Bridge & Sword Series #7
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From USA TODAY and WALL STREET JOURNAL bestselling author, a psychic warfare adventure set in a gritty alternate version of Earth. Contains strong romantic elements. Apocalyptic. Psychic Romance.
“Up here, we are forever children...”
Revik, infamous Sword of the seer world, lost everything when his enemies destroyed the mind of his wife, Allie, and stole their unborn child.
Determined to fight the last battle, Revik hunkers down in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, training seers and humans alike for that inevitable confrontation. Aware of the slim odds of his own survival, Revik longs to rescue his child from the clutches of the Dreng before he dies…even if that means killing her to prevent the pain and torment he endured as the Dreng’s slave.
Unfortunately, the Dreng know his weaknesses all too well. In a final confrontation, they force him to choose between saving his race but sacrificing his daughter…or betraying both races to keep the last of his family intact.
NOTE: An alternate version of this book was previously published as Book #7 in the “ALLIE’S WAR” series (this version has been heavily revised/edited prior to re-release).
Standalone novel. No cliffhanger.
*Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young readers.*
BRIDGE is Book #7 in the Bridge & Sword series. It is also related to the Quentin Black World, and takes place in the wider history/world of the seers.
SAMPLE PAGES -
“…And the lands between will swallow her for a time / Until she forgets herself, lost in death and drenching cold / In that place of ghosts / Only the one who carries half her soul / Can hold the light for her in the end…”
~ from “The Love Story,” Commentaries on the Final Days
I REMEMBER EVERYTHING now. Everything.
Every moment, every piece of my life.
Every thread of the tapestry that eluded me all of those years, that consisted only of random, disparate acts… of reaction and fear and lack of agency.
All those connections. All the resonances I glimpsed and missed. The moments in my life, powerful or not, that refused to add up into any kind of coherent whole.
I remember them all.
I remember, and I see the threads that run between them.
I see the image they form, that finely detailed painting that makes up my life. From here, it almost makes sense. It almost connects the me down here to those parts that know why I came to this world, what I’m even doing here.
It contains so much, this knowing, yet I see how small it is. My life is small. I am small within it, dependent on so many other people and things. Seeing that doesn’t make me sad; somehow, it only fills me with wonder. The feeling behind that remains elusive, but the glimpses I catch in those silences cut my breath.
Old and new, ancient and birthing––everything lives in this place. Timelessness lives there. Timelessness that is somehow beautiful by its very existence fills my every breath.
So much beauty lives here. So much hope.
Distant glimmers of heart and light promise to contain everything, the very meaning of life itself, and not just for me. For all of us.
It is not something I can truly comprehend. Not even here, where my mind feels its most all-encompassing, its clearest and least shadowed by my own hang-ups and misconceptions and fears and longings.
Not even here can I understand even a fraction of the things that live in that light.
I want so much here.
Yet here, I need nothing.
I slide over mountains, valleys.
One valley. One perfect valley, so beautiful it makes me cry, or I fervently believe it would, if I had any need to cry in this place. I believe it so strongly, that feeling blooms like a pain in my side, fighting against what body I have left.
That valley grows larger before me, filled with white and gold light so that I scarcely see the lapping waves. Details etch in marbled cliff faces, each grain of sand so clear and glass-like, I feel a thousand worlds living in each smooth surface. They reflect the light of one another, merging, yet separate, so beautiful and filled with so much meaning, more meaning than I can comprehend in a thousand lives such as these.
I know this place. I know it, but––
I can’t be here.
Yet I cannot leave. The part of me that can feel and think, it lingers out of reach.
So I remain. Half here, half somewhere else, I remain.
I feel the caress of those golden waves, the rough brush of sand on the bottoms of my feet and toes, the soft kiss of sunlight filled with presence and hope, like a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, but it doesn’t let me reach it… not really.
As a few hundred thousand years tick slowly by, without any sense of where or when, I watch that valley and ocean recede.
I am left behind.
Grief wants to overwhelm me again, to annihilate me anew.
It is too much, this grief.
I can’t do anything but let it strangle and rip apart my insides, without even a body to house them. My heart hurts, my head. My belly hurts, my intestines and throat. Yet there is nothing of me here, no way to house any of it. It’s as if someone locked me and everything I care about under glass. All that gets through is the image.
I am preserved there, a glass vase.
Empty of him.
Here, I remember everything. Every single thing.
I can see him there, too, in the case next to me. A different glass cage, visible to me, but out of my reach. When I most need to feel his light, to let him feel mine, we are apart. He is lost to me, when I love him more than I ever have, when I know how badly he needs me.
Maybe I really am dead. Maybe the end will come soon, and then I have only to…
Wait. I will wait for him here.
Wait for both of them, maybe.
If I wait long enough, some part of me will figure out how to reach him––to reach her. Or maybe just to forget. Forget that I failed. Forget the pain I left for both of them.
Failure for me is nothing new. My course through lives could be tracked by the failures, big and small that attach to my name. The feeling matters. It is all that matters, that feeling.
I love them both so much.
Even that word feels inadequate.
That darkness destroyed me, but not. I still am, but not. I am here, but not. I still love. They haven’t taken that from me, even if I can’t breathe in this place, I still have my heart.
It beats somewhere, soft, but I hear it.
I can’t find him…
I try to hold on to her.
I live for those occasional glimpses. She teases me, pulls at me, just enough to remind me that I can’t get to her either, not now, when she is at her smallest and most vulnerable. She is lost to me, but I cannot stop myself from trying.
I can feel her grief, her loss. I cannot soothe her, cannot keep that promise, either. Nor can he. I feel his heart breaking, and I can only…
Watch. I can only watch them both.
I cannot bear that I left her there. I cannot bear that I left him.
Words live there, but they contain too much. Too much for me to hold.
Husband. Father. Daughter.
I hear his cries, too. The pain in his heart, as he tries to reach her. Those golden waves come when they want to come, leave when they want to leave, and I am only a shell in the spaces between. I am nothing here. I am all, but I cannot help them.
I am the empty vase.
I dream for her.
I imagine innocent light, love and knowing of love, smiles and hugs and shining eyes, kisses and snuggles, warm sunlight and waves…
I cannot remain. I cannot be sure I reach her at all. I remember that person, who might have been me, once upon a time… that person whose light looks dirty to me now, confused and dim, but who once touched those golden shores.
I try to share that with her, my daughter. But the gear shaft is broken. All of the connecting points between no longer work.
This can’t be right.
Things can’t end this way.
Her being alone, without either of us… that can’t be right.
That grief over the golden waves…
The being alone…
This can’t be the way the story ends.
When I concentrate on him, I get only vague feelings, a pain I can’t control or categorize or make less. The reality of him, the certainty of him remains, a constant flicker in an otherwise empty expanse.
A voice. Soft, so familiar.
“…And in those ending moments, she will die. But it is not a quiet death, for a part of her will remain. It will stay and be lured back to the light, back to one final struggle against the dark. The birth comes from that death. The final form comes from its ending…”
I listen to him.
He reads to me, for hours sometimes.
Days. Maybe weeks.
I drift inside his words, lost there.
I try to understand, but the words disappear like a sand sculpture in wind, as gusts slide roughly across the face, turning features smooth and bland, empty of him.
“…The battle will not end this way. Death will neither bring it forth nor its end. Death will break the last hold of the spark into the fire, luring from the place of lost between…”
Some part of me cries, hearing his words. It cries and cries.
He doesn’t always read. Sometimes he cries there, with me.
I see him, from a long way away, holding a body I almost recognize.
…Don’t leave me, he says. Gods, baby… don’t leave me here alone…
I can feel that. I can feel his words. But not him, not his tears.
I cry, but I can’t move, nor crawl my way out of that dark.
I hear him, but I don’t know how to help him.
I remember, though.
I remember everything.
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