Grains of Sand by Varian Morn (The Front-Line Book 1)
English | 2020 | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.8 MB
Of the seven great houses in the city of Sand, the House of Derri is the smallest and the poorest. All they own is the sand that is blown into their decrepit homes by the harsh wind.
Telleya is like all daughters of Derri, at the bottom of the societal ladder. Her life and its potential prospects are bleak, and her hope is as dry as the sands that are burying her people.
Everything changes when Noth arrives, offering salvation to the House of Derri… Unluckily for Telleya, that salvation comes at a price. A price the House of Derri is more than happy to pay.
Chosen to be Noth’s bride, she suddenly finds herself burdened with great expectations. Her duty is to bring honor to her house, and to do anything that’s necessary to save it… But she has plans of her own… plans that are as cruel as the desert, and as hot as the sun. Plans to bring down the House of Derri, and any who stand in her way.
For a moment I wondered if we’d killed it. Beasts of that size usually died quickly, once it got to that point… becoming too weak to move their massive bodies. But I also knew just how much it took to kill them occasionally. Their great sizes made it so difficult to inflict fatal damage…
“Reports of movement!”
“Impacts!” more people shouted, and I knew we were being attacked from every direction.
“Smaller beasts are jumping onto the Front-Line sir!” my quartermaster shouted.
The sound of metal creaking drew eyes to the ceiling. A great bang followed, and I knew the creature most likely had smacked the top of the bridge. The ceiling didn’t buckle, nor was there any apparent damage from within the bridge… but I knew that any other Line, especially the much smaller ones, would have been completely destroyed from that single blow.
“Reports of creatures on the roof sir!” someone shouted.
“Guards get ready! Alert all crew!” I ordered, and hoped that all of the non-combatants got to the safe rooms throughout the Line.
Last thing I needed was for half my crew, especially the cannon midshipmen, to abandon their posts because their children were in danger.
“Have the top cannons take them out!” I ordered even though I knew they were already in motion to do so. Even though they didn’t need my direct permission to protect the Front-Line, my orders sometimes made them move that much faster.
“A large one’s burrowing into the bridge sir!”
“Arms!” I ordered, and was about to go and grab my own, but a loud crunch drew my attention upward.
A man sized piece of metal tore away, and a creature appeared.
Slithering in from the ceiling, the sound of it tearing through the hull was both terrifying and infuriating. How dare it!
Although long, and many times the size of a grown man, the creature didn’t fall from the hole… it instead just continued crawling out of it. Within moments several people’s length of the creature entered the bridge, and it released a deep hiss as it looked around… most presumably for its first target.
“Arms!” I shouted, and quickly the red glare of magical residue filled the bridge. Spikes flew to the ceiling. Arm-length rods of metal, glowing red from the combustion of magic which had propelled them, buried themselves into the midsection of the creature. The snake like beast shrieked with a similar cry to the giant, but wasn’t able to wrench itself free as half a dozen more rods impaled it.
Although it had taken a few seconds longer than I had wanted for most of the guards to fire; enough had been at the ready to keep the creature from coming too far into the bridge. Even though not dead yet, the many spikes kept it firmly lodged to the ceiling and no longer an immediate threat. It writhed in agony, but only its blood fell to the floor around us.
“Firing!” Sarley shouted, giving way to another volley. The many explosions that followed not only brightened the bridge once more, but kept it that way. Sunlight once again came into the bridge.