This fast-paced and psychologically intense novella throws a spotlight onto some of the characters of the full-length novel series, RHUNA: A Quest for Ancient Wisdom.
The Master - Yarqi's Story
An excerpt from The Master - Yarqi's Story:
Yarqi left the Forum of Enlightenment, looking around at the swarm of people in the hope of seeing Rhuna again. Finally, she began to walk away from the noisy forums and into a quiet alley.
The sudden tranquility of the narrow alley between buildings felt like a pleasant dip in a fresh pond of water. Yarqi savoured the sensation of being in the cool shade and stillness, and breathed deeply several times to release the tension in her mind and body.
Yarqi turned into another shaded alley behind large stone buildings, orienting herself towards the outer perimeter of the city where she had camped overnight many times.
“Quick, come help me!” Bony fingers gripped Yarqi’s upper arm and pulled her into a doorway, almost causing her to stumble. “A wild beast is in my home! Big teeth and mean eyes!”
Yarqi looked into the wrinkled face of the elderly woman who had brutally snatched her out of a rare moment of inner tranquility. She saw the terror in the woman’s wide eyes and felt her hot breath in her face. Before Yarqi could speak, the old woman ushered her inside the building with unexpected strength.
“In there, in there!” squeaked the terrified woman as she pushed Yarqi ahead of her into a darkened room. “Make it go away!”
Yarqi stopped in the doorway and scanned the dark shadows in the shuttered room until she suddenly saw a flash of long white teeth.
…oh, it’s a wolf! A beautiful wolf!
“It wants to eat me!” screeched the old woman.
“Go back outside; I can make it go away,” Yarqi assured the woman, brushing her back with her hand as she kept her gaze steady on the wolf in the corner of the room. She waited until she heard the woman’s frantic footsteps leave the building, and then she kneeled so that her eyes were level with the wolf.
“How did you get in here, Beautiful Wolf?” she whispered to the wild animal hunched before her as if ready to lunge. Yarqi looked into its amber-coloured eyes, trying to connect with the wolf on a basic instinct level. When the long gaze into its eyes appeared to have no effect, Yarqi began to produce a low hum deep in her throat which had mesmerized many wild animals she had encountered in the wilderness.
…I must concentrate fully…
Yarqi adapted a special slow breathing technique as she produced the continual deep hum, and then projecting her mental energy towards the growling wolf.
…go in peace, go away in peace…
Yarqi suddenly became alarmed when the animal did not respond after a short period of time.
…do not show fear…you must stay in control, her inner voice reminded her.
Yarqi slowly lowered her eyes to the floor, breaking the eye contact with the growling wolf while still producing the soothing low hum. She saw the wolf’s claws move on the smooth wooden floor, and in that instant she realized that she heard no scratching sound.
“It’s an illusion!” she hissed angrily, grabbing a small stool at her side to throw at the wolf. She watched as the stool tumbled across the floor, through the image of the growling wolf which now appeared slightly transparent.
…fool, fool, you have been fooled again!
Yarqi spun around and briskly stepped out of the house onto the street where she saw the woman talking to her neighbours. The old woman’s animated gestures alarmed a growing crowd of people.
“Is it gone?” she asked Yarqi.
“It’s only an illusion,” Yarqi grunted without stopping.
“It isn’t real,” Yarqi shouted angrily, without looking back. “A Conjurer’s trick!”
The old woman’s agitated babble slowly receded behind her as Yarqi continued at a brisk pace.
Despite her fast rise in the ranks of the Order, Yarqi is plagued by self-doubt and reminders of the secret traditions of her mother’s people.
Her heritage has given her the power to tame wild animals and sense spiritual connections in order to find lost and misplaced items.
But she has also inherited her father's Atlan powers which have been dormant until now...
Yarqi believes she has finally found true enlightenment when she joins the Order of Pure Power, but things are not what they appear to be.
Yarqi is thrilled when The Master himself approves of her progress in summoning visions, creating illusions and performing an act of Sympathetic magic that can kill a man. But is that what she really wants?
The beautiful, open city of happy people changes drastically as mysterious and powerful people called The Conjurers cause frightening illusions to scare people out of their homes, while rumours persist of another group of people causing mysterious deaths.
Yarqi is so engrossed in her own activities and saving a young woman from an abusive relationship that she fails to see the danger all around her.
Only the supernatural help of an old friend can save Yarqi from completely succumbing to The Master’s devious plan, but they must first escape a city conquered by the Conjurers.