Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cleanse Fire by Anastasia V Pergakis


Pars II

18th day of Solis Moon, 1364

Tyn made a small noise to call the others to him. He had found a trap door under the rug in the front room. Kie and Jardel entered the cabin and all six elves gathered around the entry, weapons ready. Tyn swung open the wooden plank and Kie aimed her arrow into the dark chasm.

Derac took the lead and crept down the stairs. His ears twitched when he picked up small noises at the end of the hall. He held up two fingers then pointed down the passage. The elves put their ears against the wood before pushing the doors open. Derac tried the last door but it held firm.

Rakan pressed his ear to the door. The veteran closed his eyes to concentrate. He held up two fingers and pointed his thumb down. After a short pause, he held up three digits and pointed his thumb up.

Derac stepped back, nodded once, and kicked in the door.

He ducked as scalpels flew at his head. He snatched a dagger from his boot and chucked it at one of the men. Kie shot the other man in the chest.

The three victims lay strapped to metal tables. Blood stains littered the white tile floor and spread up the walls. Shelves held jars of unidentifiable objects. Tubes ran from bags on steel hooks to the arms of the captives.

"Find out what's in those bags," Derac ordered. "Kie, cover the exit. Aeli, Jardel cover her."

The three warriors jogged into the hallway while Tyn and the veteran examined the pouches of clear liquid.

"It's just nutrient water, Captain," Tyn said. He pressed two fingers to the neck of one elf. "This one's still alive."

"This one is too," Rakan said.

Derac checked the third victim and sighed in relief. "All right. Get them ready to move."

He gathered rolls of gauze and tossed them to his teammates. He pressed a cotton ball to the puncture site as he pulled the needle from the elf's arm. The elf stirred and mumbled under his breath.

Derac placed a gentle hand on his forehead. "I'm Captain Vidor. We're here to rescue you."

"Thank. . .Gods," the elf slurred.

Derac wrapped the elf's injured limbs and checked for internal injuries.

"Ready, Captain," Tyn and Rakan said.

"Good. Move out." Derac lifted the elf into his arms and stepped into the hallway. He handed the elf to Jardel and ordered the team outside.

Kie knelt at the base of the stairs and dug into her pack. She handed Derac a large ball and pulled five more out of her bag.

The master archer lit a match and set fire to one of the balls in her hand. She threw it to the end of the hall. Derac scrambled up the stairs after her.

The cotton balls contained a mixture of roots, leaves, and seeds. As it flew through the air the cotton burned and the ingredients caught fire. The ball exploded, the grounding bursting into flames. Derac remembered when Maleena first created the explosive balls. She was a genius. He sighed and shook his head. Not the time for memories, he scolded himself.

Rakan pulled the bodies from outside into the front room and stacked them in the middle of the floor. Kie lit two more balls and chucked them into the back area.

Derac wrinkled his nose when the odor of burnt flesh filled his nostrils. The fire already burned in the basement. His vision blurred and he fell to his knees, certain he was going to vomit.

"Two minutes," Kie said.

Derac shook his head and forced himself to his feet. "Let's go."

Kie set the last two cotton balls on fire and dropped them to the floor. They rushed outside and jogged away from the hut without a glance back.

His stomach churned from the smell back at the cabin. Ten years since Maleena died. He wondered if he would ever get over it. Every time they set fire to an enemy camp, he ended up nauseous and his vision blurred for hours after the mission.

Derac and Kie caught up with the team at the face of the cliff. He led the way jumping up the boulders until his feet landed on the top. He waited for the others before jogging into the cover of the forest.

The sun flew high when they reached headquarters the next morning. Derac breathed a sigh of relief. The white stone building stood tall at the edge of the tree line. He had ordered the structure built with only a single floor after the original burned down. His obsessive idea that stone and a single story would keep the team safe this time.

He squeezed his eyes shut to keep the memories from surfacing.

Tyn nudged him with his elbow. "Good to be home, ay Captain?"

Derac forced a tired smile. "That it is."

Rakan, Tyn, and Jardel carried the injured elves to the infirmary in the east wing then returned to their bunks. The large area was supposed to be the weapons storage. The north wing held the rooms for each team member, but Derac insisted they bunk in the same room. Three bunks stood in a row in the middle of the room. Two, tall metal lockers stood at the foot of each bunk. The rest of the room still resembled the storage. Boxes and crates lined the walls - stacked floor to ceiling. All manners of weapons hung on the walls. A lone desk sat near the door, the small space dubbed "the Captain's office."

"Well! That was a success," Jardel exclaimed, a broad smile on his face.

"Yea, luckily. It could have been worse. There were only seven of them," Rakan said.

"Oh, come off it old elf. Can't you be glad we had a successful mission? We saved those elves!"

Rakan rolled his eyes and settled himself on his bunk, still in full uniform.

Derac flopped into his desk chair and picked up a quill. His least favorite part of a mission but the report wouldn't write itself. He blinked rapidly but his blurred vision remained. The words swam before his eyes.

"Oh, I just feel so sorry for those poor little elves. I'm so glad we could help them," Aeli said and pulled her brush through her curly blonde hair.

Derac rolled his eyes and heaved a heavy sigh. His gaze shifted toward Kie. She lay on her back, on her bunk, with a book in her hands. Upon a closer look, he realized she read "Advanced Battle Strategies" by Torric Blottin, a famous elf, one of the original Elite. Her full mouth curved into a slight smile. He smirked. Definitely an odd one.

Derac sighed again and swiveled his chair to face the wall. He should sleep. The next morning would no doubt present a new mission. There was always someone to rescue, always a mission.

The horrors of his life haunted his dreams. The dead victims' eyes asked why. Why them? Why did he fail? Why did I have to die? Maleena's crystal blue eyes stood at the forefront of his nightmares.


2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll Nominee in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Category

* * * * *

Complete the mission, no matter what…

Captain Derac Vidor has served Kinir for nearly twenty years. It’s his life, his blood. And then his Commander betrays everything Derac holds dear. Now he has to focus on his own life and his team instead of saving the citizens of Kinir.

Treason is only the beginning…

Fueled by rage, the team chases the source to their Commander’s betrayal – a powerful wizard bent on revenge. The wizard seeks to destroy the Kinir Elite, in both mind and body. No place is safe, even among their allies.

The past holds the key…

Derac’s tragic past may be the key to saving the team. But can he face the gruesome nightmare in time?

* * * * *

A fun new take on a classic genre: high fantasy. By this, I mean the tradition of J.R.R and Dragonlance, but with an added dash of military thriller. – Rebecca Demerest

The author makes the characters three-dimensional, with strengths, weaknesses, and quirks of personality. – Neil Benson

I love the world Ms Pergakis creates and can’t wait to read more of it. – Linda S. Andrews

* * * * *
Combine the action and suspense of the movie SWAT with the magic and fantasy of LORD OF THE RINGS, you’ll get CLEANSE FIRE!!


GIVEAWAY: Deadline is July 23rd at 11:59 pm Eastern Time!

Win an e-copy of Cleanse Fire!

To enter, answer ONE of the following questions in a comment on this post.

1. “Do you think you’d be better as a strategist (planning missions/a thinker) or are you more action (aka following orders/a fighter)? Why?”

2. “Who is your real life ‘super hero’ and why? (Can be anyone!)”

**If you answer both, you’ll be eligible for a SPECIAL BONUS PRIZE!**

Names will be put into a hat and drawn randomly! I can’t wait to read your answers and good luck!

Win a signed paperback OR an audio book copy of Cleanse Fire!

Two Winners! Winners choose which prize they’d like! You can read or hear a sample of on the Kinir Elite website.

Head over to the Kinir Elite Website to enter! http://kinirelite.com/cleanse-fire-event-july-2013

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Genre – Fantasy / Military

Rating – PG13

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