Lost Myths Saga: The Pentacular
Valaura, Marshall and Lilly fly to New Orleans to locate a piece of land for Marshall to buy, where he plans to build a house. Evan has gone to New York to turn in his latest novel, Prisoners of the Crystal Palace, the sequel to A Tankard of Ale at the Court of the Daemon King. He is planning to meet them in New Orleans, carrying his new laptop computer so he can start work on volume three, Warriors of the Mother Goddess.
Lilly has tried to dissuade Marshall from looking for land, thinking that it seems ridiculous to build a house they will probably spend little time in. But Marshall's band, STOCKHOLM, has decided to relocate to the states, and he is convinced he has to build an entry-way to the house with a Pentacle, containing the magic crystal embedded in the floor. Lilly wants to buy an existing house and have the entry-way converted, but Marshall wants Valaura to build them their house.
Lilly wonders how long this will take, since one of her infant daughters is trapped in the Land of the Sword. But after their arrival in New Orleans, she discovers something strange is happening; her pet Furble, Flip, was left behind when she came home this time, and she feared he was dead, since Furbles exist on the telepathic emanations of their chosen person. But one day Flip appears, sitting on her daughter Alexandra's head. Only suddenly the baby looks more like her twin sister, Alexandra...after doing some tests with face-painting the baby and having a bare-faced infant appear the following day, Lilly and Marshall realize their daughters have such a strong psychic bond they are exchanging places in the dimensions at will.
Once she knows both babies are all right and she will have them with her at least part of the time, Lilly loses some of her frantic edge. The house takes approximately six months to build, which does make her wonder why she agreed to the scheme (she realizes she never did, but was manipulated by her exasperating beloved again) and when the house is finished, Lilly and Marshall are married at a small lake outside the city, one of the satellite lakes of the inland sea Lake Pontchartrain. Unlike Valaura and Evan's, this is a large wedding, because Marshall has a lot of family and many friends. THIS IS WHERE THE ACTION IN THE BOOK ACTUALLY BEGINS.
Lilly and Marshall have planned a honeymoon but won't be taking it until they can retrieve their daughter from the other dimension. Lilly is convinced that their real honeymoon will be spent on the 'other side', running all over on some crazy quest or war.
At the wedding reception, they are pulled into the other dimension -- Lilly first, holding the baby her arms. This makes explaining the phenomenon rather difficult to their friends and family, but they are all again safely on the other side. They arrive at The Palace of the Pentacle, home to the CatMen and ruled by King Mephistopheles and Queen Elaine (?) and their son, Herschel and his Amazzone bride, Chloe. In order to be reunited with their other daughter, they must travel across the ocean to the City of the Sword, located where Cairo is in their own world.
Aided by The Light Bearer Express, the travellers arrive in the City of the Sword, and Marshall and Lilly are reunited with their daughter. They discover that the renegade men from Merka, the enchanted city, have joined a band of slave-traders. Light Bearers are mysteriously disappearing, and when Valaura is pressed into service scrying through Augustina's dark pool, she is able to locate the slave band and establish that they have, indeed, captured the Light Bearers. This is apparently done through the aid of a magic bronze mirror, that sucks out the Light Bearer power and renders them powerless.
When Valaura discovers that among the prisoners is Queen Satana, Lucifer's bondmate, believed drowned fifty years before, the King of the Land of the Chalice goes berserk. Through an elaborate use of the combined powers of the Light Bearers and his royal brothers, who each have their own magical talent, Lucifer is able to rescue his queen and destroy the bronze mirror.
The remainder of the prisoners are still to be rescued, however. Evan has been transcribing and cataloguing The Pentacular, the huge book that contains all the knowledge of the Daemona, and he stumbles across the way back and forth through the dimensions at will; it involves the use of the mural painted in The Castle of the Wand. The rescue must be postponed for awhile when Prince Abaddon slips through the mural on his own and lands in the middle of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. He is rescued by a benevolent female impersonator; they both wind up at Marshall's house where the inlaid Pentacle represents the way back. Regis and Valaura's mother Valerie accompany Abaddon back home and become guests at the Palace of the Sword.
They discover that the bronze mirror and the shackles used to restrain the prisoners were manufactured in a city called Hades, located somewhere on the southern tip of the continent where The Land of the Sword is located (Africa). Now the rescue party is ready to set out to find the slavers, but Valaura's directions land them in Merka instead. The help of Prince Vashi and his people are enlisted in finding the slavers; what a surprise to discover that the enchanted city itself has landed them right near the slave camp!
Back in the City of the Sword, plans to form a United Nations go forward. This is made more possible due to the fact that the Furble/Light Bearer Express has been such a tremendous success, and can carry messages or people anywhere in the world in a moment of time.
The first World Parliament, as they have decided to call it, is held amongst much pomp and preparation. Everyone attempts to do their part, and among the festivities are guided tours for small groups through the mural into the world on the other side. But the parliament is cut short by the arrival of two uninvited ambassadors -- from the city of Hades! They are Gabriel and Gabriella, twin brother and sister, and before they can explain that they have come for assistance, Satana kills Gabriel in a rage.
Gabriella, very ill and seemingly close to dying, explains that their city wasn't always called Hades, though she doesn't know the former name. It was invaded by people from the other side, people who were brutal and cruel, and worshipped a god they called Satan. They discovered a mineral called Styron, with magical properties, and forced the natives to mine it. But styron had evil properties, caused great pollution throughout the land and everyone in the city became ill except the Satanists, who were apparently immune to its' effects.
Shortly after her arrival in Hades, a dragon arrives and lands in the sea near the city. The dragon, Emberlight, has followed the twins from Hades, and he too is very ill. He explains that the dragons of that region had psychic bonds with the people, until the arrival of the Satanists, who drove them away or captured them, and murdered many of them. Now he has followed Gabriella because she should be his bond-mate, and there are very few dragons left alive.
One of the things that defeated the bronze mirror was earth from the other side, and now Evan and Marshall travel to Calistoga and bring back spa mud packed in huge Tupperware containers. When they smear the mud over Emberlight and Gabriella, they begin to heal.
Now an expedition is planned to Hades, to help the natives and hopefully oust the Satanists. But much more mud is needed, and Evan and Marshall return to Calistoga and arrange for an entire truckload, in exchange for which Marshall must agree to pose nude in a tub full of mud as an advertisement for the spa.
The mud itself must be transported to Hades in a magically-powered sailing ship, and will take several weeks to arrive. The advance force, accompanied by Gabriella and Emberlight, set off for Hades on flying horses, and when they arrive are hit by the foul pollution in the air surrounding the city and the neighboring countryside. Now they understand why Gabriella appeared to be dying from malnutrition -- nothing could grow in this wasteland.
They are met by Auroralight, largest and oldest of the dragons, believed to be dead but really in hiding until she could lay her eggs. Now she is worried about them -- many of the dragon young are born deformed and dead, due to the effects of the styron. She reveals the secret of why the Satanists are unaffected by the pollution -- they have built themselves a floating city above the clouds, called Skye.
The Satanists are a tough bunch, the rescuers discover, not to be intimidated by Lucifer's dramatic entrance into Skye. They don't believe anyone as beautiful as he is could possible be their dread lord, and have automatic weapons to fight off the invaders. The ground party is more successful, in that Abaddon appears to the Satanists to be The Dark Angel they remember from their mythology, and the teenager suddenly finds himself in the position of a god expected to give orders.
Valaura and Gabriella set about to heal some of the children with their limited supply of mud. The invasion looks as if it is going to be a fiasco, until Nicholas takes over and exerts the power of darkness over everything. But he is killed in the battle for Skye, the floating city, and he is prepared for his death. He has named Evan and Valaura his successors to the throne of The Land of the Wand, and nobody will let them get out of it.
Now Evan has been passed not only the power of darkness, but something mysterious called 'the voice' -- a power all the brothers share, and he doesn't particularly want. Valaura isn't too thrilled to learn she has been nominated queen while she was down healing children on the surface, and now they're not quite sure what to do about it all.
They make a quick visit to The City of the Wand to inform Nicholas' people of his death and his decision about the succession. It depresses them that his people accept them so readily as their new rulers -- the Daemona, particularly the ones of the Land of the Wand, are so accustomed to believing the outworlders are superheroes, that it comes as no surprise to them when Evan and Valaura are elevated to royal status.
When the Satanists are finally subdued, nobody really knows what to do with them. There are suggestions to send them back through the mural, but the outworlders are of the opinion their world has enough problems on its' own. A court scribe who had been working on the organization of The Pentacular with Evan locates a spell which forces people to see the truth, and when it is played out on the Satanists they are thrown into deep despair and thoughts of suicide. It is Anna, in her guise of Anat, who solves the problem for them by leading the Satanists away into the wilderness where they must live off the land and rehabilitate themselves.
King Patrick and Prince Michael of the Emerald Isles, Princess Henriette (of The Land of the Pentacle) and Mahogany of The People of the Sun are sailing the magic ship full of mud down to Hades. Emberlight goes to meet them and request a small advance supply of mud for Auroralight's eggs -- it is hoped some mud will heal any deformities in the babies.
Lilly oversees the hatching of the dragonlets, and those still alive are perfect. She goes to carrying one around as a pet, and Marshall worries that she might want to take it home with her -- Flip is enough trouble to explain away -- a flying hair ornament with huge floppy feet isn't seen everyday. Marshall and Lilly plan to return home after the coronation of their friends, and attempt to resume their lives. But now they can visit any time they want to, and keep Laura supplied with Pepsi and Evan with batteries for his laptop.
The coronation is attended by the people who were originally convened for the World Parliament, plus a few additions. Laura and Evan plan to spend most of their time in their new home, with periodic visits back to Chicago. But Laura is worried about her mother, who refuses to remain in the alternate dimension. She discovers she is pregnant, and wonders how that happened -- did she forget a pill?
She and Evan decide pregnancy will be a good thing, when they can remain young for their child. They return home to Chicago to get their affairs in order. Lilly and Marshall decide to remain in New Orleans and promise to visit The Land of the Wand soon, but Lilly wants to start her classes at The Cordon Bleu and Marshall has an upcoming tour to rehearse for. The friends will now be separated for some time.