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Arashi's Last JobThe sun had already dipped below the horizon when fourteen-year-old Arashi finally returned to the shop. He had run himself ragged during the day, carrying dozens of messages and parcels across the city. He was exhausted and the summer heat had left him parched, his skin burnt from the harsh sun. Arashi pushed aside the curtain and stepped into the shade of the shop, squinting into the darkness as his eyes adjusted. "You're late," the gruff voice of his master said from the shadows.
"Sorry, master," he said approaching the counter and keeping his eyes on the floor. He could tell him that he'd had to go around Sakura Way because a group of Dragonblooded were making a ruckus. However, slaves don't give excuses and they certainly don't lie to their masters, so Arashi said nothing.
His master grunted impatiently and Arashi quickly unhooked his backpack and emptied its contents onto the counter. The man picked up the delivery receipt, gave it a cursory check, and proceeded to count the coin
Elemental Inheritance PrologueA lone boy sat on a rocky ledge looking out at the sky. His feet dangled over the edge with the ground, a mile below, hidden by the dense cloud cover. The sun was approaching the horizon and the waning light of the day painted the clouds black and orange, in the setting sun they looked like rolling flames and smoke.
Leaning back and letting out a deep contented sigh, the boy closed his green eyes and let the warm breeze blow through his dark-red hair, which stuck out haphazardly from underneath his bandana. From here, a couple of hundred feet below the top of the floating island, he couldn't hear the sounds of the bustling port city up above. Here, it was quiet and peaceful and for a short time, he could forget about the stresses of school and family.
A shadow passed over him as a skyship approached the docks and the boy opened his eyes to watch it. It was 75 feet from bow to stern, single-sailed with dual-levitation crystals, probably a courier or trader from the Succession States or
Deegan Fletcher - BackstoryBackground
Born to Mala and Robert Fletcher, Deegan's father was Duke Fletcher of the Flint Hills Duchy of the Northern Provinces, one of the five Duchies that remained of the original seven.
During the Holy Kingdom's occupation of the Northern Provinces eighty years earlier, Deegan's ancestors had been responsible for all of the Flint Hills Duchy, including the pass down to what is now the Republic of Illurith. They answered only to the Archduke of the Provinces and the King himself. Today however, each lord's power is limited by the reach of his armies and Deegan's father was no more or less powerful than the others even though his holdings at the Flint Hill Fort were some of the best defended. The days of the Dukes ruling was long over, and all landed nobles, Dukes, Barons and more, were the same.
The Northern Provinces a cold and harsh land, plagued by undead and without a central authority. Deegan's father and his younger brother James grew up in this environment, seeing th
StarFlight Six - Part 2Seven months before the attack
"Come on out," yelled Captain Wilks, "We know you're in there." There was no answer from the crawlspace where the stowaway was hiding, he was getting impatient. "You got the count of three, and then we seal the cargo deck and pump out the air. We'll just haul your dead carcass outta that hidey hold of yours and dump it out the airlock. No one back home knows you're here and none of us will miss your sorry ass." There was still no sound from the crawlspace. "One two th "
"Wait!" A voice yelled from within the depths of the crawlspace. It was followed by the sounds of someone moving towards the hatch. The head of a young boy appeared at the opening, streaks of dirt on his face, his clothes filthy from the grime of the crawlspace. Fear already on his face, Kyle froze when he saw six guns pointed at his head.
Beck reached down and grabbed Kyle by the scruff of his neck, dragging him out of the opening. "Looks like we picked up a colon
Scion - Part 2
Three Years Ago...
"Dylan, what on earth are you doing up in that tree?" The man said, looking up at the twelve-year-old boy sitting up in the tree's branches, holding the map. Three other boys stood at the base of the tree, also looking up.
"I'm trying to see if I can find out where we are," Dylan called back down.
"And you think you can do that in a tree, thirty feet above the ground?" The four boys were part of a seventh grade field trip from the nearby town of Altamont to Crater Lake National Park. Twenty five eleven to twelve-year-old kids spending a week camping and hiking in the woods; learning about geology, ecology and the natural world. Today was their last day and the children had been split into teams of four, driven to the other side of the park and given the challenge of finding their way back to camp using what they had learned over the week. To help them, they had been given a map and compass and in order to make sure they stayed out of trouble, an
A Bloody, Stupid Miracle The day we’d cured the human condition was the day I put a bullet through my head and didn’t die. It was also the day I realized how scared I actually was of death, and after hours of muscle ache from holding that gauze against my open skull, after the wound closed and everything went back to normal, I had myself a good old-fashioned brainstorm. How ironic.
But when summer came, everything had fallen to shit. The air scorched my skin and parched my tongue every time I took a breath. The sun glared down on a rapidly-collapsing world, full of the undying bastard children of cruelty and misfortune. What was one to do when their cells regenerated faster than they decomposed?
My feet hit the pavement, now littered with jagged bits of glass to snap at my toes, thoroughly baked by the blazing ball of bitter disdain high overhead. Today was worse than yesterday. Though I’d often wondered the purpose of it anymore, I
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