Thursday, May 24, 2018

Excerpt from Cosmic Wars

Excerpt from Cosmic Wars, Grand Masters’ Galaxy, Book 5

Teleport from planet to planet as the Griffins pursue their enemies across the galaxy and beyond.
Violet and Athanor Griffin reunite with their baby son after escaping from the world beyond the fiery Cosmic Rift, but they find no respite from troubles. The Grand Masters have declared Athanor dead, and are squabbling to replace him as Chair of the Council. Hordes of bloodsucking Ixioth slavers threaten galactic civilization, and a new enemy has emerged from the alternate universe, an enemy immune to psychic forces. The dynamic couple is soon swamped with pleas for help. Athanor’s vow to crush the insectoid Ixioths and expel the Nulls hits a major obstacle. The teleportal web enables their allied enemies to make rapid strikes and escape to  unknown hideouts, somewhere in the galaxy. Violet has a different perilous challenge. Her promise to rescue the children captured on Cinerea means she must brave the dreadful Rift and lose her psychic powers. Can the Griffins reconcile their divergent promises, or must they separate for the tasks of rescuing the prisoners and defeating the slavers?

Join psychic superstars, Violet and Athanor Griffin, on this epic adventure, meet aliens of all stripes, and of course, the fabulous dragons of Sythos. 

In Chapter 2: Violet and Athanor Griffin arrive at the Council meeting. Believing Athanor is dead, two Grand Masters propose to fight for the Chair’s position.

A wall of shielded emotions met them, a wall her senses could penetrate, easily for some and requiring force for others. Auras flared in multiple hues, indicating alarmed fear or pleased surprise at their entrance. Waves of hatred leaked from Nathan, directed mostly at Athanor, although Violet received her share from rejecting his advances when Athanor was missing.  
Giving a mental snort of disgust, Athanor remarked, “Did he try to seduce you? Poor fool. He underestimates your powers. Your mind was strong before ever you achieved the rank of a Grand Master.” 
Violet hid her amusement behind an amiable expression. “That miserable worm could never tempt me. And now he’s raring for a fight.” 
Her petals glowing rosy, Amarylla Threeleaf rustled, “Brightness offers welcome to Griffin Grand Masters, blown into our meeting after long absence.”
His grim features fixed in a stern expression, Athanor’s eyes flashed sapphire. He bowed and said, “We are grateful for your gracious welcome, Brightness Threeleaf.” Swinging his azure gaze over the assembled Grand Masters, he remarked, “The Griffins have survived our adventure beyond the deadly Cosmic Rift, and we are ready to resume our tasks on the Council.” He waved Violet to her seat at the junior end of the semi-circle of thrones, and strode to the central throne reserved for the Chair.
Nathan recovered swiftly. His eyes an emerald blaze, he stepped in front of Athanor, and assuming a authoritative tone, he cried, “Stop! The Council has decided to select a new Chair.”
“Unnecessary,” Athanor grated. “You elected me as Chair, and my power is undiminished.” His curl of cynical amusement reached Violet, and she sharpened her vigilance. He cocked his black brows, and asked, “Do you dare to challenge me, Lord of Lightning?”
His eyes dulled and Nathan was silent.
Amarylla interrupted, exuding the tart scent of lemons, “Conflict is unwarranted. Griffin Chair lofts erect on Council.” 
Rising onto his four hind legs, Baxicki chittered, “Decision made at prior Council meeting. New Chair will be chosen by combat according to tradition.”
Athanor gestured to the oldest Council member. “Grand Master Hanuman, kindly enlighten us on the rules of this engagement. The Chair’s position has not been contended for many years, and some of us were not present at that momentous occasion.”
Hanuman bowed. “You are correct, Grand Master Griffin. The last combat for Chair’s status occurred nearly two hundred years ago when Nathan, Lord of Lightning, defeated Zarthorn and claimed the leadership of our Council.” The ivory beams from his eyes lit on Nathan’s rigid features. Rotating in a slow half-circle, Hanuman indicated each Grand Master in turn. His voice switched from mellow to cold. “Here are the rules. The combat for Chair must be held in the presence of all members of Council. None of you can leave this chamber until the conclusion of the fight or else you will forfeit your membership. The battle between contender and current Chair will continue until one is incapacitated or has admitted defeat.”
Violet quenched a shiver of fear. How could she watch Athanor die in combat?
His reply winged into her mind, “Don’t worry. We’ll be together, and our united powers can outmatch any other Grand Master.” Turning toward Nathan and Baxicki, Athanor growled, “Which of you proposes to battle your Chair?” His thoughts mingled annoyance with cynical amusement at the antics of his peers. 
Emitting yellow flames, Baxicki said, “Lord of Lightning joins Baxicki against Griffin.”
Athanor sent a private comment to Violet, “Pity, Nathan almost cried off.”
He was always a coward,” she replied.
Steeling for the fight, Nathan straightened and snarled, “You must fight alone.” He jabbed an accusatory forefinger at Violet. “Our youngest member must stand aside from the combat.”
“Impossible,” Athanor averred. “Our psychic union cannot be broken. Even when we were separated by the Cosmic Rift, we retained a tenuous connection and Violet knew I was alive.”
Giving vent to a deep sigh, Hanuman rose to his feet and said, “In my perusal of the Council’s long history, a psychic union of two Grand Masters is unprecedented. Since no rules appertain to this unique circumstance, I believe your challenge must encompass both of the Griffins.”
Athanor barked, “We stand ready. Let the combat commence.”
Detecting a psi arrow, Violet raised her shield and flung a warning to Athanor, “Beware, Baxicki.
Leave this one to me,” he replied, his mind sharpening for defense.
Rearing on its four hind legs, the insectoid blasted a beam of fiery yellow at Athanor.
Vibrating to intense blue, Athanor’s shield repeled the attack. Instead of a swift counter strike, he seemed to hesitate. The other Grand Masters, shifting away from the combatants, froze in awful expectation.
Her psi senses vigilant, Violet’s link revealed Athanor’s devious intent. Using his metal warping skill, he was tightening the orange bands around the insectoid’s head and midsection.
The Lord of Lightning shot livid green fire at his hated opponent.
Athanor did not budge. His defensive screen did not waiver. As a precaution, Violet inserted a fraction of her psi energy into his shield, edging the blue haze with ultraviolet. Her adrenaline surged to higher alert.
A sheet of emerald lighting surged toward her. Even partially distracted by Athanor’s combat, she blocked Nathan’s attack without flinching. She thrust a psi dart into his mind, paralyzing his thoughts. He stood immobile, his empty, outstretched hands aimed at her. 
Their opponents stood like statues, frozen in position.
Seconds passed without visible change.
Abruptly, Baxicki twitched in pain. Its psi fire fizzled out, its antenna drooped, and it collapsed onto the floor. “Cease!” it squeaked.
Athanor removed his pressure on the metal bands. The insectoid shivered, raised its body on six shaky legs and backed away.
At the same instant, Violet released her mental grip on Nathan. Cupping his hands over his aching forehead, he staggered to his seat.
Athanor strode around the semicircle of thrones. His sapphire gaze swept from one Grand Master to the next, and he growled, “We have defeated two contenders. Who else dares to fight us?”
After a moment of silence, Hanuman rose from his seat and intoned, “The Griffins have proven their dual potency. I recommend we retain Athanor Griffin as Chair of our Council.” 
Muted sounds of rustles, clicks and sighs marked a general consent.

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