News and another episode in Long Island

Long Island Athanate – Julius, Livia and Elodie

This week’s new chapter on the Long Island Athanate is at the bottom of the post.

I got into this episodic novella completely unintentionally. It gets written as a ‘relaxation’ from the main books, so it isn’t holding me up. Are you enjoying it? What if, after this one, I did something completely different? Like Space Opera? Or the African steampunk I showed you a chapter of? Talk time, folks. This is your forum.
Angel Stakes audiobook

Sorry, still waiting on corrections – delay at the studio.
Short story in the anthology Vampires of the Caribbean

I have written a story called Enzili, featuring Athanate and set in 1790s on the island of St. Marks. The anthology contains 10 stories, costs 99c and it’s available for pre-order NOW:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XCK41HV
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XCK41HV
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XCK41HV/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B06XCK41HV/
Nook: http://bit.ly/2me7WAX
iBook: http://apple.co/2m8GHY1
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2lU3OoN
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2lyZSXQ

Release day: 15th March.
Audiobook competition!

Meanwhile, if you enjoy Urban Fantasy audiobooks, there’s a promotion on for these books:

The Baine Chronicles Books 1-3 – written by Jasmine Walt and narrated by Laurel Schroeder
Sleight of Hand – written by Mark Henwick and narrated by Kimberly Henrie
The Devil’s Fool – written by Rachel McClellan and narrated by Veronica Fox
Dead Man – written by Domino Finn and narrated by Neil Hellegers
Southern Bound – written by Stuart Jaffe and narrated by Stuart Jaffe
Shifter Legacies Special Edition – written by Mark E. Cooper and narrated by Mikael Naramore

First prize is all 6 audiobooks and an ebook (The Catalyst – C.M. Raymond & L.E. Barbant), and 23 other winners get an audiobook.

You get an extra 3 entries to the promotion if you introduce a friend!

More details on the site: http://www.audiobookaccess.com/uf2
Progress on Bian’s Tale

Slow progress this week, but section 3 of 5 is nearly there.

Progress on Bite Back 6

Slow. Taking a back seat to Bian’s Tale at the moment.

LONG ISLAND ATHANATE EPISODE:

Chapter 10

Julius

St Jude’s, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Benedic, Domine, quia peccavi.”

Julius suspects few, outside of the clergy, would even know the Latin words that initiate the act of confession. He knows who is speaking, of course. He knew the second the man entered the church; his Athanate marque is quite distinct. To cap it all, his voice is unique. It sounds like rusty metal plates grinding against each other.

And he is expected.

“You’re early,” Julius says. “I have a few moments more.”

A few moments before he has to go and meet with Skylur. Christmas Day has passed in a blur. His reorganization of his duties has already alerted his colleagues that something is happening. There’s a voicemail from the Bishop he can’t deal with at the moment. His life has taken a sudden, terrifying surge towards the unknown. An unknown that could be his death, just minutes away.

He is surprised at how calm he is, but he does need these few moments.

“Don’t you have to go on and absolve me?” the man says, settling into the creaking pew behind him. “Where else am I going to get absolution before Altau has me executed?”

“Confession and absolution would require you to be penitent, Gracchus. To accept that what you do is not simply the way you are, but your choice, and therefore the wrongs you do are your fault. You remember the word culpa, don’t you?”

They’d spoken in English, but now Gracchus switches to Athanate. It is early, but there are people in the church, and even whispers carry in the cold quiet.

“I am magic, I do not practice magic by choice,” Gracchus says. “As for making my toru fear me, there’s nothing about that in the list of sins requiring absolution. I believe even you have admitted that the sanction against consuming blood in the Old Testament is not applicable to us.”

Julius sighs. His few moments of peace and reflection have fled. Conversations with Gracchus are always a bit barbed, but he can never quite ignore him.

“I don’t believe you’re in danger anyway,” he says and he rises.

Unlike Livia.

Gracchus is Livia’s Diakon, her second-in-command. From what Julius knows of Skylur, he would not insist on a complete execution of the entire Athanate House. Agiagraphos law identifies the Master or Mistress of each House as the one in most instances who bears responsibility…and receives the retribution where laws are breached. In most instances.

Julius hasn’t been praying, sitting up at the front of his church.

Soon to be former church.

Not praying, but thinking and revisiting everything from the last few days. For all his arguments, Livia seems intent on her path, and he knows Skylur dare not show weakness in front of Panethus. To accept a Basilikos House in his domain would show exactly that weakness. Has Livia sealed her fate by refusing to flee? Could he get her to change at the last moment?

Will Skylur also extend the same judgement to other Houses? To him? Would he want to survive, if Livia is dead?

He doesn’t know. The future is a mystery to him; he can’t even see what might be possible.

Since the last meeting with Skylur, he’s spoken by phone to every other House in Long Island. He’s set up a dead man’s switch, should they want to use it. If he doesn’t broadcast a message that he’s alright at midday, he’s advised them all to scatter and flee to Ireland. Whether they do that, or take their chances with Skylur is up to them now. He’s told them he’s no longer their co-leader. His only concern is Livia.

He sighs again and turns.

Gracchus stands and glances around. “Religion is not very popular in the morning,” he says, still speaking Athanate.

It is early. There are only two people sitting in the pews.

One of the ladies from the group Julius calls his chorus sits at the back. Her husband has been unfaithful. Regardless of what Julius says about the matter, she comes every morning to sit and search for her sins that triggered this divine retribution. Julius hopes whoever takes over St. Jude’s can get through to her better than he has. He wants to speak to her, but he has no time left.

The other woman is closer. He doesn’t know her. Tiana brought her in from the refuge. She appears mentally disturbed, barely able to speak and suffering from blinding headaches. Nothing is known about her apart from her name, which Julius is ashamed he’s forgotten. The only time she seemed animated was when Tiana gave her a coffee. It wasn’t the drink itself, but the branding of the mug. A benefactor has supplied them with their own biodegradable mugs, printed with the St. Jude’s logo, a sea anchor with the simple motto ‘Hope lives’ curled around it.

St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate causes, and Julius imagines that is precisely the case here.

The woman has been sitting there, eyes closed and a frown on her face, fingers stroking the printing on the side of her mug, as if desperate to remember something, to connect the dots and make sense of her life again. Now, her mouth is working silently, but Julius can’t tell if she’s reciting prayers or recipes. Her frown deepens.

There’s something about that mouthing that makes him uneasy. She’s going over phrases again and again. But prayers are sometimes like that.

Too much going on. She’ll have to be someone else’s concern.

He needs to focus on his task this morning.

“Any last minute security issues I need to know before I talk to Skylur?” he says. “Some transgression of the Agiagraphos will be exactly the kind of thing that precipitates a decision against us.”

Gracchus shakes his head. “It’s one area that Altau can’t fault us on. It’s got to be our best argument for continuing as we have been; that we have run Long Island as an orderly domain.” He purses his mouth. “You and I don’t agree on how to deal with transgressors and the Houses responsible for them, but we’ve worked well despite that. Apart from that idiot a couple of nights ago, there’s been nothing for months. We’re secure. No surprises.”

Julius huffs. “Surprises come from the direction you least anticipate them. It’s part of the very definition.”

“We must go, House di Firenze,” Gracchus says. “House Flavia will be waiting for you, and Altau is not known for patience.”

He’s right. It’s only a few minutes’ walk, but it feels like they’ve run out of time. All of them.

 

 

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About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first book, 'Sleight of Hand' is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Sa0D3n

12 responses to “News and another episode in Long Island”

  1. Sarah L says :

    Loving this, as always your writing is spellbinding. Looking forward to Enzili, I’ve pre ordered. And entered the competition 🙂 I am enjoying this regular dose of the Athanate world, and whilst it has become a preferred favourite, I’d read any story you posted.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy Enzili, and good luck in the competition.

      If I do keep serialising within the Athanate world, another reader suggested that Jen’s PoV would be interesting.

      These Friday evening / Saturday morning sessions are about writing something completely different, or in a different way, so I don’t know where I’ll be heading! 🙂

      • Sarah L says :

        I have to say as much as I love Amber’s story – it truly is a favourite – I am really enjoying the new Athanate characters, like these and Amanda. I’m sure you could probably go on forever! And while I don’t read much syfy, I can definitely admit to having been a bit of a trekkie in my past 🙂 space opera sounds fun.

  2. Tina Young says :

    You and Ilona Andrews Have started a new trend for fans I think. I love the serialisations And I love your books. I promote them to al my friends when I can. Keep up the amazing work.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you. I did see that the Innkeeper series was being produced episodically, but never thought of doing something similar. The Ilona Andrews fan club is… ahem… slightly larger.

      I need to make the access method a little easier for episodes, and hopefully all your friends will come and visit too.

  3. Dee DenBleyker says :

    African Steampunk sounds like a go but Space Opera?? Not sure my imagination travels that far but I would definitely give it a go. Loving Julius and Livia and want more.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks! We’ll have to see if there’s more juice in Livia and Julius after the denoument of the current story (3 or 4 chapters left, I think).

      There’s been a single chapter of the African steampunk story (Nyanga), and I will finish that at some stage, whether it’s by serial or not.

      Space Opera is just fun. Battlestar Galactica / Star Trek / Star Wars / Starship Trooper / Blade Runner / Alien mashed together. 🙂

  4. Pat Olver says :

    Aha, it’s all coming together …

  5. Justin says :

    Speaking of space operas. I am curious of your philosophy regarding genders and space, as such due to advances in technology there’s no true need(biological) to have two genders. Do you believe that most people, worlds will keep to a similar pattern we see today, or will one gender become more predominantly in the majority of geopolitical parties or not? Personally due to more psychological reasons than biological ones I predict we will (most societies) keep the current ratio.

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