Rifter Series

Birth of a Rifter | Book One

Far-reaching rolling hills of deep emerald moved as a swaying ocean with the breeze throughout Yuula. The soft blades of grass came to life at the bidding of the shining sun, catching the rays through their translucent sheen. Thick forests weaved in and out across the hills. From a distance the plots of forest were a dark blue carpet sitting atop the glittering grasses. As the gentle gusts billowed down, the leafy tree-tops shivered like millions of tiny dancers, bathing the land in a kaleidoscope of blues.

Built in a broad valley between a grouping of trees, a bustling marketplace took root. Long rows of stalls became rivers of color from the loose drapery going up around them. Towards the outside stands near the entrance, a young man gazed at the horizon. The busy work around him fell away.

Peirce leaned against his broom, “One day I’ll see more.”

His thoughts moved to a different world than what surrounded him. A pang tore at his core, goading him to drop everything and run into the skies.

A flash of a wild place not found on Yuula over-took his sights, half hidden by fog. The tall winding trees and abundant feathering plants of Yuula’s neighboring planet, Kheln, fought for dominance. Peirce stepped back. The moment he blinked, the flowing grasses and forests were as they had always been. He swallowed back the disorientation, and his grip tightened on the handle at the same rate his stomach curled into knots.

Peirce’s thoughts were silenced behind the heavy drumming of his heart, “What was that?”

“What are you going on about up there?”

Rhine’s booming voice broke through Peirce’s shock, and he forced himself to look away, “Just day dreaming.”

“Peirce you’ve always had your head in the clouds, what’s with that?”

Peirce swept his truck bed faster than before, focusing on the bend of the bristles, and the dust they pushed into the air. It curled, and Peirce’s heart stuttered, anticipating the emergence of what should not be there. He turned his back on the plume.

“Nothing,” Peirce squeezed from his lips, convincing himself just as much as acknowledging the old vendor.

The corners of Rhine’s eyes crinkled in his coming grin. The tip of his tongue poked out, holding back a gleeful giggle. He spotted a stick with a quick survey of the ground around him and had it in his hand, sights fixed to Peirce’s feet.

Peirce jumped when the sharp end poked at his calves, “Hey!”

Rhine bellowed a round laugh, and it filled his face with delight. Those nearby frowned, startled by the commotion Rhine had a knack for producing all on his own. Peirce turned over his broom, aiming it at the stick pointed at him. The stick twisted in Rhine’s hand, forcing him to drop it. He scowled and Peirce held up his hands in defense, unable to hide his own grin.

Rhine bellowed again, arms going up in a flourish, “To the victor goes the spoils!” Rhine dipped into a dramatic bow.

His grin was replaced by a grimace, and he grabbed for his back, groaning without shame on his way back up.

Peirce rolled his eyes. “You’re a piece of work.”

“Bah! Can’t a man try and hold onto his youth?”

“Your youth left you long ago.”

Rhine gruffed and took a handful of berries from his stall, eating a few at a time. “You only say that ’cause you’re still young and conqueror of the world.”

“I’d need to see far more than the couple hundred miles or so of this place to get a title like that.”

READ MORE Birth of a Rifter Book One

Lingering Shadows | Book Two

The sun dipped behind the horizon and darkness swallowed the brilliant colors painted in the sky. Peirce sat by a small window, his upper body drenched in shadows while his fingers rolled through the dim rays pooled across his lap.

“I could stay like this forever.” Especially now, he thought.

He looked past the light out into a glorious island jungle vibrant with wild color wrapped in weaves of deep green. At first glance into the sleek trees, he wouldn’t have known there were buildings, hundreds in fact, tied into the natural foliage. Certainly a better view than that pit. Peirce glanced to the door, urging his sight to see beyond it. Just as the Elite guard posted in front came into focus, his eye twitched from the sting of the Gift-blocker.

Peirce shook his head, pulling his sight away and rubbed at his temple. Zaich was right, it does get easier. Except that he still couldn’t rift.

Patience, Rifter.

Peirce looked around the room, “Zaich?”

A grating laugh echoed in the space behind him and he jumped out of his chair. A pair of red, glowing eyes stared at him from the corner.

“How are you doing this?”

Is that your final question?

A soft knock snapped Peirce’s attention to the door.

The red eyes closed, Shh, our little secret.

“Like anyone would believe me anyway.” In the time it took Peirce to return to his seat, he wasn’t so sure about that. Quint knew something that day. He pushed his fingertips into his temples, and Tauv knows what to do? He would corner Tauv on the peak of a mountain if that’s what it took to get answers out of him.

The knock filled his room again. Go away! He just needed a bit more time to figure out his next move.

The door creaked open. “Peirce?”

READ MORE Lingering Shadows BOOK TWO

Mark of the Divine | Book Three

Peirce tried to force his mind to focus. The world looking back at him had become swathed in a sheen of color. Voices picked up, but they came from moving clouds. Black beasts, with large round heads surrounded them, and he wanted to run, but he couldn’t. His body wouldn’t respond. Peirce groaned against the screaming ache originating from the back of his skull. Why does my head hurt so much? The world started to piece itself back together. The moving ribbons of color solidified into shapes, and then bodies and faces he recognized.

“This is so messed up, dude.”

Roland was near him. He blinked, his head rolling to where he heard his voice. He looks worried. Peirce forced his eyes to look where Roland glared. Quint stood before them with his back to him, talking to a woman he had never seen. The monsters of his dream stood just beyond her and his panic renewed. No! I won’t let you put me in one of your black boxes!

“Calm down man, so far so good. Quint made some sort of deal with them, I guess we’re on like, a list or something. That Aeria chick’s kinda nice to look at though, yea?”

Peirce lifted his hand to his temple. That’s right, his meeting. His meeting’s with, “Invisibles?”

Roland nodded, “Crazy I know. Can’t believe we’re here right now. What is Quint thinking?”

Peirce heard Roland gasp. He gripped his arm before he could rush away, “What’s happening?”

“He traded all known Gifted for knowledge on their staff, dude! We’re all dead, he’s killed us all.”

“Where’s, Tauv?” Peirce’s eyes began to slide shut just as he felt his body being lifted.

The thick branches of the blue trees reached out to him, and darkness took hold. Muffled sounds found their way to him, and he followed them to bring himself out. When his eyes opened again, the interior of the vehicle surrounded him and his face sunk into the smooth leather. He started to cough and his body rolled to the side, pressing his forehead against the glass. Peirce swallowed back a rising bile and his eyes shut.

READ MORE Mark of the Divine BOOK THREE

Forgotten Betrayal | Book Four

The stillness never ended. Peirce ran, screaming to anyone who could hear, and yet he stood still.

Peirce reached into the darkness blanketing him and the ground leapt out. A belt of spines wrapped along the whole of his body, and the stiff ache in his muscles kept him where he lay. His thoughts swam with impossible memories of a place beyond anything he knew existed within Krunthi. How could such a place feel like home? He had re-lived a life that felt so far from his own, it had to be fantasy. A myth.

Part of him longed to return to the forest bathed in its own inner light. The river twisting through the dense trees brought on its soft churning a call from deeper in the wood. It led him and others like him to a cave bursting with a radiance that rolled from the entrance in swaths of ribbons. Peirce could still feel that longing.

A familiar face filled the memories of that place, and his thoughts halted. How could you keep something like this from me? How is it even possible? Born of the Divine, a Guardian whose purpose relied on the protection of Krunthi from those who would sooner see it burn. Their benevolent Divine had taken truth and twisted it into something ugly. That had been the message of the cave. They were the gate keepers of a terrible betrayal long forgotten to the roots of history. And in the end, they punished us for knowing too much.

Tauv’s narrowed gaze filtered over the sights of legend Zaich had unlocked in his mind. He held in his arms a tiny figure. A familiar form draped in rags. Mother. He felt himself blink but his world remained black. He blinked a few times more and the blackout twisted into a grey fog filled with smudges. His lips pulled into a grimace as he forced his arm to move, pushing the heel into his eyes. A hot radiating sting grabbed along his cheek and Peirce pulled his arm away.

A distant drip of water echoed against wet walls. Did he really hear that? His body shuddered when the too familiar splash resonated again from beyond the dark. He flexed his fingers into the cold ground, pins and needles screaming through his body. Get up! Something squished between his fingers and he recoiled. Hard rock slapped his back, jarring the air out of his lungs. The echoing drip drilled into his fogged senses. Peirce felt around him, his heart sinking when wet walls glided unevenly beneath his fingers.

“No, no no, not here!”

READ MORE Forgotten Betrayal BOOK FOUR

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