Ged Maybury’s Into The Storm’s Domain is the first in the rollicking great steampunk series Across the Stonewind Sky. We hope you enjoy reading this little snippet.
“Rod,” she called from the inner office but moments later, “in here! I need a hand with this. It’s a cow of a thing to get on. Close the door.” She had already fetched out the Charm of Sissifreya from wherever she had hidden it and passed it to him. “Now this is important. If I die, I want you to destroy it. It should be easy; just open the front and shoot the crystal.”
“What? But surely…”
“I’ll explain later. This is how you do it. Grip here and here, push together against the spring, then twist.” The thing once again clicked and extended like a telescope.
“Now, at this end you squeeze this, this and this, then twist.” It went ping and the petal-like brass plates sprang open. He looked in and saw, for the first time, the crystal she was referring to. It was fixed in the centre of the tube by a trio of thick brass spokes, and to his eye it shimmered with every colour of the rainbow. It actually pulsed. He saw rings of light moving along its length like the smoke-rings one sometimes sees on a biting cold day roiling up from the stack of an idling steam engine. Utterly beautiful.
The voice was far distant. It did not matter. He was beginning to understand all about the coloured gems around the device’s perimeter. It was teaching him!
Into The Storm’s Domain 259
Suddenly the beautiful light vanished. She had shut it. He snapped out of his trance.
“What?” He was most annoyed with her.
“You were hypnotized.”
“Yes, you were! It was like your mind had completely gone!”
Suddenly she took him firmly by both cheeks and peered into his eyes. “Do you feel delirious, Rod? Do you have any cravings?”
“Eh? No.” (He was not going to admit to the delirium he felt every time she came close to him, nor his craving to kiss her long and hard.)
“Good.” She let him go. “Now, a little help please.” And she opened the entire front of her uniform. His delirium instantly doubled. “Hold it steady while I get these straps around it again.”