of Quentaris - Paul Collins
||One of my favourite movies was about a
slave called Spartacus. Although a romantic version of what
could have really happened - there might have been a Spartacus,
but did he lead such a successful revolt against the Romans?
- Spartacus showed that even someone of low standing, a slave
in this case, can fight to become someone.
In Slaves of Quentaris I have Yukin running from the slavemasters.
He and his mate, Yulen, are caught. But at what cost?
and his mate, Yulen, flee their campsite when Akcarum slave-traders
attack. Unable to escape the Akcarum hunter birds, they are
caught and transported to Quentaris. On their journey through
the rift caves Yukin discovers a power that taps into the senses
of insects and animals. But can it save them in time?
ran faster than he had ever run before. He had chosen his escape
route carefully. Here the ground sloped towards the white waters
of the Kredish River Gorge. If he could outrun the hunting birds
and make it to the river, he would be free.
He had lost track of his mate, Yulen. She had insisted they
part company, to make it difficult for the hunter birds to capture
them both. As the gorge appeared, Yukin wished he hadn’t
bowed to Yulen’s suggestion. If he had been firmer, perhaps
they would both have escaped the slavers.
Yulen’s features flashed before him: tall and lithe, a
thatch of straw-blonde braided hair pulled to the back of her
head and fastened by fishbone clips; small snub nose with flaring
nostrils and a mischievous smile. She was the Chieftain’s
daughter, chosen to be the clan’s Wise One.
Yukin’s heart lurched. There was still time. He should
find her, he thought foolishly. He should never have…
Those few moments of indecision were to cost him dearly.
Losing concentration, Yukin almost fell as the land dipped beneath
the grasses of the plains. Somehow he kept his footing, aware
that the hunter birds even now were cruising the air currents
in search of him. Despite his anguish, he knew he had no choice
other than to flee.
He daren’t look for them. Even if he did, there was nowhere
to hide on the plains. Only the gorge up ahead offered any salvation.
Once he was in the water the birds would have trouble plucking
him out. Besides, the slavers would not waste the time or effort
to recover him. The drop to the rugged gorge below would injure
anyone. And crippled clanspeople were of no use to slavers.
The squawk from overhead was enough to rob Yukin of vital energy.
The gorge was rushing up at him as though it were magically
meeting him halfway. Closer it came … closer … so
close that he could now hear the meltwater cascading down the
He raced faster over the tough range grass. Again he almost
lost his footing, but a fall at that moment would have saved
him. He righted himself, ready to dive forward and risk smashing
himself against the jagged rock face, but the leather-sheathed
talons of a hunter bird clamped down on his shoulders and he
was lifted into the air.
For a moment the bird of prey swung out over the gorge. It dipped
and lost height. Yukin’s freedom yawned below him. If
only he had had a weapon to strike at the bird’s legs.
He flailed, scratched, kicked, bit, but to no avail. His struggling
only increased the bird’s vicelike grip on him.
The bird spread its wings and soared triumphantly back across
the gorge. The grassy plains blurred beneath them. Yukin felt
defeat. He hung slack in the clutches of the monstrous bird.’