Authors: Sarah Chapman
Tags: #adventure, #fantasy
ALSO BY SARAH CHAPMAN
The Mixed Duology:
The Lord of the Plains
The Broken Kingdom
The Broken Kingdom
The Mixed Duology: Book Two
Copyright © 2014 by Sarah Chapman
All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever including Internet
usage, without written permission of the author.
Ebook formatting by Maureen Cutajar
To my fiancé,
I wouldn’t have finished it without you.
I would like to thank everyone who helped me
with this book. My parents, who were some of the first readers, and
particularly my mother, who read it more times than I did while
proofreading! I’d also like to thank everyone else who helped and
supported me while finishing this story.
ann shut the door behind
him. Commander Lart Reista of the Coastside Submariners gazed at
Vann unblinkingly from across his desk, an unusually sombre
expression on his face. ‘Sit down, submariner.’
‘This will be all over Coastside soon…’
This was starting to feel very familiar to
‘…and I wanted you to know first.’ The
Commander slid a photo across the desk and leant back in his
Vann looked down at the photo. It was black
and white and grainy. Photographs were used solely for military
purposes, and this one had likely been taken by a Predator.
Vann narrowed his eyes as he tried to figure
out what he was seeing. It looked like a giant cloud over a
mountain. He looked up. Before he could ask, the Commander
continued talking. ‘Two days ago charges placed within the gemeng
caves were set off. This is the result.’
Vann went very still.
‘A Predator has been overhead those caves
since then. The gemeng leader, Riley Meilis, and most of her
gemengs are dead.’
He didn’t realise it, but Vann slumped back
in his chair, suddenly weak. ‘H-how can you be sure?’
‘The Predator. She was inside the caves when
the charges were set. No one has emerged since then. If, somehow,
she survived the blast and collapse, she is dead now.’
Vann opened his mouth, closed it. He had
gone grey. ‘I-I don’t understand.’
The Commander’s gaze did not waver.
Strength leached back into his voice as he
talked. ‘I don’t understand. This doesn’t make any sense. Why would
we do this? Why now? They were fighting the ehlkrid. A-and what
about the valkar? I thought Mr Briggs… I thought Astar hoped for an
alliance with them.’
‘The valkar was not inside at the time. It
was made sure he wouldn’t be harmed.’
‘But she’s half valkar!’
‘Astar may wish for an alliance with the
valkar, but they cannot let that dictate all of their policy,
especially not when it comes to the safety of Astar and Coastside.
As for the ehlkrid, after examining the body of one of them, the
military believes MEWs and RAWs will be effective against them. The
assistance of the gemengs is not wanted, or needed.’
Lart Reista observed Vann quietly as he
processed this information. He’d known Vann a long time. It was
hard to see him suffer like this.
‘She let us into the caves…’ Vann said
slowly, ‘that’s the only reason this happened. She trusted us.’
The Commander hesitated. Then he slid
something else across the table. Uncharacteristic reluctance
entered his voice. Vann did not look down.
‘You are to be given a commendation for your
assistance in destroying the gemeng threat. Saris Valais is also
receiving a commendation for his work…’
And then Vann looked. Atop the wooden desk
was a simple badge which could be sewn on his uniform. It was
shaped like a diamond, on it was an image of a mountain with a
cloud of smoke coming off it.