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Burning Space is the final book of The Edinön Trilogy. It is sci-fi/fantasy/romance geared toward an audience aged 14 and up. Since the characters are more mature in book 3, however, the content is more mature than in previous books, so ages 16 and up may be more appropriate.
–SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS–
This excerpt is the PROLOGUE of Burning Space, narrated by Pywan, Kandi’s late mother. My commentary is at the very end, so keep reading if you would like to know more about the featured scene from the author’s perspective.
Pywan: The First Sacrifice
1000 Earth years before Kanídia
“Is it done, then?” Pywan rose from the edge of a crystal fountain to meet Deinor, who approached her from her chamber’s primary archway, clad in a simple, multilayered black robe with emerald embroidery. He smiled and dipped his head.
“Preparations have been made for our departure.” He extended his arm. She took it and followed him through a gossamer curtain to her bed. They sat upon its edge. Pywan, the goddess of Hope, looked into the gleaming green eyes of Death.
“No second thoughts?” she teased, though there was a hint of doubt in her voice incited by Deinor’s own creeping hesitation.
“No… No,” Deinor murmured as he took her hands and skimmed his thumbs across them. Pywan felt his devotion and sighed. “I can feel its spark, Pywan.” He breathed in. “It is already so strong.”
She looked down at her slightly protruding belly and tilted her head. “I felt her the moment she was conceived.” Her eyes grew moist. She released Deinor’s hands and stood.
Deinor clasped her arm. “She?”
“Our daughter shall align the seven worlds and restore order to the galaxy. It is time, Deinor. Come with me.”
Navigating the world between mortality and immortality was near impossible under Time’s control. Deinor’s and Pywan’s combined power prevented them from falling into an endless, unproductive time loop. Their motivations differed, but they were united in objective: hijack Time’s ship and destroy his fleet.
One of Time’s soldiers appeared behind them. Deinor sensed him long before Pywan was aware of the soldier’s presence and killed him with a glance over his shoulder. They continued up the Life Stream to Time’s space fleet. Below they could observe the planet Bynivul in her smoldering glory, surrounded by flashing lights and glittering stars. If Pywan was more susceptible to pain or sadness, she would be overwhelmed considering the state in which they were leaving their planet. However, all she could see was what Bynivul could become: a blossoming civilization and celestial masterpiece. Her inhabitants would not suffer forever. Pywan knew her plan would succeed.
Time’s fleet was the largest of all the Immortals’ and consisted of over 50,000 ships, which equated to approximately 50 million soldiers, all of which Deinor and Pywan would have to destroy if they were to fly to Vuen. Pywan knew they could not accomplish this on their own. Even Ledyn’s contribution would not push this plan forward. Deinor would have to make a sacrifice… a sacrifice which Pywan was not prepared to witness, but for the sake of Bynivul and the Universe would have to. She hadn’t yet broken this news to Deinor.
They finally made it to the head ship and paused at the gel-like entrance. Deinor had been reading her thoughts and tilted his head. “You want to destroy Time’s entire fleet?”
“We must.” Pywan insisted. “And destroy Time.”
“You know his son will take his place and pursue us.”
“Yes.” She bowed her head. “And we cannot accomplish this alone.”
Deinor blasted the ship rotating to attack them. It erupted in eternal emerald flame. “You want me to summon my Ancestor.”
“He will help us get to Vuen.”
“You are essentially asking that I sell my soul for a planet I was ordered to destroy.”
Pywan smiled and touched his smooth jaw. “But if we fail….”
Deinor’s vivid green eyes bore into hers. He gently removed her hand from his face and secured her arms to her sides. “Whom shall I sacrifice?”
“I selected two willing souls with no ties to Bynivul.” She snapped her fingers, and the mortals appeared, dressed in dark green. One adult female hybrid with dark skin, black eyes, and sleek black hair and a young female Edinön whose entire family was slaughtered in the War. Their smiles fell when their eyes cast upward to Deinor, the head of the Death Bloodline. The child’s eyes were large, round, and brown, gleaming with tears of admiration and resignation.
Deinor waved his hand, and a ceremonial blade appeared in his grasp. Pywan’s first instinct was to turn her back, but a witness was required. She forced herself to watch Deinor slash the girl in the throat and slam the knife directly into the hybrid’s heart. She watched their spirits exit their vessels and fade away. She realized her hands were shaking and clutched them to her chest.
Deinor uttered the Prayer of Summoning and ordered the blood pooling on the ground to float and coalesce into the shape of a man.
Pywan sensed commotion and released a circle of electricity that expanded into a defensive shield. A loud pop followed by 10 seconds of impenetrable silence preceded the appearance of Time, the King of the Adönen. Clad in shimmering robes of ebony and silver, Time was an imposing figure. Even Deinor, the Prince of the Adönen, did not stand a chance alone.
“Death and Hope have failed me,” Time boomed. “They have betrayed their kind and the planet they swore to protect. Their time has ended.”
The blood between Pywan and Deinor solidified and began to glow. The light grew and ignited a green flame that consumed the form entirely. Deinor stepped forward to stand beside the Mother of Hope.
Ledyn, God of Appetite, materialized on the Life Stream and released the first blast of energy toward Time and his soldiers to no effect. Deinor and Pywan utilized the distraction to bind Time’s wrists in threads of golden light.
Iden ran behind Ledyn and burst through the invisible entrance of the ship before the battle commenced. Ledyn shielded the door so none of the soldiers could follow, then destroyed them in a single sweep of her arm. Time broke through the bonds and sent her to another dimension.
The First Death answered the summoning with an ear-shattering explosion that rocked the Stream connecting the mortal dimension to their own. The stars flickered out, and the entire fleet ceased to emit light. They were consumed in pure darkness.
“The end of Time is coming,” Denboïrn prophesied. “A new Order will replace the Old.”
“Impossible,” Time growled. Pywan heard a snap, and the ships’ silver auras returned to shed light upon them. “Time will always exist. Mortals could not exist without it. Without Time, there could be no Death.” He glared at Deinor. Pywan didn’t think his jaw could appear any sharper than it did in this light.
She knew that if their plan was to ultimately succeed, Deinor’s final sacrifice would have to be himself. She wondered if he realized it, too. There could be no Death.
I can’t say too much about this, as much of it is explained bit by bit throughout the rest of the book. One of the reasons I took so long writing Burning Space was because I tried writing a novella between books 2 and 3 from Deinor’s point of view to explain why and how he came to Earth called Final Hope. After two months, I decided to scrap the idea because it was too difficult for me to write. I also wanted to keep Deinor, Pywan, and the other gods somewhat mysterious to avoid over-humanizing them. I wrote a prologue that answered some of the questions that would have been answered in the novella, namely:
(1) Between Deinor and Pywan, whose idea was it to fly to Earth (aka Vuen)? | Answer: Pywan.
(2) How much did Deinor know about Kandi before she was born? | Answer: Not much. That’s why he experimented on her.
(3) Did Deinor love Pywan? | Answer: Yes. 😦
(4) What were Deinor’s and Pywan’s motivations for fleeing Bynivul? | Hint: They weren’t the same. Pywan’s intentions were good, while Deinor’s were more self-serving.
(5) When did Deinor start performing the ritualistic sacrifices? | Answer: In order to summon his Ancestor, the First Death, he had to kill two innocent souls and repeat the ritual every year, or lose his own life.
The last line, “There could be no Death,” sets us up for the rest of the book, where Kandi will have to face her destiny. The day she was born shall be the day she dies… Not just for one person, but for everyone.
“I’ll be fine. I can’t die, remember?” –Kandi, Liquid Death
Burning Space will be released in e-book format on October 12th.
Excerpt #4 will be posted on November 19th.