It's a universe where the populations of entire planets decide to amalgamate into
single beings. They become PlanetPeople from an ancient civilization, The Starwind Communion. The PlanetPerson Calakadon took offense some billions of years ago and has been pursuing and murdering the other PlanetPeople. He is taking their Puzzle Pieces, the powerful artifacts that make up The Puzzle Of the Endless Gates. My hero stumbles into a duel between Calakadon and Melolos. Calakadon breaks all the rules. He cheats and kills Melolos. Before he dies, Melolos asks my hero to promise to
stop Calakadon and recover the Puzzle Pieces. My hero is also a special kind of person. He promises.
The Gods of The Gift
This is an epic and weird sci fi novel in which a lot of bizarre concepts come together because the author himself is a bizarre concept.
Influenced by a variety of sources, such as Tibetan Buddhism, Kurosawa films and quantum physics, THE GODS OF THE GIFT is funny, moving and cinematic in a very druggy kind of way. It's not for everyone. It is destined to become a much loved cult book.
Whether that happens before or after the author's death is a matter of some interest to the author.
. Overhead, a great ragged mass of black cloud was gathering and circling in the mighty winds of the atmosphere. Shapes like great birds hung from the storm wall, and a bolt of lightning traveled from cloud mass to cloud mass. Rolling off to the west, a great cylindrical tail of cloud dropped distant misty rain squalls from its tapering base.
Nutun's fuming demeanor gave way to perfect calm the moment he entered combat. With so many opponents, Nutun's speed was that of a snake darting into a crevice. There seemed to be three or four of him; his body's outlines blurred, his sword was not a blade but a sheet of sharp death. His enemies' weapons flew into the air as he cut a swathe through counterstrokes that seemed feebly slow. Swords, daggers, maces, flying darts, clubs joined by pieces of chain, dozens of items became a storm that forced spectators to flee or dodge.
When it was over, Nutun had killed thirty five people. The onlookers emitted a satisfied groan, and fell to looting the bodies.
Garuvel hovered on the fringes of the crowd. Blue Shest was lowering in the sky. The kellovek began to raise a spiral of dust and leaves. In the sky, a great wheeling mass of ragged cloud had congealed and the wind acquired a coherence, an ominous purpose. Blades of lightning struck the tops of trees. Shortly, a krangelor writhed downward, and as it neared ground there came to meet it a dust devil tinted maroon by garaba leaves and blue sirtse needles. The debris began to whirl at stinging speeds, causing people to cover their faces with their hats.
The krangelor undulated this way and that. The spectators near the road squatted or held onto one another. Some laid themselves flat and clutched at fibrous weeds whose roots dug deep into the rocky soil. The whirlwind seemed to make up its mind and turned towards Nutun. His thick locks of hair, his talismans, his straps and weapon fasteners rose straight up in the suction, but his body held to the ground and he smiled with a demonic leer. He had a look of alien madness. The krangelor, now grown to ten feet or more at its base, engulfed him and headed straight down the road, toward the city, with Nutun running gleefully at its core.
Garuvel hid himself behind a high shrub and gathered his multi-skins, to make a quick armor set around his arms, torso and head. Debris was flying in an accelerating circle, sticks were burying themselves in trees, all kinds of detritus threw itself with seemingly wilful force at anything that moved. He detached himself and used all of his speed to keep up with Nutun. He was following a krangelor with a man at its center. He had experienced stranger things; but this was strange enough.
After running full out for five miles, his breathing began to reach a limit, he was puffing hard, almost spent. He was about to utilize an old discipline he had learned, to give himself a second wind. It wasn’t necessary. He arrived at Ifyonar's main gate a moment before the whirlwind roped back into the sky, depositing a grimy Nutun just a few paces from where he stood.
The battered, wild looking assassin acknowledged him without surprise. "Somehow I knew you would be here. You don’t let go of things easily, do you?" He had many cuts but the bleeding had stopped and the cuts were healing over.
Garuvel understood that he and Nutun carried certain common skills. These abilities may have different names, but they had the same result: self healing, an ability to command the body’s resources, to withstand pain.
"You are very powerful and very strange,” he said. “I am always seeking out the powerful and the strange. Often they're the same thing. I want you to know that I’m not bloody-minded, that I’m not attracted to violence. I’m not. My instinct tells me that however briefly we might know one another, I should be pleased to call you my friend."
For the first time, Garuvel saw a smile on Nutun's face. The expression changed his countenance so dramatically that Garuvel's heart was gripped. Nutun smiled with his whole body, with his whole being. In that smile, his face had become radiant with understanding and acceptance.
"Yes, I feel the same way. I don't know who you are today; but I recognize you from other times and other worlds. Sometimes it isn’t clear why people meet. I have an intuition that our meeting will become clear before very long."
They regarded one another, and the wind blew between them, picked at their hair and clothing. With a faint nod, they turned and passed through the gate.
The city was silent, but for the wind's moaning and the crackle and chink of chimes set in the doorways of houses. There were no straight lines in Ifyonar. Streets, alleyways, cul-de-sacs undulated without apparent order.The dwellings were dome-shaped, made of wooden triangles and packed earth. Each boasted an ornate wind-scoop that proclaimed the owner's clan, lineage and history. Wind and weather had faded once-bright colors into bland pastels of pink, blue and yellow.
Nutun stalked down the the city's main street, avoiding the sewage ditch that ran sluggishly down the center of the avenue. Keeping his distance, Garuvel held to the sides. He was wary; the silence was loud with hostility. The round dwellings piled up into enclaves that resembled wasps's nests. The entire city resembled a hive of malign creatures. At the top and center of each of these clusters rose the house of a clan elder. These were made of stone and had multiple stories, as many as four round compartments, diminishing in size as they rose in elevation. These manses were better maintained, and had freshly painted cupolas with eye-shaped windows that emitted no light. To Garuvel these empty black openings had a sinister look: they gave to each structure a four-eyed sneering R’zelfoi gargoyle face.
As Shest slid westward behind the mountains, the afternoon became a garish purple. Even the clouds looked like eyes; swirling kelloveks and klorvins mutated upon the wind's caprice, high in the upper atmosphere.
Garuvel and Nutun passed through an empty marketplace. Wooden shutters of deserted stalls clacked forlornly in the wind. Immense ravens rose and fluttered, distracted from their meals of garbage by the passing of the two men. Then they settled again, with dark delicacy, floated down with wings outspread, to light on their prizes of meat scraps and stale bread.
The street rose at a shallow angle. It narrowed and began to twist. Filthy hovels jammed against one another. The smell stifled Garuvel's nostrils. At the edges of his vision, he caught the scuttle of people dodging away from doorless entrances or out of windows covered with bits of rag.
Garuvel realized that Ifyonar was built upon a single huge mound. At its summit he could now see a grand and eccentric structure. It had domes and cupolas jutting like warts from every surface. He could hear the sound of the building’s wind-scoops. They made a low mocking laugh that rose and fell with the changing velocity of the wind.
Garuvel acknowledged what he had known all day: Nutun's quarry was the Hefto of Ifyonar.
The palace was enclosed by a high, spiked fence made from a bamboo-like substance. Nutun approached a gate of polished garaba wood, locked with chains and various elaborate mechanisms. He turned once to look back to where Garuvel stood in the afternoon's growing shadows. His eyes were fixed with satisfaction and steely will.
He turned back to regard the gate; Garuvel saw him begin to breathe in an odd pattern. Nutun's lips made popping sounds as he exhaled in short, powerful bursts, then hissed with a long, slow inhale.
The gate exploded inward. Links of chain dripped molten hot, the gate sagged on its hinges as springs flew from the locks. A bit of smoke was swiftly tattered by the wind.
Nutun leaped over the remains. He was encrusted with dirt; bits of leaf dangled from his ropy black hair. He pounced triumphantly into the courtyard of the Hefto's palace.
Garuvel decided to climb onto a low hanging balcony that seemed to have no adjoining room. It jutted, with several others, like an afterthought on the building's bulging facade. He clambered over a railing of wrought- metal serpents, and found a perfect vantage point. Behind him, adobe walls of sickly pink and yellow curved away in either direction.
The Hefto waited before an arched doorway, at the top of seven broad steps of dark volcanic brick. He was squat, with arms and legs like the shanks of a bull. His head was shaved but for a long top-knot that bifurcated at the crown of his head and spilled to each brawny shoulder. He wore a leather vest and a skirt that resembled a butcher's apron. Beneath that were hide pantaloons and knee length boots tied with leather straps.. In his left hand was a spiked weapon on a wooden haft. It had four blades mounted at right angles to one another. Each blade had a different shape. One was a perfect crescent; the others were notched in various ways, designed to trap an opponents’ sword or spear. In his right hand, the Hefto brandished a weapon made of metal segments connected by metal rings. It had a handle the size of a man’s forearm. The next segment connected by a ring to the handle, followed by eight more segments, each connected to the next by a ring. The final segment was a tapering spike. The entire device gleamed in high polish. As he stood, coolly regarding the man who had demolished his gate, the Hefto swung this weapon easily, controlling the path of the device, changing its trajectory with his knee or his shoulder. It had somewhat the effect of a child expertly handling a jump rope. This rope, however, was made of steel weighing twenty pounds and could slice, crush, stab and impale.