Voidhawk the white lad.., p.1

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Voidhawk - the White Lady
 


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Voidhawk - the White Lady


  Voidhawk - the White Lady

  Voidhawk [4]

  Jason Halstead

  CreateSpace (2012)

  * * *

  The White Lady is book 4 in the Voidhawk series The people of Kelios have an unlikely group of saviors in a cursed priest, a confused sorceress, and a woman with a damaged soul trapped in the body of a teenage girl. The three members of the Voidhawk’s crew came to Kelios seeking council with an powerful race of beings called the Fayer. Along the way they run afoul of the unholy army of The White Lady and vow to stop her. The only problem is that the answers to Bekka’s problems may come from the very being they’re determined to destroy. Don't forget to look for these other Voidhawk books: Book 1: Voidhawk Book 2: Voidhawk - The Elder Race Book 3: Voidhawk - Redemption Book 4: Voidhawk - The White Lady

  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 : The White Lady

  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 © 2012 Willsin Rowe

  Edited by Valerie McCarty

  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

  Chapter 1

  “Tie me up.”

  “What?” Bekka asked, pulling her hood back and releasing long tresses so dark they seemed to absorb the light around them. Her green eyes pierced the man who had spoken. “Why bind you, Logan? We know of your curse.”

  “I can invoke it and have some control when there’s no moon,” He said. “This place has two moons! The smaller is always full. I can feel it now and it’s not even risen.”

  Bekka glanced to the sky, searching for the missing satellite. A dockworker had told them it circled the northern sky and rose and fell at least once, sometimes twice a night. “We’ll take care of you.”

  Beside her another woman pulled her hood back to reveal wispy blond hair that nearly floated on her head. She looked like more of a girl than a woman until her eyes were noticed. They seemed to have witnessed a thousand hardships. She nodded and smiled at the priest. “It’s our time to help you.”

  Logan took in the reassuring looks upon their faces and felt some of the weight on his shoulders lift. “Thank you. Both of you. I often wonder what I’ve done to deserve such friends.”

  Bekka snorted, then covered her mouth in embarrassment. “I’m sorry, but you’re both here to help me, remember? I’m the lost soul looking for guidance.”

  “We’re all looking for something, that’s what brings us together.” Logan reassured her.

  Bekka touched him lightly on the arm but said nothing. Logan knew how she felt and it warmed him. Bailynn, once a magically controlled assassin used by the elves, let a partial smile show on her face. Logan saw it and felt his own mood darken. She’d been taken from her parents too young and twisted into a weapon. She was free now, but she deserved to know more than the hard work and violence that she’d endured.

  “Hurry, the sun will be down soon,” Logan urged. “We’ve enough wood for the night. If it’s as bad as I fear, I don’t expect any of us will sleep much.”

  Bekka reached into Logan’s pack and pulled out a long coil of rope. Logan nodded when she looked at him. “It’s special, crafted by the Elders.”

  “You had your choice of anything and you had them make you a rope to bind yourself with?” Bailynn blurted out.

  He smirked at her question. She was right, it did seem ridiculous. “They offered me a magical one that would confine me on command. I was afraid I might let myself out.”

  Bekka nodded. “You’re a strange and wonderful man.”

  Logan felt his cheeks warm. “Thanks,” he mumbled before turning to a rigid tree he’d specially picked when he’d chosen the campsite. He stood facing it and then sat down, wrapping both arms and legs around it. “Hurry please.”

  “I’m better with knots,” Bailynn offered. Bailynn had been a deckhand on the Voidhawk while Bekka was the helmsman.

  Logan waited, feeling sweat break out on his brow as the shadows lengthened. Bailynn wrapped the rope around him time and again, adjusting tightness and placement at his suggestion. When he found even taking a deep breath was difficult, Logan was certain she’d bound him well. Now all that remained was for the final rays of the sun to dip below the mountains to the east and the smaller moon to rise.

  He’d felt alive and full of energy since arriving on Kelios, but it was an energy he knew and feared. Now it was growing inside of him, making it hard to stay still. He focused his breathing and shut his eyes, resting his forehead against the smooth bark of the tree in front of him. Behind closed eyes he imagined a speck of light surrounded by a field of darkness. All he had to do was focus on making his way to that promising light and he’d be safe from the monsters in the darkness that sought to make him one of their own.

  * * * *

  “It must be terrible,” Bekka whispered, staring at the bound priest. His clothing was dark with sweat and in spite of the rope around him he would still twitch and jerk violently from time to time. The smaller moon had just risen in the northeastern sky and begun its rapid streak across the night time sky to the southwest.

  Bailynn shivered and looked away. She stared at the fire, saying nothing. Bekka alternated between watching here two companions. Logan struggled while Bailynn focused on everything but Logan. She reached across slowly and touched the girl on her knee, making her jump. “’Lynn, are you okay?”

  Bekka saw the haunted look in her eyes before she forced a smile and nodded. “I’m fine. I’ll take watch, you keep an eye on things here.”

  Bekka closed her mouth, surprised at how quickly Bailynn jumped to her feet and stepped away from the fire. She patted the gloves at her side to be sure they were with her then left the ring of firelight behind her. Using her half-elven heritage Bekka could make the girl out until a growl made her look away.

  Logan’s breath was fast and barely controlled. Tinged with the sounds of him panting were growls and whimpers that came from deep in his chest. The hair on his arms grew darker as she watched. He was fighting it, but she thought he was doomed to fail.

  What did that mean for her? Kelios was reported to have wild and magical races upon it. Creatures powerful and wise, as well as deadly. She sought out one race in particular, they called themselves the Fayer. She’d heard they were a reckless and impulsive race of beings, but they possessed great understand
ing of magic and of hidden truths. That was what Bekka sought, an understanding of the strange talents she possessed but never fully understood.

  Logan had pledged his help, but if every night they had to bind him and sleep was impossible, how much help would he truly bring? Bekka sighed. Logan was a dear friend and one of the few people in all the void she knew she could truly rely on. The others she could count on one hand – Bailynn, Dexter, Jenna…and perhaps Keshira though only because it would be Dexter’s will that she help him. There’d been others, but those had been lost to the void over the years.

  Fighting back a lump in her throat at the thought of Willa, Jodyne, and Kragor — fallen friends — she looked again for Bailynn. The girl was small for a human, smaller even than Bekka and she was part elf. Between Bailynn’s petite size and skills she’d learned as an assassin for the elves, she was nowhere to be seen.

  Bekka frowned. It wasn’t fair of her to consider Bailynn a girl. She was middle aged or older, by human standards. The elves had trapped her when she was a teenage girl, halting her physical maturity for their own nefarious purposes. The permanence included the scars to her soul that made it so hard for Bailynn. Bekka suppressed a shiver. She pined away at her own confusion and feelings of incompetence, yet two people far worse off than her had pledged their support. No weapon in her arsenal could prevent the tear that fell from her eye.

  The moon took four hours to pass and set. Logan slumped against the tree. Bekka watched the hair on his hands and neck lighten and recede. His back rose and fell more slowly and deeply. Within moments she could tell he’d passed out from the exhaustion. She turned away and felt her eyes drawn to a dark spot between two trees. Eyes stared back at her, making her gasp.

  Bailynn stepped around the trees and approached, pulling the custom gloves the elves had given her free of her hands. Her eyes passed over Logan quickly then fell on Bekka. “Half the night? Should we split what remains?”

  Bekka shook her head. “I’ve already put up a glamour around our site. It’s not much, but it’ll fool any simple animals or tired people that stumble by. We can rest.”

  The former slayer nodded. She knelt next to the fire and stirred the burning logs, adding a couple to keep it warm.

  “’Lynn, why did you come?” Bekka blurted out. Bailynn stared at the fire. “Haven’t you had enough misery? You could have stayed in Dasnari or with Dexter and Jenna. Anything you want would have been yours.”

  “I don’t know what I want,” Bailynn whispered. She pulled a cloak out of her pack and moved a few sticks out of her way. She pulled the pack and rested her head on it before staring up at the stars. “I’m trying to figure it out.”

  Bekka watched her curl onto her side and pulled her cloak over her. She felt a strong urge to walk over and give the girl a hug. She folded her arms against herself instead. She’d been confused too many times now with how caring her female friends had been. First Jenna, then Willa. Bailynn had enough problems without Bekka adding to them.

  * * * *

  “Let me up,” Logan groaned the following morning.

  Bekka dropped her pack, letting out a yelp of pain when it landed on her foot. Bailynn glanced at her then turned to look at Logan. She studied him for a moment then glanced to the sky. The sun was up and there was no sign of a moon. She moved closer and started untying the complicated knots she’d put in the rope.

  Nearly five minutes later Logan slumped away from the tree and fell flat on his back. He groaned again. His body was a collection of alternating aches and numbness. He worked limbs one at a time, trying to restore proper blood flow. As the tingling stretched into agonizing moments of life returning to his wooden limbs, he was forced to grit his teeth.

  Logan noticed a wide eyed look on Bailynn’s face and he realized his expression was probably similar what he’d looked like last night. He forced a breath through his lips and relaxed his jaw, then offered her a smile. She smiled back, a bit nervously he thought, then turned away and walked over to her things.

  Logan rose to his feet, fighting back the grimace. He stretched, loosening his body up further and inciting additional pain. The sun brought warmth to his face and reminded him of how good it felt to be alive.

  Bekka’s voice twisted him around from where he was basking in the sun. “The sun’s been up an hour or more. After last night we figured you earned a little extra sleep.”

  “No need, my body is sore but it will pass. I can miss a little sleep. In order for this curse to be effective it insures that I’m fully rested. Tell me, how bad was it?”

  “You’re still here,” Bailynn pointed out.

  Logan turned to look at the tree. There were spots where the bark had been worn free by the rope. His clothing showed similar abrasions and marks. He grabbed his rope and began to coil it back up. “I am,” he said. He glanced at the sky again and felt his heart skip a beat in his chest. The small moon was visible again, jus rising above the treetops. “How can this be?”

  “I was thinking about it last night,” Bekka said from behind him. He turned and saw her walking up to him. “How do you feel right now?”

  “Fine mostly. The soreness is nearly gone. I can feel a building urge in me to move. Not to hide from the moon, I mean it’s hard to stay still.”

  “There’s no way that moon can be full every night, Logan. It’s small and close to Kelios, which is why it travels so fast around this planet, but a moon is lit by the light of the stars nearest to it,” she explained.

  “What are you saying? What else could it be?” Logan was staring at it again and wondering why he didn’t feel the unnatural pull within him. Was it because the sun was also up? Did that counter the effect of the moon?

  “It’s a moon. We didn’t see it when we landed by blind luck. But that doesn’t make it less than what it is.” Bekka paused, drawing Logan to look at her. “There’s magic about it, I think. It’s lit by itself.”

  “A small sun?”

  Bekka smiled. “Even at this distance if it were a sun Kelios would be a lifeless desert. Suns burn – I’ve heard Xander ramble on about theories that suns are focused portals into the realm of the element of fire. I think our experience with the sun of Dasnari proves otherwise, but I’m no sage.”

  Logan nodded. The portal theory made sense, but when Rosh had returned life to the sun Dasnari floated around it had required a burst of magical power, not a rift into another realm of existence. He shook his head and glanced up at the round object so far away in the sky.

  “If you feel well enough now, perhaps some of it is in your head?” Bekka added.

  “No!” Logan snapped, then felt foolish for it. “I’m sorry, but I mean how could it be? I fought against it last night.

  Bekka shrugged. “I’m no sage or wizard. I’ve been a midwife and a healer, as well as thief and an illusionist. Dexter trusted me with the Voidhawk, that’s been the greatest honor I’ve ever known.”

  “I meant no offense,” he stammered.

  “And I took none. I just wanted to remind you I’m looking for answers too. It’s by accident that I can read, I’m no great thinker or book of knowledge.”

  Logan bowed his head respectfully. “You do yourself an injustice. I think highly of you, all of us aboard the Voidhawk did. You’ve proven yourself time and again.”

  Bekka smiled at his words, but the smile faded quickly. “Rosh didn’t think so highly.”

  “Aye, well, Rosh is a complicated man. I’d bet my life on him standing up for you if he needed to.”

  Logan found himself locking gazes with Bekka, as though the power of his conviction alone could prove the point to her. She looked away after a moment, her eyes falling to the ground. She saw her pack and reached over to pick it up.

  “That’s for neither of us to say. The Fayer live in the deep woods many days hence. Do you still think you can do this?” Bekka asked him. “I’d never challenge you, I just don’t want you to do something for me if it causes you pain.”

&nb
sp; Logan smiled and tried to make sure she understood the smile came from his heart. “I took vows many years ago to guide and protect those who would accept it — and offer it to those who do not. It is my calling to test myself every step of the way. This is just another test.”

  Logan thought he saw a strange expression on Bailynn’s face, but before he could double check she’d looked away. He focused on Bekka instead and saw her smiling at him. “I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve people like you in my life, but thank you both. Now let’s get going, we’ve a lot of walking to do!”

  They set out without further discussion, each keeping their thoughts to themselves. Clouds rolled in by mid day and opened up, leaving the three companions soaked and chilled. Bailynn kept her head down as she dragged her feet through the puddles while Bekka pulled her hood tight about her face. Logan let the rain hit him, trying to enjoy it as he reminded himself water like this was unheard of in the void.

  “How many times would we have given everything for this much water on the ‘Hawk?” He asked the girls, trying to buoy their spirits.

  “How quick would Rosh have pointed out the wet dog smell?” Bailynn snarked right back.

  Logan missed a step. He caught himself and stared at her, stung by the jab about his curse. He stared at her as they walked, then let out a breath and decided she needed some time and space. Or maybe it was him. Bailynn had been close to him before he’d been forced to reveal his curse, since then she’d grown distant. The others hadn’t been fazed by the news, or at least not for long.

  His speculation ended abruptly when Bekka stopped and gasped. Following her outstretched hand Logan saw a white shape moving through the woods off the road. The rain made it hard to make out details but within moments other shapes appeared. They moved together and apart as they traversed the forest, making it hard to count them. Logan guessed they numbered at least a dozen if not more.

 
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