I am mixing it up, today, giving Author D. Ellis Overttun my spot on the blog to promote his new book Prophecy: Eve of Darkness (Terra Nova Book 3).
Auberon and Natasha, now two of the most wanted criminals on Arkos, have fled to the Westside. They have taken temporary refuge in Edenoud with Dion, son of Heron, as they contemplate their future. However, a dream has prompted them to return to the Eastside to warn First Minister Odessa. What could be so disturbing that would cause them to jeopardize their own safety? Will the First Minister listen or sound the alarm?
The investigation of the incident that took place in the Chamber of Prayers is reaching its conclusion. Tendai Theodor has a sense the report will cast blame on him. Can the power of his office protect him? To balance the forces he feels are aligned against him, he journeys to the under-earth to seek out an ancient and, some say, mythical enemy, the Nephilim. Are they real or just the stuff of legend?
Meanwhile, First Minister Odessa has not lost sight of the inexorable destruction of the universe. While she has continued to support efforts to locate a new home, she has genetically engineered a new servile class and a method to seed them on a planet in advance of the Celesti arrival. But where is this place? The answer lies in a curious conversation that Director Jo’el has with a surrogate for his long-missing brother, Davin. It leads to a series of star maps recorded hundreds of thousands of years ago on clay tablets.
The Celesti face another problem. They are dying. However, something is happening to Auberon and Natasha that holds promise for the continuation of their species. If it is successful, can it be replicated, or is it an isolated incident?Prophecy: Eve of Darkness weaves a compelling tale that is a blend of human nature, science, theology and philosophy. It spans the vastness of space from one universe to another and the underground world of Arkos to a distant planet called “Terra Nova”. It holds up a mirror to the human soul, but it will require thought and contemplation to decipher what lies below the surface.
Prophecy: Eve of Darkness weaves a compelling tale that is a blend of human nature, science, theology and philosophy. It spans the vastness of space from one universe to another and the underground world of Arkos to a distant planet called “Terra Nova”. It holds up a mirror to the human soul, but it will require thought and contemplation to decipher what lies below the surface.
This is the inaugural post of an excerpt from Prophecy: Eve of Darkness, and I would like to extend my thanks to FanFiAddict and @CloakTraveling for this opportunity to share our content.
You might find this strange, but I don’t get to choose the excerpt. My wife, Natasha, does. She looks up and down the table of contents until she finds a chapter that gives her an inspiration for a visual. Then, she tells me, and I write the #wwit.
This time, the prologue has given her the idea for a very cool gif. A big thank you from me to her. You’ll have to wait for it though. I’ve put it in the commentary.
Given this is the third book in the Terra Nova series, a bit of a sans-spoiler primer is in order. The setting is on a planet inhabited by two humanoid species: a governing minority called the “Celesti” and a governed majority called the “Gendu”, formerly the Alidyr. The individuals you are about to meet are Celesti. Their most prominent feature is an electromagnetic field called an “aura” that surrounds each of them. An aura is comprised of a luminescing, translucent, pale-yellow part called the “corona” and an invisible part called the “shadow”.
Auberon and Natasha are known as “Transcended”. Their elite status in society has been determined by very prominent coronas. One of the things Transcended can do is communicate through their shadows. Such dialogue is indicated by indented text in parentheses in bold italics.
That’s about it, really. Read on, Macduff. Read on. (Yes, I know. It’s a misquote of a misquote.)
* * * * *
“Good morn, Intrepid. How are you?”
“Good morn, Auberon. I am well. How are you?”
“A little nervous.”
“Yes, I can understand that. A first flight tends to have that effect.”
Auberon smiled and seated himself in the pilot’s chair. “Engage seat restraints.”
A harness moved to secure his shoulders and waist.
“Please specify destination,” the computer said.
“I think I would like to visit subspace.”
“Subspace is not a valid destination.”
“Why not? It comprises 95% of the mass/energy of the universe.”
“Be that as it may, it is a medium of travel, not a termination point.”
“Please give me a moment.”
As he decided what to do next, the bridge was engulfed in darkness.
“Intrepid, is there a problem with main power?”
There was only silence.
He sensed that he was no longer on the bridge but floating in a void. Presently, a dim glow appeared in front of him. Without the benefit of any reference for perspective, it could have been a pinprick of light just in front of him or a beacon far off in the distance. It began to grow steadily larger and brighter until it formed a vertical, distended oval with a bright-yellow border and pale-yellow interior.
He sensed someone or something was on the other side. At the same time, it felt as though he was outside himself, looking at himself through that gossamer barrier. Although, it was not “looking” in a way that could be described as being able to see images using his sense of sight. It was more like being able to perceive light-waves throughout the entire spectrum.
His shadow began to tingle.
Presently, a roughly shaped cylinder of pale yellow floated through the oval. It began to transform into a man surrounded by a dense, translucent aura. The contrast with the ambient darkness made it impossible for him to make out anything more than the most basic anatomical features. However, from all appearances, the man appeared to be Transcended.
The man seemed to be connected to the portal through which he had just passed. There was a thin film connecting his aura to it. As he walked toward Auberon, the opening began to contract and grow smaller until it became a bright-yellow dot suspended in space. Then, with a snapping motion, his aura disconnected from it, and the dot vanished. Auberon felt the process of this disconnection through his own shadow. He had never felt anything like this before. It left an indelible impression on him.
Now, the void began to disappear. As it grew brighter, the bridge of the Intrepid began to rematerialize. The features of the man became more clearly defined. Dressed in white, hooded robes, he was of average height and build. His face was unblemished and unwrinkled, his blond hair thick and full, his blue eyes sharp and alert.
“I am Jaden Leah, formerly Administrator of the Eden Center for Alidyr Studies,” the man said, bowing his head. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I am Auberon Avisa, formerly a prefect aide in the Ministry of Science,” Auberon replied, bowing his head in return.
“Curious you do not use your bonding-partner’s name.”
Auberon should have been surprised at Jaden’s knowledge of Natasha, but he was not. “I would like to,” he replied with a smile, “but she tells me that, since we do not participate in awakening, she does not fit the criterion.”
“Yes,” Auberon smiled, “such is the predisposition of former ministerial aides.”
“Yet, she feels comfortable to call you her ‘life-partner’.”
“She says it is only a role that we have assumed as the Bodhi.”
Jaden just smiled.
“You are one of the progressives who protected my friend, Asherah Anath,” Auberon noted.
“Then, this cannot be real.”
“Only this place.”
“But you should have awakened.”
“No, my bonding-partner and I were Transcended.”
“Then, how is it possible that you were not on the Minister’s staff?”
“We declined, and, since our views were considered too progressive, it was accepted.”
“But you have passed on.”
“Your words are a euphemism for death. That is incorrect. However, we Transcended do pass on.”
“So, that is where we go. I have often wondered about that. Just us?”
“And the rest?”
“Like matter, energy is also recycled.”
“Why have you come?”
“Recently, some of us have been disappearing, and we need your help.”
“How can I help?”
“You know one who understands subspace.”
“My friend, Jo’el?”
“Yes, I must meet with him.”
Jaden began to disappear as they became engulfed in blackness again.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. As his vision returned, he looked up and saw Natasha smiling down at him.
“Come, my love. It is time to leave.”
He was sitting in an armchair in an attic. From the look of his surroundings, it was a place of storage more than of habitation. It was cluttered with odd pieces of furniture and other bric-a-brac. Dusty and unfrequented, it was a depository for things that were neither useful nor useless.
“Just give me a moment,” he said. He rose to his feet and walked to the middle of the room. He closed his eyes and began to concentrate. That feeling of just a moment ago was still vivid, and he wanted to see if he could recreate it before it disappeared. “Now, how did it feel again?” he asked himself. Then, he felt a tingling sensation in his shadow. “Yes…yes.”
“Yes what, Auberon?”
He did not answer but continued to concentrate. Soon, his aura began to increase in brightness, and the outline of his body began to be less and less defined. Then, it disappeared. He was now just an elongated source of light.
Natasha had to shield her eyes from the transformation. “Auberon, what are you doing?”
Again, he did not answer but focused his attention on the empty space in front of him. A bright-yellow dot appeared at chest level about an arm’s-length away. His shadow moved toward it, trying to make a connection.
(“Auberon! Please stop this!”)
His shadow retreated from the dot that was now beginning to fade. As his aura returned to normal, the outline of his body began to re-emerge. At length, he was himself again.
“What were you trying to do?!” Her aura was a bright, shimmering red. It was clear she was very angry.
“I was just trying something,” he replied sheepishly.
“Never do something like that again!”
Auberon gave her a puzzled look.
“You wonder why I am so upset.”
“We return to the Eastside because of your dream of the Arkos Shield. What you do not know is the test of the Shield conducted by Minister Odessa almost killed her. I was not there, but, from the recording, it looked exactly like this.” She was shaking with anxiety, almost to the point of tears.
“I am so sorry, Natasha. I had no idea. I promise to be more careful in future,” he replied, putting his arms around her.
“What would possess you to do something like that?”
“Do you remember Jaden Leah from the Eden Center for Alidyr Studies?”
“He just came to me in a vision.”
“How is that possible? He passed long ago.”
“I told him the same thing, but he disagreed.”
“What did he want?”
“He told me that he and the other Transcended who have ‘passed on’ need Jo’el’s help.”
“Why would they need his help?”
“All I could get before the vision ended was that they are disappearing. It sounded like a euphemism for dying.”
“How could Jo’el help them with that?”
“It has something to do with subspace. That is where they live, but, more than that…I think he was trying to show me something.”
* * * * *
The series has been influenced by the Bible, not from an apologist or polemist point of view but from things that are interesting to explore from a narrative perspective. The first part of the prologue is a vision, something that is everywhere in the Good Book, as are, of course, individuals with auras. I have often wondered: What would it be like to have an aura? What would it actually feel like? What could I do with it? To me, there has to be more to it besides being able to make my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night without injuring myself or missing my target.
Another concept that underpins the Terra Nova series is the idea of subspace. The matter and energy we experience in our everyday lives comprises about 5% of the stuff of the universe, the rest is dark matter and dark energy. As a writer, one of the things I became interested in was exploring the narrative possibilities of this huge, unknown quantum.
We live on the earth’s crust that comprises about 1% of our planet. Underneath the crust is everything else. I envisioned space-time like that. That thin 5% on top is what we see and experience, and below that is a realm of dark matter and dark energy. The question is: What’s there? You can see the storytelling landscape that opens up.
I think a prologue should leave unanswered questions to give the reader a reason to keep on reading. Obviously, Auberon and Natasha are not on the Eastside. The story behind that is told in Book 2, Genesis: Vision of the New World. (See? Visions.) What is left unanswered is who they are going to see, and what they will discuss. Also, why not call ahead? Why come unannounced? Why is Jaden Leah (from Book 1, Universe: Awakening) showing up now? Maybe the most important question: How the heck do they get there? Do they just Uber?
And finally, here’s Natasha’s gif. It’s her rendering of Jaden Leah coming through the portal, starting from a small, but expanding, point of light.
Prophecy: Eve of Darkness:
Prophecy: Eve of Darkness – Cover Reveal:
Genesis: Vision of the New World – Excerpts and Commentary:
Universe: Awakening – Excerpts and Commentary:
For a deeper dive:
Through My Wife, Natasha, on Twitter: @neoverttun