Authors: William Bernhardt
squeezed the Old Man’s hand. “I will try to be true to the task you’ve given me,” he whispered. He glanced up at Brita and Xander. “Given us.”
“We all will,” Brita echoed.
“We will not fail you,” Xander added.
The time for talking came
to an end. The Old Man’s eyes fluttered closed.
“Does it hurt
—very much?” Daman asked.
“No,” the Old Man whispered
. “I’m past all that. It’s not bad, actually. Peaceful. I can rest easy. Knowing you will carry on the work.”
the Ritual of Execution,” he said, “I heard the Acolyte use your real name.”
He nodded slightly.
“May—May I use it? Now?”
A smile flickered faintly on his lips
. For everything.” His eyes brimmed with tears. He squeezed his friend’s hand as tightly as he could. “Farewell, Rico Dandel.”
The Old Man’s head shook slow
ly. “Till we meet again.”
Daman buried him at sunrise, at the top of a great hill several miles from the cave where he would not be disturbed. Following his instructions, he and Xander marked the grave with two sticks placed perpendicular to one another.
After they finished, he
stood atop the hill for a long while, thinking of all that had happened in such a short time. He could not imagine what lay before them—new people, new discoveries, danger, and perhaps even death.
disappeared on another of his scavenging runs. Will remained in charge. With the slaves from Balaveria swelling their ranks, the Resistance was stronger than ever. Now that the Pulse was disabled, they intended to press their advantage. They would spread throughout the region, fomenting insurrection, enlisting support, until at last they were strong enough to overcome the Black Sentry.
and Brita and Xander agreed to travel east in search of the other Pulse generators. They would find or recruit more Rebels. They would attack the other power stations. And then, once all the Pulse generators were eliminated, it would be time to unite the growing legion of Rebels and to strike against the Sentinel himself. The legacy the Old Man left them was both frightening–and exhilarating.
sat on the hill for some while, gazing at the rising sun. His hand touched the Relic in his pocket and a smile came to his lips.
At last, Brita placed her hand gently on his shoulder
. “We should go now.”
e sooner the better,” Xander added.
. They gathered together their supplies and provisions and set out to see what lay to the east, certain of only one thing.
Despite everything they had been through, the adventure was just beginning.
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I want to thank my early readers, Lara Wells, James Vance, Alan Wells, Faith Wylie, Tamara Grantham, Sabrina Fish, Savannah Thorne, and Ralph Bernhardt for their insightful comments and advice. This book is better because of you. Thanks also to Jared Pike for his excellent recording of the audiobook and for pointing out several goofs he discovered. Special thanks to Brian Roe and Robert Geronimo for designing the terrific cover.
is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid legal thrillers and the science fiction series
In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center in 2005, hosting writing workshops and small-group seminars and becoming one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation. His programs have educated many authors now published at major New York houses. He holds a Masters Degree in English Literature and is the only writer to have received the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State), which is given "in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large."
In addition to the novels, he has written plays, a musical (book and music), humor, nonfiction books, children books, biography, poetry, and crossword puzzles. He is a member of the Author’s Guild, PEN International and the American Academy of Poets.