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Limits @ Infinity

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Limits @ Infinity

Postby J.C.Bell » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:36 pm

Thanks for all the positive feedback and help launching my first novel, Infinite Limits. Looking to polish up my second novel, Limits @ Infinity, before I e-book it, and I’m ready to brave another stroll down the gauntlet that is literary criticism. All critiques are welcome (provided they are constructive).
Look forward to reading your posts once more, and feel free to contact me directly @ infinitelimitsthebook@gmail.com. Or, if you’ve read any of the full works and want to give a more detailed review, come see me on http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1719 ... ite-limits .


Limits @ Infinity

by
J.C. Bell


Alana

‘How do you know, Anon? To save them? What makes one . . . what makes us worthy?’
‘Many are there who are Blood-Born. As much as we wish it were so, we cannot save them all. To do so would refute our purpose. Such a power can be both wonderful and horrific. It all depends on who wields it. The Plague itself is nothing more than a product of the latter. You are truly blessed indeed, Alana. You are wonderful. Not only limitless in your ability with the Oneness, but with your capacity for love as well. Have no fear, when someone is worth saving, you’ll know.’
* * *
Fear.
The High Court of Edroth was ripe with it. No matter how hard they tried to hide it, Alana sensed it in all those who were present. The Blood-Guard, Edroth’s elite soldiers, hid their fear behind glowing ‘halo’ shields, their shard-guns loaded with silver rounds. Her elder brother, the young Prince Gedron, covered his fear in the blue flames of Dreamfire, more than Alana had ever seen him hold before. So much of it that the very fabric of reality was beginning to tear around him; the stone splintering below his feet, the walls cracking when he drew near. Gedron and the Blood-Guard were the High-Court’s last line of defense, and though they all faced the chamber door with determination in their eyes, Alana saw the fear in their hearts, and the knowledge in their minds of the impending doom that was sure to come.
In some, the fear was physically apparent - - her younger sister’s thin fingers trembled in her hand, her mother’s grip – almost painful, as she pulled Alana to her breast. For them, it was pointless to hide it. There was nothing left to them but love. Her mother was Bloodless – had never set eyes on the Dreamfire. Unfortunately, Alana’s sister Ezule inherited their mother’s deficiency, and no matter how hard Alana sought to draw the Dreamfire from her blood, it remained dormant. For them, the fight was all but over. Her mother knew the moment would soon come when, helpless, she would watch her children die. Ezule, too young to comprehend death, knew little more than tales of the Rift. Her young mind was coming to grips with the fact that her every fear was soon to be confirmed and confronted.
Alana felt it, the fear. Their deaths. She knew their end was at hand. Like most things associated with the Dreamfire she didn’t need to understand it or have it confirmed, she knew it just was.
“Father will stop them. He had but a hundred men when he took the Gallow’s Fort, only ten of which were Dreamers. With all of Edroth aligned at his side, even the Dark Horde with fall,” Gedron declared with all the confidence of a king – which he was soon to be, no matter how short lived his reign.
He truly seemed certain of his own declaration, which made Alana wonder. Could he not see? Was he so focused on holding every last drop of Dreamfire that his mind was closed to the truth? Or had Alana not seen the truth of him until now, that she had greater power though she was but half his age?
She continued to study those in the room, while in her mind the battle unfolded . . .
Only a quarter-day into the battle and the army was routed, her father, the King, lay dying. Mortally wounded, dead hands fell upon him, enslaving him to the Dark Cause. For the first time in her life, she couldn’t sense her father . . .
“Alana,” her mother cried. “Wake up. Please Gods, wake up, child.”
She found herself on the floor, blood pouring from her nose. Her mother’s silver hair tickled her face as she bent over her.
“I’m so sorry mother.”
“What is it, child? What happened?”
It was time.
“They’ve taken him . . . Father is gone. I’m sorry. I couldn’t save him, and I fear I can’t save you either, Mother. Or Ezule. Gedron . . . “
She wished death was his only fate.
Her mother’s wide Edrothian eyes were filled with tears and understanding. No matter her lineage, her mother was still a goddess in Alana’s mind -- Intelligent and wise beyond any Seer or Dreamer. Alana’s Father may have imparted her with the Dreamfire, but surely her mother had enhanced it. Her mother always had her own innate understanding of things, an almost prescience. With the Dreamfire alongside that gift, Alana truly could see the shape of things, as they were, as they are, and as they shall be. A Oneness. A singularity of things separate space and time.
She sat up, hugged her mother for what she knew would be the last time. And Ezule . . . She held her even tighter, so fragile and small. So real in her arms, yet moments away from so horrible a fate. She saw it as truth, as unquestionable as her own existence. Could she alter their future? Did she dare try?
Perhaps that’s what it would take? Her life for theirs. What if she didn’t survive this day? Could such a sacrifice make the difference, alter her dream?
The chamber door was blown asunder. Silver shards, and Dreamfire flew towards it. She covered herself in Dreamfire -- more than even her brother held – and turned to face the Dark Horde, not sure if she could change her fate, but determined to die trying.
* * *
The Blood Guard was left in bloody pieces. Gedron screamed in rage and pain as his veins blackened. Alana, her power spent, crawled to the crumpled forms of her mother and sister. Dark shadows reared up around her, cutting her off from her family. She knew not their words but sensed their emotions; fear, excitement, admiration. She had truly done her best to change the dream, but it came true all the same. She yet lived only to be converted, no matter how hard she fought and with such reckless abandon for her own life, they had let her live.
This was where her dream ended.
A hand, more shadow than flesh drew near her, pausing just inches from her opaque skin.
‘Not her.’
The room filled with light, pure and white.
The hand withdrew. The beings didn’t leave, but formed a tight circle around her instead.
‘I’m taking the child.’
Between her captures’ legs she saw the speaker approach. A being of pure energy. Faceless, lacking any features to speak of. His body an average size humanoid shape, likewise unremarkable other than the white glow surrounding it.
More words came from her captors, guttural cries of rage. One dared to act upon his anger, and dove for the glowing being. Without any apparent effort, a hand of white energy found the attacker’s neck. The creature’s body began to crumble, its stony, alabaster flesh flaking into dust. It fell to the floor, headless. Seeing its demise, the other Dark Ones parted for the being, no longer regarding him with anger but with an understanding that bordered on reverence. They emanated awe. In their alien tongue one word was repeated among them – Anon.
Exhausted physically and mentally, Alana slumped to the floor, unable to comprehend her sudden rescue, and by so powerful of a being.
“It’s time to go, Alana.”
She looked up . . . found an altogether different being standing above her.
Who are you?
A pair of wide brown eyes looked down on her, full of sadness yet somehow hope as well. His lips were thin, like scars, and parted to speak.
“I am Anon. I am your Savior.”

* * *
-- End of the Age of Death
The Seventh World

Alana took it in. All of it. Enough of the dark power to tear this world apart. Her own flesh was nothing but tatters, pealing from her bones every time she took on one of the black threads. Her feet stood in a constantly growing pool of her own blood.
I will not fail.
In that moment of pain and horror she somehow knew she had been meant for this. Her failures, her imprisonment, it had all lead her to this. To save this one world -- to save the life of her love and the children she swore to protect -- she had to take this darkness. Anon had known. Of that she was certain.
“Nathalia!” He screamed, naked and glaring at her with pure hate -- pouring every last drop of pain and darkness in his soul into Alana.
There was too much of it. He was tearing her apart now. Her flesh no longer held meaning. Her mind was his to devour, and he did so, lustfully. The man screamed in pure rage – Alana in pain. One moment there was nothing left, the being known as Alana had all but ceased to exist, and then . . .
She fell to the blackened earth, her long fingers sinking into the blood drenched soil. The darkness was gone. She was whole once more. Of the pain, only a memory remained.
"You're just like her," the man said, his naked form drawing nearer -- his own pain transparent in his voice. "Pouring all your hope into them. Even if you could save them what would it matter? I’ve seen it, felt it, let it into my soul. In the end there is nothing."
He knelt down next to her, even rested his hand on her head of silvery white hair.
"Give it up. If you find him he'll tell you the same, your Adros. Your love, he knows . . ."
She never let him finish. Such power! It had to be contained.
Whatever energy she had left went into forming a cocoon around the man's naked body. She covered him in enough layers of power to contain a dying star.
"You know nothing of my love," she said, slow to rise and not daring to connect with his mind. "You have no right to even speak his name."
Somewhere on this world her lover yet lived. She no longer had the power to sense Adros, but knew in her heart he remained, as did his pain. Could she go to him? Did she dare risk releasing this human for the sake of her love? Whoever he was, he was altogether worse than the Plague. Immortality. Life. Such things meant nothing to this man. He was nihilism incarnate. Surely a child of the Void itself. If he remained, he would end it all.
They shimmered, appearing in a haze at the circular stairway to this world's Rift.
They weren't alone.
Shock began to spread on the faces of the defenders arrayed around the Rift; giants, armed soldiers, and robed wizards. A female mage with a half melted face turned her one good eye towards Alana’s captive. The blue eye sparkled with sudden recognition. Through the slit in her face where her mouth should have been came the words; “Stop them!”
With a little effort, Alana silenced the woman and had her bound. The other mages summoned their fires but she stopped them with a thought. Only one had the strength to actually resist her, and could very well have bested her in her weakened state, but she sensed his lack of training and took his mind, left him numb to the world for enough time to reach the Door.
She faced the soldiers -- steel turned to fire and dropped from their hands.
Lastly the giants. Though strong, they were slow. She enhanced her speed then maneuvered through. Foolishly she paused as one's weapon caught her eye; a hammer glowing blue with the light of a star. But before the giant could bring the weapon to bear she had traversed the stairs, her prisoner in tow.
The Rift hovered before her . . . an oval tempest of shadows.
She sent her power in. Lacking the strength for a deep trip she found something close -- a dead planet which she hoped was abandoned.
Before the defenders could reassemble at her back, Alana and the Destroyer were swallowed by the Black Door.

* * *

"What in the Dead was that?" Drau’d thundered over the stunned defenders.
"A God," the young mage Harple replied, rubbing his head. For the first time since Drau’d had known the man he was smiling. "Very impressive. I've so much to learn."
Rian and his "Warkids" had regrouped, their weapons no longer blazing to the touch. Rian looked sullen and humiliated as he massaged the blisters on his hands, his otherwise unbelievable training and skill seemingly worthless at the moment.
"Don't worry, Rian," Drau’d said, trying to sooth the boy's inadequacies, and his own. "We stood no chance against such a foe."
"Do you know who that was?"
Drau’d turned to the speaker; Nicola’s scarred face twisted in anger.
"I've never seen, nor heard of such a being before, High Mage."
“The man!” she hissed. “Don’t you realize what happened here?”
Still recovering from the strange battle, they all stared at her dumbly.
“She took him, the Destroyer. Our one true weapon against the Plague has been stolen from us.”
Even after she spoke, it still took a moment for the words to sink in. Blisters and humility were forgotten as Rian sent his men into formation.
Less precise and efficient, Drau’d took command of the rest of the soldiers. Raising Hell’s Bane in one meaty hand, he pointed it to the Rift.
“Everyone!” he thundered. “Guard that Gate.”

* * *

She was weak, insubstantial. He was there with her, unchained.
He seemed unconcerned with her corporeal state or his lack of bonds, but stood staring at the world's sun -- a hazy blue ball rapidly descending to the horizon.
She brought him here to die. Was disappointed that it hadn't been immediately. A haze of acid filled the air, giving the world a greenish tinge.
He spoke to the endless red desert before him.
"I control it now, Red Mage. For what that's worth."
He lowered his head to the sand. The blue sun sank quickly, abandoning them to darkness.
"I know I killed her. There were so many that I killed."
She focused her thoughts, gave them form.
'Your love and your world had already been claimed by the Dead Gods. There was no saving them.'
He laughed, shattering the stillness of the night.
"Don't I know it."
What do you know?
"I know about you, Alana. You and the legendary, Solo Ki. Or should I say the even more legendary, Adros? It figures. I can see how he survived the Rift. Honestly, I don't even think I could kill that guy."
He turned to face her.
"Is that why you left him, Adros? Had he too been claimed by these damned Dead Gods?"
"He left me."
She found her real voice, a sweet airy tune.
"But he yet lived," he countered.
"He lived for hate. He required vengeance more than love."
"And what do you require, Alana? Other than my death?"
There was a long period of silence, not because she didn't have an answer, but because she wasn't sure if she cared to share it with him. The man was dangerous beyond belief, against her will he had plunged the depths of her soul – something the Elders considered forbidden, akin to rape. Oddly, Alana felt unmolested by the intrusion. That he found something within her that reminded him of his love was intriguing. And the fact that all of her secrets had been revealed and he let her live counted for something. She knew nothing of the man other than his devastating power, but after he had seen her soul did she have anything left to hide from the man?
"I failed him once before,” Alana said, drifting closer to the man. “I will not do so again. All I want is to go back. Back to him. Perhaps somehow I can make things right."
The Destroyer seemed to be searching for something in the darkening desert.
"Then go! If you have a chance to make things right then take it. If anyone can give him a reason to live it’s you. Me, I never took that chance.”
“What of you?”
Alana, dreaded his answer. If he too chose to return, she would be forced to try and stop him. At her greatest she was no match for the man. To face him now would be her death.
“Don’t worry about me. The Seventh World is the last place I want to be. There’s only one reason for my existence. I can’t deny that any longer. It’s time I play my part. It’s time for these Dead Gods to meet the Destroyer."
It was growing again. The darkness seeped into the ground at his feet.
"Go, Alana. And when you find Adros tell him I’m sorry. I too failed him. After what he’s been through . . . killing him would have been a favor. What I did to Nathalia, his child, I can never make right.”
She wasn't sure if she had recovered enough from her last trip, but when the ground began to disintegrate below her feet, she knew she had to go. She turned to the Rift and gave everything she had for a journey back to the Seventh World.

* * *
His hood was up, his face hidden in the brown folds. He sat at the base of the Rift, his legs and hands crossed. Nearby, Rian and Drau’d were engrossed in a discussion over defense tactics for the coming battle. Rian was incredibly young, yet showed remarkable aptitude for battle, both mentally and physically. Drau’d was a genius builder, his talents easily adapting to defensive construction of the battlefield. Harple however, had no mind for such things, his talents lay elsewhere. He was certain that together, Drau’d and Rian would establish the best possible defense, considering their many limitations at the moment. Still though, Harple couldn’t help but wonder if anything could stop the Plague, other than the Destroyer? That’s where Harple decided to focus his thoughts, on the Destroyer and his strange abductor. How easily she had disarmed them all! If such godlike beings couldn’t stop the Plague then what chance did they really have?
He had so much to learn. He believed he had already found a solution to her mind paralysis attack, and that he could not only counter it, but reproduce the attack as well. But what else didn’t he know? He had been at the High Tower for only a brief period, having been quickly relocated by Nicola herself before Lord LeCynic even knew he existed. But who in the Seventh could teach him? Even Nicola was now beneath him -- though he took no pride in that fact. Perhaps only the Keeper was his superior, but from what he heard, the only lessons that man had to offer were in suffering and death, considering he even yet lived.
What he needed was her, the pale Goddess who was able to overcome the Destroyer and every last defender of the Rift with ease. He was determined to find her in the Rift – go in after her if he must. He sent his Oneness in, searching in all possible directions. What he did was forbidden. Should anyone sense his trace, he would likely be imprisoned if not sentenced to death, but he doubted anyone present could sense such fine threads – so many, yet so thin they were almost invisible to even him. His tendrils brushed the abyss, the things he sensed made him tremble. Wisely, he maintained his distance from such horrors, lest they find him as well.
Time seemed to have no meaning in the Rift, it could have been hours, possibly even days, but finally he found her. At first he doubted it himself; she was so weak her presence was practically non-existent. Oddly, the powerful goddess seemed trapped, drifting between worlds and unable to crossover on her own.
Harple took her. Every blue thread darted in her direction. The thin filaments latched onto her presence and pulled, dragging her back into the Seventh World and into Harple’s hands. Weakened as she was, imprisoning her was simple. As for her telepathic attacks, this time, Harple would be paralyzing her mind. One way or another, she would teach him what he wanted to know
J.C.Bell
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