Read Kastori Revelations (The Kastori Chronicles Book 1) Online
Authors: Stephen Allan
Preview of "Kastori Devastations"
To Derek, Liz, Lisa, Toph, and Jennifer, for giving me the feedback and encouragement to always push forward.
The first time I ever came across the concept of fantasy worlds, I was seven years old, sitting in my grandparent’s living room, just a couple of days after Christmas. My uncle handed me a wrapped box that had the exact dimensions of a Super Nintendo video game. I eagerly ripped it open, and there sat a new game I had never heard of before.
Final Fantasy III.
I looked at the game confused. Who was this white little muppet-looking creature on the front? What was with the ugly-looking building on the back? “MagiTek?”
I shrugged and muttered, “Thanks.” For months—if not years—
Final Fantasy III
sat on the shelf in our living room, collecting dust as effectively as my parents’ old vinyl records.
Then, one day, as most kids do, I ran out of money and had no more holidays or birthdays to get video games. So, begrudgingly, I unwrapped the plastic from the box, pulled out the cartridge, popped it in, and turned it on.
I knew I’d done something right when the screen flickered with lightning, ominous music began playing, and then an operatic cry punctuated the title screen.
Final Fantasy III.
Magic! Interesting, complex, contrasting characters! Powerful creatures! An evil empire! One of the most disturbing villains ever! It took me a couple of years to beat the game—school, the futile pursuit of popularity and other things got in the way—but when I did, I was enthralled. I loved it. I wanted more fantasy. I bought more
games. I read all of Tolkien’s books. I loved these imaginary worlds where the creator got to make all the rules and environments—and fantastical and beautiful they were.
But it didn’t completely stimulate my imagination in the way that one particular movie from 1977 did, as I imagine it must have for all sci-fi/fantasy nerds at the time.
The first time I saw
Star Wars: A New Hope,
a different uncle was babysitting me, and he popped the movie in. The epic, famous
theme blasted from the TV, and I curiously read the scrolling text. The space chase scene opens, and then he enters.
I was enthralled by this sadistic yet complex villain, who seemed to have complete control over everything and command everyone’s fear and respect. I wanted to wear his mask.
So, once again, I consumed all things
. I had added an element of space, family dynamics, and epic sword fights to my love of high fantasy and magic.
And for the first twenty-seven years of my life, I mostly stayed in the role of consumer. I watched Peter Jackson’s
Lord of the Rings
movies and loved it. I read
Game of Thrones.
But then, in the fall of 2015, I wanted in.
I had a world that blended the magic of fantasy with the space travel of sci-fi in my head. I envisioned a dynamic soldier leading a rag-tag team to a new world. I painted in my mind a massive beast, one that would make dragons from books like
tremble. I created a magic system similar to the one in
And now, months after writing the first draft, “Kastori Revelations” is finally here.
If you love
, you’ll recognize a ton of elements of each universe in this series. If you don’t, you’ll still recognize certain components of fantasy—magic, high stakes, great monsters, and interesting characters.
I never imagined when I begrudgingly thanked my uncle for
Final Fantasy III
that it would lead to me creating a universe based off of it and one of the greatest sci-fi/fantasy universes.
But now, I have to say, that was the moment that started it all and led to this novel, my debut fantasy work, “Kastori Revelations.”
The speckled sea of stars provided infinite light but zero hope. Crystil propped her long, well-defined legs on the control panel of the
spaceship with her arms crossed. Wearied stoicism glazed over her dark brown eyes and white skin. Her mind relived the traumas from what felt like the day before but had occurred two years ago.
Everyone I love is dead.
Dyson. My husband since 24, my lover since 16. Just four years of marriage. Gone.
Emperor Orthran. The man whom I served since 20, the man whom I swore everything to. Annihilated by explosions. Gone.
And everyone else on Monda. Gone.
Just Emperor Orthran’s kids and I. Some ragtag team we are. Gotta be a dream, right? Maybe I’m still on Monda, with Dyson, cuddling. Maybe I’m still in the chambers with Emperor Orthran, figuring out our next course of action against the magicologists. There’s no way this all ended as it did. Emperor Orthran promised us peace.
I wish they wiped our memories after two years in those pods.
She shifted in her seat, sitting back up in an authoritative position. It didn’t remove the pain, but it at least gave her the illusion of controlling the future.
She reviewed the itinerary for the day, the one anchor of reality that she could lose herself in. A schedule gave her a purpose and forced her to stop thinking about the past. She couldn’t help Cyrus and Celeste, the 24-year old son and 19-year old daughter of Emperor Orthran, grow if she kept wondering why Dyson’s ship had crumpled up like a useless piece of paper.
She’d already eaten breakfast, a meal of eggs and mixed vegetables; reviewed the notes Cortanus, the voice and artificial intelligence of the ship, produced from her verbal analysis; created a training regiment for the martial arts kaido that the other two could use; eaten the same meal for lunch, and read the report from Cortanus on their new home, Anatolus. According to that report, the likelihood of the planet’s existence had reached 99.97 percent based on scientific measurements the ship took.
Except that 0.03 percent happened on Monda. I’ll wait until it’s confirmed, and then I’ll wait until I see it with my own eyes… and then I’ll probably wait until I’ve actually set foot on the planet.
The rest of the schedule included learning to hunt in frigid, wintry conditions, and she edited out the notes on the terrain and wildlife they would encounter. She didn’t want either Orthran knowing what kind of terrain or dangers they would face. She didn’t have that luxury in Emperor Orthran’s army, and she wasn’t about to make things any easier for the kids.
After that, they would have free time before dinner—the same meal—and they’d review the day and their mission. Crystil included the latter for herself more than the other two. She needed the reminder of why she had to keep going. She demanded undivided attention from Cyrus and Celeste before but could’ve cared less if they fell asleep during the general review.
She closed out the daily schedule and looked at the emptiness of space.
“Training begins in thirty minutes, Crystil,” Cortanus said. “Do you wish to review anything in the meantime?”
Crystil did not react. On the blank canvas of the black space and white dots, she mentally projected the images of what had happened on Monda. She saw the first time a magicologist used unfathomable powers to bring an airship down by manipulating the weather to electrocute the vessel, killing everyone on board. In a rage, she’d shot the magicologist with her sniper rifle, a Nakar 11, but had wasted five bullets when one would have sufficed. She learned quickly from her commanding officer emotions played no part in battle, even if she could never truly eliminate them.
“Lock them up until the mission is done,” he’d say.
She saw herself in the back of the emperor’s meeting room, serving as Emperor Orthran’s bodyguard. The Emperor assured the Council of Defense peace was at hand. And then…
“Remind me, Cortanus,” she said. “When is our projected arrival to Anatolus?”
“It is approximately one week away, Crystil.”
Crystil silently nodded, doubt gnawing at her. She leaned back in her chair, stretching her taut, freckled arms behind her head.
“And we still don’t know for sure about the existence of this planet?”
“Scientifically, no. However, given the percentages, if I were human and to gamble on this, I would bet significantly on the planet existing.”
“Delightful,” Crystil said.
The statement of gambling reminded her of Dyson.
Oh, how that man loved to play cards and bet on races.
His name triggered a morbid curiosity. She had so far not yet replayed the ship’s record of the past. With her memories so fresh, she didn’t have to.
But… perhaps if she did, she wouldn’t feel as much pain. Perhaps it would dull the heartache.
“Cortanus,” she said. “Show me the recording of what happened two years ago when we left Monda, before we entered hibernation.”
An aware intelligence, Cortanus hesitated. It eventually played the scene from when they left Monda. As soon as the image showed, Crystil felt overwhelming heat in her body as her stomach knotted. She felt she’d made a mistake, but had to see the whole thing through.
Fifty ships had left, including hers, as the Emperor had decided that the magicologists would annihilate them. The enemy had become too powerful. Crystil wished, watching, that the empire had smashed the threat to smithereens while it was too weak to attack a single unit, let alone the entire empire. Of those fifty ships, a dozen never made it out of the atmosphere, incinerated by the magicologists. Several more crumpled into nothingness, including Dyson’s. His was the one next to Crystil’s ship.
They had escaped only through pure luck and having the lead position. Had even one ship gone ahead of them, Crystil knew her hibernation would’ve become a permanent respite.
Cortanus, in the recording, announced that no more magicologist attacks could reach them.
Then a massive explosion came from Monda, so large that it seemed debris from the blast might reach their ship.
“No!” Celeste cried out, so piercing, saddening, and disturbing a cry that even Crystil, the hardened soldier, felt trembling empathy for the girl. Crystil had heard such a scream only once before, and knew why a cry like that would come.
Crystil shifted into commander mode, ordering the remaining crew members into their hibernation pods. Only Celeste did not move, paralyzed and grief-stricken by the apparent destruction of her home planet.
Crystil couldn’t blame the daughter of Emperor Orthran for her behavior, but empathy did not stop her from placing Celeste into her pod. Before she did, she promised Celeste she would carry on the emperor’s hope of prolonging humanity on Anatolus.