BOOK DETAILS

Magus Star Rising

Magus Star Rising

by Larry Ivkovich

ASIN: B0785F2QTZ

Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in Literature & Fiction/Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

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In the far future, under the aegis of the corporate empire, the Galactic Nexia, the rim world Alpha-Seni has become a haven for refugees, off-world expatriates, and tech outlaws.

With the appearance of the mystical Magus Star, myths become reality, magic and science are indistinguishable, and hopes and desires turn dark and twisted.

An unlikely group of comrades, both human and alien, join together with one purpose—to stop an arisen creature of legend from killing all those who stand in its way.

Sample Chapter

Trust your friends no more

than your enemies.

Except when family is involved.

Sometimes.

MERATON OF KAUZIN,

“THE KILLER’S CREDO.”

CHAPTER ONE

Incident in a Small Village

P’ka, the mercenary thought. What the Senittes would call kemant or the Way; the Terrans, fate. The ancient Puman concept of destiny had been directing every move of his life since the war. Even now.

With a resigned shake of his head, the mercenary emerged from the shadows of the spirit-worship house. What use dwelling on the violent course his life had taken? He had a job to do.

Illuminated by standing torch-lamps and the wan light of clouded quarter moons,895 the two sentients he tracked walked slowly as if they had nothing to worry about. Calm, confident, perhaps even arrogant. He followed them silently, almost invisible to any who might notice a blurring at the corner of their eyes, a slight glimmering of the light at his passing.

Both were garbed in the colorful cloaks and head-scarves of Outlanders. Their rich, incense-laden spoor marked them as members of that wilderness tribe. Their booted feet clicked softly on the stone-cobbled walkway as slight fluctuations within the psi-ether revealed more to the mercenary.

His senses, in general, were exceedingly sharp. He was, after all, a Puman, a felinoid of the northern mountain provinces. His people lived by such natural acuity. But, in his line of work, where the slightest mishap could mean life or death, he had honed and refined his senses to be as sharp as the litha blade he carried at his side. Utilizing the mental realm of the psi-ether had been one such refinement.

Greed, perversion, and lust surrounded the twosome like a dark fire, informing the mercenary more than the meager details given him by his employers. These two would lead the mercenary to his primary target.

No, not target. The mercenary preferred another term when on the hunt. Especially for the likes of the two he followed.

Prey.

His own long, dark cloak wrapped about him like a second skin, its hood cloaking his fierce-featured, felinoid face. The tall, muscular figure blended into the night enclosing the village square, appearing as no more than a shadow itself.

Here, in the provincial village of Hamon, nestled among the rolling hills and surrounding farmland of Viyor province, the most heinous of crimes was being committed. One even the mercenary would not tolerate.

Those who had hired him (his employers, such as they were) were not rich, but had insisted he be paid for his services. They were desperate and had only approached him at the intervention of an old colleague of his, one who no longer hunted himself but still had connections to those who did. The man’s message on the mercenary’s personal comm had surprised him. He did not get surprised very often.

The local authorities seemed not to care or were too lazy or afraid to pursue the criminals. Or perhaps they had been paid to look the other way. Outlanders earned no small amounts for their animal training and domestication. Selling and trading in quantity, they could afford to give some of it away. In any case, the nature of the transgression was so vile, the mercenary had decided he would perform this hunt for free.

It had been a long time since his work had done some good for someone outside of his own people. And he needed something to excite him. Of late, he was beginning to feel... restless.

He paused as the Outlanders suddenly darted down an alleyway running between two walled-in courtyards. The litha blade he wore attached to his belt ring glowed with warmth and anticipation.

The Pumans were famous for their wood crafting and metalwork. Their intricately designed weapons fetched great prices from all over the western continent. But the litha was rare and special. The mercenary gripped its handle, energy radiating from it magically like a living thing.

The prey he sought was near.

He entered the alley, his heightened eyesight witnessing the twosome entering a small, wooden outbuilding at the end of the narrow side street. As he got closer, his meta-acute hearing picked up the muffled sounds of children crying from within the building’s shadowy interior.

Cries of hopelessness and terror. Of loneliness and pain.

Two flickering shapes moved toward him, swiftly, quietly and with purpose. Guard beasts, specially bred tor-dogs perhaps? Of course. What kind of Outlander would not have an animal of some kind in his or her service?

Turning up his aura-projection, the mercenary cast it out toward the two oncoming animals. Normally, projective ability served as a weapon to unnerve and confuse his opponents. He used it now to not alert his prey with any noises of combat. The tor-dogs, large and fierce, stopped and whined softly, turned, and ran back the way they had come.

He released the hasp of his cloak to let it fall to the street, revealing the furred body beneath, the maned head and shoulders. Garbed in a simple vest, belted canat skin pants and boots, the mercenary raised his hands in front of him. Sharp claws extended from his fingertips. There would be no need for subtlety here; surprise and brute force would be all the ‘strategy’ he would employ.

Biting back a roar of rage, the mercenary charged the door. His muscular bulk easily burst through the wooden portal, throwing the door violently open. His senses took in the scene in front of him even as he continued moving. A medium-sized room, lit by a single oil-globe, unfurnished but for a heavily-made wooden table and three chairs, its walls bare of any adornment.

The sentients he had followed whirled, surprise etched on their brown faces. Arguns by the look of them, one male, one female, tattooed and scarred like all Outlanders. Two others rose from behind the large table, both blue-skinned Senittes bringing beam-guns up to fire.

The mercenary slammed into the two Arguns, backhanding the female. She fell to the floor as the mercenary picked up the male as easily as a sack of leaves and hurled him at the beam-gunners.

Energy tracers cut through the airborne, flailing Argun as he flew through the air, deflecting the deadly blasts away. As the two gunmen dodged the flopping corpse, the mercenary grabbed the edge of the heavy table and overturned it. He sent it slamming into the Senittes, crushing them against the wall. He heard the satisfying crack of skulls and the spurting of blood.

He whirled at a sound behind him. Another Outlander appeared from a back room, knife in hand. The mercenary plucked his litha blade from his belt ring and side-armed it forward, snapping his wrist to give the blade a deadly spin.

It ripped through the Senitte’s neck and dropped him bleeding and gurgling to the floor. As the Argun fem attempted to scramble up from the floor to escape, the mercenary kicked her in the ribs, caught his blade in mid-air on its return arc, and charged into the back room.

Children. Several of both sexes. All were young, too young, bound, gagged and blindfolded except for three who had been the origins of the cries the mercenary had heard.

Another Outlander, an adult Senitte, also stood in the unfurnished room. This one held a fem-child close to his half-clothed body, a knife positioned at the youngling’s throat. Thankfully, she looked to be unconscious, her body limp, her eyes closed. It appeared the mercenary had stopped the piece of filth before he began his dirty pleasure.

“A strokin’ Puman!” the man exclaimed, his eyes wide with surprise. “Yer bein’ a long way from home, man-cat. You... you letten me outten here and the girl lives, eh?”

Fool, the mercenary thought, his lips skinning back from his fangs. Though the Senitte displayed a certain bravado, the mercenary knew it was merely a facade. There weren’t many who could stand up to an enraged Puman, especially one trained in the art of war and killing. A low growl escaped his throat and he leaped forward.

Channeling his anger and disgust into a focused weapon of uncanny speed, the mercenary reached the Outlander and his captive in a blur of motion. One hand grasped the man’s knife-hand and broke its wrist, the knife clattering to the floor. The other hand pulled the man away from the girl. With a minimum of force and motion, before the Senitte could even cry out, the mercenary snapped the man’s neck, turned and caught the child before she hit the floor.

Laying her down carefully, he strode back into the main room. There the Senitte fem once again struggled to her feet, cradling her ribs with one hand. The mercenary yanked her up by her neck and pushed her against the wall.

“Are there any more?” he hissed, his fangs exposed and glinting in the light. With his free hand, he pressed a sharp claw against the trembling Outlander’s neck. “Children and more of your kind?”

“No, no!” the fem rasped, her eyes wide with terror, a purple bruise forming on the side of her jaw, blood spitting from her mouth. “We was... we was the only ones! I swear. I swear!”

Continues...

Excerpted from "Magus Star Rising" by Larry Ivkovich. Copyright © 2017 by Larry Ivkovich. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Larry Ivkovich

Larry Ivkovich

Larry Ivkovich’s short genre work has been published in over twenty online and print publications including Penumbra and Shoreline of Infinity. He has been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund award for fiction. Larry is a member of WorD and Mindful Writers North, two local writing and critique groups, as well as the statewide group Pennwriters.

View full Profile of Larry Ivkovich

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