Authors: Scott Toney
Ivanus’s stomach ached, his chest burning as out of nothing he felt solid ground beneath him. He tumbled, bracing himself with his hands on cold rock floor. Darkness swelled.
No, not now.
Bile rose in his throat.
Where am I?
He clutched Riad’s gun tight, the edges of its handle forming indents in his hand. He also noted the book he had taken still in his garb.
Is Samuel defeated? Have I time-jumped again?
Chanting voices echoed in a nearby hall and an herbal scent filled the air.
This cannot be the citadel.
He stood slowly, his head pounding as he began to see figures moving around him in his
They were blurry and indefinite.
Daylight streamed through a nearby doorway and Ivanus walked toward it, moving into a hall where bouquets of flowers sat on ledges in vases. He stopped, touching a yellow flower’s petals and breathing in its aroma before following the light onward.
“Lord, almighty. Lord, protector. Lord, creator.” The chanting grew louder as he walked. “Forgiver of sins and knower of all things. Praise to you for the fruits we eat. Praise to you for the blessings of our lives.”
The voices speaking in unison warmed him, reverberating and lulling him in a way.
“Lord, almighty. Lord, protector. Lord, creator. Forgiver of sins and knower of all things. Praise to you for the fruits we eat. Praise to you for the blessings of our lives.”
Where am I? When am I?
He looked around the corner.
Three men in red robes kneeled at an altar. Their hands were braced in prayer and their heads bowed low. Another man who was also robed in red kneeled at the altar closer by. His robe had white, interweaving designs on it. Behind them was a balcony. Pure sunlight shone through its opening and Ivanus could see a vast blue ocean and green mountains through it. There were boats and rafts with men on them on the water.
I am in the citadel.
He stumbled, scuffing the ground as he moved and causing the chanting men to be silent.
The man who had kneeled separately from the others stood, walking to him. “How did you get here? This tower is sealed off from city folk.”
“I…” Ivanus stepped backward, concealing his weapon within his clothes.
A far younger Samuel held out his hand. The branding of an essence was in the flesh of his arm.
“However you arrived here, you are welcome to pray with us. The Lord has brought you to us and we will share our food, faith and what peace the Lord gives us with you.”
The moon was full in the night sky, a glowing ring illuminating around it and draping Solaris in crisp white light.
Julieth lay outside Gest’s walls, in the forest of trees beyond them, relaxing and watching the stars sprinkling the sky in the distance. Nearby children laughed, chasing each other beneath the trees’ veranda. Small fires also pocked the desert beyond the trees as groups of men and women gathered, telling stories and sharing ideas while enjoying fresh fruit that had been provided to them. A makeshift city had begun to form outside Gest’s walls. Once the people of Gest realized there was an infinite supply of food and water they became less leery of the strangers journeying across the desert daily in search of the city’s life giving nourishment.
“You can’t catch me!” a girl with long hair shouted as she ran past, giggling as a boy chased her.
Julieth was suddenly reminded of the youth. She thought much about him and Ivanus in recent days.
Where are you now? Will I see you again?
The way Bayne spoke before they left had scarred her heart.
What I would give to know you are safe…
Pow! Pow! Pow!
Vibrant lights suddenly exploded overhead and the people inside and outside of the city cheered. A group that had arrived the day before had manipulated metallic powder stored in Gest to create decorative balls that could be launched and explode in the sky.
Look what man can create when we are not solely focused on survival. It is beautiful to see the greatness that is possible.
She stood, extending her wings. Wind buffeted against them, rippling and lifting her off the ground. She spiraled into the sky, enjoying the air currents curving over her form before beating her wings and hovering above the earth in the moonlight. Looking at the fires on the land and the lake’s rippling water warmed her.
Look at them, they are free and safe. We cannot remain safe, though. Solaris must be set free from this darkness Samuel has cast upon it, set free from him and the essences. Kaskal must be told what is here and be healed.
Something swift caught her eye in the desert beyond the city, distant from everything else. It ran on all fours, a shadow darting back and forth much faster than any being she had seen before.
Julieth dove quickly, pulsing through sheets of wind as she struck out toward the thing. Her heart beat fast. She was unarmed.
As she neared it the thing stood on two legs, its fur blowing in the wind as its wild eyes stared at her. Sharp teeth filled its maw.
Julieth’s feet landed hard. “You are the one who spoke to me when we fled the underground. Why are you here?”
The were-beast sniffed the air, its ears perking in the wind. “
I come for what was taken.
” It neared her, its clawed hands flexing. “
And if you will have me, I come to serve.
The author would like to express his thanks for your purchase of NovaForge. It is his honor to share this book with you and he would enjoy hearing what you think of the read if you would like to email him. His email is [email protected]
If you enjoyed this work, it would mean a lot to the author if you would post a review and rate it on Amazon.com so that other readers may have the opportunity to enjoy the author’s books in the future. Each review posted leads to higher visibility on the site.
Thank you greatly
for your time with NovaForge! Its sequel, NovaSiege, will release June, 2015.
NovaSiege, book 2 of the Nova Trilogy
The wind sawed over Solaris’s arid land, howling like a tortured, dying creature being torn apart in the night. Julieth, though warmed by the heat of a crackling fire nearby, was chilled to the spine by the sound.
It had been months since she last saw Ivanus and the others leaving Gest’s gates, venturing into the thankless expanse. Rumors grew by displaced citizens searching out Gest that Samuel killed more and more, amassing his forces.
Bayne, Ivanus, they must all be dead.
How do we stand against such evil?
She turned a twig with a leaf on it in her hand, watching the moonlight refracting off its veins. A tree with white blooms thrashed in the harsh wind close by.
So much life blooms around us
and yet we can do nothing to clog the sea of blood coursing across our world. I feel it bludgeoning Gest’s gates, reaching for me.
As she closed her eyes a deep chill crept over her, a sharp cold starting with her palms bracing the ground, and then seeping up her body.
The wind tonight… it has never been so cold.
But it was not the wind. Thick frost marked the earth, spreading and climbing the rust-walls nearby and the trunks of trees, coming from below. It ascended her flesh, its sparking white form glistening in the moonlight. Cracks slowly formed in the ice sheen, and then the ground moaned as a section of earth a distance from Julieth cracked in on itself and then fell into a dark void.
Julieth opened her eyes while hearing shouts of terror, stripping her of near sleep. Shadows thrashed through her sight. An entire shack dropped through the earth, disappearing from her view. “Mother!” a girl shrieked.
Ice flecked from Julieth’s body as she moved. “What is happening?” she shouted, runni
ng towards the screams. A thrust of wind punched her wings, beating her flat to the earth.
She breathed erratically, her arms punching through frozen soil as if it were a shell. The arms of a beast ripped through the earth below her, clawing at her form as the earth’s shell cracked away and they both fell into a dark void.
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