The Legend of Zye: X48

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Overview

When your destiny is laid out for you from birth, it should be easy to fit into it. But that isn't always the case.

On the planet of X48, everyone is born knowing their name and future, and deviating from that plan is unheard of. It sounds easy, but sixteen-year-old Zye isn't so sure. Since birth, he's been slated to become a soldier, but he'd much rather be a healer instead.

After he graduates from high school, he receives orders to report as ...

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Overview

When your destiny is laid out for you from birth, it should be easy to fit into it. But that isn't always the case.

On the planet of X48, everyone is born knowing their name and future, and deviating from that plan is unheard of. It sounds easy, but sixteen-year-old Zye isn't so sure. Since birth, he's been slated to become a soldier, but he'd much rather be a healer instead.

After he graduates from high school, he receives orders to report as a soldier and travel to planet Silver. Here he will train to become a fierce warrior. But when he hears his older, war-hero brother speaking about an upcoming fight against a group of powerful magicians called the Draes, Zye uncovers a secret that will change everything he's ever known.

Now, old powers left forgotten have begun to gain new strength, and Zye learns things about himself, his brother, and his planet he had never imagined. The young man who believed for so long that he was just one of millions now might be his planet's only hope. Yet it is the tragic murder of Zye's beloved older brother that spins his life out of control, and Zye's future may, for the first time, be irrevocably altered.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781475934021
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Pages: 154
  • Sales rank: 964,310
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Read an Excerpt

THE LEGEND OF ZYE: X48


By RACHEL CARTER

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Rachel Carter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-3402-1


Chapter One

"It wasn't long before Raymond Green realized the planet he had found was not empty and abandoned, as he had first thought. As he traveled over the sandy black land, he discovered animals similar to those on Earth. He saw huge eagles, wolves, and game. His riding star was too fast and too powerful to ride near the ground, and he couldn't see much from far up. After a few days, he found a tall pitch-black stallion that could move faster than any horse on Earth. He rode all night, bareback, not stopping once. By the time the sun was done rising, they had covered almost a thousand miles. At about midday, Raymond found a small tribe of humans who all spoke English and Latin. Their leader explained to Raymond that English and Latin were two of the many languages of the human species, no matter which planet they lived on. The tribe was old, unstable, and, in Raymond's eyes, well in his ability to control. He killed the old ruler and named himself king of Sandstiss. There were four tribes in total back then, as there still are. But Raymond, even with his magic and strength and power, couldn't defeat the other kings. After his first failed and humiliating attempts to conquer them, he swore he would someday rule the whole planet as his own. After almost a thousand years, everyone thought he had finally given up, but I know he never will. Now, the only things stopping Raymond from conquering the cities are the three chosen soldiers. These soldiers are handpicked from thousands by the king of their city."

"That's you, Tie," I said, interrupting my brother yet again.

Shintie allowed a small smile to curve his lips. It wasn't totally pride, but it wasn't humility, either. "I'm only a soldier, Zye," he told me. "All the other titles don't matter to me, and they shouldn't to you either."

I nodded. He always told me that pride was foolish and dangerous, but as an eight-year-old I cared only about pride and danger. As Shintie was about to leave, a man a few years younger than him suddenly blocked the doorway. I looked around my oldest brother to see my second-oldest brother, Carõ. He had the same stupid, crooked grin on his face that he always wore, his fist was curled around his sword hilt, and his dark red hair hid his eyes. He was our city's high and mighty general, kind of like Shintie. There was something so intimidating about Carõ that I shrank into Shintie's side.

"Bedtime stories for the soldier child?" Carõ asked, not hiding his sarcasm.

"Shut it, Carõ," Shintie said. "I'm trying to get him to fall asleep, not the opposite."

The general scoffed. "You don't see Ryemen needing to be talked to sleep."

Rye, my twin, was dead asleep in the other cot in the room. He was snoring and flat on his face. When the three of us glanced over, he tensed slightly as if he knew he was being watched.

"Zyemen," Carõ barked at me—he was one of the only people who used my full name regularly—"where's Father's sword?"

I lay flat on my stomach to fit my head and one arm under the cot mattress. My eyes fell on a black and scarlet sheath with a silver, diamond-encrusted hilt protruding from the end. I hooked my small fingers halfway around it and pulled it out. It was heavy and difficult to manage, and I struggled in holding it up for my brother. He took it quickly and drew it in a flourish.

"That's Zye's sword, Carõ," Shintie said with a touch of steel in his voice. He rarely got mad at anyone, but when he did it was usually at Carõ. "Father entrusted it to him."

"Of course." Carõ gritted his teeth in mock respect to his only older brother and turned to me. He slid the sword back into the sheath with such force that I was pushed backward onto my heels. Shintie glared at him.

Carõ grinned. "I just like the feel of it," he said, but even I, as an eight-year-old, could tell he was lying. "I don't understand why, out of five sons, our father would give such a powerful weapon to his youngest."

I heard a soft snarl grow in the back of Shintie's throat but ignored it; I didn't fear my oldest brother. I ducked down to replace the sword under my cot. "Good night, Carõ," I said, crawling under the thin sheet. "Good night, Shintie."

They both said good night back, Shintie slightly more kindly than Carõ, and left. Before closing the door, Shintie turned back and snapped his fingers. At once, the three candles mounted around the room went out. I heard the door click shut, and I was left in darkness. Outside my room, Shintie and Carõ continued their argument, but I was too tired to pay much attention.

Chapter Two

Eight years later

I woke up to a hard, leather boot slamming into my face and the sound of familiar laughter not far away. I caught the shoe as it fell and chucked it back in the direction from which it had come. A second later, I heard the satisfying clunk of it connecting with its owner.

"I was sleeping, Rye," I told my twin. I turned over onto my stomach so he couldn't see my hand reach under my cot. My fingers closed round the cool metal of my sword sheath.

"And now you're awake," he said, laughing, "and you hit me in the head with my boot."

"You do the exact same thing to wake me up every day, and I'm not as strong as you," I pointed out, my voice muffled against a pillow. "You do your best to break my nose every morning."

"Wake up before me," he said, snickering, "and you won't need me to wake you up."

I grunted and jumped up from my cot in half a second. In the same amount of time, I was a foot from Rye, who was still sitting up in his bed, with my sword resting on his throat. He was ready, however. He twisted his hand under his pillow to pull out his own blade. It was shorter and heavier than mine, and I was able to back up five feet before he had a good grip on it. Rye relied more on strength than skill in sword fighting, mainly because he was self-taught, so it was more difficult than fighting a real soldier like Shintie or Carõ. We spun around the room for several minutes, blades slamming against each other over and over. Finally, I managed to hook my sword under Rye's and threw my arm up powerfully. He yelled as the end of my blade sliced his palm and his sword went flying. Baring his teeth in pain, he clamped his left hand over his bloody right and muttered something in Latin under his breath. When he let go of his hand, I saw that the gash was healed completely. He wiped his hand on his pants and went to retrieve his sword.

"How many times have you lost your sword in that way?" I asked, pulling on a shirt, boots, and belt for my sheath.

"As many times as I've healed that same exact spot," he said dryly, hiding his sword and sheath back under his pillow.

"It's amazing you don't have any scars from fighting," I noted, lacing my boots.

"It's because I'm a good healer—and a good thing too." Rye snapped his fingers to light the wall candles. "Do you know how much trouble I would be in if anyone knew I even owned a sword, let alone could hold my own against soldiers and a soldier in training?"

"Honestly, I believe everyone on X48 should own swords and know how to fight with them," I said. "I don't understand why soldiers are the only ones permitted to carry them."

"No one thinks anything is going to happen to a healer," Rye said. "And anyway, most people can use magic well enough to defend themselves without a physical weapon. I just like knowing I'm able to handle a blade."

"Who or what do you think you're going to defend yourself from?" I asked. I followed Rye toward the stairs and watched him leap headfirst over the twenty steps and land perfectly on both feet. I followed, more humanlike, after the floorboards were done rattling. I doubted that Rye was able to do the same.

"Thieves," he offered as we entered the kitchen area. "You know, those people who don't obey their tags and just don't work. Carõ says they'll slit your throat just for the change in your pocket."

"Carõ's head is full of hot air," I said, "and it's getting worse with the promotions." In the past three years, my second-oldest brother had risen from a general's adviser to a second-in-command to a fully fledged war general. I was more than confident that he hadn't entered a real battle in his life; his job was to tell the soldiers what do to. And somehow, he was very talented at that. His name was quickly becoming well known over all of Hishe and hated in Sandstiss. "It's not a choice to not follow your tag," I continued. "You can't just not attend school and training."

"Actually, you can," said a voice from behind. I turned to see Tahll, my third-oldest brother. He was actually only three years older than Rye and I. "Being born with the tags is one thing, but nothing really forces you to do what they say."

"So I don't have to be a soldier?" I asked, glancing down at the dog tag hanging from the chain on my neck. The tags that everyone on X48 owned all said two things: our names and the jobs we would grow up to do.

"You've already trained to be a soldier, Zye," said Tahll, who was a historian and teacher and had almost no sense of humor. "You can't back out now."

I watched him take a piece of thick, dark tan bread from a pan in the fireplace and lean against the table to eat it. Rye and I each took a piece. My twin managed to finish his before I had taken two bites.

"I wish I weren't a soldier," I muttered, making sure I didn't hear Shintie or Carõ coming down the stairs. "I've always wanted to be a healer."

"I know," Tahll said, shouldering a heavy-looking leather bag. "You've always said that, but you can't change what you were always meant to be."

"What's in your bag?" Rye asked, taking another piece of bread from the black and silver fire. "History essays?"

"Why would I have essays? I'm not in school," Tahll said flatly, tying a string through a hole in either side of the open bag to keep it shut. "They're letters for all the last years. Did you two honestly forget this was your final day of in-class schooling?"

"Are you joking?" Rye made a halfhearted dive for Tahll's bag. "I've been counting the days down for ten years. Give me mine!"

"You still have one final lesson today." Tahll twisted gracefully away from Rye and rested against the far wall with his black bag in between the wood and his back.

"Tahll!" my twin said incredulously. "No one cares about the dragon wars! Dragons are extinct. Why do you need to tell us over and over?"

"I care about the dragon wars," said Tahll coldly. He stalked toward the door, adding on the way out, "There's someone at the window."

I turned expectantly to see that he was right. It was still mostly dark outside, but from the light of the slowing rising red sun I could see the shadow of a person behind the curtain. I closed my hand to a fist, and the sheet rolled up. Through the hole in the wall I saw a sweet face waiting for us. I waved, and the girl waved back and disappeared from sight.

"O' Maari's here," I said, shouldering a bag that was much smaller than Tahll's.

"I wasn't really expecting someone else," Rye grumbled, grabbing his own bag and following me to the door. "She's the only one who comes to our house this early."

I ignored him and trotted through the doorway to meet the girl. She was two years younger than Rye and I but still in the same school year. Most of the time, no one moved up or down in the ten required years of class schooling, but somehow, O' Maari had managed to do it twice. She was sitting sidesaddle on a tall pure-white stallion named Daren. She smiled upon seeing me, pushing thick brown hair from in front of her sky-blue eyes to behind one ear. Despite being only fourteen years old, she looked and acted at least my age. She was one of the youngest in Hishe to finish school in over five hundred years.

"Good morning, O' Maari," I said, stroking Daren's slick neck.

"Good morning, Zye," she said and smiled, almost laughing. "Good morning, Rye. Is Tahll okay? He left your barn on his horse pretty fast."

"I was trying to explain to him how useless history is," Rye said. O' Maari slipped off her horse's back and he walked behind the three of us to my family's barn.

"Tahll's a historian," O' Maari said obviously. "I would think he enjoys history."

"Leave the past in the past," Rye said grumpily, pushing open the barn doors.

My family's stable comprised one long hallway of stalls and side rooms. There were ten occupied and three empty stalls. One was for my mother's horse, five for mine and my brothers', and another for our groom's, Razor. The other three were war horses: my father's, Carõ's, and Shintie's. The side rooms were for tack, feed, and other equipment that, most of the time, only Razor worried about. Inside, I saw him in his own horse's stall, filling her water trough.

"Razor," I said as soon as he was in earshot.

He looked up and pushed his sweaty brown hair from his face. "Sir?"

"Are Star and Mason tacked?"

"Yes, sir," he said, stepping out of the stall and hanging a metal bucket on a hook. "Starra is in her stall, and Mason is in a tie down the hall."

"Thanks, Raz," Rye said happily, trotting down toward a cross tie. Standing in it was a tall, Arabian dun kicking angrily at nothing in particular.

I stepped over to a wide stall door and pulled it back. Inside was a jet-black thoroughbred with a perfect, nine-point star on her forelock. I took the reins in one hand and led the mare into the hall, where I had enough room to climb on.

"Why don't you just tack up your horses yourself?" O' Maari muttered in an undertone. "It takes ten minutes to brush a horse and throw a saddle on."

"My father was wealthy enough to hire a groom," I said, shrugging. "This way I can sleep for five more minutes."

"You mean fence with Rye?" She raised an eyebrow.

"What is that supposed to mean?" I asked defensively.

"Nothing at all." Her voice was cold and bitter. Sword fighting was always a bad topic to talk about with her. "It's just, if a healer can learn to fight, I don't understand why a girl can't."

"Because no one knows he can fight," I said.

I put one foot in a saddle iron and pulled myself up. O' Maari, still disgruntled, took a handful of Daren's mane and leapt easily onto his white back. Rye, already mounted, was spinning Mason in quick, tight circles, trying to calm him.

"Didn't you ever train him yourself when you were little?" asked O' Maari.

"No one can train this horse," Rye grunted, losing an iron and almost slipping sideways to the ground. "Even Zye and Shintie couldn't."

O' Maari laughed and sifted her hand through her horse's mane. "Come on," she said happily, "I'll race you two."

"You're on." I pressed my heels sharply to the thoroughbred's muscular sides and felt her smooth leap into an immediate full gallop. Her velvet mane whipped my face as I lay flat against her spine, willing her faster. I didn't even look back to see where Daren and Mason were; I knew they had no chance of passing me. Starra was as good as a war horse. Daren was a traveling horse, and Mason was just uncontrollable. We were both trained to be able to travel more than seventy miles each hour without stopping. The thirty-mile trip to my school was done easily in under half an hour.

When Starra and I, as always, were the first to arrive at the school, I climbed off and tied her reins to a post. The sun was still low in the sky, and the school was, so far, totally empty. Even though Tahll had left before us, he was almost always the last to arrive. His old stallion only walked, and even if he could have cantered, Tahll couldn't make him. I leaned lightly against Starra's side and waited for my brother and best friend, glaring through the dark window into the school room.

The school was composed of only one square room with several tables that were arranged in neat rows. The teachers stood for the entire lesson, lecturing about whichever topic they felt like teaching that day. For five to six hours, one teacher would talk and students would take notes. No speaking or standing was ever allowed.

I was unsure of just how many schools there were in Hishe, but I did know that all of them were run exactly the same as the others. Students aged fifteen and sixteen were taught for six hours starting at sunrise. Students aged ten to fourteen were taught for six hours directly after us, when the sun was right overhead. Students aged five to nine were taught from when the second class ended until nightfall, about four hours later.

With Rye and O' Maari still a few minutes behind me, I sauntered into the classroom. It was almost completely dark inside, and I had to snap my fingers to light some of the wall candles to find my table. I weaved through to it and dropped my bag onto the surface. At that moment, I heard soft hooves approaching at a light canter. I stepped back outside to meet O' Maari and Daren.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE LEGEND OF ZYE: X48 by RACHEL CARTER Copyright © 2013 by Rachel Carter. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    I love the plot line and story! The underlying theme all through

    I love the plot line and story! The underlying theme all throughout the novel is clear, and makes a meaningful statement. Would recommend.

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