Eryinath-5, The Dancer Nebula
Readers of Tier Zero, Vol I of the Knolan Cycle know that Marty Tellus aka Hāthar has all the makings of a self-aware, thoughtful human. The whole reason Lysia, his Knolan mentor has been able to find him at all is his powerful mind. And on closer inspection, she discovers someone of unmeasured—and perhaps unlimited—potential.
A potential both Lysia, the Seeker who discovers Marty and Lynyth, the Oracle of Knola feel is worth developing. Marty’s potential—and his safety from the Knolans’ enemies the Valdrōsians—is why the Oracle decides to bring him to Knola for the best mentoring they can offer. On the way to Knola, Kholôtha, the Oracle’s Restara discovers he might also have the makings of a warrior. Subsequent training validates that hunch, which is how he has come to be a Captain in the Knolan Shock Forces.
But as anyone who has gone in harm’s way knows, going where few dare to go exposes ourselves to potentially soul-withering and redefining consequences. In Eryinath-5, The Dancer Nebula, Hāthar-Tahk is captured by the Valdrōsians. Mortally wounded, they snatch him from the jaws of death, for purposes of their own—confronting him with a new and unexpected peril. His own imperfections.
Dark of the Soul
Not unlike its prequel, Tier Zero, Eryinath-5, The Dancer Nebula chronicles the violent collision of cultures and philosophies, while celebrating a sense of duty and courage. In common with the first book in the series, there are side trips into deep eroticism. At the same time, it is equally a story of discovery and self-knowledge. When we reconnect with Hāthar in Eryinath-5, he thinks he knows who he is. In common with most of us, he’s half-right.
His experiences to this point have shaped his value system and he’s acutely aware of those values. Sa’ang Kurinth, or duty and kinship, as the Knolans see it, is more than a word or even a concept. It is a core principle and call to action that he instinctively embraces.
Hāthar is inclined to act on it in the blink of an eye, only to have his conscious thought catch up in the actions he takes as a result of those instincts. But do not all of us have things going on at a deeper level—at a level we’re not aware of, never mind have the perceptiveness to admit to ourselves?
What remains for all of us is someone who can make us aware of not only our strengths but our potential weaknesses. And buried even deeper, the inner reserves of strength we might never have discovered if not for someone else. In Hāthar’s case, that someone is Rexsylia, a young high-born Valdrōsian woman who will take Hāthar to the edge and beyond.
She claims him for her own while he’s still convalescing, taking him to Eryinath-5, a slave world at the fringes of the Valdrōsian empire. Vowing to himself not to give her or the Valdrōsians anything that will give them advantage over his adoptive Knolan home world, Hāthar finds himself tested in unexpected ways.
At some level, he knows that the Oracle, the Guardian and his mate, Arra, will search for him and (if they can find him) free him. But Valdrōsian women have some attributes none of Hāthar’s mentoring has prepared him for. Even if his adoptive Knolan family finds him, will they be in time?
D.B. Sayers is the author of six titles, with two more works in progress on the way. You join Dirk’s Tribe by subscribing to Smoke Signals, his newsletter in the upper right of this page to be among the to know when he publishes new work.