THE MAGIC WAKES
Book 1 in the Magic Wakes Series
Since childhood, scientist Talia Zaryn has been haunted by recurring dreams, visions of an alien attack on her planet Sendek. Each time it ends abruptly with Talia's death in the capital city Joharadin, a city that she has spent her life desperately avoiding. Talia keeps these dreams a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when she is unexpectedly transferred to Joharadin she is convinced that the conflict, and her own death, is at hand.
As Talia's nightmares occur with increasing frequency, they reveal the imminent invasion of a half-dragon, half-human race called Dragumon, bent on annihilation of her world.
In Sendek, magic is dead and science rules, forcing Talia to keep another secret, one that could cost her everything if it were known. Now, in order to save her planet, Talia must awaken the powers within her and rely at last on the magic that is her true inheritance.
A third vehicle carrying Space Exploration Foundation equipment had been attacked. The sleek bullet-shaped tram lay crumpled beside the track and spread across half a mile of protected lands like an accordion. Its silver exterior marred by scorches and patches of thick orange foam used to put out the flames. The last car in line had been ripped open. Its contents carried away while those guarding it had been left in a bloody heap in the corner. The terrorists had left forty people dead. All for the acquisition of military grade communications technology.
“There’s another reason to stop traveling for the SEF.” Talia rubbed the stone necklace resting at her throat.
She didn’t want to look at the bodies any longer. Instead, she focused on the surrounding wilderness. Trees, grass, everything near the tracks had been burned. The reporter rambled on about the environmental disaster as if no one had lost their lives. Talia was relieved when the news feed was interrupted by the house computer, “Incoming call, SEF President Cahal.”
Talia stood and smoothed her hair back. “Accept call.”
The disturbing images were replaced by a gray-haired man in his sixties, sitting at a desk overflowing with books and papers. His normally kind face looked ashen.
“Miss Zaryn, are you watching the news nets?”
“Good. The program has taken a hit that puts us months, maybe a year behind schedule.”
“I can begin work on another satellite as soon as the parts are delivered.”
“Not this time. The board has decided it would be safer to bring you here. The parts are waiting for you, and this time you’ll have a skilled team to help. I’ve purchased a ticket from Gneledar to Joharadin for nine rising. Your apartment will be ready by the time you arrive.”
Her knees weakened. She stepped behind the couch and leaned on the back for support. Her vision blurred, and then she remembered to breathe. “I can’t move to Joharadin.”
“Sure you can. You’ve traveled to other locations for us, and it’s about time you stayed here for a while. Who knows, maybe we’ll finally convince you to make this your permanent home.”
It would be permanent all right. Death always was. She squeezed the couch tighter to keep her hands from trembling. There was no way out of it and no way to explain. At least not in a way a man of science could understand or accept, but Cahal had given in to her before. She had to try one more time.
"Sir, I've always worked remotely. There's no need for me to move to Joharadin."
"Miss Zaryn, getting you here is about more than a few attacks and setbacks. The Royalists are making a big deal out of this. They’ve started an investigation into the SEF because they think we’re leaking critical information to some unnamed terrorist group.”
“You know I’m not the leak. I don’t have access to transport details.”
“It doesn’t matter what I think. The Royalists insist every member of the team be present in a face-to-face presentation." Cahal clasped his hands in front of him and leaned toward her from his desk. "That includes you. Either you move here for the next year of your own free will, or the Royalists will arrest you and drag you here anyway.”
“Yes, Sir.” Her shoulders drooped. “Cahal, can I ship a personal project as well?”
“You can send anything you like, as long as you’re on that tram. Unless I can convince you to take an aeroflyer?" His eyebrows lifted in hope.
Talia sighed, "I'll be on the tram. You know I prefer to stay close to the ground."
“You're going to have to get over that. The environmentalists have been trying to phase out the tram lines for years, and these attacks have added fuel to their cause. The aeroflyers will soon be the only way to travel."
"I'll cross that bridge when I have to."
"Very well. I'm meeting you myself, so there's no backing out. I’ll come all the way to Gneledar before I let the Royalists bring you in." He winked at her and let the ghost of a smile twitch the corners of his lips. With a wave of his hand the SEF's emblem replaced his image.
Talia collapsed on the couch and stared at the phoenix rising into a star filled sky. After a moment, the screen shut off and she rested her head in her hands. Joharadin, capital of Algodova. She had good reason to stay as far away from the city as possible but no way to explain them to Cahal. Sometimes he exuded a grandfatherly attitude toward her, but he was still a man of science. Talk of prophetic dreams would not go over well, especially as an excuse.
A small furry creature shot from under the table and bounced onto her lap. He nuzzled his way under her arms. Talia stroked his back and fluffy tail. With each movement he fanned his tail wider and purred in contentment.
"You always know how to make me smile. Don't worry, you're coming with me." She stared into his bulging black eyes that swiveled back and forth. "Maybe I should set you free instead?"
Keeta trilled, spun in a circle, and lay down in her lap. With a laugh, she set him on the couch. She could never leave him behind.
"Raise blinds." She spoke the command and the house computer obeyed.
She rose from the couch and walked to the window. The trees blocked the view of the city, but she knew it was there. Her hometown.
Generally, she welcomed traveling to other cities for the SEF. The weeks and months in the company of co-workers offered a semblance of a social life not available at home. But not Joharadin. Just the thought of the city from her nightmares caused her skin to crawl and her heart to race. A dull ache formed behind her eyes and she rubbed at her temple.
The light from Sendek's double suns filtered through the trees and into her living room. Flecks of gold danced with the shimmery green across the floor. The movement imitated her nerves. It was already starting.
I'll dream. Talia sent her thoughts out to the trees and waited for their answer. Keeta's head popped up as if he listened as well.
We will be here when you do. The trees sang back.