Ch5: Desolation

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 
Chapter Five: Desolation 

The day warmed as Arius had expected, and only within a couple hours were they topping the hill before them. The trees began to disperse and the foliage gave way to long grass.  The sky appeared blue now as the sun canvased the island below. The group left the dense forest and topped the hill ahead of them which began to dip back down before ascending to the next larger hill. A large white structure sat at the top of the next one carrying many finely decorated windows.
“Do you think anything resides there?” Rie asked.
“I’m not sure anything resides here,” replied Thorim. “The island looks desolate.”
Arius gazed to the north where he could see a few more buildings off the northern coast. It wasn’t far and much closer than the western coast they had come from. The forest separated the field they were in from the nearby town.
“Arius,” Jayvolni said, approaching him. “Do you have your scope? I lost mine during the wreck.”
Arius began to pat his various pockets within his leather-like jacket. It shed water well and kept him warm during the night. After feeling for it a few seconds he finally located it in the right upper pocket. Unzipping it he pulled out the small scope and handed it to Jayvolni who took it with a skeptical eye.
The mercenary headed farther up the hill where he stood next to a large elm. Putting the scope to his eyes he surveyed the area. Arius meanwhile explored his small pack as he had not done so since the wreck. He did not even know what he had with him.
He had the basics, but to his surprise his dagger was gone. The blue stone was present which he used to sharpen his blades, but the dagger itself was gone. He couldn’t imagine what would have happened to it as it was in there before the crash. This was unfortunate as he now had no weapon. The others appeared to have their daggers, while Thorim, Jayvolni, and Dueson had rifles that they had salvaged from the wreck. Otherwise everyone was minimal on supplies.
“Something wrong?” Ruekrow asked, with a strange hint of a smile.
Arius felt threatened by it and closed his pack.
“No,” he replied. “Everything’s fine.”
“The island looks deserted,” Jayvolni said, coming back from the tree. “Town is empty and the building up there is empty from what I can tell. I don’t see a gray tower anywhere.”
“Perhaps on higher ground,” Thorim suggested. “We should check out the building for anything useful. We should travel along the tree line though. I don’t want to get caught in the open.”
“Sounds good,” Jayvolni said, giving the scope back to Arius.
The group moved back to the tree line and began to follow it around to the next hill. The white structure sat in the midst of the trees where a paved road came to it from town. Arius wondered what its purpose was. A large house for a wealthy inhabitant of the world, or a type of hotel for travelers.
Soon they approached a red rusty cruiser sitting in the parking lot. It had a small front cab and long bed toward the back. Arius wondered if it was able to run, but its neglect looked unpromising. It caused him to wonder about the inhabitants of this world though. What were they like, and what was their story? From the intel they had received, the planet was currently blacked out as a biological entity had subdued it. The status of the inhabitants was unknown, but it was said that most of them were in hiding due to the attack several years ago. What this biological entity was exactly was a mystery in of itself, and Arius could only speculate what had happened on this seemingly lonely planet.
As soldiers from another world, they were told not to interfere too much with the affairs of this world. They were to strictly focus on their target, complete their mission, and return so that no one would ever be aware of their presence there. Arius could only wonder what this would mean in the long run. 
Thanks for reading chapter five, and be sure to stop by next week for chapter six, "Sanity." Please leave a comment and let me know what you think, and check out my book.
Buy on Kindle here.

Oam's Cry

Several weeks ago I mentioned some projects my brother and I were working on concerning the new Oam's Cry series. One of those projects was creating a logo for the series, and here we have it at last (or at least the basic version). I hope to have a few different versions as time goes on.

Now, what is Oam's Cry?
Oam's Cry is a series based upon the childhood adventures my brother and I had growing up in Montana and abroad. Encapsulating multiple story lines of multiple worlds, our imaginations developed a world that would soon become the center of our book series.
Oam's Cry centers much around a profound event known as the Great Scatter. This is an event that forced mankind to scatter into the far reaches of space where signs of ancient alien civilization remain as a testimony to something greater that once was. Furthermore, a phenomena known as Oam's Cry haunts the far regions of space driving some to madness who wish to discover its secrets. Reminding them of a past shrouded in mystery, Oam's Cry teases at mankind's search for answers and challenges his very humanity.
My first book, Ground of Oam, takes place ten years before man's great scatter into the stars, and explores the tragic histories that lead the way to the event. The Rebirtha have seized control of Tierikium, once the center of the world, and now suppress humanity under its tyranny. The book follows three characters: Levi, who must discover his true identity, and find something called the Orbule Eye. Matthew, who must decide whether he will pursue the likeness of his father and chase his dreams for adventure, or defend his only home from a new threat. Isaac, a super-soldier who has betrayed the humans and joined the ranks of the Rebirtha. He must prove his new found loyalty by stealing something from the humans, but he is brought to the brink of a new war. A war that will be fought between the Rebirtha, and something even more terrifying, yet Isaac is the one to decide its declaration.
My brother on the other hand, will be exploring the era nearly two hundred years after the Great Scatter. Mankind has long set up his new world among the planets he inhabits, but something new is coming.
I am excited to see his book coming to fruition, and cannot wait until it is out. Check out his book cover which our sister graciously made. (notice the Oam's Cry symbol on the floor).

All images are copyright© 2013 by Nicole Lackey, and may not be used or copied without permission of creator. 

Ch4: Family for a Lifetime

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.

Chapter Four: Family for a Lifetime 
Dueson had his kill skinned and gutted, and already shared his meat with the group. It wasn’t much, but it was better than the dry survival bars they had for food. Brockumus showed his disdain for foreign meat, and contributed his portion to Arius. Rie ate his share skeptically but gave little complaint, while Jayvolni finished his without a word. The others including Thorim were willing enough to let Dueson and his brother finish off the rest.
“My fellows,” Thorim said. “We must search for higher ground if we are to find our destination. I have located the west this morning which means we must head eastward. I believe the island is small so navigation should be simple.
“Where are we now?” Jayvolni asked, speaking his first words that morning.
“If we’re anywhere near our landing coordinates then we should be on the appropriate island,” replied Thorim. “But it is hard to say whether the ship guided us to the appropriate location. We will have to hope for the best.”
“Our contact is said to reside in a gray tower,” Dueson said. “I don’t suppose a tower would be hard to find.”
“Once we get to higher ground, we will be able to gain the lay of the land,” said Thorim. “We shall plan our course from there. For now, I suggest we go over what we know.”
“What do we know?” Rie said with a laugh. “We’re stranded on foreign rock hunting a myth. Am I the only one who doubts the mission?”
“The intelligence we received is reliable,” Thorim replied. “As hard as it may seem, we are here to kill Archaies. More information will be provided as soon as we find our contact.”
The name rang clear in all their heads as it was a name passed down through their histories and stories. Archaies was a legend speculated on by many. To some he was a hero, to others he was an enemy. Archaies had won his place in history several centuries before, which made his still being alive peculiar. How could one live so long, Arius wondered. As a child he had grown up studying the histories and legends of Archaies, so to find that he was still alive was unbelievable.
“We must be careful, for our circumstances are unknown,” Thorim continued. “As we have heard it, the inhabitants of this world are at war with a biological entity. The origin of which is unknown. Do not make contact until we are more familiar with the situation.”
“Are we really planning to go on with this,” Grem asked, a quick buddy to Rie. “We just crashed into the ocean, and for all we know someone here is a traitor.”
“Let’s not jump to conclusions,” Thorim said. “We’re not going anywhere until our people send for us, so meanwhile we should plan on proceeding.”
“If they send for us,” Ruekrow said. “We mustn’t forget that this is an unauthorized mission. Even the Supreme Council doesn’t know about this, and those who do are nothing more than stingy bureaucrats looking for opportunity. Do we really expect them to send a ship for us?”
“There’s no good in worrying about it now,” replied Dueson. “We’re either here for life, or a few months. Let’s focus on not leaving empty handed if possible.”
“I know there’s not much going for us right now,” said Thorim. “But we are all each other’s got. Stick together and we can make it through this.”
Arius wondered how often the mercenaries had worked in a team. Most of them were known for going solo, and it seemed that Thorim was perhaps the only one who knew a bit about team play. He came from a prestigious ranking within the galactic fleet back home, but everyone else had darker, less glorious backgrounds.
“Let’s pack up,” Thorim said.
The group climbed to their feet and began to hide any trace of their small camp. The air felt cool that morning, but Arius expected a warm day as the sun climbed higher into the sky. Looking around at the others he felt uncertain. These men were going to be perhaps his family for a lifetime, and if not that long, then until they could find a way off of that world. 
Thanks for reading chapter four, and come back next week for chapter five, "Desolation." In the meantime please leave a comment, or check out my book here

Ch3: No Mementos

Sorry for the late post, but here is chapter three of my short story. A prequel to book 1 of the Oam's Cry series. 

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Three: No Mementos 
A peaceful silence overwhelmed the forest. The smell of dew was strong, and critters roamed among the brush. Birds chirped of the previous night’s storm, and small fury mammals played in the berry bushes. Arius could even feel the ants coming forth from their havens seeking food for their homes.
His eyes opened to find rich green foliage crowding around the rocks, while pink and purple flowers peeked through the underbrush. His eyes turned upward to find a tall pine standing tall atop the cliff overlooking its fellow trees and native streams.
Ahead of him hopped out a gray fur mammal with two tall ears. Its nose wrinkled in the air for the scent of something curious, and without a warning the creature was lifted from the ground by a mysterious force. It kicked and struggled but soon its neck was wrung, and out stepped Dueson from the shadows beyond. His figure was made clear from the light through the trees.
“I have breakfast,” he declared, coming to the camp.
He vanished under the shade before being revealed by the sunlight, but soon he uncloaked himself so that even the shade could not hide him.
Arius sat up finding his clothes still damp. The rest of the mercenaries were up and attending the small fire which the heat sticks still fueled. He felt awkward being the last one up, and wondered what the others thought of him for doing so. Why hadn’t they woke him?
“That’s hardly enough for the ten of us,” Ruekrow criticized, Dueson’s younger brother. “Maybe two to three at most.”
“We don’t even know if it’s safe to eat,” Rie said, from his end of the fire.
“Then don’t eat it,” Dueson said, sitting down with his kill. He removed a knife from his belt. “I don’t care to share my game with a bunch of gripers anyway.”
Arius moved closer to the fire next to Brockumus who sat silently staring into the small fire. Glancing toward all the men, he found them carrying stern faces. They knew not what to think of their circumstances, and it seemed that Dueson had been the only one out and about.
“What is that Ruekrow,” Thorim asked, spotting a hard image in his hands. “We can’t carry anything personal. You know that.”
Ruekrow began to hide it, but it was too late. His brother, Dueson, snatched it from his hands and tossed it into the fire after a brief look. Ruekrow began to protest, but had nothing to say.
“I would hope my brother would have more sense,” Dueson said, “but his na├»ve experience wins out in the end.”
“Sorry,” Ruekrow said. “I’ll be more careful next time.”
Arius synched up the collar of his jacket in order to hide the necklace around his neck. He was already unappreciated, and he didn’t need the others getting on to him about his personal assets. The necklace was all he had from home, and he couldn’t afford to lose it.
It had been given to him by his soon to be wife as a memento to remember her by. She told him not to forget her on his journey which was ridiculous indeed. He would never be able to shake her from his mind, and the only thing that would keep him away was death itself.
He felt regret as it was she who cautioned him against such a journey, but he ignored her pleas thinking that it would mend relationships he had long broken. He had done it for her, and them, for he thought that it would make things right, but what he thought would be a simple honor mission turned into a manhunt for one whom only legends knew of. It would be months before he would return home, and now that their ship had been destroyed he wasn’t sure if returning was possible.
How could he have been so stupid, he wondered. Looking back he could see the trap for what it was. His future father-in-law had convinced him to take the mission. He told him that it would be simple for pure diplomatic reasons, but now here he was surrounded by killers on a mission no one thought possible. This was an attempt to do away with him by his future father-in-law, and now Arius couldn’t be too careful.
Thanks for stopping by, and check out next week's chapter, "Family for a Lifetime," which will be here next Thursday. In the meantime please let me know what you think by leaving a comment, and check out my book.
Buy on Kindle here.

Ch2: Histories' Legends

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Two: Histories' Legends  
Arius moved across the wet beach sand as the others pulled out any more luggage that washed ashore. He had on him his private bag which he managed to pull from the ship before it incinerated itself in the water. His other supplies were gone which left him woefully unprepared for their venture. Dread crept up his stomach as he speculated on the future. What was next? How would they proceed?
“Are you alright?” Arius asked, approaching Jayvolni.  
The man sat upon a black rock sticking out of the sand, and wrapped his right arm with a bandage. Arius could see blood running down his rain soaked sleeve. Jayvolni glanced up at him, his two colored eyes glistened in the moonlight.
“I’ll be fine,” he replied coldly. “Caught my arm on the wreckage somehow.”
Arius nodded before he turned back to the others who were now approaching. They were all mercenaries; they killed for a living which left Arius as the odd man. He didn’t know how he got himself into this situation. His allies were cold killers, while he had only known combat for a time shorter than most. Of course, he knew how he got there. His own stupidity was to blame, and he had been tricked into signing up for the expedition. He had no clue what he was getting himself into, but now he realized the treachery that had been done to him.
“It’s time to go!” Thorim ordered, approaching his position. “If anyone picked up the crash, this beach will be swarming with possible hostiles.”
Thorim was their commander, and perhaps the most sensible of them all. The man was often times stern and distant, but at least he didn’t act like a savage like the others did at times. Arius trusted him as a leader, though he distrusted the others. Brockumus, the medic, was his most trusted ally while Jayvolni was just cold.
The group hurried into the surrounding forest which quickly grew dense. Stretches of beach sand fingered its way into the botany, but soon it was choked out by the trees. The rain pounded the tops of the pines and oaks leaving an abundance of water to drizzle off of the branches and onto the ground. The group traveled hard uphill before they reached a worthy shelter.
A rock leaned up against the side of a cliff, surrounded by many other boulders and stones. It sheltered them from the rain, but the claps of thunder roared across the island. The trees trembled under its fury, shaking the water from their burdened leaves. Fire could be seen erupting in the distant clouds whenever lightning struck. It was as if the clouds themselves were fuel for the fire, and whenever lightning sparked the cloud burned hot to heat the falling rain. What kind of world was this, Arius wondered.
Dueson, Arius’ antagonist, cracked the heat sticks over a bed of dry kindling. They gave off a distinct crack before flames consumed the kindling and Dueson fueled it more with some sticks. Everything was wet, but the flames from the heat sticks made easy work of the sticks. The fire was kept small in order to avoid attention and the mercenaries huddled together around its small flames.
Brockumus was beside Arius holding out his palms to the heat. They shivered in their soaked clothing, teeth chattering from the wind which blew through the rock shelter. Arius could no longer think too far ahead as his attention was on keeping warm. He struggled to pay attention to Thorim who spoke to them as a group.
“Remember the call, my brothers,” he said. “Our mission is noble, and hinges upon legend. Do not lose heart, for tomorrow we make history.”
“Our ship was sabotaged,” Rie replied. “How can we proceed?”
“We are not dead,” returned Thorim. “And we do not know the details. Stick together and we will prevail. Any traitor, if there may be one, will be found out soon enough.”
“I say we keep two at watch,” Dueson said. “Just to be safe.”
The men agreed, and they all found rest under the rock. Arius clasped his arms and fought back the chills. His thoughts turned inward, and soon he was drifting to sleep where he explored old memories. Thunder roared overhead. 
Thank you for reading chapter two of my short story. Stop by next Thursday for the third chapter, "Not Mementos," and please leave a comment below to let me know what you think. Also, check out my book.
Buy on Kindle here.