Two great stories about alien worlds in one book.
Wings of the Guiding Suns
Sita is born to be the emissary between dragonkind and a world on the verge of doom. If she saves the people about to become extinct, she will join her fellow dragons sailing on the solar strands. If she fails, her life will end the moment the dying world does. The choice is simple: leave and live. Yet, the people resist and time is running out.
Noret’s world is destroyed by an attack on the moon. It sends the city tumbling and kills thousands. Among the dead is her bonded, whom she cannot survive without. Her kind has never known violence, but an act of war must be answered. What will be her reply?
Wings of the Guiding Suns:
Sita’s bare skin—sans scales, sans feathers or fur, sans protective secretions—missed the warmth of the sun globes that had kept her snug since the day she’d hatched. Yet the chill gripping her couldn’t numb the thrill of being summoned to her mother. Aching to stand in her presence, Sita wanted nothing more than to do her proud.
Sita strolled deeper into the starship, traveling an acre-long hallway, ignoring doorways to glowing rooms. She didn’t need to view her reflection in the transparent section of the hull to know she didn’t resemble her mother. Since sprung from her egg six months ago, Sita had known. She had grown some, but still barely stood five and a half feet tall. She had brown flesh and dark hair cascading to her waist. Missing were a set of glorious white wings, horns, a tail, talons, and the full telepathic abilities of dragonkind. Yet she had been born to carry out a noble mission—to save a race of beings about to be erased from existence.
She remained uncertain she could accomplish such an enormous task as saving an entire people. Perhaps if she met the humans in a more temperate season, her chances of succeeding would rise. “Is this planet always so cold?”
“The world below is experiencing an ice age it will never recover from. Not until their sun’s core collapses and the heat expands the star into a red giant. Then this world will be vaporized. Soon.”
Sita shuddered at the idea of destruction and darkness. “What are the humans like?”
“I will tell you as you dress.” A path lit on the floor, snaking out of the Chamber of Darlig and deeper into the ship. Sita followed it.
The great solar wings of the starcraft spread marvelously on either side of the hull just outside the chamber. Instead of white, they were blue sparking with gold, billowing with the solar winds. They and the hull absorbed starshine, enabling the ship to hook into the solar strands to travel the galaxy. The spacecraft’s systems were powered by suns and planets rich in hydrogen. Air and biological matter were recycled. Mother could fly forever among nebulae and moons.
“The rhythmic strands sent out by most humans will welcome you, but not all,” Mother said, serenading Sita’s every step. “I sense only one barrow, one remaining center of civilization. Dreamers live among them, and savages unable to imagine a future any better than the life they have. Their notes on the strands mingle and merge.”
“The savages are my challenge?” Sita stepped into an alcove with copper walls. The metal conducted heat and a buzz traveled up through her feet. She giggled at the way the energy tickled and pranced to a bit of carpet shaped like a lily pad.
“Determining who will accept your guidance and what to do with those who won’t is the challenge.”
“How will I know? What if I choose wrong?”
Footsteps crunched through the wreckage and I could feel their bass reverberating through the shifting ground beneath me. I struggled to sit up. A hot wind scoured my cheeks and whipped curling strands out of my eyes, which were the same shade of lilac as my hair and horns. I blinked at the rotund pink man disrupting the fine rubble.
“Noret.” He fell at my side, exhaling in utter relief, and his ears twitching. “I have looked long for you. So long.”
My gaze and trembling mouth hoped at his blocky face. His kind didn’t have tails, but I had always been attracted to his expressive ears. The little tufts of feathers on the ends quivered adorably. “Pedrin, did you find the rest of our family?”
Clasping my hand tightly, he held it next to his heart at his left hip. “ We’re going to be all right. Help is coming.”
I found that hard to believe. Too many like me, Teons with iridescent yellow skin, tails, large discoid eyes, and crystalline horns, lay on pallets around me. There were a few pink four-eared Kiols like Pedrin sprinkled on the makeshift pallets, but very few. Their low number made the impromptu rythmen facility look like a slaughter of my kind.
“This doesn’t look all right, Pedrin. How many Teons are without their bondeds? What do you know? Walking among the ruins, you know something.” The melodious chants which had built the world and kept it upright stayed silent, rippling down my back in an unnatural cold. The Kiols would survive without the proper harmonic resonance, the Teons wouldn’t. “I’m afraid.”
Pedrin’s shoulders heaved, and his ears vibrated violently, his fingers squeezing mine numb. “We who live under Dowa suffer. Millions of Teons have lost their Thienas, Noret. But don’t fear. There’s no need. The cities under Oni, Tir, and Feo weren’t so unfortunate. They come to help. They’ll be here soon.“
“What about Thiena and Dermod? Will help arrive in time to save them?”
He couldn’t meet my gaze, his three tiny white eyes filling with grief.
I couldn’t bare to see him cry, and peered out over the ruins. There was no avoiding pain, however. The city brimmed with the same wretchedness, bludgeoned into what it was never intended to be. Nothing stood as it ought. Nothing sang as it ought.
“Did any other of the lead harmonics survive?” Holding my breath, I dreaded the answer.
Pedrin fidgeted, his spindly fingers twirling round and round. “One other.”
I couldn’t catch a decent breath. “One?” I found it difficult to process the fact only I and one other had survived to lead Dowa’s harmonies. My reason frayed at the enormous responsibility. The residents under Dowa would rely on Thiena and I more than ever. Yet she sang no more, and I grew weaker. What did that mean for us?