Authors: J Hawk
Tags: #space opera, #science fiction
The Rising Sun
© 2014 J Hawk
As the night deepened, the three of them
found it harder to find sleep than they normally would have.
Dantox strolled across the restaurant idly,
his eyes on the dusty floor ahead of him. Mantra sat over the same
seat, his posture straight and focussed as always. His white eyes
were fixed ahead, and Ion had the strangest feeling that the
elderly master was meditating with his eyes open.
Ion stood before the glass wall, watching the
desert expanse stretching across outside. The blanket of the night
rested overhead, serene and still as always, with a million
glinting lights spread over it. The sight brought less warmth in
Ion’s soul than it usually would have.
He felt strangely stale from the inside as he
stood here, trapped in this planet. Helpless. While across the
spectrum, very soon, ten whole planets would bite the dust one by
one. He felt like a caged animal, and the sensation of not being
able to help when he so desperately wanted to … it was
His memory burned uncomfortably as he
remembered those days when his ways had been quite the opposite of
what they were now. His days as a brutal murderer. He had joined
the Nyon to amend those days. To bring light to the world to erase
the dark shade he had left earlier on. To ease the pain. To ease
But sitting here, watching the rest of the world
suffer without being able to help only made the guilt boil harder
Unable to control his recklessness, Ion
turned and paced down the length of the restaurant, staring at the
ground ahead of him. He paused every few seconds to turn and glance
out the window again.
Mantra was sitting on the same chair, just as
idle as always, while Dantox was standing in front of the glass
wall by the left, his arms behind his back. The dragonfly like
creatures were buzzing about over the place, the only sound heard
through the silence. Dantox slowly came walking back to this side
of the restaurant, and took a seat beside Mantra. Ion continued to
pace back and forth for a while before he could finally contain
himself, and came to a stop by their table.
“This feels like the wrongest thing I’ve ever
done.” he mumbled. “And that’s really saying something.”
“We are not asking you to enjoy this, son.”
said Dantox. “And neither are we enjoying it.”
Mantra, who had his eyes frozen ahead of him,
moved for the first time in minutes by shaking his head slowly.
“I have been forced to watch worse than
this.” he told Ion. “I guarantee you.”
“I somehow doubt that.” said Ion.
The faint crease of a smile came upon
Mantra’s face. “I hope I don’t have to remind you that what you’re
facing now … is just a repeat of what I’ve already faced.”
Ion was quiet for a second, as he realised
that there was no argument against that.
The three of them grew silent again, and Ion
resumed pacing the length of the restaurant.
Where do things go
from here? … Where do we go from here?
He stood looking at the desolate lands
surrounding them for a quiet while. And then he squinted, stepping
closer to the glass…
Something seemed to ripple at the far end of
the desert expanse … The calm region before the horizon seemed to
distort as something appeared upon it.
Ion blinked, wondering if his eyes were
But he knew they weren’t.
Rushing down across the desert expanse from
the horizon, towards the restaurant, came a tide of what looked
like … bodies?
Feeling his lips curve savagely, Zardin
patted the cloaked man on the back. “I think your forces should
have reached the planet by now.”
“They certainly would have.” Carcasar replied
in the inhumane rasp he had for a voice. He slowly turned and
looked at Zardin with his hooded face. And as he did, Zardin could
sense the gleaming smile lighting his ravaged features beneath the
“My Zelgron would have reached them by now,”
the Zelgron warlord rasped. “And when they do, I think Ion would be
delighted to see them again.”
The tide of cloaked creatures came sweeping
down the desert in a mad rage towards them. Towards the restaurant.
The two masters had gotten to their feet, standing before the glass
wall by Ion’s side. All three of them were gaping at what they saw
outside with their eyes stretched wide.
“Is that … what it looks like?” asked Ion,
his voice constricted all of a sudden.
Beside him, Mantra gave a slow nod without
turning his head from what he was seeing. “I think it is…”
“Zelgron,” breathed Dantox, his voice alive
with a fresh fear.
The effect of the word seemed to sink into
the air like a dagger sinking into flesh.
The three of them had their widened eyes
fastened over what they were seeing outside: the mass of cloaked
creatures flooded towards them from across the desert, racing
onward at a dangerous speed. And as they neared, the silence was
overrun by a nasty, scale prickling noises. A slowly loudening
mixture of howls, roars and screams pierced the night.
This can’t be.
thought Ion, reeling in
horror. His mind suddenly zoomed back to that day. That horrific
day, two years ago, when he had faced those creatures. And
instantly, his mind was seized by one cruel, deadly emotion far
more dangerous than any other: fear.
The tide of Zelgron came surging towards
them, the distance between them and this restaurant shrinking
rapidly as they dashed across the desert expanse.
“We’ve been discovered by the Xeni,” said
Mantra, snatching the crystal from the table and thrusting it back
into his pocket.
“What?” asked Ion, facing him.
“They’ve found us.” said Dantox, just as
grimly. “And they’ve sent their worst possible to finish the
The very worst possible.
As Ion turned
back he realised that the Zelgron were faster, far faster than they
appeared. They came raging towards the restaurant, hundred metres
from it. And Ion registered the skin crawling sight he had met two
years back, now fresh and anew.
They were tall, thin and cloaked. Their
yellow eyes were all ablaze with the same inhumane fury as Ion
remembered two years back. Their skin had patches of black over it,
and parts of it was torn off and peeled, giving them a sickened,
disgusting appearance. And their mouths were all wide open in a
roar of rage. And the combined sound of their roars rang
unpleasantly in Ion’s ears.
A nightmare had just sprung to life.
He looked sideways at Dantox, and then at
Mantra. Their eyes were fixed at the glass wall, watching the
oncoming oblivion race closer. A shadow came over both their
“Brace yourself.” said Mantra, and as one,
the two masters drew their swords and held them before them.
With a quick, steadying heave of breath, Ion
drew his own. The three of them slowly backed away as the oncoming
tide of Zelgron washed over the land. Coming dangerously close …
and closer. And then, as the three of them backed up against the
counter, the tide of creatures crashed over the restaurant.
They smashed right through the glass walls,
hurtling towards the three living creatures inside of it.
As one, a blaze of orange filled the room as
the three Nyon lit their swords. Their blades now gleaming in
bright orange, the three of them pounced into action. The mass of
bodies dashed at them, their claws slashing at the air viciously.
Ion twisted about madly, running his glowing blade right through
five of the creatures before another giant batch overtook them,
The horde of Zelgron were definitely
numbering to well over a thousand…
Dread numbed Ion from within.
He slashed away with his blade wildly,
cutting down Zelgron after Zelgron … But he knew that it was of no
use at all. The monsters’ horde surrounded them from all three
sides, clogging at the sides of the restaurant, all of them
yearning to enter it and rip apart the three living creatures in
And as they came smashing in through the two
sides, the roof above them gave way and tumbled…
Mantra swung his sword to lash across a final
Zelgron, and then leaped out of the group surrounding him. As the
roof came down over them, he hurled over Ion and Dantox, throwing
all three of them to the far corner of the restaurant. They landed
on the hard ground behind the counter, while the roof crashed down
over the rest of the restaurant. The corner portion was held up by
the counter so that the three of them were safe.
The rest of the Zelgron, all trapped beneath
the rubble and wreckage, groaned and howled in their relentless
fury, which had risen dangerously now.
Mantra heaved the other two up with both
hands, and held up his hand: the back portion of the restaurant
right behind them caved in and fell right out, leaving the expanse
of the desert to stretch out in front of them.
Without even turning to see if the Zelgron
crushed beneath the rubble had picked themselves up, the three Nyon
pelted right out and into the open, the cold air lashing at the
front of their faces.
The three of them had managed to put a good
hundred or so metres spacing between them and the Zelgron horde:
they had escaped through the back, and the rest of the creatures
had failed to notice this while they were helping their brethren
who were crushed beneath the rubble. Now, with their entire horde
now back intact, the swarm of Zelgron came raging at them from
across the distance, furiously hot on the three Nyon’s heels. The
distance between them, a hundred metres or so, was dwindling
shorter and shorter … shrinking dangerously as the monsters dashed
Ion had never felt time go as painfully slow
as it had now … Every footstep seemed to span a few decades as he
thundered through the deserted land with Mantra and Dantox by
either side. Behind them, the tide of Zelgron came inching closer
and closer. He had definitely been right: there were, by the look
of it, thousands of them. They came tearing down the land behind
them, their howls of rage piercing the night’s cold air.
Ion cast a mean glance back. The creatures
swept down the empty plain wildly, propelled by a savage fury. They
almost appeared to hurtle forward, some of them tripping, some
shoved out of the way by others in their mad race for the three
targets lurking ahead of them. Ion turned back, now twice as
terrified. The half second glance he had given them was enough, to
leave their hideous faces engraved in his mind.
The combined thudding of their footsteps
carried closer and closer to them, and their unceasing screams
bellowed louder as the distance between them and the Nyon
We’re never gonna make it out of this.
Not alive, that is.
The land before them was flat, completely
unblemished for as far as they could see, save for a stout plateau
like figure that could be seen at the distance. The inch deep layer
of sand little helped their progress: running on sand took twice
the effort of normal solid ground. But the Zelgron seemed
completely unaffected by this. The collective pounding of their
feet seemed to grow heavier and heavier as they neared, their speed
unhampered by the sandy ground.
“We’re never gonna outrun them,” panted Ion.
“they’re way too fast.”
“Outrun them?” panted Dantox, running on
without turning. “Of course not.”
“What do you mean?” asked Ion. His heart
banged against his chest as he ran, furious and relentless.