Aura is the last of the novels I wrote in 2010, which included Daemon, Afterlife, and the first two books of both the Exodus and Refuge series. I wasn’t sure when I was going to release this book, but decided the end of this month would be a good time, as there has not been a long enough disconnect between the first draft of To Well And Back and the first rewrite, and I don’t have enough of the next Exodus and Refuge books ready to think about finishing in that time frame. So Aura it is. After that I have three first drafts I wrote this year that still need to go through the full revision cycle, and everything else that is still unfinished.
I call Aura a High Fantasy, though there are no Dwarves, Elves, Orcs or others. But it is set in a magical world in which the technology is about Medieval or earlier level, maybe about the time of the Greeks. The world is populated by humans and the Gods they worship. Each God is the manifestation of an Animal, and there be Dragons in this world. The Gods all occupy a mortal Avatar on the world. The Good Gods join in a symbiosis with the Avatar. The Evil Gods simply take over the Avatar, destroying the soul of the possessed human in the process. Needless to say, very few vie for the honor of being an Avatar of an Evil God. People on this world all (or at least most of them) possess a magical Aura, hence the name of the novel. Those with powerful Auras can become powerful wizards or priest, wielders of great magics. People with normal Auras become the common citizens of the realm, while those with weak Auras are doomed to become slaves or servants because of the ease at which they can be manipulated. And those with no Auras? They are seen as abominations, especially in the Realms of the Evil Gods, as they cannot be controlled or affected by magic. Magical creatures can still kill them, and the byproducts of magic, such as burning buildings, can also affect them, but magic cannot directly work its power on their bodies.
The story revolves around fraternal triplets born to the headman of an out of the way village in the Empire of the Dragon God. The female of the trio is born with a more than double Aura, making her a prize to the priesthood. One of the boys is born with a less than average Aura, meaning he is destined to a life of servitude. While the last boy is born with no Aura, and is an abomination in the eyes of the Church. The parents hide all of this information from the authorities in their village without a Priest. But one day the Church gets word of the female child’s abilities and a priest is sent to test her and bring her back to the Capital, her fate to become an Avatar of the Dragon God upon her achieving adulthood. When the priest comes to the village he also discovers the abomination, and the fate of all the children is set in motion. The parents are killed, the daughter and the one son are gathered to be sent to the Capital, and the last son is on the verge of extinction when he is rescued by a man representing an organization of assassins who kill servants of the Evil Gods. The tale then revolves on the three growing up in their separate lives, until it is time for the sister to be sacrificed and made the Avatar of the Dragon God.
Aura was written as a novel that could be expanded into a trilogy, or left as a stand alone, depending on the reception it receives. And now for an excerpt showing the children at a very young age:
“Aiden, stop,” yelled the four year old girl, her long blond hair swirling in the wind that she had manufactured. Her younger brother, her triplet by birth, stopped in place as if he had hit a wall of air, his face screwed up in concentration as he fought against the force that had paralyzed him. But he did not have the power to resist, and was stuck as a fly in molasses.
The other four year old, a blond image of his brother, ran around the two of them, yelling at the top of his lungs in joy. The little girl gave him her best small child scowl and pointed his finger at the child.
“Arlen, stop,” she yelled, feeling the power building up in her, her Aura flaring. The other boy stuck his tongue out at her and continued his run.
“Now you stop that at once, Ariel,” yelled a woman who resembled all the children, hurrying in from the garden with a load of tomatoes and cucumbers she had just harvested. Margath Kleco glared at the child. “You do not use your power that way on your brothers.”
“Why?” said the child, her wide blue eyes looking at her mother.
“Because it’s wrong,” said Margath, looking down on the child. Aiden started moving again, his sister no longer concentrating on him.
“Why?” asked the little girl again, sticking her lip out.
“Because I will tan your bottom if you do it again,” said Margath, raising her voice. Ariel looked as if she wanted to do something, throw some of her power at her mom. She looked down, seeming to think better of it, then shrugged her little shoulders and ran away.
Margath shook her head and walked into the house. The finest house in the village. The wonderful village that was off the beaten path, where the priests rarely visited. She pushed the door closed and walked to the kitchen, dumping her apron load on the counter.
“Altonas,” she yelled out, listening for a response.
“I’m in my study,” called out her husband, the most powerful man in the village. The slave of their overlords.
“Did I hear you yelling at the girl again, dear,” he said, looking up from his desk where he worked on the figures for the village taxes.
She gave her husband a smile. She knew that he would do his best to make sure the priesthood got as little as possible while still satisfying their greed. And keeping as much of the production of the farming village as possible in the hands of the farmers. It was a risky proposition, and one of the reasons she loved him.
“She is insufferable,” said Margath, shaking her head. “She constantly torments Aiden. Some day she will grow too powerful for me to handle. And then where will we be?”
“But she cannot handle Arlen,” Said Altonas with a smile. “Perhaps he will protect us, when she has too much power.”
“Laugh if you wish,” cried Margath, her voice rising. “This is serious. How will she turn out but to be another evil priest or magician in this evil land.”
Margath turned away as Altonas rose from his chair. He hurried after her, grabbing her arms at the shoulders and turning her into his embrace.
“I’m so sorry, my darling,” he whispered into her long blond hair. “I didn’t mean to offend. But what can we do but try to raise the little hellion the best we can.”
“Why can’t we leave here?” she cried, looking up into Altonas’ eyes. “Go some place the Baalra’s priesthood doesn’t rule. Some place where we can be free, and even Arlen will be safe.”
“And where would that be?” asked Altonas, releasing her and walking back to his desk, reaching for his pipe and pipe weed. “Any place in the eleven regions and we would still be under the scrutiny of those Dragon worshipers. And we would be strangers, with everyone watching us closely, hoping to curry favor with the priests.”
“Then out of the Empire?” she cried, watching Altonas load his pipe and chant the words to light it.
“Where?” said Altonas, holding his hands out. “To the south, over the Hamalsar Mountains? To Vendahas? They worship Seteth, and that serpent bastard is just as bad as the dragon?”
“Then to the Horse Lords,” said Margath, pleading.
“True, they worship Narosta, the Horse God, who is an enemy of Seteth and Baalra,” said Altonas. Margath’s frown changed to a smile at those words, but her husband wasn’t finished. “The people are savage warriors, with no trust for anyone from our lands. They would most likely kill us as soon as they laid eyes on us. Which leaves the Pirate Islands. We are not pirates. And I have no desire to become one.”
“Then we are doomed,” cried Margath, tears brimming at her eyes. “Ariel is doomed to become one of those monsters. Arlen is doomed to be destroyed as an abomination. And Adien, if he is fortunate, will live a life in servitude to the monsters who serve to dragon God.”
“We can only do the best we can,” said Altonas, letting a puff of smoke out of his mouth. “And pray to the good Gods, the Gods of life, for deliverance from this evil that infests our land.”
“Like the people have done for centuries, when the priests aren’t looking,” said Margath, huffing back her snotty nose.
“Just like that,” agreed Altonas, nodding his head.