Richard Harland - Ferren and the Angel

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Miriael teaches Ferren about the World

 

Miriael cleared a small space of earth between tussocks of grass. Then she picked up the triangle of glass and started scratching lines. Ferren sat down cross-legged, a respectful two metres away.

'Now,' she said. 'This is North America here. And South America. Europe and Asia. Africa. And Australia.'

'Ah, right,' said Ferren, not understanding.

'These are the continents,' she explained patiently.

'What's continents?'

'Large areas of land surrounded by oceans.'

'What's oceans?'

'Large areas of water.'

. . . . .

She looked at him. Her eyes were disconcertingly blue, a deep-down blue like cool clear water. 'Do you understand?'

'I'm trying,' said Ferren. 'Perhaps I'll just remember it for now and understand it more later.'

Miriael smiled, ironically but not unkindly. 'Very well. Let's start with the continent of North America.'

'This one?'

'Yes. North America is where the great Weather Wars took place. You see, the Humen here tried to upset the equilibrium of Heaven by generating terrible electrical storms in the upper atmosphere. But we fought back by taking control of the tidal currents and prevailing winds, and turned the whole climate against them. We created the Hundred Years Blizzard. Now the continent is covered with a permanent shield of ice.' She scratched a line across North America. 'All the way down to here.'

'So what happened to the Humen?'

'They retreated into a few huge fortified camps, like Fortress Atlanta and the San Antonio Complex. We keep them pinned down there. They hardly ever come out nowadays, except on military sorties.'

'Whew!' Ferren was impressed. 'So they got beaten?'

'More or less. They're on the defensive. It's the same in most places. In Africa, for instance.'

'This one?'

'Yes. You remember the names well. The Humen in Africa tried to go in over the Endless Wall.'

She scratched a long, long line.

'That's a wall?'

'Yes, a gigantic fireproof wall. It runs all the way around Europe and Asia. Europe and Asia are the Burning Continents. The Endless Wall contains the fire and stops it from spreading.'

'You mean, the continents are burning?'

'Ever since the time of the Great Collapse. The land is on fire, and the seas and lakes are boiling. No-one has ever managed to quench the flames. But the Humen in North Africa tried. They sent special armies in over the wall. For a while they even succeeded in setting up colonies in Sicily and Western Arabia and the Ebro River basin.'

'But not any more?'

'No. We attacked their lines of communication. Destroyed their overbridges and their tunnels. Without supplies coming in from outside the colonies couldn't survive.'

Ferren scratched his head. 'I always thought the Humen side had to be winning. But they're not doing much good anywhere.'

'The closest they came to victory was in South America. Yes, there. The Humen in South America were once a very grave threat. Back in the time of Doctor Mengis and Doctor Genette. They established their empire from Panama to Patagonia. The whole continent was turned into a single vast industrial network, mass-producing their terrible new weapons. That was when force-fields and magnetic webs were first invented.'

'What are force-fields and magnetic webs?'

'I can't explain. They're too far outside your experience. The thing is, we had no answer to them. And while we were trying to discover a counter-weapon, the armies of Doctor Mengis and Doctor Genette actually broke into the First Altitude of Heaven. They rampaged through our cities and polluted many of our most beautiful courts and gardens. It wasn't until the Campaign of the Five Zones that we finally overthrew them.'

'Did you discover a counter-weapon?'

'We discovered a method of counter-attack. Our Blessed Souls attacked the Plasmatics inside their machinery. Making everything go out of control. The whole industrial network destroyed itself. The machines didn't stop until the continent was torn apart.' She sketched zigzag lines this way and that across South America. 'South America nowadays is just a collection of broken blocks, separated by impassable fissures.'

Ferren was frowning with concentration, trying to remember it all. He pointed a finger at Miriael's map.

'And what about this one? Where we are?'

'Australia?'

'Yes. Aus-tra-lia. Who's winning where we are?'

 

previous extract ... next extract

 

 

Ferren and the Angel

Ferren & the Angel

 

Ferren and the White Doctor

Ferren & the White Doctor

 

Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven

Ferren & the Invasion of Heaven

 

Ferren's World

Ferren's World

 

About Angels

About Angels

 

 

 

Extracts from the First book in the Heaven & Earth Trilogy ...
Ferren sees an Angel fall to Earth ... Miriael teaches Ferren about the World ...
Myths and Sacred Objects ... Forest of the Morphs ...

 

 

Read extracts from Ferren and the White Doctor
or the latest novel, Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven

 

 

 
 


- Ferren Home - Ferren and the Angel - Ferren and the White Doctor - Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven -

The FERREN series is published by Penguin Books Australia

 

 

 
 

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1997 - 2015

Richard Harland.