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Authors: B. T. Narro

Tags: #Fiction, #General

Bastial Steel

BOOK: Bastial Steel
6.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Contents

Map

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

New Releases

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Copyright

 

Prologue

 

There were several theories as to what could’ve created the Bastial crater, all of which were derived from the only two facts they knew: There was an earthquake and then an explosion.

And such an explosion it was. Shattered pieces of mountain the size of statues rained down on the Elves in Meritar and the Humans of Goldram, killing many and injuring more.

But why the explosion? What could’ve made a blast so great to create a crater eighty miles wide? This, they had no idea. And in the middle of the mountains as well—in the heart of the jagged peaks that separated Meritar from Goldram, secluding the Elves from the rest of the content.

Was it the Elves performing some sort of experiment? This is what most believed, but the Elves denied it.

Whatever it was that caused the explosion, at least everyone knew the result. Somehow it had created Bastial steel, the most valuable material in the world.

Discovered and then mined in the Bastial crater formed by this explosion, the steel had been used to forge many swords in the ten years since the creation of the crater.

Unfortunately, this same steel also brought forth the Bastial Steel War, when the three territories surrounding Goldram came together to fight the Takary Army for access to the crater.

Only one man knew how it all started. He was the only one there to witness it, killed in the process, of course. But it was a glorious death, filled with fire and surges of energy powerful enough to make mountains soar like eagles.

His name was Rami, an old man who took to the mountains in his dying years. He found a cluster of intriguing plants in the heart of the peaks. What he didn’t know was that they were the same plants that Krepps and Slugari came to know as eppil plants, black as ink and twisted, doubling back into the patch of hard dirt from which they grew.

Rami lived among the eppil plants for years, trying a taste only once and nearly vomiting up his lungs. Being a lover of nature, he filled many pages in his journal with notes about this undiscovered plant. Unfortunately, it was destroyed soon before the explosion, the paper incinerated just like the old man’s skin.

The earthquake was alarming, causing him to crouch under a mountain ledge he knew to be sturdy. The shaking was so violent it tore the dirt open around him, and a gush of Bastial Energy escaped through the quickly widening cracks. But not all of the energy made it into the air, for the eppil plants were thirsty, drinking it in. The black and twisted plants swelled, gathering over the opening to fight for the Bastial Energy.

Rami watched in amazement as a ball of swirling red and yellow began to form. It was the size of his fist at first. A breath later, it was larger than him.

Regrettably for Rami, that was the end of his life.

He didn’t get to see the burning ball double in size, and then again moments later, reaching over twenty feet tall and disintegrating the clouds above. He didn’t get to witness the soil melting beneath it so that it fell deep into the world, collecting more Bastial Energy as it went. He certainly didn’t get to see the explosion that ripped the world apart, leaving a hideous scar in its wake.

Rami’s body and mind were gone long before then—burned to dust from the pulsing heat the powerful little sun created before it exploded and assisted in the formation of a new metal.

Rami would never know what this so-called Bastial steel would do to the world.

But if he’d had to endure the war that followed and the death of his family as they fought for Goldram, he would’ve been thankful for this sudden yet painless end to existence.

 

Chapter 1

 

Cleve could feel fingernails being dug into his mind. He tried to force them out, pushing against them so hard he uttered a scream. But they were too strong, immovable. They dug deeper, causing such sharp pain his vision began to blur. Now in place, they were beginning to pry him open. His mind slowly ripped apart like an orange being separated down the middle.

“Fight back!” Rek yelled. “Push me out.” Through the screeching pain, Rek’s voice was faint, as if it had passed through walls before reaching Cleve’s ears.

Cleve managed to squeak out a question between groans of pain. “How can I fight you when I can’t see you attacking?”

“You won’t be able to see the attack, but you can feel the pain coming. Fight back as soon as it starts.”

In their windowless cabin on the boat, it would get too hot for comfort as soon as they began training. Cleve’s shirt was already off, but his skin was still burning. It felt as if his blood would start boiling any moment.

It was their second day since their exile from Kyrro, and Rek had decided Cleve was ready to start learning how to fight against the psychic spell of pain.

“Can you switch the pain to somewhere else?” Cleve asked. “My head feels cracked.”

The corner of Rek’s mouth folded with disappointment. “Perhaps we should stop for the day.”

Cleve pushed himself up from the bed to stand. “No. Continue.”

The door creaked open. Jessend Takary cautiously stepped in, her dark hair dancing from a gust of wind that rushed in behind her. She edged closer to Cleve, elegantly brushing her hair over her ear and letting out a sigh.

“More training?” she asked.

Cleve nodded, reaching for his shirt.

“That’s not necessary,” she told him urgently, showing a sly smile while her eyes ran down to his stomach. Before Cleve could decide if her gaze was making him feel flattered or uncomfortable, she said, “Will you come with me to the deck, Cleve? I’m sure Rek will miss you dearly,” she spoke sarcastically, “but I’d like to spend some time with my betrothed and not in the same room as a psychic.”

Rek stood, lowering his head in respect. “Lady Jessend, two days being unable to leave this room has been tortuous. You have my word that I will not use psyche. I will not turn this ship around, even if I had the power to convince you or your captain to do so—which I assure you I do not. Please allow me to walk about this magnificent ship of yours. My legs need to be used.”

Jessend smiled forgivingly. “It’s my father’s ship. And yes, no man should be confined to one room…unless he’s dangerous.” She tilted her head, her two front teeth coming over her lower lip.

“I’m only a danger to my enemies.” Rek’s tone was calm. “And you are no enemy of mine.”

Cleve slipped into his shirt. By the time it was in place, Jessend had approached and put her hand on his wrist. “How do I know he isn’t using psyche on me right now, Cleve?”

Cleve’s first thought was to shrug and tell her to ask Rek, but then he realized that would be like asking a liar to explain how to tell when he’s lying. So he thought back to his recent lessons with Rek to find the answer himself.

“Confidence. Don’t have doubts.” It sounded simple, but he knew it wasn’t easy. “Trust your instincts,” he added, knowing doing so was simpler than his first suggestion. “Do you think he’s using psyche right now?” Cleve decided to ask her.

Jessend let her hand slide off his wrist as she turned to Rek. “I don’t, but I’m not sure.” She shifted a foot forward to lean the rest of her body back, one hand confidently on the curve of her hip. “Use psyche on me, Rek. I want to see what it feels like. Convince me to do something I wouldn’t want to do—convince me to leave this room without Cleve.”

“I would need a reason to make you leave here, something logical. It’s just like a lie, Lady Jessend.” There was substantial respect in Rek’s tone as he spoke to the Princess.

Cleve would’ve felt disgusted if the Elf was speaking to him that way, but Jessend seemed to think nothing of it. Cleve wondered if she was so used to being addressed with deference that she might not even have noticed.

“Could you elaborate?” Jessend asked, her head now leaning forward over her petite body. “What do you mean it’s like a lie?”

“Psyche won’t work unless it’s believable,” Rek said. “If we smelled smoke, I could claim there’s a fire to make you leave this room. If someone shouted your name, I could convince you that it’s important you speak with them immediately. But without something like this, I have nearly the same chance of convincing you to do something with psyche as without.”

Jessend shifted her weight as she pondered, seemingly having difficulty staying still, as if the discussion of psyche had made her uneasy.

“I’m always honest,” Rek continued. The comment surprised Cleve, making him wonder if the psychic had picked up on something Cleve hadn’t, perhaps Jessend’s worry about whether or not she was hearing the truth?

Rek added shortly after, “I feel that’s only fair, given I can tell when others lie.”

“Alright.” Jessend gave one quick nod, smiling halfheartedly. “I believe you, Rek. But please allow a moment for me to inform my guards of your exit so they aren’t alarmed when they see you.” She gracefully turned on her heels to Cleve, extending her small hand for him to hold.

It felt like a child’s in his grasp, and even more so from the way she dragged him after her through the door, where guards had been stationed to stop Rek from leaving.

On the vast deck, Jessend bent her arm around Cleve’s. They stood at the side of the ship, looking out over the Starving Ocean.

Cleve had never been on a boat before. He might’ve found the endless ocean calming if he wasn’t leaving his uncle and his friends behind to fight the war without him—if he wasn’t leaving Reela behind. Thoughts of her always seemed to tug on his heart as they crept their way past his dense worries, making him forget where he was momentarily. Jessend stretched her arm up to reach his cheek, turning his gaze down toward her.

“Two days, Cleve, and all you do is stay in the cabin with Rek. At first I wasn’t sure, but now I am. Why are you avoiding me?” Her voice was deep for a woman, especially such a diminutive one. She wore an elegant blouse, open at the collar.

On their own, Cleve’s eyes traveled down her golden-brown skin to her bosom. After just a blink, he lifted his gaze to her wide brown eyes and her nearly black hair whipping in the breeze. He could feel his own hair fluttering across his forehead in the same way.

Because when I steal a ship and sail back to Kyrro, we’ll never see each other again. It’ll hurt less if we don’t know each other.

“I haven’t been avoiding you,” he lied.

She grinned like he’d told a bad joke. “Yes I’m sure you treat
all
women as if they have the plague,” she said sarcastically, “just like you’re doing with me.” Suddenly, she shoved him. Her face showed playfulness, but there was surprising strength in her arms.

Cleve stumbled back while she giggled.

“You’re a bad liar,” Jessend said. “I’m glad.” She came after him with her arms out. “But what I don’t like is how easy it is to knock you off your feet.” Showing her white teeth in a wide grin, she went for another shove.

His arms came up to block her, and soon their limbs were locked in a struggle. She laughed and surprised him by swinging her foot around for a trip.

“What are you doing?” Cleve easily stepped over it but found himself losing his balance when she tried for another trip, this time around his ankle.

Something slammed into his side, sending him soaring through the air long enough for him to brace himself just before colliding with the deck.

BOOK: Bastial Steel
6.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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