Friday, September 23, 2016

Chapter 4

Erut escapes from the prison work camp and tried to make his way up the side of the cliffs of the Delbrin mountains when he is fired upon by a patrolling soldier. Erut manages to elude the soldier but his pursuer manages to get reinforcements. Soon a band of soldiers traps him within a small canyon.


“Find him. Find him now,” one of the officers yelled into the air.

The only other thing he could hear was the sound of his own heavy breathing and the wind that rustled through the trees. The smell of those trees moved in and out of his lungs. At times he felt as if he was breathing with the wind itself and he sensed a brief connection with the land around him. When he was finally able to calm himself down he closed his eyes and listened. The sound of shooting and shouting stopped. They were re-grouping and deciding what to do. At any moment they would figure out what he had done and come for him. For an instant, he closed his mind off from that fear and just tried to calm down so that he could think clearly of a way out of this mess. His panting slowed and he relaxed and listened. He closed his eyes.

The wind moved about him in calm and playful caresses and he became aware of its movements through the trees and rocks until he imagined he could see it as shrouds of fabric moving through the air. He opened his eyes and maintained the image and the world became alive with waving trees and the dancing playful motions of the breezes. But something was different. He became aware of a steady wind coming from one direction. He isolated that area in his mind. There it was: a steady sound, like air coming through a deep tunnel. It was a weak sound nearly covered over by the air that spiralled and expanded in all other directions. But it wasn’t air. It sounded like something heavier–like water.

“This way!”

Sounds behind him broke through his concentration. These were not gentle but crude and anxious noises. Feet stomped on broken twigs and coilguns were being loaded. They were coming his way and it was time to go. Erut focused his attention toward the direction of the new sound and took off across a field as fast as his feet could take him. There was another small stand of trees on the other side and he made that spot his new objective. Before he could reach it, though, soldiers burst forth into the field from the trees and raised their guns. This time, Erut decided to just go full bore toward his goal to maintain a full distance between him and his pursuers. The gamble paid off for a time. The soldiers had a difficult time trying to run at full speed and fix a target for their rifles. Shots went far and wide but came closer each time they were fired. By the time Erut reached the trees, shots were coming in closer to him. He reached for the tree closest to him so that he could pull himself behind it but a projectile landed exactly where he planned to put his hand and ripped bits of bark from it. He switched directions and headed for another tree. A projectile whizzed by him just where his body had been had he not turned. He dove and rolled until he was behind a line of trees. He took some deep breaths before he moved deeper into the woods. He could just make out an opening in the tree line just ahead of him so he made a mad dash for it. He ran while dodging low branches and exposed rock until the opening became wider. The soldiers were entering the woods.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Chapter 3

In chapter three the Crolats discover they have been abandoned on the planet of Pa'Zawhu by their Kevutian employers. They decide to try and found out what happened.

An excerpt:

Suriu looked toward the same spot and strained to see what Orov was noticing. At first he saw nothing but a great storm of dust on the other side of the dome. Dark gray particles swirled about in all directions. Some of it hit the dome and splayed across the surface. Vorky followed their lead and looked as well but saw nothing more than twisting dirt. But, in a flash he saw something break through the maelstrom higher up. It was a glint of sunlight that reflected itself off of something–something shiny. Suriu saw it too and recognized the pattern.

“A sail!” Suriu murmured.

“A sail?” Vorky repeated. “From a ship?”

“From our ship,” Suriu said.

“What?” Vorky cried out.

Orov snapped himself out of his disbelief and reached down to the squawker to unclip it from his beaded belt.

“Sunship Julinia, this is Blue Squad Ya. We are still on site. I say again: we are still on site. Request pickup.”

The three Crolats held their breath in unison and awaited a response. None came.

“Sunship Julinia, Sunship Jovinia, this is Hejun Orov. We are reporting from the surface. Request immediate pickup. We are still on site. Do you copy?”

Still nothing.

“Any ship! Do you copy? Squad remaining on the surface of Pa’Zawhu. Please respond!”

Again, the three waited in an uncomfortable silence. The hush was then broken by the sound of static on the squawker. Three ears drew close to the box to try and make out any words they could discern from the noise. Instead, the only thing they could make out was a terrible laugh that cut through the crackling before the box again went silent.

Orov, Suriu, and Vorky looked at each other in disbelief and shock.

Orov threw the squawker into the dirt. “I don’t believe this! They are leaving us here!”

“I don’t understand,” said Vorky. “Why aren’t they coming to get us?”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Chapter 2

In chapter 2 (402) we encounter from Book 3. Since his escape from the devastation of Pa'Myshka and his flight to the mysterious world known as Ardis, Erut was finally granted his wish to return home only to find himself carted off to a prison work farm in Kwanchu. There he works up a plan to escape and uses the things he has learned on Ardis to create some interesting diversions and opportunities for himself.

An excerpt:

He crouched at the edge of the building known as the processing plant with its smells of human waste and charred wood. It was one of many places where the recently discovered concoction known as “blast dust” was being produced for the military. Making it was a degrading and dangerous enterprise best left for prisoners and work slaves–like himself. Next to the processing plant was a walkway then came a long garden with a variety of flowers and plants. The dichotomy was stark and intentional. Those who listened well and followed the demands of the guards worked in the garden. Those who did not were left figuratively and literally in it up to their knees. Of the two places, he was more familiar with the latter. He was not one to be cooperative. He had seen and known too much in his time to just take the guards and their Kevutian masters by their word. He wanted out of this prison camp and the day had come.

He heard footsteps moving soft and slow. His heart skipped a beat and he tried not to panic. Running now would only expose him to greater danger and lay waste to his careful planning. He needed to stay focused. Besides, the steps were too light to be those of someone suited in an armored tunican. It must be another prisoner. And it was.

“Are you sure you want to go through with this?” said the other male prisoner in a soft voice as he approached him.

“Yes. It’s all I think about. I’ve been planning this for nearly a full acadon now. It has to be now or I will just fade away like one of those maksons over there.” He pointed to a large orange flower in the garden that was hunched over and falling away. The other man glanced at the flower beside them.

Erutvumot 8 or “Erut” turned to his friend and took him affectionately by the shoulders. “It’s not too late. You could come with me. You could all come with me.”

Erut’s friend looked into his eyes. Erut could tell that the idea of getting away from this place was inviting to him. It was all any man in this place could think about but the fire of passion that lit momentarily in the man’s eyes died out almost as quick as it came.

“No,” his friend said, bowing his head.

Erut knew his friend felt shame in his cowardice but said nothing about it. The feeling was understandable. Any attempts at escape or signs that something was amiss about the camp could lead to severe punishments. He patted the shoulder of his friend.

“It’s OK,” Erut said. “You needn’t say any more. It’s enough that you’re willing to help me.”

The man raised his head as if it were heavier than the mountains that loomed down upon them just outside the camp. He seemed barely able to maintain his gaze. He peered into Erut’s eyes as if it were the last time he would see him–alive, at least. “Good luck,” he whispered.