Jax finds himself abandoned far from home in the desert nation of Kalicodon. When any infraction to tribal honor will land him in chains as a slave, he must learn quickly to adapt in a foreign land in hopes of maintaining his freedom. In his struggles to liberate Daren from slavery, he meets Jesnia, a woman from his homeland, who has hunted fugitives from justice to the eastern edge of the desert. Without his own cunning and her talents, Jax may very well meet his end, fighting for his life in the arena.
Jax grabbed the reins of both animals and led them onto the road.
“Hello, outlander,” a deep voice said from behind him. “I believe you have something of mine.”
Jax turned around to see a man, more than half a foot taller, staring down at him. An ugly bruise wrapped around the entirety of his neck, and his mouth sneered as if addressing a stray dog.
The man wasn’t alone. He held the end of a long chain. At the other end of the silver links, a collar clung to the neck of a young woman. Even downcast, her dark eyes glittered in the failing light. While dried tears streaked down smooth cheeks, long eyelashes held back another levy of tears. Hair like midnight flowed about her shoulders. A line of red pooled around a slice near her midsection, but she didn’t move as if in pain.
How could she still stand after a wound like that? Someone healed her with the Elements. It must have been. But why heal her and not her captor? So much about this place made little sense.
When her eyes glanced up to meet his gaze, Jax felt his hand close into a fist. There was a pleading in her stare and the deepest grief. What would this man make her do as his slave? No. It didn’t matter. Virastian code or no, she did not deserve to be collared like an animal. No one did.
The man stepped between Jax and the woman, hiding her from his view. His voice held a mountain of contempt. “This slava bedoine is not for sale, especially to the likes of you. Look upon her again, and I will have your honor.”
Jax noted the red garb, and remembered Geff’s advice to not interfere. He could feel the daggers in his sleeves. A gentle flick, and he could sink both blades into the man’s neck and free her.
The guard gave Jax a deep scowl, and one of his hands settled upon the hilt of the single blade at his hip. His free hand gripped the empty scabbard on the other side. “You have my property. And I want it back. My sword. Now.”
About the Author
Dr. David Ekrut was raised in a small community in Arkansas, where the abundance of nature fostered his imagination. Whether lost in a book, table-top gaming, or roaming the countryside from coast to coast, expanding his mind inevitably led him to the craft of writing.
Only in the infinite workspace of heartfelt creativity has he ever felt any sense of freedom. Ekrut holds degrees in Liberal Arts-Theatre from Arkansas State University, both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Applied Mathematics from the University of Central Arkansas, and a Master’s in Biomedical Mathematics and Ph.D. in Biomedical Mathematics from Florida State University.
His scientific expertise has aided in creating physically believable fiction with rules and structure to bring his universe to life.