Sunday, 1 January 2012

This week's word is: HAPPY

As in New Year!  Happy New Year, dragon fans.  We hope that 2012 will bring all your hopes and wishes to fulfilment.  The author does not make resolutions, simply because he forgets them within a few days!  We have a resolution, though.  And that is to bring you the best book of the Chronicles so far.  THE FIRE ASCENDING is well on course for publication in the Spring.  We all know it will be the last in the series, of course, but I can tell you now that we are already working on new ideas with the author.  One at least will involve dragons.

But for now, we know you like to see outtakes from the books, so we thought we'd show you a piece that was left out of TFA.  You may remember that the author wrote a very long chapter that he decided to cut - but he didn't throw it away.  It was all to do with Alexa summarising what had happened at the end of DARK FIRE and what happened next.  We're not going to show you all of it.  We'll leave some for another time (in other words, here comes one of our famous cliffhangers!)  But this is a world exclusive for blog followers.  This might appear in the US version of RAIN AND FIRE later this year.  But right now, it's presented for you.  So here's Alexa, talking about Scuffenbury Hill and quantum physics etc.  She is one smart cookie!  Until next time, happy reading.  Hrrr!

Somewhere over the vale of Scuffenbury, four darklings were destroyed by my father and the brave companions who fought alongside him.  One of them was the queen dragon, Gawaine, brought out of stasis by unicorn magicks.  Although the queen lost her life in the course of the battle, the Ix:Cluster was plunged into the fire eternal.  For one sweet blink of time, goodness reigned and a new light dawned across a troubled Earth.  Humans were awoken to their Premen past.  Guardian dragons were poised to return.  This planet that had once been their breeding ground was adjusting its environment to cope with their impact.  Victory seemed assured.

            But the dark fire was now about to make its mark.  A unicorn became infected with the evil.  The Ix, far from being removed or transformed, tainted Gaia and rose as a Shadow from the core of the planet.  I was all the while monitoring this.  I could not prevent the advance of the Shadow, but I flew to Scuffenbury with a force that could: the writing dragon we called Gadzooks.

            As we arrived, the Shadow was beginning to coalesce into some kind of physical form.  It was too late to mount a challenge outright.  We knew nothing of its strengths – or weaknesses, for that matter.  But that did not prevent it from attacking us.  It recognised the power Gadzooks could wield and sent out a spike of dark energy.  The bolt struck his pencil and fused to it.  But by then, Gadzooks had done his work.  He had visited all possible outcomes of the battle and returned to write the one word the Ix could not cope with: ‘sometimes’.  The ambiguity of the word caused chaos within the Shadow.  The battle stopped and the timepoint was suspended.  The threat was not extinguished, merely checked.  Help would be needed to defeat the Shadow.

            A beacon was sent out across the universe. 

            Now, there was a strange, unexpected side-effect to this.  Although the battle had taken place on Earth, the nexus covering the three linked worlds of Earth, the Fain dimension, Ki:mera, and the mirror world of Earth the Fain called ‘Co:pern:ica’ was suddenly tipped in favour of Co:pern:ica.  My father saw what was going to happen just as Gadzooks was writing on his pad.  I heard him warn my mother that ‘things might be different’.  And so they were.  Our collective consciousness was dramatically switched to the Co:pern:ican dimension, a place where we all had a very different presence.  For a contemporaneous period of time our awareness would focus on a slightly altered state of existence.  This affected everyone connected to Gadzooks, but only he and I were fully aware of the shift.  Even my father, so used to Travelling between worlds, would be slow to recollect his parallel life on Earth.  In fact it was another member of our family who first began to work it out. 

            Arthur Merriman, Elizabeth’s partner on Earth, was a professor of physics at the nearby university.  He was an intelligent, thoughtful man, admired by everyone, especially my mother, who had treated him as a confidante during the years my father was missing.  Arthur himself had been the victim of an Ix attack.  He had lost his sight when the dark thought-beings had invaded his mind, narrowly escaping neural failure.  The natural world was gone from his eyes, but Arthur was not entirely blind.  He could commingle with Bonnington and use the katt’s sight as a visual aide.  Mostly, however, he just looked inward. 

            In his quest to understand the workings of the universe, Arthur, like many physicists of his generation, was striving to come up with a ‘theory of everything’.  His favourite notion was that the universe was not one bubble of existence, but an infinite number of parallel universes (a ‘multiverse’) which our souls could jump between and even lead different lives therein.  In Arthur’s mind these universes were connected by consciousness and choice, though how it all worked was a puzzle to him. 

            In the garden at Wayward Crescent, he would sit me on the swing and talk about it.  As he pushed me back and forth, he would muse about the unsolved laws of creation, which centred around his favourite subject: a branch of physics he called ‘quantum mechanics’.  In his mind, he was never really talking to me (at least he didn’t think he was talking to me), just using me as an object to bounce his ideas off.  He would say, for instance, “For all we know, Lexie, when the swing is in my hands you are in one universe, and when it flies away from me you enter another.  If you giggle, then you enter a different world again.  If you scream as you lose your balance, another.  It’s what I call ‘the apple in the fruit bowl’ hypothesis.  If you pick up the apple, you’ve entered that timeline and all of its possible consequences.  But what happens when you throw away the apple core, for instance?  Is it picked up by a bird?  Does a pip fall onto soil and become a new tree?  Does it just rot away?  If you walk past the bowl then none of this happens – or does it?  Do those options with the apple core already exist within the multiverse – or do we create each event according to desire?”

            Little did Arthur know that I understood his hypothesis fully.  But the limitations of Alexa’s vocabulary, plus the Higher’s ruling that I should stay ‘hidden’, meant I could not explain things to him.  If I could have spoken freely, I would have told him that the nexus we were on was a small-scale example of his multiverse model.  Earth and Co:pern:ica were parallel worlds linked through the Fain dimension, Ki:mera.  What is there to know about Ki:mera?  Nothing that can be easily explained in words.  Ki:mera was more of a concept than a place.  A state of being that humans, in their search to understand themselves, unknowingly aspired to.  A state completely free of physical boundaries.  Happiness defined by creative expression. 

            Purity of being.



            Yet despite this seemingly idyllic condition, the Fain had a strange, paradoxical weakness.  Having evolved from the shackles of physical form, bizarrely they yearned to experience it again. 

            So it came to be that the Higher descended through the energy planes and commingled on Earth with many different forms of life (often causing leaps in the chain of evolution).  At this time, dragons were the dominant species.  The planet was a volatile, changing place but there was little to challenge the dragons’ superiority.  The Fain looked upon dragons and saw that they were good.  In them lay the pathway to complete fulfilment.  By combining with a dragon’s inner spirit or fire, they could experience illumination.

            But it wasn’t easy.  Commingling with the auma of a low-vibrational neighbour species – a bird, for instance – was simple; the dragons proved more resistant.  It was dangerous enough to attempt to combine with their physical body (like a child at the controls of a space shuttle, Arthur used to say), but their fire was almost impossible to bridge.  That required the dragon’s total compliance.  Many Fain were ‘extinguished’ in the earliest attempts, though that simply increased their desire to succeed.

            And there was a growing complication.  At the time that dragons ruled the blue planet, the Earth was sustaining its first full wave of a strongly-evolving biped species.  The new lifeforms had reached a rapid level of self-awareness and were starting to question their place in the universe.  Their potential was nowhere near as great as dragons, but their dexterity with tools and their gift of solving problems appealed to the thought-beings nevertheless.  In an experiment they hoped would close the gap with dragons, they attempted different methods of neural engagement.  The evolutionary tree once again jumped a branch and a new breed of human called ‘Premen’ was born.  It was from here that things began to go wrong. 

            Unlike dragons, the Premen showed a tendency towards competitive aggression.  They desired not to share the Is, but control it.  Their combative instincts not only caused the Fain to retire from the project but had a disastrous consequence.  The irreversible fusion of some units of Fain to some units of human resulted in a dark inversion of type.  Fain with negative intent were created.  They polluted the whole idea of the Is, even mocking the word itself. 

            They called themselves the Ix.

            The rise of the Ix sent ripples of fear throughout the fabric of the universe.  The Higher were confused (and somewhat dismayed – a condition completely alien to them).  Never before had their intellect been challenged or dangerously corrupted. 

            They had to act. 

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