the first book in the atasni trilogy
You duck under the bed, your eyes darting around the servant’s feet for a means of escape.
You didn’t want the Ruler’s secret trapdoor to his dungeon to be in his bedroom, but it turned out to be quite a good benefit. Escaping was easy, and now you’re holding in my hands a few scrolls you found under his pillow, and no doubt these are crawling with information about the Council of Yggdrasil and their plans. But now, you don’t have time to think about that, because someone just came in to clean, and you’re laying flat on your stomach under the bed, trying not to breathe.
You stick out your hand and grope around in the darkness for more scrolls. Filth. The Council never would give anyone such a lavish bedroom, save their Ruler. The chain-like necklace around your neck is proof of that. It monitored how much nutrients you got from the food you ate, and if too much, extracted it by making you throw up. It also paralyzed you if you misbehaved, and you’ve had too many memories of laying in front of the Council on the hard-packed dirt, being asked why did you do this and hearing their laughter ringing in your ears as you, unable to move your mouth properly, made slurred noises of undecipherable apology and feeling the hard punches of their bodyguard’s fists in your gut.
But there’s one more thing it does, besides many others- this necklace tracks you, and you bet the Ruler and the Council are arriving right now.
Suddenly, a hand reaches under the bed, armed with a duster. Without a second thought, you pull one of your many pistols out of your belt and shoot the hand, watching as there’s a thud and the hand goes limp. You reach out, pull the unconscious maid under the bed, and turn her, face up, on her back, the pistol still aimed at her throat. It’s only a tranquilizer gun, but that would be enough to scare her if she woke up.
Still aiming cautiously at the woman’s neck, you slide out from under the bed, cross to the window, open it, and drop the scrolls into the bushes outside the castle. You hear footsteps on the stairs- you won’t make it out of this, and those scrolls needed to get to the Rebels of Atasni (or the ROA, as you call it.)
The door bursts open as you pull a slightly-more-lethal pistol from your belt.
“Well well, who have we here?” A white-suited man strode in, pointing a gun straight at your face.
“Save the talk, Baersni,” You growl, pulling your pistol off safety and returning the gesture.
He fires, and the shot hits the window. Glass flies everywhere, and you feel a sharp, long piece embed itself in your gut. As you fall to the ground, shooting the Council member’s leg in the process, you feel pain run through your body.
The man kneels beside you, smirking.
“Why thank you. You’ll be of great use to us, Ashley Alsterion.
And, almost lazily, he pulls a tranquilizer dart from his gun and slips it carefully into your neck.

Keep Reading

Chapter 2

In Which We Meet Our Protagonist

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