by Avery K. Tingle
Era of the Scourge Book One
A Universal Warrior Story
The man who refuses to die must have something to live for.
Malakai is the chief herald of Nero, the avatar of war and ruler of our world. He has served his master faithfully for the past decade, executing his every order without question or hesitation and slaying hundreds in his lord's name. His skill, and loyalty, are without question. But Malakai kept a secret from his master that if discovered, would mean his end.
Anann is the half-Angel daughter of Mars, a former mercenary who took part in the First Dimension's most violent conflict. Relentlessly searching for clues that will lead her to know the mother she never knew, Anann has excelled as a disciple of Aphrodite, hoping to follow her mother's footsteps as an Angel of Love and unification. Anann's headlong search for answers will lead her down a path she may not return from.
When Malakai is betrayed by his lord and left for dead, Anann answers his pleas for help. The two begin a journey to take back what was stolen from Malakai, but it is a journey with much more dire ramifications than either of them can imagine. One who has only known violence and bloodshed is partnered with one who can imagine neither, and their actions will ultimately lead to the beginning of a rebellion against one of the most powerful beings the universe has ever known.
Content/Theme(s): Warriors, Angels, Demigods, Action, Magic, Alt History
Release Date: February 28, 2016
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“I have ruled this world for longer than I can remember.” Nero mused, “And have done so successfully because I have allowed no rot to take hold in my regime. Rot, if allowed to fester, consumes and destroys all it touches.”
His eyes were ablaze when he next acknowledged Malakai, “I will not allow this to happen.”
“My lord,” Malakai spoke with bated breath, fearing his end near, “My domain is the west of your kingdom, where your castle now stands. The Tiger was either from the east or the south, based on the color of his skin.”
Malakai took a quick breath and continued, “Lumena and Daegra are sovereign over those lands, with your blessing.”
“Indeed.” Nero agreed, “However, I made you the lord of the Typhon Order, my son, and thus Lumena, Daegra, and Chuzin are your charges. Your responsibility. If they falter in their duties, it falls to you to ensure that they know their place.”
“My lord.” Malakai could barely contain his excitement, “Is it your wish that I execute members of the Typhon?”
Nero appeared to consider the question before shaking his head. “No. Not yet.”
He paused and said, “But there is a matter I wish to discuss with you regarding Daegra.”
“Yes, my lord?”
“Answer me truthfully.” Nero stated, “Do you believe your brother to be loyal to me?”
Malakai scowled. He hadn’t expected that question. Of all the things he despised about his ‘brother’, Malakai had always considered Daegra’s loyalty above scrutiny.
For Nero to question it meant that god was shaken.
“Absolutely, my lord.” Malakai answered, “He worships you, my lord.”
“As well he should.” Nero replied, “And yet, he is either inept or a traitor, neither of which I can forgive.”
Malakai was concerned, but grateful that he was not the focus of the conversation. Usually, just the presumption of treachery was enough to warrant execution.
Nero’s tone dropped to a grave level. “I believe that I have located the last holdout of those wretched Forges.” He growled, “And they have been hiding within Daegra’s sight. There is a mountain range that runs through Eastern Panagaea. Are you aware of it?”
Malakai nodded. It was the largest mountain range on the planet.
It was also in Daegra’s territory.
“I have long sensed ripples in the aetherial stream,” Nero went on, “I believe that they have been using it to mask their presence. I also believe that whomever is doing this is weakening. There is life in those mountains. Life that has been kept secret for a great long while.”
“I always believed the Forge to be extinct, my lord.” Malakai said, “Didn’t you destroy them at the beginning of your rule?”
“So I thought.” Nero replied, “But they are tedious, ingenious little beings. I killed their god, Hamnar. For this they seek my end.” Nero shook his head. “No respect for honest battle. I should have ensured they were all dead.”
He looked down at Malakai. “I want them all destroyed, my son. I wish them destroyed by my hand so I can ensure they are expunged from my world.”
To hear Nero speak with such uncharacteristic hatred was chilling.
“Do you believe that Daegra was aware of the Forges,” Nero asked, “And chose to hide it from me?”
Malakai shook his head. “No.” Came the immediate reply, “Daegra is many things, but when it comes to you, he’s not stupid. He wouldn’t dare betray you.”
“Hrgh.” Nero’s reaction demonstrated his uncertainty. “Yet, it is always those who appear the most loyal who are the quickest to betray you.”
Malakai said nothing.
“I want him questioned.” Nero commanded, “I want you to ascertain the truth of his loyalty and report your discoveries to me. But under no circumstances, are you to take his life.” Nero took a deep breath. “Traitors are mine to destroy, and mine alone.”
Malakai nodded. “As you wish, my lord.”
“You have served me well this day, my son.” Nero concluded, “When you complete the interrogation of your brother, you may return to your home. Take the moon to recover from your injuries. When I next summon the light, castle Kandashar will be moved to the mountains. I expect you to lead that charge as we lay waste to the Forge. This will not be war. This will be slaughter.”
“Thank you, my lord. It will be done.”
Nero nodded over his shoulder. “Take your leave.”
Malakai bowed, again battling away the shooting pain that ricocheted through his body. He turned and exited the atrium, drawing his sword in preparation for the interrogation of his brother.
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Be on the lookout for Avery K. Tingle's future release(s): Breach coming Summer 2016 and Era of the Scourge: Warhearted coming Christmas 2016
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