Apart from the creative urge which keeps me writing and allows me to escape from reality (as reading does) I’m thankful for music. I love playing guitar (I'm not that great at it though). It relaxes me and helps recharge my batteries. I play an acoustic guitar purely for myself, the idea of playing on stage or for an audience doesn’t hold any appeal at all.
A year ago I heard Stranger on the Shore by Acker Bilk and immediately went out and bought a clarinet. I’ve been practising ever since, getting better but still a long way off before I can play this tune. I believe the clarinet has the purest, most beautiful sound of any instrument.
Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane:
Now a reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.
Seeking evidence to prove Tamerlane is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, Sillow quickly uncovers the sheer scale of his plans, a lethal military strike on all four humanoid home worlds. Caught and imprisoned however, the Sylvan finds himself helpless to warn the Alliance of the coming danger.
Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane:
In the distance two figures melted out of the shadows. Kerry thrust a hand into the small of Titanya’s back.
“Escort’s arrived. You’ll love these guys. Tamerlane calls them his ‘daichin,’ that means warrior in Mongolian.”
The figures strode toward them. Broad shouldered and powerfully built with stern oriental faces they appeared indistinguishable. Each wore identical dark leather armor.
Kerry’s nerve broke as they drew near.
“I’m out of here,” he said, hooking a thumb toward the exit. With that he turned and beat a hasty retreat. Docking bay doors slammed behind him.
The figures stopped. One of them drew a curved blade and pointed it at each of the prisoners, barking something in a harsh, guttural language. He grabbed the woman by her silver arm and flung her forward. Such was his strength she was barely able to stay on her feet. The second daichin went to do the same to Drake but the little man held up a frail hand. Something stayed the fearsome figure and before he could decide exactly what he was going to do Drake moved forward unmolested. His movements were stiff, almost clockwork in their manner.
They walked for some time, first passing out of the honeycombed area, then into a series of chambers that struck Titanya as belonging in some kind of exotic palace. From time to time they came across other daichin, all near- perfect replicas of the two now escorting them.
“These guys give me the creeps,” the woman said. “What are they, clones or something?”
“Indeed,” Drake replied, his tone flat and emotionless. “These brutish specimens represent Tamerlane’s idea of a master race. He is misguided.”
“How so?” Titanya asked.
“Biological creatures are imperfect,” the man answered, myopic eyes staring into the distance.
An insect droid buzzed past the Earth woman’s cheek. She waved it away with an irritated hand.
“I hear you like machines more than people,” she commented.
Drake blinked. “Machines are pure. They are perfect. Take for example the incredible AI system Tamerlane has created here.” He regarded his shriveled hand. “Flesh is nothing in comparison.”
The woman’s beautiful features creased in a frown. “You’re a real odd ball, Drake, you know that?”
The little man’s expression didn’t alter. “I’m not as other men,” he allowed. “Soon I intend to become far much more.” There was a cold, calculated exhilaration in his owl-like eyes as he spoke.
Titanya studied him. “I don’t believe it. You wanted to get caught, didn’t you? You wanted to be brought here?” She shook her head. “Why?”
James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and in my free time enjoy writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.
The Dragon series centers on the adventures of Sillow, a Sylvan con man and his unlikely partner, Brok, a Herculon noble, both of whom find themselves becoming reluctant agents of the Alliance.
The entries in the series so far are: Dragon, Dragon: Smuggler Tales, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane. All are published by Class Act Books.
Class Act Books