In time the trees thinned and gave way to high grass and shrubbery. By then Aderyn was wheezing and her eyes and exposed skin felt red and raw and itchy. She needed to rest often and she drained the bottle of water Resh gave her.
“Your injection is wearing off,” he said, worry coloring his voice. “We need to get you to the tunnels soon or you’ll relapse.” Continue reading →
She slept but did not dream, waking often. Each time she did, she saw the boy with his back to her, crouched or laying and watching the curtained entrance. Eventually a red light crept in and chased away the darkness. In that pale light, they left the shelter, setting out at a careful walk. As they began, she saw him clearly for the first time.
He was probably her own age, perhaps slightly older but not by much. His hair was a dark red, turned almost fiery by the red light of Querra. Almost as thin as she was, he bore an olive complexion and eyes the color of the frozen lakes of Meda. Those eyes looked at her on occasion and he seemed to be on the verge of asking a question but remained silent. It was Aderyn who spoke first. Continue reading →
The walls shook, causing all thought to flee from her mind. She struggled to her feet, only to the floor shift beneath her feet, sending her crashing to the ground again. Pain flared from her shoulder and she cried out, the sound immediately drowned by an explosion. Mortar and dust filled the room and she heard the walls or ceiling crack.
“Help!” she shouted and found the effort of calling out painful as well. When she sucked in breath, she coughed, gagging on the dust and another, courser vapor that quickly filled the room. The room plunged into complete darkness and she screamed for help again and again. Continue reading →
Her lungs burned, her skin felt stretched too tight and raw all over. When she opened her mouth, Aderyn found that her throat was thick and swollen. She gasped for air and found that it came raggedly but at least it came.
To strike one of the Blood when you were not one was an act punishable by a public whipping and humiliation. She knew that, but as her hand struck him, she could not have pulled the blow to save her life. If she died here, her dignity would remain.
She stepped back and pushed passed him, suddenly unable to breath. The whole viewing platform was silent, all eyes turning to follow her. Mouths were left agape and women moved from her path. Men reached for her but she ducked beneath their grasps. Running now, she found the airlock and went through it, out into the open air of Zennir. Continue reading →
Knights rode in on their metal steeds, their etherlances held at the ready. The tips of each lance ended in two feet of glowing Ether. She saw her brother Redrick, looking radiant in his dark power armor traced with white lines of Ether. His lance’s tip was the same color. His Spark was like any other Medani. Caden would be there as well, but she did not look for him.
House Querra had arrived as well. Their Ether was a brilliant green. She saw a dozen knights on their steeds, all of them beating with that powerful light. It was beautiful to look on them. A knight was a powerful position even if they held no starkeep of their own. She would never marry a knight. Continue reading →
For a long moment, no one spoke. Sir Loran simply looked patient and awaited orders. Outside, Aderyn could see ships moving in on the moon. Destroyers and her father’s Carrier had taken up a perimeter around the moon as if for bombardment. Finally, her mother sighed. “Very well Sir Loran, best bring us in.”
Aderyn found Zennir beautiful. Small seas brushed up against high-rising mountains. Those mountains swept down into lush, green valleys and plains dotted with Groundling settlements. She saw strange beasts that moved on four legs as they flew low across the landscape. The sky was red with the gas giant Querra looming overhead. Its rings cast rainbows of light down across the waters and shimmered through low hanging clouds. Aderyn had never seen anything like it. Continue reading →