The rumble of a rusty cargo hauler broke through his dreams and stirred him to consciousness. Something felt wrong — precarious — and Dayne’s eyes snapped open when he realized he was about to slip off the edge of the mattress. Jen was sprawled diagonally across the bed, her mouth hanging open with her snoring. The room smelled of morning breath and the stale musk of last night’s lovemaking. Steadying himself on the edge of the bed, he reached out to her and paused to smile at the ring that now graced his finger. Continue reading
His face was a sullen, resentful storm: the anger of a little boy who felt he was too old to admit his heart was breaking. He didn’t understand why Uncle Ken and Caelynn were leaving. He didn’t want to be there, holding back angry tears while Mom and Dad were taking turns hugging and kissing Caelynn and telling Uncle Ken goodbye. They were sad about it too, and Mom kept wiping away tears. It was alright for her to cry since she was a girl. But even Dad wiped a hand over his eyes, and that made Lincon even more confused and sad. He scowled harder. Continue reading
Sitting at a table before the review committee, Ken and Rett exuded quiet, respectful confidence. They had answered all the questions promptly, correctly, and their skills were legendary. Everyone on the committee was familiar with their story: the orphaned boys of extraordinary power who had grown up in Arion Valley. Arete had unofficially started their training shortly after Ken’s fourteenth birthday, and both officially joined Dawn’s Light the day after he turned eighteen. They both sailed through recruit and commander training programs in record time. Continue reading
The chime at the door took Ken by surprise, prompting him to pause in his work. He briefly closed his eyes and focused his thoughts, then chuckled softly as he went to open the door.
“Happy birthday, Ken.” Rett grinned at him. The two men embraced tightly before Ken stepped aside to let Rett into his home. Continue reading
She never intended to let herself get attached to anyone. It wasn’t that she was cold or aloof — she enjoyed socializing and counted a number of her associates as friends. But deep attachments to other people were, quite simply, impractical. Arete had no desire to pass on her bloodline or heritage. She had no desire to reproduce, no mothering instinct demanding to be fulfilled. She was content to let her legacy be one of deeds and achievements. She was happy to fully devote her life to her duty. She credited that devotion to duty for leading to this moment. Continue reading