Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Riddle Of The Diamond Dove" (Arkana Mysteries) by N.S. Wikarski #HistFic #AmReading

Faye made her way across the main office of the underground Vault. The ceiling lights mimicked a sunlit sky and the waterfalls in the corners trickled soothingly. Everybody was working intently at their desks though a few of the denizens of the Central Catalog raised their heads and smiled at her as she passed. She paused in front of the desk of a woman whose outbox held a caged Toucan.
“Have you seen Griffin? He isn’t in his office.”
The woman pointed off toward a series of five doors on the opposite side of the room.
“I think I saw him duck into one of the continent rooms,” she added.
“Of course,” Faye nodded. Given the team’s next destination, she directed her steps toward a door at the far wall with the simple word “Africa” stenciled on it.
She peeked inside and saw a silent corridor of more doors. At the far end, light shone into the hallway, indicating that one of the doors had been left open. She travelled toward it. The door bore the inscription of “San.”
“Hello?” Faye asked tentatively as she peeped around the corner.
The narrow room was lined on two sides with floor to ceiling filing cabinets. Even though there was a reading table and a pair of chairs at the far end, Griffin was seated in the middle of the floor surrounded by file folders, journals and loose paper.
“Are you building a fort?” Faye teased as she came to stand in front of the Chief Scrivener.
Griffin stopped muttering to himself long enough to look up and regard her with a blank stare. Apparently, his brain was too crammed with data to make room for the new fact that he had a visitor.
He blinked several times. “Oh, Faye, do forgive me.” He leaped to his feet and guided the old woman around the debris on the floor over to one of the chairs at the back of the room.
“How are you, my dear?” she asked, somewhat concerned by his distracted demeanor.
“Quite well, thank you.” He attempted to shake off his preoccupation and focus on his guest. “What brings you here?”
“A much-needed break,” she replied. “Zachary is helping Hannah with her lessons this morning so I thought I might pop in to see how the plan for your next expedition is coming along.”
Griffin perched on the edge of the table and gestured toward the mound of uncooperative papers lying on the floor. “I’m in the final stages of packing and thought I’d try to bring along some relevant material from the Catalog. We’ll be leaving in two days for Botswana.”
“Botswana. That’s a bit off course, isn’t it?”
“Yes, the latitude I calculated using the lapis dove would put us in equatorial Africa but I thought we might take a short side trip as long as we’re already on the continent. I wanted to have Cassie validate something for us.”
Faye smiled knowingly. “Ah, I see. We’re in the San file room and your destination is Botswana. Obviously, it’s the Python Stone you’re after.”
“Always three steps ahead of the rest of us, aren’t you?” Griffin observed. “There’s been a great deal of speculation in the archaeological journals lately as to the Python Stone’s purpose. I thought we might have a go at it ourselves.”
The old woman nodded. “I agree. It would be wonderful to have some first-hand documentation about it in our files. Have you told Cassie yet?”
The Scrivener shook his head. “I didn’t want to give her too much information because it might influence her telemetric reading.”
“I suppose that’s wise. Best to let her tell you what she senses, rather than have you tell her what she ought to sense.”
“There’s no urgency for us to begin the quest for the next relic immediately, is there?” Griffin’s voice sounded worried.
“No, not at all. Maddie’s latest intelligence has the Nephilim safely tucked into the compound. No travel arrangements have been made so I think you have a little lead time.”
“That’s good,” Griffin sighed and then lapsed into silence. He appeared lost in thought again, staring at the floor until Faye interrupted his reverie.
“Is something troubling you, dear?”
The Scrivener caught himself. “No, nothing,” he said a trifle too quickly.
“Nothing at all?” Faye urged with a hint of skepticism.
Griffin appeared to be debating whether to tell her or not. He sighed again and quitted his perch on the side of the table. Drawing up the other chair to face the old woman, he said, “It’s nothing that will affect our mission, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Faye chuckled. “I’m not worried at all but you seem to be. Please do tell me what it is, dear.”
Griffin clasped and unclasped his hands. “I think something is about to happen between Cassie and Erik.”
“How do you mean?” Faye was taken aback.
“I have a feeling that they’re attracted to one another and it won’t be long before they act on that impulse.”
The old woman raised her eyebrows. “From my own observation, they seem to be chaffing one another about as much as they’ve always done.”
“But lately there’s been an underlying spark to their banter that’s almost palpable,” the Scrivener said gloomily.
“And you disapprove of romance in the workplace?”
“Hardly,” Griffin retorted. “Given the type of work we do, it’s unlikely any of us would meet a suitable mate anywhere else. It’s just that…” he trailed off.
The Memory Guardian waited patiently for him to collect his thoughts.
“This is very awkward. I shouldn’t even be thinking such things,” Griffin demurred.
Fare reached out to pat his arm reassuringly. “I won’t breathe a word of what you say.”
The Scrivener sat up straight. “Right then. I worry about the two of them together as a couple. Erik takes a very casual view of romance. I think Cassie could do better. There I’ve said it!” Griffin looked as if he wanted to snatch the words back again instantly. He blushed to the roots of his hair.
Now it was Faye’s turn to sit forward anxiously. “Is there some bad blood between you and Erik?”
“Good heavens, no! I didn’t mean to imply that at all. Erik is brilliant. In the field, there’s no one better.” He hesitated for several seconds before continuing. “It’s just that I’m afraid it won’t end well if the two of them become involved. It would be a volatile combination.”
“Isn’t that the general idea in a romance?” Faye observed.
Griffin shook his head gloomily. “I’m reminded of Friar Lawrence’s speech in Romeo and Juliet. ‘These violent delights have violent ends, and in their triumph die, like fire and powder.’”
“And you’re afraid of what exactly?”
“If one of them were ready to end it before the other, I’m afraid Cassie would be hurt.”
“But you aren’t concerned about Erik being hurt.”
The Scrivener laughed sardonically. “He won’t be on the receiving end, you can be sure.” Then he repeated, “She could do better.”
Faye sighed. “It is so difficult to stand by and watch those we care about walking into trouble.” She gave him a keen look. “They wouldn’t thank you for interfering.”
“I know that.” Griffin stared down at his clasped hands. “It has to run its course, whatever that may be.”
Faye was silent a moment, weighing her words carefully. “Cassie is fortunate to have such a disinterested friend.”
Griffin’s eyes flew open wide. He searched the old woman’s face intently, alarmed at her veiled inference. “She would never think of me that way. Never!”
The Memory Guardian smiled thinly. “The pity of it is that you would like her to, wouldn’t you?”
Griffin blushed even more furiously than before. “It’s ludicrous to imagine she ever would! You’ve seen Erik—handsome fellow. Blond hair, green eyes, muscular physique. The only sort of woman trouble he’s even known is how to keep them at bay.”
Faye paused to study the young man seated across from her: his full head of chestnut hair, expressive hazel eyes, chiseled features, and tall slender build. “My dear, it’s obvious that you don’t own a mirror,” she said, stifling a chuckle. “Let me be the first to inform you that you’re far from a homely creature yourself.”
“That may be.” He brushed aside the compliment. “But I am bookish. Women never go for bookish chaps. It’s the swashbuckling hero they all want. On a field mission, my physical accomplishments are limited to tripping over my own feet or getting shot at highly inconvenient moments.”
Faye rested her chin on her hand, considering his words. “From what I’ve heard,” she reflected softly, “Cassie has proven quite adept at taking care of herself in the field. I don’t believe she needs to be rescued by a swashbuckling hero.” She paused. “Have you considered that she and Erik might be a bit too much alike?”
Griffin refused to be comforted by the observation. “I’m being ridiculous. Please forget everything I just said. I hardly know what I want or whom.” He continued to stare at the floor, refusing to make eye contact. “She could do better than me as well,” he added bitterly.

Faye rose to go. She rested her hand gently on his shoulder as she passed him. “I’ll leave you to the rest of your packing. You need some time to sort out what to take with you and what to leave behind.”

THE ARKANA SERIES: Where Alternative History Meets Archaeology Adventure
Volume Four – Riddle Of The Diamond Dove
From Kindle Nation fave N. S. Wikarski comes the long-awaited fourth book in her fascinating seven-part Arkana archaeology thriller series — with more of the wonderful characters, sly humor, intrigue and mayhem that come together to create the absorbing world of her intricate, fast-paced mysteries.” (Kindle Nation Daily)
Global Treasure Hunt
Where do you hide an ancient relic that has the power to change the course of history? As Cassie Forsythe and her Arkana team discover, you scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five artifacts buried among the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of a mythical object known as the Sage Stone. Thus far psychic Cassie, bodyguard Erik, and librarian Griffin have succeeded in recovering two of those artifacts.
Opposing Forces
Cassie and Company find their lives threatened at every turn by agents of a religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. The cult’s leader, Abraham Metcalf, wants to exploit the power of the Sage Stone to unleash a catastrophic plague on the world. The quest for the next piece of the puzzle has led both sides to Africa. They must comb an entire continent–their only lead a riddle carved onto a mysterious dove sculpture. Even as the Arkana team struggles to decipher the clue, new dangers hover over their colleagues at home.
Other Dangers
Metcalf’s child-bride Hannah has taken refuge at the home of the Arkana’s leader Faye while mercenary Leroy Hunt creeps ever nearer to her hiding place. His search for the girl brings him dangerously close to the secret location of the Arkana’s troves–a collection of pre-patriarchal artifacts which confirm an alternative history of the origins of civilization itself. While Hunt closes in on Hannah, Metcalf’s son Daniel dogs the footsteps of the Arkana field team in order to claim the next artifact before they do. Daniel recruits a clever ally along the way who might be more than a match for the opposing side.
Collision Course
When the forces of the Arkana and the Nephilim converge on a ruined city in a forgotten corner of the dark continent, the shocking outcome is beyond even Cassie’s powers to foresee. The quest for the Sage Stone will veer in an unexpected direction once both sides solve the Riddle Of The Diamond Dove.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Alternative History Fiction
Rating – PG
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