Meet the Dreamers of Azgard…Multiple generations of characters live out the tale recounted in the Green Stone of Healing® series. Some of them return in successive lives.
Meet the dreamers of The Vision — Book One. And don’t use anything except a pencil to fill in a scorecard.
“She can keep her legs shut, but not her lips.”
Tough-minded and much too outspoken, Lieutenant Helen Andros is also emotionally wounded and vulnerable. In Azgard, an island nation sharply divided by race and rank, she is too obviously half-breed and therefore illegitimate. She is black-haired like the dominant Toltecs, her unknown father’s people, and extremely tall for a woman. Yet Helen also has blue-eyes and pale skin like the oppressed Turanians, her mother’s race.
Separated forever from her mother at age thirteen, Helen manages to earn a scholarship to the prestigious Sacred Academy of Kronos, the only institution of higher learning in all of Azgard. There she completes her secondary, post-secondary, and graduate studies and then enters the College of Medicine.
Helen, who graduates with the highest academic rank of her entire class, can find work only in the Army as a physician based at the 163rd Regiment. Her tendency to mouth off continually gets her into trouble but her outstanding job performance keeps her from being fired. It doesn’t hurt that the regiment’s commanding officer is secretly in love with her, and she with him, although both will scarcely admit it to themselves, much less each other or anyone else.
In Book 1: The Vision, Helen’s remarkable healing abilities also lead her straight into political hot water that she might not survive.
Judith AltairHer black-eyed, black-haired, copper-skinned face ever ageless, Judith hails from Southern Alta Province. As a young girl she is sought out by members of the Brotherhood of Kronos and taken to the Sacred Academy of Kronos, where she focuses on religious studies.
During Judith’s time at the Academy, she meets a Turanian scholarship student named Miriam Andros, who is studying physical therapy. Despite the hostility between their two peoples, Judith and Miriam become fast friends. All her life, Judith recalls with intense longing the evenings and nights she would stay up talking and joking with her dear companion.
After Judith graduates, she refuses to take the Oath of Purity to join the Temple as a priestess. One religious studies student in particular pursues Judith hard. She always evades the advances of Ezekiel Malachi, however, because her intuition accurately warns her about his ambitions and ruthless desires for complete control.
Instead, Judith becomes a counselor and advisor to the rich and politically well connected. The Consort of Azgard in particular seeks out Judith’s sound advice. It’s almost impossible to fool or deceive Judith. She is uncanny in her ability to probe the motives and intent of even perfect strangers. She often can tell people what they are thinking or feeling almost before they become aware of it themselves. Helen and others find Judith’s intuitive skills annoying and unnerving.
The Temple does everything possible to stamp out half-breeds, terrified of their presumed intuitive powers and ability to manipulate kura, the energy of human consciousness. Yet it never occurs to the priests to question how it is that Judith, a Toltec, is as skilled at using energy as any of the half-breeds they fear so much. To ask such a question might compel them to examine how the loss of their own heart-energy has undermined their souls and disconnected them from their Creator.
Miriam AndrosTiny, green-eyed and blonde, Miriam is the elder daughter of Eric Andros and is born in far north Westar Province.
Miriam’s childhood ends when she is ten with her mother’s death in giving birth to Miriam’s younger sister. Her widower father takes his children back to the large farm where he grew up that is owned by his elder brother, Ethan. Miriam finds herself in a constant, covert struggle with Ethan’s daughter, Elizabeth, an identical cousin of the same age who resents Miriam’s popularity and despises her generosity of spirit.
On top of never-ending conflict with her cousin, Miriam grows up tormented by a vision of the total annihilation of her beloved homeland. She is visited in secret by an alien being named Maguari, a Mist-Weaver energy-master. Once Maguari explains the truth about the decline of the Toltecs and half-breeds, Miriam determines to bear a half-breed child one day as her means to stop the destruction from becoming reality.
To escape the tension with her cousin and to pursue the desire to do healing work instilled by her mother’s demise, Miriam manages a scholarship to the Sacred Academy of Kronos. There she becomes friends with a Toltec religious studies student, Judith Altair.
Never fully trusting in Judith’s goodwill because of their racial disparity, Miriam by nature is also secretive. She’s unwilling to talk much about her innermost desires and longings unless Judith uses her intuitive skills to pull the emotional information out of Miriam. Thus no other human being, not even Judith, is aware of Miriam’s vision.
After Miriam graduates, through Judith’s intercession she lands a job in the household of a very high-ranking Toltec lord, caring for his comatose, bed-ridden wife. They fall in love; following the woman’s death they begin an affair that leads to Miriam deliberately becoming pregnant.
Knowing she can never marry her soul mate and lover even though he begs her to say yes, Miriam parts with him. She is then falsely accused of treason and exiled. She gives birth to a half-breed daughter and, thirteen years later, arranges for the girl to return to Azgard to keep her from the perils of war.
That girl is Helen Andros, and after sending her daughter away, Miriam is missing and presumed dead in the sack of Memphys. Even after death, however, the soul that was/is Miriam Andros determines to avert utter destruction by whatever means possible, even if it means returning again to the peril of an earthly existence.
Lady Naomi PalladinMaguari nicknames her “spider woman” because of her constant webs of plotting, planning, and deceit. An unwilling bride to Kefren Poseidon, Exalted Lord of the Kindred, the Consort of Azgard has the strength of will, political acumen, and cunning to rule in her own right.
Instead, as a woman and therefore disenfranchised, she is limited to using all of her wiles to ensure that her husband and daughter do not fall prey to the unbridled lust for power of her brother-in-law, the Prince of Istar, heir to the Kingship.
Lady Naomi openly throws her support behind the Lord Protector as a counterweight to the Prince of Istar’s influence and because she trusts Lord James Mordecai, who truly does love her husband. In private, she dallies with the man betrothed to her daughter in order to spy on a wavering ally. She maintains an undercover network unmatched for its dexterity, speed, and connections into all the right people. The queen usually knows all the hot gossip well before it goes public.
As foreseen by Miriam Andros, Lady Naomi and Helen meet under exceptional circumstances. The Consort instantly latches onto the half-breed healer, whose abilities might help save the incapacitated Exalted Lord’s life, provided Helen isn’t slain first.
Lady Mary AtlasThe only child of the Prince of Westar’s dead elder brother, betrothed as an infant to the second in line to the Kingship, Lady Mary is destined one day to become Consort of Azgard. It is a distinction fraught with peril and heartbreak, since it means she will never have the chance to marry the man she adores in her youth.
Considered a mere child by the standards of the long-lived Toltecs, Lady Mary is a naïve, shy twenty when she meets Helen and, for the first time, witnesses an ambitious, accomplished woman unafraid to speak her mind. They form a lifelong bond that inspires Lady Mary to grow into the strong, unyielding leader she must become if she is to survive the treachery all around her.
Along the way, Lady Mary is adopted as the protégé of Lady Naomi, the current Consort, who bequeaths to her a unique network of “household informants” that rivals any surveillance organization available to the most powerful in the land.
Maguari the Mist-Weaver
Swathed in dark green robes and cowls, the beings called Oonakim or “Mist-Weavers” by the Hill-folk of Southern Alta Province are considered lore and superstition by most educated and powerful Toltecs. Mist-Weavers are real, however, and because they know how to master the energy of consciousness and spirit (kura), they can appear and dissolve at will in the material plane of existence.
Mist-Weavers have a long and suppressed history of interacting with both Toltecs and Turanians since before the start of the Age of Kronos. During Helen’s life, certain of their kind, chief among them Maguari, still make contact with a few human beings, trying to illuminate for them the choices they could make to avert heartbreak and disaster.
Far-sighted and skilled in the energy arts and sciences, Mist-Weavers are neither saviors nor omnipotent. They adhere strongly to the fundamental spiritual principle of free will, which forbids them to intervene in human events, even to save lives or prevent what appears to be injustice. They can only advise and encourage.
Lord James Mordecai
The Duke of Alta, the richest of the four provinces of Azgard, Lord James also holds a second, unique hereditary post as Lord Protector, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer. The Lord Protector is charged with defending the realm from both external enemies and internal threats.
Having come up through the Army ranks and served as an ordinary soldier, Lord James has proved unusually diligent and adept at fulfilling the Oath of Protection. The enemies of Azgard fear and respect him and, as foretold by Maguari, give him the name Thunderhand to acknowledge his prowess in close combat. The Lord Protector’s existence alone is enough to keep in check those who would undermine the Toltecs’ global influence and world trade, something the Kindred will come to understand only after it is too late.
In addition to possessing great wealth and power, Lord James is the known favorite of the Exalted Lord, who has loved and cherished the duke since the latter was a boy. The monarch’s undying affection for and dependence on Lord James earns the duke the jealous enmity of the heir to the Kingship as well as the envy of other, less favored lords of the Kindred.
Despite his high rank and social standing, Lord James is a widower who has lived as a bachelor for decades. The woman betrothed to him as a child to become his second wife is the Prince of Istar’s only daughter, and the prince refuses to sign a marriage contract with his detested rival. Lord James prefers solitude; his heart aches and grieves in secret for his long lost, forbidden love.
At the start of Book 1: The Vision, the Exalted Lord is incapacitated, leaving Lord James more exposed to the machinations of the Prince of Istar. On top of that, the duke is about to be overtaken and surprised by his own past. Once the consequences of his proscribed relationship come to light and go public, the duke’s life will never be the same. Just as he was warned years ago, Lord James will find the conflict between his feelings as a father and his duty as a Toltec officeholder impossible to reconcile or to bear.