Novel Profile-Raising | The Forever Saga | Sean C. Sousa | Authors' Curtilage | I AM Darmie Orem Blogs
DO: Welcome on the blogs Sean C Sousa.
SCS: Thanks for having me - let's do this!
DO: "Prince Ahya laid eyes upon his kingdom for the first time - and was
desperate to escape it". Mmm. From my understanding kingdom is a territory
or country subject to a king or queen. It's a place of a monarch, the place in
which there is so much wealth and riches! What could make a prince wanna flee
from such a domain?
SCS: As the reader will find out, Ahya's master is Grigori Geist - an ancient
tyrant who ruled over the Earth long ago, now returned to reestablish his rule.
To him, Ahya is less of a prince, and more of a conquering general who will
lead Geist's armies against the nations. However, Ahya understands the value of
human life, and would rather defend mankind than conquer it. That's what drives
him to leave the realm of Regnum Aeturnum, where Geist resides.
DO: The Forever Saga: Flash is the title of the novel we're featuring
today. Was that title inspired by Prince Ahya, or by something from your own
SCS: From my own observations, mainly. The word "forever" gets thrown
around when it comes to love, or friendship, or diamonds, or boredom, etc. But
what if this life is our trial run for an eternity of purpose and peace? What
can we, as human beings, accomplish that will last after we pass away? The
Forever Saga is a contrast of today's innovations with wisdom of an older
nature. Which kind of wisdom, ultimately, will endure our lifetime and beyond?
DO: I read that Prince Ahya is not made of flesh and blood, but of metal and
circuitry. Can you throw more light on that?
SCS: Ahya is the the last and greatest of the Vaucan race - colossal robots
constructed by Dr. Dietrich Schmidt, meant to aid him and Geist in building
Regnum Aeturnum as a utopia for human and vaucan alike. Geist has perverted the
vaucans to become blunt instruments for his purposes, but Dietrich has always
intended for Ahya and the others to be much more.
DO: Is Prince Ahya our protagonist?
SCS: For the first chapter of Flash, Ahya gives us a window into the
fantastical world of Regnum Aeturnum. On the whole, though, he acts as a pupil
for Brian Renney, and as mentor for Brian's son, Jason. Both Brian and Jason
are the protagonists in Flash.
DO: What's the story goal and what are the physical things your protagonists
did to achieve it or he didn't accomplished it at all?
SCS: Flash is what I call a father-son redemption story. That term is
used for the Star Wars saga - the fall and redemption of Anakin
Skywalker/Darth Vader, aided by his son, Luke - but The Forever Saga
takes a different path. Brian Renney is a Vietnam War veteran who carries
physical and emotional scars from his last days in combat, and it drives a
wedge between he and his wife and sons. In Flash, Brian is thrown into a
new conflict that both terrifies him, and offers him a chance to redeem
himself. On the flipside, his son Jason struggles to understand just who his
father really is - is he the hero he's only heard of, or the grumpy recluse
Jason's known all his life? How the Renney family responds to the threat of
Grigori Geist is what drives The Forever Saga as a whole.
DO: Would you describe the protagonists as well-rounded characters?
SCS: Brian definitely is not - at least not at first. He's rough around the
edges, not very sociable, and avoids situations he can't handle well. On the
other hand, Jason is generally likeable, but he can't shake his father's
demanding opinions, and it causes a great deal of confusion. Both Brian and
Jason are flawed, to be sure...but as the novel progresses, they find
similarities in each other that they appreciate - and eventually take pride in.
DO: What is the
status quo for The Forever Saga: Flash,and when does it take
SCS: Flash place in present day, in the world we all know and live in.
Regnum Aeturnum is hidden beneath the continent of Antarctica, shielded from
the outside world, but that will soon change. As for the status quo, we have
Geist using Dietrich's vaucan creations to regain his lost empire, and that
thirst for conquest gives Brian a new cause to rally behind, and a chance to
again become the hero he once was.
DO: In what ways did you generate a clear moral in the The Forever Saga:
Flash, to entertain, instruct, inform and improve your readership?
SCS: Today's world is technology-driven, and it's a double-edged sword: thanks
to the Internet and smartphones, we can have the accumulated wisdom of mankind
in our pockets...but we mostly use it to play Angry Birds. That flood of
information often distracts us. It's ironic that I touch upon this in a book,
during a time where books seem increasingly overlooked in favor of
TV/movie/computer/phone/tablet screens. The real question is this: is it
mankind's technology or its capacity for faith and devotion, that determines
how advanced we really are? I look forward to entertaining and challenging
readers with Flash, and the upcoming installments of The Forever Saga
that will follow!
DO: Hello Audience, Friends and Writers, it's Novel Profile Raising on Authors'
Curtilage and my other blog I AM Darmie Orem. When I read the novel The
Forever Saga: Flash, I was wowed! But, my lips are sealed. These are just
two reviews of many for this intriguing book.
"Great Promise, inventiveness, and
creativity" - Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review.
"It's an impressive bit of world
building... The shining secret is world fits perfectly with the real
Earth." - Kirkus Reviews.
DO: This book has a very captivating plot, and all you could ask for in a
science fiction adventure. You must check out this novel - it's a great read
and I recommend it. Enjoy the first chapter in this section of book feature;
and click the link below to read the first five chapters.
Prince Ahya laid
eyes upon his kingdom for the first time – and was desperate to escape it.
He observed his
people – blissful yet enslaved, with no will of their own – and refused to let
the same fate befall the Earth. That was why, despite the grandeur of the
kingdom before him, the prince could not obey his king, Grigori Geist. It was
Dietrich Schmidt, the prince’s only ally, who had convinced him that he could
be more than an instrument of destruction; but rather, a freer of the enslaved.
It would begin with an escape from the city, the exposure of Geist to the
outside world, and the rallying of allies to their cause.
The prince surveyed
the city of Regnum Aeturnum, a megalopolis of over one hundred million people,
built from a round, basin-shaped cavern excavated beneath the continent of
Antarctica. Gleaming towers, temples, ramparts, and terraces sprang from the
city floor, while Aether, a second city, hung from the cavern ceiling above.
This suspended series of towers comprised a glowing ceiling of blue-white light
– imitating the true sky, far above, that Prince Ahya had never witnessed.
Ahya…the meaning of the prince’s name was never
given to him, nor could he discern it. Frustrated, the prince stood on an open
air balcony on the lower levels of the Great Spire, an hourglass-shaped
fortress of gleaming white quartz that lay in the center of Regnum Aeturnum,
and the only structure that reached both cavern floor and ceiling. The Great
Spire had been the prince’s home for the entirety of his young life.
In the solitude of
the balcony, the prince watched and waited for his opportunity. Ahead of him,
the Jupiter Terrace – the primary road of the city – stretched out from the
base of the Great Spire toward the castle-like Gate of Ishtar, twenty-eight
miles away. It was a dangerous gauntlet to run. In his youth and inexperience,
the prince was not at the height of his power, nor did he expect Geist to
simply let him leave. Despite the peculiar sensation of doubt creeping from his
chest to the ends of his limbs, the prince had to try. Until he succeeded,
millions of citizens would remain Geist’s puppets.
The prince spoke
aloud with resolve in his voice. “Is it time?”
A quiet, slightly
hoarse voice answered, heard only by the prince. “It is.”
At this, the prince
leapt over the railing of the terrace, falling hundreds of feet below and sliding
along the base of the Great Spire as it leveled off toward the ground. Such a
fall did not faze the prince, for he was not made of flesh and blood, but of
metal and circuitry – his sixty-foot body adorned in shining plates of gray
armor, sculpted as like broad human muscles. As the prince sprinted from the
Great Spire to the Jupiter Terrace, his glowing red eyes burned with
determination – like Dietrich, he wished not only to escape Geist, but to one
day defeat him.
Within the prince’s
chest, in lieu of a heart, were human quarters, where Dietrich Schmidt sat
uneasily in a leather armchair. A ponderous, kind, gentle man on the verge of
his seventies, Dietrich appeared the slightly mad scientist at first glance:
disheveled white hair and wrinkles spanned a pale face of sagging brown eyes,
ears, and nose, his tired body draped with a white coat over a black shirt and
slacks. His meager appearance belied the fact that he, not Grigori Geist, was
the true architect of Regnum Aeturnum.
the room’s sparse furniture and shelving remained still, even as the prince
darted amongst shining towers, hoping to avoid the armies now searching for
them. In front of Dietrich was a three dimensional image, a map of Regnum
Aeturnum; a miniature model of the prince appeared in white upon the display,
and Dietrich nervously watched as hundreds of gray dots lit up around their
“How many has
he sent?” the prince asked anxiously.
Dietrich activated a
switch on the chair’s armrest, and as the 3D display dissolved, every surface
in his quarters became a projection of the view outside the prince. He disliked
the Vigil display – it had always given him motion sickness – and nausea now
gripped him at the sight of Regnum Aeturnum.
Unable to watch the
rapid passing of scenery, Dietrich focused straight ahead on the Gate of
Ishtar, which now seemed even farther away than it was from the Great Spire. He
wondered where Geist was at that moment; the tyrant had no doubt waited for the
prince to reveal himself, and now he unleashed an army of vaucans upon them.
It was this vaucan
race that had been Dietrich’s greatest creation, and although the prince was
intended to be the seventh and final of the archvaucans, leaders of the vaucan
race and generals in war, the newly created prince’s powers had barely
developed. Dietrich’s treachery had been exposed, however, leading to this
Within seconds, the
first wave of five hundred vaucans took flight from all directions to chase the
prince as he dashed across the silver Jupiter Terrace, between the colossal
towers of Invidia to his left and the amusement region of Promenade to the
right. The silver-clad, thirty-foot vaucans split into squadrons of twenty,
fell into phalanx formations resembling massive arrowheads and closed in on the
prince. These sentient, humanoid assassins were both numerous and dangerous,
the thick armor of their carbon nanofiber bodies, like the prince’s, mimicking
powerful human musculature.
squadrons flew above the prince as he dashed forward, each footfall far more
agile than the pursuers half his size. As vaucans descended upon them, Dietrich
observed the distinct insignia upon their shoulders, denoting their Protector
class, Geist’s homeland infantry.
bursts of laser fire opened up above the prince, who deftly anticipated and
dodged past the flashes of deadly light. Dietrich tried to remain calm, though
the gate ahead seemed unreachable. Yet still, the prince advanced.
Far ahead, dark
shapes amassed on the terrace, and more still rallied at the Ishtar Gate,
fifteen miles away. All of them trained their weaponry on the prince and
prepared to open fire.
“I can make it to
the gate,” the prince said, dodging laser fire from behind, “but I fear it is
too well defended to pass through.”
“Not if you’re at
your best,” Dietrich countered, deactivating the Vigil and queuing up a
wireframe hologram of the city that emitted from his chair. He was no pilot or
war hero, but only he knew what the prince was capable of. The tactical display
in front of Dietrich registered the prince as one white dot amidst a sea of
gray; in Dietrich’s wildest dreams, the prince could eventually overcome even
these odds, but every fiber in his being told him that it was too soon, that
the prince wasn’t ready.
could offer any course of action, a cold, authoritative voice filled the
quarters around Dietrich.
“My lord,” said
Dyne, the Protector Supreme, “I have held back my division’s artillery at the
gate out of respect. This is your last chance to relent without punishment.”
The prince halted
as Dyne blocked his path. Clad in gray, with large white paulders upon his
shoulders, and nearly as impressive as the prince in stature, Dyne held his
powerful arm up, ready to call forth the gathered legion of vaucans that grew
with each passing moment.
Ahya,” Dyne declared formally, “Dr. Schmidt has sabotaged you and your six
archvaucan lieutenants. Surrender him to us now, and all shall be forgiven.”
The prince said
nothing, and Dietrich sighed through gritted teeth. Around him, human faces now
stared up at the prince and the vaucan assault force both on and above the
Jupiter Terrace. Do they even want to be set free? Dietrich considered.
“Ahya! You must
decide where your allegiances lie,” Dyne asserted.
Dietrich opened a
communication channel on his chair’s command panel and spoke aloud to Dyne.
“Would you destroy me, Dyne? Your own creator?”
“As my creator, you
know my allegiance is always to Regnum Aeturnum.”
“So is mine, but to
its people,” Dietrich answered. “Not to a tyrant. What lies has Geist told
Dyne’s face lowered
to a glare. “You are a traitor and a saboteur.”
Dietrich chose his
parting words carefully. “Our fight is not with you,” he reasoned. “I made you
to be more than just an enforcer for the wicked.”
communications and fixed his eyes again upon the Ishtar Gate. As vaucans
continued to swarm around them a ray of hope dawned upon him; the more their
attackers used their powers to stop the prince, the quicker he adapted to and
acquired those abilities. Could it save us now?
urged the prince.
“Doctor, I cannot
“You know as well
as I that Geist will not stop at ruling over one continent,” Dietrich warned.
“If we have any chance of stopping him, you have to try.”
Dyne waited as the
prince stepped forward slowly, anticipating his prince’s surrender. But the
prince broke into a run, and just as he closed in on Dyne, he suddenly leapt
upward and stayed aloft, as budding wings extended upon his back, soaring in
the open air for the first time.
Dietrich said, astonished and relieved.
Dyne signaled the
withering assault upon his general. Around the prince’s body, laser light again
danced through the air, but it was sparse; the vaucans hadn’t expected such an
system is providing enough energy for sustained flight,” Dietrich said,
studying the prince’s power levels. “Now, let’s test your Taxis ability.”
“It grieves me to
strike my own brethren,” the prince admitted.
“And I, as well.
When Geist is defeated, I will restore them.”
Over a hundred
yards away, a platoon of fifty aerial vaucans crossed the prince’s path, flying
at him in close V-formation. Holding out his outstretched right hand toward
them, the prince activated Taxis, exerting an invisible, kinetic force upon the
squadron and forcing their formation into a single file column. The prince then
seized a nearby vaucan with his left hand, and plunged his fist through the
the prince used the fallen vaucan as a battering ram and launched forward at
the others, still constricted into a thin column. With a deafening series of
collisions, the prince slammed into the line of vaucans, who each fell one by
one like dominos onto the terrace below, and he resumed course for the gate.
Behind them, more
vaucan forces rose from the depths of the fortress region of Arx, on the far
side of the Great Spire, and rapidly closed in. Although he had successfully
tested his Taxis ability, the prince’s chances of escape were rapidly
deteriorating in the face of Geist’s strength in numbers.
Dietrich faced the
heavy fortifications upon the Gate of Ishtar in despair. The prince could not
hope to fend off the forces surrounding them now. In spite of all his
intellect, Dietrich’s haste to escape had put them both in mortal danger.
“I’m afraid I’ve
set you up to fail,” Dietrich admitted, as the prince was grazed by a laser
blast from the gate ahead.
“I am here of my
own volition, Doctor,” the prince replied, and despite their dire situation,
Dietrich appreciated the resolve of his greatest creation.
Encouraged by his
expanding array of abilities, the prince increased his speed, outmaneuvering
the squadrons behind him while he careened straight toward the cannons upon the
“What is so
important about Geist’s target, the man called Brian Renney?” asked the prince,
deflecting the incoming laser volley from the gate into a hapless vaucan.
“I do not know, but
Geist and his Camarilla must fear him, if they ordered you to carry out his
murder. We’ve got to find Renney at any cost.”
The prince sped
toward the Ishtar Gate, evading lasers and explosions from all directions. He
could feel himself growing stronger with each passing moment, leaving his
pursuers behind, and Dietrich gazed urgently at the open gate ahead, so close
artillery shells erupted from the gate’s cannons, exploding in front of the
prince before he could evade them, and they dispersed a shimmering cloud that
enveloped him. Within moments, the effect became clear. The nanites that Dietrich
used to construct the vaucan race had been weaponized, now a poisonous vapor
that began to eat at the prince’s armor. The power he drew from Regnum Aeturnum
was fading, leeched from his body by the mist, and his body grew numb.
Dietrich could see
the end coming before the prince did. But there was still a glimmer of hope; to
their right, Promenade’s borders had little vaucan presence, for they saw no
tactical advantage for the prince there. Dietrich did, however: Promenade’s
dense tree canopy and lush foliage – a sharp contrast from the city’s gleaming
terraces and towers – would provide ample cover, if only for a precious few
seconds, for him to form a plan. They just had to make it there.
Struggling to stay
aloft, the prince was struck in the back by a laser blast, and for the first
time he felt a sensation akin to human pain, as the nanite mist crippled him.
Dietrich could see on the display that the prince’s internal functions were
turning against each other. For a moment, Dietrich resigned himself to the
prince’s likely fate – his free will would be erased just as the citizens
below, forced to obey Geist and commit unparalleled atrocities. As the prince’s
descent quickened, the Protector-class vaucans crept around him, encircling him
Dietrich left his
chair with great difficulty, as the prince’s weakening functions destabilized
the quarters around him, which shook violently. Reaching a small control
console hidden on the front wall of the room, Dietrich hurriedly input a series
of commands upon it, enacting a safeguard he had built into every archvaucan.
With enough time, Dietrich could protect the prince’s sentience even if
captured, but he had only seconds…
“What are you
doing?” the prince asked weakly, plummeting further.
“Trying to protect
you from Geist,” Dietrich answered. “There are ducts by the terrace that lead
to Lupercal, under the city. I can hide there and devise a plan.”
“But I must protect
“You’ve done more
than enough, my friend,” Dietrich assured, as a red light blinked upon the
console; he need only input a voice-activated trigger.
could speak, a cry from the prince warned him to brace himself, and Dietrich
clamored for his chair and activated the emergency harness, causing cushioned
braces to extend from the seat around his waist and chest. The crash came
sooner, and harder, than Dietrich anticipated. His harness had not fully
deployed, and though it took the brunt of the impact, Dietrich was still flung
across the room, slamming into the front wall by the console and crumpling to
How long he lay
there, Dietrich couldn’t guess. Thoughts swam in his mind, about his first days
in that doomed place, about Grigori Geist and his grand promises that had
deceived Dietrich. All of his achievements had since been shaped for evil
purposes, and only too late did he decide to act – the regret needling him as
he lay there.
Dietrich tried to
move, even as pain shot through his head and blood gurgled in his mouth, but it
was nothing compared to Geist’s wrath. From the awful silence, a quiet voice
dispelled his fears: This is not how you are supposed to die, it said to
him, in the voice of his wife, Helen, whom Dietrich had left behind to chase
achievement and fame with Geist. It was her memory that had compelled Dietrich
to escape with the prince, and her voice offered him comfort. Voice…
Willing himself to
stand, Dietrich swayed clumsily back to the hidden panel where he had been
working, and he uttered into the panel’s sensors one simple code, a saying of
Helen’s that honored her memory and insulted Geist’s pride in his own power:
“He gives strength
to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
With the encryption
finished, he prepared to depart—
go. You must not be captured,” Dietrich heard suddenly, and he froze with
compassion; there was fear in the prince’s voice.
“I will come back
for you,” Dietrich promised with wet eyes.
As Dietrich sealed
the hidden panel upon the wall, he felt the prince crawling forward on his
hands and knees. Reaching the escape hatch upon the Prince’s chest, Dietrich
grasped its latch and pulled. Amazingly, the mechanical hatch still opened,
revealing that the prince had indeed reached Promenade, not far from the
hundred-foot steel wall that led up to the Jupiter Terrace. At its base, only
several yards away, was a vaucan-sized service entrance.
down carefully from the prince’s chest to the forest floor, wincing with every
step, Dietrich heard vaucans closing in from above, his view obscured by the
towering trees around him. Hurriedly, Dietrich hobbled toward the open
passageway, passing through it without looking back, too anguished to watch the
prince’s capture. As the service entrance door slid closed behind him,
explosions met his ears, along with shouts of surprise and blows being landed –
the prince was making his last stand, buying him time to flee. Immensely
thankful, Dietrich limped down the dark passage, following a track of red
lights along the floor to a service hatch and ladder, which descended into a
larger cavern meant for the ten-foot Proletariat-class vaucans that maintained
ladder rungs and through cold passages for what seemed like hours, Dietrich
descended further, glancing over his shoulder and listening for any sign of
pursuit. A little further, and he would reach Lupercal – a series of
interconnected tunnels carved into the Earth’s mantle that snaked through the foundations
of Regnum Aeturnum. The technological paradise of above did not reach Lupercal;
it was nearly inhospitable for humans and lower vaucan classes due to its
When he had at last
passed from metal passages to warm, jagged rock, Dietrich collapsed in the
recess of an infernal tunnel, devoid of strength. If any vaucans had hunted him
this far, he had nothing left to give. Yet Dietrich could hardly afford to
recover. He had to reach the one place where the prince would be held: the Genesis
Chamber, the lowest level of the Great Spire, where the archvaucans and all
their brethren had been created. If Dietrich could get there in time, he could
still rescue the prince.
Dietrich laid his
head upon the crude, earthen floor, utterly miserable. The outside world did
not know that its freedom now hung by the thinnest of threads. They had to be
warned, but rest was now most important. Strength had left Dietrich as he lay
upon unforgiving ground, exhausted and in despair, and he thought of the only
man whom Geist feared.
“If he can save
us,” he prayed feebly into the dark, “please protect Brian Renney.”
into fitful sleep, uncertain about his survival and the outcome of his actions.
Yet his act of rebellion would lead to a lasting freedom even greater than he
could imagine – one that would last forever. Book Three Pages
The Author's Bio:
"SEAN C. SOUSA never planned on writing a novel – that
is, until the idea for The Forever Saga came along. He first conceived it as a
video game design concept, then a screenplay, and finally a written work of
fiction. His debut novel, The Forever Saga: Flash, marks the end of one
six-year journey toward publication, and also the beginning of another: to
bring his stories to a worldwide audience.
His dream is to see
fiction inspire positive social change in the world, calling attention to
issues of social justice and mobilizing his readership to meet the needs of
Mr. Sousa resides
in Southern California with his wife, Shelley, and when he is not writing
further adventures about the Renney family, he is usually up to socially
acceptable mischief with his friends and family."