In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, we get a peek at the weird weather on this world. It’s not like Earth’s. It’s dangerous to be out in a storm. When a mini-tornado wreaks havoc, Pietas finds himself in an awkward situation.
The sky turned tornado-green. A few fat drops of rain slid down Pietas’s neck, leaving a cold trail in the heat. A few others smacked his hair and face. These scouts warned of the threatening army advancing. Higher up, ominous thunderclouds glowed a menacing pink and orange.
They picked up the pace. In the distance, the oncoming storm blackened the sky. The wind whistled, calling its dogs to hunt.
Icy fingers dragged down his spine. Pietas swallowed, fighting back bile.
The hill they’d crested led down to a jagged claw-rip of darkness, a slash in the velvet forest forming a lightless, foreboding tunnel. The coffin-shaped slice emptied into an abyss of shadow, swallowing every indication of depth and life.
Despite knowing he needed to hurry, Pietas slowed his step, dragging his bare feet through straw-colored grass. Turning in a slow circle, he held out his arms as high as he could and lifted his face to the cloud-covered sun, a child wanting one more minute outdoors before bedtime. He cherished the open air and light, unwilling to relinquish the beauty of his freedom.
“Pietas!” Joss called to him. She’d gotten far ahead. “Come on!”
He started toward her. The forest maw ratcheted open. An unhinged jaw of a snake. An uneven patch of ground beneath a foot cost him his balance. Pietas stumbled, tripped, and threw out his hands to break his fall. He landed on hands and knees and then sat, cross-legged. His scraped palms stung and bled. A potent swear word flew to mind, but he denied it voice.
His sister slowed as she passed, but didn’t speak. If an Ultra did not ask for help, none was offered.
The twins, however, tasked with guarding the party, did stop. Aid was their duty.
“Guys.” Six stooped next to him. “You go ahead. I’ll stay with Pi.”
Pietas flicked his fingers. Without a response, the twins joined Dessy.
Joss looked up and around at the sky. “Pietas, I’ll wait for you.”
“No, go ahead. The rain’s almost here. I’ll join you under the trees.”
When she had gone, he examined his palms. The injury had healed.
“How’s the ankle?”
“Fine, ghost.” He wiped off his hands.
His friend studied him, glanced toward the forest. “Gotcha.” He stood.
When Pietas shifted to rise, Six offered a hand.
“Thanks, but I can manage.” He stood and brushed himself off.
The wind picked that moment to set a dust devil whirling into the sand and dried grasses around them. It flew up, stinging exposed skin.
Six covered his eyes. “Oh, man!”
Pietas shielded his own. The whirlwind ripped the cloth tie holding back his hair and whipped strands into his face. He tried facing into the wind, but the circular current spun the tresses back into his eyes. As fast as it had risen, the wind subsided.
Full of static electricity from the wind and storm, his long settled over his shoulders and adhered to his neck.
Six dug into his pockets. “I have another strip.” They had torn several from a ragged shirt. Six wore the biggest piece around his neck. He set down his pack and opened it.
“Six,” Pietas hissed. He did not turn his head, but looked toward the others. “Leave it!”
The ghost glanced up at him, then the immortals, waiting ahead. “You want the women messing with your hair? Is that it?”
He closed his eyes, counting to ten. To a hundred would not erase this embarrassment. “No.” When he beheld Six, the man had the discourtesy to smirk. “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”
Forged in Fire…
What if you were a soldier marooned on an undeveloped planet?
What if you had no food and few survival tools? What if you’d been genetically engineered? No matter how agonizing the wound, you’d survive. No matter how you died, you’d come back.
It could be worse. You could be here alone. But that’s the problem. You’re not.
On one hand, there’s a tribe of sentient panthers who protect you. Although you hate humans, the one who was dumped on this planet with you has become a trusted friend. The beautiful telepathic warrior you’ve loved since forever is at your side.
On the other hand, half a million people who depend on you are trapped inside stasis pods, waiting for you to save them. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could wake up a few at a time. But the traitors who abandoned you and your followers set the timers to release all half million.
At the same time.
You’re facing an ecological disaster and over five hundred thousand hungry, thirsty, homeless immortal warriors.
Worse still, before you can build shelter, figure out how to grow food, or set up a government, you must take back command from a ruthless enemy you’ve fought for centuries.
Your brutal, merciless father.
Talk about being forged in fire…
Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.
Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire has no profanity or explicit content, but lots of angst, a little humor, some sweet romance, and a ton of betrayal with plenty of vengeance. Oh, and let’s not forget–one ginormous black “kitty”.
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Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She’s a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.
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