Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature.
Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood. He also has a passion for caving, urban archeology, taking pictures of clouds, and architecture. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, and their four dogs.
Raised in the dark under the lash of the Black Hat Sisterhood, when the woman who would become known as Kat, is sent on a suicide mission into the heart of the League, she was not expected to survive. Her mission: discover the identity of the fabled Shadow tech Goddess, a being who does not exist. All other considerations, including her possible death, are secondary.
But, Kat is guided by higher powers, by merciful hands that feed her, clothe her and whisper in her ear. As she watches the sun rise for the first time, she recalls their words: “Be strong,” they said. “You have much to live for.
It was a long trip to Tyrol, the Black Hat antsy, obsessed with her padded seat, refusing to sit still, clutching her basket, her head thrust out the window. The Autocar kept dispensing spritzes of air fragrance to offset the Black Hat’s dank mustiness. At last, the hellish journey neared its end and the Autocar came down from over the sea and settled into the flat familiar lanes and marshes of Esther, floating just over the cobbles, winding through the neck of the Eastern Continent north of Rustam, nearing Tyrol. The flat olive green Estherlands seemed to bore her. She turned her attention from the window to him, staring the whole time, studying his face, making him uncomfortable.
“It’s quite rude to stare,” he said.
“Garment,” she replied, ignoring his remark.
“I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this. Your name shall be ‘Man in Garment the Color of Mercy’. I am a giver of names. You are wearing a magnificent garment, and ‘Garment’, for short, shall be your name.” She seemed rather proud of herself.
Stenstrom was astonished. “This ‘garment’ is my HRN coat, and I already have a name,” he said perfunctorily.
She seemed puzzled, cocking her head to one side. “Like the sky, you are named already?”
“Yes,” he said, having no idea what she was talking about. “Yes, that is correct.”
“Who named you?”
“My bloody parents, that’s who.”
Silence. The Autocar moved steadily down the road, the skies turning wet and gray. He was sharing a ride with a filthy, smelly, tangled, barefoot Black Hat slathered in Shadow tech and stale food like a bum passed out behind a pub, but the rules of courtesy and standard decorum won out. He decided to offer his name, as was proper.
“I am Stenstrom, Lord of Belmont-South Tyrol, son of Stenstrom the Older, captain of the Fleet Warbird Caroline, and of Jubilee, 7th Lady of Tyrol.”
The Black Hat listened and wasn’t impressed. “Garment is better,” she proclaimed. “I have named many.”
“Who have you named?” he asked.
She opened her mouth to answer, but then her eyes went lost, staring out in confusion, as if she couldn’t remember those she had named.
More silence. Again, decorum won out. “And what is your name?” he finally asked.
“I am Kat.”
“Kat? Just Kat?
“I am Kat. The gods named me Kat.”
“I see. The gods again …” –Lord Stenstrom and Kat share a ride to his home in Tyrol.