Mylia, a singing wyrm-human monster, is rescued from the bleak Wylds by a poor, ambitious Prince and surgically fashioned into a popstar to help him overthrow an ancient Empire. Under her new identity, she must navigate scandal, fame, deadly court intrigue, and even love in a rags-to-riches tale for the ages. (A new chapter every two weeks!)
When Mylia awoke, she found herself in a soft bed under a mound of blankets that itched of electric heat and static. Daylight had faded and shadows crawled around her. A sea breeze tang hinted she remained in Ovgarod. What a day of rescue, new beginnings and terror she remembered and what a strange, inglorious end. Her nightmare had seemed so real.
“I saw it too, you know.” Fay’s voice echoed from somewhere deep in the bedroom’s depths. “The oncoming wave, taller than several buildings, headed directly towards us.”
What does it all mean? Mylia thought her question to the witch who nodded in response.
“The end of the world,” Fay answered. “But, remember the vision is just a possibility, a single future drifting amid multiple other futures in that black Dyn world. Our Imperial coders game such futures daily as they use the Dyn to shape the future of our planet. So, don’t think further about futures, dreams, prophecies…end of the world garbage. Really, you’ve got more important things to do and so have I.”
She laughed but worry edged her voice and Mylia wondered just how much truth was in the witch’s reply.
Mylia recalled her beloved Wylds and suddenly, desperately wished to return—her lofty bower of leaves amid swaying fir tops, the deep, red sunsets and myriad of bright birds with their silver voices. Life was so gloriously simple then. Even the times of cold and starvation didn’t seem all that bad in retrospect. The Wylds did not deserve to drown in planetary destruction. The quiet depths of the cool-sparkled forest glens must remain so for the small, timid creatures and those of forbearance and quiet tread.
There are some things that cannot be destroyed, she thought in sudden dismay and struggled to sit up.
Fay was stationed in her wheelchair, facing the open window. Pallid moonlight outlined her face and twinkled upon the silver trinkets in her dim hair. She turned and surveyed Mylia. “You’ve been unconscious for a few days. How do you feel?”
Slowly, Mylia stood up, heavily leaning upon the bedside table for support. My legs are no longer…I don’t know. They no longer hurt.
“A happy side effect of your rest was that we were able to heal your legs. To inform you, I did use magic to quicken the process. I hope this doesn’t offend you.”
A sharp rumble of thunder in the distance startled them both.
“More rain,” Fay’s tone was moody. “Storms are a daily feature of our Empire…a product of our Dyn overuse in these parts.”
Mylia sighed and an idea struck her. Now that I am healed, please send me home. I want to walk again in the Wylds—long enough to remember my speed and strength.
Fay looked at Mylia’s legs. “Yes,” she said quietly, “I suppose you must have been fast indeed before the accident.”
The hunting trap was not an accident, Mylia glared in return. Humans have cruel natures.
“Then it was no accident,” Fay repeated with a calmness Mylia found exasperating. “But it happened all the same and you must do your best to move forward.”
Mylia fell silent. She was deeply angry. Life had interrupted her when she never asked for it and now some witch dared instruct her on how to cope. She was tired of these humans and their schemes. She longed for her forest—for the beautiful Wylds of the wet, black branches and blossoms so fresh a finger’s touch sent petals curling in moist protest, for deer of blooded necks and dainty steps, and the sun hazy and blue behind morning fog—more than anything else in the world.
Please send me home, Mylia begged to the witch.
Fay frowned. “When I first rescued you, I may have agreed. But while you slept, things changed and someone awaits your presence.” She reached forward and shook a rope dangling on the wall, jostling that hidden bell within the house’s recesses. “Come, you must get ready. Morning will soon arrive.”
Several hours later, Mylia stood in front of a mirror and stared at her reflection. Fay’s boyfriend and live-in nurse, Tom Ledel, had brought yellow silk robes embroidered with pale green and gold flowers. Mylia took a hot bath, felt remarkably better, and dressed. Tom gave her a pair of red leather gloves, stuffed to make her fingers fatter like a human hand, and red boots fitted to her very toes A metal headdress fastened over her head and neck from which a dense silk covering fell to her waist.
The final touch, several strings of cultured pearls, covered Mylia’s head and wrapped her throat with strands trailing down her back so that no gust of wind could blow away the covering and betray her wyrm self to the world. A latticework of seed pearls crossed the gap for her eyes so that her gold irises flashed and sparkled behind the strands.
Mylia stared at her reflection and wondered. This was the finest outfit she had ever worn.
“You look magnificent!” Fay exclaimed when Mylia presented herself. “The Prince spared no expense.”
Tom looked as smug as though the outfit were entirely his doing. “You’d never know her true nature with such finery. She looks like one of our great ladies of the Palace!”
Mylia knew they were encouraging and so she hummed a little tune; small, fluted notes that jumped around the room like jackrabbits on a spring day.
Fay looked at Tom. “Yes, well, we should prepare and tell her what to do.”
Tom nodded. “Do your mind speaking thing, it’s faster and highly private.”
Fay rolled her chair forward to Mylia and locked eyes.
Suddenly, like a door opening, Mylia felt Fay’s presence in her mind.
Mylia, when you were unconscious, Prince Asher arrived in Ovgarod by Dyn travel. As is his lineage and right, the palace gave him lodging.
How does he know I’m here? Mylia thought back with an edge of hurt in her voice. Had the witch betrayed her for a reward or worse? Fay met her eye for unblinking eye.
He found out. I am decent at Dyn coding but you should see the coders who work for the Emperor. They’re the best in the world. It’s impossible to hide from them once they decide to find you.
Mylia digested this information and decided Fay was not to blame. Will you get in trouble for me?
If a further investigation is done, yes. But the prince says the government will not intervene if you meet with him.
Mylia thought this was manipulative of the Prince and informed Fay with several angry, glaring thoughts. What if I say no? He may plan to recapture me or worse, invoke justice for the death of that foul Titus… And here Mylia cursed for a moment in wyrm language.
Fay shrugged but her eyes were not pleased. People will do anything if driven to desperation and he is a desperate man. I think he cares more for the special future prophecy he discovered in the Dyn than making amends for a dead castle staffer he never really cared for.
Mylia remembered Gerard and Prince Asher discussing the prophecy during her time of captivity. The very future prophecy that sent Prince Asher to the Wylds and led to her unwitting capture. The future that spelled Prince Asher’s ascension to be Emperor.
“Fay, you should hurry it up. Please.” Tom hovered between them with the consternation of an overwrought butterfly.
Fay redirected her attention to Mylia. Will you meet him?
Mylia grimaced. I’m sorry to have brought this to you both. You were nice enough to help me escape death. My future shouldn’t hurt yours.
Nonsense. I’d rescue you again if needed.
Mylia stared down upon her hands. It was hard to see anything with the encasement of fabric around her body. Okay. To help you and Tom, I will see him.
Thank you, Mylia. I hope the meeting goes according to your satisfaction.
The door ‘closed’ and Mylia felt Fay’s presence depart and fade.
Beside her, Fay made a great downward motion with her hands and pulled apart the air, exposing a black space. The Dyn had opened.
Fay pushed herself forward from the chair, falling into the blackness. A moment later, Mylia saw her spring up on suddenly working legs and motion to her.
Mylia stepped through the odd chill of the Dyn entry and joined Fay in the darkness.
“Watch your step,” the witch said as the door or opening or whatever it was between the dark world and the morning-washed apartment shut.
“I’m okay,” Mylia said and was surprised to hear the sound of her voice amid the echoing blackness of the Dyn world.
Fay nodded, bemused. “Yes, you can talk in here. The Dyn transports your body by moving your mind, all within logical reason, of course. So, in my mind, I can walk, therefore…” She beckoned to her upright legs. “Obviously, in your mind, you can speak with me, and I must say, you have a beautiful voice. I’d be enthralled to hear you sing.”
Mylia grinned. “What else can I do?”
“Nothing beyond the constraints of your nature. I can’t fly in the Dyn, for example. You may although I wouldn’t recommend it. Too visible to the other coders and there’s nothing up there but space and stars.”
Fay walked ahead, eyes on the shadowy, flat ground, fingers making odd motions in the air as though coding something invisible. Mylia followed, wondering if she could breathe fire. After all, she was part wyrm and if flight were possible, then—she took a deep breath and thought of fire.
“No!” Fay frantically hissed, reading Mylia’s plans. “Do you want to attract every hungry wyrm ghost in the vicinity? Goodness, Mylia. I thought you had more sense.”
Mylia pondered this and decided against any and all sudden movement. “How are ghosts trapped here?”
“It’s a long story. This Dyn is just another world…a terribly cold and dangerous one folded around ours from the dawn of our planet’s formation. The spacetime complex of the Dyn lends an eternal time or at the least, a highly stretched out linearity to our time’s progression. Because extreme lengths of time are the equivalent of a perpetuity or eternity, a type of trapped sentience or ‘ghost’ can be created. Typically, we get more wyrm ghosts than any other species and they’re always hungry and mad.”
Mylia remembered Fay’s earlier admonition and repeated it. “The Dyn is not the afterlife.”
Fay nodded and kept walking and weaving the air in front of her hands. “Correct. Another strange aspect of the Dyn—humans found we could glimpse the future of our world in certain parts of the Dyn and then, much later, we determined ways to code the future we wanted for our planet.”
Mylia remembered the Prince’s prophecy. “Prince Asher said the Dyn forecast he would become Emperor. Is that the actual future then?”
Fay shrugged. “Dyn coding is all very complex stuff and no one ever agrees to the precise future we want but now our entire world is run by the happenings of the Dyn. If your prince can obtain control over the general future trend of the Dyn, anything is possible.” Fay unfurled a slice of blackness, pulling apart the folds like a pair of curtains. Beyond was that shocking blast of whiteness.
“Catch me when I fall,” Fay said and together, they stepped out of the Dyn.
Mylia grabbed Fay as her legs collapsed and lowered her carefully to the floor. Staggering upright from the heaviness of the witch’s body, she found herself in a strange place.
Everything around her glittered as though lit on fire—opulence she could never have imagined from her blue treetop bower washed in fresh moonlight. Gold and fiery gems encrusted the plates and goblets upon the coffee table, settees of purple and crimson velvet lay curved on either wall, heavy with huge portraits of pastoral landscapes, and the floor was a single slab of ebony and cream river marble. Shards of multicolored light flung downward from a chandelier the size of a car, suspended as it was high above them.
It was some type of grand sitting room and lacked windows. As if to recall nature’s existence, a silken cloth flung a bunch of purple grapes upon a small coffee table.
Mylia watched as a heavily-ringed hand plucked a grape and popped it past a huge beard into a mouth that chewed and swallowed. The hand and mouth belonged to a man with long, red hair and a diamond in one ear. He wore a tough blue sort of pants material around his legs and a fitted shirt of cotton. Mylia later understood this to be a denim and tee shirt combination highly popular in the Capital. She also did not yet realize how casually dressed he was for the obscenely glittered surroundings.
“Mylia, so good of you to join us,” a familiar voice said.
Prince Asher sat opposite the stranger. He wore his typical black hunter’s outfit but had added a heavy silver chain and shaven his beard. Mylia felt a stab of pain and gladness to see him and considered this a strange emotion, given the bloody manner of their departure some days prior when she had killed Titus. She decided to ponder later in safety for now her wits must be present.
Fay sighed and held out her hand in sweet annoyance. “Will someone be nice and help me to a chair?”
The man in denim jumped up and offered his arm. When Fay was properly seated by the grape-covered table, she exchanged looks between the man and the Prince. “Well, here’s your escapee dressed and presentable as you requested,” she said to Asher. “Who’s your kind friend?”
The man stuck his hand forward to the witch. Mylia felt a knee-jerk reaction and flinched but then realized he only wished to shake hands with Fay.
“Name’s DJ Sand,” he announced. His voice stood thin and plain amid a wonderland of arrogance.
The young witch pumped his hand with cursory politeness. “You’re a DJ?”
She wrinkled her nose in consideration of this. “What do you want with Mylia?”
The DJ frowned. “Who’s Mylia?”
Asher had watched the exchange and said no words. He only stared at Mylia with a great, unblinking gaze that she found unnerving. When the DJ said her name, he stood up with some alacrity.
“This is Mylia,” he said and grandly flourished his hand toward her.
The DJ looked her up and down in some bemusement. “Why’s her face covered?”
Asher lent a secretive shrug. “Why does any artist do what they do? She has the only thing you need. A voice.”
The DJ nodded and bit into a grape. “I love food. I literally eat all the time. It’s remarkable I’m not the size of a sunship by now.”
“As the saying goes, choose a vice for a vice will always find you,” the Prince echoed with a smirk.
“Exactly. And vices can have the strangest origins,” and the DJ spat a grape pip across the floor. “Well, I’m here and I’m interested. Mylia, sing something for me, won’t you?”
Asher nodded to Mylia. “Please…oblige.”
Chapter 15 to be released 12/31/18!!