Broken Patterns, Chapter One

So, Broken Patterns is coming out on Friday. So, I wanted to give all of my PBW readers a sneak preview. Here, then, is Chapter One. I’ll be posting Chapter Two on Wednesday and Chapter Three on Friday. Hope you like it.

Part One

Prologue

I have been so alone for so long. Since the other one had cheated me, leaving me in the darkness and cold, I have been alone. I had tried to find another place to bear my egg, my child, but there are precious few warm places in the darkness of the universe. There was nothing I could do, but hold it close to me as it died.

The other one’s child has flourished. Upon it, thousands of species had grown, warm and safe in the light of the sun. The sun that should have been mine.

I can bear this no longer.

Calvin Olendae didn’t believe in me, but that was all right. Men who didn’t believe were just as likely to hear my voice. They are just as likely to call me by my name. I’d spoken to him since he was young, whispering of the sins of Septa, and what he should do to stop them. Now, tonight, it was time.

He led his men through the cold, black waters of the canals, right up to the side of the palace walls.

Makes you sick, boys,” he whispered, “Those fine nobles snug and warm while our babies freeze to death in the night?”

“I still do not see how starting a war after five years of peace is going to fix that,” Victor muttered from beside him.

“Shut up, Vicky,” Calvin hissed. “Now I know you are not very bright, but I would think this plan was simple enough to understand. Do you think you can manage to take orders for once?”

“Yes, Calvin,” Victor muttered. There was one I would have to keep an eye out for. There was too much light within him.

Without another word, the men crawled from the canals, and took oiled cloth bags out from under their cloths. Even after nearly an hour of swimming through the dark waterways that served Septa as roads, they were still dry inside, thanks to a bit of magic from Calvin’s woman. It was a good thing too. The Septans were far more likely to believe they were actual Montelair soldiers if their red coats weren’t soaking wet.

The men stripped their wet coats, and pulled on the uniforms. Then, Calvin led them to the wall that surrounded the palace.

A guard on the wall saw them coming. “You there, stop!” he yelled, training a crossbow on them.

“Victor,” Calvin said.

Victor walked to the wall. When the guard fired, he held up one hand that glowed blue. The bolt hit it, and bounced off.

Calvin clenched his own hand, and a ball of the same blue light formed. More guards were running along the wall. Calvin waited until they got closer, then tossed the light at the wall.

Even his own men jumped when it burned away in a blast of blue light and dust. He ran through, with the others on his heels.

Inside of the wall, there was panic. I had made sure that Calvin would recognize King Issac Mestonie on sight. He stood in front of his wife and son, holding a sword. As Calvin watched, he swung the sword, and it lit with fire.

“That is a cute trick,” Calvin said, “but I have an even a better one.”

He clenched his fist again, and threw another ball at Issac. The king and his family were dead, just like that.

Guards were yelling, and men were running out of the palace. “Calvin,” Victor gasped, “that was a boy you just killed. He could not have been more than fourteen years old.”

“And now he will not reach fifteen,” Calvin replied. “You need to steady yourself for this, boy. This is what war is.”

A nobleman was running from the palace. He drew a sword, and set it afire just as the king had done. “Look, see?” Calvin said. “The nobles are just like weeds. You pull one, and there is always another to take its place. That’s why you have to rip them out by the damn roots, Victor. You take that one.”

Victor swallowed, and nodded. He walked towards the man, his hands glowing. Perhaps I could use him eventually. Calvin turned his attention to the guards. The other Brothers worked their way through them as well. Soon the pretty lawn was painted red with blood.

As Calvin stopped to take a breath, he noticed a flicker of light from behind one of the garden trees. He looked, and saw a young woman, no older than fifteen, and a boy of roughly thirteen. They were hugging each other, and obviously trying just to keep out of sight. That was never going to be possible, with her dress decked out in embroidery that light up like a lantern. The blessing of The One, the one they called The Creator was on her. They were nobles from the looks of them, with that same Mestonie curly black hair.

Calvin started towards them, already pulling together another ball. The girl saw him coming, and held the boy closer. “You get back!” she said.

“How like a noble,” Calvin laughed. “Never knowing when to stop giving orders.”

He started to pull his arm back to throw, but suddenly someone grabbed him from behind. He looked, and saw Victor.

“Let me go!” he yelled, wrenching his arm free. What was he doing?

“Calvin, you can’t cannot keep doing this!” Victor yelled. “Think about what Da would say if he knew you were killing girls.”

“I do not give a damn what Da would have said,” Calvin said. “Any noble that is left over can start this whole mess over again.”

Victor stepped in between him and the children. “This was not the plan! We were supposed to just attack, make them think we were soldiers, and leave. You already killed one child, will you kill two more? Look at them, Calvin, that girl is the same age as June!”

“And if I have to kill her to make sure June and my other children survive, I will do it!” Calvin cried. “Now move!”

Victor held up his hands. “No,” he said.

Calvin swelled with fury. “How dare you?” he hissed. “How dare you chose these noble hounds over your own family? Who raised you after Da died? Who put clothes on your ungrateful back?”

“That is why I’ve got to stop you. How much innocent blood do you want on your hands?”

“There is no innocent blood on my hands, little brother,” Calvin said. He threw the ball.

Victor caught it, and it knocked him back into the noble children. The girl tried to catch him, but all three of them went down. Victor cried out in pain as he landed, but he still didn’t move away from them. “You would really kill me, just to kill them?” he yelled.

Calvin looked down at him. “I do not even have to think about it that hard.” He raised his hand to form another ball. Before he could, though, he was hit from the side by an arrow. He gasped in pain, and another arrow struck his leg. He turned to run back toward the canal, and another arrow hit him in the back. Calvin stumbled, and fell into the black water. In too much agony to swim, he sank into the darkness.

Damn. And I had wasted so much time on him. Oh well, at least there was the other one. But, then, there was also that girl. There was light in her, yes. But perhaps there was room for darkness as well.

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