Book Jacket

 

rank 4561
word count 87535
date submitted 27.07.2010
date updated 09.08.2010
genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, ...
classification: universal
complete

Juneau's Line

Ryan K. Nolan

Juneau discovers ikebana flower-arranging--and her whole world changes. Luckily, she has all the time in the world to figure things out.

 

According to the Japanese art of flower arranging ikebana, the world and all of nature can be broken down into three elements: time, space, and mind. Juneau Sakamoto finds herself the unwitting possessor of the ability to bend--and even break--time when she takes up ikebana as a talisman against boredom and the stresses of college. She soon meets her half-sisters, Yuki and Claire, who have since come into their own powers: space- and mind-bending, respectively. The sisters set out for Kamakura, Japan, where Juneau meets her father for the first time. His sordid past has led to her morbid present--and the future doesn't look too bright either, if the trio can't nullify a beauty with all three of their powers combined. Fortunately, Juneau and her sisters have some otherworldly help in Juneau's Line, the first in the Master Arranger series.

Juneau's Line is complete. All 47 chapters are posted here on Authonomy.

 
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tags

china, flowers, japan, magic, sisters, time travel

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38 comments

 

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Chapters

44

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Juneau didn't waste time explaining to her sisters what she knew or how she knew it. She focused on bending time and, finding the perfect bending trance, she sailed into the past. The sun sprang up out of the west, casting long shadows that swung from one end of the room to the other. The seasons ran backward, from summer to spring to winter to fall, on and on, until she was whizzing past them too fast to notice, too fast to care. All around her, the Shokadō School was changing. The beds were cleared out, as were the rest of the furniture. The plumbing was torn out, the paint stripped from the walls on the brushes of painters. But the building remained. She soon saw that many generations of Shokadō agents had passed countless nights dreaming in their very same quarters.

As she sailed back in time, Juneau remembered the strange communion between all of Shokadō's Time-Benders. Why hadn't she thought of it before? Hideyoshi had undoubtedly known, but had to let her come to it on her own. But if Mameha hadn't told her, would she have?

Juneau wanted to kick herself, but decided instead that if she could set to right Rikka's wrongs, she would forgive herself. Now, applying herself to her bending, Juneau remembered Claire's tempora. If she focused, she could find her target, way back in the recesses of time, at the beginning of Shokadō's long, secret history, at the very root of her clandestine family tree: her oldest ancestor, Ieyasu Tarō.

Hide had said that any of the teachers through all time were at her disposal. Furthermore, not since Mitsurigi Ayumi were Time-Benders capable of splitting realities. Tarō would undoubtedly be the one to teach her how to split realities. As she reached out her psychic feelers, she divined his smell, too--pine cones and rainwater--though how she knew this was beyond her.

Finally, the scent was so strong, it made her eyes water and her ears ring. She sneezed and came crashing into the past. The room was hardly changed, which was a big surprise to her. She had come five hundred years into the past; some things might have changed. But not this room, at least not by much. It was sparsely furnished: a low table, a hard bed, a stool.

On it sat a girl of no more than eighteen, twisting her sleek jet hair in knots that wouldn't hold--not like the knot of consternation on her brow, which would not come undone. She looked up and started at seeing Juneau, though she quickly put back on her fretting face.

"I'm sorry," Juneau apologized, bowing her head. Something about this girl was so familiar to her. "I shouldn't have barged in here unannounced."

The girl with jet black hair stood to bow. "You must be here for the reunion. My name is Kanako."

"Auntie Kanako!" Juneau cried, recognizing her aunt immediately.

"Do we know each other?" young Kanako asked, somewhat miffed.

"You don't know me, but I know you. Very well."

Kanako's face was a mask of emotion. Juneau couldn't decide if this pleased or displeased Kanako. It made Juneau want to cry in recollection. For this, too, was something that a young Juneau had had to figure out early on about her tough-as-nails aunt Kanako.

Tentatively, Kanako asked, "What is your name, then?"

"Juneau," she answered simply. But she corrected herself quickly, "Actually, it's Ieyasu Junō."

Kanako was taken aback by this and bowed again, more deeply. "Very well, Ieyasu Junō. I've been waiting for you. Tarō-san instructed me to wait for the last Time-Bender to arrive, and it can be none other than you." Juneau nodded. The girl continued, "It was Tarō-san's estimation that all of us Time-Benders would seek him out when the time came for us to split realities."

"That's why you're so upset," Juneau commented, seeing that this remark only deepened the fret lines in Kanako's forehead and around her mouth. Quickly, she added, "It's true, though; I need to split realities to--"

"You don't need to tell me," Kanako said rather stuffily. "In fact, it's best that you tell no one." Without another word or so much as a glance in Juneau's direction, she walked out the door.

"There are twelve Time-Benders here," Kanako was saying when Juneau raced to catch up. "And you are the twelfth, so we can get started." She pointed at a clearing where a dozen people, mostly women, were waiting.

Juneau had a thought, and asked, "If all of the Time-Benders throughout history are here, and I am the last, does that mean I am the last Time-Bender?"

Young Kanako put on a thinking face and after a moment nodded. "I suppose that would be the case. That means..." But the girl didn't finish her statement.

She didn't need to; Juneau knew that if there were no Time-Benders after her to continue stopping Rikka, then it would be the twelfth and final Time-Bender, Juneau herself, who would finally do what none before her could. And it was true; Juneau and her sisters, with Kitsune's help, had finally rid the world of Tachibana Rikka.

They continued to the clearing in uncomfortable silence. Looking ahead, Juneau made out nine young women, one young man, and two other males of indeterminate age. None of the girls' faces looked over twenty, and Juneau suddenly felt like she was at a university function with women's issues as the theme. They were too far to see clearly, but Juneau recognized Kitsune's fox-hood. As she drew nearer, he caught sight of her and nodded. She smiled demurely to acknowledge him.

The other man was quite attractive, in the way that Kato was: dark hair, dark eyes, and bright, white teeth that blazed in the midst of his tanned face when he smiled. He was shorter than she expected, but he held himself with such pride and conviction that she couldn't help but be impressed by him. He straightened up his back now and fixed her and Kanako with a gaze.

"All right, then. Everyone gather round. Time for introductions."

But he needn't have introduced himself; everyone in the circle recognized Ieyasu Tarō, as well as the beauty at his side with the silken black mane. Juneau was astounded by Mitsurigi Ayumi's beauty, amazed at how dark her skin was and that she was ever so slightly taller than Tarō. She sensed a sort of embarrassment about this in Ayumi, but Juneau couldn't fathom why.

Tarō introduced the others in attendance, each come to tarry with Tarō for what was likely their most important lesson. There was Mika, Harumi, Shizuka, Hikari, Hirata, Tetsuko, Emiko, and Yuki. The young man's name was Katsuhiko. Auntie Kanako and Juneau made twelve.

The introductions done, Tarō began to walk, launching into a story about the Buddha that Juneau missed much of. She was so distracted by everything. She saw an impressive weeping willow, its boughs slinking down to the surface of a small stream--Narcissis to his watery grave. Kanako kept in step with her, her proximity reassuring to Juneau. She tried once or twice to instigate a conversation, but Kanako's stern disposition was something she had apparently carried all through life, even in youth. She shushed Juneau more than once.

Juneau eventually settled on watching Kitsune's amusing reactions to Tarō's spiel. The story of the Buddha wound on and on, interspersed with sutras and the occasional koan, mention of schools and houses. She tried to listen for some tidbit of useful information, anything that would help her split realities then travel between them, but to no avail. The others looked as bored as she felt. It was enough to make Juneau yawn.

Tarō caught her in the act. For the first time, it seemed, he registered their bored expressions and sighed. Finally, he coughed and said, "I have been expecting you for some time now. Ayumi instructed me of your arrival en masse and, though we knew not why you would all make the journey, we soon found that we are all, of necessity, in the same predicament."

His audience, who had come back to hang on his words, nodded now.

Juneau felt apprehensive. Tarō's dark eyes fell on her, the eyebrows drawn back into the creases of his brown forehead. He nodded slowly, as if cluing in to her disquiet.

"I assure you you will not go home ill-prepared."

Everyone looked relieved, except for Kitsune, whose bemused expression never left his face. Juneau saw Ayumi nod and wondered what her reasons were. A spark and a glance transpired between Tarō and Ayumi, and it did not go unnoticed by the others. Each of the others eyed Kitsune nervously, save for Juneau who looked on him with filial respect. To him alone, she mouthed, "Thank you."

His grin broke wider, stretching off his mouth and practically falling off the corner of his face. This appeared to strike the rest of them as a grimace, and more than half of them gasped or coughed in discomfort. Ayumi saved the darkest of glares for Kitsune. It all made Juneau wonder why he was even there. For her part, she was glad to see that he was fine, and that there were no hard feelings.

Now that Tarō had their attention, he spoke to them about the principles of the line element in ikebana. He said, "There are others manifestations of the line element in every arrangement: life, death, emotion, direction, aim, goals, astrology and the stars--any number of possibilities. But for the purposes of the Shokadō School, the line element represents time. If you split the line element--the element of time--you break off another reality, another dimension, another world. Keep the end intact, and the realities inevitably converge in the future. Split the line completely, and the realities remain severed, never to reunite."

He led them along a dusty pathway beyond a copse of trees, away from the school. Ayumi never strayed far from him, always keeping one eye on Kitsune.

"Time travel, as we practice it," Tarō began again, "knows no paradox. You can interact with yourself at any age, and nothing bad will come of it. If it does, in another reality the converse occurs. If you die in this realm, you live on in another. If you do not achieve your plans in this realm, you do in another. If something you love is destroyed in this realm," his eye fell on his black-haired beauty Ayumi, "your love lives on in another. You all have the power to create that reality on a whim, and step into it, should the need arise."

"But how?" The question came from the one named Yuki. She seemed tomboyish, her eyes at a different slant than the rest, hinting at Chinese heritage. So, Juneau thought, this was Yuki's namesake.

The one named Hikari seconded the question. Her skin was paler than the rest, and she shone like a gem in the midst of rougher stones. Claire's namesake.

"It is all an analogy, on a grand scale," Tarō said. "Ayumi?"

The first Time-Bender stepped forward. "At first, you will need a physical material to split, something to ground your powers, something to bend with your hands until you are comfortable enough to bend it with your mind. But consider a typical line material, like steel grass or a bamboo shoot, and it's hard to imagine splitting it. You can't easily cut already thin steel grass or too-tough bamboo. But if you work with aspidistra, say, or pandanus, you could easily split the line element into additional lines. Each split, another reality. As Tarō said, if you split the material all the way to the end, the resultant realities never reconverge. But if you leave part of it attached, the very end, say--then the realities merge in the future... As Time-Benders of Shokadō, all of you can split realities as easily as you would a leaf."

"But splitting the desired reality is but a step," Tarō continued. "In order to reach your desired destination, what must you do?"

"Time-bend," Juneau said with certainty.

Ayumi nodded, "Exactly. You time-bend your way to the optimal outcome, and there you are: in the split-off reality, all your sorrows corrected for."

There were more questions, largely concerning process and possible failures, which Tarō seemed to brush, saying, "You don't need me to teach you how to do it. You simply needed the principles. That is what you cannot learn on your own. Remember, too, that realities split off on their own. What you need to master is how to pass from one to another, how to traverse the length of the desired reality to reach the desired outcome.

"I bid you go now. Succeed. But I leave you with two things to consider. First, time travel is more straight-forward than splitting realities. Indeed, often, you cannot do the latter without first performing the former. And finally, remember your tanden. Though you take them in your hearts wherever and whenever you go, sometimes they simplify the process..."

 

Chapters

44

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Laura Bailey wrote 1065 days ago

This is very well written. No problem backing it.

Laura Bailey
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Eunice Attwood wrote 1292 days ago

This is certainly something different and refreshing. A very feminine feel to your writing, which is lovely. A great storyline which plays out well. Happy to back. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1354 days ago

All right, the whole book is up for anyone who wants to see how it ends.

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1354 days ago

I apologize again for not commenting sooner. The truth is that I am very busy. I'll be traveling back to China in a week, have a full time job technical editing (which means that staring at a computer screen after working for eight hours is the last thing on my mind), and I am currently working on another book completely unrelated to Juneau's Line. Needless to say, for all the writers out there, you know how it is when you've fallen in love with a new project: the older projects receive less attention. That said, I hope no one will take my lack of a backing or commenting on your books. Everyone understands that there are simply too many books to read--and even more to write!

I understand that this won't help my standing at all, but I'll keep at it.

Thanks again, everyone!
Ryan

tlst wrote 1359 days ago

What an interesting storyline - your pitch is intriguing and the writing style doesn't disappoint. Backed. Tania, This Last Summer

Pia wrote 1359 days ago

Ryan -

Juneau's Line - I enjoy this very much, love the gentle rhythm of the writing, and the theme openes a whole new world to me. Thank you.

Backed recently, Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Katherine Edwards wrote 1360 days ago

Lovely writing with a gentle rhythm which I enjoyed greatly. Well done on this and good luck. Katherine.

Kidd1 wrote 1361 days ago

Beautiful written narrative in a voice that has a calming effect on the reader. Backed

I hope you will give mine a read and back it if you like it.
Best,
Robert
Golden Conspiracy

Beval wrote 1361 days ago

There's a calm quality to the writing that seems to reflect the calm beauty of Japanese flower arranging. There is also the same discipline and attention to detail.
I found the opening chapter excellent, there was a haunting element within the writing that complimented the sensations Juneau was feeling.
On a more mundane level, I loved the cat as well, arrogant, self centred and totally catlike.
The narrative is beautifully written and draws the reader along at this calm regular pace that is a pleasure to read, the story unfolds before you, never demanding attention, but gently compelling it.

klouholmes wrote 1361 days ago

Hi Ryan, I can imagine that Kuni hides her anxiety well since her mother isn’t aware of it. You’ve captured a personality here that is discreetly seeking and with very lovely prose. This is very interesting, the reference to Zen and then the time bending in the synopsis. Kuni’s POV is done well while this subject is pleasant to read about and it stimulates with concept. Happy to shelve – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

C W Bigelow wrote 1361 days ago

Ryan, an entertaining, well written story that is humorous, with a style that is captures the reader. Nice job. Backed. CW (To Save the Sun)

Barry Wenlock wrote 1362 days ago

This is original, intriguing and extremely entertaining. Backed with absolute pleasure,
Barry
LITTLE KRISNA AND THE BIHAR BOYS

homewriter wrote 1362 days ago

Beautiful descriptive writing. Well researched. Superb story telling. Don't be influenced by the 'show don't tell brigade' that inhabit this site! Backed, Gordon - The Harpist of Madrid

Ferdi wrote 1362 days ago

Backed

Ferdi
A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1363 days ago

Really interesting and vivid. I love that you take something like the flower arranging and weave it into the story, it's fascinating. I like that this book doesn't really feel like sci-fi to me, the time travel parts just felt like a natural part of the story. That's impressive to me! You've done something original with this and I love that. The writing and the characters are strong and really kept me reading.

best of luck with this
Missy

KW wrote 1363 days ago

Ikebana and time travel. Why not, if you set out for Kamakura. "If Juneau's father was out there somewhere, she'd never know." I have a feeling she will find out soon. Then she is suddenly able to read Japanese. Until this moment, or a little later, ikebana "had been less than a hobby." Now, she begins to realize it "is a way of life." At least, for Shokado in Kamakura and the Ieyasu dynasty. Of course, her father's name has to be Hideyoshi. I have a feeling that there is a Nobunaga lurking around somewhere.

This is quite entertaining and intriguing. I'll be back to read more of this time-traveling ikebana fantasy. Backed for now.

yasmin esack wrote 1364 days ago

Lovely!

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1364 days ago

WOW! To everyone who's commented, thank you very much. Juneau's Line is very much a labor of love, which is to say that I love flowers, language, most things Japanese, and above all writing! I am very, very new to Authonomy, so I don't even know how to back a book, but I'm encouraged that as many readers have backed me in as many hours as I've been on Authonomy! It is very, very humbling. I hope to have to time to return the favor to you all. As an aside, the picture on the cover I took myself of a piece of ikebana I did myself. Actually, I fell in love with ikebana, which I took up literally the day I started writing the book...

PS. I have already begun writing the sequel. Also, I would like incite on a possible deal-breaker for future readers: the series goes backward! So, Juneau's Line is actually chronologically third of three. Any thoughts?

Burgio wrote 1365 days ago

JUNEAU’S LINE
What an imaginative story. I’ll think of it every time I pass my local flower shop which always feature at least one Japanese inspired bouquet in their window. I like the whole idea of being able to bend time; it’s good plotting. Juneau is a good main character; she’s likable and interesting to follow as she explores all the strange things happening to her. I’m adding this to my shelf. If you have a moment, would you look at mine (Grain of Salt)? I’m in 8th place but only holding on by my teeth. Burgio

name falied moderation wrote 1365 days ago

Dear Ryan
this is a beautiful book cover, so well done. Your long pitch was the thing that drew me to your book, and I thought I had already backed it but obviously not....I will coment later when I have read more but till then i wish to support your climb to the top
Backed for sure my me
THE VERY BEST OF LUCK
BACKED BY ME FOR SURE
If you would take a look at my book, comment ( hopefully positive ) and back it that would be soooo great. if not that is OK also
VERY best of luck
Denise
The Letter

andrew skaife wrote 1366 days ago

This is a wonderfully written piece of work with a quiet pace that runs smooothly over the read. You have, in tune with your pace, an exciting structure and rhythm that moves the narrative forward well.

You know your stuff and the Japanese scenery, environment and background is beautifully imprinted upon us.

Your use of language is admirable: just two examples:

"Her neighbourhood (I still still over American spellings), like her bedroom, housed no shadey characters."

"Kuni Sakamoto. on the other hand, was old-fashioned or perhaps just Japanese fashioned."

These two lines work on so many levels that it is dizzying.

Excellent and certainly BACKED.

livid wrote 1366 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

livid wrote 1366 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

livid wrote 1366 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

CarolinaAl wrote 1366 days ago

You provide us with an outstanding story with an intelligent plot and fascinating characters. Polished writing. Backed.

celticwriter wrote 1366 days ago

Continuing to be entertained by your journey. Nice continuity of story, structure. Happily backed.

jim
jack & charmian london

lizjrnm wrote 1366 days ago

This is excellent writing! Easy to back for an intriguing unique story.

Liz
The Cheech Room

soutexmex wrote 1366 days ago

Ryan: I read Chapter 5 and this is very competent writing. Nothing to gig you on. Even the pitches both worked for me. Think you're gonna have to pound the pavement to get people to read this effort. All godd writing does on this website. BACKED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

Rusty Bernard wrote 1366 days ago

Hi Ryan,

your 'future' is 'bright' if you continue with this. Well done and good luck.

I have backed your book because I was hooked by the pitch, loved the introduction and read on. How much more I read depends on time and commitment.

Enjoy everything and good luck.

Rusty Bernard
The Mental Pause


lynn clayton wrote 1366 days ago

You describe excellently, particularly Juneau's sense of being watched in the night - not overwritten, not over-stressed, and all the more believable for that. For me, though, there was one false note - I didn't believe it when she stifled a yawn. I think in those circumstances something physical takes place that precludes yawning. We're very much on the alert.
Excellent, though. Backed. Lynn

SammySutton wrote 1366 days ago

Ryan,

Fabulous, in so many ways. Your words touch the senses in a rare way. The reader is bombarded with wonderful gifts practical, cultural, and artistic. This all is done in support of the story rather than in a distracting manner.
Absolutely wonderful. I am so impressed. Linguistics..Wow!
Good Luck!
I backed!
Sammy Sutton
King Solomon's '13'

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1366 days ago

Beautiful and evocative with a thoroughly original thread running through it. I was suprised by the use of the term "Chowed down" when the cat was eating, this is a very masculine phrase to be used in a tale of a sensitive female and her life. Paula Barrett (Cuthbert-how mean is my valley)

K A Smith wrote 1366 days ago

I like the idea, I like the cross-cultural milieu. I like the cat. Juneau's Line is a bit of a slow-grower, for me, but I will persist, as there are qualities of the book which appeal to me. What almost stopped me from reading past the first paragraph was the first paragraph, which seems to be striving awkwardly for some over-literary impact - to the point where it didn't make much sense. The promise I saw in the pitch kept me reading, however, and I will finish it. The book gets better when it doesn't try so hard.

Jim Darcy wrote 1366 days ago

Evocative and quite haunting in places, lyrical prose that quickly cpatures the reader's interest and involvement.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown

Jason Morte wrote 1366 days ago

What a wonderfully original idea! This is something new for the fantasy genre and it's about time! Are you sure there are no elves in this book? What about ogres? Anyway, joking aside, this is well written and deserves some attention. We get to do some traveling to Japan, too, which is something different. Ikebana...wow, who would've thought ikebana could be novel fodder? Nice job. And space- and time-bending are drawn from Japanese lore, if I'm not mistaken. Very interesting stuff indeed.

Despinas1 wrote 1366 days ago

Great pitch promising an amazing sci fi with a twist of mammoth proportion. Backed on the strength of its pitch and originality. Wishing you much success.
Best of luck, backed with pleasure
Helen
The Last Dream

Katy Christie wrote 1366 days ago

So often it is the words that transport me more than the story but, in this case, I believe it's both. You have a lovely way with words and I wish I could stay with you longer but, alas, I can't (see profile). This story has the beginnings of the uncanny, the mysterious and all the trappings that draw the reader into the book. Well done and good luck.
Hate to canvas but I've got my first red arrow (ouch!), so if you could have a look at my novel with a view to backing it, I'd be most grateful.
Katy Christie
No Man No Cry

SusieGulick wrote 1366 days ago

Dear Ryan, I love that you are making this a series. :) It's wonderful & I love your heroine - she is so sensitive - wish I had powers. :) Your pitch is excellent, so set the hook for me to read your book. :) When you use short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, it makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm backing your book. :) Could you please take a moment to back my TWO memoir books? Thanks. :) Love, Susie :)

This is information from authonomy (so beware of any other untrue information you may receive that is spam & not quotes of authonomy):
"When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved"
"Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs."
backed :)
Love, Susie :)

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