Friday, October 27, 2006

Dear Readers:

If you want to read the 10,000 words of Arrival, posted here in nine episodes, please go down the sidebar until you find Arrival, Episode One, and start from there. In time, you will be able to read a novel called Arrival, but it's WIP (work in progress) right now.

I must announce a switch of material for this ongoing serial. Nothing is wrong, but my publisher has expressed an interest in my turning this material, and the next 75,000 words that I've been writing this summer, into a novel. In consequence, I'm not going to be publishing any more on the blog; certainly not before it's rewritten for its new purpose.

I do have other material that comes from older novels, with scenes that I like too much to set aside, so over the next few weeks I will be revising and polishing some to post to this blog. As you may note, the serial was a new venture for me, and I've learned from it. (Mostly learned about me, perhaps.) I cannot write episodes and send them out as written, they have to be vetted a bit, and some revisions made. I have to write on further into the story to ensure the path they take is actually going the right way. Not that it was ever in doubt, but I'm no Dickens, who could write whole novels that were published in newspapers as weekly serials.

The Internet is a venue that most writers today find important to be represented on, so this blog is just one of my online ventures. I have links to my website and another blog somewhere in the sidebar. Most writers chat about their writing lives, and pass out information about their novels, written as well as in progress. Fine when they have published novels, but the first of my two that has been accepted may not hit the public before June 2007. I don't think I can expect any fan inquiries before readers have read my novels.

I didn't set up this site for any feedback (a mistake perhaps?) but you can get at me through the email address in my profile. If anyone wants to chat about writing, promotion of writing, or almost anything else, you could send me a note. Maybe I can post it on this blog until I'm ready to post a new serial.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Episode 9, Arrival © C. J. Hoare 2006.
All rights reserved.

Scroll down to Previous Posts to select Episode 1 and start from the beginning.

They marched back to the Intruder, alert for any further appearance of the locals, but none came. Her two prisoners shambled along in the middle of the group between the guards, Gisel behind them with the drawn rapier. Before they reached the aircraft they met the rest of M'Tov's investigation team. His guards formed a wider defensive perimeter around all of them with their rifles at the ready.

The prisoners stared wide eyed at the aircraft as they approached. Another stranger, a prisoner she hadn't noticed before in the middle of M'Tov's team, halted – bringing the column to an abrupt stop. He raised a shining mandala on a chain around his neck and murmured some words before continuing on, under the tail.

M'Tov moved beside her. "This is the one we found in the village." The man was bearded and dressed in a long drab brown overgarment like a cassock. "He speaks some kind of Greek, but it's a long time since I was an Orthodox altar boy." M'Tov's eyebrows twitched and the corners of his mouth turned up.

Gisel's eyes widened, it was the closest she'd ever seen him get to a smile. Jeeze, was he trying to be friendly? "I speak some Greek . . . my grandmother . . . my mother's mother taught me."

"I know you do – it's in your file. Try some on him. I've reached the limit of mine."

She moved closer to the strange figure. His head was shaven except for a thick lock which hung down over one shoulder – maybe some kind of monk. His age was hard to guess – maybe forty or fifty. His eyes were a steel gray, but not cold, they regarded her with curiosity as well as caution.

She tried the colloquial speech she and her grandmother had chattered in. "Do you understand me? My name is Gisel, what's yours?"

He regarded her soberly. "Poh erkezte na milizeta ta elliniki to melleyi. Den ezte ekpedefmani i prozotto te piztie?"

Henrik leaned to her. "What does he say?"

Gisel shrugged. "It's not the Greek Grandma taught me, but I think he's asking how I come to speak his language."

M'Tov actually smiled. He rubbed his hands. "Good girl! If you understand that much, you'll do as an interrogator. It's essential we learn to speak with these people as quickly as possible. Try the others."

Gisel looked at the fellow she'd taken the rapier from; he was regarding his companion's wounded arm worriedly, but turned to stare at her as she tried her Greek. "I'm sorry I wounded your friend. We'll make it up to him."

He shook his head.

The monk fellow smiled and spoke in his weird Greek. Everyone looked toward her.

"I think he says the others don't speak the same language."

Henrik scowled. "Oh great. We have to learn a new language for every person? We'll never find out what we need to know."

"Give Gisel time," M'Tov said. "I believe we shouldn't rush this stage. We're going to build everything we do here on what she can learn for us, and on first reactions. Theirs and ours."

Gisel stared at him. Horseshit! She'd jumped from starship nuisance to key investigator in one afternoon. If anything became screwed, it'd be her fault. Maybe it was better when they all overlooked her.


Three days later, Gisel sat with Elethsis, actually a low ranked priest called an Adelphos, in the starship's observation room. As always, his eyes strayed frequently to the sight of the planet unrolling beneath them. She had explained where they were, but had to wonder what he made of the information.

"What is the name of the country we met you in?" She asked in Greek.

His reply sounded stilted to her ears, but she was becoming more comfortable with its idioms. "It is named for city which rules over all. Lingdon."

Right . . . that sounded very Greek, kind of a city-state – it showed some similarity with her Earth. Gisel checked the record level on the memory stick in her lap. She'd have to play all this back to check the translation in the report for the others. "Rules? Then there is a ruler? Who is that?"

"King Heri ruleth. By the grace of the Immortal Flame." Elethsis lifted up his mandala and kissed it.

"So if we wanted to extend our investigations . . . beyond the village where we found you . . . we should ask his permission?"

Elethsis's eyelids lowered, his voice sounding almost oracular. "He is King – giver of all indulgence. Easier it is to speak with the wind. Go you first through the Earl."

"Earl?" Gisel sighed. She'd had almost a dozen discussions with Elethsis and although they progressed in understanding one another, every answer of his brought forward a host of new questions. "Who is the Earl?"

"He own castle you see. Instarn and Gavril are his knights."

Gisel nodded. They were the fellow she'd wounded and his companion. So they were knights? She swallowed and blushed – she'd have freaked out if she'd known that before tackling them – but maybe knights here weren't so tough.

"So he sent them to attack us?"

He tilted his head at the reddening of her cheeks. "Not attack. They were keeping Earl's good order, as they pledged to do. And Earl not send – he at sea."

"Oh. So we'd need to wait until he returns before we could ask?" This was getting them nowhere unless they learned how to leap over all this protocol. "When is he coming back?"

Elethsis laughed briefly before cutting off his amusement. "Apology – you not know. He took the water path of the cold, dark Ocean . . . only the Flame knows when or if he will return."

Gisel sighed again. Maybe they should go to find him. "Where did he go?"

Elethsis' face clouded. "Perhaps not say." He muttered, and all she understood was, "Some . . . Political . . . Trouble."

Wow. She had to know what that entailed. Could be valuable leverage. "We don't want to start trouble for anybody, but we're also in trouble as strangers. Maybe we can help."

"You don't understand."

"Obviously not, if you won't tell me."

He frowned at her before leaning forward to stare at the globe of the planet below. She had to remember not to be an Earthling brat – these people were pretty strong on dignity. She could see expressions flicker across his face as he considered her sharp retort. She turned her eyes from his face; he'd speak again when he was ready. Below, daylight was just reaching the east coast of the Americas as Iskander approached from across the Atlantic. What would Elethsis call all these places?

"Do you recognise what is below?"

He shook his head, but said nothing.

"That's the ocean below us. It stretches far westward from the coast where we met you."

"So you say. How can a man see a whole ocean in one glance?"

"If he were on a high enough point. We are about three hundred stadia above the ground – that's high enough."

He narrowed his eyes as he turned to regard her. "And what pinnacle do we stand upon?"

"We stand upon the speed of our motion . . . as does the moon."

She saw excitement glint in his eyes. He stood and scanned the full extent of the view through the observation port, and then raised his head to the star filled firmament surrounding them. "This then is the night dark Ocean he sailed upon. Far to the west. How can any mortal tell where he is? Could be drowned from shipwreck . . . killed or captured by Trigon warships."

"Trigon . . .? Who are they?"

Elethsis smiled guiltily. He stared at her, his eyes scanning her face as if evaluating his course. "I was not going to tell you. You are very sharp to dazzle me with magical knowledge. Learning such secrets is a weakness of mine."

"Then I'll tell you all the secrets I can find. If you'll tell us everything we need to know about dangers and politics on this world."

"Everything, you need to learn?"

"We're strangers. Our world is very like the one beneath us now, but we're lost from it. We have to make ourselves a home here. If secrets are our only valuable possession – then that's what we'll have to use to get what we need."

"But you are not . . . here. You soar above it."

"When we know enough to decide on a location, we're going down again. Except . . . all this talk about enemies . . . seems to me, we'd be in danger. Tell me enough so our people can decide on the safest course."

"Safest?" he smiled faintly. "All men would wish for that. You have come to the wrong world if you seek safety. Old stories tell of a time when one people ruled over most of the world – in justice and in peace. But the Trigons rule the largest empire today, and they are suspicious and cruel. They watch even in lands they do not rule – and destroy anyone who they think might be a threat to them."

Gisel felt a chill run down her spine. "And no one tries to prevent them?"

"Only one nation has the power to do so – but they might prove even worse a master."

"Then we must make ourselves a home where they won't notice us."

"Ah." Elethsis smiled. "For myself, I wish we could go back to Castle Kenstar. Instarn and Gavril fret. They have charge to care over it, but what dangers befall while they are prisoners here?"

"But you'll help us learn more – if we go down to the castle?'

"Upon my word. The Earl's Lady can send word for nobles, scholars, and men of affairs to attend upon you. You would be as safe within Castle Kenstar as anywhere – if the knights make their pledge. I know they would be eager to make you welcome there – if only they may return to their duty."

Gisel nodded slowly. "I'll tell M'Tov that. Maybe he'll agree."