The Return of the Maca by Mari Collier

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The Kenning Woman on the planet Thalia predicts that the Maca of Don will return with his son, the Blind Eyed Laird. They will destroy the Justine and Krepyon conquers and the imposed rule of the House of Sisters. Don and Thalia will be restored. She is destroyed by the Sisters. Predictions take their own course in this action packed retelling of the battle for Thalia.

The Maca and his Earth born son destroy the Justines and Krepyons. They have a new Treaty restoring Thalia’s previous rule. The Sisterhood stops the Kenning Woman and then tries to destroy all male Macas and isolate the House of Don. The Maca dissolves the Council of the Realm and proceeds to rebuild Don. Don’s main station is attacked. The son is trapped in the wilds of Don and the Maca in the Tower. Both will fight on for the chance of finding a new life and new loves.


Normally I introduce the author, but Mari is such a lovely lady, I would like to give her the chance to introduce herself. Take it away, Mari. 🙂    

I was born in Lincoln Township, Audubon, Iowa.

I started writing for the Audubon Advocate (Audubon, Iowa) when I was 13. The pay wasn’t much for the work involved, but I loved it. My writing continued off and on for years.  When I went to work writing took a back burner until we moved from Arizona to Western Washington. Do you know that it can rain 133 1/3 inches in one year? Not only can it do that, it does.

When I returned to work in Washington, I found the greatest employer imaginable. Nintendo of America paid me to talk, read, write, and play games. It was intense at times, but truly enjoyable.

My husband and I returned to the desert in 2001 and I found myself at loose ends. Now I’m writing and involved with the greatest little museum in the world. Take a look at How many museums would have a Weed Show? To top that, they have an Old Schoolhouse Journal for which I write two columns.

To ease the solitude of writing, I joined the Desert Writers Guild of Twentynine Palms. Our membership fluctuates between eight and twelve, but each year we publish an annual of over 100 pages.

If this got you curious about Mari, you can find her at her website, on Facebook, or connect with her on Twitter.


Below is a part of Return of the Maca for you to enjoy. Please read it and when you have let us know what your thoughts are.    

The Handmaiden

Is held the squirming Da and started toward the Ab compound, his thoughts bitter at the turn of events. He had walked less than a mile when he met the Handmaiden hurrying toward the backstreets and hailed her.
The Handmaiden turned her dumpy figure, fully encased in a brown robe, and let out a gasp at the sight of them.
“Did they get her already?”
“Nay.” He stepped closer to her so his words would nay carry. “She has gone with Lamar, Lad of Don, to another place. I am to give Da to ye.” Is tried to hand Da to her, but she refused to take him.
“Where did they go?”
“I dinna. Lamar said that a friend was waiting and that betwixt them they would send her elsewhere.”
“Folly!” came out of the Handmaiden’s heavy face. She was barely one hundred years of age, but she resembled the Ayran Abs rather than the Ayran Warriors with her dumpy body and face set with small black eyes. Her thin black hair was covered by a brown scarf. “Which way did they go?”
“Towards the port. Lamar was certain they would nay look for her there.”
The Handmaiden lifted her long robe in both hands and ran toward the port.
Is shrugged and followed as Da bellowed in his ear, “I want Mither.”
They were almost to the main section where the rounded shops were two or three stories high when they heard the breaking glass. Is stopped to look up and his heart hammered in his chest. Di hurdled out of the second floor of the building in front of them and dropped to the cement, landing on her left side. A wild keening noise erupted from the Handmaiden’s throat and she rushed to the fallen woman. Two of the Sisterhood looked down from the broken window and then disappeared.
Is hurried to where the Handmaiden stood disrobing herself.
“Help me move her onto this,” she hissed at him. Then clad in her thong and strap and still keening, she knelt beside Di.
“Ye have killed my beloved! Ye are wicked, wicked! Oh, my magnificent Di, my love,” and her wails grew louder. A crowd of Abs and Tris began to encircle them, hoping to catch more of the drama. Di’s left arm was bloody and immobile. Blood was coming from her left side, her left leg horribly bent, and blood flowed from her nose and mouth.
The Handmaiden looked up at him. “Quickly, I must wrap her. The world should nay see her like this.” There was desperation in her voice, and Is knelt, not sure what the Handmaiden was planning.
He stood Da beside them and asked. “Won’t we hurt her more?”
“Ye canna hurt the dead, and even had she lived, there tis nay medical for Abs.” The Handmaiden glared at him and put her hands under Di’s shoulders. Is put his hands under her hips, feeling the familiar rounding wrenched at his stomach and he closed his eyes.
“Lift,” commanded the Handmaiden.
Together they moved Di’s body onto her robe, and the Handmaiden used her belt to tie the gown around the inert body. Is wanted to believe he’d heard a moan when they moved her, but he could nay see if her eyes were closed or open.
The Handmaiden bent lower and ran her hand over both eyes. “There, I have closed her lids,” she announced to the world as two of the black clad Sisters burst through, moving the crowd back.
The sight of the Handmaiden stopped them, and they glanced at the predominantly Ab crowd. They kenned that any move against the Handmaiden would ensure a riot.
“All we need to do is make sure she does nay speak again,” said the one with the rank of Sergeant.
The Handmaiden looked up at them. “I have already closed her eyes, and the blood has stopped flowing.”
Is looked down at Di. How had the Handmaiden worked that miracle? He listened to her words.
“Since she tis Ab, she tis my responsibility. This Ab,” and she waved her hand at Is, “will help me move her to the compound. The burning will be in the morn. Please, request that the Byre Berm be open. Ye may bring word to Martin this eve about the time of the burning tomorrow.”
She turned back to Is. “Put the laddie on your shoulders, and we will carry her home.”
Is picked up the wailing child and whispered to him, and then set him on his shoulders. Wee Da continued to cry, but hung on to his hair. Is nodded at the Hand Maiden, and together they lifted Di and began the long walk to the Ab compound. Inside he was shaking. It would not have surprised him if the Sisters had arrested him and sent him to the mines of Ayran. In his mind, he blessed the Handmaiden for his salvation from that indignity.
The sun still beat its rays against the world when they staggered in, their burden sagging badly. The few Abs that were there stared at them and then broke into fierce whispers.
“She’s dead.”
“The Kenning Woman has been punished.”
“Gar took her.”
“Nay, it was the Sisterhood.”
“The Sisterhood hated her.”
The Handmaiden led the way through the chattering Abs to the Healing Quarter, and one of the male Abs pulled open the door for them, stood back respectfully, and closed the door after they entered the hall.
“We’ll take her to the back room. There tis already one dead woman there.” She stalked through the first room with its crude stools and tables and brushed aside the curtain. They laid Di on one of the tables that lined the room, and Is removed Da from his shoulders, his chest heaving from the walk. The Handmaiden’s dumpy figure belied her strength as she was breathing normally.
In the middle of the room was another table already occupied by an older, dead Ab woman. She was skinny, wrinkled, and her open mouth gave the observer a view of missing and broken teeth while her unclosed eyes looked up at the dingy ceiling.
“Help me move this table over to the middle of the room,” commanded the Handmaiden. Both of them ignored the squalls from Da. Once the table was beside the other one, the Handmaiden picked up Da, and whispered to him.
“Your mither can nay hear ye. Ye must remember how much she loved ye. Now kiss her one last time.”
She held Da down to Di’s face, and he tried pulling her hair to wake her while screaming, “Mither.”
The Handmaiden pulled him away and gave him back to Is. “Take him to my laddie, and tell Pi to put Da with Ka. They are close enough to the same age and may console each other. Then have Pi bring me another robe. I’ll nay be able to wear that one again.” She motioned to the table where Di lay wrapped in her gown.
Is nodded and was about to leave when the curtain was swept open by Martin’s staff of authority, and the brown-robed Martin entered the room. His grey hair was mostly gone, but what was left fell in wispy lengths to his shoulders. He cultivated a beard, but his attempt was thwarted by the nature of Thalians. The beard, like his hair, was sparse and grey. It fell in strands from his cheeks and chin giving him a grimed, striped appearance.
The Handmaiden pointed at the opening. “Ye may nay enter here. I have work to do and am nay clothed.”
“The Sisterhood wishes assurance that the false Kenning Woman has died ere they deliver tomorrow’s food allotment. I must verify this.”
“Ye just did. Use your nose as tis the stink of death that dwells here. Ye may tell them their treachery has killed the magnificent Di. Now go away as tending the dead tis my province.” Tears were rolling down both sides of her face, but her voice did not waver.
Martin twitched his long beak of a nose, glanced at the table and saw no movement. He noted the yellow pallor of the face that comes from losing too much blood and saw the pooled, thick blood and the death stains spread on the robe. He shrugged, nodded at her, and walked out.
The Handmaiden’s shoulders slumped, but she had two more orders for Is. “Once ye have given Da to Pi, ye are to find Ki. She tis supposed to be here helping with her mither or her brither. Ye must also find the Ab sea captain, Bi, who sails from Don this eve. Ke’s casket goes with his sailing, and I must have her ready. They will nay need Di’s body until tomorrow. Bi was here, but has probably gone with Ki to some swill room. Now go.”
She turned away from him and picked up a bucket of water and some strips of cloth. The bucket she placed on the floor next to one of the tables and the cloths on the table. She then began to clean the dead.
Is held the crying Da and stepped out of that dimly lit room; relief then sorrow swept over his face. The eating hour was approaching and more Abs were in the compound, but they had lost interest now that death was accomplished. He carried Da through the empty rooms to where the younger laddies had their sleeping quarters, and found the thirteen-year-old Pi holding ten-year old Ka in his arms. Pi was fairly tall for someone of Ayran descent. His upper was body slender, but he had the wide hips and heavy thighs of Ayran. Is handed Da to him.
“Ye are to put him with Ka so that they may console each other over the loss of their mithers. Once ye have them calmed down, ye are to take your mither a clean robe as she has nay on but her strap and thong.”
Sadness shadowed Pi’s dark eyes as he reached for the wailing Da and put him next to Ka. Ka was red-eyed, but had stopped crying some time ago. He put his arms around Da, and they clung to each other. After a few minutes, Pi decided it was safe to leave and entered the small, neat room he shared with his mother. He took the spare robe from the hook and hurried to the Healing Quarters. Since Abs were never given medical treatment, Pi thought of it as the Death Quarter. He took a deep breath and entered.
“Make sure that curtain tis locked in place.”
His mother’s voice brooked no questions, and he used the tags at the bottom and top to keep it from blowing or being pulled aside. He turned to greet his mother and saw the position of the box for Ke and the tears streaking down his mother’s face. His eyes widened and his mouth opened in a big O.