Editor Jessica Augustsson of JayHenge Publishing and I are almost complete with the final revisions for Tamn! This point in the writing process is always exciting because not only does it give a sense of accomplishment (finally finishing one of my many projects) but also preparing for the big release! While release prep can be daunting, especially without the help from one of my favorite tour companies, I don’t mind running much of the tour-ish things myself. Mostly I’m just excited to finally share this story with y’all and pinky promise I won’t make y’all wait another four years for Adi 😉
Tamn: Heaven’s Edge #3 Teaser
I was trained to separate feeling from logic and suppress the emotions that sought to rule over us. Some Royals were naturals at it, some of the children like Bruv and Kahne made it look easy.
“It is unnatural how good they are, Tamn,” Qeya once lamented. “They don’t have the memories yet and already they’re better than me.” The memory of her frequent complaints made me smile still.
“To be fair, they were the designers of most of our modern weapons.” I had reminded her as we watched the others spar.
“Sounds to me like you’re jealous, General,” she had teased me with a jab to the ribs. The same spot Kahne managed to nick me earlier with her short-handed scythe. The sound of Qeya’s laughter was fresh to me now as it was then, bringing a tide of fresh pain with the memory.
I kept an outward appearance of collected cohesive thought in front of my crew. Meanwhile chaotic thoughts stormed through my mind, tearing at the hard mask I tried to keep in place.
The first mindless days of our exile swept us from shore, through protective caves and into the jungled valley behind the mountain range. We were a team, used to navigating through harsh terrain and alien worlds more treacherous than this one. Only there was no purpose guiding us now, nothing but the base need for survival.
This planet seemed bent on hunting us down, be it predators stalking the caverns or poisonous plants within the valley. As we ran through the night from beasts with razor-sharp teeth and claws, the good men I had once been fell silent. Only the blood-curdling demands from my most violent past selves remained and they demanded tooth for tooth, claw for claw.
Captain tried to find shelter, but our tech was sparking, fading in and out, in need of the repair kit currently resting on the bed of the sea we crashed in. Lost without a ship, without anything but the packs we salvaged and tools on our belts. We were running low on water and food just three days in, with no sign of rivers or an acceptable food alternative in sight.
I ran on auto-navigator, obeying Captain’s orders, protecting my crew and scouting out a path through the dense undergrowth. There was water aplenty hovering in the air, coating our skins and teasing our gills.
I cut a path with my scythe using the same practiced motions I had taught the children, and focused on tracing the outlines of Qeya’s face in my mind. Lately, it had been the only thing keeping my inner gears in check.
You let her burn, one of my past selves hissed, and you deserve to burn.
“Shut up,” I growled, grasping instead for that image of Qeya again, the curves of her face, and the way her golden eyes illuminated when she was with me.
I blinked, flashes of green plants interspersed between flecks of gold and laughter.
“Tamn!” A rough hand pulled at my shoulder.
I pivoted, taking the hand and twisted it until the body attached was thrown against a nearby trunk, then pressed my blade against the jugular. A pair of wide emerald eyes so dark they were nearly black stared in horror back at me.
“Adi,” I stuttered the miner’s name, then grimaced. “Do that again and I really will slice your neck.”
“I tried calling your name, stupid wren.” Her words were strangled and I realized my blade was still tilted just beneath her jaw line.
Do it! Kill all the miners and throw their chum into the sea where it belongs, a dark voice from my past whispered. I shivered and blinked, pushing the voice aside.
For a fractured moment, I wanted to follow through with the command. It was growing harder to ignore the mad voices in my head.
“Tamn!” Despite her fierce tone, fear flickered in her murky gaze.
I pulled away, dropping my arms, but kept a tight grasp on my scythe to hide the trembling.
Adi scowled and rubbed her neck. “You do be cracked, you know that, Royal?” She shook her head and thumbed over her shoulder. “Crew wants to make camp. Tried to tell you to stop blazing a path but you were long gone.” She pointed past my scythe arm as though I hadn’t almost slit her throat. “Good thing I caught up before you ran into that razor pack ahead.”
I followed her direction, eager for the promise of death and meat so near. “We should hunt,” I said.
Adi choked on a laugh. “Already tried hunting the bloody beasts. Too many of them.”
“We need fresh meat.”
After a brief pause, Adi sighed and came to stand—beside my free hand, I noted. “Leviathan be diced. I can’t let you go after them on your own, now can I? What would your land-loving Captain have to say, after all?”
I ignored the jab, well aware of her disgust for my kind. I focused on the pattern of the forest ahead, again finding the game trail I had been unconsciously broadening and bent to follow it.
“Here.” Adi pressed something hard and metallic into my free hand. “I had an extra and if we really are doing this, we’ll be needing all the firepower we can muster.”
I looked down at the miner weapon, a metal knuckle set marked by a set of gears. I wrapped my fingers around the handle and several gears came whirring to life with a low hum. A blue chole blade emerged above my knuckles, meeting at a deadly point. I smiled over the blade at Adi. “It’ll do.”