Authors: Robin D. Owens
Praise for the
characterization combined with deadly danger make this story vibrate with
emotional resonance. Stay tuned as events accelerate toward the final battle.”
Keepers of the Flame
(Book Four of
of Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey will appreciate the novel’s honorable
protagonists and their lively animal companions.”
Protector of the Flight
(Book Three of
multi-faceted, fast-paced gem of a book.”
Guardian of Honor
(Book One of The
story line is action-packed but also contains terrific characters…Robin D.
Owens enchants her readers.”
Guardian of Honor
takes…elements that make Marion Zimmer Bradley’s
popular…and turns out a romance that draws you in.”
excels at evocative, sensual writing.”
Other books in
of the Flight
of the Flame
ECHOES IN THE
ROBIN D. OWENS
To the Song that
moves within us all.
“Poets are the hierophants of an
unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity
casts upon the present.”
Hill Theater, Denver, Colorado
ikata was taking
her last bow on stage and soaking in applause when her great-grandmother died.
The odd thing was that Jikata actually felt Ishi Yamuri pass away in one of
those increasing moments of hyperawareness. As if the old woman touched Jikata
with her stubborn disapproval even as others yelled and clapped.
bond with her great-grandmother vanished. Ishi hadn’t waited to see Jikata
tomorrow, the date Ishi herself had insisted upon.
had added her old hometown of Denver to her touring schedule because she’d
sensed her great-grandmother’s time was near, though she hadn’t heard from the
woman in years.
the applause, the only thing that had satisfied Jikata for a long time, rang
hollow and empty. Like the rest of her life.
lowered her head, closed her eyes against the lights made brighter by tears.
Then she stepped back on the polished wooden stage and let the heavy maroon
velvet curtains descend.
crowd whistled and clapped louder, but she had no more to give. This final
event—the reopening of a newly renovated small Victorian theater—was the last
in her tour. Fitting.
career was skyrocketing. She neared the pinnacle of success for a pop singer, a
female half-Japanese no less, and found herself alone and panting after the
life was tanking. Fans adored her. No one loved her. No man, no good friend female
or male, no child. As her great-grandmother would have said, her soul was
withering from lack of nourishment.
came from stage right and the philanthropist behind the renovation strode
forward, beaming, accompanied by his wife. Jikata pasted a smile on her face,
hoping that it might turn into the real thing since she usually enjoyed the
company of Trenton Philbert III. He stopped clapping and held out a hand and
she put hers in it. “Great job. Definitely the next star. I’m looking forward
to that last zoom to the top.” He squeezed her hand and let it go.
praise warmed her a little. “Thank you.”
did the inaugural event of the Ghost Hill Theater proud. Thanks again for
agreeing to perform. We sold out.” He glanced around, the backstage was still
shiny with cleanliness and held the faint scent of wood stain. “This place
should be good for another hundred years.”
a lovely theater,” Jikata said. Now. She could remember when it had been a
radiated satisfaction. Turning to his wife behind him, he said, “We have a gift
for you. Darling?”
Philbert stepped forward with a large fancy birdcage fashioned like the Taj
Mahal. Jikata gritted her teeth…no, please, not a bird. Her great-grandmother
had kept finches when Jikata had been younger. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but I—”
the bird opened its beak and pure liquid notes warbled out, like nothing Jikata
had ever heard. As if it were more than song, a communication. The bird didn’t
look like any she’d seen before, either. All scarlet red, but with a fancy
cockatoo comb of red, yellow and white. About the size of a cockatoo, also. It
fixed a yellow eye on her and let loose another stream of notes. This time
sounding a lot like the underlying melody of the last ballad she’d sung. Jikata
name is Chasonette,” Juliet said. “She’s a Lladranan cockatoo and has the most
beautiful birdsong in the world. She’s quite rare, but I knew such a lady would
be perfect for you. And Trent indulged me.” She thrust the cage at Jikata, so she
took it. It was lighter than she’d thought.
tucked her hand into Trenton’s elbow and he covered her fingers with his own,
shaking his head as he looked down at his wife. “I always indulge you. The bane
of my existence.” He kissed her temple. “People say I’m going soft.”
footsteps came from backstage and Juliet’s assistant, Linda, who appeared
distressed, hurried to them. Jikata remembered, and the small moment of
sorry.” Linda stopped, inhaled a breath that raised her thin chest. Looked at
the Philberts, hesitated and said, “I’m sorry. I have bad news. We
should…ah…let’s go to your dressing room.” Linda pulled Jikata backstage, past
the greenroom and into the star’s dressing room. The Philberts followed.
small room was elegant in cream and white, but four people made it crowded.
Jikata placed the birdcage on the dressing room table. Chasonette stepped
nervously back and forth on her perch, then apparently caught sight of herself
in the mirror and preened.
led Jikata to the cream brocade Victorian fainting couch that took up most of
one end wall. She figured she had to sit. The moment she did, Linda released
her hand—a blessing since both their palms were sweaty.
grabbed a box of tissues from the dressing table and dropped it in her lap. “I
got a call. Your great-grandmother has died, Jikata.”
was supposed to visit her tomorrow,” Jikata said, still shocked.
repeated Linda. She was a young intern with the University of Southern
California who’d traveled with Jikata during the two-month tour. Though they’d
managed well enough, neither of them expected the job to transform into
was an old woman and had a good life.” Isn’t that what Jikata was supposed to
say? “I want to be alone,” she choked out.
course. We’ll take care of your crew and fans.” Juliet, patting Jikata on the
shoulder, trilled her tongue. Chasonette perked up and warbled a low, soothing
melody. “I’m sure you don’t want to attend the opening gala.”
I don’t.” It had completely gone from her mind.