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       Wind-Scarred (The Will of the Elements, Book 1), p.1
 

Wind-Scarred (The Will of the Elements, Book 1)
The Will of the Elements

  Book One:

  Wind-Scarred

  A Novel by Sky Luke Corbelli

  Copyright © 2011 by Sky Luke Corbelli

  Wind-Scarred (The Will of the Elements, Book 1)

  Copyright © 2011 by Sky Luke Corbelli (www.skylukecorbelli.blogspot.com)

  Cover design by Michelle Corbelli (www.mcorbelli.wordpress.com)

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be sold or given away without the author's consent. Thank you for respecting the hard work that went into the making of this story.

  This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and happenings herein are the products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the author.

  To my beautiful wife, without whom this never would have left my head.

  Contents

  Prologue:

  Sunset

  Chapter 1:

  Secrets and Secretaries

  Chapter 2:

  Please Step Outside

  Chapter 3:

  Surprises and Sheep

  Chapter 4:

  Hidden Hallways

  Chapter 5:

  Ambushed

  Chapter 6:

  Trouble with Tasers

  Chapter 7:

  Irritation, Interrogation, and the Truth

  Chapter 8:

  Visions of the Past

  Chapter 9:

  A Brief History of Everything

  Chapter 10:

  Good Times with the Guild

  Chapter 11:

  First Dates and Other Elusive Creatures

  Chapter 12:

  The Gang's All Here

  Chapter 13:

  The Apples of Arborlen

  Chapter 14:

  Hand Picked

  Chapter 15:

  Lets Get Dangerous

  Chapter 16:

  Celebrate Good Times, Come On

  Chapter 17:

  Furious Foxes

  Chapter 18:

  JaM Productions

  Chapter 19:

  Circles Within Circles

  Chapter 20:

  At Least It's Not Raining

  Chapter 21:

  Demons in the Dark

  Chapter 22:

  Tavern Talk

  Chapter 23:

  Whatever the Storm Blows In

  Chapter 24:

  Forbidden and Flowing

  Chapter 25:

  Dark and Stormy Night

  Chapter 26:

  The Calm Before

  Chapter 27:

  Pleading the Case

  Chapter 28:

  Working Hard and Hardly Working

  Chapter 29:

  A Daring Escape

  Chapter 30:

  Always Look On the Bright Side

  Chapter 31:

  Chalkboards

  Chapter 32:

  Proof of Concept

  Chapter 33:

  So Sharp You'll Cut Yourself

  Chapter 34:

  Conspiratorial Emotions

  Chapter 35:

  It Burns Us, Precious

  Chapter 36:

  Hidden Dragons

  Chapter 37:

  Pretty Pictures

  Chapter 38:

  Robert Ralson

  Chapter 39:

  Bombshells

  Chapter 40:

  Flame On the Horizon

  Chapter 41:

  Welcome to Helena

  Chapter 42:

  Tower Defense

  Chapter 43:

  Ear to the Ground

  Chapter 44:

  Pursuit

  Chapter 45:

  In the Beginning

  Chapter 46:

  Providence

  Chapter 47:

  Freedom

  Chapter 48:

  You Are Not Prepared

  Chapter 49:

  Complications

  Chapter 50:

  Static On the Wind

  Chapter 51:

  Reunions

  Chapter 52:

  There's No Lair Like Home

  Chapter 53:

  From a Clear Blue Sky

  Chapter 54:

  Was It Good for You Too

  Chapter 55:

  Imagine Meeting You Here

  Chapter 56:

  Heroic Last Stands

  Chapter 57:

  For a Job Well Done

  Chapter 58:

  The Big Man Himself

  Chapter 59:

  Hobbies

  Chapter 60:

  The Road Goes Ever On

  Prologue

  Sunset

  It's so beautiful. Ezra stared out the viewport window, looking down at the Earth. Clouds swirled through the atmosphere with a stately beauty, the blue and green of the planet spread out beneath them.

  He shook his head in wonder, glancing around at the other passengers aboard the Millennial Legacy. His parents sat with a few of the other science Legacy families, chatting. How anyone could ignore the view was beyond him. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity!

  He turned back to the window, pressing his face up against the transparent super solid, trying to catch a glimpse of Sanctuary far below them. Flickering flames from the engines danced into view. Ezra frowned, staring. If he looked at it just right, he could almost imagine that the fire actually was dancing. There! That... that looks like a woman, a woman in the fire...

  Something glimmered off in the distance. Ezra glanced up, and his jaw dropped. Highlighted against the backdrop of space, just a few klicks away from their shuttle, the space elevator cable was glowing. What might have been lightning was coiled around it, slithering up behind them like some kind of gleaming serpent. As he watched, it caught up to the ship and bunched into a writhing mass of energy.

  "Mom? Dad?" Ezra took a step back, eyes fixed on the orb of power. It felt like it was watching them, somehow... waiting...

  The ship shuddered. The lights in the cabin flickered. The lightning struck.

  Ezra yelled, stumbling back as the beam of energy reached mindlessly for the ship. The window flashed white... and a wall of fire blocked Ezra's view.

  He jumped forward, eyes searching. It looked like the flames from the engine had leapt up, catching the bolt of lightning, holding it back. But... that was impossible. It didn't make any sense. Fire... fire couldn't move like that.

  "Ezra!"

  He turned to see his father holding out a hand for him. He took a running step toward his family, casting one last look back at the battling elements.

  And the lightning broke free.

  With a bone-shaking thump, the fuel compartment went up, ripping the hull apart. Metal shrieked in agonized protest. Ezra was tossed to the floor like a toy. Everything spun as he squeezed his eyes shut.

  “Mom!” he yelled, but hardly made a sound. He tried to suck in a deeper breath, to call out again... but there was no air.

  Because you're in space, he realized. Probably only being kept alive by the dispersing atmosphere of the cabin. His eyes flew open. He saw the Earth below him, through the wreckage of the shuttle. His body rotated, spinning freely, and the orbital station came into view, sitting serenely atop the space elevator, only a few klicks away. The docking port was just beginning to extend toward what was left of the ship. He continued to spin past. His lungs burned, his vision tunne
ling as his oxygen-deprived body began to shut down. Ezra took one last look down at the Earth, beautiful and pristine and perfect.

  And something moved.

  From the guttering fires of the devastated ship, an angel spread her wings. Her skin was like velvety smoke, her hair the deep red of a burning coal. She smiled, reaching out toward Ezra.

  I wonder if everyone sees something like this when they die, he wondered as slender arms wrapped around his neck and back, pulling him to her warm embrace, sheltering him beneath wings of light and heat. Her mouth moved, but no sound came out. He returned her smile, letting his eyes close, surrendering to the inevitable.

  Suddenly her mouth was pressed to his, breathing life into him. His lungs expanded with air and his eyes fluttered open. He caught one last glimpse of the angel falling away, tied to the still-burning corpse of the ship, a look of divine peace on her face, her arms spread as if releasing him...

  ==

  Ezra Hawkins woke with a start. Outside, the sun was just beginning to dip below the Barrier Mountains that surrounded Sanctuary. “That's what you get for falling asleep while watching the sunset,” he mumbled savagely to himself.

  He leaned back in his chair, yawning as he stretched his lean frame. He ran a hand absently through his curly, dark brown hair. His eyes wandered over the virtual console in front of him, lighting as he went over the results of his most recent simulation. Every test passed, all well within his margin of error.

  A fierce smile spread across Ezra's face. He uploaded his flight trajectory into the test glider, locking in the last piece of his brilliant plan. Everything was set, and no bad dream or remembered terror was going to spoil it for him.

  Tonight, he was going to see the world.

 
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