The Seeker by Enos Russell

1 post / 0 new
The Seeker by Enos Russell

Blurb

While Finna battles in the crusades for Eleanor of Aquitaine, a time traveler kidnaps her to fight in a feudal Steampunk war across the galaxy.  

 

Description

THE SEEKER - Science Fiction by E L Russell

Volume 1 – Finna’s Quest is the first in the Origin Series to the Epic collection of Evolutis Rising stories about the emergence of the next human species. Already named, Homo Evolutis, the self-healing – self-evolving being eventually discovers its galactic destiny as the master of time and space. 

The protagonist, FINNA MAGNUSSON, born in 1122, the same year as Eleanor of Aquitaine, is the daughter of a single parent, former Knight Templar, MAGNUS MAGNUSSON, who currently repairs the cathedral of Vézelay as a Master Mason.

Finna observes ELEANOR of AQUITAINE praying in the cathedral before the celebrated Abbé Bernard of Clairvaux. She watches Eleanor make a public offering to the church of thousands of her vassals in support of the Second Crusade and it enthralled by her gift of a golden urn and a crystal chalice to the abbot.

Finna watched Eleanor, accompanied by several women dressed as Amazons, gallop through the crowded streets of Vézelay encouraging more to join the cause. Finna makes the decision to be one of her three hundred in the Woman’s Crusade.

To impress the queen and demonstrate the fighting skills her father has taught her, she enters and wins a Squires’ Tournament. He gives her his blessing and joins the Second Crusade. The night of her joining, a voice entered her head and promised to protect her, warning of the dangers ahead. She soon discovers the voice belongs to a time traveler and her life changes forever.

 

Short Sample

 

Chapter 1 - It Begins

Jerusalem, 1099

He swung his long sword and another Persian head fell to the bloody floor of the small sanctuary. His backstroke fatally sliced the intestines from the next attacker and a step forward impaled the long blade in the throat of a third. Drained, he retreated to a corner to catch his breath. Fatigue shackled his arms as sure as any enemy. Blood made the grip on his sword slick and unsure, but the sound of racing footsteps on the twisted stone staircase sent adrenaline racing through him. Trapped in this bloody crusade with a heavy sword, he wished for his Smith and Wesson. Instead, he reached for what was available, his short sword. He took a deep breath. Although he knew it was hopeless, he charged at the top of the stairs and flung his body at the emerging lance tips.

* * *

Leeth found himself weightless in a black void. A freaking time shift? His erratic heart pumped blood through veins that seemed too small and sticky air filled his lungs. What a rush. The Time Overlords had pulled him out of harm’s way in time and he was infinitely relieved he still lived. He hoped they would forgive him his timeline disruptions; perhaps it was not to be. 

Seven somber faces glared at him. The grey-walled room, lacking doors or windows reflected their closed dogmatic minds. Not a hint of humor marred their dour faces. He snorted. Their pristine white robes seemed incongruous for the anticipated ‘Riot Act’ about to be served, which didn’t seem fair. It was, after all, their mandate had sent him back in time.

Leeth broadened his stance for better balance while stars winked around him in the fog still clouding his vision. As hard as he tried to face up to these men, the ones who were about to pass judgment on him and set punishment, fatigue overwhelmed him down and he couldn’t lift his head.

A growing pool of blood spread around his feet. His filthy, torn Templar tunic was covered in dirt, blood, barf and horse shit but if his aching body had been skewered as he anticipated, he was too numb to notice. The buzzing in his ears grew louder and he fought to remain upright. He wondered if, at the end of this inquisition, he might prefer to be back in the bloody crusades.

He teetered toward the long thin granite table, which separated the seven chairs for the Overlords and the one they reserved for him. He needed to sit before he collapsed and stepped toward his chair.

“Halt.”

The command jarred him and the new onslaught of adrenaline kept him standing. He regained his balance.

The Overlord sitting in the center of the row of white robes raised his hand. “You will first go to the showers and receive medical treatment. You will be escorted back to us within sixty seconds of this time. Say nothing of your travels, Leeth, and do not attempt to escape.”

 

His four-hour medical treatment did not include food or water nor did it include comfortable clothes. The medical staff of Seekers dressed him in a monk’s coarse, grey robe before returning him clean, bandaged, starved, and thirsty to the Time Overlords. In their time, he had been gone exactly fifty-seven seconds.

The Overlord who had excused him gave him a curt nod and equally curt command. “Sit. We have much to say. You, however, will tell us of your failures first.”

His eyes burned from lack of sleep and his limbs were almost too heavy to move.  With a deep breath of air to fuel his motion, he pulled back the plain metal chair back and fell into it. He spoke to their minds. <I need water and why don’t you call me by my name?>

A pitcher of water and an empty mug appeared in front of him.

Using both hands, he filled the mug and drank it down, then almost dozed off.

 “You need not speak mind-to-mind here, Brother Leeth. Do you remember me?” It was the Overlord who’d done all the talking.

Commanding, bullying, and directing, to be more precise. He cleared his throat. “Yes, I remember, you are Horace.”

“Speak with respect, Brother Leeth. I am Father Horace to you.” The six other Overlords remained mute and he eyed them with suspicion.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out from their rapidly changing expressions they were engaged in a private mind-to-mind chatter. “Will you be sending me back, Father?” he asked, acquiescing to the rebuke, although it stuck in his craw. He raised his chin to make himself taller, a weak protest, but it made him feel marginally better. He’d screwed up and he knew it.

Horace raised a hand and he knew their private conversations had ended. Their attention had returned to him and a dribble of sweat wended its way down his itchy back while heat suffused his neck. He took another deep breath to slow his heart from beating blood to his face. Dammit. He looked as guilty as a kid with a frog in his back pocket at the junior high dance.

Without waiting for Horace to speak, he said. “Am I to assume from your rescue of me there is a plan for my full redemption?”

Horace looked down his nose. “Someone in your position should assume nothing, Brother Leeth.”

“Then tell me why I’m here, Father.” The bastard left him hanging on purpose. The dour faces across from him changed, eyebrows rose, frowns deepened, and lips pinched. Their mental communication excluded him and did not look good.

Horace’s fingers danced a nervous drum roll on the table as the unheard conversation took place. Finally, he said, “Enough.” He pointed a finger at Leeth. “You sir, seemed to make every effort to satisfy your lust for extensive slaughter. Slaughter was never part of Leeth’s persona. Do not allow the excitement of the moment to get in the way of your mission. Your role as a historian was to observe the Crusade, not fight in it. The real Leeth Letholdus must live out his normal life, or there will be grave consequences for Earth’s timeline. Can you control your behavior?”

Blood lust? He was just trying to survive. An Overlord at the end of the table extended his hand to speak. While his expression was not quite so hostile, neither was he likely to carry much weight in the outcome of the impending punishment. He knew for a fact the big guns sat closer the center. Nonetheless, the man spoke.

“Father, he must see the record.”

Mental-muttering followed until Horace snapped. “Enough. Leeth, open your mind, and observe what is at stake for all of us, for Earth.”

Leeth saw space tossed with blankets of colored stars strung against deep blackness. Then, he saw Earthrise. Oh, yes, he had seen it many times from early settlements on the moon. The emerging appearance of the blue and white globe was one he would never forget. Momentarily, he smiled in the joy seeing his Earth from this vantage point.

Suddenly, all tranquility disappeared. Incoming meteorites streaked through the high atmosphere. He lurched forward for a better view as hundreds of the fragments of iron and rock fell toward the planet. Huge fireballs careened into the Earth’s surface and erupted in towering columns of molten ejecta that fell with mesmerizing slowness back onto a molten fury. Oceans and continents vanished silently within white heat. He couldn’t close his eyes or shut his mind to the horror.

 

He sat in mummified shock. “Holy Christ. When does that happen?”

In a much-subdued voice, the head Overlord said, “It can never happen.”

The Overlord to Horace’s right stood. “We have played this timeline many, many times and the only positive outcome rests on the woman’s survival and you are crucial to her timeline.

Me? The overlord was pointing at him while talking about some unknown woman.

You are the only one known to us who can exist outside a host of another anywhere in the time line.”

Leeth pushed his chair back and slapped the table. “Hold on here. What’s going on? Help who? I wasn’t assigned to anyone except this Leeth guy, whose name you keep calling me. Since when can a person who is gleaning in the mind of one person decide to take control of the host and exist on his own? Look, you sent me back as a historian to view the First Crusade from Leeth Letholdus’ mind. You gave me some host. The sorry bastard died on me during our first attempt to scale Jerusalem’s wall and left me to fend for myself in that time period until you pulled me out.”

Horace leaned forward. “Yes, but he didn’t die. You did. That is, your body, more than a thousand years in Leeth’s future died. I saw it for myself, yesterday.”

Stunned, he fought back. “Leeth sure wasn’t contributing much when you pulled me out.”

Grim faces stared at him, unmoved by his account. One said, “You overcame your host instead of letting complete his recorded mission. You assumed control of his body and led the attack on Jerusalem’s wall, killing dozens.”

“What the hell was I to do? I was halfway up the freaking ladder when things went dark on me some twenty thousand Persians jumped me. I followed all your rules and did nothing that might change the time line until that moment. I was only defending myself.”

A fourth Overlord thumped the table. “Two things must happen. One, you must return to Jerusalem and it must be as Leeth. You must live out Leeth’s recorded life according to our rules so there are no disruptions to the time line. Two, you must become the monitor and protector for someone special so she lives long enough to fulfill her role in Earth’s survival. She is the person who plays a critical role in saving Earth from the destruction you witnessed moments ago.”

“Why me?”

The Time Overlord sighed. “Weren’t you listening? We have no idea how it happened you were able to take over your host’s body and continue his fighting. We have had others attempt it and they have failed. We may learn this technique in a few years or in a few centuries from now, but meanwhile, you stand before us fully capable of successfully completing the task.” He waited for response from anyone in the room, and then his eyes locked on Leeth. “You will go back and continue as Leeth. The man you were in our time no longer exists.”

They were scaring him. He didn’t want to return to the middle of the Crusades. As far as he knew, nobody lived long. “Aaron. My name is Aaron.” What a disorganized bloody mess. “I’m not going back.”

Horace wiggled his finger. “You do not live here anymore. Aaron died of a massive heart attack while gleaning in Leeth’s mind in 1099.

Well shit.  That was a game changer. Aaron folded his arms. Leeth’s arms. What the hell? This took some getting used to. He looked down at his hands. There were small scars on them he didn’t remember. He’d thought the chair was small. Now he realized his legs were were longer. What nonsense was this? He had his mind and this crusader’s body. A small smile played at his lips when he thought of his niece, Chloe, bio genetics mastermind that she was. She would be blown away by his situation. The fleeting smile faded before it was visible.

“Is that why there are no mirrors in the medical facility here?”

Horace pressed his hands into the table and almost rose. “Must I remind you of what’s at stake here, Leeth? You will return to the time just after you scale Jerusalem’s wall and we will assure you leave that battle alive.”

He’d used the name with emphasis.  The bastard was probably enjoying all this. “You mentioned a woman.”

“Just so. You will monitor and protect the young woman living in that time until she fulfills her destiny and you will do it as a fully functional Seeker who has gone through a second awakening. You will be able to reposition and move through time and space on your own. He paused and glanced down the table to Brother Braylus, the Overlord who had spoken on Leeth’s behalf. “Thank you for volunteering to aid Leeth in this mission.”

Leeth stood, no longer caring if it went against Time Overlord protocol. Tired as he was, he could hardly concentrate. What he thought they were suggesting was that he return to the First Crusade. Only they wanted him to escape the fighting and help some woman he’d never heard of, let alone actually seen, so she could save the Earth a thousand years in her future. He ran his hand through his hair and found it long and silky, different from his, Aaron’s, somewhat wiry thick curls.

Brother Braylus stood as well. “Try to remember, Brother, after you scaled the wall, you opened a gate. Do you remember the gate? You let the Crusaders in? When you return to the fighting, make your way to that gate and exit the city. From there you can go to the hospital tent, which is far enough outside the walls to be safe. King Louis is headquartered there with several of his men. They have been watching the conflict and will recognize you as the first Christian to scale the walls of Jerusalem.  Until you board a ship bound for what we now call Italy, they will give you things to do that will keep you away from the fighting and therefore alive.”

“Do I die there?”

“We have looked at some possibilities, but remember, when you left Jerusalem it was July 1099.”

“Can you tell me where and when the next mission occurs?”

Brother Braylus glanced at Father Horace who nodded.

“Your real work begins in Vézelay, France, where you’ll meet this young woman during the summer of 1137.”

 

The Tournament - Vézelay, France, 1137

The destrier thundered toward her with Bromwell’s lance leveled for her heart. If this doesn’t kill me, my father will. Finna’s stomach cramped and her vision blurred. “No-o-o,” she growled through clenched teeth. She would not lose. She blinked three times and pressed her knees tight. St. George. Keep my arm steady. Finna held tight to her wooden lance as if it were made of precious Toledo steel and braced for impact.