Welcome to the second part of my spotlight of the Paradox Series and Patti Roberts, its creator. Last week we had a close look at the first book in the series, The Angels Are Here. Today I’d like to show you a sample from the second book, Progeny of Innocence, currently FREE to download from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Smashwords.
And just because I knew I wouldn’t be refused, I asked Patti a few more questions, which she graciously answered for me.
In case you’ve missed Part I of the Spotlight on Paradox, here’s a quick link to it.
So, without further delay, here’s a sample I promised you from Progeny of Innocence
Temulun filled her lungs with the beguiling scent of Mother Nature as they walked in silence. Each completely immersed in their own thoughts.
Then the sounds of hooves pounding noisily on cobbled stones rumbled closer from behind a high stonewall, dissolving their concentration. They drew closer to the end of the wall and peered out. A gust of breeze carried another sharper pungent scent overshadowing all that was fresh and crisp. Booming voices, beastly snarls and muffled voices ten fold echoed through the stony courtyard.
Hidden behind the stonewall they watched on in horror. From the south they came. A barrage of armored Grigorian guards; some on horse back, some on foot with giant black spectre hounds, almost the size of a horse, hunched and hovering by their sides. A slow moving throng of prisoners as far as the eye could see moved clumsily along the cobbled path. They were pushed and shoved forward toward covered enclosures where they would later be sorted. Some would become breeders to replenish the dwindling food stocks. Others would become bleeders that would provide a continual supply of fresh blood. These were the unfortunates. The souls that had fought bravely alongside the Royal Bulguardian Army during the last days of war and had been captured fleeing the stricken city.
“Move, hurry along,” a massive guard boomed as he shoved a young woman with long mattered fair hair with the front of his horse. She fell forward. A man reached out quickly for her arm. “Rose,” he gasped, but it was too late. She fell heavily to the ground on her hands and knees. “Abel,” she cried out and reached up frantically for him. Another Grigorian guard on foot smashed his heavy shield into the side of Abel’s face, forcing him backward into the shuffling throng of bodies. The Grigorian guard shouted again. “Move it,” I’ve got better things to do with my time than herd you lot all day.” A man stripped of his armor and clothed in a torn and bloodied Bulguardian tunic clutched Rose’s arm and pulled her to her feet before he too was dragged forward by the throng of prisoners.
Rose scanned the mass of bodies in a frantic effort to find her husband as they jostled her along. “Abel, Abel,” she cried out hysterically but no reply came. Only the booming voices of the Grigorian guards filled her ears.
“Move, move, move,” the guards shouted in a hoarse chorus as hounds barked, snarled and nipped feverishly at the prisoners’ bloodied ankles. Another Bulguardian soldier raised his arm at a Grigorian guard but was quickly slammed to the ground by a pair of massive paws. The Beast snarled viciously, opened its jaws wide, and with one quick snap, tore the man’s throat out with a row of barbed fangs.
Temulun eyes stung with tears but she quickly forced them back as she looked on in horror as prisoners were pushed, shoved, and beaten. Some had fallen and were being trampled under hoof. She heard a soft whimpering beside her. She turned to see Keyla’s face awash with tears. “Oh dear child,” Temulun said fighting her own tears. She put her arm protectively around Keyla’s shoulders and pulled the child toward her. “Dry your tears quickly; it is not wise to be seen showing sympathy toward these prisoners. There are too many guards, too many prying eyes.” She quickly ushered Keyla away from the savage onslaught before them. Away from the Grigorian monsters with their massive spectre hounds. Two beasts fought ferociously over the body of the dead Bulguardian. A third came fourth pulling and chewing until little was left.
Temulun pushed a heavy door open toward the furthest end of the high stonewall. It opened into a dark musty room. By the glimmer of sunlight stealing its way inside, they could just make out a disorderly pile of discarded furniture, tapestries, and oil paintings in golden frames. Keyla closed her eyes and held her hand out. Ever so slowly a small glowing ball formed and rose above the palm of her hand and spun. It began to spin faster and faster until eventually it ignited into a ball of fire that hung suspended above their heads. She blew at it softly until six in all illuminated the room. The bright balls of fire revealed three massive gold chairs from among the pile at the rear of the room.
Temulun Gasped. “The three missing thrones from the throne room,” she said dragging a long roll of carpet entwined in spider webs off the thrones and onto the floor. It hit the ground with a heavy thud, sending a deluge of dust motes into the air. She ran her fingers down the gold and velvet armrests. “I have only ever heard stories. They truly are beautiful aren’t they, even in this state? Just think… the Royal Guardians have sat upon these thrones.” She pulled matted cobwebs from her fingers. “There used to be 12 of these you know. But every time a Guardian has been killed since the beginning of time, they burn the throne with the Guardian seated upon it so the fire can take the body back to the Gods. Back to the time before time.” Temulun paused for a moment. “One of these thrones shouldn’t be here. A Royal Guard was killed on the night of the equinox. It is said that his body was thrown out in the streets to burn.” She shook her head mournfully. “Cerberus now sits upon the fourth throne in the Great Hall.”
Keyla said nothing. She walked over to the stonewall and eased herself down its rough surface and onto the cold dusty floor. She hugged her knees up tight against her chest.
Temulun walked toward her. “What is it child?” She asked sitting down beside her. “My story, it saddens you?” she asked.
“I saw everything they saw, everything they felt,” she said pushing her face into her hands. “How could they do that, treat those prisoners like worthless animals?”
“To the Grigorians, those prisoners are animals. Nothing more than a meal to fill their bellies… That is their way. For some, that is all they desire, all they have ever known. It is an empowering delicacy, the forbidden fruit.” Temulun held Keyla’s hand. “Now tell me child, what exactly did you see?”
“I saw it all. In their eyes, on their faces. The night of the fall… So much death, so many souls lost.” She took a long breath labored with heart retching sobs and continued. “They fought gallantly but the Grigorian monsters, with all their cunning outnumbered the innocent, and the Bulguardian Army. Soon theRoyalPalacefell, and it fell right into the hands of Lord Cerberus and his men. Within hours theImperialCitywas engulfed by a barrage of hungry flames. There was nothing left for the Bulguardian Army to do, but to save as many as they could and flee the city and head south.”
“And your family?” Temulun asked softly. “What became of them?”
Keyla shook her head. “I do not know,” was all she said.
“What happened then, what else did you see?”
Keyla remained silent for a moment; gathering her thoughts. Recollecting what she had seen in the desperate eyes of the prisoners as they were beaten, and herded into holding pens like cattle.
“The Pinnacles,” she said. “The four Wafes went first. Four host souls volunteered. Two females and two males. They left their bodies and without the soul the bodies just lay down and died right there on the floor. Just four shimmering souls floating in the air like four rainbow coloured bubbles.” She shook her head. “I have never seen anything so beautiful. Not even the crystal dome of the sanctuary was as beautiful.” She looked up at Temulun, her eyes damp and wide. “Without the body, the soul is so, so…” Keyla searched for a word. But found none to express the enormity of the beauty for which she held in her mind. Her eyes pooled with fresh tears and spilled over. With the tears of a thousand souls streaming down her face she continued. “Water and Air fell first and were born into human females. Fire and Earth went into human boys.”
Temulun bowed her head and whispered. “I overheard Abaddon speaking with his sister, Theria, just yesterday,” she began. “On earth, 900 years has passed.”
Keyla looked up at her. “That is a very long time to be away from home.”
“Oh my Gods,” Temulun said scrambling quickly to her feet and pulling Keyla up with her. “The time, we must hurry. We have yet to fetch Lord Cerberus his beast. Abaddon will be furious if we keep the Lord waiting. We will talk more of this tonight at the Oak. But first,” she said pulling a small leather pouch from her pocket. “Put this powdered mistletoe under your tongue. It would be too dangerous to carry these thoughts in your head for fear of others overhearing.” Temulun pushed the leather pouch into Keyla’s hand. The Girl looked at her and frowned.
“Not to worry Keyla, I have a little left. And tonight, we will go ask the Forest People for more.”
Keyla took the leather pouch, extracted a pinch of the powdered herb, and placed it under her tongue. She wrinkled her nose at the pungent taste. “Are the Forest People expecting me?” She asked.
“Oh yes,” Temulun replied, “they are very eager to meet you. Witness the abilities you still possess from your ancestors.”
“Then I hope I do not fail them,” Keyla replied.
A few more questions with Patti Roberts
1. You are a very busy person, and judging by the quality of the covers and trailers you produce, it looks like you are one of those people who live without sleep. How do you manage to fit so much in your day? Do you have a secretary/PA or maybe the Angels are sitting on your shoulder?
I think when you have a passion for something in your life, you want to spend as much time as you can working on it – sometimes, most times – so that means less sleep. Now, having said that, if I could afford a PA I would most certainly have one. Including a fulltime cleaner, gardener and cook!
2. You put a lot of effort into developing this world. You must have done a lot of research. What did that entail?
I research a lot of things when creating my ancient Altarian world – Heaven. Although Fantasy, I like a certain amount of realism – sometimes myth and legend – in the story line to give it more credibility. I love to read a book, that although a fiction fantasy, you can still learn something “real” from. Research also gives you an opportunity to broaden your story, take it to places you never thought about in the beginning.
3. Altair is an intriguing place – you get the feeling that it is beautiful, even ravaged by war, but the Grigorian rule makes it a scary place to be. Did you fashion it with a ‘real’ place in mind, or is it all a product of your imagination? Do you have a picture that inspired it?
Yes, I have pictures. Most of them are featured on you tube music trailers and I have featured some of them here on my blog – http://theangelsarehere.wordpress.com/music/ – I allocated a special place for them on my blog so I can go back and watch them from time to time. They give me inspiration all over again! There are so many talented artists out there!
4. Your characters’ emotions are very deep and very well described. Do their feelings influence yours, as you write? Do you take these feelings with you into your daily ‘real’ life and is there a point at which you have to herd all your characters back into a box, so you can live a normal existence for a while?
Normal existence – so over rated! Actually it is the other way around for me. My feelings have influenced my writing. I wonder if my characters want to put me back in a box so they can get back to their normal existence!
5. And a more practical question. Your world is so full, the characters so involved – how do you keep track of the family trees in the Royal Houses as well as the human world, and also the relationships between them all and between the them and the races inhabiting Altair?
I have a huge timeline drawn up including name cards about all the characters. Each card has info about that particular character and their place in the story. I also have a family tree drawn up for the Grigori clan. There is still so much stored in my brain and on my Paradox blog for safe keeping. There is much on the blog that only comes into existence in book 3, for book 3 and future books in the series. There are 7 kingdoms on Altair alone – that is a lot to keep in my head. I also need to keep a timeline for Grace’s / Juliette’s past lives to make sure they aren’t in conflict with each other; can’t have her in two places at once. The family tree, and the sigils for the 7 kingdoms can also be found on my blog http://theangelsarehere.wordpress.com/readers-questions-answered/
Join me again next week, when I’ll share with you more secrets and we’ll have a look at some of Patti’s other work – I bet there’s a lot you still don’t know about her. Did you Know there’s a competition you could enter? Please leave a way to contact you and your name in the comments box, below, if you’re interested.