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Quantum Postcards - A Time Travel Story

Quantum Postcards - A Time Travel Story
Click the Graphic to Access the Quantum Postcards

Keeper of Stone and Stars - A Novel by Diana Whiley



CHAPTER ONE

(Please note that the author will be submitting each chapter as it is written and they will be added to this page)

     Compelled, driven by tone and melody, Eryn walked from Antarctica through the blue circle of light into night, and a dimly lit alley.

     Warm air pulsated around her, the scent of ocean, wood smoke and exotic foods strong.      The cobbled stones under her feet fixed her mind powerfully. Below, she sensed layers and layers and… a Sentience.

     She swayed and put a hand against the nearby wall. 

     What had Milav’s violin done?

     Before she could think, assimilate what had happened, a dark and disturbing music stirred, reached out toward her….

     She instinctively ran.  Ran down the alley and many more until she was gasping and had to stop. She tried to catch her breath quietly. Listened, but nothing stirred. It was quiet and she realised it must be the middle of the night here.

    She stood a moment unsure of what to do next when something called to her, sweet and pure like spring water. She hesitated then moved slowly toward its promise of respite. Noted glass and stone buildings like shop fronts as she passed them. Finally stopped in front of a door.

     A chime sounded and the door opened.  A white haired man stood before her linked to it, a spectrum of colour and pattern around his body.

     “I am Bralik, a Magi,” he said. “My ward song sensed you. As did I. Something’s happened.”

     “Yes. “

     “Best come in then,” and moved back.

      She stepped over the threshold and immediately felt an easing. He closed the door. “Let’s go into the kitchen. I’ll start a fire and you could do with some wine.”

     She agreed and followed him passed shelves filled with old bark and small bottles through a back door to a cozy room.

     He went straight to the fireplace and lit the stacked wood. Then moved to a cabinet and brought back a decanter and a goblet.

     Erryn sat and took a sip of what was very like Madeira, thick and sweet. It warmed her and she looked up. Bralik sat opposite waiting patiently.

     She began, haltingly. “On the street, I…and this might sound strange but…a music. Wrong. Dark stirred. It was coming for me “

     “How long ago?”

     “I ran down a lot of alleys until I stopped here.”

     “Your shield is strong but at one moment you were open. I know you are a Wilder.”

     She stiffened. What did that mean? 

     He put up a hand. “You have nothing to fear.  I do not adhere to the Magi Council’s rulings or restrictions,” Paused. “Your experience is disturbing and there have been rumours. You travel alone?”

     “I became separated from my family.” A part truth.

     “They have lodgings here?”

     “No, it happened before I entered the city,”

     “That is ill news. You are obviously untried, your magic unique.”

     That startled her. “I am certainly a skilled musician but…:

    “Believe me, you are more than that.  And I have something I think might interest you.” Left before she could protest.

    She stood. Had she just fallen into some trap?”

    He returned all too soon carrying a long black bag, its shape familiar. He withdrew… a violin; The violin Milav had given her.

     “That’s impossible,” she said hoarsely 
     “You recognize it. I suspected you might. This instrument has been in my keeping for a long time.”
     “It can’t have been.”

     “Look closely, tell me if there’s been a mistake,” and held it out to her.

     She took it tentatively but as soon as her hands touched the wood, she felt, saw a tendril of dark music unfurl.

     Bralik abruptly took the violin & put it quickly back inside the bag. “I see it. We must go.” Then pushing the violin back into her hands, hustled her toward a walk-in pantry. .

     “What if the violin drew the music?”

     “No. It was you and the violin together.”

      It made a terrible sense.

      He grabbed a coat off a wall hook inside the pantry then touched a shelf. As one, the whole thing swung back to reveal an opening. He handed Eryn a lantern then nudged her forward, came through afterward and shut the panel firmly.

      In the small space, a spiral staircase in the corner led down to a cellar filled with wine. “A neighbours. There is a secret tunnel from here that comes out near Trelin Square. It should be far enough.”

      They moved, and a good half an hour later ascended steps to the alley opposite the square. A man stood under a Gaslamp looking down at a form on the ground, next to him a huge wolf.  Its head jerked up and Eryn heard a voice, raw with emotion in her mind.  

     Who are you?  

    She tried to back away but Bralik grabbed her arm. “I know them. It’s Denei and Tyyr. He’s Hijar. They can help.”

    Too late. The wolf had already leapt forward, reached them and stopped in front of her. His amber eyes fixed on Eryn’s with a fierce intensity.

     Wait for me. I must check on the trail of dark residue first.

     She stiffened, then he was gone.

     “That was unlike Tyyr,” Bralik said.

     “Did you hear him speak?”

     “No,” and looked at her shrewdly. “But that you can does not surprise me. Must warn you it is unusual.”

     “It is,” Denei said and suddenly he right next to her, an aura about him, a  bright bronze-gold that tried to dazzle and mesmerize. She resisted and his eyes narrowed.  

     Bralik intervened, saying smoothly, “Eryn is new to the city, Denei. What’s happened here?”

      That diverted his attention.  “A novice, Celeine. Drained of her magic before she died.”

      “By the Elements. A tragedy.”

      “Yes, and extremely bold of whoever is responsible, to come right here into the city. I’d not imagined it.”  Stopped as two swordsmen emerged into the lamplight escorting a woman. Behind them, two others carrying a pallet.

     “You must excuse me,” Denei said and he joined the woman. She knelt down to remove the cloak, said clearly.  “How is this possible?”

Denei replied, too softly to hear and the woman’s face whitened. She bowed her head a moment then gestured to the carriers. They gently placed Celeine’s body onto the pallet.

“Don’t be put off by Denei’s manner,” Bralik said. “He may be a Shalan warrior but also protects.”

“And Tyyr?”

“Has his own set of skills. The two of them have worked together for years. Travelled wide and far. Are you sure you have never met?

“No, and I truly do not know what Tyyr wants.” Then fell silent as the group of men and the woman left the square.

Bralik touched her arm and she was about to move, when another man came from the shadows.

Eryn knew it could only be Tyyr.

Dressed all in black; leather coat over tunic and pants. Black hair with the same gleaming amber eyes of the wolf.

He headed straight for her. Denei angled to intercept him but he was faster and reached her first. 

“We must talk later “he said, only then turned to Denei. “The trail was very well masked, but I found it. Then it split into many, faded. Only a Talent who has a very high skill could have accomplished it.”

“A Rogue Talent. I suspected as much after we found Ceilene. I’ll needed to speak with the city Warders.  And ask them why we saw no patrols in this area..”

“I can do that for you,” Bralik said,” but before I do, I would ask protection for Eryn. She was almost caught herself earlier.”

“You should have said so immediately,” Denei said. “Where? How did you escape?”

“I don’t know,” Eryn said stiffly.

“How could you not?”

Before Eryn could reply, she felt herself fading… and the whale song rose, its haunting melody sweeping up and over… to envelope them all… showed them:

 A man playing a lyre.  The same one studying a scroll. Speaking at a ceremony with many people.  Then an enameled box and  writhing within it a darkness…Feelings of anger and lastly a terrible pain and grief.  

When it finally stopped, the silence was profound.

Eryn shivered, cold and worn with her own, very recent grief. Barely registered the arm that came around her but slowly, slowly a warmth settled in; settled her

 “Are you all right?”

  “I’ll have to be,” she said without thinking, then looked up.  Tyyr was close, his hand on her arm.  He, must have held her.  “Who did we see?”

“You recall the vision?”

“Yes. I’ve had others,” then remembered where she was and stepped back.

 “They were silver,” Tyyr said.

“What?” 

“Your eyes. Silvered with power, like the Hishala of Legend.”

“Not me.”

“Are you sure? I felt an affinity with you, and you heard me.”

“That has never happened before.”

“You are untried?”

She ignored that. “What did you mean by an affinity?”

“I am the last of the Hijar. My race, is older even than Hishala. Part of me retains my lost kin’s memory and essence. I recognized something of it in you.”

“That’s why?”

“I still believe it possible. Your presence here, at a time when dark arts rise, adds to it. And…you just had a vision of Valies, Grand Master Magi of the High Seat.”

“And the box?”

“A containment box,” Denei said joining them, Bralik as at his side. “It only appears when a terrible injustice has been done or dark arts have been used.”

“Something is very wrong,” Bralik said.

“Then you believe what I saw?”   

“Yes,” and though Denei looked grim it was not directed at her. “Bralik has said you are without support. I offer you the protection of my House until you can be reunited with your family. My villa is nor far.”

“I… would be glad of it,” Eryn said, his aura now dimmed; no longer a problem. But felt sick, her lie weighing heavily.   

What would they think if they knew who she really was?


BIOGRAPHY

Previously a part time Creative Writing teacher and support worker in mental health, I participated in various community writing and art projects. 

I edited anthologies of memoirs. Set up art exhibitions. Judged writing contests for adults and children. Taught basic drawing in Community Centres. Then renewed my interest and skills in art while I wrote my first fantasy novel. 

I turned to digital art to create fantasy pieces to accompany my writing then expanded to fine art and transformative works.  Many of them inspired by nature and music - both fundamental in myth and ritual. 

My influences range from the Old Masters like Monet and Turner, to Klimt and Surrealist Salvatore Dali, to Contemporary art within Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series of graphic novels. 

I have exhibited at home and in the US. Won on-line art competitions, and have been in art magazines and International art books.  

I am also a published writer of poetry and short stories with artwork in anthologies. 

Website         www.dianakwhiley.weebly.com

Links to art:  www.instagram.com/dizwhi    
                      www.exhibitionswithoutwalls.com  Winners Gallery   



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