The Prime Arrival
The Prime Saga: Book Seven
Edrafen—the Key to the Defense Mechanism—is calling out to Trey, doing dark things inside his mind.
Arra struggles to come to grips with her emotions: the loss of her village; her new and unfamiliar memories; and Trey's increasingly erratic treatment of her. But when she discovers Lorelei involved in a murderous ritual in the woods, she uncovers a horrible secret that could destroy everything.
Mirra's story, meanwhile, continues to be very entertaining.
Epic urban fantasy
EXCERPT This is a story of the Remnant, as told by Jalnab and Kythaela around a mentorfire in Pano Sylrantheas.
In the time before time, the soulshaman wrestled with the world. She was fearsome and brave. She was powerful, forceful, older than the clouds. But she was not always these things. Once, she was a child like us.
Her name was Magona.
In her childhood, Magona was persecuted like no other. She was hurt, abused, nearly killed time and time again. Yet Magona’s spirit rose above this pain; she stayed strong, desiring nothing other than to live, to be at peace. During her trials, she remembered those who had been set against her. She noted them down, holding their words and deeds inside her mind. For she knew that their time would come. They would reap what they had sown, for that was the way of the world in those dark times.
Her persecutors loved her, but secretly they also loathed her. It could be none other for one such as her. Is not the brightest star the one for which we most yearn? Such is the way with people. Such is the way with souls.
One day, Magona was out in the fields. She was a pretty girl, skilled in all the ways of farming. This day, underneath the sun, they struck her down, unafraid of who might see. For Magona had grown too strong, too brave, too bright. And this, too, was the way of the world and the soul.
Magona was hurt, left for dead in the very fields in which she had worked every day. But she was not, in fact, dead. She had a strong body and a stronger soul. Her torturers had not been skilled enough to end her, and she had noted their names in the recesses of her mind.
And so Magona went into exile, biding her time and recovering from her wounds. She learned mastery over the fields, mastery far beyond the simple farming her people had taught her. She peered into the soul of the grain, into the darkness of the dirt, and unlocked the spirit there within. It was easy, you see—for a soul, once shattered, finds the shadows creeping in.
And so Magona plotted her return. She gathered the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea. She brought them one and all, connecting their souls in a great tapestry. And this, too, was easy—for a soul, once blended, finds it easy to control.
One day the time had come to exact revenge. Magona did not hesitate—she struck, with everything she held dear, with every power under her command. The beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea fought with her, for her, acting as surrogates to her Will. And so it was that many died, and Magona took great pleasure in their screams. And this did not concern her—for a soul, once blackened, finds it easy to destroy.
But then the worst thing happened. The tormentor, the one who loved her, found out where she lay. She sliced Magona from navel to neck, throwing pieces to the wind, caring not what blood or entrails scattered on the ground. For Magona had destroyed everything she’d once held dear. And revenge, so sweet, was all that anyone could understand. Revenge killed her as she lay broken on the floor. Revenge ended her as surely as the sun ends the moon.
But this was not the end—for a soul, once sundered, finds another place to go.
* * * * *
Magona traveled to the spirit realm, where she communed with the Gods. The Gods told her that if she would do their Will, she would be richly rewarded. But Magona could tell that the Gods had said these words before, that she was not the only one they had tempted in this way. And so she spit on them, never taking her eyes off them. She vowed that she would seek her own power. And this was not unnatural—for a soul, once thirsty, finds it easier to drink.
She traveled the spirit realm, searching far and wide. It did not take her long to locate the door—the door to the physical realm. But opening the door proved difficult—almost too difficult. Magona was resourceful, however. She was strong. And so it was that she made the binding promise of her soul, the one last binding that would serve as Key to such a door. And Magona grinned, for she was very clever. The door opened, and she went through. And this was unexpected—for a soul, once entered, finds it difficult to leave.
* * * * *
Magona wandered the physical realm, searching for the things she needed. She traveled to world after world, seeking revenge, or power, or anything that could lead to either. But these things did not come easily—for a soul, once withered, finds no hope along the way.
World after world she conquered, building things and breaking them, finding peace or war or causing one or the other. She reveled in chaos. She took pleasure in the game. She sought armies and havens, built castles and vassals and thrones. No matter what assailed her, she came out ahead. And this is to be expected—for a soul, once awakened, finds a pathway through the storm.
One man in particular threatened her. One man captured her desire, luring her in with promises of power and discovery. This man was strong, and smart, more intelligent than even the Gods had been. And Magona loved him, but secretly she hated him. They built worlds together, and their love increased until it was without measure.
This man’s name was Agaven.
Agaven had hidden something from her, something without which she could not live. It was the thing she needed, the thing she’d escaped the spirit realm to find. But Agaven had found it first—for a soul, once treacherous, is impossible to hold.
When she discovered his trickery, she laid upon him all the curses she could muster. Their fight raged far and long, crossing time, crossing boundaries of space. But in the end his tricks and traps proved too much for her, and she was forced to flee, to bide her time. And this was most unfortunate—for a soul, once bounded, finds no pleasure in defeat.
One day she had done it. She had finally determined how to defeat him! It had taken her years, millennia, but she had planned and plotted and was sure of herself. She could do it—she could win. All their millennia of struggle would be over.
She came upon Agaven in his chamber one night, intending to spin him her latest web. For she had learned that only through trickery, through great deceit, could she defeat this man. His intelligence was too formidable, his power too great, for her to pass him any other way. And so she opened the door to his room, intending to surprise him.
But he was already dead.
She found him hanging, choked to death by his own rope. He had taken the fool’s way out, the coward’s relief. And Magona grieved, for in her heart she loved this man. But secretly she hated him, for now that he was dead there was no way to obtain the secret he had hidden.
And so Magona went into hiding, vowing to never visit the world again until she had created the perfect plan. And this was not unusual—for a soul, once haunted, finds the bitterness to flee.
* * * * *
While this was happening, the People were being persecuted as well. The evil tricksters, the ones with demon ears, had managed to destroy the world.
And so the People floundered. Unable to eat, unable to work the great machines around them, they roamed far and wide, searching the suddenly lonely planet for others who might share their fate. The People gathered together, finding solace in each other’s company. And this was only natural—for a soul, once lonely, becomes desperate to belong.
They gathered together. First tens, then hundreds. Then thousands, but this led to fighting. For the People were bitter, unhappy, unused to the world that was too peaceful, too empty, too alone. So in their grief they struck against each other, warring and fighting, until they realized their mistake. For there were not enough of them remaining in this world. And if they continued in this way, nothing would be left of the People but dust.
This was not what they desired.
And so the People spread apart, unable to stay together. They could not gather more than a hundred in one place, or fighting would resume. The People were constantly warring, stealing food and resources from each other, fighting for anything they could lay claim to. And so they wandered and hid, nomads all, waiting for their Savior to come.
And the demons, the devil tricksters, the murderers of infants and women, the destroyers of family, still roamed the world. And the People could not countenance their faces, for when the demons walked, things died. And the People did not want to die, but they had no skills at war. Some had guns and relics from the past, but they did not know how to use them. Their abilities were pitiful, their knowledge weak. They were fractured, enemies even to each other. Even their language began to change as the world descended into shadow.
All the People knew to do was take, to scavenge, eking out a meager living in the shadows of their ancestors. They were not strong enough for war against the demons, against the Satan who had killed their world. They could not match the wit and wisdom of the devil-eared ones.
Until one day Magona visited them, and all that changed.
* * * * *
Magona had long ago gathered the power to travel between worlds, using the spirit realm as an infinite gateway. And so it was that she came upon the People one fair day. She came to them in glory, in power, showing them wonders they had never seen. They worshipped her as a god—and who could blame them? She could do the impossible. She was the impossible.
They proclaimed her to be their Savior, and she did not dissuade them. For Savior she was indeed.
They named her Magona the Wise.
Magona took pity upon the People. She taught them how to feed themselves, how to build stronger buildings, how to find clean water and survive, how to band together, to stay unified, how to create cities with fences of steel, with spikes and searchlights and guns.
She taught them the ways of war.
The relics of the old world proved useful in this. The People drew strength from Magona, for she was older than the clouds, stronger than the sky. She imparted great wisdom on them, and in exchange she only asked for one thing. The time would come, she said, when the People would be called. Magona herself would call them, and they would be expected to fight. This they agreed to, and who could blame them? She was like a god to them, and she had given them everything.
Magona spent many years among the People, educating them, helping them, shepherding them into the Great Cities. Gulthurub was the First City, for it was nearest to the devil spawn. Falnarub was Second and the largest, laid as it was at the feet of the skeleton of New Yurk. And Lusvunub was Third, that City in the Center, the richest one by far. For it was there that Magona taught the People the delicate art of stealing liquor from the Angels.
In the end, she left them. But she promised one day she would return. For Magona was their Savior, the one that had been promised.
She told the People that her coming would be heralded by Angels, by the sounds of engines in the sky. That when the sky changed, and the stars no longer shone, that when the sun was new and the earth had risen, that was the time when the People would be needed. That the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the insects of the trees would obey her Will. The wolves would march for her, and the desert sand would run with red.
These would be the signs that Magona had returned.
And the People waited and watched, forever hopeful that they would live to see their Savior return.
* * * * *
Magona, meanwhile, returned to the world of her birth. It was not the world of her death—that had been a different world, a slaver’s world. The world of her birth was different—it was beautiful, delightful, incredible. But she took no joy in it, for she had only emerged after all this time for one reason, and one reason only.
She had finally formulated her Plan.
She was going to take the power she had been promised. She would steal it from the Gods themselves. She had the resources, now. She had the souls. All she needed now was to put the Plan into motion.
But first, she needed a name. A new name. She chose one from the devil-eared ones, the Destroyers. She picked a name that would not strike fear in anyone’s heart, that would seem ordinary.
She chose the name Selenia.
This excerpt contains:
- Minor spoilers