(An excerpt from Book 1)
By ELISABETTA PANZICA
Nahik got off his horse, to stretch. He walked the stallion along a cobblestone path. Grey smoke hung heavily over the bay. Shrill voices shattered the quiet of morning, raising his level of anxiety. People pounded on stone walls with rocks, trapped under fallen buildings, some of them deep underground. Nahik’s lips formed into a thin horizontal line, his stomach turned at the smell of burnt flesh. Scorpus had done this, manipulated his troops to bring about the complete demise of the city and its villagers. He had created another massive earthquake. Nahik hated this part. Hated the destruction and death it brought.
An old woman made her way to the Lieutenant. Mud covered her entire body, she had been tunneling her way through mounds of dirt as many of her neighbors and friends now were. Bodies rolled out of the Earth on either side of her, some dead, others barely breathing.
“You’re Capricorn’s temple boy, aren’t you?” She paused to examine his face as if examining a passage in a favorite book. Nahik nodded.
She shook her head. “What are you wearing?” Her thin beat-up body stiffened, as she grabbed his arm.
“Nothing of importance.” Nahik said, almost ashamed, he took her hand, steadying the old woman. Covered in mud he thought his uniform unrecognizable, but somehow she knew he wore the colors of Scorpus. Once she had been a resident of the Temple of Light, one of the many cooks under Capricorn’s employment, and he was just a temple boy.
“I …” He didn’t know what to say. He gave her a blank look, arms hanging at his sides, chin dropping to his chest. They were on opposite sides now.
The old woman pointed to the mud and destruction. “Are you going to help us?” She asked boldly, ignoring his colors. Her lips pinched, waiting for a response. When none came, she dove back into the muddy terrain. Nahik stood still, and watched as she joined a handful of others, searching for survivors, all of them digging, clawing at the earth like animals. His cheeks burned as he angled away, averting their stares.
Collecting loyalist survivors from warring kingdoms did not fall under his orders. Neither did stopping the royal wedding. He pinched the bridge of his nose, tightly squeezing his eyes, and taking a deep breath. He had time enough, the storm had lessened, this would not be a setback. He would still make it, not a day early, but on the actual date of the ceremony.
Nahik knelt next to the old woman and started digging, clawing at the earth like everyone else. Rain beat down hard against their bodies, smearing mud across their backs. Children screamed, begging to be saved. Nahik felt his heart stop, his cheeks grow hot, he was going to help them. Scorpus would never know.
A layer of steam rose over the ground as volcanic activity continued to rattle the Earth, but nobody stopped. People carried on their horrible task without complaint, uncovering one body after the other, most of them dead.
Nahik unearthed a tiny Lemurian child. He studied her little face, lifting her into his arms. She wasn’t breathing. He cradled her, his lips sweeping across her cheek. The old woman looked into his face, now a mask of mud. A pair of blue eyes stared back at her. His large frame hunched over the small bundle in his arms. The woman’s mouth dropped. She had never seen an Atlantean warrior cry.
The Atlantean Empire
Sahar never asked to be Queen, never wanted the title, all she wanted was to be like every other girl. She wanted the freedom to marry the man she loved, the man she had loved her entire life. However, fate had another plan for her. In this turbulent tale of love, war, and upheaval. Sahar finds that she must choose between love and duty, and the choice she makes will change her forever.