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  • Writer's pictureJeff Monday

JOM II SNEAK PEAK!! The Crystal Heart-Song of Rafk

I'm hoping to have to next book in my Jom series out in a couple months. Until then, here's a sneak peak to keep you satisfied! Enjoy :)

Technomage Rafk stood on the bridge of a ship hovering in low orbit above a smoking planet. The ship was sparse and clean, its white metal brightly reflecting the light of the star that bathed the planet in warmth and, once, life. The planet itself was in ruins, almost completely devoid now of living, breathing creatures. From his vantage, Rafk watched the armadas mass on opposite sides of the planet, filling the upper atmosphere and orbits with massive ships of war. Bristling gun ports pointed long barrels of death at the enemy. After countless cycles of war, this was to be the last battle. This would end the war simply because there was no one left to fight.

Rafk looked to his left. Those were the Mrl. Short, red-skinned, warm climate creatures. Their ships, like their culture, sported sharp edges and pointed angles.

Rafk looked to his right. Those were the Chrd. Tall, white-skinned, cool climate creatures. Their ships reflected their mentality, round with smooth edges.

The planet below, home to both the Mrl and Chrd, was known simply as Vn. It was once a lush, peaceful world, welcoming and full of life. Both the Mrl and Chrd built soaring, graceful towers that caught the light of the nearby sun and dazzled the eye. They crafted beautiful songs and produced incredible works of art. Rafk had been born to a Chrd father and a Mrl mother. A half-breed, he was welcomed by both societies, albeit cautiously. As much as the two races were at peace, they still trusted more in their own than outsiders.

Rafk grew quickly, showing the advantages of both races. He was quick like the Chrd but crafty like the Mrl. His skin, a vibrant pink, could handle the hot climate as well as the cold. Blessed by his genetics, he vowed to use his natural abilities to help the world as best he could. He studied and apprenticed and learned. He mastered any number of disciplines. Astronomy, genetics, physics, engineering. All became his playthings. Then he dove into more esoteric studies, learning how to listen to the wind, mastering how to talk to the stars. He grew in power, eventually attracting the attention of Technomage Emen, a greedy and paranoid creature who jealously guarded his secrets.

Alarmed by Rafk’s rise in power, Emen challenged him to battle. The pacifistic Rafk refused, not understanding the need to defend himself against such a creature. Despite being goaded time and again, Rafk would only defend himself and his world as was necessary to stave off Emen’s attacks. Frustrated by Rafk’s continual growth in power, Emen, sly and calculating, planted the seeds of war among both the Mrl and the Chrd, pushing them into conflict with each other. Rafk realized too late what his rival had done, for by then his planet was in turmoil. His family was one of the first to die in the war. Pushed to his limit by grief, Rafk confronted Emen, giving the Technomage his long-awaited battle.

They fought across the planes, attacking each other with fire and spirit, blood magic and hard steel. The planes shuddered from the forces they unleashed upon each other. Finally, Rafk stood over his fallen enemy. Even then, he hesitated to deliver the killing blow, giving Emen one last chance to repent. Instead, the vile creature pushed Rafk through a portal into the aether.

Rafk tumbled through the space between space, desperately protecting himself from the reality hurricane that pummeled him from all sides. He managed to open a portal back to his plane. Looking around at the stars, beaten and exhausted, he realized he was on the other side of the galaxy.

He summoned what forces he could to protect him and eventually found a transport to bring him home. When he arrived at Vn, he was horrified to see that the planet was little more than a smoking ruin, blasted by the raging war that had continued unabated in his absence. He wept, seeing his home in pieces because of his weakness.

So Technomage Rafk stood on the bridge of the ship, looking at the opposing armadas preparing for one last battle, intent on destroying each other.

He closed his eyes and clutched a large crystal in his hand. There was one final chance to stop the war and save his people. He breathed deeply, filling his lungs and stilling his mind. His thoughts became one with the plane. He opened his mouth. And then he sang.

It was a song unlike any other ever sung. It was a song about life and love, about loss and death. He sang about his family and sang about his enemy. He sang with the voice of all those that had died in the senseless war. He sang from his heart, pulling every last bit of emotion from inside and placing it into the crystal in his hand. The crystal amplified the song, sending it out into the cosmos. The ships on opposite sides of the smoking planet heard the song and the crews stopped preparing for war. They listened as Rafk sang of heartbreak and the joy of looking into the eyes of your lover. They listened as he sang of watching your child being born and holding the hand as your parent died.

Rafk kept his focus not on the words that came out, but on the feelings that inspired them. He let go of all control, let his heart tell the story, allowed his soul to sing. The song spread out across the galaxy. The crystal glowed in his hand. The song touched the last of the Chrd and the last of the Mrl. They laid down their arms to listen. Rafk kept singing, pouring everything he felt, everything he hoped and dreamed and feared into his song. He sang until there was simply nothing left. His mind emptied. His muscles emptied. His heart, emptied as well, stopped and thus, so did the song.

Only after the last notes faded into obscurity did the last of the Mrl and Chrd move again. Only this time, it was to build.

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