In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, we get a peek at how the immortal king first met the telepath Joss. He’d been looking for work without success, having been thrown out by his abusive father. When a young woman offers him money in exchange for sex, Pietas storms off, furious that he can get no better offer of work.
“Hello?” called a female voice.
“I am not for sale!” He swept back his wet hair and glared up at her.
“That’s good to know.” The woman who looked down at him was not the one who’d offered to buy him. This one wore a white dress uniform.
Pietas clambered to his feet. Faint with hunger, he braced himself against the wall.
Kind blue eyes seemed to look through him. Unlike his, her blond hair held tones of gold instead of white. A beam of sunshine sneaked through the clouds and wrapped her in blazing light. Seeing her, a man could believe in angels.
He stood straighter and pushed wet hair out of his face. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. Are you Pietas?”
“I am.” Was this someone who could hire him? Her left chest sported a brace of ribbons as wide as his hand, most related to weaponry. He must not look slipshod. He drew his sodden hair into a tail and tossed it over his shoulder. Wiping wet hands on wetter clothes, he held himself in as military-correct a posture as he could manage. “How do you know me, ma’am?”
“From your mother’s description.”
“My mother?” Homesickness arose in him so strong he staggered. He caught himself and straightened. He might be new to the greater Ultra world, but he hadn’t been raised a fool. He kept his distance. “If you know her, what’s her name? What’s my father’s name?”
“Helia and Mahikos. Your mother and I were created at the same time. She was scientist class and I was warrior, but we became friends. I introduced her to Mahikos. Thankfully, she doesn’t hold that against me.” A wry smile tilted her mouth. “She called me, said she had a son named Pietas and a daughter named Dessy. She said you and your father had a fight and she asked me to look for you. She sends her love.”
Hearing her speak took him back to the warm safety of his mother’s presence. “You’re Joss Avaton.”
How often had his mother spoken of this woman? And always with reverence.
“Mother talks about you all the time. She misses you. She said you were the sister she wished she had.”
“Did she?” Love and amusement came through the aether, as warm and embracing as his mother’s. “I’m glad to know that. I wish she’d told me about you before now.”
“Don’t be. That isn’t your fault.”
“Is Mother here? Have you seen her?”
“No. But she was worried so I said I’d find you. I should have tried the work halls first.”
Surely it wasn’t wrong to fall in love so fast. Mother had said not to trust strange women, and from his experience with the one earlier, she’d been right. But this was Joss. Her friend and heart-sister.
Pietas took two steps toward her, checked himself.
When Joss offered her hand, he took it.
She clasped both of hers around his.
The moment she touched him he felt some inner part of him reach toward her, a sprout benath the dark earth yearning for sun. He’d had no idea at the time she was using her gift of Clarity to help him see his path.
All he knew was he would survive. He could do anything. His life was not over. This amazing woman cared about him.
“Thank you for looking for me. Finding me.”
“My pleasure.” She slid her fingertips down his jaw, out to the dimple in his chin. “Let’s get you off these streets, find you a meal, then bathed and into some dry clothes. We’ll call your mother. She gave me a private link to her no one else knows about.”
“You mean my father doesn’t know about.”
“You don’t need to worry about your father.” Joss took his hand. “You’re safe. You’re with me now.”
With her? His heart did somersaults.
Yet at the thought of his father, his stomach still tightened with dread.
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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