Read Falco Invictus: On the Forge of War Online

Authors: Rodney C. Johnson

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Falco Invictus: On the Forge of War (9 page)

BOOK: Falco Invictus: On the Forge of War
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Inscribed in the alien script beneath the
mural glowed the name Kranix T’Raul.

The dragon of flame held Kulcarin's eye.

He heard an echo in his mind. A voice called
out to him. It was not unfamiliar as all Falcanians felt it.

Char!
That is all. The echo of the
over-soul. That WiFi connection which all Falcanians
experience.

The connection simply reconfigures
,
Kulcarin told himself.

He turned away from the mural with the
intent of going from the chamber. His hand reached for the door
button, yet he remained reluctant to open the tomb. Instead he
turned back to face the sarcophagus. Before him the black box
loomed. All sense of his individuality lost, Kulcarin keyed an
alien code into the latch. As quickly as he recalled the code, the
memory of it erased itself from his mind.

A thousand years the sarcophagus had lain
closed, sealed away, a prison hoped to be lost to the universe, now
opened. The shape, long and coiled oil-black, its wings seemed to
have been burnt away, and scorched to the bone. The creature's eyes
were empty and lifeless. Kulcarin looked down at the corpse,
reached out to feel the alien remains.

The beast turned its head. Its eyes glowed
with flame and the scorched bone-wings burst to life. Aranskrai,
normally a man of great courage, ran for the door but the creature
fell upon him. He wrestled with the beast, but it subdued him with
ease.

Yes
, said a voice within Aranskrai's
skull.

Who are you? What are you doing to me?

Kranix.

Kranix searched the creature's mind and
body. He discovered this one proved familiar to him. He forgot many
things over the countless years, but the memories began to return.
They had met before, destined once more do so here and now. A
moment yet to be flashed in his mind: blue light and gunfire. This
Kulcarin was so much like him. Even winged. Kranix liked that.

Kranix had taken other bodies, but those
forced to walk the earth were always so tedious. His natural state
could fly the stars and this body had the potential to perhaps do
the same given some alterations.

He burrowed deeper, examining this
Kulcarin's life. A girl with long dark hair and pointed ears like
this Falcanian was prominent within Aranskrai’s mind. She was
called Sitara, Kulcarin's lover. He found this being's family and
that he was a respected member of his people's military.

That would serve him well.

The biology of this Falcanian in part helped
awaken Kranix from his thousand-year slumber. It seemed the
Falcanian skeleton contained that rare mineral Q-X which also
functioned as part of Kranix's composition. The mineral vibrated
within him to endow the dragon with fascinating spatial
abilities.

The perfect tool could be found in these
Falcanians. Kranix could turn them into a fantastic army. Better
than any he had made in the past. The potential to be had in the
Falcanian peoples evolution was barely tapped.

He would guide it.

As he moved deeper, Kranix found a signal
being emitted from the Falcanian and amplified by the background
radiation of the universe. Kranix felt the other Falcanians on
board his sepulcher. The sense of the over-soul reached out to
ensure that Kulcarin still remained among it. Before the over-soul
could notice him the dragon went further, and concealed himself
away in Kulcarin's mind. He would have time, but not if the
Falcanians noticed him first.

Kranix would wait. He did that well. His
mother made him into the perfect creature and he would bring
perfection to the Universe’s inherit chaos. He needed for Kulcarin
to become a willing partner in his cause. He would teach Ironsol
that his was the right way, for both himself and his people just as
he had done before his imprisonment by the Kri-Skar.

When Kulcarin Aranskrai awoke he knelt
before the sarcophagus, a pile of ash in front of him with no
memory of Kranix.

 

 

[Vanguard Island: Early Morning. November
28, 2030]

Clang, clang, clang!
The sound of a
hammer as it struck an anvil filled his ears. He opened his eyes to
find himself in a forge. The sound of ringing metal behind him and
a cloaked figure stood before a heavy anvil and held a sturdy
hammer, her weapon and her tool.

“Welcome, Sharr Khan,” the cloaked being
said in a female voice.

The Shotar knew full well who he stood
before. This was Falcania herself in the forge deep inside Mount
Shira where she had taken three broken blades and fashioned them
into one arched knife. That is at least how the myth went, none of
it was reality, but it was truth. Char existed in a dynamic state
understood the Shotar. The collective impulse of Falcania and the
other Telchar had reached self-realization and gained free will.
This became abundantly clear after the Telchar had performed an act
of independent creation. Kalitas Rann, the whole and original
DataStream given flesh had been an attempt by the Telchar to broach
the vast gap between the virtual and corporeal.

Falcania pulled back her hood and
acknowledged Sharr. She appeared exactly as Sharr had imagined, how
he wrote her to be. Dark hair, pointed ears, golden skin and light
almond eyes. Falcania had been intended to be the embodiment of his
people’s beauty.

“The over-soul is threatened,” warned the
Rai.

“I feel the shadow. Can you guide me to
it?”

Sharr had to admit access to Falcania's
guidance had often proved useful. He took comfort knowing his heirs
would also have that to help when it would come time for them to
lead the Falcanian people.

“It hides from us and knows we seek it out.”
Falcania looked worried. “You must find it for us.”

In a jolt Sharr found that he returned to
his office, very much alone. A knock at the door alerted him, Ram
Singh, son of a valued ally had arrived.

 

 

“We arrive at Vorkrür on a most auspicious
time!” Ch'Kran declared. He stood on the deck and looked out toward
the amphitheater island which was his homeland. His arms were
outspread so that he framed the place for the women in his charge.
"Today is my Lord Sharr Khan's birthday as well as the beginning of
our most holy festival, the Falcania Kralin.”

Frederika and Mia both gazed at Vanguard
Island in awe. The
Chrysanthemum Maru
had just passed
between two wave barriers that were mounted with what appeared to
be large cannons. The ship entered the port and the gathered women
looked out upon a bustling city populated by winged-beings and
travelers from across Asia and Europe.

 

 

Chapter 2. The Golden Apple

 

Unleashed, on wing

Glaive-claws ready

Go Strike.

A shadow rises, the hammer falls.

The whirlwind is upon us.

Things fall apart.

Blood oaths lay in ruin,

Everything turns.

Hatchlings bray,

Hunter, prey: Falcon returns home.

--- Geir Roark, “Cry of the Sundered”

 

 

The second she stepped foot onto the dock,
Frederika senses were overwhelmed by Vanguard Island. A cacophony
of smells, colors, and sounds assaulted her as the Falcanians
celebrated Sharr Khan's fifty-fifth birthday to the fullest.

The music was the most wondrous of all. The
sounds of deep druming and stringed instruments filled the air.

Frederika followed the other women as
Ch'Kran led them up the golden triangle tiled road toward the
palace. It stood on a hill, overlooking a market along with
smaller, A-Frame buildings. Since they were creatures of flight, it
wasn't surprising that Falcanians liked to build up rather than
outward.

Frederika smiled at Ch'Kran. Now that they
were among his own kind, Ch'Kran had abandoned his gray cloak for
just his triangular cut purple vest. His face was relaxed, no doubt
relieved to bring the Shotar's entertainment safely to their
destination.

Across the bay, Frederika caught sight of a
round, domed building attached to the island by a causeway. Three
winged statues with raised blades stood guard over the important
looking structure. The statues were female warriors, each fierce
yet lovely.

An A-Frame structure built from weathered
platinum lattice and fiery-glass. A chapel, or temple of some sort
glistened solitary in its own plaza. A large, stylized cat head
near it, among a group of date palms mischievously grinned. Beyond
the temple, a dense forest of what looked like pines concealed much
of the area. It seemed the insular island served as some kind of
animal preserve and hunting ground. It was Frederika would later
learn, also a proficient farm that made the Khanate highly
self-sufficient.

A monorail system threaded its way through
the pyramid metropolis. The train swiftly passed inside tunnels and
buildings, even into the sea to carry both tourists and Falcanians.
Clear Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern influences could be seen in
the construction style. In the curved outer wall of the island, a
port allowed aircraft of many sorts to come and go. The Morningstar
girl noted this. Should her mission fail, she would have a route
off Vanguard Island. Oberon trained her in many different areas,
and piloting skills were among one of her many abilities.

The golden road was crowded with people. The
group of exotic dancers walked past vertical farms, three glass
cylindrical buildings filled with plant life. Overhead atop the
buildings, windmills churned in the breeze from off the bay. All
around Falcanians moved about their affairs and did not bother to
conceal themselves as they went about their business on this
luxurious island.

Out of the corner of her eye, a beautiful
Falcanian dancer caught Frederika's attention. Bronzed skinned and
black hair flowed down her back. Jewelry adorned her every limb.
Her body was well built not to mention, barely concealed under the
skimpiest of yellow lehnga-choli. The female oozed seduction as she
undulated before the crowd. The dancer’s armored tail sparkled
silver in the sunlight as it leisurely swayed with her rhythm. She
stretched her arms above her head. Her partially outstretched wings
changed color, moving from blue to pink to red. At one point the
woman's wings achieved a bright Borealis effect.

Suddenly steel hit steel as bare torso male
Falcanians sprung at one another, using their Garuda thrusters to
help them kick. The warriors clashed weapons: Long forward curved
knives, like a bird-of-prey claw. The holy Kraris. Two in each hand
struck an offense and defense. The warriors grappled at each other
with tri-claw boots. Cheers from the gathered Falcanians honored
the warriors in their mock combat who bowed to the crowd and
offered a salute with bare blades.

Everything Frederika had seen only affirmed
her beliefs - the Falcanians were a magnificent and beautiful
people. All were youthful and vibrant. None looked aged or infirm.
And their phenotype seemed pretty Eurasian, a nice balance of
European and Asian, not favoring one race more than the other.
Clearly a new species.

The navel and midriff were “in” as part of
Falcanian style. Many of the females Frederika witnessed boldly
displayed pierced bellybuttons. She had several outfits which would
take advantage of the fashion trend.

Frederika narrowed her eyes. She noticed
that each Falcanian wore a triangular shaped crystal ornament near
the lower abdomen. Tiny lights blinked on the crystals housing. She
wondered what purpose this device served. Many traditions of the
East considered that area the “Seat of the Soul”, a place known as
the Dantian, generally thought of as the location where vital
energy, Qi, could be cultivated and stored.

A Falcanian mother walked past the group,
nursed a child at her breast. The woman appeared to be in her
twenties. Frederika wouldn’t dare assume given everyone appeared so
young. But it was the baby that held her interest. Stubby wings
were anchored to the child's young back in a mass of copper colored
feathers which tapered down to a tail and ended in a two-pronged
blade. The baby armored-tail waved with reassurance when its mother
pressed it closer to her breast. The mother nodded and smiled at
Frederika before she went on her way.

For a half beat Frederika's heart stopped,
and she allowed herself to gasp. A motif in much of the Falcanian
decoration followed a pattern of helices and eggs. A familiar
symbol soon became crystal clear. A small green egg decoration
which contained GenKon's hourglass helix. Just like the one she had
tattooed on the back of her neck. Had Oberon lied to her? Did
Genetic Konnections INC., fund the Falcanian's Phoenix Project? Why
did the emblem of the corporation which had made her and had
overseen her upbringing been placed like a sacred symbol within a
Falcanian garden?

Mia noticed Frederika had stopped. She
reached out to pull the blonde along with the group lest she end up
left behind. Reluctantly Frederika moved on while her friend tugged
on her arm. What had Mia said to her on the ship? All her questions
would be answered at Vanguard. The young woman had no idea the
truth in that advice.

After the slow walk up the curved road the
group of women eventually arrived at the Royal dwelling of Shotar
Sharr Khan Mingh Drakonis. Black with red trim and embellished by
gold studs, the pyramidal Narshin Thryak presided over Vanguard
Island from atop a great rise, secure in the coral white curve of a
high wall. The complex had a succession of steps and walled gardens
radiated out from the palace's core. Two banners flapped from the
copper point of a spire, one of which was the black and red
Falcanian Phoenix banner. The other was the House Drakonis’s
emblem, a gold tri-claw which gripped onto a triangular shield
emblazoned by a Kaliburn “D” flew also and acknowledged that Sharr
Khan held residence.

BOOK: Falco Invictus: On the Forge of War
6.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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