In The Gathering, I follow the story of Aerandir's brother Shirak and Gem, the daughter of the villain from The Quickening. In this book I begin to give you guys more of Rikashi society and a little taste of their religion/beliefs. Writing this one was both easy and difficult. It was very easy because Shirak has been with me for a very long time and I know his character well. On the other hand, it was a bit of a challenge because his patterns of speech and thought are so different from mine. He rarely uses any contractions and is very stiff and proper but he's still a fun guy at heart. Just don't let him hear me say that. Gem came at me, kinda out of the blue. Delilah is not only a talented writer but she has taught herself how to make 3D renders in DAZ Studio. She sent me a work in progress and I had this instant recognition. I knew the woman in the picture but I couldn't figure out how. Then soon after I finished The Quickening, it hit me. I knew who she was and Gem was born.
The Gathering introduces not only a deeper understanding of these two but also brings in several more characters who fuel the next books coming in the series. These characters are drawn together by a mysterious vision and a prophecy. As an avid reader, I'm always cautious when reading a book writh a prophecy. Its easy to let the foretold future take over the characters, driving them into choices blindly. My hope was to avoid that in The Gathering, having the prophecy guide the story and allow those within it to still make their own decisions.
Here's a taste of what you'll find inside :
“How is he?” I asked, more out of curiosity than actual concern. To be honest, I didn’t entirely mind this Maedhros.
“No different,” Corilla said with a snort. “And don’t expect that I won’t tell him.”
“I haven’t done anything,” I protested, trying to think what I could have done.
She pointed at the dragon lying next to Maedhros. A tremor went up my spine, and Corilla smiled with malice. “Exactly. Now get in the kitchen.”
My shoulders slumped and I turned, heading in that direction. It was a horrible thought to have about one’s father but I prayed to whatever gods were out there that Maedhros would never get better. Of course, my prayers had never been answered before so why would they be now?
“What would you like?”
“It doesn’t matter, just fix something and don’t burn it.”
“Yes, Corilla.” I began to make a simple meal of eggs, bacon and toast.
While I worked, I listened to Corilla attempting yet again to pull our father back from wherever he had retreated to in his mind. She had long ago run out of arguments and now was just repeating things she had said before. Mostly, she kept telling him to not listen to that human.
I don’t know what Josephine said to him but whatever it was, it had cut him deeply. I hoped he would never come out of this catatonia. For the first time in nearly eighty years, I wasn’t constantly on edge, the tremors that often shook my hand came less and less.
Of course, my half-sister still ordered me around but mostly she just demanded meals and clean clothes for when she had to travel in human form. I had even bought myself a book the last time I went grocery shopping and read it three times already. Part of me cautioned against getting used to this new freedom. Maedhros would come out of his dark mood and it would all end. I would have to do his bidding once again.
Maybe I could run away now. I could tell Corilla I was going shopping and just never come back. Where would I go? I didn’t really have anywhere to run to.
No, that wasn’t true. Before she died my mother had given me a name. Calidan. I could find him. He wasn’t among the Rikashi Maedhros had killed so he must still be alive.
Could I make it to Calidan before Maedhros found me? I had to try. It was time I stopped letting my father control my life, stopped letting him make me use my abilities to harm.
For some reason that resolution made me feel incredibly light. I knew it was the right thing to do. Even if I didn’t succeed, at least I would have tried.
I finished the breakfast, complete with a plate of chunks of bloody meat for the dragon hatchling. Balancing them on my arm, I started for the living room, but a tolling bell, bright and musical, sounded in my ears, making my head spin. I stumbled as faces flashed in my mind. The plates slipped from my arm, crashing onto the floor. I fell to my knees amid the broken china not feeling the shards dig into my skin.
My own image was included in those that flashed before my mind’s eye and the twelfth lingered longest. A Rikashi with long, violet hair and kind, blue eyes. I knew that face. “It is time. Come.” The final image was a huge mansion, nestled among forests with smaller houses dotted around it.
“What are you doing, you idiot?” Corilla’s sharp voice broke through the daze left by the strange vision.
I looked up at her and then back at the breakfast scattered on the floor. “I-I tripped.”
“Clean it up and make more. Gem, you are useless.”
Useless. Yes, that was me, poor, pathetic, useless freak. “I-I’m sorry.”
Corilla stood in the doorway, supervising my clean up of the broken plates. I was dumping the last of it into the garbage when I heard Maedhros speak, making me freeze in mid action.
The effect his voice had on Corilla was exactly the opposite. She squealed with glee. “You’re well again!”
“Find Josephine.” The pure hatred and promise of death in those two words sent a shudder up my spine. It made me think of a viper, coiled and ready to strike.
“Of course. We’ll make her pay for her lies.”
I turned in time to see Corilla dashing out of the room.
“What are you going to do to her?” I hardly believed the question came out of my mouth.
Maedhros stalked across the kitchen toward me. My heels hit the wall before I even realized I was backing away from him. The Great Dragon hatchling sat on Maedhros’s shoulders, looking at me with thinly veiled disgust.
“What concern is it of yours?” he asked, his eyes narrowed.
I started to lower my gaze from his. I should have said, ‘no concern, please forgive me’ but instead I said, “Haven’t you hurt enough of our people? Isn’t it time to end this insane mission of yours?” I was stunned that I’d stood up to him. Where had the courage to say that come from? I was a coward and had no qualms about accepting the label.
His hand moved, and I flinched. Whatever fire had blossomed within me faded as quickly as it had come.
Video for Gathering - http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Blog - www.antoniatiranth.blogspot.