Enjoy this title right now, plus millions more, with a free trial

Only $9.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

Heaven's Edge (#1-3)

Heaven's Edge (#1-3)

Read preview

Heaven's Edge (#1-3)

Length:
318 pages
5 hours
Released:
Mar 7, 2019
ISBN:
9780463227411
Format:
Book

Description

Only by working together will they survive...

A group of refugees from a powerful, sophisticated Core World planet have been on the run for seven years. The mission was to get away and give their children some time to grow up and help them carry on the cause. The cause was to help the rebellion, win the war and go home. But things didn’t quite turn out the way they planned.

QEYA #1
Qeya, the future Queen of Datura, can't do much about her red hair, but she knows how to wield a scythe blade and suck the life out of her enemy, literally. Life seems great, if a little boring on heaven's edge. Until her ship is attacked and nearly everyone on board is murdered. Now, the miner who saved her is the only thing standing between her and the hungry beasts hunting them.

OHRE #2
All Ohre wants is the kind of freedom a life in the sea can give. But he doesn't want to live it alone anymore. He wants the princess and if Qeya won’t come willingly, he’ll make her.

TAMN #3
Tamn has always lived by a code. He doesn't question his duty. Until his crew is stranded on a hostile alien world and he's forced to watch the girl he loves burn in the sky. Stripped of his reason for living, the voices from his past haunt and guide him in a path of endless retribution. Only the strongest will survive the trials ahead and Tamn is determined to keep the family he has left alive.

**Box Set includes first three Heaven's Edge Novellas**

Released:
Mar 7, 2019
ISBN:
9780463227411
Format:
Book

About the author

Jennifer Silverwood has been involved in the publishing world since 2012 and is passionate about supporting the writing community however she can. After studying traditional art at University, she began helping Qamber Designs & Media bring authors' books to life. Jennifer is the founder of We Write Fantasy, a blog and support group for fellow genre authors. She is the author of two series--Wylder Tales and the Borderlands Saga--and the stand-alone romance titles Stay and She Walks in Moonlight.Discover more at - http://jennifersilverwood.com


Book Preview

Heaven's Edge (#1-3) - Jennifer Silverwood

Chapter 1

Forgotten

My childhood lullaby was the metallic blend of grinding gears, of hissing hydro fans and the growl of plasma engines burning.

It had been so long since our feet had trodden the soft soils of Datura that we would have tripped on solid ground. No other mining vessel had spent as long in the heavens as us. Explorers were few and far between, so deep on the rim of the universe, that when we chanced upon each other, our visits turned into one long party.

Mother and Father, who led because they had been born to lead and couldn’t function any other way, asked the usual questions. Have you been to the Center of late? What changes have come to the core worlds? And their answers were always the same.

No change, no reassurance that our home world was free from tyranny and the royal family could return at last. We were cursed to float eternally on this hunk of scrap metal, doomed to never set foot off of it.

Qeya, you must be patient, Mother would insist. Soon you shall ascend. Only then will you be old enough to join the search crews. But for now, continue in your lessons, prepare for our return. Do your duty and watch over those who look up to you.

Occasionally we felt the need to stretch our heaven legs on the surface of an uncharted world. This far out on the Rim that meant every habitable world we came across, because no one had bothered to map it before. Most of the stars we passed by only harbored dangerous worlds, giant balls of poisonous gasses and violent storms. We never lingered long there, only enough to gather essence from the sulfurous airs to power our engines before we sailed on again. But sometimes the shuttle Pioneer found something. Sometimes they found aliens with strange skins and eyes and tongues used to curse rather than welcome us. This wasn’t surprising though. Few worlds near the Center were capable of sustaining the fragile balance of life. Here on the Rim, few were balanced enough to support thinking peoples. So we didn’t expect to ever find a world we could colonize and name for ourselves. And Father would never dream of landing Datura 3.

This ship is our home among the heavens, until the day of our return, he’d said once. After the Federation is drawn up and ready for my print, then we will take on the Guild.

But unlike my parents and all the other adults on our ship, I knew the truth. We were never going back.

I had just turned fifteen that season and memory of my home world was fading even for me. Yet there were so many things about our palace—the way the twin baby suns reflected off the opalescent walls and silver streams, the way the abandoned ocean cities shone with the light from below, the way the air near the palace always smelt like fresh qeyas, our sweetest flowering fruit—that I could never forget. Impressions like memories stayed with me long after the seventh year of our journey turned.

Arvex made fun of me because I was named after a fruit, but at least I wasn’t named for him, the reason we could never go home again. Father’s sister had joined with a core worlder who brought his poison to the inner courts just before Arvex was born. Mother says in the beginning we listened to his ideas of peace with the Galacian warrior king because we were tired of fearing what might happen otherwise. All roads seemed to be leading to a civil war between the inner worlds. He said an alliance was our only hope of keeping peace with the Guild. But now my father’s sister is dead because of him and we are exiled while he rules from our palace.

Older than me by two years, my handsome brother was meant to be king, and I his Orona, the healer. We were next in a line that reached beyond written history. No one knows why the king needed his sister to be a healer. Even the word orona outdates any language on Datura. My father’s sister told me she believed it was from the time before our ascension. Two ages have passed since we dwelled beneath the seas that coated most of our planet. Long enough for us to forget that our way had been any different from what it was now. For seven thousand years, this is the way it has always been on our watery home world, as even as the moon tides. Only in our lifetimes had the cycle changed and our parents did not know how to cope.

This is why we were not like the thousands of other refugees who found the nearest good worlds beyond Galacian influence and settled down. We just kept sailing until the black holes grew thicker around us, until we’d reached the areas where our star charts no longer had any names. Arvex was the first one to dub the Rim, the Edge, among us. This added to his popularity but the sad truth was he wasn’t the first to introduce new slang. Pirates said they called it the Edge because if you sailed beyond this part of the heavens you would fall down an endless abyss of nothingness.

Here there be monsters, dragons, they say. Here was the edge of the universe.

Qeya! A blur of platinum braids blocked my view out the window to beyond. I grimaced. Only three of us had the rare silvery hair of the northern clans and her two elder siblings had already ascended to the deck above ours. Hanea was a year younger than I but a much taller and willowy creature. Recently the other boys had begun to notice how well she filled out her leggings and tunic, boys like my brother Arvex.

Did I mention the one downside to living on a massive ship with the same people for seven years? No escape.

Here I find you of course! She laughed brightly with a glance at the glowing lights of the beyond, of other worlds and their stars. She heaved a sigh. Doesn’t it ever bore you to just stare out that window all the time?

I shrugged. What else should I be doing?

She bristled, just as I knew she would. Hanea and people like her were products of breeding. She was perfection in her heeled boots, her flawless grace created to be an ornament for some influential politician. There was nothing of use about the poor thing, and out here, it was clear she did not belong, just like the rest of Father’s crew. This is why the pirates we occasionally ran into, or explorers and traders too poor to stay near the Center, found us so fascinating. We were a miserable collection of the brightest, best and beautiful of our world. Unfortunately, we had no purpose on the Edge. We didn’t even run the leaking ship! That job belonged to the miners we’d hitched a ride with during the evacuation, miners people like Hanea had nothing to do with.

She jutted out her lower lip in a childish pout. Why must you always be so difficult, Qeya? You’re never any fun.

Fine... I fought the inclination to hit her and dampened my temper. Turning to face her vexed green eyes, I gave in to what we both knew she was really asking. What else do you want me to tell you? You were joined with Arvex the day you were born. So I don’t see why it matters what he thinks of you.

Hanea gasped, grabbed my covered wrists in a panic. How can you say that? Of course it matters. Arvex is so good and worthy. I want to be best for him.

Rolling my eyes I glanced behind me at our deck, where those too young to be counted were locked away. When the elite adult members of our crew took over the miner ship they attempted to recreate our castle arrangements. So to keep the miners and us out of their way, our parents took the top deck and placed us on lockdown in second. Here we continued the lessons without the aid of palace tutors, trained our bodies for the battle we were one day meant to fight. For those young enough to remember no other life than this, second deck seemed ideal. We ruled ourselves, acted as though we called all the shots. We were our own mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. What they did not understand was our studies were a way to confine us, keep us pure from miner influence. It was a smart way to keep us under the watchful care of our parents but out of the way of those navigating the controls, or the miners working below.

Every deck was lined with rooms or quarters ringing the center. Our hovel-sized homes might be the length of our bodies only. Male and female quarters were placed on opposite ends of the long divided hall. The common area was where we studied, ate and, for those young enough, played games. Lit with luminous globes reminiscent of the green shades of Datura, the common area had been redecorated soon after our families admitted exile. Motifs of the ancient scripts and slide projections of home world covered the walls. Everything was simulated to make the transition back to our birthright easier for the ones who couldn’t remember it.

Ten great families had escaped the desecration of the palace that night. My parents had been one half of the ruling House. Had we not escaped when we did, all of us would have been put under the scythe. Seven of us still recalled the screams and flames trapping our families inside the palace. Three of those seven, Min, Qori and Tamn, had ascended, growing beyond these quarters, they had joined the Pioneer to explore new worlds as we found them.

Ascension is the time when we gain our sixth sense and the first half of our education is completed. When we were still on Datura, the entire city celebrated the ascension of a royal. Here on the Datura 3, we were simply added to the shuttle crew list and given our own quarters on first deck. Or in cases like Min and Qori, who were mated, we lived together. In some ways I hated them for leaving me to deal with all this alone. Now that the others were ascended, only Arvex and I were old enough to maintain order.

Arvex was plenty happy to avoid any duties except the ones he liked, however, which included being the center of attention and showing off his scythe skills, and not much else. He was just as eager to grow up and join the shuttle crew as I was and considered babysitting a miner’s job. I let him get away with it, shouldered the added responsibilities, because I knew just how much burden he was going to inherit when he took over our father’s throne. In case we didn’t make it back in time, it was up to Arvex to take back the planet and win the war.

Bringing my attention back to Hanea’s pathetic pleas, I muttered, Look, I’ve told you plenty of times what he thinks... As if the thought of my brother could summon him, his pale eyes traveled over the group surrounding him and met mine. His brow rose in question and I subtly jerked my head toward my current and his future problem. His grin spread across his face, transforming his golden features into every girl’s dream. At least half a dozen younger females sighed in unison and parted for him like the great leaking sea.

Then why has he not called to me yet, Qeya? Why doesn’t he do something when we are so obviously ready to be fully joined? I don’t want to wait for my ascension! You have to tell him again, hint to him at least of my adoration! She squeaked, hands still grasping for mine. I kept my fists tight. Never was a fan of people touching me.

Tell him yourself.

Tell me what? Arvex’s shadow covered Hanea and her translucent inner eyelids closed at the sight of him, a sure sign of her attraction. His continuing grin told me he knew full well what the problem was.

I stood, growling, Fix this, and brushed past them without a backwards glance. Already he was pulling her into his lap, whispering promises he had every intention of keeping…eventually.

Lessons were winding down for the day, though to be honest any concept of day and night was lost to us. The adults kept us on a strict clock however—another step in their efforts to keep home world fresh on our minds. I had taken a break from my duties but couldn’t ignore the children any longer.

Leaving the observation port behind, I walked the circular hallway towards the combat ring. Personal quarters hugged the ship’s hull to my right, the center of second deck to the left. The few children scurrying through this corridor were either headed to their work consoles for a final glance at the histories or bed. Cerulean blue eyes, almost black-green hair, brown and peachy skins and silvery gills, I knew each and every face, knew what they were feeling just by a gentle brush of my budding sixth sense. I had not told anyone else the possibility I had already ascended before my time. My father’s sister, the true Orona before her death, had told me I was the strongest of our age. I took her word to heart because her gift had been prophecy. If only she had used her gift to stay alive.

Qeya! Where are you rushing to?

The identical faces of Gem and Menai popped out of the grease work and placed themselves purposefully in my way. Schooling a patient smile onto my features, I tried to channel my water as mother liked to call it.

Ahoy, boys! The same place I rush every evening. How can I be of help? When they grinned mischievously at one another, I knew I was about to regret offering.

Oh, it is nothing, Queen of our hearts, Gem answered with a nod to his brother.

We just wanted to rush along with you. Menai smiled cheekily, spreading his hand to our spacious prison.

Especially since you have the highest connections, Gem added.

And can swim away, Menai finished.

You know I’m headed up to top deck, don’t you?

Naturally, the twins answered in unison. Staring them down I closely watched for any signs of treachery.

Gem was taller than his brother by a hair, or rather his full head of blue-black hair. Menai had shaved his off save a single spiked strip down the middle of his skull. Gem thought it would be hilarious to shear his brother’s fine hair off while he was sleeping. Ever since then Menai decided he actually preferred the Mohawk. Both had inherited their mother’s Western Continent coloring, a blend of pearly white and sea grass green that set their bold sea-colored eyes off handsomely. And since they had grown old enough to realize this, they had become a pair of pre-pubescent manipulating terrors.

My clear inner eyelids shut out of reflex rather than need, a telltale twitch of mine whenever I feel really boiled. The twins flanked my sides as I attempted to walk ahead and check on the others. I hope this isn’t another pitiful attempt at getting me to sneak you two on third deck again.

Oh no!

Leviathan be diced!

Travesty!

Horror!

I brushed them aside. "Try my brother again. He’s better at getting out of trouble. And you will get him in trouble, you know. Just like the last time you flooded the kitchens."

An accident!

Stupid miner’s fault anyway!

Silencing them with a warning wave of my hand just above their faces, I turned to the huddle sifting diligently through stacks of keypads.

Everyone floating along? Seven pairs of youthful eyes glanced wearily up to mine as they answered.

Aye, Qeya. Mora with her spiked purple hair and tiny frame piped up. Glancing at the black-haired boys on either side of her, she nudged them with her elbows. Both perked up immediately. Aye, Qeya.

Mora and I winked at one another. She was the oldest of her class and the younger sibling of the twins.

Nodding, I clapped the shoulders of either twin and smiled. Your second year can be most trying. Fortunately, Gem and Menai have volunteered to help you get back on your star legs, right boys? If they had done anything but grin in reply they would both have lost face. Image meant almost as much to them as the forbidden, the first being essential in their efforts to attain the second. Several of the other girls blushed and exchanged eager grins at the idea of the handsome twins tutoring them.

Both adolescents grumbled beneath their breath, though, and I was almost unable to suppress my smile as I left them all behind.

Carry on, mates.

My quarters were nearest to the single usable lift of second deck, the opposite end of my peers and never-ending responsibilities. I barely paused to glance at the empty spaces leading up to mine. Growing up I had relied much on Qori’s guidance. She was eldest among the female children, as strong and capable as I could ever hope to be. She and Min were already fathoms deep in love in a way I could only hope for one day. Now I rarely saw either of the ascended since they had begun going on the shuttle missions.

Against my will I thought of Tamn, my brother’s hero in so many ways and former best friend. Tamn was the only ascended who still made frequent visits to our isolated existence on second deck. I blushed just thinking of the new way he smiled as he hovered over me, or my reaction to his attentions.

Second deck was busy this time of season. Soon everyone would float to the next level of their studies. I was responsible for urging them along, delegating chores and solving problems the adults were too busy to handle. And most days I hated the job. On home world this never would have been my job, to look after the Royal children of the palace. Miners who didn’t want to waste away underground or in the heavens above vied to serve in these lowly yet coveted positions. Back home I would have been practicing on honing my sixth sense with the Orona, my father’s sister. Here, I was a royal baby sitter, trying to infuse a hope for our return that not even I really believed in. But the heads that turned to bow slightly to mine as I passed warmed my heart, reminding me that no matter how hopeless and alone we might feel on the Edge, we had one another.

You are not only preparing them for their future duties, Qeya, Mother always said. You are preparing them to follow your rule one day. Mother took her role as Orona very heavily. It was not something she was born to do because she didn’t have the necessary skills. These only passed through siblings of the most ancient line. Father’s sister should have been on this ship with us, training me in the ancient way. She had raised me long before my mother took an active interest in my life. She was the true Orona, but because she was gone—along with her chance of having any children—I am our people’s only chance.

I was done for the day. Time to report to father before our final meal, another of my brothers’ neglected duties I had been conned into performing. After that came the joyous task of putting thirty-one children to bed.

Arvex was being prepped to lead the rebellion we planned on staging in a few years. He still had nightmares every night of the night we escaped aboard Datura 3. He had been responsible for taking care of the royal children then, of getting us safely on board. Not every child made it. Most fell to the scythe blade and Arvex had been too young and inexperienced to fight back. He put on a game face for the others now but I knew better. It was easier for me to give the nightly reports to mother and father because they only questioned me about my abilities and whether my sixth sense, the key to our success, had come in yet.

I dashed through my sectioned quarters on my way up and snatched the pad from the foot of my bed. I pressed my finger to the cool clear square surface of the nearby door lock. Only mine and Arvex’s rooms had access to the lifts on deck two, and they opened for our finger signature alone. It slid open with a graceful swish. Stepping aboard so the door could shut behind me, I waited for the lift to recognize my voice signature.

Top deck.

Before the light dimmed, I felt the familiar twist in my gut that told me I was traveling fast in a ship already soaring through the heavens. Before I was old enough to make these reports and mother and father still visited us on our deck, I had been deathly afraid of the lift. It reminded me too much of the same lift that took us off our beautiful home world to above.

I hated the beyond as much as I loved looking at it. All throughout my childhood, I had imagined what it would be like to settle on one of those worlds, to find something new and fresh again. What would it be like to find a place whose surface you did not already know every inch of?

When the lift opened again, it was on a world vastly different to the one I had ascended from. Top deck was divided into two sections. Nearest to me and against the inner walls of the ship were the quarters of the adults who had been the elite of our society. Navigation was opposite me, at the front central area of first deck. The half-stack daises each adult stood or sat behind continuously flashed with blinking lights and markings in our tongue. Once I heard they had been covered with markings only a miner could understand. But this too changed when we claimed Datura 3 for our own.

Each station faced the crescent wall overlooking the heavens, and the quickest death if penetrated. Made entirely of a synthetic filmy liquid that was harder than our strongest metals and another miner secret, the barrier allowed us to look out on the rush of stars.

In their mated pairs, the adults moved with fluid grace from station to station, tapping the glowing lights occasionally, passing on orders to down below through the hollow shell-like tubes linked to speakers on the miner and children’s decks. In my opinion, it didn’t get any more impersonal than that: interacting with our parents through the tiny speaker holes, their voices barking with the metallic clang of the crude technology.

The only reason I enjoyed coming to top deck was the view. If you stood at the edge of the deck, close enough to touch the deceptively pliable window, you could pretend you were there in the heavens. Some nights I dreamed about it, floating aimlessly as the black vacuum sucked the air from my lungs and hardened my essence.

Communications were running swimmingly between Pioneer and Datura 3. I could hear Hanea’s older brother Tamn’s voice and felt the familiar old tingle up my spine. Tamn and I had been close ever since we were born and marked for joining. All royal children were marked at birth with their true mate. It was never something we questioned. We were never raised to love so it never occurred to us to want anything different. From the time of my infancy I had been marked for Tamn and growing up it was hard not to swoon at the sight of his well-developed arms and chest, his sculpted jaw and opalescent gills perfectly spaced down his neck. In the palace he treated me like a little sister, sending me occasional gifts on my naming day or whenever he could get away with it. I longed and pined for him in a way that was simply not done between a royal couple and was more akin to the rumored passions of the barbaric miners.

Orona noticed this first and cautioned me to quash the emotion, to burn it with fire and keep it locked away until the proper time. Things changed when I developed breasts and a wide set of hips. For the first time since I’d known him, his gills flared in my presence, a sure sign of his discomfort, followed by a thick intensity channeled through his silver gaze. The distance between us was turning from something awkward to pulse pounding. So I didn’t know how I felt about the joining now.

I could almost see the way his thick brows drew together as I listened to the tail end of his report.

Air is fine to breathe, no toxins that our scanners have picked up. Feels lighter too, not so much pull as the last hostile world. No sign of life but plenty of water and land. We can’t see anything beyond this mountain range. Miners are going to check it out.

Fresh, Tamn, Father nodded, pressed tight to his shell-shaped communicator. You are a go for sending them ahead. Eye your backs. Just because you have not spotted any life doesn’t mean it hasn’t spotted you.

Aye, sir.

Qeya! Mother floated over to me, a vision of the palace waterfalls caught in her silver robes. I never saw the practicality of dressing like we were still holding court. Father often reminded me we held to traditions because they were all we had left. Her pale-blue tinted hands held either side of my face in proper greeting. I lifted mine to press her cheeks, enjoying the warm tingle that speared through my fingertips. Our hands were our most sensitive skins besides our feet. The reasons why are lost to

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

Reviews

What people think about Heaven's Edge (#1-3)

0
0 ratings / 0 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews