Hello, dragon fans. Not much in the way of news this week, though the author has been very busy putting the final touches to the US edition of RAIN & FIRE. By rights, this should be Mrs Author's job, but unfortunately she is suffering from something called pleurisy, which is making her very exhausted. She is lying on the sofa downstairs watching Dancing on Ice on TV, feeling a little bit sorry for herself.
So, as everything has been very quiet, the author has instructed me to show you the last section of the big outtake from THE FIRE ASCENDING. This, like the other extracts we've posted, originally formed a section of Part 5 of TFA in which Alexa told the story of her time at Wayward Crescent and basically EXPLAINED everything, particularly the bridge between DARK FIRE and FIRE WORLD. She still does this, but in a slightly different and quicker way in the finished book. We don't think TFA has suffered for removing these extracts, but they do make interesting reading all the same AND they are exclusive to the notepad. Only yesterday, the author and Mrs A decided that these outtakes would not feature in the US RAIN & FIRE. So this is the only place you will read this stuff. If you go back through the posts you can patch it all together as one piece and amaze any friends who like the Chronicles but don't follow the blog. Anyway, here it is. Last week's section ended where Co:pern:ica had taken a difficult 'spin' because Aunts like Gwyneth had risen to power. Until next time. Happy reading. Hrrr!
Once again, the Higher needed to act. They extended their influence and introduced limits. The boundaries of Project 42 were reset. No one, they decreed, would imagineer outside ‘The Grand Design’. Co:pern:
, the beautiful if broken reflection of Earth, was condensed into a central urban community. Memories of animal life were erased. Books, especially reference books, were kept in buildings known as librariums and all but banned from everyday living. Televisual media focused on the present. The ‘Dead Lands’ as the barren parts came to be known were condemned to be a wilderness (and disgracefully used as penal colonies). The word ‘history’ dropped out of the new world’s vocabulary. ica
The Aunts, however, were still allowed to rule (some sense of order was considered beneficial) but from now on they would be monitored too. The Higher studied the eagle, Gideon, the bird enhanced by the auma of Gawain. They found him noble and wise; the perfect candidate to supervise the Aunts. They took him from his early timepoint on Earth and let his template flourish on Co:pern:
. And so, firebirds came to Project 42. Charming, tame, pretty to look at, they were a welcome splash of colour in a world increasingly dominated by grey. People considered them of no importance. Scientists like Harlan Merriman knew better. He had noticed the firebirds’ astonishing ability to fly through any imagineered construct, but he did not know how. The truth was, the birds could travel through time – quicker than any Aunt could imagineer. For some of them, this was a crucial talent. One of the drawbacks of Project 42 was that the parallel universe ‘tugged’ at its corresponding timeline on Earth, curving space and creating ripples in the overall continuum. A small band of firebirds, led by a cream-coloured female called Aurielle, was charged with repairing any disruptions. Ripples happened rarely and made little impact on the nexus when they did. But there was one ripple the Higher truly feared. One that could unhinge the entire project and bring the Ix flooding into Co:pern: ica . ica
This was at the timepoint Isenfier.
The pressure upon the nexus was never greater than when Gadzooks marked his notepad at Scuffenbury Hill. True, he had halted the progress of the Ix, but he had also introduced a tremendous strain to the membrane of space between Earth and Co:pern:
. Even the Higher could not conceive of what might happen if the membrane opened or the writing dragon was forced to let go. Something had to give. And eventually it did. ica
A small Ix:Cluster breached the continuum and ran amok in Co:pern:
, causing havoc. It took over the body of a dying firebird, turning it black – the worst mistake it could have made. Black firebirds were never part of Project 42. The Cluster had drawn attention to itself. ica
One of those to notice it was Aunt Gwyneth. In her typically artful way she attempted to capture the bird, but then became trapped in a battle of wills as she struggled to control the evil inside it. A tense interaction developed. The commingled minds exchanged information. The Ix learned what the Aunt knew about Co:pern:
. And she learned about her counterpart on Earth… ica
By now, significant developments were taking place on Co:pern:
. First, Harlan discovered a dragon claw, sealed in a stone tower in the Dead Lands. Around the same time, David located the tapestry of Isenfier hidden in the eyrie the firebirds occupied. It described the scene at Scuffenbury Hill, exactly as it was meant to be. From it he deduced that the dragon with the pencil was the source of the beacon pulsing through his mind. In a flash, his wider consciousness awoke to the moment on Earth when Gadzooks had scribbled ‘sometimes’ on his pad. At last, the signal was heard. But if David travelled back to Scuffenbury too soon his auma would ‘fuse’ within the time continuum. ica
What to do?
The answer, as always, rested with the sibyl. By devious means, the dragon claw fell into Aunt Gwyneth’s clutches. And in one last act of vengeance, she used it. She drew upon its powers of transformation and wrote herself back into existence on Earth.
I, Gwyneth, sometimes known as Gwilanna, live.
The timeline trembled.
Parts of the Isenfier tapestry faded.
The legend of the Last Dragon Chronicles changed.