by EPS.

Mindfire - the first ever publication of this classic novel to be authorised by the writer. Written by EPS (aka Lillian Sheperd), Mindfire deals with the hell in which Avon has to live when his latent empathic skills are triggered. He literally cannot escape from other people's emotions. This is an adult zine featuring Avon, Blake and Cally. It's mainly heterosexual, but there is some slash content. This is a zine for those who not only like an excellent plot, but also want Avon to *suffer*. Cally is presented as the Auronar warrior of the early episodes. Cover by Casey - a lovely pencil portrait of Avon.

Review by Sally Morton.

Review by Morrigan.

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Two extracts from early on in the zine

Again, he found himself glancing over his shoulder towards the crystal rock. How had it come here? An erratic transported in some long ago ice-age or epic flood? An outcrop thrust up by volcanic action? Or had it been brought here by some intelligent agency? Surely not. It must weigh a couple of thousand tonnes.

Damn it, there was something eerie about this place.

Eerie? It was a good thing that no-one could have overheard that thought. It would have destroyed his reputation.

There was mocking laughter.

Jumping to his feet and pulling out his gun, Avon turned in a slow circle, scanning for danger.

Nothing. He must have imagined the laughter. This place really was unsettling him.

He was about to sit down again when he realised that the massive topaz rock was no longer simply glowing in the reflected light of the galactic lens and the two small moons. Now the translucent yellow-brown crystal was full of bright, dancing pinpoints, like animal eyes behind tinted glass. He was about to wake Blake when the gyrating lights flickered free of the crystal and came cascading towards him.

When he tried to bring his gun to bear, he found he could no longer move. The call to Blake was halted in his throat. The funnel of lights swirled towards him, gleaming snowflakes in a whirlwind. He could no longer see Blake or the rock or the sky, and from behind the lights came cruel and mocking laughter, laughter he had heard before.

A voice spoke to him. Like the sound of a great organ, it seemed to fill all of space. "Well, alien, what would you say to the Cheribia?"

Suddenly, Avon's voice was freed to answer. "I have nothing at all to say to you," he stated, trying to remain calm amid waves of dizziness caused by the whirling lights. "Unless, that is, your name happens to be T'an. No? Somehow I thought it wasn't."

"You are at the Place of Meeting." The booming, musical voice brooked no contradiction. "We are here."

"I am waiting for a man called T'an," Avon repeated, "and I did not particularly want to come to this planet in the first place."

"Leave it," said another voice, equally loud, but colder, like an ice-bell. "See, it is a crippled thing."

"And of its own choice..." A third voice, crackling like fire and full of contempt.

Gritting his teeth, Avon forced himself to stare into the multi-coloured blaze. He could almost make out the shapes of creatures in the tornado of light. Grotesque, but not ugly. Different. Alien.

He said, "If you have quite finished with your incomprehensible insults, I would be grateful if you would go away and leave me in peace."

It seemed as if a hundred of the thunderous voices spoke together. "We have come to the Place of Meeting, at the Time of Meeting. What have you to ask?"

"That you go away."

"It is frightened."

"It came to be healed and now it fears the healing."

The organ-voice overrode the others. "This is the Place of Meeting. It is the Time of Meeting. What do you ask of the Cheribia?"

Avon, annoyed at being told that he was frightened, particularly as he was, and realising that the creatures would not leave until he had given them some sort of answer, snapped, "We came here to meet T'an, not to ask you anything. We're trying to form an alliance between his faction and the one led by V'el, though I don't think that we'll succeed. Unless you can produce T'an or give us some means of telling which of the Kalifii are friends and which are enemies, I suggest that you go away and leave us to our fate."

"It did come to be healed," the fire-voice insisted.

Avon was having the greatest of difficulty in hanging on to his temper. "It might clarify matters if you explained who you are and what the hell you are talking about."

The Cheribia ignored him.

"Give it what it wants..."

"...what it asked..."

"...the healing..."

"...the power to tell friends from enemies..."

"...make it whole..."

Avon was now distinctly alarmed. "What are you talking about?" he demanded. "I'm not sick! What are you going to do?"

"...take away the barriers..."

"...remove the mental blocks you yourself created..."

"...that cripple you..."

"...make you as you should have been..."

"...as you once were..."

"...as you were meant to be..."

A spear of fire blazed into Avon's mind, spilling agony. A long way off, he heard himself scream.

Extract Two

Avon was feeling most strange. Rousing slowly from deep sleep, he found himself full of confused emotions. He was frightened and concerned, though he could remember no reason why he should feel that way, and those familiar emotions seemed odd, as if he had never felt them in quite this way before. Perhaps it was because his head was aching and he felt weak and dizzy, even with his eyes tightly closed.

He opened them.

Blake was sitting less than a metre away. He smiled at Avon in the dim light and said, "Just lie still for a while. You're going to be all right. There's nothing to worry about."

It was a downright lie. Avon knew that with certainty, without being aware of how he knew. It made him angry, but the anger did not dissipate the strangely flavoured concern that he continued to feel, a concern laid over with an affection that shook him with its strength. There were other emotions there too, demanding his attention. He had never felt like this before.

It was frightening and somehow unreal.

What was happening to him?

Avon closed his eyes again, concentrating on bringing his confused emotions back under control. The fear and anger were easily checked, succumbing to reason and slow, measured breathing, but the affectionate concern increased in intensity. It was... separate... almost as if it was not coming from inside himself but from elsewhere.

Then Avon felt it increase. It was coming... towards?... him. He could place those different outer emotions in an exact position in space. His eyes flew open, instinctively seeking the source.

Blake was bending over him. His eyes met Avon's over centimetres.

"Avon? Is something wrong? Are you in pain?" The voice held nothing more than a very small note of anxiety, as one might ask after the health of a stranger, but to Avon there was overwhelming concern and affection hidden behind it. The emotions were as real as the voice itself and, though Avon felt them, he knew now that they were not his own.

The fear escalated into terror. "Get away from me!" he snarled.

"Avon, easy, it's only me, Blake. I'm not going to hurt you." Blake's voice was gentle but Avon could feel his anxiety growing into a fear that boosted his own to perilous intensity.

"Get away from me!" Avon shouted.

He felt the pain those words caused Blake as if he had been stabbed by them himself but Blake's expression did not change. He merely said, "Very well. If you want me back you only have to call." Then he got to his feet and moved away across the clearing.

As the distance increased between them, the turmoil inside Avon began to lessen. He lay flat on his back and closed his eyes again, willing himself to calm. The anxiety and affection were still there, at the limits of his consciousness, but now he was able to put them aside and ignore them. Avon was practised at controlling his emotions and rationalising his fears. Again, he steadied his breathing and waited for his heart to stop thumping. Once it had done so, and he was again calm, he approached the central problem, bringing a cold and brilliant intellect to bear on the question: what had happened to him?

What had happened to him?

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Last updated on 13th of December 2005.