The City Under The Sea
The level of an inland sea, the Mistal Sea, is sinking several inches a day. Mista is asked to try to find out the cause. When he starts investigating, he is presented with a tale of a city buried under the sea.
George Mictackic and six friends find themselves on a strange world. They have false memories implanted and think that they were born on this world. Mictackic is known only as Mista. The setting is similar to the fifteenth century on the planet Earth. Magic is a working force, and technology has not developed. They fight with swords and use horses for transportation. There are many small independent countries, mostly ruled by absolute dictators.
The friends meet in a city besieged with monsters. They have no memory of each other from the previous life, and assume that they are meeting for the first time. Sharra Darkling thinks that she is running away from home. Jasmine is waiting tables at an inn, but wants to be a priestess. Njondac, a dwarf fighter, works in a weapons shop, and Cato is a barbarian fighter looking for adventure. A young singer named Nacia is rescued from a street gang and joins Mista. Finding themselves surrounded with monsters in a city that seemed to be about to be destroyed, they join forces and clean up the city.
They found their former adversary on the scene, but did not know him. His goal was to claim ownership of a magical spring, which he thought could make him into a dragon. He was attracting monsters to the city to further his own ends. Mista and friends defeated the would-be dragon and his monsters in a short period intense with the almost continuous battles. Afterwards, they were named heroes for their feats, and the book that relates these adventures is On Becoming Heroes.
With the city cleared of trouble, the heroes go their separate ways. Mista starts a school for magic in his adopted town of Phaliston, on the edge of an inland sea with Sharra Darkling as his first pupil. Jasmine achieves her goal of becoming a priestess, while Nacia roams the land learning new songs and performing from place to place. Cato and Njondac wander off in search of new adventures.
Some months later, the sea level begins to drop mysteriously. Nacia comes back to town and looks up Mista. She has discovered a legend of a city long hidden beneath the Mystal Sea. At about the same time, while out with some of his students, Mista stumbles on a large house completely surrounded by woods. A young girl living there is desperate to leave and asks him to take her into his school. Chandri DiFreet has only a little aptitude for magic, but she thinks that anything is better than staying captive in that house.
Nacia spins her tale. The location of the lost city is marked on a map. The map has been torn into four sections and each section hidden in a different location. The first one is somewhere near Phaliston. Each map has a clue to the location of the next map. They agree to search for the map and try to find the city. Cato and Njondac wander back into town and agree to join the quest. This is the story of The City Under the Sea.
When they find the map, they study it and find the location of the second map. They leave the map in the safekeeping of the city librarian and search for the next map. While they are gone, someone comes and steals the map from the librarian, and then waits until they find the second map and tries to take it from them. He fails, but tries again when they find the third and fourth maps. He wants whatever treasures are in the lost city for himself and fights them at every turn. It also turns out that he had discovered a way to drain the sea, and is trying to find the city by draining the sea.
Eventually, they drive him to ground and banish him from the planet. They discover a ten-year-old orphan girl, Charly Talljohn, and adopt her. They find the city and some treasure, but nothing magical. Charly declares her intention of becoming a paladin.
Two years later, Charly, at thirteen, has to decide whether she really wants to be a paladin, or just become a regular girl. In The Making of a Paladin, Mista and Sharra take her to visit Chandri, who is training to be a ranger in the mountains a few days travel away. Charly’s fighting skills are put to the test during several encounters.
While visiting Chandri, Mista decides to take Charly to the capital city and talk to the king’s Master-at-arms about training her to become a paladin. He tests her fighting skills and agrees to take her as a trainee.
Then they decide to try to find Sharra’s mother. Sharra had joined the group after running away from home three years before, and had always wondered how her mother was doing. She also wanted to find out what had happened to her father. He had been killed when she was six, and her mother had remarried. Her
stepfather tried to abuse her, and he was the person she was running from.
By the end of that summer, Charly knows that she can only be a paladin. Mista tells her that it is a calling. If God does not choose her, she will never succeed. If he does, then she cannot be happy doing anything else. She goes into training.
Two years later, Duke Spicewood asks Mista to help find a girl who has been kidnapped. She is the daughter of a powerful desert sheik, and the sheik offers a reward. Charly, at 15, is home for a visit, and she insists on going with them. Chandri has finished her training and she is eager for a quest. They find a bard who was of desert stock, and he agrees to go with them. This is the story of Desert Ruins.
They track down a man thought to be a sorcerer by the desert people. The local people believe that he abducted some of their local teenage girls. Mista hires a desert guide and finds his castle on the edge of the desert. When they gain entry, they find that he is about to perform an arcane ceremony on the sheik’s daughter that will leave her dead. They rescue her and return for the reward.
Charly performs well, and Duke Spicewood sets a commissioning ceremony for her later in the summer. Then, later, they hear rumors of a new religion springing up in the desert. The sheik also hears the rumors, and he also hears that Mista is behind the religion, and is trying to subvert the sheik’s people.
Mista sets off into the desert to find the source of the rumors, and finds a series of ruins being excavated by his old enemy, who has returned. When they begin to track him down, he lays an ambush at each temple and a few places in between. Charly grows into an adult, and they are joined by a strange priestess who says that she is looking for a good god to worship.
Shortly after these events, each person in the group receives a letter written in an unknown language. They get it translated, and it turns out to be a request from their old enemy to call a truce and unite to fight a common threat. This man convinces the duke that he has the best interests of the kingdom at heart, and the duke asks him to step in as Minister of War, since the former minister has just been killed.
As the title indicates, the threat to the kingdom is The Dragon Threat. The duke asks Mista and his friends to help, and Mista refuses, so Duke Spicewood banishes the group from his kingdom. Chandri has set her heart on Cato, now known as Mischal, but thinks that Charly has a better chance to capture him, since they are both paladins, and spend a great deal of time together.
When they finally face the dragon and defeat it, they think that they have finally vanquished their enemy for good. During this adventure,
Charly finally understands what it means to be an adult and take responsibility for her actions. Chandri decides that she wants Mischal for a husband and he demonstrably loves her, but she practically has to trick him into asking her to marry him.
Time passes and all characters begin to gain status in the community. Mischal becomes an official paladin for the duke, and Mista is asked to be Minister of Justice. Mista’s school grows and is known throughout the realm as a good school. Unrest also grows in the kingdom and a group begins to demand a democracy. Duke Spicewood is a just man and very popular, so he ignores the challenges rather than give the agitators any audience.
In To Obey Your Lord, Mischal is accused of having an affair with a woman in the kingdom’s capital, Westport, where he is required to travel from time to time. He goes on many missions for the duke, and Chandri begins to think that he has lost interest in her. She seeks counseling from Mista. Mista gives her some suggestions, but when Mischal comes home with another woman’s perfume clinging to him, all bets are off.
Mista is asked to investigate Mischal, but before he can make any progress, he himself is captured by the rebels and they try to sway him to their side. One of the ringleaders is a former student, and she tries to seduce Mista. When neither trick works, they capture his wife, Sharra, and torture her. She finds a way to get free and turns the tables on the rebels, leading eventually to their arrest and sentencing. Mista offers his former student, Molly Greene, a chance for rehabilitation instead of death, and she takes it. The role of ‘lord’ is explored as husband, ruler and God.
Then, strange things begin to happen. In J.O.B., Mista is accused of a crime that he did not commit, but people believe the accusation. His children are killed, his gold stolen, and his house burned. The children in the school vanish. Then he is struck down with unknown diseases that no one can cure.
He has to discover the man behind this series of attacks, track him down, and defeat him. During the siege, he worries that his friends might desert him. Only Sharra remains steadfast. Other friends who are priests or
priestesses in remote areas come to counsel him. They tell him to forget his pride and confess to whatever sin he has committed. One of them hints that he is a lover to Charly, the girl he has been a father to.
After a struggle, they track down the man responsible, kill him and return to the duke with his head. They meet a man in a foreign land who takes an interest in Charly, leading possibly to romance.
After this ordeal, Mista begins to rebuild his school. He has to recruit new students, since all the children who had been there vanished. In The Temple Betrayal, Mista finds a seventeen-year-old girl who wants to learn magic. Jania is the spitting image of Mista, and they wonder if she is the daughter of his sister who disappeared when she was eleven.
Meanwhile, Charly is exploring new ways to improve her swordsmanship. She and Jania find common interests and become fast friends – each has found a soul mate or a sister. Her romance with Jeremy grows slowly and leads to some conflict with her new sister.
Jania has been raised in a temple, supposedly being trained as a priestess. When it becomes obvious that she knows nothing about what a priestess does, they decide to investigate. They find a lively trade in babies captured by bandits and taken to a certain temple system. The temples raise them with no moral or ethical training to prepare them to become prostitutes, and they are returned to the bandit leader when they are eighteen.
This is happening in a land far to the south, and Mista decides to destroy the gang that controls this enterprise, and Jania willingly helps. He finds that his sister has been held by them for years and rescues her and her 23-year-old son.
After destroying the white trade network, the people in the southern land offer to make Mista their duke in When Law and Order Fail. They have been a
collection of democratic city-states up until this time, but they want someone to coordinate their governments in a central system. They choose a representative system with the duke as titular head.
Mista makes contact with the mountain bandits and convinces them that they would benefit more from trade than from preying on trade. He recruits patrol units from the people living in the mountain passes and uses these patrols to help suppress the banditry that had accompanied and supported the white trade.
The powers that really control the cities resist Mista’s efforts to bring law and order to all. They do not like his attack on the false temple system, and would prefer to leave the prostitution trade alone. When one of the city’s leaders abducts Jania and rapes her, Mista rescues her finds that some of the city magistrates are the key behind the white trade. Mista decides that the people do not really want a government of laws. He gives up in disgust and resigns. They head off to find new adventure on board a ship that they have purchased.
As they are preparing the ship to sail across the unknown ocean to find other lands, a man appears on the ship and tells them that they are not originally from this world. He has a magical device which he says brought them to this world, the world of Mindeshara, and can return them to their original home, Earth.
Sharra and Charly’s new husband, Jeremy, have the ability to read minds and they penetrate deeply and find hidden memories in the original six members, supporting the story of their abduction. They agree to return to Earth, since that is their original home. The six also take new members of the band who did not come from Earth, and take Mista’s sister, Sheila, not knowing if she was native to the world of Mindeshara or Earth. Not knowing if she was truly Mista’s sister or a look alike from this world.
They return to their home in Georgia to find an assignment waiting for them. After about a year they decide to try to recover Sheila’s memories. Some are too painful to open, but she is Mista’s long lost sister, and tells her story of abduction when she was eleven. Mista determines to find that abductor and eliminate him. His band rallies behind him. They find four homeless eleven year old girls, give them computers and ask them to get on the internet and chat with anyone, assuming that if the perpetrator is still active he will find them and try again. This is a two-book series, Til Hell Freezes Over and The Long Road
They adopt the girls and raise them to be responsible adults. In turn, the girls get deeply involved with all
adventures of the band. Several years later, in Fatal Revenge, the girls discover a film crew filming on their property. Candy asks to work for the shoot, and is hired, but they take her to Atlanta. There they try to make her pose for pornographic shoots, and when she refuses, they lock her in a closed room. When her mother comes to find her, they also kidnap Sharra, Charly, Molly and Janice. Then the man behind the kidnapping contacts Mista and tells him that his wife is on another world, and he can take Mista there to rescue her, if he will agree to help him destroy an infestation of bandits.
He holds his prisoners as a control measure to ensure Mista’s cooperation. He also holds them, thinking that they are the only ones in Mista’s group with magical powers or ESP. He intends to kill them all when Mista accomplishes the task he brings him back to do, But, Mista is able to discover where he holds the prisoners and sets them free. In turn, the man attempts to capture the entire group, but Mista, three of the girls, and Njondac manage to elude capture, and set the rest free. Then Mista and family return to his old home, to find it in ruins.
In Shattered Idyll, Mista receives a summons from the president of the southern cities to come and track down the man who tried to destroy them. Mista accepts the request and travels back to the south, a long journey on horseback. His enemy sets up several ambushes along the way, trying to eliminate him before he can return, but the group prevails, finally reaching the southern lands and reporting to the president.
Mista is concerned about a temple system that essentially enslaves young girls and raises them in the temples with no outside contact with the world. At eighteen, the girls are
released to an organization that places them in prostitution. He wants to free the girls, but the president tells him that he cannot interfere with free expression of religion.
In The Right to Freedom, Mista determines to free the girls and destroy this temple system. Two of his girls volunteer to enter the temple system as acolytes in order to find out what is really happening there, and to get contacts within the system. At the same time, Mista tries to contact the local girls officially, through their local priests, but is refused access.
The man Mista had captured and turned over to the president is set free and returned to his former position as Commander of the National Guard. Once again, Mista has to track him down and eliminate him before the enemy destroys Mista and his band. While the girls are in the temples, the priests try to erase memories of home and family and make them think that they are part of the system.
Mista rescues his girls and forces the administrators to allow him to give the temple girls a choice of freedom or continuing in the temple system. About 35 choose freedom and Mista sets up safeguards for them and prepares to return to his home world of Earth as he knows it. In A Case of Conscience, Mista is given a home by the people of one of the cities on the southern coast as a reward for services rendered to that city many years ago. The whole group discusses the possibilities of remaining on this alternate world or returning home. In the end, they decide to return to the Earth that they all know.
Mista wins his case and reveals a deeper level of corruption involving the president. They return to Earth to resume normal life. The girls want Mista to investigate the people who were filming Wet-look and captured Candy and took her to Mindeshara. Mista gets a contract from the Georgia State Police to investigate the company. While wet-look is legal Candy is sure that they are doing more than wet-look and are producing videos that are child porn, which is illegal. Candy, Janice and Robin all get acting positions for the video productions and catch them in the act of child porn.
Having accomplished his goals on this world, they band returns home to Earth wo await any further adventures and to finish raising the girls.