Tales of the AES


The Shield DuologyThe Shield Duology


Part 1map

They’d been around since the dawn of time. They filtered through the universe’s more obscure tributaries pursuing their philanthropic aims with detached efficiency. It could be said that they held the power of life over death, but they wouldn’t have seen it that way. They merely presented a chance for life, whereas before their coming, death had been inevitable. Such was the case now: the planet’s inner core had cooled, shuddered to a halt, collapsing its magnetosphere, that ethereal shield that would see it protected from the ravages of its own sun.

They left a solution in place before they departed, though it was against their better judgement. A warning would be triggered when matters were about to exceed acceptable parameters. Or, to put it another way, when the shit was about to hit the fan. At that juncture it would be up to the planet’s dominant species to take action.

The problem was the nature of the dominant species: human. Once such creatures had progressed beyond the kill, eat, sleep cycle and found themselves with spare time on their appendages, well… their record over that sort of period didn’t inspire confidence, no matter where within the galaxy you might choose to look.

And thus has it come to pass. Oceans and lakes are evaporating as Perfidy, that drear lifeless expanse, extends its tentacles over a beleaguered surface. The planet is dying… does anyone care?

Certainly not the Moguul Dynasty, an empire that has held sway throughout the Scattered Isles and beyond, since great deeds were first committed to parchment… and probably well before that. But now its influence is on the wane and it seeks to consolidate it by any means possible.

Certainly not the Dominion, whose insidious dealings and political maneuverings have spirited away the vast majority of the world’s wealth. Strange, verging on unimaginable, that the pursuit of such wealth, together with the power it bequeaths, should continue unabated despite the injustices it perpetuates, despite the planetary catastrophe it encourages. Strange indeed. What manner of ruling elite would ignore such harbingers of social and environmental doom? What manner of society would allow such an elite to flourish?

Yet what chance could such a society have, gentler souls caught between the twin pillars of entitlement and greed erected by the self-styled masters of their planet? Well… you just never know.

Into this world is born Panadora. All too soon she must confront reality, as her village is set aflame and everyone within it put to the sword. Her desperate flight brings to the fore an innate resourcefulness previously hidden from her. It is only when she encounters Versinyous, a Ten-Bone Seer, traveling with the camel train that rescues her, that she realizes it is more than that.

Her incipient talent helps Versinyous unearth a document, a palimpsest, at the great abbey in Chaldacor; a document that the Dominion, and indeed the Dynasty, would see destroyed.

Into this world is born Jahlia, heir presumptive to the Dynasty, and, perhaps, its last hope. But all too soon the gilded days of her youth are cast aside as an assassin calls. The attempt on her life fails, but for her too, reality has intruded.

But hers is a divisive role. Those of influence within the moguul’s patriarchal court resent her. Beyond the court however, beyond the upper echelons of the Dominion hierarchy, Jahlia and her constant feline companion, Kal, are viewed with affection, adoration even.

Thus is she now a problem for the Dominion – they cannot simply murder her. And so they seek to bring her down by more duplicitous means. They look to the Pilgrimage. 



part 2


The Shield DuologyThe Shield Duology


part 1


part 2


part 3


 Across the outer realms our shadows dance,
Unfettered by those grim bonds of here and now,
To that ephemeral place where souls abide.
But what of inwards, to that obscure domain where delyrium lies?
There, constrained by dark delights, we would surely linger,
But there, within those hallowed halls, is a place we fear to tread.