BIND: BOOK NINE

A bind is a hold on the opponent’s position which stops him freeing it. Usually by means of pawns; a severe type of restraint.

Wisdom.  It’s one thing to find yourself in a mess.  It’s another to get yourself out of it without making the situation worse.  This is the theme of Bind, ninth in the Metatron’s Army series.  This chapter focuses on Cirhce as a leader as she tries to find her way forward after multiple tragedies.

The war has come.

She has the education and experience to lead and there is much to do.  Unfortunately, circumstances have left her without players critical to the effort.

Her army has scattered.

There is no shortage of opinions about how she should proceed.

“Why don’t you call them back?” he asked quietly.

“My way is not your way, Niko.”

That was an understatement the warrior prince thought.  If his team had run off in such a cowardly manner, he would have hired mercenaries to hunt them down and kill them for their cowardice.  

Patience.  Second to wisdom it is one of the traits that serve her well as she plots a way forward.

“I do not trust him.”

“Neither do I.  Just be patient.  It’s my experience that fools love to talk so they can hear themselves speak – which he does.  Such fools give away more than they intend.  Trust me.”

Humility.  Another important leadership trait.

“I’m a commoner,” she said before turning and searching for a way through the crowd.

“You are anything but common, Princess.”

“The day I believe that,” she shot back, “is the day I no longer deserve the title of Commander.”

Maturity.  She has come to understand her actions have repercussions.

“The longer I stayed away, the more I hurt Dastin and anyone and everyone else who needs to see me getting past this.”

Compassion.  She balances compassion with pragmatism when gathering the troops. 

His mouth thinned.

“You were angry because I wasn’t who you thought I was.  You were angry because I couldn’t be manipulated or flattered into doing what you wanted.  You were irritated because you couldn’t push me where you wanted me to go.”

His nostrils flared.

“You still can’t.  I am your commander and I am not releasing you from the commitment you made to me when you became a member of my team.  

As with all the books I give stage time to key supporting characters; characters who are powerful beings in their own right.

“He threatened to explode my cells from the inside.”

“Can he do that?!”

“Yes.  He is one of a handful of Azlaans who inherited a little-known power.”

Holy shit!  She was starting to think she’d better learn a bit more about these powers.

There is plenty of action.

“What is the status?”

“We can’t launch the web until the jets -.”

“Not acceptable.”

“Well, unless you have an idea that is acceptable, we’re stuck fighting hand to hand combat in space.”

And plenty of passion as pressure builds.

“Isn’t it bad enough?” he shouted, giving her another shake for emphasis.  “Do you know what that did to me?  Damn you, Christine!”

I showcase interaction between various players.

Verix and Christine:

He’d been angry with her for putting her life at risk, had taken that anger out, alongside the fear, via a kiss that was far from romantic, even if it was passionate.  She supposed it was better than Roddy’s response, shaking her until her teeth clacked. 

Chestin and Ryn:

“Didn’t want to risk my wrath,” Chestin groused, walking up.  He put a hand to her shoulder.  “I came to make sure he did what he promised. Stick out your paw and say ahh, Ryn.”

“I’ll be seeing you in the sparring room if you continue down this path.”

“Name the time,” he retorted.

Verix, Samira and Chestin:

“Why couldn’t this wait?” Samira complained.

“Maybe he wants to test some new weapon,” Chestin mumbled.

I had a lot of fun with the complex relationship between Verix and Christine:

Satisfied?” she snapped from where she sat in bed, arms folded across her chest.  “Now go.”

He leaned against the doorjamb.

She made a sound of disgust.  “What -?”

“Christine, the minute I leave you’ll get up and start looking at messages.”

“Maybe it would help me wind down,” she offered, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“I thought that’s what sitting on the roof was to have done?”

She hissed.  The guy was impossible!

As with previous books i continue to use humor to break up tension.

With a glance toward the bedroom, Christine slowly slid open the sliding glass door, stepped onto the tiny patio, unsurprised when there was a flash of light and Dacan was suddenly beside her.  “You do realize if anyone saw that, you’ve traumatized them for life?”

I introduce new perspective through an outside character.

Over the previous three and a half weeks, he’d been given a fairly in-depth explanation of who was who in the pecking order.  What no one had been able to explain, however, was where, exactly, Christine fit in the whole thing.  Princess, Commander, non-Light Being with Light Being abilities, none of it explained why she was tasked with defeating the Iconoclast.

Wisdom.  She knows when to explain herself.

“I asked men to risk their lives.  I asked Niko to kill a man.  I better have a damned good reason for doing so.”

Patience.

“Did it occur to you that you cannot simply take beings who have spent millennia following someone else’s authority and give them their own?”

“Of course.  That’s why I took your authority away from you long before now.”

Compassion.

“You aren’t seriously going to tell us in a report,” Ryn growled.  “Are you?”

“Look, I can’t say anything until I’ve done a damned debrief, okay?”

And more compassion.

“Jaliss had to do everything,” he growled.  His hands fisted in the sheets.  “All I could do was lay there!”

“Well, that isn’t all you did.  Part of you participated.”

Wisdom.

“I heard him shouting from here.”

“Oh.  Well, listen, I think you need to -.”

“You’re awfully good at giving suggestions, aren’t you?”

“And issuing orders,” she replied.  “Comes with the uniform.”

As with the other books in the series readers gain insight into Cirhce’s journey of transformation.

Was that who she was?  An Earthling who wasn’t?  Maybe clothes made the man after all, and that man was interchangeable parts defined by those clothes.

Uniform on – Commander on.  Uniform off – Commander off. 

“Earth clothes on,” she murmured, “Earthling on.  Earth clothes off -.”  She shut her mouth because someone knocked on the door.  Given what she was wearing, she wasn’t sure she wanted to answer it.  

Bind is one of my favorites, perhaps because it’s been with me the longest.

As I write in Lessons From the Edge: An Author’s Guide To Metatron’s Army, this sci-fi saga decades in the making started well into the story.  In point of fact, it started more or less with Bind.

This is where it all starts to come together.

But it’s far from finished.

Excerpt.

Jaliss crossed her arms and glared.  “And just what is it you expect me to do, Princess?”

Christine glanced at Alexander, back at the assassin.  “I know what I’d do if the man who loved me was naked in bed, sound asleep.”

“I cannot crawl in with him!”

“You will not hurt the Auspex,” Alexander assured.  “Not in his current condition.”

She watched the mercenary calculate.  “How long will this condition of his last?”

“Long enough for you to -.”

Jaliss held up a hand.  “I do not need details.  Long enough was sufficient.”

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