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Revenge of the Gods

Disillusionment Book Two

 

Inaut disappearances start happening in the western grasslands nine years after Tryn returns to her people, and she and a dozen top Inaut guards head into the lands to find answers. What Tryn discovers nearly ends her life and leaves only her and one guard alive to return. When they reach the nearest village, the destruction there is mind numbing.

 

The creatures are unknown and unimaginable. Tryn returns to Nikkar to plan with her brother how best to protect their people. It's sixteen year old Kira who first realizes the attacks are military. The gods have begun their revenge using creatures of flight and fire, all teeth and claws.

 

When a brutal beast even a Pure One can't control sets its killing motives on Inaut cities, no one can stop it, not even Tryn when she realizes it is headed straight for her children. Kira, who was left to help see to the people's well being while her elders were out in hunts for the beasts, is forever changed. While Tryn leaves in an attempt to save her people by facing the Pure Ones, Kira decides to take a more direct approach on her own.

 

The fight to save the people becomes a fight for two of the most precious children the Inaut people have.


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Chapter One

 

 

Noxious green goo leaked from between blood stained fangs, at least as long as half a man’s body, and over black jowls to puddle in globs on the cavern floor. Tryn steadied her stance, backing away from the slime, locking her gaze on the impossibly large yellow eye glaring down at her.  It was a window open to a consciousness too intelligent to comprehend from something so obviously not human at all. Fear boiled from her surface, feeling just as horrid as the wisps of foul steam expelled by the cave floor where the acidic saliva splattered.

Tryn was the only one left standing, the only remaining guardian who had set out from the villages lining the shores of Talori Lake to find the cause of the Inaut disappearances. They were her people, her responsibility because she was of the Brye Annis lineage. And she was the single adventurer who held the status of a Dreovid. Now the power being a Dreovid awarded her, along with a pathetically small short sword, were her only means of defense against the huffing beast. Her laser gun’s charge was depleted, all her allies lost.

The beast thing growled from deep inside its serpentine throat. The glistening scales covering it rippled with the sound and shimmered in the firelight like slicing gems. Tryn tensed, watching its eyes, the glint of movement in the huge dark pupil. In having intelligence, it also had the telltale signs of a human preparing to attack. Yet the beast’s attack range and sweep was so much larger than a human’s and much harder to escape.

She closed her eyes. She called forth the small force from minerals within the very cavern keeping her trapped, readying the energy she would need to deflect that which she couldn’t escape. The yellow eyes flickered. Air ignited. Blinding gold and red tongues of flame filled the space. Tryn held up the sword as if the force she focused through herself and out in front of her emanated not from her hands but from the metal, and screamed at the incinerating heat. She yelled again in full determination, slamming the ball of flame, and launching it back at the beast. A howl of surprise more than pain issued from its monstrous head. Horns jutted out above a scale plate over a flat forehead, arching back as if to point at two membranes, huge and now folded to the thing’s sides.

Today, she, Tryn Brye Annis, would disappoint Master Fate. Today, this hour, would not be her end no matter the impossible odds.

The beast charged at her, its four clawed feet carrying its bulk faster than nature should have allowed. But today was a day for strange allowances. She ducked beneath another flare of fire, ran forward, and discovered what all the others had before her, Detik and Hetris, Piladis, her childhood friend and travel companion. All of them had tried to strike at the beast with metal, and all had failed their attempt and fell to the void inside the creature’s mouth or were thrown broken against cavern walls. Watching their failures didn’t stop her need to feel the beast’s armor herself and find the scales covering the creature brushed away the steel’s edge as a horse’s tail would a fly. She ducked and swooped out beneath the beast, ever aware of its snapping jaws and swinging head. Things of nightmares.

“No!” cried a whisper in her mind.

She twisted to face the thing and willed a force of energy to shield herself again. The continued effort drained her more this time than the last. The shield held for so short a time.

“Mom!”

Fangs snapped, whirling the air around her, slicing her arm. Tryn spun on her feet, so close all she saw was huge black nostrils. Breath of decay and broiled flesh blasted over her. Hard rock blocked her back as the mouth gaped open. Cornered, she held up the sword.

“Mom, noooo!”

 

~*~

 

Cedrik threw his son’s door open and ran to the bed in time to catch the boy as he sprang up from the tangled trap of blankets. Tears washed down his small cheeks beneath eyes wide with terror even in the dim light from the main room spilling softly over the threshold. Cedrik pulled Tarenek to his shoulder, gripping the boy tightly and shushing him, hoping to quickly soothe away the panic, but knowing from the severity of it this time, a speedy recovery wouldn’t happen. Tarenek pushed him away with one arm but reached for him with the other. Cedrik smoothed Tarenek’s hair against the back of his head, ached from the tremble so obvious in his son’s small form, and wished to the gods of all he could somehow remove this curse from his boy.

“It’s all right, I’m here,” Cedrik said, knowing nothing else to say. He wished again, as he had for over a month, that Tryn was there. She always knew what to say to help her children recover from their haunts. She was so much more perceptive of emotions than he was.

Tarenek sobbed against Cedrik’s shoulder, shaking his head, and repeating his refusal to something only he saw, but his voice softened, losing its frantic fear.

Cedrik continued to smooth his hair. “It’s okay, all right, I’m here.”

“Mom,” Tarenek whimpered, sucked in a breath, and cried again.

“She’ll be home soon,” Cedrik said, trying desperately to keep his own need for her from sounding in his tone. “Real soon…”

“No. Mom!” Tarenek threw his head back, screamed, and pulled away from Cedrik. Steel blue eyes, so much like his mother’s but even deeper, peered wildly around the room. Cedrik had once thought nothing could be more intense than Tryn’s eyes, until their son was born. Now, something in the depths of Tarenek’s careened a spark of terror deep into Cedrik’s psyche.

It was remnants of the nightmare, Cedrik told himself. Tarenek could do that, willingly or not, force his thoughts and feelings onto another if they weren’t careful. It was a talent one conceived by a Dreovid couple acquired naturally in contrast to his parents who had to work just to relay a single feeling. Cedrik shook his head against it and again tried to shush his son.

“No, Dad” Tarenek said, tears drying on his cheeks under the heat of an impossibly sober stare from a nine year old. “We need to find her.”

Cedrik suppressed a shiver. Licks of fear so potent in a young boy’s imagination escaped to brush against him again.

“She’ll be home real soon,” Cedrik willed his want to his son. He attempted to push his calmness to the boy, to use his strengths to relieve the fear.

Tears welled in Tarenek’s eyes again, magnifying the depths. “Something, something big and so bad… it ate her, Dad, it did, I couldn’t stop it, it did!” Hysterical sobs wracked his small chest again.

Cedrik clutched the boy tighter to his shoulder and turned from the bed. There was no consoling Tarenek back to sleep now, not yet. He needed to try other means, some of which would include a soothing tea. He found Kira standing in the center of the main room next to their table. She regarded him closely but silently, her dark eyes pools of worry and doubt all her own. Fast approaching adulthood, his firstborn was now sixteen, yet in those sixteen years, she had witnessed so much pain. It all happened before coming to Tarjei to live with Tryn over nine years ago. She loved Tryn now as if she were her natural mother.

“Make him some tea, please,” Cedrik said, hoping the small task would help her focus on something more pleasant or at least more numbing than Tarenek’s fear.

“What are you going to do?”

“We need to get him calmed,” Cedrik said.

“Not about that,” Kira said. “About Mom.”

Cedrik held still a moment. Surely Kira realized that the substance of nightmares didn’t mirror reality. Surely it didn’t. Nightmares were mists of the mind, especially vicious in minds so young yet so powerful like his son’s. But knowing that didn’t stop the horrible sick feeling sinking through his chest.

“She’s due back in three weeks, Kira. She’s only investigating the outer villages, she’ll be back, just like always.”

“Investigating people dying out there.”

“Kira!” Cedrik said through clenched teeth and held his hand over his son’s ear. Tarenek didn’t need to hear any talk of the things going on in the west grassland villages. Kira narrowed her eyes but turned to the stove, flicking the switch to light the burner beneath a constantly present clay tea pot.

Cedrik sank into the rocker in front of the fireplace, the chair Tryn always occupied when rocking Tarenek after a nightmare, just as he would do now.

“It wasn’t a dream,” Tarenek whispered in a shaking but quieting sob. “She needs us.”

Cedrik leaned his head back to peer at the ceiling. No nine year old child should ever have to speak those words. None should ever have to understand what they meant, but Tarenek did. He understood it all and so much more.