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Authors: Jason Halstead

Voidhawk - Lost Soul

BOOK: Voidhawk - Lost Soul
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Voidhawk : Lost Soul

By Jason Halstead

©2012

 

All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

For additional information contact:

www.novelconceptpublishing.com

7974 Brookwood ST NE

Warren, MI 44484

 

 

Cover art © 201
2
Willsin Rowe

Edited by Lisa Shalek

 

Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

Look for these other Voidhawk books:

Voidhawk

Voidhawk – The Elder Race

Voidhawk - Redemption

Voidhawk – The White Lady

Voidhawk - Lost Soul

Voidhawk - The Edge of Forever

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Jianna slashed her sword to knock the thrusting blade away from her. She had to defeat the final guardian if she was going to claim the golden statue for her prize. She could see it just ahead, behind the leather clad dark knight.

“Ha, that’s all you’ve got?”
Jianna challenged. She spun inside the knight’s reach, pulling her dagger and thrusting it up at him. He grunted as the weapon hit him in the side just below his ribs. She danced away as the knight fell to his knees and cradled the injury. His sword had fallen to the ground.

Feeling full of herself
Jianna danced forward and planted her foot against his chest, toppling him to the ground. She flipped her dagger in the air, catching it by the hilt and then tucked both her dagger and sword back into their sheaths at her waist. She stuck her tongue out at her vanquished foe then danced past him towards the dais with the beautiful golden statue of a woman on it.

The fact that it was nearly twice her weight was of no concern to her. She was half elven, miracles of magic were an everyday occurrence to her. Even her existence was an aberration of nature, although one of the finest kinds, if she said so herself. Her mother was the
Empress of the Elven Empire, her father the Empress’s Consort. She’d wondered why he couldn’t be king for the longest time until her Aunt Tasha had explained that her daddy was a human and could hold rank and position, but never be blooded royalty with a claim to the throne. She still didn’t understand, but if Aunt Tasha said it was so then it must be.

She slowed as she approached the dais. Something seemed amiss. She circled it, frowning at the oddly colored rocks that made up the stonework. Unable to find anything
wrong she stepped forward onto it. She heard a click and felt the stone shift beneath her feet. She gasped in fear and tried to leap back before it was too late.

The golden statue moved,
drawing a great golden hued blade that took her two hands to wield. She turned, moving with a grace and speed that seemed impossible. Jianna drew her sword and dagger and glanced around. How could she fight something armored in steel?

The Golden Lady leapt forward, catching
Jianna off guard. The girl backed away, holding her sword up to block the blade that crashed into it. Her sword shattered, splinters flying even before it was knocked from her hand. She cried out and fell back, stunned by the powerful attack. Her dagger was forgotten in her hand.

The Golden Lady lunged again, her sword plunging forward to touch
Jianna in the chest and push her fully onto the ground. Jianna slammed her fist against the ground, tears running from her eyes. “That’s not fair! You’re the prize, Aunt Tasha! You cheated!”

A chuckle came from the fallen dark knight. He was standing and watching. He pulled off the mask and tossed it aside, revealing the short blond hair and brown eyes of her father. “You  did well, but there’s more to life than a good fight,” he said to her.

Her bottom lip stuck out while her chin quivered. “But daddy, she wasn’t supposed to fight back!”

He chuckled and held out his hand to her. She harrumphed
and climbed to her own feet, then glared at the Golden Lady. Tasha flipped her visor up to reveal a woman with ebony skin. She smiled, her teeth a startling white. “Little warrior princess, you fight with the heart of a wersal, but you must think before you rush ahead. Never take anything for granted. Every breath we take we must cherish and be thankful for. Every move we make must be measured or we lose the chance to be thankful.”

Jianna
turned away, tears running down her face. “I almost had you,” she whimpered.

“Next time you’ll do better, you always do.”

The Empress stepped onto the field, clapping her hands as she moved. Diaphanous skirts swirled about her legs as she seemed to float across the courtyard. Jianna’s father looked at her and grinned, a sparkle coming to his eyes that spoke of endless devotion. “Six years old,” the Empress said, shaking her head. “You’re an overachiever, young lady. Your father’s rusty in a fight, but he’s still one of the better swordsmen I’ve ever fought with. Or against.”

“You’ve fought each other?”
Jianna gasped.

“It was a long time ago,” he said, chuckling. “Don’t let her fool you, she wasn’t so tough.”

“He only beat me because I was possessed by an evil wizard,” she riposted.

He waved his hand. “Don’t go confusing the girl. Legends of wizards and such got no place for her yet.”

The Empress laughed. “I can think of quite a few tales of impossible deeds!” Her expression grew somber. “Kind of like dealing with the politics of court. I swear some days I’d give anything to run away with you and sail to the edge of the known void and beyond.”

“Any
day, my Empress,” he said with a bow.

“Mommy,”
Jianna tried to interrupt.

She laughed
, not having heard her daughter. “Tell me Dex, I heard the rebels were scattered, but what do you think? You sailed with them.” She smirked and added, “Admiral.”

Jianna
tapped her foot, drawing an amused smile from Tasha. “Mom?”

Dexter raised an eyebrow
at his wife and sighed. “Aye, Empress Jenna, they’ve been routed but they’ll find a new rock to hide under and plot against us.”

“Mother!”

Jenna turned and stared, her mouth open at the young girl’s tone. Jianna stood with her arms crossed and one hip thrust out. Jenna smiled. “I’m sorry honey, promise me you’ll run away with a dashing young hero like your father before you’re forced into a life of court.”

“Won’t come a day when I’ll let that happen,” Dexter grumbled.

“You’re a fine man, the finest I’ve ever known!” Jenna protested. Tasha nodded behind her, seconding the Empress’s praise.

Dexter laughed. “I’ve known myself a lot longer than you ladies have. I know what’s on a man’s mind, especially a younger man like me!”

Jianna let out an exasperated sigh and threw her hands up in the air. She turned to storm off when Jenna called out to her. “Jia, I’m sorry! What is it you wanted?”

She turned, staring at the ground. Her fierce attitude disappeared and was replaced with a shyness that was out of character.
“Would you train me sometime? You’re always so busy but, well, I’d really like it,” she blurted out.

Jenna turned to look at Dexter and saw him grinning. Her eyes narrowed. He threw his hands up in ignorance, then shook his head to reinforce the unspoken exchange. She turned back to
Jianna and smiled. “I’d love to, princess. I’ll see what I can arrange, okay? I have to get back to court now, but I wanted to see you first.”

Jianna’s eyes fell. Her excitement at having her father back from his mission dashed. She offered a thin smile and nodded, then turned to replace the wooden training dagger she still held. Dexter’s eyes followed her, then turned to his wife. Jenna was already off, heading back to court.

“It’ll get better,” Tasha offered. She took Dexter’s wooden sword from him.

“Damned elves,” he muttered, glancing at Jianna to make sure she hadn’t heard him. Then again she was part elven, she probably heard everything he said and knew what he thought as well. He wished Bekka, Logan, and Bailynn hadn’t left – Bekka had always offered words of advice. Being a half elf herself, her suggestions would have been doubly inspired.

“One thing’s for certain,” Dexter said to his daughter. “Nobody’ll be serving us dinner if we don’t get cleaned up proper for it! I’ll meet you there.”

Jianna turned and grinned at him, her disappointment forgotten. “Will you tell me about your journey?”

“Only the parts filled with fighting and bloodshed,” Dexter promised with a wink.

“No maidens to rescue this time?” Jianna asked, her tone too serious to be real.

“I came back to the fairest maiden in the void.”

Jianna giggled. Tasha grinned behind her, shaking her head slightly. She stared at Dexter until he noticed, then she looked away quickly and started to walk away in her golden suit of mail. “Tasha, you’ll be joining us?”

She stopped and glanced back, then nodded. “Yes, Captain, I mean sir. Of course.”

Dexter chuckled. “I’m liking Captain, but outside of the fancy pants elves and off the deck of a ship, Dexter or Dex’ll do just fine.”

She nodded, turning away quickly away that suggested she might have been blushing. Dexter couldn’t tell on her dark skin. Then again, it wasn’t his job to care. She’d been a part of his crew and after Jenna’d accepted the job of remaking the Elven Empire to a decent place again, she’d hung around and become the unofficial nanny and protector of Jianna.

Jenna
had insisted they’d stick around just for a few years, long enough for Jianna to be born and the Empire to become stable. With the way of elves nothing was quick. Six years had passed and Jia was turning into a remarkable young lady blessed with Jenna’s beauty and none of Dexter’s bad luck. She did have a touch of his impatience, though.

Now Jenna seemed no closer to leaving than she’d been before. Dex had no right to complain, life was fine in between discovering plots to assassinate his family and plunging the empire into chaos. It wasn’t so difficult from before they’d helped the Elders end their banishment.

As for dinner, Dexter could use all the help he could get when it came to Jianna. He loved the girl like no other, but the questions she asked and the things she came up with often left him tongue tied. Tasha spent a lot of time with her, she’d be sure to help him out of a jam. She’d been a lot of help time after time, Dexter mused, once she’d gotten past thinking the void owed her for being born. He didn’t even blame her for being descended from Rosh. He blamed the man for that, but Rosh had gone his way long ago and things had been all the better for it.

Now he just had to come up with some fanciful tales to dazzle his daughter about his recent trip to wipe out the rebellious sect of elves. Maybe a trip through a cloud of gas or a rare water moon would keep her attention. He smirked as the beginnings of an adventure that never happened began to take shape in his mind.

 

* * * *

 

Jianna
wiped the sweat off her face a final time before she slipped a cape over the shoulders of her sleeveless tunic. She preferred the simple elven fashions her servants had laid out, they were looser and far more comfortable. She was having dinner with her dad and he suffered a lot of human hang ups about modesty. She’d never understand what the big deal was about clothing – or a lack of it. He insisted when she got older it’d make sense but that sounded like silly grown up talk to her.

She grinned
into the mirror of her vanity. She’d missed Dexter. Three months was less than a blink of the eye to an elf but she was only half elf. No matter which half of her heritage she blamed, she missed him with all of her being. Especially since her mom was always so busy.

Her grin turned to a sigh. Aunt Tasha was always there for her. She wasn’t really her aunt, but she didn’t mind. Tasha was exotic, kind, and wonderful! She shared wonderful stories about her life as the Golden Lady, before the Voidhawk had come and freed the elders from their banishment on her world. Tasha told her about a boy that the Golden Lady had employed, but never rea
lly noticed until the very end, when he’d been killed.


Jianna?”

BOOK: Voidhawk - Lost Soul
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