I guess I should probably start telling people to expect a new recording every fortnight. I’m still working out the kinks in the recording process. So far, I’m not entirely happy with it, so it’s back to the booth to re-record chapter two. Writing deadlines have also been keeping me busy, but stay tuned next week for Chapter Two!
Sorry for the delay. Chapter one is finally here. I’m still not entirely happy with the quality of the recording, but I have some ideas to fix it. Enjoy!
I honestly thought I would be posting chapter one of the audiobook today, but alas, the chapter is not ready. I hate disappointing anybody but above all, I don’t want to disappoint myself, so, once again, no audiobook chapter for this week. I plan to re-record the chapter and edit it right away, so keep checking back. So sorry to anybody hoping to listen to the first chapter, but as I say, the audio is simply not good enough for me, which means, in my eyes, it’s not good enough for you guys.
Thanks for your patience!
It’s finally here! I admit that I’m still not 100% crazy about the audio quality, but I’m a voice over person so I am picky. Much like this whole blog, this is a way to try out the audiobook and deal with all the little kinks in the project. I hope you enjoy it. If you know anybody that likes audiobooks, tell them about it. You can expect the next chapter to be up this time next week! Also, I will hopefully work on getting a better audioplayer installed. Enjoy!
I honestly hoped to have the audio for the prologue up today, but when I sat down to do the mastering this afternoon, I decided it was not up to snuff. Sorry, I’m a perfectionist folks. I’ve recorded this prologue twice now, and I’m hoping third time will be the charm. I’ve done a lot of tweaking in the booth because frankly the sound was a little muddy and there’s a lot of noticeable noises that I could hear, even when listening at a normal (non-editing) volume.
So no prologue this week. Will there be a prologue up next week? I’m not making any promises because I honestly had hoped to have something this time. But I will do my best.
In the meantime, please keep watching this space. Better yet, subscribe to the set site and I will let you know when the first part of the new audiobook is available.
So this is it folks. The first book in the Shatterer of Worlds series is done. It has been a blast. And it has been overwhelming. Quite honestly, I haven’t picked up as many readers as I had hoped. My fault. It’s hard to publicize, when you’re busy writing all the time. I’m not sure how much I got right with this story, but it has certainly been an adventure.
So what happens now? Well, I am taking a break. I won’t be returning until October. During that time, I hope to get Shatterer of Worlds ready for actual publication. I also hope to finish work on book two. What happens in book two, you ask? Is Arjuna reunited with Nerita? Will Dennethom claim the title of Boentu Leader? I’m not telling!
So does that mean there’s nothing more to see at this website? Gosh, no. For one thing, I am busy recording an audiobook for Shatterer of Worlds. The plan is to have this up weekly on this website, and also make it available at other sites. Stay tuned. I hope to have the first post up next week. In the meantime, all I ask is that you keep checking the site, tell your friends about it, and let me know what you think about the story so far.
Katha sat in his study listening to the reports of the day. Lossepharr was doing a fine job taking over the position Dennethom once held. True, he lacked his cousin’s initiative and seemed more focused on the military aspects of the Boentu system. But he was still learning.
Yet a feeling gnawed at Katha day and night. A suspicion he dared not voice aloud. Instead, every time the thought arose, he tried to push it back down again. He didn’t even share his fears with his wife, Marvena.
Stifling a yawn, Katha poured himself some hot tea. Ever since his brother’s wife and children died on Regat six moons ago, he found himself not sleeping well. Between the system being in mourning, and his son taking over, Katha found himself with little to do but think about the accident If only he hadn’t sent Dennethom to the outer rim. If only the Boentu Atten had been properly serviced. Despite the passage of time, the system still mourned the warrior who should have been their leader. The people on Indra planned to erect a statue of Dennethom. Lossepharr wasn’t too happy to about the news. The people loved Dennethom. It was difficult for Lossepharr to compete.
It was the right thing, sending Dennethom away. At least, that’s what Katha kept telling himself. Dennethom needed to get to know the outer rim planets. Still, it didn’t help much. The more he tried to suppress his emotions, the more his feelings of guilt redoubled their attack at night, when he would toss and turn in bed.
The obvious sources of guilt, he could handle. His order had sent Dennethom and his family to the outer rim. True. But then there were the other thoughts. The ones that made him question the official report. Was it really an accident?
Ever since Katha heard the news of their deaths he found himself suspicious. But he was terrified to learn the truth. Which was why he conducted only the quickest of inquiries into the accident. To a layman everything seemed above board. The Boentu Atten had not been fixed properly. Wydun charged his own personal engineer with gross negligence.
Katha would never sweep evidence under the rug. But he was afraid to dig too deep. Afraid of what he might find and what the information would do to his family and the system he swore to protect. He couldn’t talk to Marvena. Not because she would think him crazy. No. Katha’s biggest fear is she would agree with him and demand he reopen the investigation. But such an action would reflect badly upon him, not to mention the rest of his family.
At first, he took sleep medication. The meds didn’t help. He began taking increasingly larger doses to fall asleep, and even if he slept, it just meant the nightmares would come. Ghostly accusations from beyond the grave. Chran, blaming him for not protecting his family. Katha shivered just thinking about the dream.
Losing his sight he could handle. You eventually learn to do without. But ever since he lost his sight he had had vivid dreams. It was the only way he got to see anything any more. It wasn’t fair that in the past few months the only things he saw were the dead. And so he gave up sleeping, instead taking the barest of naps as necessary.
But tonight would be different. Tonight he would sleep, because now he finally felt ready to voice his fears.
“It was never my wish to marry Lemarn. My father thought it was time for me to marry, and since I hadn’t expressed interest in anyone in particular, he sought out the best match for our family. I don’t think Lemarn wants to marry me. He is just pleasing his mother.”
“Can you not tell your father you do not want to marry Lemarn?” Yasana asked, her hands gently wrapped around Drapaudi’s own.
Drapaudi shook her head. “He will not listen. Our family is built on fortuitous marriages. If I wait, I will lose beneficial suitors. My father doesn’t want that.”
“Mother,” Dennethom began. “Drapaudi is being forced into a marriage she does not want any part of.”
“I wish we could help,” Yasana said with a sigh.
“Come with us,” Arronanto said. “Live with us. You won’t have to marry anyone.” He glanced over at his older brother and saw Dennethom nod his head encouragingly.
“No,” Arjuna replied. “It’s too dangerous. If you disappear, your father will never stop looking for you. It will draw too much attention to us.”
“That’s not true,” Arronanto scoffed.
“A visiting Boentu ship won’t raise suspicion?” Arjuna asked with a scowl.
Drapaudi raised her hands, not wanting the siblings to fight. “Arjuna is right. I cannot simply run away. And my father won’t let me come with you, not when he wants me to marry.”
“Then marry me,” Arronanto said in earnest. “That is, if you want to.”
“That’s the other problem,” Dennethom replied.
“I cannot choose between you,” Drapaudi said, her eyes downcast.
“Choose between us?” Arronanto asked, puzzled. “Between me and this Lemarn?” He glanced at Drapaudi who was now gazing at his brother. Suddenly everything became clear. “Oh.”
All was silent in the lounge as they digested the news that Drapaudi loved Dennethom and Arronanto both. Finally Yasana sighed aloud and said, “we can at least solve one problem.”
“How?” Arjuna asked with a furrowed brow.
Yasana shrugged. “Drapaudi doesn’t have to choose.” All eyes turned her way. “Long ago, Boentu warriors often took more than one spouse. Usually it was the male Boentu with numerous wives, but it is not unheard of for females to have many husbands.”
“How would that work?” Arronanto asked.
“That is for you to decide. If you three are willing to do this.”
Drapaudi looked around uncertainly at Dennethom and Arronanto. Both shrugged their shoulders in compliance.
“If it means being with you at least some of the time, I would be willing to try,” Dennethom replied.
“As would I,” said Arronanto.
“Wonderful,” Yasana beamed. “Then we only have one more problem: How do we get Drapaudi away from the Arthema system without drawing attention to us?”
Despite being the middle of the night, the space port was bustling. The crowds were perfect for the four members of the Chran family, allowing them to easily blend in. They easily made their way to the craft Dennethom purchased through Ninsun, a brand new state of the art ship manufactured by the Lo’Kar Corporation.
The ship was built right there on Regat. The engines were as quiet and advanced as they came. The ship’s stealth capabilities made it the perfect craft for any high-ranking Boentu warrior. Up until this insanity occurred, Dennethom had considered a proposal to introduce this very craft to the Boentu home fleet. However, it was an expensive ship, not at all cost effective. But for a wealthy Boentu trying to sneak off a planet unseen, it was just right.
The craft, which Arronanto had dubbed the Aluen, was already warmed up, the engines purring by the time they arrived at the docking bay. Jora, the Boentu Atten’s pilot came down the ramp to greet the family. He was unable to hide his sheer relief as he helped Yasana up the ramp and assisted Arronanto and Arjuna with their overnight bags. What little belongings they had been able to take with them had already been loaded on the Aluen.
Dennethom turned to Real’c. “Real’c, what is your wife’s name?”
Dennethom smiled and repeated the name to himself. “Please thank Shalya for me. You both took such great risks in helping us. I cannot tell you how grateful I am,” Dennethom said, taking Realc’s hand in both of his. “Ninsun will have a payment waiting for-”
Real’c waved a hand. “I do not wish for payment, my liege. My wife and I are helping you because we believe you are the rightful leader of the Boentu people. And if a plot truly exists, then as a citizen I must help you. It is my duty.”
Dennethom was appreciative of his words and he bowed to Real’c. “Thank you. There are some that don’t recognise my claim as future leader. It means a lot to me that you do.”
Real’c's expression darkened. “If I can find any proof at all that Wydun was behind this plot to kill you, I will make very sure the evidence gets into the right hands.”
Dennethom bowed once more. “I appreciate that.” He hesitated. “Real’c, you have already done so much for my family and yet there is one more thing I must ask of you.”
“You are the future leader of the Boentu, it would be an honour to aid you,” Realc responded, his expression grave.
“I will need to keep abreast of news in the Boentu System, particularly here on Regat. Especially if Wydun suspects anything.” Dennethom reached into his pocket and brought out a small handheld comms unit. “I’ve pre-programmed this link so you can contact me directly.” He opened the device. “This is how you can encrypt or decrypt messages.” He showed Real’c twice more before handing the device over to him. “If you hear anything- if my cousin Lossepharr arrives and has suspicions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
Real’c took the communications link, studying the device for a moment, practising the encryption and decryption function before placing it in his pocket. “It has been an honour,” he said, bowing to Dennethom.
Dennethom placed his right arm on the horticulturalist’s left shoulder and bowed his head once more. Real’c couldn’t hide his surprise. The gesture was reserved for those that warriors considered their equal. Without another word, Dennethom hurried up the ramp to join his family.
Dinner was awkward. At least, it felt that way to Dennethom and his family. The meal itself was delicious. Aside from Wydun, who seemed preoccupied, the company was impeccable. La’Nar kept everybody at the table entertained with stories of her life growing up on Regat. The business owners Wydun had invited were all gracious and very eager to make a good impression with the future leader of Boentu. But still Dennethom felt stiff and anxious.
At one point in the conversation Arronanto kicked his brother under the table. At another, Arjuna leaned forward, pretending to have Dennethom check for an eyelash in her eye.
“It wouldn’t kill you to actually laugh at some of his jokes,” she murmured.
Dennethom glared at her, but took what she said into consideration and spent the rest of the evening acting as normal as he could. At times like this, he wished he were a regular Boentu warrior, and not the “future leader”. In war, you usually knew your enemy. If someone wanted to kill you they would do so with a volt cannon or some other obvious weapon. But this was different. The subterfuge. This is what his cousin Lossepharr thrived for.
After the course, Dennethom sent word to his pilot Jora, to have him and the engineer, Xien, prepare the ship. After dessert a messenger returned with a message about a problem with the ship’s thrusters. Dennethom silently cursed Wydun. Everything was going just as Enjawne had said it would. This was emphasized when Wydun insisted they spend the night at the Steward’s own residence.
“I’ll have my engineers work on it tonight. By morning, I’m sure your ship will be ready and you can return to Indra.”
Dennethom gave a polite nod of his head. “That’s very kind of you. I’m sure my people will appreciate the assistance.”
“Nonsense. You are the future leader after all. I’ll send my people right away. Don’t let your crew worry about a thing. In fact, let them rest, it’s a long flight to Indra. My people are the best. We don’t just build ships on Regat we live for spacecraft. We can replace the thrusters for you. You’ll be in good hands.”
“I really should get back as soon as possible,” Dennethom began. “I have meetings scheduled.”
“Take my ship,” Wydun replied. He seemed almost earnest. Had Enjawne been mistaken? But no, he was banking on Dennethom declining. To rig his own ship would be too dangerous. Too obvious. If Dennethom accepted the offer, he knew Wydun would find some other way to make him stay the night.
Dennethom could feel the tension emanating from the rest of his family. But he agreed to spend the night. If this was the way it was supposed to go, so be it. Besides, he was ready for the charade to be over.