Welcome back to The Temporal Void reread, part the second! This week we’ll be reading Chapter Two and Inigo’s Ninth Dream, both of which are longer than last time, so we better get going…
The worst thing was just sitting around doing nothing. Actually, no; it's not knowing what to do.
And it’s here we join Araminta, holed up in her apartment with the Ellezelin forces all across Colwyn City. She’s catching up on the news relating to the Void expansion and feeling tremendous weight on her shoulders.
It's too much. No one person can expect to deal with all of this. I can't have put the entire galaxy in peril. I can't.
Gore Burnelli shotguns the entire unisphere, sending his message to the Second Dreamer – Araminta – in hopes that it reaches her. He warns her of the people trying to apprehend her, and asks but one question: contact the Skylord and ask it to allow Justine to enter the Void.
Maybe this Justine woman can do something. Maybe it's not all up to me, after all.
Aaron is dreaming, during which we get hints of his ancestry – riding a Charlemagne, a creation of the Barsoomians on Far Away.
“You and your father both had the courage to make the right choice in the end,” a voice told him. “Not that my opinion counts for anything. But I'm glad. I figure I owe you this second chance.”
And it’s with this that he’s dragged back to consciousness, in a crawler on Hanko with Inigo and Corrie-Lyn, as the planet collapses from within. They’re making very slow progress towards the place Inigo says his starship is, and having to constantly struggle with the bad geography of the planet and its ice age. Once again Corrie-Lyn questions Aaron about what will happen next, and once again he says he’ll just know when it’s time. He and Inigo leave the crawler to clear some space, and then Inigo attacks.
That was when he realized just how badly he'd screwed up by trusting Inigo. “Shiiiit!”
And Aaron is at the receiving end of an avalanche…
The Silverbird arrowed through the Gulf, the immense expanse of ruined stars and tattered ion storms that lay between the dense halo of ancient globular clusters that constituted the Wall stars and the boundary of the Void itself.
Justine and Gore talk some more about her journey towards the Void, and Gore tells her that there is no sign that the Second Dreamer heard him as yet. That’s when Justine sees approaching Raiel warships on an intercept course, taking no chances and destroying planets near her to stop her progress. Araminta is among the many watching this through the unisphere, and makes her way back to her apartments, entering one that was purchased by Living Dream followers. While doing so she hears Gore talking to Qatux:
“If you don't call them off, I will personally rip your fucking arkship apart molecule by molecule with all of you in it,” Gore was yelling. “You think the Void is a bad thing? Do you, huh? You believe that? Because let me tell you: It is your mommy with her titty out for you to suck on compared to me.”
Well, that’s a nice and polite way of putting it! But Qatux is helpless in this situation, and the warrior Raiel continue to blow up gas giants in their effort to stop the Silverbird. Araminta communes with the Skylord in time for the Void to open and allow Justine inside, though Ethan is tuned in to the dream and tries talking to Araminta to join and help them, to which she gives no reply.
Cheriton has been infiltrated into Living Dream’s records and is working on one of the confluence nests in Colwyn City to help track the Second Dreamer, or at least to give Oscar’s team an advantage in the hunt. One of his colleagues is Danal, the owner of the apartment that Araminta used to commune with the Skylord. Oscar and the team on the Elvin’s Payback are watching the Raiel chase Justine in her attempt to reach the Void, and gets the news from Cheriton that the Second Dreamer is active. However, despite his efforts Cheriton is only barely able to give them advanced warning, which isn’t enough time to get them into the building. Meanwhile:
“Something wrong here,” Cheriton said. “One of my new colleagues, Danal, is having a fit. That apartment block is where he lives. As best we can determine, the Second Dreamer is actually in his apartment.”
Oh dear, Araminta clearly isn’t as dumb as they’d have hoped! Tomansio, Becka and Oscar have got themselves assigned as the Welcome Team backup, so are on the scene ready, and it’s here that they start to data mine Araminta. Danal, however is taken away for some rather invasive medical techniques.
Paula is paying a visit to Troblum’s apartment, marvelling at his recreation from the Starflyer War era of the Commonwealth. She speaks to ANA about Troblum’s paranoia, and his past missions with the Commonwealth Navy to Dyson Alpha before heading off to confirm a suspicion she has.
While Living Dream were scouring Araminta’s apartment block she was hidden away in an empty water storage tank managing to avoid apprehension. She ponders her predicament while enjoying tea and biscuits and asks herself a simple question:
So now what?
Inigo’s Ninth Dream
We join Edeard as he stands outside the House of Blue Petals, a place he hasn’t visited for a month while the court case has been ongoing. He senses Ivarl in his usual office, but also has a distant sensation telling him something isn’t right. As he enters a dog barks alerting Ivarl to his presence, and the doors are swiftly locked, with the plan obvious: trap Edeard inside. With gunfire littering the floor with Debris, Edeard can’t move without being noticed, despite his veil. With the oil lit, and Ivarl’s men armed with guns, Edeard is trapped with seemingly no escape.
His thoughts pushed down hard into the floor, willing escape, pleading Help me! and the floor miraculously changed.
He awakens in a circular tunnel deep beneath the city, one he was not aware of prior to then. It is here we learn of his weekend away with Ranalee, where she proposes they marry and have children to harness his power, while he expresses his desire to become Chief Constable, possibly even a member of the Council. But she laughs at his naivety, promising him everything as part of the Grand Families and their endless plotting. And, of course, his seed to spread his strong psychic ability far and wide. Just as he’s starting to fall for her words he manages to shake off his thoughts – or at least what he thought were his thoughts – as Ranalee pushes more commands to him through her words. He strengthens his shield to bloke out the psychic attack just in time, but she tells him that she may already be carrying his child, to which he tells her that if she is she will tell him so he can raise the child himself, not allowing her to use it for her means.
Back in the tunnel he realises that the city remembers, and he asks it if it knows how to get him back to the Jeavons District. Just as he’s thought this the tunnel changes, seemingly tilting, and drops him along its length. He flies along it, lights flashing past as he does so, until it straightens out and he falls upwards to the Marble Canal Tunnel, making his way home from there to recover, though not before having his doubts about staying in the city.
Maybe I should just leave. Ride away to Ufford, and Salrana and I will live happily out in the country where we belong.
In the aftermath of these events Edeard stays at home, thinking about what can be done next. He received a longtalk from Kanseen and proceeds to Macsen’s mother’s house to discover she was attacked.
“They told me that actions have consequences,” Bijulee said. “And that Macsen should watch out.”
Edeard tells them that he’ll do everything to prevent it happening again. Before leaving he talks to Dybal about longtalk dominance, and Dybal gifts him a technique to recognise it should anyone else try it on him again. When the squad get back to the station Macsen’s anger finally comes to the fore, with Edeard saying:
“It's his way of trying to get to me,” Edeard said quietly. His hand went to his cheek of its own accord, stroking the tender flesh. “You're the only friends I've got, my one vulnerability. He's bound to use that as hard as he can.”
Macsen makes it clear that it’s not okay for Edeard to keep things to himself if he wants them to help him, that they’re his friends and they aren’t trusted by him, and that Macsen’s mother isn’t the only one targeted. After much back and forth Edeard reveals his true feelings to them:
“You're all I've got. I don't want us broken up. Not just because I depend on you. We have something here, and it's more than just kicking the crap out of Ivarl. We had hopes. I couldn't stand it if they were broken. I'd be left with nothing once more. I'd rather be dead.”
Edeard decides to let them in completely, telling them that when he longtalks them over the next few days they can join him and discover themselves exactly what’s going on.
The following day Lian is found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in the Trampello Mines, and there was no sign at all of Ivarl. Sparbil tells Edeard that he is a benefit to the city, despite what Bise, the District Master of Sampalok, thinks. And he discovers that the Grand Council are taking sides over him…
While enjoying a rather nice evening in with Jessile, Edeard sees the situation he’s been waiting for and has to make his excuses and leave, summoning the squad as he does so, and it sounds like Edeard wasn’t the only one leaving an annoyed lover behind! Edeard listens to his squad mates while under concealment, appearing and proving to them that it isn’t a petty game they’re playing. Once they’ve practice the concealment they head to the tavern, dropping concealment and entering in a rush, only to discover one of the stations constables, Vilby, on the bed and straddled by Nanitte. Macsen is clearly shocked after his past relationship with her, while Edeard tells Vilby:
“Don't come back to the station,” Edeard told Vilby. “And get you and your family out of the tenement by tomorrow evening. Only constables live there.”
Getting together in the pub afterward, Edeard tells the squad:
“It's a war of who knows most,” Edeard said.
They ask him if Macsen was the only one, and Edeard reassures Kanseen and Boyd that they are okay, but Dinlay has been fooled too. And so had he, with Ranalee. They talk events over and Edeard reminds them:
“I told you, it's a war of who knows the most and then how you apply it.”
He wants the group to know how smart and resourceful Ivarl is, and to what lengths he will go. And he knows that they can all be trusted, which is why they’re all together and moving forward as one unit. They decide that it’s the protection rackets that need dealing with, and that Finitan is the man to talk to first to see how they can rid the streets of all the people Edeard made a list of while spying in the House of Blue Petals.
“A grand alliance against gang-related crime,” Grand Master Finitan said. “Nice idea.”
But Finitan also tells Edeard that it would never be read in the council as proving membership of a gang would be costly and time consuming. So he tells Edeard that they need another way, and a way that has lots of support to better the chances of them succeeding. While the street associations are frowned upon by the Council and Constables, Finitan tells them that there is nothing wrong with them sharing a drink with traders after a long day at the office. This would lead to traders knowing that if they called for assistance, someone would come, and thus start the ball rolling, but still the original problem of time and cost remains. However:
Finitan eyed the genistar egg sitting on his desk. “What you need is a legal option. Have you consulted a lawyer?”
The squad meet with Master Solarin to see if a legal option is possible and, low and behold, he may have come across exactly what they’re looking for. When Dinlay asks what it says:
“It says, Constable Dinlay, that nine hundred and thirty-two years ago, the Grand Council passed the bylaw of district exclusions. This is an edict which allows the District Master or District Representative to declare the right of admittance revoked for any person deemed detrimental to the sanctity of the locale. Issuance of such warrant may be duly authorized by the District Master or District Representative on their own authority, without supervision by a judge or magistrate.”
Bingo! Master Solarin tells Edeard that while he can petition the District Masters and Representatives to enact the law, they don’t have to do so, and he would therefore need their cooperation.
After gaining support within the Jeavons and Silvarum districts, they petition the Masters and Representatives to enact the law. Vologral, the Jeavons District Master asks if it can work, and Edeard is confidents that it can, and as they discover more gang members that can add them to the list too. With guards on each bridge entering the districts, and permanent patrols keeping an eye on the mooring platforms, Vologral gives his provisional approval, and for it to be reviewed in three weeks. And then the 73 warrants are brought forward for signing!
The following day the squad shifts changed and the constables take up their positions in preparation, and they are welcomed by the locals. At midday the inevitable happens: a group of men walk towards the district to see what will happen. They come, all smiles and valid reasons, but Chae tells them they’re not welcome and to not come any further. Master Cherix appears, informing them that he’s the man’s legal counsel and asks to see the warrant. After some fancy talk, Cherix believes he has won and that the warrants can’t be enforced until they are read to those named…
“Were you referring to a warrant like this?” Edeard asked innocently. He pulled a roll of parchment out of his tunic.
Master Cherix's unctuous smile vanished as he started to read. “But this warrant names—”
“You.” Edeard smiled. “Yes. And as such, I am required—by law—to assist you out of Jeavons as quickly as possible.” He reached out with his third hand.
And with Cherix splashing around in Birmingham Pool the gang members retreat.
It is the day of the Lady’s Festival of Guidance, and Edeard is summoned to the Culverit family mansion in Haxpen by Chief Constable Walsfol. As Edeard, Boyd, and Kanseen are walking to Haxpen they are ambushed by an angry woman whose husband was excluded from the district they’ve lived in, but despite knowing what her husband did she doesn’t care and blames them. However, Edeard asks her to relay a message:
“Tell him that if he leaves the gang behind, if he finds himself a proper job—and there's plenty to be had—he'll be welcome back in Fonscale Street. I'll cancel the warrant myself. That's all he's got to do.”
She’s not exactly happy about that! But there has been some cases of mistaken identity, and some names on the list to settle old grudges, all of which had been thankfully sorted. And other districts were now looking at implementing warrants, while the council was going to meet to discuss the disturbances caused by them.
At the Culverit mansion the squad discovers that Julan’s second daughter, Mirnatha, has been kidnapped and the ransom is to be delivered by Edeard himself to a location outside of the city. Misstress Florrel appears, blaming Edeard for all this and demanding that he will do exactly as told. Edeard wonders how they got in and out of the mansion without being seen, and talks to the head guard, who just doesn’t know. Edeard knows it was someone with concealment, and that the smell in the bedroom shows they also used chloroform to keep her quiet. While standing there he longtalks with Ivarl, blaming him for being behind this, to which Ivarl denies the allegations, telling Edeard:
“You and your activities have started to dismay some very important people in this city. And that stunt you pulled vanishing in the fire; that was impressive, even to me. They're starting to work out what you are and what you're capable of. I have a feeling myself that even you don't know your full potential yet. Not that it matters, because that potential has already made them fearful. You won't be allowed to reach it; they'll make sure of that. That's what today is about, not the girl. She's just a means to an end, but you know that already, don't you?”
Ivarl also tells him that he is no longer heard by his friends in high places, and doubts that either of them will see the following dawn.
Kristabel, the eldest daughter of the Haxpen Master, enters the room to talk to Edeard. Through this discussion she knows that he is a good man and will do anything he can to save Mirnatha. He talks to the squad following this and they all know that this is a plan to kill Edeard, and with him gone the exclusion warrants won’t stand any longer. But Edeard is not going to give up, and when alone in the room he asks the city for help in remembering. Through this he sees Mirnatha abducted, but not the kidnapper due to concealment, though Makkathran does remember weight on its surfaces… Edeard comes out of the room to news that the ransom is ready, but he knows where Mirnatha is and he and the squad will have to take them by surprise. As they make their way down the stair Mistress Florrel confronts them and tries dominance on Edeard – to no effect now he knows what to look for. Finitan longtalks him too, but they discuss the situation and the effect it will have on the vote, to which Edeard firmly tells him:
“Sir, I cannot do that. More than anyone I want the gangs out of this city. But I cannot play politics with the life of a six-year-old innocent. I know where she is, and I know what has to be done to bring her back to her family. Right now that's all that matters.”
After being taken to a cellar within the mansion, Edeard shows the squad his trick of sinking through the city floor to the tunnels beneath, much to their surprise! They make their way to the place Mirnatha is held making their plans along the way, and then it is time to put it into action. As they rise to the cellar and rush into the room, Edeard raises his third hand to shield himself and Mirnatha from bullets while the squad does the rest. After the fighting, and discovering and killing the sly kidnapper hanging from the door in an attempt to evade perception, Edeard sees the soul of the kidnapper rise from his body as he dies…
Edeard releases Mirnatha from her chains and carries her out of the cellar, squad in tow. They walk through the crowds and up the canals before the festival commence, returning Mirnatha to her family, safe and sound. Julan invites the squad to join his festivities that night, while Kristabel clearly has more ideas for Edeard!
And here we are at the end of this part of the re-read, I hope all enjoyed it as much as I did! For the next time we’ll be looking at Chapter Three, Justine, and Inigo’s Tenth Dream – see you then!
THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS, the first book in a new Commonwealth series, published on 9th October 2014, and you can read an extract here
NIGHT WITHOUT STARS, the gripping sequel to THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS, will be published on 22nd September 2016.
Whilst you're waiting, check out the cover reveal post!
You can also catch up on the whole Void Trilogy Reread: