Voidhawk - Redemption, page 1
Voidhawk - Redemption
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Tags: Fantasy, Fiction, Epic
Book 3 in the Voidhawk series
Having left the ship and crew behind, Rosh has spent years alone in the void working for the highest bidder. Plagued by memories of his former friends, lessons learned, and loves lost the cursed warrior struggles to find a purpose for his enduring existence. Stumbling into a plot to usurp a throne, Rosh inadvertently becomes the master of a powerful demoness. Unable to rid himself of her for fear of what she might do to the rest of the world, Rosh is forced to bring her with him and attempt to teach her the difference between right and wrong. The irony of having been on the receiving end of those same lessons himself not so long ago is not lost on him. As the impossible happens and the demoness seeks to learn new ways to please her Master, Rosh's inner demons prove to be no less a threat. Before the warrior is ready a new danger awaits on a battlefield he has spent his entire life avoiding.
Check out these other Voidhawk books:
Voidhawk - The Elder Race*
Voidhawk - Redemption
Voidhawk - The White Lady
Voidhawk - Lost Soul *
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About the Author
Jason Halstead is a science fiction and fantasy author who spends his daytime hours as an IT Manager in the automotive industry. In his spare time Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, writing, and competitive powerlifting.
Voidhawk : Redemption
By Jason Halstead
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:
7974 Brookwood ST NE
Warren, MI 44484
Cover art © 2011 A.J. McLain
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.
Check out these other Voidhawk Books:
Voidhawk – The Elder Race
Voidhawk – The White Lady
Voidhawk – Lost Soul
Billowing black smoke erupted in mid-air. It swirled and grew, filling the space above the inscribed diagram on the floor but daring to go no further. A sinister chuckle issued forth from the swirling darkness, sending chills through the bones of the young man that stood nearby.
“Reveal yourself!” He snapped, summoning up a steely conviction to his voice that he did not look as though he felt.
The smoke receded rapidly, absorbing back into the figure that took shape in the midst of the magical diagram. Massive leathery black wings encased it, revealing that it was not human. Slowly they unfolded, drawing apart in front and revealing the creature contained within.
The man gasped in spite of himself. He had seen pictures and he even knew what he was summoning. In spite of that, the sheer spectacle he beheld threatened to strip him not only of his voice, but also his sanity. “Volera,” he whispered, speaking the being’s name. He repeated himself, more loudly, to establish control over the summoned entity.
“Master,” Volera responded, a wicked smile upon her perfect face. She was a female, anatomically indistinguishable so far as he could tell from any human woman. The glaring differences were the black wings that sprouted from her back, the serpentine black tail that trailed behind her, and the small black horns upon her forehead. Also, unlike any human woman he had ever known, she possessed eyes that were as deep and dark as the blackest of nights. “What is your wish?”
His wish? Sinjin shook his head, breaking his concentration from the flawless spectacle of the being before him. He had a wish, why else would he have summoned her? He could not help but bask in the dark reddish tan of her displayed skin and the perfect proportions that were beyond the ability of nature to reproduce.
“Do you know what I am, human?” Volera asked after his mouth hung open for several long minutes. Sinjin nodded, but said nothing to back up his mute claim. “I am a Fury, mortal,” she continued when he did not. “I have not the time nor interest in idle chatter! Prove you have a task worth binding me or earn my wrath!”
“I’m your Master!” Sinjin gasped out, cowed by her venom. “You must do as I bid!”
She smiled wickedly again. Her tail coiled suggestively around her thigh, the tip twitching anxiously against the bronzed flesh. “So I must,” she agreed. “Yet if it is a demeaning task fit for a lesser demon, you will one day come to regret your actions.”
“I want power!” He burst out, his rehearsed words forgotten in the heat of the moment.
“We all crave power, mortal,” she sighed, her voice sounding tired and disappointed. “If you think yourself great enough to take mine then come to me and let us dance.”
He shook his head rapidly. “No, not that,” he said quickly, then found himself distracted by the form fitting black cuirass she wore that displayed more than it protected.
“You would lay with me then? Even more rare is the mortal that can hope to survive that. Do you want to die, human?”
“I’m your Master!” He gasped.
“And so you should know the fate that awaits any who come within my arms,” she said with a smirk. “But so many of your kind do not. That pleases me, it is by far the most pleasurable way for me to feed on your soul.”
Sinjin gasped yet again, then shook his head, denying that his own youthful body trembled with its need for her. “I don’t want to bed you,” he whispered, putting words to feelings he could not believe. He knew his end would come that way if he gave in, but even that knowledge did not stop the ache he felt at denying himself.
“You are young,” she said, studying him carefully. “Young and virile. I don’t believe you, but I am bound by your words.”
He nodded. “I mean it… I don’t want that. I… I’m a Prince, the third son of my father and fourth born..”
“What power does a Prince need?” She asked, staring at him and trapping his gaze within her own depthless black orbs.
“Power… I’m… I mean, I need…” He hesitated again, losing himself in her gaze. She smiled and licked her lips lewdly, then she turned her head to look around the summoning chamber he had called her in.
“Is this your room, Princeling?” She asked him.
Sinjin shook his head. “These are the rooms of our magician. He is with my father as an adviser. They’re gone, to Fararmyr, discussing treaties.”
She smiled and looked back at him, trapping him in her gaze again. “I thought as much, the circle of protection is too well done to have been inscribed by someone so inexperienced as you. Tell me Princeling, have you even bedded your first maiden? Stolen your first kiss?”
Sinjin’s eyes widened and his cheeks colored. Volera chuckled in her sinister tone again.
“Enough,” he grunted, digging deep within himself for the raw pit of rage that had built over the years in his belly at his perceived mistreatment. “I command you to stop taunting me! Your services are needed to grant me the strength to prove I am not worthless to my father. I wish to be the favored son. The others, those who fate granted the boon of being born before me, they must die!”
Volera straightened. She looked at him, all pretense and guile gone. “What will you give me, Princeling?”
“I’m your Master!” Sinjin shouted at her. “You must obey me!”
She nodded and dropped her gaze submissively. “So I must.”
Sinjin’s eye twitched as he stared at her. Was there more to it? Was he forgetting something? He knew demons were subtle and filled with treachery, yet he had chosen a fury because they were reported to be more straight to the point. They possessed the deadly beauty of a succubus, but with the strength and power of a warrior demon. They took what they wanted by force if seduction alone was not enough of a tool.
“You must release me from the circle,” she advised him, looking to the etched diagram in the floor.
“You’re not going to kill me, are you?” He asked, suddenly uncertain of his actions.
She looked at him and smiled. “Someday I might,” she said matter-of-factly. “But that may be a blessing to you. I can bring death in far better ways than those to whom you have wronged.”
“I’ve not wronged anyone!” He protested.
“You’ve just made contract with a Fury to dispose of your older siblings,” she pointed out. “I’ve been party to many greater acts of evil, but this is not one a young and foolish mortal such as you will be able to sleep well upon.”
Sinjin glared at her, then shrugged. “I sleep just fine,” he boasted, then moved up to the circle and reached for a pouch at his side that contained enchanted dust that would break the binding power of the circle for a short time. He glanced up at her, noticing how much closer she seemed without the lectern between the two of them. His eyes were again drawn to the long, near-crimson legs of the demoness. Her toenails and fingernails were as black as her eyes and horns. The Prince knew it was not paint that displayed them thusly.
“Is there anything else that must be defined?” Sinjin asked her, still reluctant to unleash her upon the world.
“Is there anything else you would have?” Volera asked him.
Sinjin’s eyes narrowed at the ambiguous response. He turned and grabbed up a silver dagger from the lectern. It felt cool in his hand and he trusted that he could use it to protect himself in case anything went awry. Furies were dangerous – all demons were – but silver was known to be one of the metals they could not abide.
He turned back to face her and saw her smiling at him. He tossed a pinch of the powder in front of him, covering the lines of the circle and causing a sudden chill to spread throughout the room. She let out a sharp laugh and sprung free from her prison, landing beside him and making him feel as if she towered over him. She was scarcely more than a few inches taller than Sinjin, who was of average height himself, but her proximity made him feel dwarfed.
“Silver,” she said appreciatively, reaching down to take his hand in hers. She raised the knife up until it was between the two of them, the tip pointed at the ceiling. She pressed her other palm against the blade, pushing hard enough to make it part her skin and cause a trickle of dark red blood to flow down her hand. Smoke burst from the wound, wafting up above them and making Sinjin gag at the smell of roasting flesh. “Don’t worry, I like it rough,” she said to him before releasing him.
“First you asked for strength,” she said, pulling her wounded hand away from the dagger and holding it to him. “Drink,” she bade him.
“Drink… your blood?” He asked, his senses overwhelmed by her closeness and the scents he was now picking up. Gone and forgotten was the burnt flesh. Now he made out something musky and powerful, with a touch of cinnamon or spice.
“Hurry Princeling,” she advised. “Once the wound closes it will be you that violated the contract should you not partake of it.”
Eyes wide, the Prince pressed his lips to her hand and felt the explosion of taste in his mouth. It burned his lips and his tongue, reminding him of the strongest of peppers his father loved. Tears formed in his eyes but his jaw was locked to her hand, refusing to open and release it. He felt the viscous fluid fill his mouth and threaten to gag him until he managed to finally force himself to swallow it. Agony spread into him as her blood drained into his stomach, eating away at the flesh of his throat.
He swooned and stumbled away, not realizing she had caught him and, when he showed no signs of being able to walk on his own, she picked him up as though he weighed no more than a babe. “What. Have. You. Done?” He gasped between tortured breaths. His body was on fire and racked with chills, uncertain as to what was happening to it from one moment to the next.
“I have made you a God among mortals, Princeling,” she said in a husky voice. “When you awaken gone will be the weakling you were.”
He groaned but said no more. Colors burst in his vision, a prelude to the darkness that quickly followed.
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Bethany stared out of her coach at the people of the city. Her people, she supposed. She was the first born of King Peter, one day she would be the queen. Many of the peasants stared back at her, some even being so bold as to wave or drop to a knee. She did her best to wave back, knowing it was expected of her. She hated it, but she knew it was her duty. Just like she would one day soon be forced to marry out of duty.
A sense of lethargy came over her slowly. She stared and waved at the people, then found herself unable to pay attention to details. She tried to snap herself out of it, convinced it must be only be fatigue. When no amount of pinching cleared her head, she turned to see that her lady in waiting, a slightly younger cousin, was fast asleep in the carriage.
Bethany thought to call out to the guards the rode beside her. She could sense something was amiss. Her first attempt failed — she had not the strength to even speak. The next try was barely more than a whispered gasp. Panic racing through her, Bethany reached for the handle of the carriage but found her hands unable to move, or at least not with any speed or strength. She felt a prisoner inside her own body.
The carriage veered, the driver cursing as something spooked his horses. Guards, four armed men from the King’s own guard, jumped to attention at the sudden commotion. Outside of the carriage Bethany watched the dazzling morning sunlight darken. Clouds seemed to come from nowhere and blot out the daylight. A shout of terror drew her attention agonizingly slowly to an alley they had were passing.
A woman carrying a basket of fruits lay sprawled on the ground and clutching at her torn belly. The basket lay beside her, apples and small melons spinning as they rolled around on the cobblestones. The blood, Bethany noted, seemed to be racing across the stones faster than the fruit was.
The man who had done that to her was already leaping at the guard closest to him. Kimbo, she remembered his name to be, was ready for the assault. He held out his shield to intercept the blow from the dark bladed sword even as he readied his own to respond in kind. The blow struck his shield with a force the guard had not expected nor, possibly, ever experienced. He grunted as it shattered the wood and metal and snapped the bone of the arm that held it. Kimbo fell heavily from his horse, dropping his sword as he did so and focusing instead of rolling away from the dangerous hoofs. He rose up in time to see his view of the carriage blocked. Arms raised as though it could help him, he had only a heartbeat to notice the impact of his horse as it crashed down upon him.
Turning her head as though she were pushing a heavy stone up a hill, Bethany watched as her other
Bethany gasped. There were demons coming for her! She knew next to nothing about them, save for stories told to frighten children. She thought they did not exist or, if they did, her father’s magician would be the only one that might need to fear them. Now it seemed no one was safe from them.
The carriage turned all of a sudden, pulled by the attackers that had so readily defeated the trained guards. She wondered at their strength, if they could not only so easily kill her protectors but also pull a fully loaded royal carriage with the ease of a team of draft horses. It sent a chill down her spine, the thought of that much power. Even more frightening was the sudden realization that they came for her.
The door to the carriage was torn off. Bethany gasped, overcoming the magical lethargy that plagued her somewhat. One of the demons reached in and pulled her out roughly. She had no chance to resist or to aid in leaving the coach. She slipped and fell, feeling her shoulder wrenched painfully as he dragged her without mercy.
He let go, leaving her sobbing on the dirty ground of the alley. She looked around, realizing she could speak and move again. Her shoulder burst into explosions of agony when she tried to move her arm, causing her to gasp in pain. She spun in place, coming slowly to her feet and wondering if she could make a run for it. The alley ended in a stone wall nearly half a dozen feet high. All alleys had such a barrier; the king commissioned them to be built to cut down on thievery and in the event his city should ever be invaded. Until this very moment, Bethany had felt it was a sound decision.
Behind her lay the carriage. She saw blood dripping out of the open doorway and shivered in horror to think at the source of it. Jiselle, her cousin, had been the only other occupant. She wrenched her eyes away and saw that the demons had disappeared. The carriage barred exit from the alley, they had pulled it in at an angle and smashed it into the wall of the shops to either side.
Other author's books:
- Devil's IslandIsle of the ApeVitalis OmnibusVoidhawk - the White LadyVictim of FateArrested in Peace (The Complex Book Series)WantedVoidhawk - Redemption
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