Graveyard Empire snippet

It rained on the day of his ascension. The sky of Mara was dark with corpulent strains of clouds, weighing heavily above the continent-wide metropolis. Thin spires reached out into the grey, diffusing the wan light and casting the world into dark azure monochrome.

“It’s time, Owar.”

The boy turned from the reinforced window, giving the city one last look. His face, ashen and gaunt, was wrought with anxious anticipation, making him look far older than his ten year old frame would suggest. The bulky robes he wore were the color of rain, featureless and shapeless.

“It’s time.”

There, the voice again. Emotionless and dull, as if the rain had washed away all semblance of personality from it.

Owar’s eyes drifted back to the rain. The lines of water sketched a singular pattern upon the window. As he watched, the raindrops began to coalesce, streaming downward and breaking the straight line design.

He looked at the simple trappings of his residence, taking in every detail and knowing he would never see them again. Stone walls, barely illuminated through the embedded lamps, looked black in the wan light. A painting, disproportionate and awkward, made for a pitiful impression of childhood.

“Do you think I will remember this? The rain, I mean,” Owar said quietly. His voice had an ageless quality of an amplified whisper.

The visitor took a step towards the boy, straining with every movement. Owar could hear the faint wheezing of motors under the monkish brown habit. The hand that extended from under the cloth was discolored with age spots. A transparent tube was embedded in the palm, circulating yellow liquid.

“You will see wonders beyond comprehension,” the dull, genderless voice said. The words were rote, spoken with all the conviction of one who knows nothing else. Or the one made to know nothing else.

The boy made a step, then halted. Uncertainty and trepidation played upon his features. He bit on his lip, eyes cast down to the floor.

“What is it, Owar?”

“It’s just…” The boy sounded hesitant.

“Yes?”

“I am afraid, Martos.” He blurted the words out as though the act of speaking would exorcise his fear. His jaw tightened with apprehension.

“You have been afforded the greatest honor in the Sphere,” the mechanical voice replied. The rain rapped a staccato rhythm on the window. Somehow, Owar did not find it soothing.

“Fear is irrelevant. There are millions on Mara alone who would trade places with you in a heartbeat. You should feel pride.”

“I did not ask for it,” said the boy. “Will I…”

“You will have to do,” the visitor answered. “You are the best match in the system.”

Owar gave Martos a look that was equal part trepidation, plea, and loathing. “Will it hurt?” the boy asked. His fists were clenched, knuckles white. “I…”

“Pain is irrelevant, Owar.” Martos took a halting step. The motors made a louder, unpleasant sound. “In time, it will subside. The only thing that matters is the Harbinger.”

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  1. Graveyard Empire – new (?) novel announcement | alexshalenko

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