Authors: Kathy Tyers
BY KATHY TYERS
Crown of Fire
BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA 55438
Crown of Fire
Copyright © 2000 Kathy Tyers
Cover by the Lookout Design Group, Inc.
Scripture quotations identified NIV are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973,1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Trie "NIV" and "New International Version" trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
Scripture quotations identified NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960,1962,1963, 1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977, 1995. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
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Published by Bethany House Publishers
A Ministry of Bethany Fellowship International
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
www. bethanyhouse. com
Printed in the United States of America by
Bethany Press International, Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Crown of fire / by Kathy Tyers.
p. cm. ISBN 0-7642-2216-3 (pbk.)
PS3570.Y4 C76 2000 813'.54—dc21
To Maie and Gary,
to Sylvia and John,
and to Kathy and Richard,
wishing you joy unspeakable
and full of glory.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test,
he will receive the crown of life
that God has promised
to those who love Him.
James 1:12, NIV
KATHY TYERS is a bestselling author in the ABA market with earned degrees in microbiology and education. A classically trained flutist turned folk artist, she regularly performs folk music with her husband and also plays with the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra. She and her husband make their home in Montana and have one son.
Kathy and her friends exchange e-mail at
To Steve, Lisa, Amy, Janna, Patrick, and Martha—Thank you for the chances and second chances, for commitment, attention to detail, professional guidance, and friendship.
Mark and Matthew—my models of manhood and excellence. Thank you, too, John and Idessa . . . and my dear Poppa.
Special thanks to Pastor Chris and Pastor Brett, and to the authors, leaders, and fellow students in Bible Study Fellowship who sparked ideas and sustained my growth, particularly Sharon, Sue, Michele, Robin, and Carol.
Thanks to my specialists, General Bob and Doctor Bob, Bill, and Diann. She never could've flown steadily without you.
Cheryl, Kathy, Karen, Chris, Basia, Gayla, and Ed—You held my hand before Firebird won her first wings. Thank you for your patience, ideas, encouragement, and loyalty. Thanks for your friendship down the years.
Sharon, you've been there week after week. God bless.
Tana, you picked up the pieces more times than you know.
Andrew, April, Clint, Greg, Jane, Jo, Harry, Linda, John, Julie, Mario, Matthew, Peter, Rob, Sigmund, Sylvia, and Wynne, and my enthusiastic friends at [email protected]—Thank you for letting
me draw you into this other world, and thank you for making it so much broader.
Finally, thanks to the holy and merciful One. You give and transcend all stories and songs.
All of the best ideas in this trilogy came from all of you. Any inaccuracies, impossibilities, or accidental perversions of truth are mine alone.
In this whorl of imagined star systems,
God created not Earth but different worlds.
One world's people lived by false doctrine and death.
Light-years away, faithful exiles awaited
the Messiah of all creation.
On a third world, they met.
WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE
Lady Firebird Angelo
was sworn from birth to the service of
merciless state religion, the nine holy
and doomed by her birth order. She was a
forced to seek a "noble" death in battle as soon as her oldest sister,
secured the royal succession. Sent to war as a combat pilot against the interstellar
Firebird was captured and interrogated by an enemy officer,
Master Sentinel Brennen Caldwell.
The most powerful
telepath of his generation, Brennen descended from a people who altered their children's genes to create telepathy. Only two known remnants of this
race survived a terrible civil war: Brennen's people, who called their psi-trained elite
and a small but powerful group of renegades they called the
As a prisoner, Firebird watched her own Planetary Navy slaughter civilians and saw her homeland in a chilling new light. Granted Federate asylum, she was sent to safety on the
capital world of
accompanied by a female Sentinel,
Brennen, promoted to Field General, was ordered to oversee the Federate demilitarization of Netaia. When Netaia fell to the Federates, the throne passed to Firebird's reluctant sister Carradee. Meanwhile, jealous Ellet nearly let Firebird be killed by Netaians who came to Tallis, demanding custody. Ellet then tried to intimidate Firebird, revealing that Brennen had sensed that he and Firebird were
—perfectly matched to each other at the deepest level of soul and mind. Brennen returned to Tallis to find Firebird in full-defense mode, distrustful of him yet unwilling to let Ellet Kinsman defeat Brennen by subterfuge.
Over the next several weeks, he tried to convince Firebird that Sentinel
was a desirable state, not the dehumanizing continuous telepathy she feared. He also tried to induce her to ask about his faith, the worship of Ehret's
The Sentinels lived under strict
including (as divine discipline for their ancestors' disobedience) a commandment against proselytizing to anyone who did not inquire first. As an heir to ancient prophecies, Brennen knew he must not marry outside his faith.
Back on Netaia, Firebird and Carradee's middle sister
and her paramour,
Count Tel Tellai,
schemed to throw off Federate domination and seize the throne from Carradee. Firebird and Brennen returned to Netaia secretly, and against the
orders, to halt Phoena's research. Firebird was captured by Phoena, her devoted Count Tel, and the piggish
Duke Muirnen Rogonin.
Awaiting a dawn execution, Firebird begged Brennen's one God to show her that such a transcendent being really could exist. She saw and heard a magnificent vision of Him singing the universe into reality. Immediately, she committed herself to Him as the
Brennen laid out explosives to destroy Phoena's weaponry research lab, then let himself be captured in order to free Firebird. Finally, she realized he would lay down his life for her and that he was worthy of trust and love. Facing execution beside her, Brennen detonated his explosives. They escaped in a single fightercraft. Firebird defeated a Ne-taian pilot in aerial combat, then flew back to the Netaian capital.
Brennen knew that Firebird had barely committed herself to faith with no real knowledge of doctrine, but after prayer, he proposed marriage and pair bonding. Firebird accepted.
Immediately after their wedding at the Sentinels' sanctuary,
Brennen was dismissed from Federate service for insubordination. They returned to his home world,
Eight months later, they were attacked by a Shuhr assailant. Firebird, six and a half months pregnant, managed to give the alarm, but Brennen's brother
his wife, and their three children had been killed. Shuhr had struck the Caldwell family before, leaving only one male heir to a set of mysterious prophecies. Firebird only knew that a Caldwell would supposedly destroy a "nest of evil" that sounded exactly like the Shuhr colony world,
Brennen could not explain any other prophecies until Firebird was formally consecrated into his faith community.
They retreated to a secure apartment at the
medical center. Firebird was consoled for her loss of freedom by the revelation that her family, like Brennen's, descended from gene-altered
telepaths. At college, she could try to develop her latent abilities, but she was unable to make the most basic mental gesture,
ward to touch her
epsilon carrier wave.
Brennen's colleagues asked him to help develop a portable long-range transmitter for their
abilities. They called the secret project Remote Individual Amplification, or
Firebird took up studies in governmental analysis. Sociopolitical-economic simulations predicted that her home world would shortly throw off its oppressive
in a bloody civil war.
On the Shuhr world of Three Zed, the ruling Eldest
welcomed his grandson
back from a training mission to Thyrica, where he had tried to wipe out the Caldwell family and launch the Shuhr on a new phase of planetary conquest.
Testing Director Dru Polar
chastised Micahel for his failure, while Firebird's unexpected Eh-retan heritage caught the attention of
a genetic researcher.
Phoena was easy prey for a Shuhr agent who suggested that she seek Shuhr aid. She traveled to Three Zed, where Dru Polar made her a prisoner. The Shuhr set about destroying the Angelo family. Phoena's abandoned husband, Prince Tel, came to Thyrica begging for Brennen's help in a rescue effort. Brennen agreed only to house Tel while they waited for Firebird to deliver her twins.
In labor with
and found a flaming darkness inside her mind. Brennen was called to Thyrica's main military base two days later, when three Shuhr-hijacked fighter ships were spotted incoming. As Brennen and other officers scrambled a diversion, disgruntled
—a Sentinel seduced by the Shuhr with promises of extended life and power—attacked Firebird. When he tried to use
to force her to suicide, she unwittingly drew him into her flaming
Brennen returned home to find Terrell dead and Firebird near death. He evacuated her, Tel, and the twins as the hijacked fighters plummeted into another Thyrian city,
and blasted out a massive crater.
Back on Netaia, Carradee and her husband,
were nearly killed in an explosion inside the Angelo palace. Muirnen Rogonin had himself named Regent, then turned the Electorate against Carradee, pressuring her to abdicate. Fearing the Shuhr, Carradee sent her young daughters
offworld. She refused to suicide in the traditional manner but took her injured husband to Hesed House.
Safe at Hesed, Firebird was told that until they understood how Harcourt Terrell died, the Sentinels considered her a threat to Brennen and especially to her twins. The
Sanctuary Master and Mistress, Jenner
took custody of infants Kiel and Kinnor. Brennen received a dream-summons from the Eternal Speaker, calling him to Three Zed to prevent the destruction of Hesed and most of his brethren.
At Firebird's formal consecration, delayed by the attack on Tar-ance's family, she learned that Brennen's family was prophesied to produce a holy king who would rule over all worlds and peoples, king of all nations and tongues, eternal and merciful. "In Him shall perfect peace, true atonement, be fully accomplished."
Brennen was captured at Three Zed. Dru Polar tortured Phoena fatally with his
then boasted that he would force Brennen to torture and kill Firebird in the same way. The Shuhr could then take advantage of Brennen's
to break his mind.
Prince Tel humbled himself to ask Sanctuary Master Jenner Dabarrah for access healing. Jenner and Firebird worked together to understand the mysterious darkness in her mind, finally concluding she'd been given the ability to see the taint of evil present in every human soul, though all were created in a holy image.
Dru Polar forced Brennen to observe as he tried to "fuse" epsilon carriers with a culled Shuhr youngster. If one carrier were first artificially reversed, Polar theorized, then the superimposition of those carriers should release an explosion of epsilon power. Brennen realized this could explain how Firebird killed Harcourt Terrell. If she had a naturally reversed epsilon carrier wave, then when Terrell attacked her, they could have achieved fusion, amplifying his deadly intent.
Ellet Kinsman arrived at Hesed with Brennen's friend
in an RIA ship. Firebird and Tel took the ship to Three Zed, hoping to rescue Brennen and Phoena. By now, Brennen had been forced to create amnesia blocks that prevented his access to large portions of his own memory. Firebird found her bond mate tormented by irrational fears. Worse, he did not remember her, though he could sense that she was his pair-bonded mate.
Dru Polar, Eshdeth Shirak, and the Shuhr woman,
intercepted Firebird and Brennen inside the colony's generator chamber. In a last moment of surrender, Firebird relinquished her will to the Mighty Singer and managed to turn, deliberately linking her carrier with Brennen's to release fusion energy. Cassia attacked, and Firebird remained conscious long enough to draw Cassia into a fatal psiclysm.
In a final duel with Dru Polar, Brennen was nearly vanquished when Polar raised Brennen's own
over his head, preparing to throw it. Brennen used fusion energy to drive the crystace down through Polar's body into the floor.
Back at Hesed, even Jenner Dabarrah could not heal Brennen. Still, the Federacy reinstated him to Special Operations in return for his attempt to rescue Phoena. He was content in having saved the sanctuary and glad to return with Firebird to their sons.
However, the Shuhr had no intention of simply letting him go.