Sage is convinced she knows how the world works. Wulf is hurled from world to world with only his sword and his wits; he has control over next to nothing. Their worlds are about to collide as they travel the galaxy together, moving from one crisis to the next- and for both of them, nothing will ever be the same.
Targeted Age Group:: 13+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Pushing "Stop" on yet another online streaming television series halfway through an episode encouraged a conversation around the dinner table about the sorts of stories we would like to tell. Within five minutes, my four teens crafted two characters they wanted to see together in an adventure. They wanted something episodic, in which the two characters would face new challenges in new environments in unique adventures that built to a climax. Wulf and Sage wouldn't let me be. I had to tell their stories.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Sage is girl who echoes the sentiments of teenage girls I have met over the course of my lifetime. She is sure of her knowledge and absolutely unsure of herself. Wulf is not like many boys I have known. Still, in a crowd of boys, there is at least one young man who knows how to safely use a pocket knife, fire a rifle, track prey through the woods, fix a machine, swim, climb, handle a horse, administer first aid, quote poetry, put in a hard day's work next to a life of physical and academic pursuits, and generally out-man adult men. And that same young man wonders whether any woman will ever love him. It's a mystery to him, and he wonders if he will ever be worthy. They see the opposite sex as a mystery, and each has no idea how similar- and different they really are.
From the memoirs of The Lady, Chapter Two:
There is a how to Galactic Teleportation, but I didn't truly understand it until I became an adult. The why of Galactic Teleportation is much more important, it turns out. Despite the fact that nearly every civilized society has endeavored to crack the problem, few have. Or, if they have, no one had revealed their hand by using it extensively. A handful of societies are stuck with light speed and “near light speed travel.” The rest just…putter around in their own solar systems or borrow rides from those that “have.”
The why is far more fascinating, considering who gets to do it. There are rumors of a great leader and teacher who teleports all over the galaxy, solving problems for people and generally making disciples wherever he goes. There are rumors of divine pranksters, who sow chaos wherever they go, supplanting treasure with junk, and trash with wealth, upending social norms and begging new paradigms. And then there are the solitary warriors who are the bane of evil, who travel from place to place with nothing but swords and grim ends for evildoers. None of these people ever talk about the act of teleportation, what it is like to be in one place at one moment and appear somewhere else in the next. I, the Lady of the Tower, happen to be one of the few who know understand what the actual experience entails. It reminds someone strongly of…
Throw up. That was what Sage did when her body hit the cold, hard ground. She had fallen sideways, and just as she worked her way to her hands and knees, it just happened. The shock of being pushed, as if on a tide from her world, downward into the next, followed by a dramatic change in the air from the cool, moist early spring day to a dry, cold winter one caused her breath to catch. And the way her stomach turned from the unexpected downward plunge…. ugh..
Over her stood the knight, his hands on the sides of his helmet.
“You grabbed me! Why did you grab me? You didn't let go! Why, why, WHY didn't you let go? All you had to do was let go!”
Sage's stomach gave one more heave, and seemed to settle, if only for a moment. The air was much, much colder, and instead of the cheerful pale sun of an early spring, the sky was darker, angrier, and overcast. The grass under her, which was quietly absorbing the copious amounts of vomit, was cold, brown, and dead. Sage wiped her mouth with the corner of her sleeve.
“What did you do to me?” She moaned.
“Do to you? Do to you? What did YOU do? You aren't supposed to be here. And I've no way to send you back, do you understand? YOU'RE STUCK HERE!”
“What? What? Where is here? Just, call a cab or something.”
“What? Oh, sure. We are light-years from Earth, right now, let me tell you. I don't think an
“Earth Cab” will do the job. Although, I did watch one park in a particularly tiny spot that one time,
INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL is just a bit beyond the allowed range of a company cab!”
“Interstellar? What? WHAT? INTERSTELLLAR?”
“Panic! Good! That's good, understand what you have done! You have hitched a ride along with me across the known part of the galaxy to a cold, dim little world I like to call, “bad at everything land.” The locals call it something else, but we both mean pretty much the same thing.”
Sage felt the panic rising and tamped it down. She felt it rising up, and this time a little shudder of a sob almost broke through, but she tamped it down again. She couldn't quite get the tremble out of her voice when she tried to speak again. If she was being honest with herself, she knew she sounded a little crazy. She tried anyway.
“Um….send me back.”
“…. Send me back…. please?”
“Listen.” The masked knight approached her, walking slowly with his hand outstretched. It reminded her strongly of the Betrigan slaver, but she managed to stop herself from flinching. Small victories, right? He reached up to the sides of his head, and fumbled for a moment, his fingers finding the ergonomic dimples in the helmet that were bio-metrically configured to his hands, even through the gauntlets he was wearing. There was a light hiss, and with both hands he lifted the helmet above his head. Then he cradled the helmet in his left arm, looked left, right, and behind him, and looked Sage in the eyes.
He was surprisingly human; his ears looked a little long at the top, but not outrageously so. His shoulders were broad, maybe a little too broad for a young man who, judging by his face appeared to be around twenty years old. His face was a little pale and a little smooth, but that could have been due to too much time in a helmet, she mused for a moment. His flat black hair was cropped low, even though he had allowed himself to grow long, thin sideburns. His chin was a little pointy, but again, not absurdly so. And eyes were not dreamy. Not even a little. They were dark, small, and beady. But his expression was sorrowful.
“I'm so….so…. sorry,” he began. “You didn't know. You couldn't know. My name is Fenrir, my friends call me Wulf. I'm the Paladin of the Eastern Colonies, the slaver-breaker, one of the three thousand to walk home from the battle of the Forsaken Plains. I am on a divinely appointed mission to rid the galaxy of oppressors, and I have no control over where or when I go. I can't return to Earth; someone else makes those decisions for me. I just kill monsters. That's who I am, and all I do. And you, um…” The Paladin searched for the right words. She could tell he was searching for the right words, the way her father did when he had bad news or was about to tell her she had done something wrong. She naturally hated that expression, because it seemed to her that if she was in need of information, the time spent softening the blow could be spent getting things right. She must have glared because the Paladin's words faltered a bit as he continued:
“Fair…lady… you are stuck on a planet that has not yet discovered interstellar travel, much less one that goes near earth. I'll try to find you some shelter so that you can begin anew here. After that, I'll probably slay a monster or villain of some kind, and then…I'll vanish to another place.”
At that, Wulf turned and walked away, up the dead hill that was devoid of trees. He almost got to the top of the hill, and suddenly dropped to one knee. Sage ran after him.
“Vanish! You mean like you just did with me? You can't just leave me here! I don't even know where here is! You need to at least tell me-”
Wulf pivoted on one knee to Sage, briefly stood up, clapped his hand over her mouth, and with his other hand on her shoulder, guided her to the ground. Sage was a little surprised at how strong he was, and how little resistance she was able to offer as he lowered her to the grass.
“Quiet!” He hissed. Reaching behind him on the ground, he felt for his helmet. Once again, the intimidating wolf's head glared at her. Rage seethed in Sage as she hissed back:
“Or what?” Wulf turned away from her, and slowly crawled to the horizon.
“Or they will hear you.”
“Who will hear me? Your friends? Your teleporting bosses? Because I have an earful-”
“The monsters. The monsters will hear you, and I don't know yet what they will do.”
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