Title: Desert Blood
Author: Brain Young
Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
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The Dolus invasion rolled over the unassuming Kingdom of Larista leaving ghost towns in its wake. It brought death and destruction in abundance and left the people of Larista without their king or his heirs. It left the kingdom reeling with the realization that they weren’t alone on their isolated side of the Maker’s Mountain but instead part of a world that desperately wanted and needed the life giving water they took for granted.
One of the king’s sons, the Prisoner Prince Alexander, is still alive but held captive on the unexplored eastern side of the Maker’s Mountain known as the Wasteland. The man that holds him is the Emperor of the Free Cities, Jameson. His quest for vengeance and conquest has stirred up the other nations of the Wasteland and made them aware of the riches of Larista.
Alexander’s lifelong friends, Percival and Maximus must set out on individual journeys to find their friend, their king and themselves. But they will face a litany of foes along their paths. A horde of Beleick soldiers led by the Dictact threaten to sweep over the land sending everything into chaos while the Sisters of Gnaritas and the Death Stalker assassins weave their own intricate schemes for control of the Wasteland and the water that might flow from Larista.
Amongst so many people blood thirsty for power can Alexander find his way to the Maker’s Path or will he succumb to his own demons and find the Wraith’s Den in Oblivion…
Gravel bit at his face and the palms of his hands; it tore at his light shirt as well, causing pain to sear across his chest and elbows and mixing his blood with the grit and dirt of the road. Being thrown from a moving vehicle wasn’t something Maximus had ever intended to experience. Until a couple of months ago, I hadn't even seen one in working condition. The thoughts managed to penetrate the turmoil of his current circumstances.
The frayed ropes that had bound his hands together snapped from the impact of his fall. Once he skidded to a stop, Maximus tore the rough sack off his head. Light from a high and hot, late day sun forced his eyes half shut, and he started to cough as the corrosive grit swirling in the air invaded his lungs. He forced himself to suck in more of the dreadful stuff along with the oxygen mixed with it and painfully made his way to his feet.
The choppers, as the locals affectionately called them, circled around him. Their riders hooted and jeered over the rattling engine noise that provided the bikes with their name. They were makeshift versions of the motorcycles high-priced couriers possessed and cobbled together from whatever spare parts their riders could scrounge up. Tires spit more sand at him and added to the growing cloud of dust. He turned circles, in vain, attempting to follow the dancing mob and make an accurate head count. After a moment, he realized it was pointless as not only was the sun hampering his vision, but his sight was slightly blurry as well. He didn’t remember hitting his head when he was thrown from the chopper, but it throbbed nonetheless.
He did notice an abandoned building that loomed in the distance beyond the motorcycles; it was distorted from the dust swirling in the air and heat waves radiating from the ground. Its broken windows and sagging roof weren’t very promising, but it would be better than standing out in the open. The only problem was getting to it. He doubted he’d get more than a few steps in any direction before being run down by one of the gangers. And that was definitely all they were. Despite his foreign status, Maximus had spent enough time in the military to tell the difference between a professional unit and a bunch of testosterone teeming punks.
It’s worth a try. He sprinted towards it and made it all the way to the ring of riders before realizing he would never get through them. The idea of trying to dive past them and hope his luck held out crossed his mind, but his instincts took over. He skidded to a stop and one of the passing riders gave him a boot to the chest. The rider’s momentum was jarring and Maximus fell on his back hard enough to send the wind rushing from his lungs.
He looked up to see the rider who had kicked him wobble out of line before his bike tipped over and spilled him to the ground. A howl of laughter loud enough to be heard over the other riders was aimed at their fallen brethren. He responded with muttered cursing and a show of rude gestures. Maximus pulled himself to his feet for the second time in as many minutes.
Motion caught his attention and Maximus tried to focus his gaze on one of the riders who broke from the pack. The man sped to mere feet in front of Maximus before slipping his rear wheel to the side and coming to a skidding stop, spraying more sand into the air. Maximus didn’t flinch from the display of showmanship; he only closed his eyes and tilted his head aside to avoid the worst of the grit.look at his greeter, he allowed himself to slump against the relatively cold stone wall.