Spin across the galaxy as Violet and her Grand Master hunt their enemies.
Cracks in the portal web threaten galactic civilization, and suspicions fall on the mysterious Grand Masters with their immense psychic powers. Once, there were twelve Grand Masters, humans and aliens, on the Council. Now there are eleven. One was killed when the young pawn, Violet, rescued her Grand Master, Athanor, from the Red Queen’s dungeon. The Red Queen fled the fight and now she lurks out of sight, regenerating her energies.
Athanor devises a risky plan to expose his enemies on the Council and force the Red Queen into the open. His strategy will employ Violet’s empathic skills as his secret weapon. Meanwhile, she wrestles with her erratic talents and doubts about their unequal partnership. In their search for revenge, they contend with the portal crisis, psychic traps and hostile aliens. In the inevitable battle of Grand Masters, Violet and Athanor each will face their worst nightmares. What is the sacrifice for victory?
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The spinning ceased. They had arrived at the destination. Kondric pushed the portal door open and stepped out onto a narrow shelf of rock. An icy wind roared into the cylinder from a murky gray sky.
Kondric recoiled, yelling, “This isn’t Avalon!” A fit of coughing convulsed his face and he tottered on the edge of the cliff. The Grand Master grabbed his arm and pulled him back into the cylinder. Holding his breath, Kondric pulled on the headpiece of his suit.
The frigid air stunk of rotten eggs. Violet gagged and blocked her nose. She sensed Athanor expand his shield to envelop the three of them. As a further precaution, she reattached the breather on her suit.
“The atmosphere is deadly,” Athanor said.
The lights on the control panel clicked off. The portal had died. With a squeak of alarm, Violet gripped Athanor’s arm. They stood on an unknown frozen planet with a toxic atmosphere, overlooking a bottomless precipice.
“Where are we?” she breathed.
No one answered.
Standing at the rear of the precarious ledge, Violet leaned against Athanor’s warm body and squinted through the gloomy atmosphere. The portal perched on a cliff surrounded by roiling umber clouds. Frozen peaks stabbed into the horizon. Far below the clouds, blue green spikes protruded from a glassy blue lake. Ice pillars carved into fantastic shapes were reflected in the mirror of the lake.
Overhead, jagged lightning zipped from the ominous black clouds and struck the frozen peaks. A fountain of water vapor sprayed into the sky. Cracks snapped across a pillar of ice. The severed top tumbled slowly into the lake and the splash rippled outward in concentric circles. Winds roared through the peaks, spinning dark streaks of cloud across the sky towards their shaky perch.
The hazy black swirls fired an alarm in Violet’s mind. “Athanor, it’s the black dust. Port us out of here!” she shouted, fearing the clouds contained the horrid dust that suppressed his telekinesis.
“Hades!” he grunted. Quickly checking that they were linked together, the Grand Master tapped his insert and they flipped into the soundless void. To Violet’s amusement, Kondric’s mouth had frozen open in a cry of shock. She and Athanor had slipped into their customary half embrace.
They popped out beside the teleportal cylinder in the central square of the main town of Avalon. Violet inhaled the flower-scented air and relaxed.
Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. She has invented adventures in weird worlds for as long as she can remember. In 2014, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish her stories. Her works are character-driven romances set in weird worlds described with a sprinkle of humor. Some of the stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.
Aurora has published science fiction romances in two series, two novellas and short stories. Her first series, Atrapako on Eden, describes the interactions of humans on the terraformed planet of Eden with scaled aliens from the hostile planet of Vkani. She has published two books in this series: The Lady is Blue and Dragons of Vkani. Her second series is Grand Master’s Trilogy. Book 1, Grand Master’s Pawn, and Book 2, Grand Master’s Game, have been published. Her short story, Gifts of Jangalore, is set in the Grand Masters’ Universe. Her standalone novellas are: A Tale of Two Colonies and Captured by the Hawk.