Here are two sketches of Rintiala using Leonardo A.I., an interface for Stable Diffusion.
Scene 8 of Strong Baby’s Dream is the big battle scene, with an epilogue in which what is left of the Western Bandits are carted off to their exile in Old Albuquerque.
The battle itself comes to its culmination when Seamus Espinoza realizes that he has lost the men he sent to Mother Goose House. He orders his troops into Deer Creek Canyon, to kill any Nueguans they find, and then to burn out the Wild Mothers.
Dianire senses them first, and her first duty is to protect Rintiala, Ariana and her own sister Tianara. Alope is outside the Birthing Mother; as is Dianire. When the Western Bandit attack begins, both she and Alope get into Redourine Wild Mothers, and under Dianire’s guidance, use Mothersilk to weave impenetrable armour around Yassah and Shassah, who then march head on into the Western Bandits, knocking them over as the Graspers cannot be harmed by black powder weapons. Alope, impulsive as ever, leaps out of her Wild Redourine Mother, running to give commands to the Graspers. When Seamus Espinoza sees her and the ineffectiveness of gunfire, he prepares to throw a stick of dynamite at the young girl. All seems lost for the Nueguans, but it is Berylia who saves the day. She commands the Wild Demetran Soldier termites to chew the Western Bandits down to the bone. She allows only Seamus Espinoza to be spared.
So, it is the villain of the saga who saves the day. This is important because it is the primary reason that Ariana trusts Berylia, and is willing to become a Companion.
The third and final book of the Nuegua series is also divided into three parts, and covers the origin story of Nuegua, the ‘lost years’ of Rintiala and Dianire, and finally ‘Lightning and Earth Mother’ a condensed form of what became of the Sky Wanderers, their split into warring factions, and their desperate attempt to reclaim both their lost humanity and their future by stealing Rintiala’s and Dianire’s DNA.
Part One: The Virgin of the Second Sight deals with the creation of the Nueguan race, first beginning in 2100 with the story of Pink Tamale, and her alliance with Sean Landesten and Althea Radford as they create the world of Nuegua. This section ends with the ‘One-Hour War’ of the Sky Wanderers, and their creation of the Empty Earth.
Part Two: The Lost Years 2528 to 2578 details Rintiala’s creation of a Nueguan colony in the ruins Orlando Florida, and her mission to determine what became of Dianire in Chihuahua. It ends with Dianire’s rejection of Rintiala, and ‘No Mercy in the Cathedral’.
Part Three: The Myth of Lightning and Earth Mother is sung (one of the first Nueguan ritual hymns) and then we experience the struggle between the genetically engineered Sky Wanderers and their trans-human descendants, culminating in the discovery that the trans-humans can no longer reproduce naturally, and what is worse their RIN (Recursive Instructional Nexus) is deteriorating to the point where their long life-span is coming to an end. They have never stopped monitoring Earth, but have kept a ‘hands-off’ attitude until this juncture. Rintiala’s awakening of the Sentinel at Camelback Mountain and the information about Nueguan DNA sent from the synthetics at the Grand Kierland motivates the leadership of the trans-humans to break protocol and seize Nueguan women, to harvest them both for their reproductive organs and their DNA. The original genetically-engineered Sky Wanderers try to stop them and fail. The War between the Sky Wanderers and the Nueguans, four hundred-plus years in the making begins with the landing of the scout ships in front of Carlsbad Abbey.
Final Scene of Second Sister
Rintiala embraces her daughter Queen Ariana the Beautiful with “Hello Queen Ariana. I’m your mother.”
A moment after they separate, Hunts-The-Ruins feels a shudder under his mocassined feet. “Either an earthquake or Old Gringo technology, Rintiala,” he states. “And if it is the second, it can only mean one thing. “
Queen Ariana concludes his thought. “The Sky Wanderers have returned.” She turns to Lieutenant Alphonso and gives him an order. “Tell the monks to open up the Gringo armory. White powder projectile weapons only; we don’t know if the energy weapons still work.”
Lieutenant Alphonso bows and marches away, two guard monks in tow. All around the Queen’s Guard are making combat hand signals, quickly indicating the direction of the threat.
“Mother, what should we do?” Queen Ariana asks Rintiala.
“Go out to meet them,” Rintiala replies calmly.
“Then let us take the short path to the Grand Entrance.” Queen Ariana replies, signaling to her bodyguards to follow them through a side door of the stage.
Queen Ariana and her mother emerge at the Grand Entrance, on a walkway just above the floor of the cavern. A thousand metres away, three Sky Wanderer scout ships, looking scarred and worse for wear, land. The Queen’s Guard take up their positions around the Grand Entrance, 20th century white powder projectile weapons aimed at the three ships.
“Make sure no one fires on the occupants of those ships unless you give the signal, Ariana,” Rintiala states. “If they had wanted to destroy us, they would have done so already.”
“You must be my mother,” Ariana replies whimsically. “I’ve only known you for a few moments, and already you’re giving orders.”
“It’s an old habit I’ve never quite gotten rid of,” Rintiala admits.
The hatch door of the closest Sky Wanderer ship opens slowly, and a figure in a 21st century exo-suit climbs out slowly, clumsily descending the gangway ladder. As the figure connects to solid ground, it slowly removes its helmet. A blonde woman in her middle years looks up to see Queen Ariana and Rintiala, as if she recognized them.
“Please help us,” the blonde woman says.
Dianire’s teeth ached every time the 1948 Ford International hit a bump on the broken pavement of the side road leading up to the Kierland, that massive castle in what had once been Arizona, shining in the early morning light on a Monday in the last week of August, 2528.
“The synthetics must have not got around to fixing the outer ring roads yet,” she said in short staccato bursts to the burly young Apache male crouched down beside her in the back of the truck. She looked into the rear window of the truck, to see another Nueguan Second Sister–Alyria of the Guild of Healers–sitting comfortably between a tall young Apache driver and a much older Apache hunched over apparently in pain. Alyria’s strawberry blonde hair–the normal color for a Tialan girl–was tied in a ponytail. It swung back and forth nonchalantly from Dianire’s perspective.
“And why does Alyria get to ride inside? I out-rank her in terms of age and accomplishments.” Dianire said to the Apache in the open truck box beside her.
“I don’t know, maybe she’s nicer than you? Cuter too.” The burly Apache–Hunts-the-Ruins of the Phoenix Clan, and newly-appointed Provisional Trader–threw up his right forearm, ready to take Dianire’s distinctly possible blow, all the while winking his right eye at her.
Dianire instinctively raised her left arm for an elbow strike, and then smiling, thought better of it. “Don’t tell her that, or you’ll never be rid of her,” she warned mockingly.
The truck came to a skidding halt as if stopped by an invisible force, although Dianire leaned out over the cab to see what it might be. There was nothing there except a faded, non-functioning electric sign proclaiming “The Kierland Grand Hotel and Golf Course”.
The door on the passenger’s side of the International opened and the aged Apache stepped out gingerly, clearly favoring his left side. He looked up at Hunts-The-Ruins, who, while leaning over the passenger’s side of the truck box, was readying his rifle. “End of the line for us Apache. Everyone out.” the old man said.
Dianire grabbed her Nueguan bow and quiver of arrows while vaulting over the driver’s side of the truck box. She came up to the driver’s window, stuck her head in, taking the young Apache driver aback and ignoring him while she addressed the other Nueguan Sister.
“That means you too, Alyria.” Dianire said. “Time to prove your worth in the real world of the Empty Earth.” With that, she marched to the front of the International, sizing up the possible threats on the Kierland grounds. Behind her, the tall Apache driver got out, gallantly helping Alyria with her large pack of Nueguan medicines and instruments.
The old Apache straightened up as best he could, coming around to the front of the International, its ancient radiator still ticking with heat. “Second Sister Dianire,” he said, the stress on the word ‘second’, “you are here at the request of the synthetics of the Kierland. There have been several incursions of Western Bandits onto their grounds since First Sister Rintiala opened the Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain and activated the Sky Wanderer’s Sentinel. Incursions so many and serious that the Apache Traders–meaning me–were notified. They specifically asked for Hunts-The-Ruins and three Nueguan Sisters, one each from of the major Guilds. And we’re already getting off to a rough start, as we are one Guild short.”
“We’re short because the Guild of Gardeners refused to send a representative,” Alyria said, hoisting her pack on the shoulders, adjusting its straps. “They think any negotiation with synthetics is a waste of time. So I have to speak for two Guilds,” she said, straightening up and smiling proudly.
“Don’t flatter yourself,” Dianire chided. “You’re just here as a milk cow.”
Hunts-The-Ruins came up with strapping on his Winchester 1893 to his back. “That’s enough out of you, Second Sister Dianire. As Provisional Trader, I outrank you on this mission, and I’m warning you to keep a civil tongue when speaking to Alyria.”
Dianire turned to Hunts-The-Ruins, crossing her arms in her ‘I could care less’ stance and regarded Hunts-The-Ruins with a raised right eyebrow. “Anything might happen here, and if it does, I’m better off without either of you. You won’t need to heroically rush to my aid, Apache.”
The old Apache–Finds-Water, First of the Seven Apache Traders–held his hands up for silence. “All of you need to look out for each other. The synthetics have asked for our help, and lot of the future of Tribe and Guild is riding on a successful outcome. That means diplomacy, and yes, I’m talking to you Dianire. “ With that, he motioned the tall Apache driver–Long Jumper, Candidate Trader for the Jicarilla Apache–back into the truck. With a grunt of gear shift and a stuttering roar, the 1948 Ford International backed up the way it had come, made a hard left, and drove off away from the Kierland.
This is a short piece written in B natural minor. I was playing around with ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd, and this Spaghetti Western music came out instead.
The Western Bandits ride to their doom.