignoring Trevlys offer of help.The others seem to have left.
Others?Trevly darted a wary glance around.What others?
Dark woman, stunning, seductive. Giant of a man with huge fists and an adventurer more cunning than cowardly.Caleath touched the lump on the back of his head.I dont think they will return.” He strode toward the cave.
But if they did, it wouldnt worry you?Wens voice dripped with accusation.Even without a weapon.
He stopped and glanced over his shoulder. “I heard tell, if you resist a habit for twenty eight days, you can master it.Caleath grinned. “I am hoping to break a habit, so far so good. No, lady, they don’t worry me.”
Trevlyn skinned the hares when Caleath returned, like Prometeus carrying fire to humankind.
What habit? Let me guess…” Cerridwen half closed her eyes and turned her head, from one side to the other as though trying to see Caleath through a fog.You are trying to escape your ties with Death. I don't know if that's possible, although I admire your attempt. ”
Caleath twisted the ring on his finger.
You cant face what you have done.Cerridwen spoke with sympathy, her levity no longer evident.Trust Mother Nature. She'll never desert you in your hour of need.
Are you even one of Mother Nature's children?Trevly skewered pieces of meat.
Caleath huffed. “You might say she got violated by technology.”
“Teck-sheens?” Wen asked.
I shouldnt be here,Caleath muttered.It breaks so many rules. Chances are I wont remain long.
"Let me help you, Trevly," Cerridwen said and wrapped the meat in large leaves before placing the stick onto the smouldering wood.  
Trevly placed a hand on Caleath's shoulder then glanced toward the glittering sky.The stars are eyes watching you, watching your moves, your success, your failuresHow can that be?
The mans awed voice woke the rage buried within Caleaths chest. He shook his head.I cant tell you. This is the birth-place of human civilization, and the deathbed, and you are part of the rebirth. I cannot interfere.
You speak as if you are from another place. Do you not share our history?Wen settled by the fire and rubbed the bruises on her feet.
I'm mostly human, but not quite. Still…”
"What do you mean?" Trevly threw the last rabbit parcel onto the coals.
They didn't understand. Too primitive. Best to deflect them. Caleath glanced from his boots to Wens scratched and torn feet.I have no need of these boots, lady. I am not going anywhere until the transporter activates. Its my way home.
Your boots?Wens eyes lit up. Caleath dragged his footwear off and offered them to Wen. His feet werent much larger than hers.
Just dont tell anyone where you found them.
She reached for the boots with trembling hands. “Thank you. What a precious gift.”
“You're welcome. I should sleep some more while the meat cooks to give the nanobots, I mean my body, a chance to heal.”
* * * *
 With his hunger satisfied after their meal, Trevly stretched out between Caleath and Wen in the cave he'd shown them. He'd spread strands of grasses in a hollow, which offered a soft place to rest on the cold rock base. Wen had added their sleeping furs and lay curled up under her cape. Somehow, Trevly didn't enjoy the benefit of their luxury. Couldn't stop thoughts chasing each other through his mind.
After their meal, he'd led Caleath to a nearby stream to quench his thirst. He gave an inner chuckle. Both Wen and Caleath had stumbled over hidden roots in the forest--Wen in her unaccustomed boots and Caleath with his bare feet.
What a strange man. Or should he call Caleath a creature? While much about this man felt unnatural, he oozed emotions like animals. And the hares had offered their lives to feed the stranger. Trevly turned onto his side while he puzzled over the event. He could walk among a deer herd and kill the weakest without causing panic, but those hares had showed none of their normal fear and would have jumped into the fire on their own to restore the unnatural traveller.
Sleep wouldn't release him from his swirling thoughts. He opened his eyes and peered through the dim light of the cave. The same unsettling feeling overcame him as he gazed at the stars through the entrance. Eyes trained on Caleath, he puzzled over their predicament. The man breathed deeply. He offered no threat, if they could believe his words.
Trevly tried to calm his restless body, but couldn't shake off the sense of placing Cerridwen in danger. He pulled up his arm and buried his face in the bend. He concentrated on relaxing his muscles, while his senses remained alert to pick up on any sign of threat.
* * * *
Cerridwen rolled onto her side. Comfortable in the warmth generated by Trevlys body she drifted into sleep. A dream took her away. While she floated across a flowering meadow, the stranger sleeping beyond Trevly intruded. 
The dream world expanded and filled with light to reveal a city beneath a dome. Strange machines flew in the sky, accompanied by a hum. In the stale air, an odd glass and metal world blocked out the signs of life.
Then, she lost sense of herself and became Caleath, saw through his eyes into a room filled with rising water and heard his thoughts.
For a few of her host's heartbeats, Cerridwen shared his dismay, frustration and fear. Strange metal cuffs secured him to the wall as the room flooded. Water rose past his chest to his neck, covered his ears, then eyes, over the top of his head and on to the ceiling. Strangely, he didn't struggle for another breath as though death didn't concern him. No more air bubbled from his mouth. Still, he moved, searched his strange surroundings and yanked the chains in frustration. How could he remain under water for so long? Caleath's dread of spending eternal life at the bottom of the sea faded as another figure emerged. Judging by this rescuers pulsing red aura, death concerned him deeply.
The dream took a sudden twist and Cerridwen stared at an enthusiastic crowd welcoming Caleath. She floated above the scene as desperate bandits offered their loyalty. Caleaths aura showed his dismay. She understood how their need drove him to accept the burden of responsibility more binding than the chains in the flooded room. His multi-coloured aura pulsed clear, reflecting the constant order of a rainbow. Compassion prompted his actions.
The forest dissolved into a dim cave. Seeing through Caleaths eyes, Cerridwen watched a creature struggle against its inevitable demise.
The beasts form filled a cavern thick with the scent of hot metal and acrid smoke. Green light reflected off burnished scales as huge bat-shaped wings fanned the fetid air. The creature she recognised from folklore stories should not exist. A dragon from the myths of ancient Britland turned its head toward Caleath, who scrambled from his refuge, determined to save the dragon from danger.
His voice echoed inside her head.Why are you here? This is dangerous ground you tread. What could you learn? I would not have you hurt.
Unsure if the speaker could really know she shared his mind and senses, she didnt answer.
Caleaths thoughts continued.
Is compassion a strength or a weakness?
Cerridwen shared her thoughts without the need for words.You saved the dragon's life... She could have killed you, but you didn't harm her.
That was her original goal. She accepted failure but now she has saved my life on numerous occasions.
You and the dragon are friends?
Caleath laughed.I am bound to her. I wouldnt go so far as to call it friendship.
When his laughter died, another vision formed where a forest glade hosted an army of strange creatures, like wolves walking upright, clad in clothes like people.
Caleaths anger jolted her. He struggled with his aversion to work magic and open a way for these strange beasts to reach their own world. His compassion and anger battled for dominance.
His voice sounded pained.Compassion: strength or weakness?
She glimpsed moments spanning years spent avoiding sorcery, strange before-times magic, with him wishing he didn't need to refuse the power offered for his use. Despite keeping his oath, his actions and presence evoked fear in those around him.Again, bound by an impulsive act. The cost...
In a heartbeat, darkness enveloped Cerridwen.  Twelve separate entities approached from the shadows.
Caleath stood silent. A blood oath given years before bound the enraged Caleath to evil. Compassion no longer existed in his heart. Only leashed power and a hunger beyond her understanding surged through him. She froze when the twelve beings raised their heads and pierced through Caleath as if they sensed her presence.
Welcome, lady. Come, we have the answers. All you need to know and more. Your quest is worthy of our attention. We offer you unlimited power, accept us, and allow us to aid you. Say the word and we will serve you...
Her body lurched. Rough hands shook her.
Jolted from sleep, Cerridwen caught Trevlys arms before he bruised her. Caleath crouched close, not touching her. Concern etched his face.
Frustration surged through her at the interruption.Why did you wake me?she gasped.My vision offered answers. Perhaps I could have helped Britland if only you'd let me stay.
Our friend,Trevly stressed the word, reminding Cerridwen of her doubt,said you were in danger.
They offered me a glimpse of everything I need to know. Answers.She glared at Caleath. When his multi-coloured aura shimmered with concern, she softened her tone.What danger? Those beings, the darkness...
You see them as vipers... contaminating my soul. I thought them under control. I ask you... if we do the wrong things for the right reasons, is there a chance we can redeem ourselves?
Trevly touched her shoulder. “Waking you was the right thing to do. You thrashed about, frantic.
 Cerridwen lifted a hand, unable to answer Caleath’s simple query without destroying his hope. She forced a smile and reassured Trevly.You saved me from harm.She focused on Caleath.We all have destinies to fulfil. If we question every action and don't listen to our hearts... we'll never succeed.
Caleaths smile lit his eyes as he glanced toward Trevly before grasping Wens extended fingers and brushing his lips across the back of her hand.
Even evil can serve a purpose.His smile faded.Or so I believe, else I am doomed.The smile returned as he faced Trevly.Not every enemy remains your foe. Treat each encounter with an open mind and I think you will succeed in making your mark on this world.
Had she helped him at all? She never doubted the strength of her own compassion, though she rarely considered the cost involved. Knowing other cultures existed, whether they came from the future, or another world, gave her quest even more purpose. She would keep the images of his strange life safe in her memory to contemplate when things seemed too difficult.
Caleath dropped her hand. Trevly fixed him with a wary gaze but remained silent.
I guess while we continue living, we keep on learning.” Caleath laughed. “Wisdom isnt cut and dried.
Cerridwen tilted her head. "Trevly and I have much to learn."
“Careful what knowledge you adopt. Ignorance can be a blessing.”
If she wove images from her strange dream visions into her story-telling, listeners would doubt her sanity, but she knew the truth.


  1. And some readers might doubt our sanity. :-) A shame the the fun is ending now, but who knows for how long...

  2. It has been great fun and a new experience making characters meet and interact.
    Sanity? hehe Where's the fun in that?

  3. Boundless opportunities open up if authors link their books. I've loved every minute of working with Edith and Rosalie on this project.

  4. Great excerpt--and linking books is a cool concept!

  5. interesting read, francene... thanks for stopping by my post.....

  6. So much energy in these authors, no wonder their characters have such energentic, troublesome and exciting adventures in their own worlds. Great fun. I wish all three mega sales in their own right.


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