Author: Zamil Akhtar
Genre: Science-Fiction / Fantasy
When Kav sleeps, a firefly whispers in his ear that his wife is not dead. But to find her he has to kill the three Magi that protect the land of Eden.
The same Magi destroyed Kav’s hometown four years ago to crush a rebellion, and he hasn’t seen his wife since.
As Kav plots to kill the Magi, a flying armada bent on conquest and destruction invades Eden. Only the Magi and their ability to turn sunshine into magical energy can stop them.
Granted the same power by the firefly, Kav must either kill the Magi to reunite with his wife, or let go of his longing for the sake of Eden and its people.
Zamil Akhtar is an indie science fantasy author and blogger living a location-free lifestyle. He can be found in Boston, Dubai, or Manila depending on the time of year. Of Pakistani-heritage, he grew up in the Middle East and moved to Western Massachusetts when he was thirteen, and his varied upbringing colors his fiction. He has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University. His loves are videogames, science-fiction and fantasy novels, HBO dramas, and Southeast Asia.
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“You damn fish! We’re gonna bleed you!” His three pursuers were yards away. “And paint this forest with your blood!”
The branches of the tree stretched to the sky. The boy climbed, panting.
“Your kind ain’t worth the shit on our soles!” one of his pursuers shouted. “The higher you climb, the bigger the splatter!”
The boy climbed higher. His pursuers appeared below.
“There he is.” One of them pointed at the old cedar. He had a puffy-blister on his lip, courtesy the boy’s elbow. “Listen Kav, how about you spare us the drama and come down?”
Kav grinned. “You come up. Plenty of room for a party.”
“You wanna play it like that? We’re giving you the choice of walking away, and you’re choosing to have your ass beat up on some tree?” The one with the puffy lip approached.
So Kav broke off a branch as big as a sword. “Since it’s my party, I’ll dish out the beatings.”
“Hey, let’s talk this out,” said one of the wiser boys. He removed his glasses and put them in his pocket. “Listen Kav, here’s our offer. You purposely lose the next match, and we leave you well alone. Remember who owns this place and who owns your people. No use fighting us, so you best accept our generosity.”
While the boy ran his mouth, Kav climbed onto an even higher branch. He put his arm behind his head and sat against the bark like nothing mattered. “I got a question. Is your man Tusir really gonna feel satisfied winning without a fair fight against us islanders? What does that say about you Shirmians? Can’t beat an islander fair? Truth be told, winning the tournament don’t matter to me, but I have principles. The travesty of a fixed fight doesn’t sit right.”
“Travesty? Wanna know what’s a real travesty?” This guy, clearly the idiot of the trio, sounded like a fresh arrival from some hill village. “How the hell do I get assigned to infantry when a fish from some shit island gets to be a pilot? I’m gonna die in that infantry group while you’re flying high, that’s the damned travesty.”
“You die,” Kav said, “and I’ll say a little prayer for your soul while I’m in the sky.”
The boy with the puffy blister on his lip took out something from his sash. The shameless ass. He held a six- inch blade — standard close-quarters weapon. It goes against the rules to use one in a mock battle. “Yeah, you know what comes next. I’ll cut the log down easy with this. Then you’re gonna fall back to earth for your beating.”
The puffy-lipped boy charged the blade with heat. A blue flame immersed the blade.
“You little shit,” Kav said.
Then the puffy-lipped boy flung the flame from his blade onto the bark. The tree caught fire.
“Come on down,” he said, “or you gonna burn.”
Kav jumped and landed on his sore feet.
They seized him. The idiot grabbed Kav’s left arm, the wise one his right. The puffy-lipped one punched him in the jaw. A tooth tore out; blood surged from his gums. Kav wrestled his arms free, but not before the wise one kneed him in the gut.
The idiot picked up a rock. “Poor fishy. You gonna love this next part!” And he bashed Kav’s forehead.