Adrift: The Fragile Sun
- ADRIFT: The Fragile Sun
- by Rosalie Skinner
- Series The Chronicles of Caleath
- Genre Sci-Fi Fantasy
- Tags Tall ships, sorcerers, magic, star travel, hollow earth conspiracy, dragons, climate change, volcanoes, pirates, whales, sea faring adventure, cults, star ships, romance, child birth,
- Imprint MuseItUp
- Release February 17, 2015
- Content Editor Lea Schizas
- Cover Designer Delilah Stephens
- Words 110148
- Pages 386
- ISBN 978-1-77127-671-9
- Price $5.95
Caleath’s journey continues aboard the Golden Dragon in an eventful seafaring adventure.
Facing old friends, adversaries, a cult of necromancers, and a succession of challenges Caleath must ensure the safety and future of his unborn son. He calls on a fellow star traveler in an effort to save the Aruven sun. When he is given a warning that his intended actions threaten the planet, he must rethink desperate plans. While he balances the present and the past, he struggles to maintain a delicate relationship with the woman who loves Tag Seawell and bears his child.
Around him, the cavern pulsed with a steady heartbeat. Ground tremors shook the floor and settled the balance of gold displaced by his footsteps. Caleath rose into a crouch, holding the dark blade before him. Eyes adjusted to fading light but couldn’t focus on the weapon in his hands. He didn’t have time to think about the anomaly.
From every handbreadth of wall, roof, and floor, strange creatures emerged. Caleath lifted the sword and spun to watch the fiends’ arrival. The light vanished. Only senses tweaked by the renewed power of Lathraine’s Pledge, showed his attackers. Fangs dripped with saliva. Claws clattered on stone while collective breathing, yammering and yowling froze the marrow in his bones.
He stepped to one side. The tapering pillars he now recognized as the ribs of a giant dragon. The sword he removed would have pierced the creature’s heart, had there been one. Now the ribs formed a cage around him and he needed room to move.
The return of mage power gave him hope. Stepping clear of the ribcage, he kept his back to a pillar.
The first scurrying daemons attacked.
“Tallowbrand! Merkaat, Dashveer!” His voice echoed in the cavern. For less than a heartbeat, the horde hesitated, and then they charged with renewed vigor. Caleath’s blade swung, the dark steel pulsed with life as he severed limbs and battered the smaller creatures. “Tallowbrand!”
A collection of kobolds, harpies, ogres and trolls closed in on him. More dead than alive, as individuals they weren’t hard to dispatch. In the numbers they commanded, Caleath failed to swing his blade fast enough to prevent their teeth and claws raking flesh.
“Merkaat, Tallowbrand, anyone! I could do with some help here.”
Even as he spoke, Caleath regretted his plea. An answer rose from within him. Gleeful and confident Wrath, the warrior slave, the product of Caleath’s darkest days, snatched his freedom.
With Wrath, the serpents of the Cabal writhed to support the warrior. Remnants of a group of evil sorcerers now rose to answer Caleath’s call. His invitation gave them power.
Wrath roared with delight and scattered dark magic throughout the cavern. The blade in his hands glowed with power. He decimated the creatures attacking him. The serpents writhed and twisted in knots of delight while ghoulish blood flowed and corrupt magic tainted the air.
Caleath fought to regain control. A portion of his mind reveled in Wrath’s strength and ability, but to let the Cabal enjoy freedom for even a few moments would leave permanent scars on his soul. Already he couldn’t face the evil he had done in the past in order to destroy the gestalt of power.
A troll smashed a boulder on the rock beside Wrath. The warrior spun, slicing the dark blade through muscle and bone. Then he sidestepped into another attack. The ground shook when the troll fell, but Wrath enjoyed the battle. Caleath felt serpents close around his willpower.
He had become one with the Cabal, in order to banish them. With help, Caleath trapped their souls in a dragon wrought sword and transported the weapon into the far reaches of space. Their shadow, however, became a part of him, constantly vigilant for a moment when he might lose control. Now they celebrated Wrath’s rise to power. If Caleath faltered, he could remain forever an observer trapped within his own body.
The idea terrified him.
The creatures coming from the walls and the floors didn’t slow. Caleath tried to identify them. The form they took came from his memory, he was sure many of them rose from fiction he carried on microchip implants. They were beasts from virtual worlds he battled before Ephraim abducted him from Rampart 6. On his home world, they existed only within computer games. On this world, they shouldn’t exist at all. They couldn’t exist. They had to be illusions, illusions able to cut living tissue.
Nothing made sense, unless a lord of dark magic summoned them.
Caleath didn’t try to fight Wrath. There was little point. The warrior kept him alive, but he did nudge him occasionally. Even with his skills, Wrath now bore too many wounds. Without nanobots to heal, he needed to take care. Caleath searched the cavern for an exit.
Wrath’s boot snagged in a tumble of discarded weapons and jewelry left by the night drake. Caleath’s heart skipped a beat. A simple weapon caught his eye. The blade called his name.
He urged Wrath to grab the sword.
The warrior didn’t question the move. His hand closed around the elegant hilt of the long sword. The sudden surge of dragon magic gave Caleath enough strength to wrest control. He sheathed the dark blade in a scabbard that didn’t exist, before Wrath could respond. The weapon would wait for Wrath to call it into existence.
With the new dragon-wrought blade in his hands, Caleath found mythical creatures less intent on their attack. He sighed and stepped backward, toward the cavern wall.
Daylight blinded him. Fresh air and a cold wind punched the air from his lungs. He spun to see a crowd of armed and aggressive peasants surrounding him.
“Ahh, rat’s vomit.” He lifted his blade and prepared to fight.