I waited four years to begin Book Three of Melody and the Pier to Forever, which I did back in January. I'm currently working on chapter five.
Book Three will be big, like Books One and Two. As far as I can tell, it will have only two parts. It answers--of course--the cliffhangers in both Book One and Book Two, and advances the story in a way I believe is unexpected and original.
There is more than one way to fight epic evil. Armies and gleaming swords are essential, but even more is faith and friendship. That's what Book Three promises.
In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from chapter thirty-four of Book Two.
There had been trouble between Melody and Yaeko. Maggie told him about it.
“Yaeko’s having nightmares,” she reported. “Apparently they wake her up screaming and crying. I’ve heard a couple of them; the poor girl’s a mess when I get to her. She tells us the dreams are about the car crash that paralyzed her and killed her parents, or about the Eleysius being attacked. But Melody is certain she’s lying, and she’s really hurt that Yaeko won’t come clean with her. But her explanations sound completely reasonable to me. Poor girl …”
Luis had shared with him that Maggie’s Storyteller abilities were slowly coming into their own. She had what she called “promptings,” intuitive flashes that she feels compelled to act upon. One of them directed her to suggest to Daphne to stick near Luis. The burgeoning success of the Sentinel Phantasme’s judo training spoke for itself. Another was even more striking. Luis had shared a bit of the Saeire Insu’s strategy with her, which involved a battle group voyaging south. One of the warships had Ruing Chalcon on it. According to Luis she had listened, and then her eyes went blank, and then she said: “Tell Aedan to tell that battle group to turn due east. I’m certain it’ll help. I’m certain.” This he did, and indeed three Imperial destroyers and two frigates were destroyed two days later in the north
Aboard was the Governor of the Emperor’s Senecum Gyss and six Provincial
Constables. Malucifericam Sea
With Yaeko’s troubles in mind, he asked, “Has anything come to you about the truth of her words?”
Maggie shook her head sadly. “The only thing that has come to me is that Melody should stand by her and not judge her or be afraid. It’s very strong, that prompting. And so that’s what I’ve told her.”
But he knew Melody was right. Yaeko was lying. He knew she was lying because Exeter Chaundran lied too, at first, about his premonitions. And he, his adopted grandson, lied to Espriella when he started getting them.
He didn’t tell Maggie what he knew; instead he went to Yaeko directly when Melody was training and Maggie was with Luis, and Elizabeth and Daphne were helping the crew ferry supplies to King’s Perch.
He knelt at her side in her and Melody’s quarters and let her throw her arms around his neck and sob into his shoulder.
He shared the stories of the premonitions he had: of the Gyssians invading Vanerrincourt, and of the death of his beloved grandfather.
“You can tell me,” he said gently. “It’s okay, love. Tell me. It’s premonitions you’re having, isn’t it?”
“Go on, then. Tell me. Please. Let me share your burden, Yaeko. If you want, I’ll not tell anyone else what you tell me, not even Melody. You can trust me. Please.”
“I—I—I’m so s-sorry, Your Majesty,” she wept. “I … I can’t!”
“Can you tell me why you can’t?”
She was inconsolable. She didn’t answer him for a long time. Her tears soaked his collar and wetted his ear. He gave her a handkerchief. “I’m sorry!” she cried. “I’m getting you all wet!”
“It’s perfectly okay,” he said. “I won’t need to shower later. You’re saving me time.”
Amid her misery, she laughed.
“Please tell me, Yaeko. Tell me. What are you seeing?”
But she said nothing for a long time. He waited patiently, even though his lower back was beginning to complain. He’d been kneeling a long time. It felt like one of his Daen-Cer-Dain stances.
“Can I ask you a question, Mr. Conor?”
“You can ask me anything in the world, Yaeko, my friend, and I will answer you forthrightly and honestly. What’s your question?”
“Do … do you believe in angels?”
He exhaled. There was the sudden vast sense of kneeling in an empty world-sized cathedral, the cascading light of heaven falling upon the vision of his upturned face. The majestic stillness held him, lifted him.
We are the kings, dear boy, you and I …
He opened his eyes, surprised. He didn’t know he’d closed them. He filled his lungs with the peace found only in the midst of the absolutely holy, and said:
“I’m holding one right now.”
“If … if I tell you my premonition, if I tell you anything at all about it, I will doom everyone: you, Melody, Elizabeth, Maggie, the Saeire Insu, Ruing, everyone! I can’t tell you, Mr. Conor. I can’t! I’m so sorry! Please forgive me! You’ll be safe only if I tell you nothing! You’ll be safe only then!”
The storm of her anguish returned full force.
He didn’t say anything more, and neither did she. He held her, his eyes closed once more.
He didn’t let her go until many hours later.