a Future Historical Novel
Meet the Characters
A brilliant ego reinforced by true genius ability. As visitor in a new culture, he can no longer rely on his cavalier charm to avoid the dangers of emotional commitment. Although he feels totally in control of his future, he is soon overcome by events that elevate him into higher roles of responsibility that require levels of commitment he never imagined. His true journey begins when he becomes Danon, the Provider lies in becoming the leader that Lauriel believes in.
Ruggedly beautiful, athletic, and strong-willed. She travels her own path and rejects most of the superstitious beliefs of her people, relying on what she can see and touch. She also desires to become more than just the daughter of a clan leader. Her role in the tribal society is firmly established by a century of tradition. The mantle of the Shawl, symbol of leadership, will go to her husband – usually the lead warrior.
Noble leader of the mixed clan of O’kee, Manchee, and Soux survivors of the great holocaust. He wears the Shawl, and its burden, with the courage of a warrior's spirit. Like many of the elders, his hope for deliverance of his people lies in the cryptic fragment - the prophesy - that foretells the arrival of a Supreme May’r who will unite all the clans and gain social freedom from the Perfs.
Leader of the Brothers, warriors who defend the Clan. The Brotherhood follows a simple, but strict code of honor which demands absolute loyalty and expects total sacrifice. Each warrior has already "died" as part of their initiation into the Brotherhood of Leather. Devon will always do what "must be done" to ensure the survival of the Clan, including sacrificing himself or anyone else who threatens it.
Decades after the Holocaust, triggered by an accidental release of experimental germ warfare agents, the Perfect States of America is controlled by the National Apartheid Party. Since the ethnically-tailored biological agents eliminated most of the Caucasian population, the Black survivors have crafted a new society in America. However, their vision of society does not include the outlying Hispanic, Asian, and Native minorities that struggle to survive on the edge of this perfect society in isolated clans. Although the different clans seldom interact with each other, many share a hope for redemption according to an ancient prophecy.
A visitor comes from afar to defeat the undefeated.
With great magic the Visitor sacrifices himself for those not his own.
… to lead his people to freedom… to become the Supreme May'r.
A stranger from afar and soon instigates a series of events that threatens the stability of two societies.
Daniel William’s future journey – from visitor to provider, to clan warrior, to leader of clans – seems to fulfill the ancient prophecy, but his actions threaten the stability of both societies. Is it his destiny to share a common fate of those who challenge society’s safety with radical ideas? When threatened with upheaval, society’s leaders usually choose to sacrifice one individual to protect the greater whole.
Lauriel pushed back the entrance flap to the Warrior's Den and quickly scanned the smoke filled room. The Den was an enclave for the brotherhood of leather. Unmated warriors gathered there regularly in the evening to share the camaraderie of fresh meat and strong drink. Many of the pair-bonded warriors also gathered, leaving their wo'am and noisy children behind. They ate venison and drank brien, an alcoholic mixture brewed from vegetable peelings and fruit scraps. Mostly they drank and challenged each other to games of bravery.
Two “brothers,” who did not consider themselves related to this she-warrior, watched from across the room. One stood in front of a ragged target board that hung on the wall. Before she came in, they had been taking turns throwing their dagger at the board. One would stand so close to the target that his opponent's dagger missed by only inches. If the challenger flinched, he lost a token. If he managed to catch the dagger, he won two. Tokens were important in the Den. Not only were they a measure of status, they would buy more beakers of brien.
She found the mixed aroma of narcotic tobacco, roasting venison, fresh squaw bread, and warm brien almost soothing. And she was relieved to find Devon absent. As usual, the sounds of manly banter faded as she entered.
The Den's furnishings were austere, a few pieces of carpet draped over the rock formations that served as tables and stools. Opposite the entrance was a long, flat stone shelf. The bar.
Behind it she could always find Gregon, a once formidable and still proud warrior who refused to count his age. When he managed to walk, he did so with a severe limp, the result of an encounter many yars ago with a bounty. Gregon had recovered from his wound. The bounty had not. Gregon still took great pride in that fact.
Although no longer able to run with the pack on nightly raids, he was too proud to join those old men who sat idly around a fire and smoked their pipes while waiting to die. Gregon had dutifully remained at the Den, tending the bar and trading adventures with any warrior who would listen. He also ensured the Den never became boring.
Lauriel ignored the silence of the crowd and walked over to his inviting grin.
“Beaker o'brien?” Gregon offered, nudging the thick mug toward her.
She reached for the beaker, but Gregon held fast, his bushy eyebrows raised with anticipation.
She pulled a polished agate token from her vest pocket and dropped it into his hand to satisfy him. Then she hoisted the squatty mug to her lips and forced down a gulp of the bittersweet brew. The biting liquid foamed like acid in her stomach. She almost smiled as the warmth spread. She didn't realize how much she had needed that drink. It felt good, but not good enough.
“Bad luck 'bout the raid,” Gregon remarked, his scarred face giving a wrinkled smile. “Wrong biotics, I mean.”
She clenched the handle of the heavy beaker like a war club.
“Say what you mean, grey-hair! This one crawled through the pharmacon. This one made the grab.” She paused to empty the sour nectar and drop the beaker to the bar. “And this one took wrong stuff.”
Gregon wiped up the spill with his sleeve. “I s'ppose any warrior brother could'a done the same.”
“But it wasn't a warrior brother,” she answered. “Was me.”
Gregon's expression hardened. “A warrior don't lick his wounds.” He studied her for a moment with the same hard look, then nodded. “You need a good fight to burn your angers.”
He reached into his worn vest and fished out five tokens, which he dropped inside a small-mouthed plastic bottle—the challenge beaker—then he rattled it. The room fell silent as everyone stretched to the sound of rattling tokens.
Lauriel tried to grab the bottle. She had watched the rough, and sometimes bloody, game before. Whenever Gregon got bored, he'd put a handful of tokens into the challenge beaker, toss it to the middle of the floor, and watch the younger warriors fight over the prized agates like hungry dogs. The last one standing with the bottle won.
Rattling the bottle again, Gregon goaded the partially drunken fraternity. “There's five token in here! And Lauriel here, says they ain't a brother mano enough to fetch 'em!”
Some grumbled, but no one moved.
“Well?” Gregon shook the bottle harder. “Is she right?”
Lauriel snatched the bottle out of his hand and started dumping the tokens out. She'd return them to Gregon and stop this nonsense.
A slurred voice sounded behind her. “Wo'am or not, I ain't taking that kind o'talk.” The swaggering warrior was huge, at least three times her size. He was also smelly drunk as he reached for the bottle. “I'll tan yore overstuffed breeches.”
“No!” She pulled away. “Leave it alone, I make no challenge. Just give it back before –”
The unexpected backhand blinded her with stinging suddenness. The salty taste of her lip refocused her attention just as the second backhand landed. The smelly warrior ripped the jar from her fingers, and leaned against the bar to count his easy reward amid the laughter of his approving brothers.
She could have walked away. They weren't her tokens and it wasn’t her challenge. But they were laughing at her. She grabbed his arm and turned him into striking position. He started to swing again, but she put a angry knee between his legs, stopping him cold. He bent over like a broken tree branch and toppled to the ground, wondering where his testicles had gone.
She bent over to pick up the scattered tokens when a sharp blow between the shoulders sent her stumbling across the floor.
“I'm not as drunk as Grogon,” the new challenger boasted. “And I'm more than enough for the likes of you!” Honon was named for the Hopi term for bear, and it suited him well. He stood tall, feet firmly rooted to the floor. He didn't sway and his speech wasn't slurred.
She wiped the bitter dust from her face, smiling coyly as she walked to within arm's reach.
“You want it? Here…” she said, as she tossed the bottle over his head.
When he reached for the flying prize, she planted a moccasin squarely in his groin. He grimaced and slumped over, but he didn't go down. He straightened slowly and forced a bearish grin.
She took a step back and glanced around.
“You're a sly kitten, Lauriel. But you met your match with me. This one's gonna peel those leathers and give'm to a real warrior… when I'm through having my fun.”
Her eyes burned as she drew her dagger. “I'll peel more than leather, you nutless scavenger!”
Gregon grabbed a lance from the wall and swung it down over the counter, barring her way. “You put that away in here, gr'll. This is a friendly fight.”
She gave a threatening stare, but Gregon stood firm. Her arrogant challenger stood grinning and waiting. When she reluctantly reached down to sheath her dagger, he attacked, rolling her over and pinning her to the ground. Before she could recover, he grabbed her by the hair and breeches and tossed her completely out of the Den.
He strutted over to the beaker and dumped its contents on the counter. “B'lieve this ought to buy everyone another beaker.” Boorish laughter flooded the Den.
Honon stood with his back to the entrance as he admired his booty, and didn't hear Lauriel's moccasins swiftly crossing the room. With the stealth of a panther she charged, aiming for the small of his back, just below the kidney.
The big warrior toppled face first into the dirt with a deflated groan. He tried to catch his breath, while spitting the orange mud from his mouth. Then he looked up to his devious attacker.
“If you're thinking of gett'n up,” she warned, “Better think again.” She stood rigid, one foot drawn like a crossbow aimed at his face.
He blinked just before he moved to dodge her foot. He did not realize that his actions had signaled his intentions until later, much later.
Another warrior closed to take his turn.
“Enough!” she shouted. “It is finished.”
Gregon was slamming his fist on the bar in uncontrollable laughter. “S'down, boys. The fun's over. Them's my tokens you all is fighting over. Lauriel here didn't insult nobody. I started this here carnival…” He stopped to wipe the tears from his eyes. “So pick your brothers off the floor and have another beaker, my treat.”
Lauriel dusted herself off and headed for the door. She paused to glance back at Gregon and slowly smile.
The old warrior nodded understandingly. She felt better now.
In the shadows, a figure dressed in black silently observed Danon's departure. The Visitor's appearance in the doorway of Lauriel's lodge had been a surprise and halted his approach. He watched the intruder leave and felt an unexplained sense of danger. As a hunter he knew when he was being threatened, and he knew how to deal with it. He started to follow his prey, but heard other footsteps approaching from behind. Muffled voices getting closer.
He did not trust this intruder. Why had he come? Where was he really from? And what was he doing in Lauriel's lodge? Surely this visitor would not dare to be his rival. Lauriel was his, or soon would be. Everyone knew that.
His instincts told him to do away with the white-skinned visitor with a single thrust of his dagger, but the stranger provided two kilo credits. And that payment was needed by his clan. It would feed a family for two weeks, longer if meat could be provided by the hunters. Yet, he still sensed a greater danger, a desire to change the old ways. A warrior preserved the old ways. A warrior protected the Clan. A warrior did what must be done, and this outsider was not to be trusted. Devon lowered the dagger into its sheath and faded away into the concealing darkness. He would choose another time.