Three children with the power of the three Spheres of Stone, Sea and Sky. All that stand between the world and the Abyss.
The man stumbled unseeing down the cobblestone street. The pains were worse today, the worst they’d ever been. Every step was agony. His bones were on fire. His joints felt like they were full of glass. His greatest fear was not that he would die—he’d long since accepted the inevitability of that—but that he would not be able to make it home. If he was going to die today, he wanted only to see his wife and son one last time.
The buildings on this street were built of stone, four or more stories tall and jammed tightly together. This late in the day the street was completely in the shade. Horse-drawn carts moved down the middle of the street. Along the edges hurried people on foot, none of them paying any attention to the man. To the casual observer he was merely another drunk, and drunks were not uncommon in this part of the city.
A new wave of pain hit the man and he staggered, bumping into a woman who was carrying a large basket filled with loaves of bread. “Watch where you’re going!” she snapped at him.
Falling, the man instinctively put out his hand to catch himself. When his hand made contact with the wall of one of the buildings there was a cracking sound and the stone split suddenly. The concussion knocked the man back and he fell down.
The woman looked from the crack in the wall to the man and her eyes widened. She gripped the basket tighter and hurried away. Other passersby noticed him for the first time, veering around the man, careful to stay out of his reach. It had been years since last the red death plague struck the city of Samkara, but people remembered it readily enough. The sweating, wild-eyed man lying on the ground could be infected with it.
The man crawled to the side of the street and leaned up against the wall. He looked at his hand, where he’d touched the wall. The skin was slate-gray and when he tried to flex his fingers they were stiff and he could barely curl them.
The changes were accelerating.
He had to get home.
Careful to avoid touching the wall with his bare skin, he climbed to his feet. Heedless of those around him, he began half-running, half-staggering down the street. People cursed at him as he bumped into him and when he cut across the street to turn down a smaller one he was almost hit by a wagon drawn by a team of horses, the driver snapping his whip near his face.
The smaller street had less traffic and the man made it all the way to his building without running into anyone else. This street was poorer than the one he’d left, narrow and lined with wooden tenements. Gone were the cobblestones, replaced by rutted dirt and garbage.
The man tried to opened the door of the building he lived in with his right hand, the one he’d touched the stone wall with, but he couldn’t get his fingers to move at all now and he had to give up and use the other hand. He stumbled through the door, not bothering to close it behind him. He dragged himself up two flights of stairs, every step fresh agony.
He reached the door of his home, made it through, and collapsed on the floor.
His wife gave a little cry, dropped her sewing, and hurried to him. Taking his arm, she helped him to his feet and over to the room’s sole bed.
Sitting on the floor by the iron cook stove was a small boy, only a few years old, playing with some broken pieces of colored tile. He stared up at his parents with wide eyes, old enough to know something was wrong, but too young to understand what it was.
Not that either of his parents understood it either. In the weeks since the strange pains started, they’d gone to every healer and priest they could afford, trying to find out what was wrong, and none of them had any answers.
“I knew you shouldn’t have tried to go to work,” she told him, gently stroking his forehead.
“It’s…it’s happening faster,” he gasped and held up his right hand.
Her breath caught in her throat as she stared at his hand. She touched it gingerly. “How did it happen?”
“I touched a stone wall. The stone split.” A spasm of pain hit him and he winced. When it had passed he looked up at her and what she saw in his eyes made her gasp.
“Your eyes,” she said. “They’re red, like a fire burns in them.”
“What’s happening to me?” he moaned, closing his eyes.
She hesitated only a moment before wrapping him in her arms and holding him close.
“I’m losing the feeling in my arm,” he said. He pushed his sleeve up and she saw that his forearm was streaked with gray. Even more unusual—she bent closer to get a better look—there seemed to be chips of stone embedded in his flesh.
He went rigid suddenly and his head arched back. His mouth stretched open, so wide that his jaw popped. For a long moment was like this, more a statue than a man, then he began spasming. Shivers ran up and down his limbs. His eyes rolled back in his head and spittle drained from his mouth.
He began thrashing violently. She tried to hold him still but the seizure was too strong for her. He bucked and she was thrown off the bed onto the floor. She got back up and went to him, but there was nothing she could do.
Something new happened.
The building began to shudder, as if it were caught in a earthquake. She pitched sideways and almost fell down. A small crack appeared in the ceiling and plaster dust sifted down. The little boy wailed and crawled over to his mother, wrapping his little arms around her leg.
After a minute, his seizure ended and a few seconds later the earthquake stopped as well. She looked at her husband and what she saw made her scream.
He was lying on his back, unmoving, his eyes wide and staring. His eyes glowed like lava. His skin had turned completely gray. All of his hair had fallen out.
At first she was sure he was dead and she stood there, one hand over her mouth, frozen by fear and grief. Then, slowly, his head turned. Gray flakes chipped and broke off his neck as he did so. The molten eyes fixed on her.
“Please…” His voice grated like stone sliding over stone. More flakes broke off around his mouth and fell to the blanket he lay on.
Her paralysis broke and she hurried to him. Her hands hovered over him for a moment as she wrestled with her fear, but love won out and she placed them on his cheeks. His face was cold and lifeless.
“Oh, my love,” she moaned.
“Hold Fen up,” he said in his broken voice. “I want to see him…one more time.”
Tears pouring down her cheeks, she lifted the small boy and set him next to his father on the bed. Fen showed no fear, only curiosity as he leaned forward and touched his father’s face.
His father tried to touch him but his arm froze in place halfway. A last tremor shook him.
The fire in his eyes faded and went out.
All 3 books of Chaos and Retribution, an epic fantasy series, will be available in late summer. Stay tuned.
Fen is only a boy when invaders sack his city. His mother is struck down by an enemy soldier before his eyes, but when the man turns the blade on him, Fen is miraculously unharmed, without even a scratch. As if he were made of stone.
But the attack seems to have awakened something within him, the curse that killed his father. Now he is changing, but he has no idea what he is changing into or if he will survive the transformation.
After the destruction of the war against Melekath and his Children, Netra retires to a sleepy seaside village. But one day the mysterious Lementh’kal appear in their floating island and they bring her Aislin, a baby girl, to raise. They reveal nothing of the girl’s origins, only that she will be vital in the new war to come.
Now Aislin is eight and within her is power over the sea. The abilities she displays are incredible, but frightening too, and Netra fears it will only be a matter of time before she kills someone.
Karliss is touched by the wind, marked to be the greatest shaman his people have ever known. But he is careless with his power and if he does not learn to control it the wind will eventually drive him mad and he will turn on his own people.
Three children with the powers of the three Spheres of Stone, Sea and Sky. Together they will have to confront the fearsome armies of the Abyss and stop them from retrieving a lost artifact that could mean the destruction of everything.