*Please refer to this post for Treasure Hunt Giveaway details.
Genres: Scifi/Space Opera
Format: Kindle (.mobi)
Number of Prizes Available: 3
It has been ages since a transcendant was born into the royal family of Nex, a realm populated with an advanced race of shapeshifters with vast psionic abilities. Young, naive Kieriell is gifted with the most coveted power to teleport from place to place, with the potential to traverse entire dimensions.
For millennia, the Nexians have guared against their corrupt neighbors, the Shiv, who seek a new world to conquer. While internal conflict occupies the royal family, Kieriell is betrayed. Drugged and abducted, he is taken to undergo genetic testing as the Shiv kai hopes to discover the secret to teleportation and replicate it for himself.
Subject to Nexian honor codes, Kieriell must find his own way to escape. However, a fascination with the kai’s frail daughter will teach him that the Shiv people are far different from their vicious leader, and Kieriell will soon learn the true meaning, and price, behind the power he possesses.
“Think of me as an adversary.”
The word adversary felt like a cold hand on the back of Kieriell’s neck, and his focus on the frog slipped away. His brows knitted while he internally examined the request.
“What do you mean?” he asked, starting to rise and turn toward his mentor.
“I can’t. . . stop. . .” the chamberlain gasped just loud enough, his voice quivering. But then he straightened and calmed, edged closer to his pupil.
“I am your adversary, Kieriell.” The statement sounded forced, final, like the end to a tragic story.
Kieriell spun the rest of the way around and startled when he found the chamberlain standing closer than he had expected.
“What are you getting at—”
He barely saw the metallic gleam from the corner of his eye before he felt a sting in the side of his neck just under his ear. He gasped and slurred, “Sssshamberl-lain. . .” as the noises around him swirled together. The greenery swam, made nauseating circles in his vision. He fell forward into the chamberlain’s arms, eyes rolling to focus.
“One last test. . . of will. . .” the chamberlain said through gritted teeth, and tears spilled from his eyes.
Kieriell blinked and saw the object that had delivered the sting: a unit attached to the chamberlain’s index finger. The chrome casing fit like a ring, with tubular lines running along the sides down to the tip from which a short needle extended. He managed to say, “Wwwwwwwwwhat. . . are you doing?” but he barely understood his own question and found it easier to center on the tear that coursed along the path of the scar on the elderly Nexian’s face, and the red tint building in the chamberlain’s eyes. Such a brilliant shade of crimson, the iris spokes highlighted with yellow.
“I. . . can’t stop it,” the chamberlain hissed miserably as he began to lower the prince to the ground.
Feeling as though his body had detached itself from his mind, Kieriell merely observed through the windows of his eyes. His head came to rest on the grass, and he watched unblinking as the chamberlain knelt, discarded the injection module, and withdrew something from inside his cloak. Kieriell glimpsed a black pouch before he uttered a grunt—the closest he could get to a scream—at the thing which the chamberlain withdrew from the pouch. An oval-shaped object with a shell casing uncurled itself between the chamberlain’s fingers, and a segmented tail fell free.
The spiny thing sprouted micro-thin iridescent tendrils from its underbelly as the chamberlain pressed it against Kieriell’s temple. The tail wormed its way into his hairline, the tendrils burrowed into flesh. A sound like a high pitched, scratchy squeal of pleasure issued from the thing as the edges of the shell clamped down against the skin on the temple and along the taper of his brow. The last shreds of comprehension faded into the buzz of fear. Kieriell forced out a tiny growl that left a searing sensation in the back of his throat as he teetered toward the shift and found that part of him equally as helpless. His arm fell free across the grass, his last testament to struggle, and his head lolled sideways like a piece on a broken toy.
What does the chamberlain withdraw from his cloak after he “stings” Kieriell?
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J.H. Kimbrell was born with an incurable love for all things science fiction, fantasy, vampire, fallen angel, and the strange in general particularly the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Frank Herbert. She has been writing, painting, drawing, and sculpting since she was a child, and has a B.A. in writing and literature from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with additional studies in Shakespeare abroad at Oxford, England. After adventures abroad and living in Raleigh, NC, the Washington D.C. area, and Los Angeles, she returned to her beautiful Western North Carolina home where she has been happily netting plot bunnies for new projects, rendering sculptures of his dark majesty Cthulhu and anything else that captures her fancy.