QSFer Nita Round has a rereleased FF steampunk/fantasy out, book two of “The Towers of the Earth”: “A Touch of Rage.”
As foretold, the Trinity of Truth must finally face the Mistress of the Night.
Lucinda, Ascara, and Magda have survived several dangerous encounters with the various agents of Sh’Na. It is time for them to brave the beast herself in the pyramid from Lucinda’s dreams.
Magda, however, has met this Queen of the Desert before. Now her past history has risen to confront her with the evidence of her mistakes, and brings new dangers to the trinity. Although she can draw strength from her bonds with Lucinda and Ascara, she fears that even the power of the three of them will not be enough to withstand Sh’Na’s evil.
But there is more to face than just the desert beast. There are other dangers directed at the three women, and they must act with care and forethought, or be caught in the traps of others.
From the city of Port Ruth, their troop travels into the burning lands of sand and sun, where they will face Sh’Na in a battle for more than their lives. Failure will mean the end of the world as they know it. Success will bring a new truth, and the revelation of a new path for all three of them.
The trinity must continue to work together, not only to save the world, but also the very nature of time itself.
“When the Hours are true, the gates of time will open”.
In the end, will the trinity prevail? Or will darkness rise again?
Non-stop, drenching rain fell for the best part of two weeks. And it drove Lucinda Ravensburgh, the Raven, to distraction. She couldn’t, in all honesty, blame the weather for her mood, but it didn’t help.
Fed up of the enforced captivity she left the dry and austere comfort of her rooms to stand on the exposed top of the Tower. A wide-brimmed hat protected her head from the worst of the weather, and although it wasn’t enough to shield the rest of her body, it kept the rain from her eyes. She gripped a thick shawl about her shoulders with fingers numb from the cold and wet, but she didn’t care about the discomfort. She wore her buckskins too, which protected her against the worst of the weather but now clung cool and damp against her skin. Lucinda didn’t care much about that either.
At least she could see more of the world around her, and if that meant she had to stand out in the cold, wet rain, then so be it. No matter her discomfort, she could see her world. She stared out over the side.
The Raven Tower stood atop an outcropping that looked out over the plains on one side and Gaia’s Rift on the other. Around the base of the rocks, streams of fast-flowing muddy water had obliterated any sign of the many pathways which had once led around the rocks. Floodwaters surged and gushed over the edge of the rift and fell in a thunderous roar.
This tower was not as tall as the Rainbow Tower had been, but it had other features. At her back, the monumental stone raven soared thirty feet or so above her head. Its upturned beak still defied the skies, and its outspread wings stretched a good forty feet from tip to tip. Of all the places she liked to be, she liked to lean back on the ledge between the two giant-sized stone claws.
Upon her shoulders sat two ravens, their heads down and turned against Lucinda’s face. Neither of them stirred. To her side, a wrinkled old woman, Lina Amoha Verrana, a leader of her own people, stood unfazed by the weather. Drops of water ran over her face, and her hair lay flattened against her skull.
“I have never seen so much rain,” Lucinda said.
“It is not a common thing here,” Amoha admitted. “At least not like this.”
“I think the earth weeps.”
“Perhaps. I see you’re wearing the hat after all,” Amoha said.
“Yes, thank you. It is a lovely gift, and very useful to keep my hair dry in this weather.”
“Wet hair is not the problem, my Raven.”
“Then what is?”
“You should take better care of yourself now that you’re back on your feet.”
“I’m fine, Amoha,” Lucinda said.
“I worry about you. We all worry. You shouldn’t be outside in this weather.”
“You’re out here.”
Amoha grunted. “I am not the one who was sick, you were.”
“And you were sick, My Raven, very sick.”
“I know, but I’m well enough now. I took on too much, that’s all, and I exhausted myself. The medics say there is nothing wrong with me and any damage will heal.” She rubbed her wrists as she spoke; they ached still, no matter what they said, and if she touched the scabs they fell off and the sores bled again.
“Nothing wrong? You spent a full week asleep, Lucinda. You burned with fever and you neither drank nor fed for days.”
“As I understand.” What more could she say to that, Amoha spoke the truth. “I’m fine now, though.”
“Fine indeed. You keep saying that, and if you say it often enough, even you will believe it.”
Lucinda stared into the rain as it fell across the open plains. It had lessened a little. Enough that she could see the many coloured tents of the nomads. In this weather, though, they didn’t look so bright or so vibrant. If anything, the whole world appeared dreary and dull.
“Raven, please, do not dismiss our concerns for you.”
Lucinda turned her full attention to Amoha. “I do not intend any disrespect to you and your people—”
“They are your people, too,” Amoha interrupted.
There it was again. Her people. Lucinda inclined her head to one side, as though listening to a voice only she could hear. “My people?”
“Exactly. You should say yes to your people. They need you.”
Lucinda didn’t respond.
“And you need them,” Amoha added.
“I need no one. I have been cast here far from anywhere. And they can’t help me.”
“Be who they need and they will sustain you.”
Lucinda shook her head and drops of water spun from the rim of her hat. “How can I be sustained when there are so many expectations of what I must be and what I must do.”
“Harbinger of death, they call me. I find that most distasteful, and yet I must accept that they might be right. Where I go, death will follow.”
“Death is for those who stand against you and the will of our Great Mother.”
“Like Sh’Na,” Lucinda said.
“Like Sh’Na,” Amoha agreed.
Nita has written all her life, whether short stories, games scenarios or novels. She loves to write about strong female characters, fantasy and speculative fiction.
When not working, she is an avid gamer, she escapes to any world, any format, any console, and any time. She also plays Role Play Games (AD&D, Werewolf, Cthulhu) and is sadistic enough to be the dungeon master whenever she can.
Other interests include: cemeteries, cooking (inherited from family of chefs), making damson gin and of course tasting it make sure it is fit for consumption.
Find out more about her on: https://www.nitaround.com/
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NitaRoundBooks/