"There is no darkness too bleak.
For if there lurks evil,
I will find and vanquish it.
I am the Revenger of God.
I exact my purpose with all vengeance."
Eden has always been a peaceful, safe, godly place to live and to raise a family. That's the foundation of hope for Dragoncyth and his new bride, Draeneen. When circumstances beyond their control and comprehension uproot everything they hold dear, however, they must choose to be either victims of fate-or heroes who change history.
The couple embarks on an epic journey to save themselves and all of Eden from annihilation and satanic rule. They both must come to terms with the consequences of their actions and learn to adapt to a new life for which neither of them is prepared. Evil beyond comprehension lurks, and it does not care about the dreams and ambitions of newlyweds or champions. Gelnash, the voice of reason and a pillar of their community, has pledged to guide Dragoncyth through his terror and uncertainty. If anyone can help prepare the young bridegroom for his destiny, it is Gelnash. Battles await him, with creatures more terrible and dangerous than his imagination can conjure, and Dragoncyth will need every ounce of his bravery to survive. Luckily for him, Draeneen is at his side. With what courage they can muster, Dragoncyth and Draeneen build a troop of allies to save their world. But will their valor be enough to turn the tide?
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|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By J. L. Bolden
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2013 J. L. Bolden
All rights reserved.
A LARGE PILLAR CRUMBLED to the ground as Alkiyana and the rest of the harvesting team trekked into the forest in search of the coveted albritea. Harvesting was not the same, and Alkiyana wasn't the only one who had noticed.
"Is it me or do the trees look different?" asked Emaurri, as he gazed at his friends who all reminded him of looking at his own reflection in the mirror.
"It's not just the trees but the grass as well. It is shredding my shoes," added Alexandrine.
"All I do is cough, cough, cough, and cough," said Bellonar.
"I can barely breath, the air is so stagnant. Harvesting used to be so different. We'd laugh and joke around. It was fun! Now it's anything but fun," remarked Alkiyana.
Morgaine looked at the gray sky, pointed to the rigid ground, and recollected. "Yes, yes I remember. It's been many months since our team has had to harvest. I remember blue skies and soft grass upon my skin."
Sumera turned to Lil. "What do you think?"
Lil's eyes tightened in the corners and her brow furrowed. "Be still and listen. Upon starting this journey the grass was plush, the air was pure, and the rocks were sturdy. I suggest we settle here and make this harvest the fastest we have ever made."
"Agreed," added Grell, as he moved his head from side to side scanning for unseen dangers.
"I have an uneasy feeling about this harvest. Here we shall harvest," declared Emaurri,
"Let us pray it is swiftly done."
The six Fighters and Watchers' friends gathered to form a wide triangle and began watching the distance while the three harvesters climbed aboard their hovercrafts. After a quick study of the controls, they rocketed skyward in search of the albritea. They sprung from their carts and pounced from tree to tree like native tree-borne creatures, swiftly cutting down the albritea with their claws and depositing the fruit onto the carts.
While the harvesters continued gathering the fruit, a thunderous crash rocked the ground.
"Lil, Sumera, did you feel that?" Morgaine asked, as she struggled to regain her balance.
"Lil here. Yes, I felt it two times. The second was a branch hitting me, but I'm fine."
"We're fine on this end," added Sumera.
Morgaine looked toward the collection team, as she maintained watch over the ground.
"Let's get to the collection team," she said, "It looks like they are done and the carts are coming down now."
Running to meet the others, Morgaine noticed a large albritea branch falling near Vaneel.
"Vaneel, watch out!"
Vaneel looked up and her muscles rippled, as she narrowly dodged the branch. The branch smashed into her cart and scattered her harvest across the forest floor. She landed safely several yards from the wreck.
"Wow! That nearly ended me!" Vaneel was startled.
Morgaine, Lil, and Sumera paused with their hands on their visors. They turned their heads steadily and slowly scanning the trees for signs of movement.
"Shh!" Lil commanded.
She pointed to a shadowy figure to the north of their group. Morgaine and Sumera turned to look.
"I see it," said Sumera.
She slowly crouched in a defensive manner. Emaurri, Grell, and Bellonar stood with their feet firmly planted in the ground and began to shake violently, as their hands transformed into vicious claws, and their skin toughened and scaled over. Their pupils focused, which greatly sharpened their vision, while their muscles rippled and swelled.
Another branch fell to the ground with a thunderous crash, scattering the group.
"Look! They're running across the branches!" Sumera pointed into the trees.
"I can see it! But, what is it?" Lil's voice lilted with confusion.
From the shadows a creature appeared. It crept in like the night with its eyes shining like miniature suns. Covered in dirt, the creature stepped onto an old, brittle branch and attempted to bite the luscious fruit. The sound of the branch cracking, rippled through the air, startling the creature. In one swift motion, it leaped into the shadows of the trees. The branch crashed to the ground.
"It's only an Aldrich." Morgaine shrugged off, while wiping the sweat from her brow.
"Yeah! What a relief. It's not every day we're out fighting," replied Alexandrine.
"Well we have what we came for. Let's get back to an area that's not so dark and damp." Alkiyana added.
"Agreed," said Vaneel. She began retrieving what she could from her scattered harvest. "Just as soon as I finish getting these albritea from the ground, I'll be ready."
"We shall help you sister. The faster we finish, the faster we can leave this place," said Alexandrine.
The three of them gathered the dirty fruit from the ground, as the others stood watch. Alexandrine giggled and looked towards Alkiyana.
"Even though the public affections of our species have turned into lewdness, you could at least wait until you're home before attempting to arouse Grell. Such things should be kept private regardless of the new sex laws in place," Alexandrine commented slyly.
Alkiyana looked at Alexandrine with a puzzled look. "What do you mean exactly?"
Morgaine looked over and pointed toward Alkiyana's bosom and said, "Why, you're peeking out all over the place."
Alkiyana stood up from her stooped position and cupped her breasts with both hands, putting them back into her harness.
"Hmm, have I been exposing myself all this time? I didn't even notice." Alkiyana was slightly embarrassed. She turned slightly to shield herself. "My harness strap must have come loose when I nearly fell. These flimsy garments reveal our most cherished parts. It's embarrassing!"
She adjusted the harness straps.
"Yes, the Fighters and the Watchers. Even though their wears are different from one another they don't expose as much skin as the Collectors. But this is not too much different from our everyday wear in the city. Our cleavage is exposed and no undergarments whatsoever!" Morgaine replied.
"Yes I suppose you are correct," conceded Alkiyana, "But I can't wait to get back and don my elegant robes. I love how they fit me."
"Even though this has been an abrupt change, as of late, it is still law. We cannot disobey the rules of the Elders, regardless of how odd they seem. I'm sure they have good reason for it." Morgaine commented.
"What do you mean abrupt change?" Alkiyana asked. She glanced down at herself, satisfied with her clothing adjustments.
"We have not always dressed and behaved this way," Morgaine noted.
Alkiyana furrowed her brow and shared a glance with Alexandrine.
"What was that look for?" Morgaine asked noticing the shared glance.
"Not all is that it seems, Morgaine," answered Alexandrine.
"Yes, treachery is upon us and we have been preparing our kids to resolve this issue, as the book says it would," added Alkiyana.
"Book, what book? We don't have any books. They are of an ancient time many years before us."
"Yes, and we know why they no longer live upon us, as they once did. The sex, lust and provocative wear are all new to our culture. It wasn't this way before the fall of Gelnash. Our children are the key to our world. It was many times better than it is now," said Alkiyana.
"Ahhh the gossip of women," Grell walked up interrupting, "Can we continue this conversation over a hot drink in our home?"
"My husband is correct. Let us go from this morbid place," Alkiyana replied and turned to whisper to Morgaine, "Not many know of our secret. Vaneel and her husband are privy to us, as are a few others."
"We don't even think this Scrungen we have been hearing about is real but rather a ruse created by them!" Alexandrine interjected.
The women finished connecting the hover carts. They began their journey back to the city.
"But what if it is not a ruse?" Morgaine asked with concern in her voice.
"Come ladies, now is not the time. Let us make haste for Paulirene before the sun sets and discuss these matters in closed doors," directed Emaurri, leading the way.
After walking several miles they noticed a bright light shining from the harvesting area and stopped to have a look. The three Watchers studied the distance and adjusted their visors.
"What can you see?" asked Emaurri.
"I'm not entirely sure," replied Lil, "At this distance it is a blur to me."
"Yes, the same is true for me. Morgaine, are you having any better luck?" inquired Sumera.
"I can't make much out, except that there are several humanoids. Their auras are too faint to see at this distance so I can't make them out. What I do know is that we are the only group scheduled to be out today. That fact alone is enough to cause concern. Let us make haste to the city so the Magii can start processing the albritea."
"I'm getting a bad feeling about this," uttered Bellonar. "We still have a long way to go. I'll stay behind for a bit and continue on when I think everything is safe."
"The air and the skies have cleared," said Grell, as he leaned over and touched the ground.
"And the ground here is back to its normal gentleness. I think the convoy will be safe to go on alone. Emaurri and I will stay with Grell!" replied Bellonar in an authoritative tone.
"Agreed, we shall wait here," added Emaurri, as he walked to Alexandrine.
He embraced her tightly and placed a gentle kiss upon her lips. As they pulled away, Alexandrine gazed upon her husband with fluttering eyes. They were shining brightly, yet threatened with ushered tears. Emaurri peered into her eyes. For a brief moment his stone stare liquefied before her. She caressed his shoulders and trailed her fingertips down to his hand before gently releasing his fingers. Alexandrine slowly turned away from him and walked to the front of the convoy with her head held high. As Grell and Bellonar saluted their wives, Alkiyana and Vaneel, in a similar fashion, hurried to join Alexandrine and the others.
"May the blessings of Gelnash be upon you all. We will join you as soon as we can." Emaurri said in a reassuring voice, as the team split into two.
Alexandrine looked to him and responded in a voice just as reassuring as her husband's.
"May the blessings of Gelnash be upon you all, as well. I shall pray to Gelnash for your swiftness in this matter."
With those final words, Grell, Emaurri, and Bellonar watched, as their wives and the rest of the harvesting team faded into the distance.
"Do you smell that, Bellonar?" asked Grell.
"Yes, the air has that familiar putrid smell again."
"Look! The grass has also turned!" Emaurri exclaimed, as he looked down at the ground.
"Yes, I noticed it moments ago. I fear the worst with this change in environment following us." Grell said while he slowly turned toward the once glowing light.
"What in Eden is upon us!" exclaimed Bellonar, as he stepped away from the others for a better view.
As Bellonar focused on the site in the distance, Emaurri saw a slight movement from the corner of his eye near Bellonar's foot and turned to get a better look.
"Bellonar, watch your foot!" Emaurri shouted. "There is a vine moving near your foot."
Bellonar stopped in his tracks and looked at the vine creeping toward his foot.
"This is rather unusual," he said while slowly bending over to take a closer look.
Without warning, the vine shot up from the ground and quickly wrapped itself around Bellonar's neck pulling him to the ground.
"Bellonar," Grell yelled.
He and Emaurri moved toward him to help. But Bellonar ripped the vine from his neck with his sharp, powerful claws and took a deep, satisfying breath.
As the remaining vine retreated, a terrible roar sounded off in the distance causing the ground to tremble.
"Bellonar, are you alright?" asked Emaurri, as he helped his friend to his feet.
"Yes. I will be fine, but what on Eden was that monstrous plant and that terrible howl?" Bellonar asked coughing and rubbing his once vine choked neck.
Looking in the direction of the howl, Grell contemplated, "I can only think of our planet's one and only threat ... Scrungen."
"Do you think that thing could be Scrungen?" asked Emaurri. "It looked like an ordinary vine to me."
"Yes, an ordinary vine that nearly strangled the life out of me in a few short moments." Bellonar responded sarcastically. "I do not wish to think what would have happened had I been in my human form. To think, we have never actually used our secondary form for anything useful."
The other two agreed.
"At this rate we shall all make good use of it. Come, let us warn the others," Bellonar said while motioning toward the rest of the harvest team in the distance.
"Let us make haste then, may Gelnash be with you," said Emaurri.
The three took off toward the women jumping and leaping, swiftly, through trees with the wind blowing in their faces.
As the women continued transporting the albritea on their journey home, the conversation between Alkiyana, Alexandrine, and Vaneel continued.
"I really wish these carts would go faster," Alkiyana said with a sigh.
"As soon as we're back, I'll put in a request to the Elders to have the engineers increase the speed and safety," Morgaine replied.
"I think they move plenty fast." Sumera replied while holding tightly to the cart's rails with both hands.
"Poor Sumera never had the stomach for moving too quickly," Lil joked, as she laughed wildly.
"I don't know why the Elders won't implement a light beam system outside the city." Morgaine complained. "It would make harvesting much quicker."
Sumera yawned, as she continued holding tightly to the rail. "Yes. You do that. Go whine to the Elders about the technological advancements that make our lives even easier than they already are. I, on the other hand, will be busy redesigning my family's crest and robes."
Sumera stared off and it was obvious her thoughts were racing. "Just the other day I saw Moniva with a robe on and it is very closely related to mine. I was appalled. One would think the woman snooping would lack the creativity we all have. It's not enough that Gelnash saw it fit for us to be completely identical in appearance. I mean, even your bosom and hips match mine precisely. If not for my outstanding, aura that exudes from my perfect body my husband would surely venture into any one of your beds by accident."
"You silly girl," Morgaine responded with a laugh, "As if our men don't share the same fate?"
"Gelnash intended for us all to look the same, as to keep everyone happy with physical appearances," explained Alexandrine. "There seemed to be an issue in other worlds he created, something called vanity. Somehow it still seemed to find its way to our planet through the clothing we wear. If only you knew what was really going on in our world and the dangers we now face." she continued.
"What are you babbling about, Alexandrine?" Sumera asked snidely.
"Sounds like she's daydreaming," Lil added with a snicker.
"Laugh all you want," Vaneel said. "Our world is changing and has been for hundreds of years. There is great evil here and more to come."
"Our children shall save our world!" Alkiyana said confidently.
"Alkiyana, enough!" interrupted Alexandrine. "These women do not wish to hear the truth of this matter."
"Whatever dangers may or may not be here, the Elders have protected us with the shields over the city of Paulirene," responded Morgaine.
"More like our prisons!" Alkiyana said spitefully.
"Look!" Morgaine exclaimed, as she looked into the distance. "That's Emaurri, Grell, and Bellonar, right? Your husbands have come to rejoin us."
"They move with great haste. I wonder if all is fine?" Morgaine mused.
Suddenly, the hover carts came to a screeching halt and were flung high into the air. Screams erupted from the women, as they flailed wildly and tried desperately to regain their balance.
As Alkiyana landed safely, she looked up, and through the parting dust she began to see the shape of a huge beast holding tightly to Alexandrine, Vaneel, and Sumera.
"No!" she yelled.
"What on Eden is that creature?" Morgaine asked gravely.
"Is that the Scrungen we've been hearing about?" asked Lil gulping loudly.
"I don't care what it is," responded Alkiyana fiercely, "it has our friends and we need to help them!" The screams of Alexandrine, Vaneel, and Sumera rang out.
The creature suspended the three women above the ground and held them tightly, slowly crushing them with its vine-like tentacles. Determined to save her friends, Alkiyana morphed and began running toward the creature with a fierce look in her eyes.
Excerpted from After Revelations by J. L. Bolden. Copyright © 2013 J. L. Bolden. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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