06 February 2020

๐Ÿ™Š Secret Lost Chapter of STARCHILD 1 (⚠️ Spoilers ⚠️)


While sitting in my Analytics class, I drew this concept art from STARCHILD book 2. (Don't tell the profe.) More news about book 2 coming soon. I'm getting super excited about it.



Now, here's the kicker: I recently wrote this EPILOGUE to STARCHILD book 1.

DON'T READ IT unless you've already finished reading book 1. It contains major spoilers. Major!

Okay, you've been warned.

๐Ÿ™Š







EPILOGUE

Dray heard her voice. 

The voice of the girl. 

It was tinny, all treble and garbled: the speech she gave to rouse the populace. Kalhette wasn’t supposed to have survived. Now they were re-broadcasting her in celebration, talking about her like talking about a miracle. Dray felt the urge to find the speaker and smash it. 

He walked down a thoroughfare, amid people celebrating with food and song. Twilight fell over his hood, which cast a shadow across his face and the red cloth covering his missing eye. He didn’t want anyone to recognize the Lord Admiral walking among them. 

Technically, he had won. The Renegades, under his leadership, had claimed the victory, which meant the PSD had lost. This was good. It meant the galaxy’s dominant power had become a little weaker, a little more susceptible to a change in regime. It meant it was time for Dray to ascend. 

And yet he had failed: The girl survived. 

Blackserpent was supposed to die too, his dropship exploding midair as he escaped the sozo, taking the secret of Dray’s betrayal with him. But the plan had failed. 

Dray had failed. 

The problem wasn’t that the girl had survived. The problem was that Dray’s former self had survived. He was reaching for the future while still gripping remnants of the past. He had tried to murder her in secret so he could maintain his position with the Renegades. Worse, he had clung to memories of his most beloved—which left him with a glimmer of sympathy for the girl. Even with one eye, he could see that she didn’t deserve to die, but she needed to for a higher cause. So far, he hadn’t proven himself ruthless enough to see the covenant through. Which would keep him from what Lethos had promised: Only in becoming the most powerful mortal in the galaxy could Dray save the galaxy from injustice. 

Half measures wouldn’t do. He had to fully enter the tomb of his ambitions. He would sacrifice what the zhani called spirit. He would purge the sympathy from his soul. 

His old self would not survive. 

The transformation would not be fast nor simple, but he would see it through, no matter the cost, till he’d laid his old self to rest and become new, transformed, capable of being what the galaxy needed him to be. And he knew exactly how this transformation would begin. 

As he walked into a side alley, he pulled up a black cloth over his mouth and nose. Best not to be recognized. He refrained from letting his eye glow, but he could sense figures behind the doors of the alley, prepared to trap him should things go afoul. The crooked walls rose high on both sides. A strange smoke made the air seem pale. 

At the back corner, where the light hardly reached, a dark miin sat on the ground in a meditative stance, eyes closed. In front of him was a colorful blanket, on which sat silver jewelry and gemstones. One of his six paws held what appeared to be a twig, the end of which glowed with the tiniest ember. He put the twig between his teeth and sucked in. Then, opening his eyes, he breathed out a puff of smoke and said, “Greetings.” 

“Dorf zarooq,” said Dray.

“Who sent you?” asked the miin. 

“Shauu.” 

“It wasn’t Shauu.” 

“It came through Shauu.” 

“I suppose that’s true. How much do you want?”

“What have you got?”

“About three fifty mils for seven hundred.” Not getting up, the miin handed Dray a wide, silver bracelet with jade stones across its face. “It’s not real stone.” 

Dray took the bracelet and pulled it close to his remaining eye. 

“You need a knife to open it. That slot there on the seam.” 

Dray pulled out a knife and carefully pushed the blade in the crevice till the first fake stone gently popped open. Inside was a slender shard of kerse, glinting in the dim light. This substance would be the beginning of his transformation, though not the end. “This is all you have?” 

“For now. If you want more, I can get more in a few cycles.” 

“I want more. A lot more.” Dray closed the bracelet and hid it in his pocket then pulled out a stack of fiat coins. 

As the miin reached out, he said, “You’re lucky I’m still accepting these.” 

Dray released the coins, and they clinked down. “The PSD hasn’t fallen yet.” 

The miin put the fiats into a leather purse. “They fell at New Kingstrong.”

“That’s only one city.” 

“The revolution could spread across Solace, maybe across the galaxy.” 

“What makes you think so?” 

The miin nodded to a poster hanging on the peeling alley wall. “The Prophetess will finish the job.” 

Dray did not respond, and the miin’s hopeful words hung in the air. 

Dray walked up to the poster, staring at it with one eye. This, the only thing in the alley that wasn’t dilapidated, showed the girl on it, a candid shot from the side, a thin light on her face, and she stared down at something with the insight of a sage. Some sort of victory propaganda. 

Without a word of reply, he lifted his knife to the image.

The miin’s ugly face expressed horror, as if he sensed the deeper evil at play in this quiet moment. 

Dray put the metal point to the flesh of the girl’s neck. Slowly, precisely, he dragged the blade, cutting through the paper.

The metal scraped harshly against the brick as he slit her throat. 

The miin looked as though he were about to vomit.

“We shall see,” said Dray.



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