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THALIA: THE NEW GENERATION
Chronicles of the Maca Book 7
BY MARI COLLIER
As thievery and deceit befall the continent, a new generation of Maca leaders will rise. Daniel, the new Maca of Ishner on Thalia, struggles to right the wrongs imposed on his people for nearly two hundred years. Determined to uncover the depths of the Sisterhood’s treachery, Daniel and the other young Maca of Thalia face danger, as new threats lead to a battle to save their land and people. With tensions mounting in the struggle for wealth and power, can they fend off the attack, or fall to the Sisterhood’s acts of vengeance?
THALIA: THE NEW GENERATION
Chronicles of the Maca Book 7
BY MARI COLLIER
Ma, clothed in the brown of an Ab, strode towards the Maca of Ishner and shouted, “I am Ma. I Challenge ye to the Death.”
Daniel turned from his greeting of the Ishner populace around him. This was his morning for meeting the inhabitants at the Second Center of Iconda. He realized that the woman was as tall and as blocky as he was. He inclined his head, “I shall meet ye at the Maca’s Tower within the hour.”
“Nay, we fight now.” Ma roared back and started to remove her tunic. Minnay’s gloved hand touched Ma’s still clad shoulder.
“He has the right to arrange the time. Then all the Houses will be there to see ye win.”
Ma glared at her, then at Daniel. Her brown eyes were swinging back and forth. “Do ye tell the truth?”
“Aye, come bide at the shore. We will await his return nearer the Tower,” Minnay answered.
Ma lumbered behind Minnay and Maybelle as they walked to the waterfront. Once there, Ma began doing squats and stretches. She sparred into space as though all the movements were the way to pass time.
Minnay was correct. The Houses were alerted, and they flew in to see the Challenge, as did many of the higher ranking Tris.
Lorenz was out on the range with the kine. Diana spent nearly thirty minutes trying to reach him and finally left a message on his com. “Our laddie, Daniel, tis Challenged to the Death by an Ab from Medicine at nine of the clock.”
Lorenz heard her sobs when he touched the com button nearly twenty minutes later. He frowned, shook his head, and sprinted to his fliv to head straight to Ishner. He didn’t bother to remove his range clothes or the ancient Colt in his holster.
The crowd formed a circle around the two combatants. Both had stripped down to a thong.
“Do ye concede?” Ma demanded, her face was frozen and her eyes like glass.
“We fight,” was Daniel’s reply, and the two huge forms bunched their fists and swayed toward each other, both looking for an opening or a weak spot.
Ma threw the first punch which sailed past Daniel’s head. He landed a blow against her left temple, and she lunged at him. Daniel went into the leaping spin favored by Don and landed a kick to her side.
He was surprised at the pain shooting up his leg, and he realized he had kicked something more solid than Thalian flesh. Would this fight be his last? Whatever he was fighting was nay as fast as he was, and it was his only advantage.
She lunged at him and missed as he brought his fist down on her back, but she rolled away and was up swaying towards him. Daniel was blinking his eyes. Something was wrong with his thinking, and her fist smashed into his chest, knocking him backward.
The crowd was watching every move. They did not see the blue Don fliv land or the determined man step out of it and draw his blaster from the door’s side pocket. They did not see his bowlegged march towards the fight as he pushed people out his way. One look at that set face and blaster was enough to cause the crowd to part.
Ma had Daniel by the biceps and was about to lift him when the man’s blaster erupted, cutting a line down Ma’s back. One of the Troopers next to the Guardian of the Realm raised her blaster but stopped, opened-mouthed as fire and sparks flew out of Ma’s back.
Ma stood, immobile as the sparks and fire raged in her interior. Daniel was able to pry her fingers away and stepped back, a blank look on his face. The crowd was moving away from Ma.
Jolene, Guardian of the Realm, had her hand on Captain Beni’s arm to keep her from firing at Lorenz as she yelled, “Lorenz, Laird of Don, how did ye ken?”
Lorenz did not take his eyes away from the robotic droid that had threatened Daniel as he responded, “I was the one that searched those islands around Ayran before Medicine relocated. There were no Abs. The only living mammals were clegs, nay else but birds.”
“How can ye be so sure?” Jolene asked.
“I’m sure.” The voice was as hard as his face and eyes.
Jolene decided this was not the place for a dispute and turned to Captain Beni. “Quick, arrest those from Medicine that were with that monstrosity.”
Beni motioned to two of the Troopers to follow her, and the three took off on a run after Minnay and Maybelle.
Llewellyn had started to move towards Daniel. JoAnne and Diana were already beside him, steadying him.
“Papa, you take those three to Malta at the Warrior’s Academy Medical. That thing was probably infected with something to disable Daniel. My wife and his fiancée are probably infected now. Y’all will need cleansing too once you’re there.” Lorenz’s alien voice and words roared across the space. He figured the Guardian wasn’t through with her questions yet.
“Stay, Llewellyn,” Jolene interrupted. She was wracking her brain to remember what Lorenz’s alien words meant. “I need ye at a quick Council meeting. All the Guardians and Counselors of the Realm follow me, and that means ye, Laird of Don.” She turned towards the Maca of Ishner’s Tower as the closest building with a proper meeting area.
“The hell, I will. I’m taking my son to the Warrior’s Medical,” Lorenz yelled after her.
Jarvis, Maca of Ayran, stepped forward, a tight grin below his wedge of a nose. “My Laird, I would be honored to take them.”
Lorenz looked at the blocky, Warrior son of Jolene and nodded. “I trust y’all.
Make sure y’all and your fliv are disinfected too.” “Aye,” Jarvis nodded and headed towards the three.
“Jarvis,” Jolene yelled after him. “Ye and JoAnne are part of the Council.”
Jarvis turned slightly. “Use Jada. Without the Laird, I would be dead.” He led the way towards his fliv while speaking into his com to tell Malta what was needed when they arrived.
Jolene glared after him. She could nay break that adulation that Jarvis and JayEll held for the man that rescued them. Captain Beni was returning with the two prisoners from Medicine. Jolene looked at the House members who had gathered to watch the Death Challenge and saw both Marita and her mother, Marta.
“Marita and Marta, ye have questions to answer also,” she snapped at them and turned towards Pillar.
“Guardian of Army,” she ordered, “appoint Warriors to guard that thing. Nay are to touch it, and then ye are to join us.” She led the way into the Tower and up the stairs to the meeting room.
When all were seated except for the Troopers and the two prisoners, Jolene looked at Marita. “Why did ye allow them to build a forbidden droid?”
Marita answered, “I did nay ken they were building a droid. They told me they were working on a breakthrough for Medicine.”
Jolene looked at her in disbelief. “Surely ye asked what it was and checked their progress.”
“I took them at their word. They claimed it was a surprise.”
“What kind of Maca are ye?” Jolene was near to yelling. “They had to have a huge amount of credits for what it took to build what tis illegal.” Marita could think of no words to refute the accusation.
“And just what do ye propose to do with these two that have broken the Thalian law of building robot droids and the one against the killing of Thalians?” Jolene’s voice was hard and demanding.
Marita swallowed. “They are now Abs. They are to be stripped of Medicine’s colors, and their punishment tis in the hands of the Council. If nay, I will condemn them to harsh labor.”
“Y’all are a little late. Daniel could have been killed.” Lorenz muttered.
“Very well, then I move that we try these two before the regular Council meeting after we have completed the investigation at Medicine to see if Marita and Marta were cognizant of what they were creating, and to ascertain if anything else tis brewing or being built there that tis nay allowed. Guardians and Counselors, does this meet with yere approval?”
“Nay!” Marta was on her feet shouting. “How dare ye imply that my lassie or I could be guilty of such crimes?”
“Will ye sit down?” Jolene banged her fist on the table. “Right now, it would seem ye are more apt to be guilty than Marita. All ken how negligent of Medicine she has been. Ye are the one that ran Medicine for thirty-one years ere she had her Confirmation Rite. Since then, ye have run it, nay she.” Jolene left out, We all ken that she prefers pina pods or any growing plant to to real beings.
Marta’s face reddened, and it looked like she was ready to shout again, when her counselor, Troyner, grabbed her arm and spoke in a lowered tone, “Marta, sit down. They have to investigate where the credits came from and who authorized them.”
Troyner’s face was worried as he wasn’t sure whether Marta had ordered credits transmitted to them or nay.
Marta whirled on him. “Ye too?” She was ready to fight.
Lorenz’s flat voice drawled out. “I have a hunch the Sisters were using the credits they were draining away from the various Houses.”
“That may be true, Laird of Don.” Jolene was still using the formal address as the man looked ready to start fighting anyone that disagreed with him. “That tis one of the things we will verify.”
She turned to the Guardian of Army. “Pillar, I will consult with ye for yere recommendations to help with guarding and with the investigation. I canna spare Captain Beni.”
Lorenz stood. “Fine. I vote, ‘Aye,’ on your proposal to try them at the regular meeting and investigate the source of the credits for Medicine. Now, I’m going to find out how my son and my wife are.” He did his bowlegged march out of the room.
Jolene sat opened-mouthed and then looked at Llewellyn and asked, “Can ye nay stop him?”
A smile cut his square face. “I have nay been able to stop him since he turned eighteen. That was long before we came here.” He too rose. “Like my laddie, I vote ‘Aye,’ on all yere proposals. I am going to check on my younger and my laddie’s counselor.”
At least Llewellyn’s words made sense to Jolene. “Well,” she asked the remaining members of the Houses, “how do ye vote?”
Mari Collier was born on a farm in Iowa on a mattress her parents had made. It was covered with an oil cloth. The farm where she grew up had no electricity or inside bathroom. She has lived in Arizona, Washington, and Southern California. She and her husband, Lanny, met in high school and were married for forty-five years. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Twentynine Palms Historical Society, and still serves as a Docent. She has worked as a loan collector, bookkeeper, receptionist, and Advanced Super Agent for Nintendo of America. Her short stories have appeared in print and electronically, plus there are four anthologies. Twisted Tales From The Desert, Twisted Tales From The Northwest, Twisted Tales From The Universe, and Twisted Tales From A Skewed Mind. Earthbound is the first of the seven Chronicles of the Maca series. Man, True Man is the first of the three Tonath Chronicles. She is working on another anthology and a novel temporarily called Thalia At War. All of the anthologies have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. The first five of the Maca Chronicles have been translated into Italian and Spanish. The first three into Portuguese. Earthbound, Gather The Children, Before We Leave, Return of the Maca, and Twisted Tales From The Northwest are also Audible books.
Links to Mari’s website, blog, books, etc.
**Special Giveaway** Mari is giving away a Kindle copy of THALIA: THE NEW GENERATION to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog. [[She’d love a review (all authors love reviews), but it is not necessary.]] Happy Reading!
Thanks, Mari, for sharing your book with us!
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