You know it’s only been five months since my last post, so we’re doing good this year (sarcasm, I won’t make any promises on how often I will update, but at least you know my updates have information, right?). Now, let’s get onto the good stuff. The final book in the Galactic Conflicts series is up for pre-order! You might be asking, when is the release date? I can happily say that the book releases on September 17th, 2021. That’s a little less than a month! Get ready to read the explosive finale to the series. I have to say, it’s relieving and a little weird to know that I will be done with the main series and can now write something else. I have been writing these books for 7 years now. While I do have ideas on Galactic Conflicts and where to go next, I will be taking a break and beginning a new series.
As a little teaser, the new series is going to be fantasy, set in a medieval era. I’ve had this next series stuck in my head for the past three years and when I first thought of it, I was thinking it would only be a couple of books. Now? Well let’s just say I can see it being six or more. But that’s enough about that, I have a sneak peak for those of you who are interested. It will be the first chapter in the book. I hope you enjoy and you’ll have the book in your hands (whether physically or digitally) soon! Click on the book cover to pre-order. Thanks for reading and we’ll talk again soon.
A coldness entered Kurvara as she engaged one of the last warriors. There was little doubt in her mind who would win. Like many Prazore warriors, this one preferred close-quarters combat and swung wildly at her. After a few seconds of blocking, she found the opening she was looking for. Her sword cut from the right shoulder down to the left hip, and the warrior’s eyes widened in shock as blood poured down his body and he slumped backward with his eyes rolling into the back of his head.
Looking around, Kurvara saw there were no other warriors. The battle for Rhudian was officially over. Taking a deep breath, she sheathed her sword and turned to see Levi wiping blood off both of his swords, while Jorak sat on a nearby rock. Terminus was leaning on his sword while Damien and Rob looked around as if a warrior was waiting for them to relax.
She brushed her bangs away from her eyes and glanced at the other members of her squad, the Shadows, to check on their status. Her outfit was covered in dry blood, none of it hers. The war had shifted recently. The Alliance, Empire, and Yevonions—now known as the Ascendency by many of the people in the galaxy—were starting to push the Prazore back. Planets were being retaken and morale had risen tremendously. Talk of losing this war had diminished, with some starting to believe it was possible to win, something nobody would have said a few short months ago.
Oddly, the Prazore’s strategy had changed abruptly. The gigantic fleet that looked ready to attack the Alliance capital, Vestarus, disappeared. The Prazore altered their strategy shortly thereafter. The Yevonions seemed to be the Prazore’s focus now, which was good for the Alliance, as it allowed them to rebuild their damaged military. There was still concern about the huge Prazore fleet, which hadn’t been seen since the retreat.
The reborn Shadows had been a driving force in the war. Many gave Kurvara credit for bringing the squad back to life and showing how powerful they still were. Even the Yevonions noticed and complimented her squad’s abilities. It was bizarre, and she still had trouble believing how well she was working with some Yevonion squads, who treated her with respect! How times were changing.
Kurvara walked toward Jorak when she noticed Orindu, a Yevonion whom she saved shortly after Malidar and had grown quite close to. “How many did you get this time?” Kurvara asked, stopping as she looked at her friend.
“I don’t know. Enough,” Orindu said, looking Kurvara up and down. “I see you got up close and personal with some warriors again.”
She smiled; it was a running joke between them. Every time she showed up with blood on her sword, Orindu would comment on how close she got to the warriors. It was something Orindu and the Yevonions didn’t understand. The Sentinels were close-quarters specialists, and with how much the warriors liked to fight up close, she was forced to ditch her rifle to defend herself. “I see you avoided the warriors again.”
Orindu laughed, standing up and patting Kurvara on the shoulder. “I wouldn’t want to get close to you or a warrior in battle.”
“And I hope to never be on the opposing side of you in a battle. It would be a shame to kill a friend.”
“I have to go report to Morbius.” Orindu stretched as he stood up.
“Give him my regards,” Kurvara said, watching Orindu nod to her and walk off.
She continued her walk toward Jorak, recalling her time on Lorett with Jorak and Mutieto when Jorak used his Tranquility of Time technique to discover what happened to the Shadows when they infiltrated Lorett.
Kurvara was standing behind Jorak while he kneeled on the ground, sensing sorrow radiating from him. She didn’t need to ask to know he was seeing Kane’s death. After a moment, Jorak looked up. “That’s impossible,” he said.
“What’s impossible?” Mutieto asked, his voice stricken with grief.
Jorak didn’t respond and stood up. The sense of loss was gone, which piqued Kurvara’s curiosity. “Jorak, what’s impossible?” she asked.
He turned to her, looking perplexed. “Kane died here, yet he didn’t die,” Jorak said.
“He died yet he didn’t? That doesn’t make sense,” Kurvara said.
There was a moment of silence, with Jorak closing his eyes again. He touched the ground with the tips of his fingers. “Kane died here. Then life returned to him. I can barely sense his revival.”
“Did any others come back to life?” Mutieto asked.
Jorak shook his head. “The others aren’t coming back.”
After a moment, Jorak followed Kane’s path to where his trail ended in the middle of a field. Kane had been lifted onto a spaceship and was gone with no way to track where the ship went.
Kane was alive, and though there was no news of his whereabouts, Kurvara didn’t let it dishearten her. Him being alive was the important part. One day, he would return—she could feel it in her bones. She looked into the sky, as she did so often nowadays, wishing Kane would arrive to surprise them all. The only thing that didn’t make sense was why she felt all the Shadows’ deaths, including Kane’s, yet he turned out to be alive. It was mysterious, even if he had been resuscitated.
With a sigh, Kurvara walked up to Jorak, who was wrapping a bandage around his left arm. “Did you check for poison?” she asked.
He didn’t respond for a moment as he tore the bandage and nodded to himself. “I did. I don’t want to lose my powers for months.”
“Have the healers take a look regardless. Got it?” Kurvara said and watched him nod before looking away.
The magic healers had learned to detect the poison the Prazore had started using recently. An increasing number of people had died or lost magic to the poison over the past six months. Luckily, the scientists who studied the poison that had infected Kurvara and Mutieto were able to make a cure, which restored infected people’s lost magic within a week.
“Think I was the only one who got hit this time,” Jorak said.
“I think you’re right.” Kurvara wiped some sweat off her face. It was hot and muggy on Rhudian. The fighting didn’t help when you wanted to cool off, but it was a great distraction. She was looking forward to leaving Rhudian.
A group of marines walked by, saluting her and the other Shadows as they passed. She didn’t recognize any of them, but it had become common for any soldier to salute Sentinels. Sometimes, Kurvara wondered if the Alliance was going to ask for a military division of magic users from the Orlion Academy and if Thal would entertain the thought.
“Here,” Jorak said, handing her a bottle of water.
Kurvara took it and had a deep gulp. The water wasn’t cold, yet it tasted fantastic. After drinking half the bottle in one go, she put the cap back on. “How did you know I was out?”
“Because it’s hot as hell out here. No sane person wouldn’t need a drink after the fight we had,” Jorak said with a laugh.
Clafara and Jace walked up. “Looks like another planet won. Where do you think we’ll go next?” Clafara put her hand above her eyes to cover the sun and squinted as she looked forward.
“What are you looking for?” Jorak asked.
“I don’t know,” Clafara said. “I thought I saw something, but it’s gone.”
“It was just a bird,” Thal said as he appeared out of nowhere.
Clafara jumped a little, while the others remained still. Kurvara almost jumped like Clafara. She turned to see Thal, along with Lloyd and Anorn. She hadn’t seen Anorn since the Shadows’ funeral. There was a sadness in him, even though it had been over a year since his son, Blade, died.
“Imperator, Masters,” Kurvara said, straightening herself a little.
“Been a long time,” Jorak said.
“Yeah, we barely missed the action,” Lloyd said with disappointment. He was one of the few masters who loved fighting and didn’t like to use guns, preferring magic and his sword.
Kurvara sensed irritation from Anorn, who she could tell hated missing the action, though she suspected it was because of what the Prazore had done to Blade. “I didn’t know any masters were coming this way,” she said.
Thal scratched his face. “We were told the battle for Rhudian was underway, and I decided to head this way. Our next attack needs to be discussed.”
“Where is the next attack?” Kurvara asked. Since learning of Kane’s survival and returning to the war herself, she was always ready for the next planet. If she was told to head somewhere for an attack this instant, she would do so without any hesitation. Surely Kane had to be on one of the planets the Ascendency was attacking.
“You’ll find out soon enough.” Thal turned to Jorak. “I spoke to the council about your request to send someone to look for Kane. Unfortunately, we’re stretched a bit thin and can’t spare the resources to locate him. I’m sorry.”
“I understand,” Jorak said.
She detected slight anger in Jorak’s voice, something she understood completely. Jorak had requested that Thal allow him to look into Kane’s disappearance a few times, and usually, he was rejected outright. This time, Thal said he might be able to pull some strings. She couldn’t help being disappointed in the answer.
“I’ve heard a lot of praise in regard to your squad,” Thal said.
Kurvara fought not to blush. She hated being complimented sometimes, especially by someone like Thal, who didn’t compliment people very often. He was too busy to notice or seek out people. “Thank you, Imperator,” she mumbled.
She was about to ask a question when Orindu came running over and halted right next to them. His breathing was irregular. “What’s going on?” Kurvara asked.
“There’s a Prazore ship heading to the planet and Nukan wants you to be there when it lands!”
Kane grunted as he pushed up a bar full of weights. For the first time in months, he felt no aches or soreness. Without an expert magic healer, it had taken him four months to fully recover from his injuries. He could fight after two months, though his body still had pains, aches, and moments of weakness. It felt good to move without having reminders of Zalakor.
A part of him couldn’t believe Vorka was dead. He had killed the warlord in single combat, yet he was haunted by dreams of Vorka somehow surviving, even though it was impossible. The uprising had contacts within the Prazore who verified Yaqul was the new warlord.
Getting into Alliance territory was supposed to take two months but ended up taking four. It was time to reunite with his people and rejoin the war. Kane suspected he would have to argue when he was inevitably ordered to take a vacation of some kind. There was too much to do and not a lot of time.
Things were about to change. Kane and the uprising had information the Alliance would have to listen to. He was curious about how the Alliance leadership would react to the information. If they will listen, first I have to get them to trust the uprising, which is going to be tough. The White Sanctum’s betrayal would make it hard to convince the Alliance that the uprising was legitimate. Then again, the Yevonions had joined the war against the Prazore. If his people could accept the Yevonions, why not the uprising?
He put the weights away, satisfied he was recovered. The next part was about to begin. Kane had barely walked out of the room when Kazniak stepped in line with him. “How did the workout go?” Kazniak asked.
“Good. I look forward to fighting again,” Kane said, not slowing down as he walked into the mess hall, where all the food was kept. He nodded to Ioris and Adonian, two uprising warriors who helped test his strength. He had made many friends with the uprising, something he hadn’t expected. While the Prazore had a different culture, there were similarities with his own as well.
Some ex-prisoners were eating at the tables, along with some uprisers. For the most part, a lot of the ex-prisoners avoided the uprising. It was difficult for the ex-prisoners to differentiate the uprisers from the other Prazore. Kane would have to find a way to fix this problem or his plans with the Alliance might backfire.
Once he grabbed his food and sat down, Kazniak spoke again. “Are you sure we should only send one ship?”
That had been the debate for the past week: how many uprising ships to send with Kane. He came up with one, as the Alliance shouldn’t fire on one ship, especially one that came in peace. Weapons were stripped from the ship, so if the Alliance decided to fire on them, all he would be able to do was run. His name should get them safe passage to the planet regardless.
“Yes. I don’t want to risk a confrontation,” Kane began, taking a bite of his nasty soup. One thing the Prazore needed to learn was how to make food. Like everything else with the aliens, they didn’t believe in luxury; for them, as long as the food provided what was needed to survive, the taste didn’t matter. “The Alliance is going to be on edge with just one ship. You can thank the White Sanctum’s betrayal for that.”
“And you’re sure Rhudian is a good planet to land on?”
Reports indicated the Alliance, Yevonions, and Empire were about to retake Rhudian, which was why Kane had picked the planet as his destination. It wasn’t like they would make it far into Alliance territory before being discovered and either captured or killed.
“Yes. Do you have the six other uprisers ready?” Kane asked, taking another bite and being thankful when he discovered there was no more left. He couldn’t wait to eat real food again.
“I do. They’re all prepared to submit themselves to the Alliance,” Kazniak said.
Kane nodded, hoping there would be familiar faces on Rhudian. He was banking on some Sentinels and, ideally, a master being on the planet. “Good. I told Tegis, Sandra, and Evon they’re coming, too.”
“Four familiar faces should ease the Alliance’s worries, no?”
He shrugged. “It’s hard to say. It depends on their reaction to seeing us. I don’t expect to be walking around freely when we arrive.”
“What if we’re executed?” Kazniak asked.
One thing the Prazore didn’t understand much was how the Alliance treated prisoners. Torture wasn’t their concern. That was easy; Kane could vouch for that after facing the Limitless Embrace. He tried telling Kazniak there was no chance of being executed. This would be the first time the Alliance would have Prazore prisoners. Only a fool wouldn’t take advantage of getting some free prisoners, though he hoped they would be seen as friends soon.
“You don’t have to worry about that. Besides, we have good information,” Kane said.
With a sigh, he took a drink of his water, wishing he could fast-forward time and get this meeting over with. In truth, he was anxious. What if Kurvara was there? How would she react to seeing a dead man? He was happy she remade the Shadows, but was she out for vengeance like Blade had been when Mutieto was captured, or was she handling his death better? He hoped she was okay.
All he’d done for the last four months was run. The Prazore were hunting them like animals, trying everything they could to kill them all. Luckily, news of Vorka’s death by Kane’s hands had brought them more uprisers who believed Kane’s victory over their warlord was an omen that the war was wrong.
“It’s decided, then,” Kazniak said, getting up from his spot. “I am anxious to speak to your people without fighting. I hope they can see us as allies and not someone to kill.”
Kane cocked his brow at him. “You’re nervous? Here I was, thinking you Prazore couldn’t get nervous.”
Kazniak grinned. “Yes, we have feelings, too.”
“Things will go well. We should get going. The sooner we arrive at Rhudian, the sooner we can move on.” Kane said this and felt uneasy, even if he hid it well. How had the Alliance changed since the White Sanctum’s betrayal? He wouldn’t know until he arrived.
“I’ll get word to the other uprisers. You tell the others,” Kazniak said.
“We’re almost out of warp space,” Kazniak said, coming back from the cockpit.
Evon’s foot was bouncing up and down. “Good. The sooner we arrive, the better.”
Kane agreed. Evon, Tegis, and Sandra were extremely nervous about returning to the Alliance, for they had been prisoners for three years. Tegis had been a prisoner for almost four years while Evon had been captured three and a half years ago. Returning after so long would make anyone anxious.
Not wanting to worry anyone, Kane made sure to not summon any magic at all. While it was possible a Sentinel or another magic user might recognize it was him, he didn’t want to give the Alliance any excuse to attack them. With the Prazore starting to use magic, he couldn’t be sure how his people would react to sensing magic from a Prazore ship.
After a few more minutes, the stars stopped streaking by and the ship exited warp space. Kane looked out of the windows to see hundreds of capital ships and a squadron of fighters heading their way. All was going according to plan.
“Unidentified ship, this is Lieutenant Danvers. You are to remain still while we scan you and ask some questions.”
Kane took the corrier from Kazniak. He, not Kazniak or any other Prazore, had to speak to his people, at least until they were planetside. “My name is Kane, a Sentinel of the Orlion Academy. Is Grand Admiral Nukan available? If so, he can verify my identity.”
There was silence.
“He’s checking with his superiors,” Kane said before Kazniak could ask. He could sense the tension in the upriser, which was funny, as this was the first time he’d seen Kazniak stressed about something. Going after the warlord didn’t stress any of the uprisers out, but talking peacefully to the Alliance did.
“Switch to frequency sixty-two. The grand admiral wants to speak with you,” Danvers said.
Without acknowledging the lieutenant, Kane switched frequencies. “Nukan, this is Kane. Do you copy?”
“You are alive.” Nukan’s voice was usually cool and controlled, but there was a hint of awe in it this time.
“I am. I have seven upr—err, Prazore with me. We’re all friendly and requesting permission to land on Rhudian. You can choose where,” Kane said.
“Permission granted. Follow Lieutenant Danvers. He will guide you to the planet. Be warned: you will be shot down if you try to fly away or do anything suspicious,” Nukan said.
“I have no doubts. Thank you,” Kane said.
The fighters all had missiles locked onto their ship. Once Nukan gave them their orders, Danvers and his squadron spread out. Two fighters had locks on Kane’s ship, ready to fire if there was any wrong move.
“Here we go,” Kane muttered.