2. Excerpt CHAPTER 1
Authors note to the reader: In the first chapter of the book, Sea Sprite Yalara Narika searches for her missing lover and kin. She is a keen observer of changes in her world…she lives at sea with her family.
Unbidden thoughts intruded and interrupted, and the continuity of the moment subsided. The foreboding nature and seriousness of her mission had emerged from the deeper recesses of her mind. The rapid beating of her heart slowed, as did the pace of her breath. Her sense of time quickened perceptibly. She scrutinized the far-reaching seas that stretched out below—the comforting embrace and security of that expanse of her world, Oceanlight. She had a past and a future again.
An insistent memory of a wise voice intruded on her blissful flight. “You must find the disappeared!”
“I will, I promise,” Yalara had said.
Yalara had sensed the deeply concealed anxiety in the directive, and it reinforced her deliberate search for kin. “I do have my own purpose,” she admitted to herself. She was searching for someone she loved—or at least could love.
That concern layered itself amidst the recent flush of rumour and disquiet—among the astute few—that the seas were changing. Yalara recollected a confidence she had shared with a wiser Sprite: “It’s almost imperceptible how the stirrings of the atmosphere, the waftings of the sea’s breath, and chemiae of the water have altered.”
“They have altered nonetheless. But these are hints that most are unaware of,” came the sure response.
Yalara considered herself for a brief period, staring at her hands, which had an unwavering surety of grip upon the harness and petrel. “I am Yalara of the Narika.” Her sea tribe, the tribamare as some called it, was known as the Narika--her clan of Sea Sprites. Yalara had other, less frequently used, formal names that reflected her lineage and her allegiances, such as Yalara ex Teniaka. She did not bear the name of her birth mother, a Sprite of mystery, who had died without giving her a name. It had initially marked Yalara as different, as a youngling, but it had been many years since anyone had mentioned her opaque origins.
She took a deep breath of the salty air, held the inrush for an extended time, and then exhaled with a sigh, while stretching her limbs against the natural synergy of motion between Sprite and bird—between Rider and petrel. She knew that he had sensed her incongruous and discordant movement. He uttered a quiet caw. In response, she eased her charge directly into the wind and held her head and body tightly against the feathers of the bird. Together, they flew downwards and then low, just above the waves, where a fine mist of sea spray hit the Sprite’s face. Yalara knew the bird also sought out that feeling of motion and life. Banking upwards in a buffeted arc and turning to catch the tack against the wind again, Yalara and her petrel caught the strong uplift above the boundary layer and then continued onwards towards the waning sun.
Title: At The Sharp End of Lightning
Author: Nicholas Bates
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Magical Realism
AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING. The interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. In Oceanlight, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her lover over immense seas only to find catastrophe and realization that her world is in turmoil. Meanwhile in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth afflicted by a disease of the blood, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit. Yalara and Einion must discover the causes of their near-deaths and their as yet unrevealed connections as they both face upheaval to their lives and their worlds. Book One of the OCEANLIGHT series.
NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors. He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.