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Early Man Can Talk. Change My Mind

Early Man Can Talk. Change My Mind

In Natural Selection, Book 3 of the trilogy Dawn of Humanity and the sixth book in the Man vs. Nature series, the characters communicate often but rarely with voices. Instead, they mostly rely on hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions. Some would say this meant they were primitive, unable to fully share thoughts, but it showed they had adapted to a dangerous environment where unusual sounds were the enemy. Here’s why.

I’ll be honest. How well early man could share thoughts is not settled science. No one questions their ability to hiss, squeak, howl, and bark in some early approximation of speech. The difference in opinions comes from whether the physiology of their evolving brain allowed for the sophisticated speech used by modern humans, one filled with verbs, nouns, and symbolism. The mushy, tissue-y brain doesn’t preserve decades much less 2 million years. Nor does the floating ‘hyoid’ bone in the throat that is critical to speech.

Even if that weren’t the case, why would they want to be noisy communicators when non-voice methods provided everything required for their daily existence. Their world was treacherous. Why would our ancestors, already poorly defended by weak claws, flat teeth, small size, and thin skin choose to “talk” with unnatural sounds when they were surrounded by predators who would like nothing better than to eat them? Logically, wouldn’t they choose something quieter and more functional? Have you been around someone who doesn’t speak your language yet the two of you communicate via hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions? Think of American Sign Language and its sister non-spoken languages throughout the world. Once you learn this system of body movements, everything is said without words. No one misses anything.

Here’s what I think: Early man like my character Lucy and her tribe communicated ideas well without voices by using body language.

What are your experiences with communicating without voice? Share your stories with readers in the comments.

Summary

 In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribemembers captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events.

 Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

 A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

 Book information:

 Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

 Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

 Social Media contacts:

 Amazon Author Page:         https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                        https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                              https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                    http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

 Book trailer: https://youtu.be/jZhlvou9hvg

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

One Pack Ends, Another Begins

 Africa  

The Canis’ packmates were all dead, each crumpled in a smeared puddle of blood, Upright killing sticks embedded where they should never be. His body shook, but he remembered his training. The killers’ scent filled the air. If they saw him—heard him—they would come for him, too, and he must survive. He was the last of his pack.

He padded quietly through the bodies, paused at his mate, broken, eyes open, tongue out, pup under her chest, his head crushed. A moan slipped from his muzzle and spread around him. He swallowed what remained in his mouth. Without a pack, silence was his only protection. He knew to be quiet, but today, now, failed.

To his horror, a departing Upright looked back, face covered in Canis blood, meaty shreds dripping from his mouth, the body of a dead pup slung over his shoulder. The Canis sank into the brittle grass and froze. The Upright scanned the massacre, saw the Canis’ lifeless body, thought him dead like the rest of the decimated pack. Satisfied, he turned away and rushed after his departing tribe. The Canis waited until the Upright was out of sight before cautiously rising and backing away from the onslaught, eyes on the vanished predators in case they changed their minds.

And fell.

He had planned to descend into the gully behind him. Sun’s shadows were already covering it in darkness which would hide him for the night, but he had gauged his position wrong. Suddenly, earth disappeared beneath his huge paws. He tried to scrabble to solid ground, but his weight and size worked against him and he tumbled down the steep slope. The loose gravel made gripping impossible, but he dug his claws in anyway, whining once when his shoulder slammed into a rock, and again when his head bounced off a tree stump. Pain tore through his ear as flesh ripped, dangling in shreds as it slapped the ground. He kept his legs as close as possible to his body and head tucked, thankful this hill ended in a flat field, not a river.

Or a cliff.

When it finally leveled out, he scrambled to his paws, managed to ignore the white-hot spikes shrieking through his head as he spread his legs wide. Blood wafted across his muzzle. He didn’t realize it was his until the tart globs dripped down his face and plopped to the ground beneath his quaking chest. The injured animal odor, raw flesh and fresh blood, drew predators. In a pack, his mate would purge it by licking the wound. She would pronounce him Ragged-ear, the survivor.

Ragged-ear is a strong name. A good one.

He panted, tail sweeping side to side, and his indomitable spirit re-emerged.

I live.

But no one else in his pack did.

Except, maybe, the female called White-streak. She often traveled alone, even when told not to. If she was away during the raid, she may have escaped. He would find her. Together, they would start over.

Ragged-ear shook, dislodging the grit and twigs from his now-grungy fur. That done, he sniffed out White-streak’s odor, discovered she had also descended here. His injuries forced him to limp and blood dripping from his tattered ear obstructed his sight. He stumbled trying to leap over a crack and fell into the fissure. Fire shot through his shoulder, exploded up his neck and down his chest. Normally, that jump was easy. He clambered up its crumbling far wall, breaking several of his yellowed claws.

All of that he ignored because it didn’t matter to his goal.

Daylight came and went as he followed White-streak, out of a forest onto dry savannah that was nothing like his homeland.

Why did she go here?

He embraced the tenderness that pulsed throughout his usually-limber body. It kept him angry and that made him vicious. He picked his way across streams stepping carefully on smooth stones, their damp surfaces slippery from the recent heavy rain, ignoring whoever hammered with a sharp rock inside his head. His thinking was fuzzy, but he didn’t slow. Survival was more important than comfort, or rest.

Ragged-ear stopped abruptly, nose up, sniffing. What had alerted him? Chest pounding, breathing shallow, he studied the forest that blocked his path, seeking anything that shouldn’t be there.

But the throbbing in his head made him miss Megantereon.

Ragged-ear padded forward, slowly, toward the first tree, leaving only the lightest of trails, the voice of Mother in his head.

Yes, your fur color matches the dry stalks, but the grass sways when you move. That gives away your location so always pay attention.

His hackles stiffened and he snarled, out of instinct, not because he saw Megantereon. Its shadowy hiding place was too dark for Ragged-ear’s still-fuzzy thinking. The She-cat should have waited for Ragged-ear to come closer, but she was hungry, or eager, or some other reason, and sprang. Her distance gave the Canis time to back pedal, protecting his soft underbelly from her attack. Ragged-ear was expert at escaping, but his stomach spasmed and he lurched to a stop with a yowl of pain. Megantereon’s next leap would land her on Ragged-ear, but to the Canis’ surprise, the She-cat staggered to a stop, and then howled.

While she had been stalking Ragged-ear, a giant Snake had been stalking her. When she prepared her death leap, Snake dropped to her back and began to wrap itself around her chest. With massive coils the size of Megantereon’s leg, trying to squirm away did no good.

Ragged-ear tried to run, but his legs buckled. Megantereon didn’t care because she now fought a rival that always won. The She-cat’s wails grew softer and then silent. Ragged-ear tasted her death as he dragged himself into a hole at the base of an old tree, as far as possible from scavengers who would be drawn to the feast.

 

He awoke with Sun’s light, tried to stand, but his legs again folded. Ragged-ear remained in the hole, eyes closed, curled around himself to protect his vulnerable stomach, his tail tickling his nose, comforting.

He survived the Upright’s assault because they deemed him dead. He would not allow them to be right.

 

Sun came and went. Ragged-ear consumed anything he could find, even eggs, offal, and long-dead carcasses his pack normally avoided. His legs improved until he could chase rats, fat round ground birds, and moles, a welcome addition to his diet. Sometimes, he vomited what he ate and swallowed it again. The day came he once again set out after what remained of his pack, his pace more sluggish than prior to the attack, but quick enough for safety.

Ragged-ear picked up the female’s scent again and tracked her to another den. He slept there for the night and repeated his hunt the next day and the next. When he couldn’t find her trace, instinct drove him and memories of the dying howls of his pack, from the adults who trusted their Alpha Ragged-ear to protect them to the whelps who didn’t understand the presence of evil in their bright world.

Everywhere he traveled, when he crossed paths with an Upright, it was their final battle.

 

Online Book Club Review Einstein’s Compass

In Einstein’s Compass, by Grace Blair and Laren Bright, Albert Einstein receives a compass from his father. What he doesn’t know is that it possesses magical abilities and great power. A dragon monster named Raka, wants it to control people and have power over Atlantis once more. Albert then becomes friends with a boy named Johann. Werner von Wiesel, who has been psychologically manipulated by Raka, kills Johann. Albert and Johann’s spirit must work together to keep the compass safe from the evil and greed of Raka.

This book has beautifully captivating details, the authors were good at explaining the setting and trivial things like architecture or the perception of how a place made the characters feel. The book was beautifully written, and it had a great storyline and concept. The details in the story help the reader get an enthusiastic sense of what is happening. The space/time concepts are superb, and the science fiction elements are great. Additionally, the concept of the compass is creative and original. The writing style has many historical fiction elements (event descriptions, Einstein’s life). The historical fiction elements are beautifully written, especially the details, Einstein’s life, and the accurate science concepts. Readers will get a profound sense of the characters and their actions and personalities.

I would recommend this book for anybody who likes a lot of detail in the books they read and a nice blend of fiction elements. I think fans of A Wrinkle in Time (for its complex world and science fiction elements), and Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (for its textual organization and historical fiction elements) would enjoy this book.

#Christmas2022 #kindle #audiobook #trending #readers #grandparents #gift #stockingstuffer @bublishme

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure Buy on Amazon Now

Atlantis DNA Experiments

Did you know the scientists of Atlantis performed DNA experiments? They discovered how to combine the genetics of animals with humans. It was a world-wide business for the military Aryan scientists to create Centaurs, Satyrs, and Minotaur’s. By blending genetics, the Atlanteans thought they could play God. Today scientists across our world are playing God by creating invisible death through biological weapons. What occurred in Atlantis is happening today. Viruses that were only found in humans and viruses only found in certain animals coexisted in the bodies of these combined beings. This artificial movement of combining what would never happen was a huge aberration from natural law and opened a doorway for viruses to move from one species into another. We have had lethal viruses appear through the crossover of animal viruses mutating into a form that humans can carry. SARS, MERS, and EBOLA all originated in bats. Swine flu originated in pigs. We are as technological as the Atlanteans were when they destroyed their world. There is a spiritual purpose for the Coronavirus. The Atlanteans created Noah’s flood to clear the planet of men’s abominations. Let us learn to balance science with humanity. Let us choose with wisdom, compassion, and love, not power and greed. #kindle $.99 #cybermonday #readingcommunity #Christmas2022 #stockingstuffer #grandparents

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure Buy on Amazon Now

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure

Prologue

Since Raka’s meeting with the council, the focus of the Aryan laboratory had moved to DNA and using it for transformation. General Tora-Fuliar envisioned an army of Draconian soldiers with which he could conquer the world. The council leader visited the lab each week for a progress report and was increasingly frustrated at the lack of results. DNA experiments required creative scientists, and creativity was not something the militaristic Aryans were noted for. It was evident that the best talent came from Atlantis. An aggressive recruitment campaign was mounted there.

The Light healers on Atlantis were primarily motivated by their desire to serve the higher Light of God with love. This intention provided them with the clarity to heal from a pure state of giving. Loving came forward and lifted the healer and the patient. The healer’s material needs—food, shelter, and clothing—came as a part of their serving. The glamour of substantial gains and recognition offered by the Aryans, however, began to distract them from the reward of serving. Increasingly generous offers seduced the Atlantean Light workers away from the healing temples to the Aryan DNA research labs. Even some high priests sold their knowledge and healing secrets to the dark empire.

The DNA experiments on Aryan required a high-quality controlled food source. Scientists used everything from cows to mice. But the trials were not without challenge. Aryan’s successes in cloning had sparked fierce debates among scientists and the public. The people of Atlantis questioned the morality of cloning plants, animals, and possibly humans. But few knew that cloning was just a cover for a secret project of DNA experiments combining animal and human DNA. On the surface, it was producing novelty animals that had become big business in Aryan. Wealthy families and even countries were buying hybrids like Minotaur and Centaurs.

The clone business on Aryan also played into Raka’s plan for revenge. Once he had become adept at using his new body, he made his way back to the city. He set up an observation outpost in an abandoned structure in the remote industrial area where the DNA research complex was located. Now that he had a plan, he could afford to be patient. For several weeks he watched the movements of the scientists, military, and guards.

Who’s That Indie Author? Grace Blair

 

Grace Blair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Name: Grace Blair

Genre: Teen & Young Adult Historical Fantasy, Self-Help Personal Development

Books: Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure; Do You Have a Dream Workbook 5 Keys to Realize Your Dream; 5 Keys to Courage, Confidence and Creativity

Bio: Grace Blair is an award-winning self-help and motivational author, and a podcast host who has assisted thousands to find their spiritual wisdom to solve everyday challenges.

What got you started as a writer? I watched the television series Murder She Wrote. The main character, Jessica Fletcher was a writer who traveled, and I thought I would also like to be a writer who traveled.

What is your writing routine? I write when my creative cup is full of the characters and stories who are ready for me to put on paper. When the cup is empty, I get up and do something else.

What route did you take to get your books published? Modern Mystic Media is my company where I self-publish. Bublish assists me to edit, publish, market, sell and track my sales.

What things do you do to promote your books? I launched Einstein’s Compass with a book blog and audiobook blog tours. I also submitted book listings on all on-line bookstores, including Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and Google Play. I create promotions through Mailchimp and Bublish send out tweets each weekend to 800,000 Twitter users. I use social media daily, specifically Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I also have a nationwide book distribution with Barnes & Noble through Bublish. In addition, editorial and book reviews for Amazon and Goodreads help spread the word. I participate in book signings in local bookstores and book fairs. I created a three-minute video to be shown on our local television station. I’m currently in a shopping agreement with a Hollywood producer who is assisting me with Einstein’s Compass to become a television series. Finally, I advertise twice a year on Kindle Daily Nation Kids Week book promotion.

What is your favorite genre to read and why? I love history. Through historical fiction I can be entertained and learn history.

Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? Both. I like writing descriptions as the background of the story with dialogue to show the depth of the story and characters.

Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Yes, all the time

Did this change the plot of your book? Yes

What is the most demanding thing you have accomplished in your life? Overcoming an abusive early family environment

What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? My spiritual teacher, John-Roger, my husband, John Blair, and Kathy Meis of Bublish.

What would you tell your younger self? Go to college.

Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? No, I have never met a bear on a hike. If I did, I would growl bigger and chase the bear away.

You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? None. I do not eat sugar so not Fudge Pop Tarts or Snickers. I am lactose intolerant so no Doritos.

What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? Twenty

Closing thoughts: Einstein’s Compass received multiple awards in 2020, including the Best Sci-Fi Audiobook Review and the Indie Author Best Book Award and was awarded 1st Place in the Royal Dragonfly Book Award for Historical Fiction.

Website and social media links:
Website:ModernMysticMedia
Book: EinsteinsCompassBook
Linktree: @gracethemystic


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

 

15 thoughts on “Who’s That Indie Author? Grace Blair”

    1. You ask great questions, Barbara. Even though I’m neither a teenager or young adult, I would buy 5 Mystic Keys based on the cover alone. Great job, Grace, and happy marketing! You have a tremendous reach in so many venues, especially Twitter–wow!

    1. Thank you for your comment. When writing Einstein’s Compass, I saw each chapter as an episode for a tv series. My intention from the beginning was to share my novel with the world. Please help me get EC on the silver screen by holding a positive vision with me.

        1. Thank you explorenewness for your thoughtful comment. I have a passion to spread the word to dream. Few people know young Albert Einstein was a Jewish boy attending a Catholic school. He was bullied by his peers and teachers. While in high school his parents left him with his aunt and uncle. He suffered depression with the loss of his family and the constant confrontation at school. When he finished college, his professors refused to help him find a job. Yet, with all his struggles he never gave up on his dream of knowing what time and light is. My novel tells the story of his struggles and how he did not give up. And as a result, Albert Einstein changed the world. Many people today are struggling with their lives and what to do as our world changes. I want to encourage anyone who has a dream to go for it. So, I spend a lot of time spreading the word…DREAM and DO. Go for the adventure in your life.

    1. Yes, I have lived in a dwelling with a “one butt kitchen”. I always wanted a big kitchen to cook and live in. We have a large table in the kitchen where we have guests for a family meal. Makes it homey.

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Albert Einstein’s Oktoberfest Danger

 

Munich celebrates the marriage of King Ludwig and Princess Luise which happened in 1894, every October with a sixteen-day party called Oktoberfest.
Albert’s father and uncle had just installed the first electric light bulbs in the tents for the festival. The teenager was excited to see the tents in light. I thought having an Oktoberfest in the story would add to Munich’s history and give Albert an opportunity to show us what the party would look like back then. We find Albert meeting his best friend Johann in the Munich Brau Beer tent where German food, music, and dancing collide with our hero’s nemesis Werner Von Weisel. I liked the way Albert danced with Mileva, who much later in time would become his wife. #followme on #Bublish to receive new book bubbles #light #timetravel #kindle $.99

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure Buy on Amazon Now

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure

September 1894
Oktoberfest

 

A crisp west wind blew away the last days of September 1894 and hailed in the 16-day annual folk festival known as Oktoberfest. The first Oktoberfest was held on October 12, 1810, when all the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the wedding party of King Ludwig I as he married Princess Therese Charlotte Luise of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The event was such a success it stuck, and Oktoberfest became a favorite annual celebration.

Wearing lederhosen and his favorite emerald-green alpine wool hat, sixteen-year-old Albert strolled into the fairgrounds. He’d been saving his appetite for the afternoon feast, and his stomach was growling in anticipation. Festive, tent-like canopies dotted the grounds, and Albert inhaled the enticing scents of dumplings baking in huge pans, chickens roasting on spits, and sausages sizzling in their juices. Albert’s eyes widened at the abundance of Bavarian delicacies, and his stomach rumbled again.

Twilight was slowly descending across the sea of colorful tents, which were lit with the still novel electric light bulbs. A week before, as an assistant in the family-owned electrical company Elektrotechnische Fabrik J. Einstein & Cie., Albert had mounted the light bulbs in the Schotte Hamel marquee.

The excited teenager made his way past the Hippodrome, which had magically been transformed from a horse-racing track into a dance hall. The sweet smell of the fresh, bracing autumn air was filled with the screaming, hooting, and shouting of the revelers, underscored by the joyous sounds of a sprightly polka band. Outside the large, ornate building, families in their festive best chatted animatedly with neighbors waiting in line with them.

The crunch of fallen red and gold leaves under his feet, Albert whistled under his breath as he made his way to the far west end of the fairground. A new exhibit hosted by Munich Brau featured a competition for the best crossbowman. Near the Munich Brau beer wagon, Albert found Johann setting up the targets. “Hey, Johann, do you need any help?” Albert shouted above the chatter and music.

Johann, in a sweaty white peasant shirt and lederhosen, turned around. “Albert! You made it!” He gave his friend a brotherly hug.

“Wouldn’t miss Oktoberfest,” Albert replied with mock indignation.

“Thanks for stopping by our tent. My father has invested a lot of money in the crossbow contest, so I’m just finishing up here. You go on inside. I’ll catch up with you soon.”

Albert waved goodbye and headed into the Munich Brau pavilion. A wooden dance floor covered the center of the pagoda-style tent that measured fifty feet square. Rows and rows of tables and benches lined the sides. On planks at the far south side of the party room, plate after plate of fresh bratwurst and mugs of frosty beer beckoned.

“I’m starved,” Albert said to himself and strode purposefully toward the food table. Suddenly, someone thrust their foot into the crowded aisle and sent Albert sprawling into the dirty straw that covered the floor. Albert could hear the derisive laughter, as he hoisted himself to his feet. Brushing the straw from his clothing, he found himself face-to-face with Werner von Wiesel.

“Walk much, clumsy?” the bully sneered, “and look at that stupid hat!” Werner backhanded Albert’s goat-hair cap from his head.

“That’s enough, Werner,” shouted a stout man dressed in a white apron and balancing a large platter brimming with hot sausage. It was Johann’s father, Frederick Thomas, “This is not sportsmanlike conduct. I will pull you from the crossbow competition if you continue to behave like this.”

Albert glared at the bully and brushed sawdust from the cap. Werner, all innocence, looked hurt as he responded to the man. “Me? I didn’t do anything.” Werner glanced at a nearby table for support from his father, a retired Prussian colonel who had served in the German Army under Bismarck. But between bites of bratwurst and swallows of cold beer, the senior Von Wiesel was chatting with friends and missed his son’s performance. Werner shrugged and strode off toward the food table as if Albert were beneath his notice.

Shaking his head at Werner’s audacity, Herr Thomas turned to Albert and offered him a plate of sausages. “I’m sorry for that, Albert. You did an excellent job installing the electric lights. Now enjoy what we do best.”

Albert’s mouth watered as he inhaled the savory, steaming sausages. He accepted the plate gratefully and walked to a table near the six-piece band. He snagged a frosty mug of beer from the beer wagon along the way. The musicians were tuning their instruments as a group of dancers waited for the music to start. He set the platter onto the table and proceeded to pile a couple of sausages onto one of the clean plates arranged along the table’s edge. At a nearby table, a young dark-haired girl smiled at Albert. Albert blushed a little and smiled back.

The encounter with Werner had not diminished Albert’s appetite, and he turned his attention to the steaming sausages in front of him. Before long, his plate was clean and the mug empty. Sated, Albert relaxed back into his chair and closed his eyes. Should I stay or go? There are many tents in which to enjoy the festivities. If I open my eyes, will Werner be gone? Then, he grimaced. If I leave, will he follow me? The accordion wheezed to life, and the drum began beating the tempo for a lively polka. Albert felt the music, opened his eyes, and joined in singing with the enthusiastic crowd. He clapped his hands and watched the band.

Johann’s mother, Christine, her ginger hair tucked under a white cap, tapped Albert’s shoulder, and pointed to the young fräulein who had smiled at Albert earlier. “Albert, please dance with Mileva. She is the daughter of a lovely family we met. They’re visiting from Austro-Hungary.”

Albert gazed shyly at the delicate beauty at the next table. She smiled demurely and then looked down. Albert plucked up a bit of courage from somewhere and hesitantly asked, “Um, hi. Would you like to, uh, dance?”

Mileva nodded, and the two stood so Albert could lead the dainty Fräulein to the dance floor. What a beautiful girl, he thought as he glanced sideways to take a surreptitious look. Taking their positions on the dance floor, Albert held Mileva like a porcelain doll. Despite his shyness, he was an accomplished dancer, handily navigating through the many couples on the floor. Mileva’s bright-blue eyes twinkled with delight as Albert masterfully guided her to the strains of Strauss’s “Blue Danube Waltz.”

After a few dances, Albert returned his partner to her seat. As he turned to go back to his table, Mileva put her hand on his arm. “Please join me,” she said, looking up into his eyes. Albert just makes the drinking age of sixteen in Germany. Albert gulped and nodded, settling into a chair next to the young girl. He motioned to a passing hostess carrying a tray with mugs of beer. “Mileva, would you like something to drink?”

“That would be lovely.” Mileva smiled.

As the hostess set two mugs on the table, she knocked a cardboard coaster to the ground. As Albert bent to pick it up, an arrow streaked past her, flying through the crown of Albert’s hat, and knocking it off his head. Albert flinched, jarring the table and knocking over one of the mugs of beer. The frothy brew spilled over the edge of the table right into his overturned hat.

Mileva was enraged. “Who would do something like this?”

Albert put on a brave smile as he leaned over, picked up his hat and the arrow that had embedded itself in the straw-covered dirt floor. He shook the last wisps of foam out of his hat. “I’m sure it’s nothing. Just an accident.” Placing his hat on the table, he looked directly into Mileva’s beautiful eyes and smiled. “Or maybe Cupid has shot his arrow.”

Mileva blushed and looked down at the table.

“But, seriously,” Albert continued, breaking the mood, “please don’t say anything to anyone about this.”

“I won’t, if you don’t want me to,” Mileva agreed.

Albert scanned the crowd for Werner, who was nowhere to be seen. With Mileva watching quietly, Albert studied the arrow. It was small, as if from a child’s bow. Turning it in his fingers, he noticed a “WvW” burnished on the wood. Albert wondered how anyone could be so stupid as to pull such a prank with their initials carved into the arrow. But then, Werner had never been the brightest bulb on the string, Albert thought.

Scanning the room again, Albert spotted Herr Thomas on the far side of the tent, pouring a endless stream of frothy beer into mugs. Albert considered whether he should take the arrow to him. If he did, Werner would be expelled from the crossbow competition, and suspended from school. This is neither the time nor the place, Albert sighed, looking at the crowds around Herr Thomas. But it won’t do to stay here, either.

Beer-soaked hat in his left hand, Albert held out his right hand and bowed. “I’m sorry, Mileva, but I need to… uh, tend to something at my home.”

Unable to hide her disappointment, Mileva clasped his hand. “I’m sorry you have to leave so soon.”

“Me, too,” Albert said, his natural shyness coming to the fore. “I… um… really enjoyed dancing with you.”

Mileva brightened a little. “Me too. I’ll see you again while I’m here… or sometime?” she said, tilting her head quizzically.

“I… I’d really like that,” Albert turned hastily, slipped the arrow under his jacket, and made his way through the crowd and out of the tent.

 

Evil Raka Transforms Into Professor Meiss

 

While attending the Polytechnic in Switzerland Albert takes a course in chemistry where the Countess and Raka grab his teacher professor Meiss. Raka eats the professor and transforms into him. Read how Raka’s dragon body becomes the unsuspecting professor. Then Raka tries to kill Albert in a botched chemistry experiment.

Raka Transforms from Dragon to Professor Meiss. With a shudder, then a lurch, he began to shift. The claws of his feet became soft as human toes appeared. Hairy male legs replaced his stubby reptilian hind appendages, and his tail receded back into his body. Scales from his torso, arms, and neck melted into pink flesh. His long, slithery tongue withered until it could extend a scant inch or two beyond his lips. As he morphed, his airways constricted, and he grabbed at his throat, gasping for air. Writhing in ecstatic agony, then surrendering to the pain of bone, sinew, and flesh reconfiguring itself, he collapsed to the ground. Naked, he lay as motionless as death as he recovered from the ordeal. Sometime later, Raka woke crunched in a fetal position and took in a breath. He had not been in human form for an exceedingly long time.
#dragon #evil #einstein

******

In the lab, Albert settled himself at his assigned station and glanced at the bottles of chemicals arrayed before him. He had little interest in them and the experiment he was preparing to replicate. What’s the point of doing what others have done before? He thought. I want to break new ground. He sighed and resigned to the inevitable boredom ahead. He barely noticed the redheaded woman in the white lab coat who hurriedly left the room.

“Today we will perform experiment seventeen, Transmission of Pressure.” Professor Heilmann pointed to the blackboard. “The components of the experiment have been placed on your desks.”

There was more muttering as the students compared the supplies on their lab benches with the list that had been written on the blackboard. After a brief pause, the professor continued, “Gentlemen, you may proceed with the experiment.”

Albert poured the clear liquid into the test tube that stood upright, supported on the wooden stand. Then he began emptying the mercury on top of it. As he poured, the number 33 suddenly appeared to Albert in holographic form, blinking rapidly just above the test tube. Albert’s eyes narrowed. “That’s odd,” he muttered to himself. He recalled Pater Benjamin’s warning, but how could a mere experiment with water and stable mercury be a danger to him?

Before his eyes, the two liquids began to sizzle and bubble. Albert threw his right arm up to shield himself and ducked under the sturdy, wooden lab desk, and shouted, “Duck, everyone!” No sooner had the words escaped his lips than the experiment on the lab desk exploded with a fiery flash. Albert’s sleeve was spattered with burning liquid and burst into flames. He frantically pounded his burning jacket with his left hand, trying to extinguish it. All around, his classmates were screaming and rushing out of the classroom.

Down the hall, Countess von Baden stood smiling, satisfied with the result of having substituted water and stable mercury in Albert’s experiment with clear sodium nitrate and unstable mercury—a lethal combination. Composing herself and pasting an appropriately concerned look on her face, she rushed toward the classroom. As she neared the room, Professor Meiss joined her, offering an approving nod before they entered the lab. Instead of finding Albert’s fatally burned corpse, they were both dismayed to see the young man clutching his arm where the blackened and charred remains of his jacket and shirt still clung. Albert’s lab station was aflame, but he was fine.

Raka was furious. How could his plan have failed? The thought. “Get out of here before someone wonders about your presence,” he hissed quietly at the countess. Then, pulling himself together, he surveyed the destruction. “What have you done?” he exclaimed angrily to Albert. Pointing to the doorway, he said, “Get out of here before you burn down the building!”

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure Buy on Amazon Now

#kindle $.99 #audiobook #paperback #backtoschool2022

 

 

Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE Book Review 5 Mystic Keys to Courage Confidence and Creativity

5.0 out of 5 stars an easy guide to taking charge of your life and fixing personal problems
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2022
I don’t often read self-help books but I’m a fan of Grace Blair’s. She wrote an earlier one (Do You Have a Dream) which I enjoyed and then Einstein’s Compass which I fell in love with (fiction–nothing to do with solving personal problems). 5 Mystic Keys to Courage, Confidence, Creativity (2022) is a straightforward guide to taking charge of your life and fixing personal problems. Based on common sense and requiring a will to change, I found this to be a good approach with fresh ideas drawn from Grace’s own life experience. Despite difficult challenges that would defeat many, she refused to quit and turned these into an engine for achievement by focusing on faith and spiritual strength.

“When life gives me a plot twist, I have a map…”

She breaks 5 Mystic Keys into seven sections–

If at first you don’t succeed, change the rules
Do you need to be rescued
Do you believe in God
Emotions + Energy in Motion
What are your boundaries
What are priorities
What is the value of prayer

Each includes insightful ideas like ‘Trust your intuition’, ‘Value your creativity’, and ‘Experience your soul’s dreams’. Once you absorb these, she shares the 5 Mystic Keys (you’ll have to buy the book for that reveal). Supporting these is her personal story and meaningful quotes from spiritual advisors:

“God is not the bellhop in the sky to deliver every whim or wish.”

“Every intention sets energy into motion. Whether you are conscious of it or not.” –Gary Zukav

It’s a fast read or a slow one, depending upon where you need help and unlike other fix-me books you may have read. Highly recommended to those who feel let down by the world and in need of a special touch.

https://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Keys-Courage…/dp/0998830836

Life As a Hero’s Journey


As a writer, I see life as a hero’s journey. How do you react when life is going along fine, then plot twist?
Who made the rule change is hard? What if you could do anything with ease and grace? And create greater courage, confidence, and creativity?
Never say never.
In 1989, doctors diagnosed me with cervical cancer. The night after receiving the stage four cancer diagnosis, I began to experiment with an inner process of healing. I called in God’s Light. I imagined touching the hem of Jesus’s cloak. A warm feeling stirred inside my heart. The night before cancer surgery, I sat in my bed eyes closed and imagined the doctors and myself in loving. Deep in meditation and prayer, I felt lifted out of my body into a ball of pure love and light. Next day after surgery, there was no cancer after the biopsies came back.
Within three months without hormones, my body began to change. I had no energy and felt depressed. I had to change jobs from sales to answering the telephone. My life priorities became to take care of myself first.
I began to align myself with a higher purpose, a Dream manual. I asked myself, if I had all the health and energy possible, what would I be doing with my life? With more light, prayers, and the intention of feeling better, I discovered a body healing program called hair analysis. Within three months of participating in the body balancing program, my health and life began to turn around.
The next plot twist happened in 2003. The real estate market across our country was hot. In Dallas, Texas, I sold thirty homes in one year. By 2006, the housing bubble burst, unemployment was 10%. I was homeless, jobless, and penniless. What was I to do?
I turned to my new self-published book, “A Dream is a Wish the Heart Makes, or if at first you don’t succeed, change the rules.” I began the 5-step process of change to receive what was for the highest good outlined in the book.
I received a gift, a place to stay until my life turned around. I wrote in my journal on December 23, 2006 “Noon staying with my friend Sandi and Tony De Veau, dog sitting Taska and Annie. So wonderful to have this haven of safety and love to rest,”
On December 27, 2006, in my journal, I began to draw a mind map, a diagram used to organize information, on the top of the page “Make a Difference”, stuff I want to have, do or be.
Never say never. Instead of creating from fear, I choose to walk in faith and dream. One key to the Dream book was to work through the resistance to belief. Hold the focus on my intention with ease and grace.
To get a higher perspective, I called in the Light of God and asked The Christ Light that was within me to assist me in my life direction. Stepping into living love was like having a flashlight in the soul’s darkness.
Next, I drew the inner circle and wrote confidence and courage visions of joy 2007 manifest now. I began to listen to my inspired thoughts, and wrote about an affordable home, job, abundance.
I took out my Dream book and began clearing the resistance to receive my goals. Each day for the next 30 days, I wrote and cleared my way to receive my intentions.
My first goal, February 1, 2007, I created a job in property management at a commercial building. By the end of March, I moved into an apartment near White Rock Lake. Since moving to Dallas in 1986, I had always wanted to live near the lake. The young woman who lived in my new apartment had to leave suddenly. I told her I had no furniture. She gave me her sofa and love seat. I could get her lease rate, well below the going rent.
When I had almost finished, I wondered, what if I had a big goal, something gigantic? My heart started beating fast. I got so excited. What if I could manifest being in Oprah’s Book Club audience?
When I had my cable and internet service turned on in my new apartment, I began to participate on the Oprah Book Club website. The book in the discussion was “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett.
I love historical fiction. Ken’s book of building medieval cathedrals by ordinary people was exciting to read. The reading guidelines on Oprah’s website gave me a deeper perspective of how the story developed the characters and plot twists. I looked forward to each step of the story and sharing my point of view on the Oprah book club website.
Then, in early December 2007, I received a telephone call from the producer at Oprah. Would I be interested in being in the audience with Ken Follett and his book “Pillars of the Earth” at the end of January 2008? I discovered I would have to pay for the trip to Chicago. I said no, I could not afford it.
I called my younger brother, Allan, who lived in New Hampshire and told him about my invitation. He was so excited for me and told me to call the Oprah people back he would pay for the trip.
The next day, I contacted the producer who gave me the day, time, and instructions on where to find the studio.
What if I could get on national television, ask an important question, one that no one had discovered?
On Ken Follett’s website, I found two special projects that involved literacy. I knew literacy was also important to Oprah. I began to see myself in the Oprah audience, raising my hand and asking Ken Follett the important questions.
My brother Allan was as excited as I was when we arrived in wintry cold Chicago at the end of January 2008.
Oprah interviewed Mr. Follett all day. No one interviewed asked Mr. Follett about his programs for literacy in the UK. In the last two minutes of the show, Oprah asked if anyone had a question. Hands from everywhere flew up. I raised my hand, and Oprah called on me. Nervous, I asked Mr. Follett about his reading ability programs. Oprah was surprised to discover he had programs of learning.
During my hero’s journey I have discovered a new way to receive change with ease and grace. Now when life gives me a plot twist, I have a map, my Dream book to assist me through.
With acceptance of my life’s challenges, and asking for the inner guidance of God’s light, I received a doable map for change. I went from being homeless, jobless, and penniless, experiencing the biggest dream I could have ever imagined.
In June 2017, I revised my dream book into a workbook which can be used in workshops, “Do You Have a Dream Workbook 5 Keys to Realize Your Dream.” There is also an audiobook in my voice available on Amazon.
The change in my life from a life-threatening illness to wellness with a purpose was a testament to my years of walking the spiritual path. Who made the rule change is hard? What if you could do anything with ease and grace? And create greater courage, confidence, and creativity?
Never say never.
https://youtu.be/W6W4AEjQomo Oprah U-Tube Video
www.ModernMysticMedia.com
Do You Have a Dream Workbook 5 Keys To Realize Your Dream

Johann Goes to Heaven

Where do we go when we die? What happens to our body our soul?In this chapter I explain the transcendant place called heaven. The Garden of Remembrance is a beautiful place where Johann begins his journey back to the heart of God. Johann Albert’s best friend transcends into his soul’s next life as an angel. This turning point in the story brings a shock to all readers. Albert discovers where his friend lives and how he will become his guardian. Read Einstein’s Compass and discover what happens to Albert and Johann as they become even closer as friends and companions.
Read with your heart and discover how young Albert Einstein changed the world. #kindle $.99 #mothersday #readingcommunity #mystical

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure

Garden of Remembrance

The glockenspiel chimed twelve times. The rhythm of time seemed to slow with each beat as Johann tumbled into the path of the streetcar. The last thing he heard was Werner’s loud, angry cry. Out of control, his bicycle swerved wildly, the basket of sandwiches flying into the air. Still trying to regain control of his bike, Johann plunged onto the tracks and under the unforgiving steel wheels of the oncoming train. His last thought was of his father, Frederick. Johann had glanced up and found him watching from the second-story window. Then his head hit the ground and that, mercifully, was the last thing in the world he saw as the cold iron undercarriage of the train mangled his body.

 

* * *

 

There was light. Johann wondered about that. Whatever its origin, a bright vortex of light seemed to be pulling him up. He felt oddly at peace. In fact, he felt terrific. As Johann transcended his body, a veil lifted, and it seemed to him as if he floated in space. He closed his eyes and drifted in his consciousness.

After an indeterminate amount of time, he awoke and found himself laying in a garden. Lush, green lawns with paths of iridescent stone that formed gentle rambling arcs through the greenery surrounded a glistening white building. A river with calm, blue waters flowed past where Johann lay. Sitting up, Johann saw that lush beds of giant purple roses and red-and-white tulips dotted a nearby hillside. On the far side of the building lay a valley where he could see people dressed in white walking. As he stared at the scene, Johann realized their legs were not moving; they were gliding just above the ground toward the building.

Johann’s mind rebelled as he tried to make sense of what he was seeing. In confusion, he wondered what had happened and how had he gotten here—and where “here” was. He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. Receiving no inspiration, he opened his eyes to see a radiant young woman dressed in white approaching him.

The Light Initiate, Kendra, smiled, inwardly hearing Johann’s questions. “You are safe now, Johann,” she said, reassuring him.

Johann shook his head in disbelief. “Safe? I’ve been run over by a train!” To prove it, he looked down, and his eyes grew wide as he saw his body was whole and well. “What…? How…? Who are you?” Johann tried to stand but stumbled.

With a quick step, Kendra caught Johann’s arm and eased him back to the soft ground. “It’s all right. I know you have a million questions.” Placing her hand on her chest, she said, “My name is Kendra, and I am an agent of God sent to help you.” As Johann’s jaw dropped, Kendra squeezed his arm and sat. “Here, let me see if I can explain this to you.” Johann nodded blankly.

With warmth and caring, Kendra asked, “What is the last thing you remember?”

Johann gazed down and blinked several times, trying to capture his last moments. “I… I was on my bicycle, and the streetcar came along… and, I… fell.” As he said that, awareness hit Johann. “Oh my God! Am I, ah, am I… dead?”

With a compassionate smile, Kendra leaned in and took Johann’s hand. “Well, Johann, you are no longer living as you once did. Your body has been damaged beyond repair. It is, indeed, dead.” Johann gulped as Kendra continued. “But you, my dear friend, are far from dead as people on Earth imagine that state.”

Johann pinched himself. It felt like a pinch always had. “Um, I guess I see what you mean.” He looked around. “Yeah, no one with wings and harps that I can see, heh-heh,” he said, reaching for a joke.

Kendra kissed Johann’s hand. “Excellent, Johann. Some people take a lot longer to accept what has happened to them.”

Relaxing in the love that was the essence of this plane of existence, he asked, “But where am I. What am I?”

“Those are exactly the right questions,” Kendra said encouragingly. “You are in God’s Garden of Remembrance. Some call it Summerland and consider it Heaven. You will see people here whom you know, those who have passed on. You are what some people might call an angel—but not what people traditionally think angels are.”

“But what does that mean, Kendra?”

With another bright smile, she said, “It means that soon you will have a new role in which to serve the people on Earth. And some people very specifically,” she said with a wink.

Johann’s mind was reeling; he shook his head in disbelief. “But if I am dead, why do I have a body?”

Kendra laughed, her eyes sparkling with delight. “You have a body here because you are on the astral plane, which makes you appear as if you have a body. Many realms of beingness exist.

People are aware of the physical realm and can identify it. It is evident: You have a physical body, so you exist on that physical realm. The astral body is a replica of the physical body, but subtler. It is a sheath of energy that most people inhabit immediately after death. When we are alive, the astral body remains attached to the physical body via a stream or ribbon of energy. You can leave the physical body during sleep, coma, meditation, or when you’re in a kind of trance. Sometimes people extend out of the body under the influence of drugs, or as you experienced, in an accident.”

Then Kendra furrowed her brow and asked, “Can you recall what you felt when you left the Earth plane?”

Johann sighed and thought about it. “I was falling. Then I felt lifted in bright, white light.”

He held his hand to his heart and closed his eyes. “Loving filled and surrounded me. It was so beautiful. I was floating. I think I might have fallen asleep. When I opened my eyes, I was here.”

With a gentle smile still radiating from her eyes, Kendra nodded and reached out toward Johann. “Excellent. Sometimes when people are in an accident or experience a violent death, they don’t recognize what happened and stay tied to their physical body. They wander around on Earth, not knowing they need to move on until someone of an elevated consciousness can guide them to their next level.”

“Really?” Johann asked, fascinated.

Kendra nodded solemnly. “Uh-huh. But you didn’t resist, and allowed yourself to follow the love and the Light here,” she said approvingly. “So, are you ready to discover what is in store for you? There is much for me to show you.”

For some reason, Johann was not feeling scared or sad or worried. In fact, he was amazingly calm and relaxed. This Summerland garden seemed somehow almost familiar, and all Johann really felt was… loved.

He reached out, took Kendra’s hand, and rose to his feet. He sensed the rightness of it all. “I’m ready.”

Raka Atlantean Priest Healer Turns To The Darkside

 

In Plato’s Atlantis there was an advanced civilization where crystals powered their homes, anti-gravity cars, healed people, and reduced aging. Where did their technology come from? Atlantis was a place of active peace. People come from all over to meditate. The land, its waters, vegetation, and wildlife were available to tap into the part of you that is calm, loving, and peaceful. Mystical Travelers came to bring knowledge to advance the civilization.In this chapter you will discover how one high Atlantean priest scientist Raka who had knowledge of the secrets of the crystals turns to the dark side. Like Cain and Abel our story is about choice. How do we choose our path in life? What drives us? Will it be our heart or our lower nature of anger, jealousy and hate? Einstein’s Compass and my next novel, “The Talisman of Mystical Atlantis” is based on Plato’s Atlantis and its ten kings. I wonder what Plato would have said if he read my stories?

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure Buy on Amazon Now

Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure – Prolog

Circa 10,400 BCE – The Islands of Poseidon

The earth tremor stopped Raka in his tracks. The Atlantean healer priest raised his right hand over his violet eyes and searched the landscape for signs of disturbance. He shrugged when he discovered nothing amiss, then continued his way toward the council meeting. What Raka did not understand was that the jolt he felt was not an earthly shudder, but a spiritual one. He had started walking toward the darkness that was the Sons of Belial, and with his first step, the door of the inner Temple of Light had slammed shut to him. So, began his journey as a fallen Angel of Light.

* * *

A brisk summer afternoon sea breeze from the east puffed out Raka’s shoulder-length blond hair. At more than six feet tall, the bronzed man of twenty-five was handsome, and he knew it. He smiled as he swept a hand through his hair, then patted a hidden pocket in his cloak to check the vial of DNA he had stolen from the Temple of Healing.

The feel of the vial triggered memories that he found less than pleasant. His hands curled into fists as he felt a strange rage build in the pit of his stomach. All I do is run around as an errand boy for Uncle Thoth and my brother Arka, he thought angrily. Why won’t Uncle Thoth show me how the fire crystal works? He never includes me in the critical discussions. Until I can control my “impulses,” they won’t let me be privy to the more buried secrets of Light.

His lips curled into a snarl at the thought. My grandfather was the mighty god Atlas! Admittedly, I am meant for greatness, like him.

Raka had been entertaining thoughts like these for months until they had finally consumed him. His Consciousness of Light had constricted as the negativity grew. Eventually, his anger and frustration had built to the point that they overshadowed his judgment and propelled him to action. Thus, the dispirited Prince of Light was on the island of Aryan to meet with the Council of the Sons of Belial. He hoped to be placed in an elevated position in their council in exchange for betraying his Atlantean brethren. But if he wasn’t received in the way he deserved, he had a plan B.

Aryan was a military complex and the promised land of power, pomp, and ceremony. The Temple of Darkness was established by former Angels of Light who, like Raka, had become jealous of the energy in the Temple of Light that they could not access. They had rejected the discipline of the Light of God. The veils of Light that once surrounded the Angels of Light dimmed and the angels became as asleep to the Spirit within. The gross heaviness of fear descended around their bodies.

Throughout years, those attracted to the Temple of Darkness increased in number. Their separation from the Light created trepidation among the people of the world. As their following grew, the Council of the Sons of Belial and its army sought to insulate the five islands of Poseidon from outside invaders. The Atlanteans, following the inner spiritual Light, left the struggles for worldly power to the Council of the Sons of Belial and its warriors.

Atlantis, with The Temple of Light, was a garden of God’s loving and a sanctuary from worldly stresses, a flourishing place of divine innocence and healing. People from the surrounding islands and the world at large came to refresh and restore themselves in body, mind, and spirit. The Sons of Belial knew the real driving force was the Spirit of life that lay on Atlantis. The invisible emanation of the Firestone crystal was the energy source of the planet. Thanks to it, the circling satellites in space recharged the temples and cities around the world. The Council of Five of the Sons of Belial had their own ideas about what could be done with the planet’s most potent energy source and lusted after the fire crystal.

General Tora-Fuliar was the leader of Aryan Island. Seven feet tall, blond and blue-eyed, the fortyish man was typical of his race. He and his cohort of four colonels had agreed to meet with the priest-scientist cum spy Raka, ostensibly to discuss his joining them. But their real purpose was to use his knowledge to wrest control of the Firestone crystal from the Atlanteans, whom they considered weak and inferior. The secret meeting would take place in Belial, the cliff fortress with towering walls that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean.

Arriving at the fortress, Raka was met at its massive twin gates by four Aryan soldiers who had been told to expect him. As they beckoned him inside, the priest of Light saw carcasses of wild boar strewn across an enormous marble altar and recognized what they meant. He held his breath as the stink of foul, stale blood and dark purpose filled the air. The blond, blue-eyed warriors checked Raka for weapons, and he smirked as his precious vial eluded their search. The guards escorted Raka through a second gate inside the fortress to the southern tower. He was led into a vast, foreboding, windowless chamber that had been carved out of the island’s living rock. His eyes narrowed at the pentagram painted in blood in the middle of the torch-lit room. The dark energy of the animal sacrifice held during the full moon of the previous night lingered in it.

At the far end of the war room, the symbol of the Black Sun hung behind the general’s massive desk, which was hewn from dark obsidian that had been formed in a volcanic cataclysm eons ago. Covering the fifteen-foot-high walls to the right of the writing table hung maps of the world. The general and his colonels were seated on severe, straight-backed ebony chairs around a polished black marble table. Dressed in black linen trousers and tan shirts with the Black Sun symbol on each collar and black alligator boots, the five somehow managed to appear casual despite their rigidity.

Raka strode up to the black table to greet the ruling council of the Sons of Belial. Taking in the scene, he thought to himself that while the five appeared relaxed, there was a tension in the room. To Raka, they resembled nothing more than a pack of wolves ready to leap. He straightened his golden silk garment and smiled, nodding to the general. “I am honored that you agreed to meet with me, General.”

As the general stood, he sniffed as if taking in Raka’s scent, then inclined his head. “Welcome. We have been looking forward to this meeting.” He motioned to Raka to sit down across from them. Raka’s eyes scanned the room as he settled warily into his chair. The dark and barbarous energy of the council made him uncomfortable. The general forced a smile that didn’t reach his eyes and began. “We understand you want to help us.”

Raka inhaled profoundly and adjusted his energy field to withstand the negative force emanating from those present. Nodding, he replied, “If you recall, at the Temple of Healing I used energy healing stones to alleviate your pain a few months ago. You had sustained a back injury in a rather unfortunate incident.”

The general frowned but grunted in agreement.

“You stayed with us on Atlantis for several days to recuperate, and each time I came to treat you, you questioned me about the Firestone energy crystal.”

The general nodded. “I did.”

“Its value is obvious, but tell me what your interest in it is.”

The general was not about to reveal his real intention to an untested outsider, so he said, “The firestone crystal is possibly one of the most important artifacts on the planet. You Atlanteans are focused on research and your sciences and arts. You are ill-prepared to defend the Firestone from those who would use it for their own gain.”

Raka nodded in understanding as the general continued. “We Aryans are strong. The Firestone should be guarded by our soldiers. After all, it is the energy source for all of the planet.” The general leaned in as if to thrust his argument forward. “The council and the Sons of Belial are best suited to protect the crystal and you healers of Atlantis. We know that unless we are taught the mysteries of the crystal, disaster could be imminent.”

Raka saw the energy around the general’s body turn dark with flares of red, and he recognized the lust for power. He was also aware the general was not telling him everything. No surprise there. The healer was not some ignorant novice; he knew the warrior wanted to use the firestone crystal to enhance the Aryan’s military might—and his own power. He was aware that with the Firestone, they could be invincible. And that they could and most likely would use this power to attempt to control the Atlanteans and take dominance over the entire planet. Despite his hopes for forming an alliance with the Sons of Belial, Raka now accepted that it would be a long time before these people trusted him—if they ever would. He wondered if he would even survive after he delivered what they wanted. He sighed inwardly, conceding to himself that this was not going to go the way he had hoped.

Still, he would play along for a while. Looking the general in the eye, he said, “General, I believe I could assist you in gaining access to the firestone crystal.”

The general and his colonels nodded with interest as Raka continued. “But there are other things I might do for you. I noticed the beasts you have sacrificed to absorb their power. What if you could have even greater physical power than that you leech from the boars you kill?”

The colonels murmured, and the general’s eyes narrowed. He glanced at his minions, who could barely conceal their grins as each entertained his own twisted fantasy of power.

Raka continued with a sly smile, “Yes, I assumed you would be interested.” He leaned back, appearing casual and said, “Of course, if I were to assist you, then I would want something in return.”

The general leaned forward. “Of course. What do you want?”