Tangled Destiny is available in all formats (hard cover, soft cover and e-book) from Friesen Press,, and by order from more than 25,000 bookstores world-wide. It is distributed by Ingram.

    Having exhausted my [publishable] memories – I switched to writing in other genres. “Tangled Destiny” is the first book in a trilogy. No, they are not sequential, but all feature one of my secondary characters, Linnet. The daughter of Merlin, Linnet is an immortal and a time travel guide. We first meet her in “Tangled Destiny” where she is involved in restoring a runaway bride to her desperate fiancé in order to fulfil a marriage contract.

    In the second book, “Destiny Waits” (work in progress!) Linnet has her work cut out when a ghost who has been waiting for 200 years to find his lost love, asks for her help.

    The third book, “The Winds of Destiny--Linnet’s Story” (work in progress!) –chronicles how a thousand or more years ago, Merlin made a bargain with her mother. The story, however, begins long before that when her grandmother escapes the cataclysmic demise of the Island of Theros.

About “Tangled Destiny”

    Set in 18th century Charleston, South Carolina, “Tangled Destiny” is an historical romance, generously seasoned with time travel and a touch of magic.

    Briefly: It is 1778, and the contractual marriage between Christian St. Clair and Catherine Trevane will unite two of the most powerful families in South Carolina. But when Catherine disappears just weeks before the wedding, both families are at their wits end and will do anything to find her. In desperation, Christian approaches Linnet a local healer and wise woman, who is reputed to have ‘unusual’ gifts. Linnet, an immortal and time travel guide, knows that Catherine has travelled across time and is now living in the 20th century but reluctantly agrees to bring her back to fulfil the marriage contract. Linnet tracks Catherine down, but discovers that she is now in her 70s and a grandmother. Undaunted, Linnet realizes that Catherine’s career-oriented granddaughter, Sarah, is the spitting image of Catherine when young, and uses her powers–plus a tad of magic–to arrange a series of events to bring Sarah back through time to 18th century Charles Town and pass her off as the missing bride. A tangled mess of deception, lies, murder and mayhem plays out before the truth is revealed and destiny is fulfilled. It is also a story of love and sacrifice by two women born centuries apart, but joined in destiny.

Excerpt from "Tangled Destiny"

Tangled Destiny Front Cover Tangled Destiny Back Cover


    It was on a Monday in the middle of June, 1765, when the woman known as Linnet walked onto the St. Clair Plantation. She carried a bent willow basket and, with a large calico cat at her heels, she approached the young master of Clairmont.

    Christian St. Clair was on his knees beside a dying child.

    "Half my slaves are sick. They have the Yellow Sickness."

    She saw the desperation in his eyes.

    "Then let me get to work."

    She seemed to know where the sick lay and she went to each in turn, comforting, giving potions to drink, sponging fever-wracked bodies with cool spring water and all the while talking; her voice soft and reassuring.

    The odd thing was, nobody questioned who she was, or where she had come from. All they knew was that, one by one, they got better--except for some of the very old and the very young who were too near death to be mended. When their souls had passed, they were carefully laid in plain pine boxes and slipped into hurriedly dug graves by their grieving families. Then she grieved with them and said she was sorry she couldn’t save them. The healed lived to work another day in the rice and indigo fields.

    Some said she used magical cures. A few remembered her visits in the night and said she pricked their arms with a pin, all the while singing softly in a strange language. When some of the younger ones asked their elders about it they were told to hush up. They were alive and well weren’t they?

    Although she’d come to them as a stranger, they grew to love her and begged her to stay.

    So Linnet stayed.

    Christian built her a small and tidy cabin deep in the heart of the forest from whence she had appeared. Set in an open glade close to a deep rock pool fed by a thunderous waterfall cascading down from a high bluff, she lived on his land under his protection.

    "She’s no slave. And certainly no runaway."

    Christian had checked with the authorities and neighboring landowners. Nobody knew of her, recognized her, or owned her. But they soon heard of her healing and would seek her help in many ways. She spent her days, growing, drying and preparing herbs for her healing receipts and decoctions. Answering calls for help, she would pack up a basket with her potions and, with the calico cat at her heels, would take off to tend the sick and the injured wherever she was needed. Sometimes she was gone for days. Nobody knew where. Then smoke would be seen drifting up from the cabin’s little chimney and all knew she had returned during the night.

    Then strange things began to happen.

    And some people disappeared.

* * *

Chapter One

    Christian St. Clair stormed out of the house in a rage. His long-legged stride and grim expression as he passed the kitchens and smoke house, sent the slaves scurrying. They had never seen the young master so all het up. No cheery nods and smiles of greeting today. Jewel, who had been the house cook since Christian was a boy, and with a reputation as wide as her smile, was heard to mutter that,

    "A face like Massa Chris is pulling today will curdle mah custard. Thasfa sure. I never seen him in such a tantrum since that spiteful brother o’ his fed his pet rabbit to an alligaty."

    Grey eyes, normally soft and caring in the handsome, sun-bronzed face, now flashed like shards of river rock and with his mouth set in an unforgiving line, Christian headed towards the stables, cracking his riding whip at every weed that inched through the tabby pathway. There was not a single soul on the plantation who would wish to cross his path this day. Unfortunately Jem, the stable lad, had no choice, for he knew young Massa Chris was headed his way. So, not taking any chances and in less time than it takes to whip a rock at a thieving jay after the chicken corn, he had his master’s horse saddled and bridled and out into the bright sunlit stable yard. Jem thought about hiding behind the drinking trough, but decided that the horse would give him better protection. As motionless as one of the statues in the mistress’s sunken garden, he held the horse ready and the sweat glistening on his ebony forehead was not solely from the heavy midday heat.

    Christian flung himself into the saddle and with the faintest nod to Jem, who was only too happy to relinquish control of the horse, he clattered out of the yard scattering chickens and jays alike, all squawking in indignation. Only then did Jem realize that he had been holding his breath for a very long time.

    Exactly where he was going, Christian neither knew nor cared, so he gave his mount its head whilst keeping an ever present hold on the reins. Horse and rider were a good team and responded well to each other. By kicking up a dust cloud along the tunnelled avenue of live oaks, they disturbed the sleeping beards of Spanish moss and stirred the pockets of jasmine scent trapped in the humid midday heat. Oblivious to all this, Christian urged his horse through the tall stone entrance, the ornate wrought iron gates mercifully open.

    As he put the miles between the house--and his father--Christian relaxed slightly. As he became aware of the animal’s laboured snorting and the white lather of sweat creaming its neck, he gradually slackened the frenzied pace he’d been forcing his mount to endure. Realizing somewhat ironically that he’d automatically taken the river road--a favourite route where he and Catherine Trevane had often ridden together--he slowed the Arabian to a walk and indulged in the liberty of remembering. A quarter-mile along the river bank, he recognized a grassy rise shaded by a bald Cypress tree where they had spent many secluded romantic and tender moments. Now, in the blinding midday sun, sweat streamed down his entire body, soaking his shirt and breeches. His collar-length thick black hair had come adrift from the leather thong that bound it, and the damp curls sticking to his forehead and around his neck annoyed him.

    The river looked inviting so, reining in his horse, he dismounted and tethered the animal in the shade of the familiar old cypress. After removing the saddle and wiping off the lather with bunches of grass, he made for the riverbank, peeling off his shirt as he went, revealing his muscular tanned body. Bending down amongst the prickly reeds, he slapped the shirt on the surface of the river to warn off any lurking water moccasin, then slipped his head and shoulders under the water. Smoothing his hair from his eyes, he noticed the already purpling bruises on the knuckles of his right hand.

    He lay back on the grass, in the shade of the gnarled old tree and closed his eyes, recalling the reason for his outburst. The bitterness of the event intensified as he harked back to the day when, in this very spot, he and Catherine had professed their love for each other. Eyes half closed, he envoked the memory of her sitting in the dappled sunlight as it filtered through the foliage, burnishing the long red-gold curls that he had gently loosened from their combs and pins. He remembered her laughing and chiding him that she would never be able to return it to a semblance of decency before returning home, and everyone would remark on her dishevelment. Then he’d kissed her and she forgot about her hair, and lay in his arms in a whirlpool of blue silk in which he would have gladly drowned.

    Only a few days later, word came that her carriage had been discovered on the road leading to the plantation chapel. The horse was found, about a half mile back, still dragging broken traces from the overturned carriage. There was no sign of Catherine or her maid, Star, dead or alive. Just Catherine’s parasol lying muddied and torn on the river bank a few yards away. But that was three months ago and although search parties had combed the area for days, she had disappeared without a trace. Most believed that the horse had been spooked by a wild animal, and that a waiting alligator had seized the injured women. But there was no evidence on the river bank to bear out that theory.

    Abduction had been another possibility, but by whom? And if it were for ransom, then wouldn’t the Trevane family have been contacted by the kidnappers? And why take Star? Kidnappers would have surely killed the servant to silence her and left the body. There had been no Indians in the area for weeks, so that possibility had also been ruled out. In spite of there being no bodies, no clues, and no witnesses to anything, the general opinion was that, "Miz Catherine Trevane had left this mortal world."

    Except for Christian. He could not, would not, believe that his beloved was dead.

    His father, the ultimate instrument of family authority, had finally tackled him with some vehemence on the subject of his refusal to believe in his fiancée’s demise. He’d also told him, with the same vehemence and authority, that he, Christian, should put this sad event behind him and honour the contract that existed between the Trevane and St. Clair families. In other words, get on with the damn wedding, and marry one of the Trevane girls, and it didn’t much matter which one.

    "This marriage is a marriage between two great families. We stand to double our business interests, not to mention our profits, when the St. Clairs form an alliance with the Trevanes. And this contract must be honoured within the year.

    "After all, Vivienne, is the eldest daughter anyway, and it was only because you were bewitched by a pair of green eyes, that you decided to marry Catherine instead of her."

    His father had gone on to assert in no uncertain terms that he would brook no deviation from what he considered to be a contract, signed, sealed but not delivered.

    Never in his life had Christian out and out defied his father. He admired and respected him and, as children, he and his brothers had learned to obey him without question. But this day, Christian had lost control, a lapse which he now deeply regretted.

    A good six inches taller than his father, he stood listening to the tirade. He remembered standing to attention, fists clenched and trying to harness his reactions so they wouldn’t show in his face. As his father’s bellowing went on and on, Christian gradually distanced himself and focussed on the man, seeing for the first time in his life, not his father but the man his father had become.

    The perfume from a bowl of his mother’s favourite dusky pink roses filled his nostrils and he could hear the distant laughter and clattering of dishes as the kitchen slaves prepared the midday meal. All-familiar sounds and scents of Clairmont, the only home he’d ever known.

    The patriarch of Clairmont, the rich and successful Aubrey St. Clair, was red in the face and perspiring profusely from the exertion of giving his eldest son and heir a dressing down. This balding man, whose aristocratic features appeared to have lost their vitality and whose body, once as muscular and trim as Christian’s, was now exhibiting a corpulence acquired from a bigamous love affair with both the dinner table and the wine cellar. Mopping the sweat from his face with a fine lawn handkerchief, he then said something that provoked Christian into a fury.

    "Who knows if Catherine is dead or alive, eh? Nothing’s ever been proven. Perhaps she’s run off with another man, eh? Forget the minx, and step up and do your duty. A contract is a contract."

    Christian seethed with an anger he didn’t know he possessed. Father or no, he could not let that pass.

    "Another man? Duty? Contract? Dammit Father. You’re speaking of the woman I love. What’s more, you are insulting her. She would not even dream of running off with another man. All you care about are your dammed contracts and alliances. Duty and contract don’t come into the picture. I am devoted to Catherine and she reciprocates. Take back your insults...or...or..."

    "Or what, young man?"

    Eyes narrowing, Aubrey took a step towards his son.


    Instinctively Christian had raised his fist. Of this he was ashamed, but his father had taken the issue too far. Fist still raised, he turned abruptly and attacked the library door rather than his father’s face which was rapidly turning a dangerous shade of puce. He felt no pain although he remembered seeing blood smeared on the white door panel. He knew he had to get out, get right away from his father before worse happened. He wrenched open the offending door then banged it shut behind him. Glancing up the wide staircase he saw his mother, a silent statue on the landing, one hand to her mouth, her deep grey eyes so like his own, showing obvious distress at the altercation. One look at her son’s face and his bloodied hand spurred her into action.

    "Just go," she said, starting down the stairs.

    "Just go. Quickly. I will see to him."

    Christian hesitated for a second.

    "I...I’m sorry mother. I didn’t mean to..."

    He turned from her and left, slamming the great entrance door so violently the glass fanlight above it rattled and the roses that climbed around the columns of the ornate portico, shivered and shed a few petals.

    Now, lying in the shade of the cypress, the whole senseless incident seemed like a bad dream; futile and meaningless. His father had a very narrow point of view. All he could see was a situation that had to be brought under control. He required his eldest son to marry an heiress to further his business pursuits. Love didn’t enter the equation. Aubrey St. Clair still regarded his children as just that–children; to be ordered, trained and disciplined. And if they misbehaved or ran truant, they were brought swiftly into line and suitably chastised according to the misdemeanour.

    Insects buzzed and bounced off his face and naked chest. He flicked at them impatiently. A dragonfly reflecting emerald and sapphire, hovered in a patch of sunlight, reminding him of Catherine’s eyes. He had first noticed and fallen in love with her eyes; the deepest green he’d ever seen, they would change colour with her moods.

    ‘God, where had she gone? What should I do?’.........................................

    Cradling his chin in his left hand, he examined the injuries to his right. The knuckles were raw and still oozing blood, his middle finger swollen and throbbing with pain, was possibly broken. Holding it in front of him to assess the damage, a flash of bright colour caught his attention. He sat perfectly still, watching the tall grasses and waiting for a second glimpse of whatever it was. He didn’t have to wait long. As if answering his silent question, the calico cat emerged, stood for a moment staring at Christian, then sauntered over to join him.

    "Himself! How are you today? And what are you doing out here, so far from home?"

    With his uninjured hand, Christian scratched the cat behind the ears who returned the greeting by rubbing the side of its face against Christian’s leg. Then the cat sat back and held Christian’s eyes in an unblinking stare. Christian felt his mind empty, almost hypnotised by the cat’s amber eyes.

    Linnet! Of course, why hadn’t he thought of her before. She would help. Apart from being a wise woman and an amazing healer of the sick, there had been many stories about Linnet. How she possessed the ‘sight’ and would use her gift to locate lost things and sometimes, lost people. Black talk amongst black folk. But Christian had a deep respect for the quiet, light coloured woman whom he allowed to live on his land and go about her business of healing, untrammelled and unhampered by her unfortunate colouring. Moreover, he considered her intelligent and far more human than the slaves who worked their land. He would go to Linnet and beg her to find out whether Catherine is still alive and, if so, where he could find her. If anyone could help him, it would be Linnet.

    The oppressive mid-afternoon heat prompted him to douse his shirt again before putting it on. Saddling and mounting his Arabian he turned away from the river bank and headed towards the glade deep in the forest where he had built Linnet’s cabin and given her the freedom to practice her craft. He looked around for the cat, thinking to carry it home, but it had disappeared into the brush.

    Anticipating that Linnet would provide an answer to the questions that kept nagging and tugging at his heart, not to mention a cool drink and salve for his throbbing hand, for the first time that day, Christian St. Clair smiled..................................................

    Behind the waterfall was a deep cave which Linnet used as a secret refuge and hiding place. Light filtered through the curtain of water and shimmered on the walls of the wide cavern she had converted into a retreat. Rush lights and lanterns were set on ledges and rough wooden furniture, a table, chairs and daybed made it habitable in an emergency. Several smaller recesses at the back of the cavern served as storage for Linnet’s personal belongings and a larger one housed her more potent decoctions and secret potions. In the centre of the main cavern was a rock pool, black and deep.

    Linnet knelt by the pool, her long black hair with the white temple tresses of a high priestess, trailing in the water. She stared into its murky depths. Himself sat a few feet away, licking off drops of water that had settled on his fur as he negotiated the rocks leading to the cave. It was not one of his favourite places, he preferred a patch of sun or a soft cushion to this damp, uncomfortable cave.

    A tiny ripple disturbed the black glass surface of the pool–as though a bug had landed on it. Linnet crouched motionless–watching, waiting. The ripple broadened until the whole surface shivered. A pinprick of light appeared at its midpoint and the ripples quieted, the pool motionless once more. The light spread and images appeared. Linnet studied them intently. She saw two women. At least that’s what she thought at first. Then she realized she was looking at the same woman in youth and in old age. Or...perhaps, not. They were talking to each other, laughing and obviously in a good relationship. Relationship? Linnet looked again, studying the images, and listening. She heard the younger woman call the older one "Grandmother." So that accounted for the resemblance, a resemblance that was uncanny. For the younger was the image of the older woman as Linnet remembered her.


    They were both centuries ahead. What on earth had Catherine done, or rather, where had she gone. And how had she travelled through time, without Linnet’s help or knowledge? Someone else had helped her. But who? And obviously something had gone wrong. When Linnet guided someone to travel forward, she took them to the edge of time, to the place where history hadn’t yet been recorded–to the 20th century and the time called the present day. Someone had miscalculated for Catherine. She’d not only travelled through time, but had travelled through history. At the edge of time, Catherine had lived another sixty or more years.

    Her journey had been cut short.

    Linnet was lost in her speculations, when a bolt of light shot through the cave, startling both her and the cat. A swirling mist appeared in front of them, stretching and whirling like a demented dervish and scattering everything around. The pages of a book flapped wildly and the cat’s ears and fur rippled in the commotion.

    "Great Gods, father," Linnet exclaimed. "You don’t have to resort to such dramatics."

    The miniature tornado slowed its rotation and out of it stepped a tall, lean and ancient man dressed in a black robe. A black skull cap perched on his head from which swept long, perfectly straight white hair. A matching beard mingled with the hair so it was difficult to ascertain which was which. Eyes like black diamonds gleamed wickedly in the wrinkled old face.

    "That’s no way to greet your father."

    His voice was unexpectedly low and melodious. His eyes turned to the cat.

    "How now, fur ball. How would you like me to show you what my brother and I did to cats when we were young? Hmm?"

    The old man twirled an arm above his head to illustrate.

    "It had disastrous consequences. Ever heard of a Manx cat? Eh?"

    The ancient threw his head back and cackled with mirth.

    Himself rose, arched his back and hissed.

    "Shift yourself, and report, you mangy tom."

    The cat shook itself, stretched, stretched some more and started weaving its body back and forth as though in some intricate dance. Bobbing and shimmying, the cat disappeared and in its place stood a short and skinny Chinese man, stark naked. Fingertips together, he bowed.

    Merlin hardly glanced at him.

    "Good of you to grace us with your presence, Shen."

    The Chinaman grinned, "Excuse me, while I make myself presentable."

    Shen disappeared to the back of the cavern, returning moments later, tying a leather cord around the shapeless tunic he’d hurriedly pulled on.

    "How do you put up with him, daughter? He is such a prima donna."

    "We get on extremely well, thank you, father. We understand each other." She changed the subject.

    "Now, why are you here?"

    "I know what you intend to do. And you can’t mess with history."

    "You’re a fine one to talk. I can’t count the times you’ve turned history upside down."

    Merlin’s eyes narrowed.

    "That was different. In ancient times, history wasn’t really history. It was just happenings. And most of the happenings were either magic or unearthly. It’s different now."

    Linnet sighed. She knew he had a point.........................................

Excerpt from “The Winds of Destiny”

    It came as the dawn’s first flush slatted the eastern sky. Even though it was no louder than whisper quiet, Athanasia awoke instantly, completely.

    Her first thought was for her daughter. Had she heard it? She peered through the dim light cast by the night lamp. Six-year-old Lyric sat on her pallet cross-legged; clutching her clay doll, her eyes as round and glistening as tide-washed sea pebbles.

    Mother and daughter sat motionless, hardly breathing – waiting.

    When it came again, there was no mistaking what was happening. Glasses left on the table from a bedtime drink tinkled, the flame in the night lamp flickered wildly behind its shield. Furniture shuddered and bounced, a book fell from the shelf and Athanasia felt the tremors course through her body. It only lasted a few seconds, but intuition kicked in and she knew there was worse to come.

    “Come, Lyric. Get dressed. We have to go to the temple.”

    Less than five minutes later, mother and daughter were scampering through the courtyard adjacent to their home, and up the wide stone steps leading to the temple. Apart from a few silent-footed servants going about their duties, the building was empty. Athanasia led Lyric across the atrium and behind the great altar, the only sounds were the thwack-thwack of their leather sandals on the marble floor. She drew aside a tapestry hanging on the north wall. A stairway led down into the darkness. Taking a small oil lamp from a niche in the wall, she started down the steps indicating Lyric should follow. Fifty steps down–Lyric had often counted them–they came to a small cavern. Athanasia touched the flame from her lamp to a half dozen more at intervals around the circular wall. Shadows etched the smooth rock floor. The room was bare, except for a large wooden chest, heavily patterned with gold and semi-precious stones portraying a strange array of symbols and letters, the meaning of which Lyric had never been able to fathom. Although she had asked often, her mother refused to explain the cryptic messages.

    In the centre of the cavern was a circular rock pool; its waters black as night. Athanasia’s equally black hair, with its distinctive white wings denoting a high priestess, trailed in the water as she knelt to peer into its depths. Lyric had accompanied her mother here many times and knew exactly what to do. She knelt, facing her mother across the dark water, waiting for permission to look into the pool.

    A small ripple broke the surface, then another and another, radiating out from the centre from which a large black bubble rose. It hovered on the surface for a few seconds and then it burst, spraying both mother and daughter’s faces with fine droplets. The pool became still once more and far, far below the surface a pinprick of light appeared. As Athanasia watched, the light expanded until it touched the circumference of the pool and the vision she had been waiting for, appeared.

    What she saw, made her gasp in horror. It took but a few seconds for her to comprehend the meaning of the images that passed before her eyes. Her head jerked up and she stretched a hand over the image as if to negate what she saw. Then, sweeping her hair out of the water and back over her shoulders, she jumped to her feet. Two strides and she swept her daughter up into her arms and away from the pool. Setting Lyric down on the floor beside the chest, she ran her hands over the symbols. Slight pressure of her fingers released a secret catch and it opened. Scrabbling through the contents, she dug out a small trinket box, a gold filigree belt which she buckled around her waist, and a book-shaped package wrapped in a protective cover of oiled cloth. Closing the chest, and clutching the box and book in one hand, she grabbed Lyric’s hand and spoke only one word.


    Less than half an hour later, mother and daughter left their home. Dressed in travelling clothes, each carried a travelling bag slung over their shoulders and across their bodies. The bags were stuffed with clothes and a few belongings. Lyric’s clay doll nestled in between soft garments, along with a few precious sea shells and an extra pair of sandals. Her mother had taken a carved pendant on a fine gold chain and fastened it around her daughter’s neck, placing a similar one around her own.

    In the short time since they returned from the temple, the square was now bustling with people. The whole neighbourhood had felt the tremors coming from deep below the streets, and folk were running this way and that, men barking orders to their women, the women barking orders to their children. Athanasia noted grimly that it would not be long before hysteria set in, and then panic. Earthquakes had rumbled the city before, but this time it was different. Usually the motion was from side to side; these vibrations made objects bounce up and down. And from what Athanasia had seen in the rock pool, this was no earthquake. This was something far more terrible and she meant to get herself and Lyric as far away as possible. That she was immortal, wouldn’t really help in this situation, for if she was to be blown into a million pieces, even the Gods couldn’t put her together again.

    Back down the stone steps and into the cave they ran. Lyric trusted her mother, but she could feel the earth shaking beneath her feet and so how could the cave be safe? Her mother handed Lyric one of the lamps she had lit previously, and crossed to a rock wall that jutted a little farther out. Behind, was a fissure was just wide enough to squeeze through.

    Athanasia turned to her daughter,

    “Don’t be afraid. Just look ahead and disregard anything you might hear or see.”

    The child nodded. She may be only six years old, but she told herself she was not afraid of anything. Besides, was she not immortal, just like her mother?

    Woman and child climbed down rough stone steps chiselled from the bedrock of the island. Down and down they went, until they could go no further. Now they were in a labyrinth of passages carved out by time. A hollow roar from the wind and the ocean echoed through the maze.

    Lyric was not so sure of her bravery right now. After all, folklore had it that a dreadful beast lived down in the bowels of the earth. Half man, half bull, it was said he devoured women for breakfast and children were his favourite snack. Animal sacrifices were made regularly to the Minotaur, but perhaps he was making the earth shake because he wanted humans, not animals. Lyric’s grip tightened on her mother’s hand.

    Athanasia glanced down. Seeing the fear in her tiny daughter’s eyes, she stopped and knelt in front of her.

    “Lyric. I promise you we are going to a place of safety. If we stay on the island, we will perish. Even though we are immortal, we are no match for what is about to happen.”

    She stood up and looked around as if to get her bearings,

    “Come, we are almost there.”

    The seismic tremors were intensifying. Some so strong they knocked Lyric off balance. But she held on fast to her mother’s hand.

    Another twist in the maze, another flight of steps. The roaring was now so loud, Lyric wanted to stuff her fingers in her ears. She didn’t care what her mother had promised, she was terrified and she wanted all these horrible happenings to go away.

    Their flight came to an abrupt end. A sheer cliff of rock barred their way. The roaring changed to a high pitched screaming. It was coming from the rock itself. Athanasia held the lamp aloft. In the dim, flickering light, Lyric could see two huge round swirling masses, the like of which she’d never seen before. What they were, she couldn’t tell, but they were terrifying.

    Athanasia would never have admitted it to her daughter but she, too, found the phenomena unsettling. Unlike Lyric, she knew what they were and that in itself was frightening. They were twin portals through which one could travel to another dimension. As the High Priestess of the temple to Enosidas, she had been required to descend into the labyrinth to perform official duties–mostly involving the sacrifice of small animals–but she had never, ever penetrated this far into Minotaur’s domain. In deference to her station, she had been apprised of the existence and the function of the swirling portals and warned against their misuse and potential danger.

    Now it was time to set aside any inhibitions she might have as to what would happen to her and Lyric. It was the only way to save them both. But which portal to enter? They were massive, perfect circles; the swirling, whatever it was, over aeons had carved and polished each inside circumference. By the Gods, which one should they take? Asking Enosidas was obviously useless. Despite all the stroking and sacrifices, he was now living up to his name–The Earth Shaker. He had woken up this day and decided to destroy everyone and everything that was the Island of Theros.

    Eyes, darting from one portal to the other, Athanasia knew she had to make a decision, and quickly. They could hardly keep their balance on the heavily vibrating rock floor. Then she noted that the swirling masses of what appeared to be smoke, were travelling in opposite directions. One to the right, the other to the left. In a flash of intuition, it became crystal clear. The sundial in the atrium gave her the answer. The sun’s shadow moved to the right indicating the forward progress of the hour. To enter that portal would be to go forward in time, the other, backwards and opposite to the passage or time, was a gateway to the past.

    She glanced down at Lyric. The child was visibly shaking in fear, and as she turned to meet her mother’s eyes, Athanasia saw the tiny tear streaked face. At that moment, the ground gave a tremendous and terrifying heave. They had to move now, or they would either be blown apart, or sucked down into the very bowels of the earth, a fate even their immortality could not withstand.

    Shifting her travel bag to one side, she picked up Lyric and, clutching her tightly to her own body, launched herself and the bundle in her arms into the portal.

    Athanasia knew the child was screaming. She was screaming herself but the sound was lost in the more tumultuous screeching of the wind that engulfed them. Rolling over and over, then twisting within a spiral akin to a tornado, they were swept along at the speed of light. And where they were headed, only the gods knew. The only conscious thought Athanasia had was that the safest thing would be to surrender to the elements around her for she knew without a doubt, that her island home of Theros and all who had lived there no longer existed. She and Lyric were the only survivors--destined to live as immortals for eternity in another world at another time.

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