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PART 1
UNDER THE WATERFALL

Chapter 1

 Yuweh sat on a granite boulder jutting out from the mountain peak, looking down on the other side of the world. No matter how many times she gazed down from the low clouds, it didn’t make the realization of how big the world was any less shocking. They didn’t call these mountains the Wall of the World for nothing. She sighed, watching as a hawk soared out over the misty ranges to find its breakfast.

Yuweh knew the importance of keeping the Lunari village a secret. It could not be corrupted by the ideas of the men below. It was up to them, the Lunari, to protect this path and stop such an event from occurring. It was an ironic and somewhat idiotic idea that this task was given to a race who were forbidden from committing acts of violence by their gods.

Maybe the gods didn’t think that far ahead. 

She turned and the wind caught at her long, dark hair. Looking down the Wall’s Path, she saw Tana in the distance, her white dress acting in contrast with her dark skin. Yuweh raised her arm to signal for her to leave, but the girl didn’t respond that she had seen her so Yuweh just continued on her way. Jumping down from the boulder, she began walking the passage of rock, moss and any shrubs that could survive this high up in the atmosphere. If it weren’t for the symbols, she wouldn’t have been able to live at this altitude as comfortably as she did. She could feel the difference in the air as she moved down to the opening of the Sullen Caves.

The walls of the tunnels blocked the cold wind as she entered. Her footsteps echoed off the huge, stone walls. The further she walked in the darker everything became until she was forced to rely on her sensory symbols to navigate her way through. Different tunnels branched out this way and that like an ant colony. She turned a bend and walked up the rising bridge into a large open hollow in the mountain. Despite how out of the way it was, this was the easiest place to communicate with the Ksai.

Is it blasphemous to think that the gods went out of their way to make it difficult for their people to communicate with them?

Eyes adapting slowly to the darkness, she looked around at the vast rock cavity as she reached the circular stage at the top of the bridge. In the hollow of the mountain, she could harness the power to go into their dimension. Imagining the symbol for the doorway, thea, the perfect circle tattooed on the brown skin of her forehead began to glow. In the darkness before her, a door seemed to open up. It was distinguished only by a white light surrounding deeper tones of darkness, like the shadow of a deeper trench in an already deep ocean. 

She took a steady breath and walked through. She stepped into the other world, the immaterial world, the Luthurial World. The place that was the source of all the powers that the symbols were simply connecting bridges to. The shadows around her gained shape.

What was a platform carved into the rock became a disc floating in space, symbols of white light burning on its rim. Yuweh looked at the jagged mountains that were sketched so far on the horizon that one couldn’t tell if there was snow on their peaks or simply the cold rock. She spun around on the disc after hearing a hissing sound. You could never tell where the Ksai would come from when they summoned you.

She was caught by a sight that resembled a shooting star. This was until it changed direction in the sky, the black face of a skull coming down directly in front of her. Another, more elongated face appeared from below the disc next to the first and then a third appeared next to it, separating from the second as though having simply been taking a ride on its back. The third floated up in the middle of them, the light that shone through its smoky face seeming to whisk around its chin like a long beard.

Yuweh faced the three Ksai, chin up. “Just the three of you? Where are the other two?”

The left’s brightly lit eyes widened. “If you must know, slumbering, perhaps for another millennia if we play our cards right with this message. We believe that there’ll be no need to wake them, least of all the Fifth.”

Yuweh’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Why have you summoned me here?”

“We have seen troubling things, child,” the right skull said. “The symbols have been passed on to one unworthy and he is spreading them to those who will use the power for immoral purposes. Do you know of how this could have possibly come about?”

Yuweh nodded. “One of ours trained in the Ways was exiled a few years ago for blasphemy. He was thought to be dead, do you speak of him?”

“Yes, but that one is now dead,” the right skull said.

The left then picked up where the right had stopped. “Before he died, he taught the Ways to another... a Tyrian.”

Yuweh looked down. “He wouldn’t… he couldn’t!”

“He has,” boomed the middle floating skull, the smoke of his beard flying with the jaw movements it took for him to talk. “And now our secrets are free to whoever this Tyrian decides to teach them to. We knew what would happen if the symbols were spread through the Knownlands and so kept them a secret from all but those under our gaze. We cannot see this Tyrian like we see the Lunari. Despite our efforts, we cannot control him or bring him into this world either. He has no compulsion to obey us. Do you understand what you must do?”

Yuweh nodded and said, “Go to Tyria, capture this Tyrian and bring him before you.”

“Or kill him,” the left face replied whimsically, but she knew this was a joke. “It’s really up to you, but—”

“But,” the right cut in to make the point clearer, “if you bring him to us alive, we will be able to make contact with and cut off anyone else he has passed the powers onto.”

Yuweh bowed to the Ksai. “I understand. I shall do as you bid and bring this man and his accomplices before you.”

She was about to open the doorway again when the middle Ksai spoke up again. “Take two others with you, Jerake and Oseali,” the booming voice stressed.

Yuweh winced when she heard this. Luthur! Not Jerake, of all people.

She was not one to question the motives of the Ksai. Perhaps it was the characteristics of the man she despised that would be perfect for this mission. Jerake was, after all, the one who took the passivity of their culture with the least seriousness.

“Yes,” she said and bowed, imagining the smile on Jerake’s face upon hearing about this.

She opened the glowing portal, returned back into the mountain hollow and walked down the bridge. Exiting the Sullen Caves, she noticed Tana silently waiting for her at the entrance. The girl had the thankless job of delivering any necessary news to the Lunari Council.

She sighed before saying, “Go and get Jerake and Oseali.”

The girl nodded and scampered off. She returned less than an hour later with Jerake and Oseali. It was a rare sight to see a girl of Tana’s size leading two tall and bulking Lunari. Although they were fully clothed, Yuweh knew they both had external symbols like her own tattooed somewhere on their bodies, as all Accepted did. It was only natural for Lunari to receive a mark when they came of age.

Jerake was lean and dark, not just in what he wore and his long black Lunari hair, but even his smile took what could have been a warm expression and cocked it in the direction of sinister. Oseali was a massively fat and eerily silent eunuch in white robes. Whether he was quiet because he was a eunuch or that it was just another part of his personality, Yuweh didn’t know. He would be the muscle in the group, Jerake the skill and she would be the brain. The only risk was that Jerake would believe that he also would be needed for that role and try to take over. Yuweh knew of one way to keep him in line.

“For now I’m not going to tell you everything that was passed from the Ksai as some of it was meant for my ears only.” Her smile grew as Jerake’s began to fade. “However, what I can tell you is that we have been ordered to go to Tyria and find a Tyrian who has been taught the Ways by the exile. We’re to track him down and bring him into the Luthurial World.”

Jerake rubbed his hands together in excitement. “The hunt is on.”

“Did I say that?” Yuweh gave him a disgusted look. “Anyway, we’re to go right away before this Tyrian can teach the Ways to anyone else. It’ll take a couple of days to get to Tyria even with the symbols for traveling, so I don’t want to waste any time.”

They both nodded and Yuweh hoped the Tyrian was willing to follow her as easily. Oseali grunted and Jerake shrugged. They began to make their way back up to the Lunari village where they could get provisions for the journey. There was no doubt in either Yuweh or Jerake’s mind who was going to carry them. Yuweh thought Oseali could probably carry her as well after he triggered his external symbol. As a Messenger, however, she would never resort to such a method of travel.

Chapter 2

The Turtle Shell tavern was as dark and dreary a place someone like Faulk could ask for. Somewhere he could hide away from the sun, somewhere to drown his sorrows, and somewhere he could make small talk with a beautiful bartender.

“You’re back, huh?” Lori asked, brushing back her curly red hair. “I looked away for a second and you were gone, now I look back and there you are again, taking up the same space as usual.”

Being a long, narrow room, the dingy bar led out to an even narrower cellar. He knew that Lori concealed a crossbow behind the polished wood of the bar, although he had never seen her use it before.

Having already dedicated a few hours to drinking, when Faulk looked up, a string of saliva linked his bottom lip to the wooden bench it had been pressed against. “I guess so. I earned enough money to pay my tabs. It only takes a few days, a job here, a job there, but I always end up coming back to my dear Lori.”

“I’m touched.” Lori’s lithe hands went to work pouring ale from one of the barrels received cheap from a Low Town deal he had arranged. “Here, this one’s on the house. If it weren’t for you, this place would have already gone under. And believe it or not, ever since Tyria surrendered, I’ve been just as lonely as you have.”

“Thank you. There’s nothing like a fiery drink to burn away the coldness inside.”

She pushed the drink down to him. Faulk caught it and turned as the door to the bar opened. A large, burly man and a young woman walked in, both with the brown skin of the Lunari race. Faulk studied the two of them. The young woman was attractive with long, dark hair where the man had large arms and an even larger gut. The woman’s dark clothes were tight in the places that mattered and loose in the areas that didn’t, meant for the purpose of moving quickly and easily. The man was bald and wore white robes that were done up loosely to show his broad chest.

I wouldn’t want to take him on.

As though sensing what he was feeling, the young woman caught his gaze. “Oseali is nothing to be afraid of.”

She sat down on the stool next to him, although her large friend remained standing behind her.

“Welcome to Tyria. How do you like the scum bucket of the world?” Faulk asked.

“It’s worth wading through to retrieve something valuable.” She smiled and Faulk gasped, feeling something nostalgic from the sight, as though he had seen her face somewhere before. “So what’s your name?”

“Faulk.” He turned away, blinking like he had been looking into the sun and was trying to regain his vision.

“Faulk?” She seemed to weigh the name as though testing to see how it suited her. “I… ah… well, you…”

The smooth, brown skin on her face reddened slightly.

“How about I get you a drink?” He gestured to Lori for another. “It might give you the courage you need to loosen your tongue.”

Her eyes narrowed as Lori passed her the glass. “It’s against Lunari culture to drink such things.”

Faulk smiled. “Well, you’re not in Lunari now, are you? We won’t be able to talk as comfortably if you don’t keep up with me. Go on, try it.”

Her expression hardened as though taking what he had said as a personal challenge. She picked up the glass and began to drink. Her twitching eyes showed her dislike for the taste, but this didn’t stop her from gulping down the whole glass.

She placed it on the bar and said, “Your turn, finish your drink and ask me a question. My question was “What’s your name?” but now it’s your turn.”

Faulk shrugged and finished the rest of his drink, tapping on the bar with his knuckles for Lori to refill them. “Same question, what’s yours?”

“Yuweh.” She sculled her next drink with much less effort than the first, taking her no more than four gulps.

Faulk nodded, impressed. I think I might be in love.

“My next question then,” Yuweh said. “Do you know anything about the Ways?”

“Ways…? Do you mean the abilities your people are known to be capable of?” Faulk’s brow rose, feigning ignorance. “I don’t know much about them, but—”

“Don’t lie to this young lady, Faulk,” Lori said, a wry smile spreading across her face. “You were showing off your magic just the other day.”

Faulk sighed. There was no point in pretending now. It was too specific of a reference to play it off as something else. He could only hope this didn’t put him on their hit list.

Wait a minute, aren’t Alpers supposed to be pacifists? What am I worried about?

“Okay, maybe a little bit.” He turned to Lori. “Damn it, Lori, leave us be for a few minutes.” Returning to Yuweh, he smiled sheepishly at being caught lying. “I guess there’s no point in hiding it then, I might as well be honest with you. I know of three symbols, I’ve seen three but have only used two. The circle in the depression for boosted strength, and the one for speed that kind of looks like a dumbbell... but I haven’t gotten the hang of that one yet.”

Uon and wift.” Yuweh smiled then in what looked like relief.

Before she could say anything else in reply, he finished his second ale and put his hand up. “I guess that offers a good opportunity for my next question. Why have you come to Tyria?”

“To find a person who knows the Ways and anyone they’ve been teaching them on to.” Yuweh finished her third glass, but before she could ask her next question, Faulk noticed her eyes glaze over. “In other words... you.”

Chapter 3

Yuweh inhaled suddenly as the alcohol seemed to hit her all at once. A storm had picked up outside, the doors and windows of the bar rattling from the screaming wind.

“It’s getting pretty bad out there,” Lori murmured as the barkeep filled yet another glass for them both. “This is the kind of weather that used to be so rare in this city that they would sacrifice virgins to the god of the sky so they would stop their rampage. If that was the case now, with the amount of them we get, we would lose a virgin every month.”

Hearing this with all the alcohol in her system took her off track from her original goal of question for question, drink for drink. She snorted at the woman’s primitive knowledge of the true gods. No wonder the world on the other side of the Wall needed to be protected from these people.

“You know, all Lunari are born only at the will of the gods.” She shook her head and laughed making Lori give her a puzzled look. “That’s why most of the Lunari are virgins, even as adults.”

She noticed Faulk’s eyes lingering slightly on the areas where the tight clothing held her slender figure before he turning away. His face went red, although she assumed this was not from the ale. She felt pleased with this knowledge, it gave her power over the man she was destined by Luthur to travel with. She felt sure that she knew where this was inevitably going. She leant in closer to whisper so in his ear.

It was going to happen anyway. Why not get it out of the way now?

Before she could, however, Faulk frowned and said, “Well, it seems like a stupid price to pay for your faith. Your gods sound like prudes to me.”

“What?” She blinked in surprise. “What are you talking about?”

“The gods you both speak of sound like terrible beings for people to imagine. I mean killing virgins, forbidding sex unless by their ruling. It all seems like a bad sacrifice for what is essentially horseshit.”

Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped. “You’re a blasphemer?”
 Faulk snorted with a laugh. “No, blasphemy insinuates that I am insulting some god, but if the gods don’t exist how can I insult them, right?”

“Hey now, boy, that’s enough. Can’t you see you’re offending the girl?” Lori countered after seeing the hurt look on her face.

“Offending her?” Faulk blurted. “She was the one who assumed that I believed in the same gods as her. Is it really so insulting to correct her? I said I was going to be honest from now on, didn’t I?”

Her voice lowered. “In my home it is one of the greatest taboos to reject the belief in the gods.”

“Yeah, well, we aren’t in your home, are we? We’re in Tyria, where we at least have the right to choose.” He then murmured, “Assuming we’re all like you and all believe the same thing is more insulting than anything I’ve said.”

He looked up at her and Yuweh shook her head. How in Luthur could she even speak to this man knowing he didn’t believe in the very divine entities that gave him life? It didn’t make sense.

I have to convince him that they are real. I have to!

“You don’t understand, I’ve seen them, I’ve spoken to them! They’re real!” she exclaimed, the wind outside seeming to become stronger with her words. “You experience them everywhere you go, they have will over us and—”

“So I have heard men say about seeing things in the desert only to discover it’s a mirage. Your mind can play tricks on you, our senses can be fooled. And saying they have will over us is just an excuse for those too weak to control themselves. Besides, why should I believe in these things because of another person’s experience? What’s wrong with them showing themselves to me?”

Anger filled her chest like steam. “They can’t! Luthur! Only those chosen from a pious race like the Lunari can contact them!”

Faulk scoffed. “Oh, so now you’re saying not only do they have a special chosen race but that only a select few of these pious people can see him? That’s ridiculous! They’re gods for Pete’s sake! They should be able to show themselves to whoever they wish!”

If it weren’t for her years of training to be calm and passive she thought she would have probably hit him for saying that, and not a soft one either, a full blown symbol-powered punch. Despite this, the drink made her continue to argue in a very un-Lunari-like fashion.

“You’re so infuriating! This world can’t make sense without the gods!” She went on. “What created this world… or us for that matter? Who watches over us and decides if what we do is good or evil?”

“Not having knowledge about something is our own ignorance, it doesn’t mean gods exist!” Faulk’s tone became sarcastic. “But you’re right. It’s obviously the gods that want us to sacrifice innocent young virgins, who let good men die and the wicked live on, who dictate when we can and cannot make love, who are the ones that create our morals. They don’t sound like very righteous gods to me! And do you know why I know this? Because we decide what’s good and evil for ourselves, not them!”

“Well, you can just…!”

She swore she was about to smash the bar to pieces before a large hand landed heavily on her shoulder. It was Oseali and he shook his head with a saddened look on his face, as though disappointed that she had let herself slip so far into her fury.

“Let’s go.”

She looked down and saw that there were fist prints on the bar table from where she had been balling her hands. She tried to calm herself and breathed out before nodding to him. Together they made their way out of the bar, but before they could leave, Faulk rose from his stall.

“Wait!” At first Yuweh thought he was going to apologize to her. “You can’t go out into the storm when it’s like this, it’ll kill you!”

Hopeless.

Ignoring him, she opened the door to let in a screaming gust from the storm before saying, “Maybe, if you decide to come with us instead of dying, you will get to meet them for yourself.”

Finished with him, she slammed the door shut and walked with Oseali into the wind. They fought the storm until they returned to the inn, coming in to the same wide-eyed expressions they had received upon leaving the bar. They climbed the stairs to their room.

“That didn’t go well,” Oseali grunted as they entered their room. “He might not come willingly now.”

They both spun when hearing heavy breathing inside. Jerake was lying in the middle of the floor, barely conscious, his clothes rough from combat, sweat covering his agonized face and his hand on his back as it arched up in pain. Oseali quickly closed the door behind them.

“What happened?” Yuweh asked, her voice sounding more exasperated than worried.

“I ran into the bastard while scouting the city, the one who can use the Ways!”

“Another one, huh?” She sighed and knelt by him. “This has gotten out of hand. How did he manage to beat you?” His expression changed then, but before he could shout at her, she interrupted, “It’s obvious Jerake! Just swallow your damn pride and tell us what happened!”

“It was him, the man who has been teaching the others, I swear!” His eyes focused on hers. “No one could get that much experience with the symbols in less than a year. Even with the three of us he might be trouble. He’s… very tricky.”

“So he won’t come willingly either.”

Jerake snorted with laugher, as though the state of his body made that obvious. “Doesn’t look like it, does it?”

She nodded. Jerake was skilled. To get the best of him the man must have either been incredibly strong or incredibly clever.

“We’ll need a new plan.” She made her way to the window on the second floor, looking through the closed shutters at the lantern light still emanating through the closed bar windows across the street. “But I think I know what we have to do.”

Chapter 4

The storm had abated to reveal a beautiful azure sky over Tyria. Faulk looked up at the morning sun shining on the cobbled pathways and high mortared towers, which cast long shadows. Stepping out onto the carriage track, he wondered whether or not it would be safe to try out the speed symbol in this area.

No matter, they’ll probably chalk up any damage done to being caused by the storm.

He imagined the symbol, keeping it in his mind as he ran forward. His vision blurred around him, a few steps taking him further down the city road than he thought a simple jog would take him, leading him into the bazaar.

He stopped suddenly and took in a gasping breath at the shock of the sudden movement. He looked around to see a man setting up shop next to one of the larger building walls. The old shopkeeper had stopped what he was doing and was looking up at him in surprise. Considering the time it took for him to get there, Faulk thought it may have looked like he had just flown into the open area on a gust of wind.

He smiled at the storekeeper. Before the man could put down the box he had been carrying, Faulk imagined the symbol and vanished from the square. His feet flittered down the road. His surroundings blurred and he could only imagine what his body would look like to any bystanders.

Even when he cut the symbol from his mind the speed didn’t fully fade until he could slow himself to a normal running pace. “Now if only I had a symbol that allowed me to fly.”

“You don’t need one!” a female voice called from behind him.

He recognized it right away. It was the same infuriating, though attractive, Lunari woman he had argued with last night.

“Have you been following me? Just the other day I would’ve thought that to be impossible at the speed I’m going, but you are an Alper, after all.”

“Don’t call us Alpers, it’s offensive. And if you want to fly all you need are the three basic physical symbols, uon, wift and ari.”

Ari? That must be one that Kessler didn’t teach me.

Faulk blinked again, clearing his blurred vision. He had been finding it hard to see during and after using the speed symbol with the wind rushing into his eyes.

“Don’t believe me?” she asked. “Luthur! You don’t even need ari really unless you want to glide. I’ll show you how if you decide to come with us, but if you want to try it for yourself just use wift for speed, swap it with uon for strength and then jump as high as you can.” She smiled at him and he felt the same odd nostalgia come over him. “Just make sure you envision the uon symbol again when you’re about to land or you might end up as a mess on the road.”

Wift and uon, the speed and strength symbols, okay!

Faulk remembered how he had still been moving quickly even after he had lost focus of wift. As though the next thought followed naturally, he remembered how he had used the uon symbol to empower his legs to jump higher. It only made sense that he could gain more distance if he jumped when running at high speeds. He felt that even without the Alper’s suggestion he would’ve eventually figured this out for himself.

It wouldn’t really be flying but it might work to get me higher.

He looked around for a wide roof he could try to land on. The symbol lit up in his mind again and he ran back down the street, his eyes squinting from the rushing air. Before wift, as Yuweh had called it, faded from his mind, he swapped it with uon: the circle with a curved line beneath it. Focusing the power into his legs, he jumped. His eyes widened in shock, for it seemed that as soon as he left the ground he had cleared the building he had chosen as a landing platform.

“Shit!” he called as the sudden terror and vertigo of being up so high hit him all at once.

The ground suddenly came rushing up at him. He tried to envision uon again, but the warm sensation that accompanied it wouldn’t come, he couldn’t focus on it in his panic.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” he screamed as his body continued to drop.

Before he knew what was happening and more importantly, before he had hit the ground, the large Alper he had seen last night caught him and slung him over his shoulder. Despite his massive size, the two of them drifted slowly down in the same direction he had jumped, as though they weighed nothing at all. He figured that this must have been the effect of the ari symbol Yuweh had mentioned.

They landed, and with the speed only wift could give her, Yuweh appeared beside them. She looked up at him with a smug smile on her face, an obvious joke on her part.

“I can’t believe how stupid you are!” she giggled in sudden fits. “It takes days to control your fear so it doesn’t block your focus. Other emotions are generally easier, but fear… well, it’s tricky. It comes on without much notice and it’s difficult to suppress.”

“Was this some kind of practical joke?” he asked as Oseali let him down. “Or just a way to show me how useless I am with the symbols?”

“A bit of both.” She continued to smile her gleeful smile, her eyes dazzling. “But it’s also an offering. You see, if you come with us back to Lunari, we can teach you this on the way. So how about it?”

Faulk looked up in thought. “Always a catch… Why do you want me to come to Lunari so badly?”

“Same reason we want to bring the one who taught you,” Oseali said, his voice low. “To prevent greater catastrophe.”

Faulk scoffed. “Well, good luck getting Kessler to come along.”

“We don’t need both of you. You will suffice to prevent the symbols from spreading.” Yuweh put her hands on her hips. “I am still curious of who taught them to this Kessler, though. It’s taboo for a Lunari to teach the Ways to outsiders. Did he mention to you who he learned them from?”

“Only that it was some Lunari exile.”

“I see... It might help if you tell us everything that happened.” Yuweh walked to a building wall and crossed her arms as she leaned back against it. “Start from when Kessler taught you the first symbol.”

Faulk looked down, thinking back to when Kessler had confronted him. “I hadn’t seen him since the war. He showed up in the bar out of the blue and knocked me out. I woke up tied to a chair in a dark room where he told me to focus on a symbol without thinking of anything else. Eventually it gave me enough strength to break free, and when I escaped... I used it to get away from the City Watch. You see, they were after anyone with special abilities ever since Kessler assassinated an Avaani Cleric.”

Faulk stopped his story and looked around. People were beginning to fill the cobbled streets, a noisy crowd forming as the market went into full swing. He didn’t want to risk anyone overhearing him.

Yuweh stood from her lean on the street wall and walked closer to him. “So you’re now on the run because of him?”

Faulk nodded, his eyes scanning the crowds for a patrol. “You still haven’t answered my question. Why do you want me to come with you?”

“It’s because they want to use you against me!” boomed a gravelly voice from above.

He stared up in shock, not only because it was another sudden intrusion, but because he knew already who the voice belonged to. Kessler stared down at them in his black cloak, his figure silhouetted by the morning sun atop one of the smaller buildings beside them.

There was a moment when the wind caught his cloak before he dropped, using ari to glide effortlessly down to meet them. Seeing his skillful use of the symbol in action, Faulk felt a desire to learn it. Kessler landed more gracefully than Oseali had, his cloak-tail billowing out behind him in the wind.

He was a narrow, hawk-nosed man. He strode forward so that Faulk was standing in the center of the triangle they made around him. “They only need you because they can’t get me. There is a connection between those who teach the symbols and those who learn from them. Because I learned from an exile they have no way to track my actions. But if you go with them they’ll be able to track me… and not just that…” He paused to take a heavy breath. “They can sever my powers through you.”

Yuweh stepped forward. “No one with our Ways should behave like you do! Don’t you see that if you harness them for your own personal gains what it could cost?” She turned to Faulk. “Don’t you see what having such extreme views and power can lead too?”

Faulk thought he did. Tyria was now just a wasteland, after all. Even so, he felt like he was being stretched between two viewpoints. They had both promised to teach him the symbols if he went along with their plans, but at the same time the idea of leaving the city was an appealing option after his confrontation with the City Watch.

“Remember Faulk, remember what happened when the Avaani took over? Remember how the Tyrians were treated?” Kessler was beginning to sound impatient. “We can take it all back!”

Faulk looked to him as silence fell upon the street. “No Kessler, we can’t take it back. Our comrades are gone and the benefits that come with revenge are limited. We can’t move backwards, we have to move forward, and I think going with her will help me do that.”

“You’re leaving?” Kessler asked in disgust. “With them?”

Faulk went silent again as the tension grew between them. Now that I’m a wanted man it might actually be a smart idea to leave this city for a little while.

“Oseali!” Yuweh called, shattering the tension. “Take care of this man. I need to talk to Faulk alone.”

Oseali nodded with a grunt and turned to him. Kessler spread his arms and looked at Faulk, as though everything was already decided.

“Well goodbye, Lieutenant.” His grin became a frown. “Let’s hope we never see each other again. If we do, it will be as enemies.”

He vanished into the wind and Oseali blurred off after him. They left so quickly that Faulk didn’t think he could have kept up to watch the fight even if he wanted to. Despite what he had said, he hoped Kessler survived against the big Lunari.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

My first novel, Stuck in the Game, was published by Future House Publishing in August 2016 with the sequel, Back in the Game, scheduled for 2017. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature with Honors in Creative Writing. I have received two honorable mentions in the Writers of the Future competition and won first place in a creative writing competition for the University of Canterbury Gazette.


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