This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Slitting the priest's throat took little effort. The act punctuated the holy man's question, tore his airway, and removed his brain's oxygen supply. As unconsciousness crept its way into the priest's wide, unbelieving eyes, the attacker answered the query.
An old title, one the assailant had dropped a long time ago. The title had been rendered anachronistic by sudden shifts in the world. It was a good name. He knew the priest would know it.
The holy man's eyed bulged with recognition. He tried to speak but only produced a gargle. Blood bubbled up from his severed wind pipe. He reached out, trying to grasp the coat of his murderer. The Cyneweard stepped back.
The priest fell to his knees, his lifeblood spilling down his gray robes. He gave his attacker one last questioning glance before the light left his eyes. His head lolled. His body heaved a few times. Blood continued to spurt from a severed artery. The Cyneweard turned his attention to the pounding above him.
Rain hammered the stone roof of the House of Humboldt, drowning all further thought. The attacker, knife still in hand, turned and walked out of the side door into the church's garden. The cold rain pelted his be-coated shoulders, splashed off of the wide brim of his hat, and washed away what little blood remained on the blade. He looked around the well-kept garden, impressed by the many fauna on display. The priest, though old, had maintained the grounds very well. He wondered if the replacement priest would be as diligent with the plants.
Dotted between the plants were plaques featuring recounts of historical events that had occurred and famous people that had attended the church. This had, after all, once been the center of the Imperial religion. Now it was merely a piece of a large whole, just another slice of the Chop. There was one particular marker the attacker was looking for and he had a feeling it wasn't going to be etched in bronze and marble.
At the end of the garden, behind a large hedge, sat that marker. It was a small, battered stone with a few drops of blackish stain on its duller edge. He knelt and placed his free hand on the stone. This stone had seen the most pivotal part of recent history; had even been a part of it. Part of him, one long dormant, sought a revelation. What could this artifact impart on him?
He felt nothing. Heard nothing. He was unmoved. It was just a rock. He sighed and pushed it over, plunging his knife into the impressed earth beneath it. A few moments of probing netted him a dull thunk. He began pulling the soil out and to the side of the winning knife wound. Though the day was dim and rainy, his target still shone bright.
A few tugs, a snap of bone, and the trinket pulled free from its grim bindings. The crest was there, jade and emerald fused together. The gold chain was in decent shape. He threw the find into one of his many coat pockets, set the knife into the hole with its grim occupant, and replaced the soil.
Yet again he was struck by the lack of oomph in the artifact. It was just jewelry. It had once meant so much, had once been a pivotal part of a pivotal image that had shaped the lives of thousands. Now it was simply a thing, rattling around a pocket in a murderer's coat. Had he retained a sense of humor over the years, it might have chuckled at the irony. He felt nothing but a thirst.
He replaced the stone, ensuring it was placed exactly as it had been, and stood. The rain started to come down harder. Sighing, he looked up and let the rain wash over his face. He closed his eyes. The thirst was always strong now; too many demons clawing at him, needing to be silenced. Their only weakness was served in small glasses.
The attacker hopped the stone fence of the garden rather than leave through the front door. A shift at The Machine would be out soon and he didn't need witnesses to his whereabouts. The Sigil's presence was strong in the Chop and he still had work to handle.
He found himself in a familiar alleyway, but pushed those memories to the side. More demons to silence. He walked with purpose, hands in his outer coat pockets, head tilted down. The rain streamed from his hat's brim and onto his boots.
The alleyway exited into the main dirt drag of the Chop's Machine district, a sprawling shanty town that had attached itself to the remains of a former shopping district. Post-war the place was a mixture of shoddy wooden shacks and ancient, damaged stone buildings that had once been the superfluous feeding ground for the aristocracy. Now it served as home for the Machine's lowest paid workers, the company script stores, and the whore houses and pint bars that those sorts of places need.
They called it Little Mille, after the large Animas city named Millewhist in the west. The population was nearly half Animas, the remainder being Hume. Cats, dogs, rabbits. All the bipedal animal races were well accounted for in Little Mille. Though the war was over and the Animas-despising Empire dissolved, the non-human races still felt the sting of discrimination in the Chop. The Machinist Group, made up of most of the leaders of the Resistance from the war, worked with Animas but didn't trust them for any important job. Still, the Machine was a means to an end. Without the Empire's economy and a dwindling need for hard manual labor when farming, many Animas found themselves without food or a place to live in the Whistlands. They came to the Chop to get high-risk, low-paying Machine jobs. They dropped like fruit gnats, but they kept coming.
The loud whistle of the day shift's end at the Machine woke him from his thoughts. He turned his head and found the bulky shadow of the Machine in the wet haze. It was a large, square building, built of metal and not stone. It loomed over the area with its small attached buildings and tall smoke stacks. Inside, the alchemical goods that were creeping into every day life were being built, tested, and shipped out into the Whistlands. Slugthrowers for the paranoid, alchemical lighting and wires for candle conversion, conversion kits to take carts to steam power, alchemical packs for portable light, and much more. The alchemists were thinking up new conveniences all the time. There was no telling what the factory would produce next.
Of course, the Machine had started as an alchemist's method to render the sword and bow-and-arrow obsolete. Slugthrowers had been invented and the Emperor needed a place to mass produce them for his large army. A poor district was razed, its citizens displaced, and the Machine was built by the Alchemist's Guild. The aristocracy moved to the great wonder's shadow. And then war...
He sighed and continued down the muddy street, hoping to beat the foot traffic into a bar.
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!
ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?
Julia Summers PA: It's Prodigious, Shocking, Stunning, Unbelievably fascinating and enduring yet evil has a presence about it! Epic writing style! - Nook Books and More BlogRed that pulls you in. The characters have a way of pulling you in. They are all unique in a way that gives it a different appeal then the ave...
summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...
JWalker: I loved this story from start to finish! It flows at a really nice pace and the story world feels so real. The fight sequences are a treat especially when Isanfyre is training to become a warrior. I found the names really cool and thankfully easy to pronounce. Personally I have always struggled w...
Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...
MegaRogueLegend666: I love this story so much. It's impossible to describe my excitement with each new chapter in words. The author has such a good writing style, very good descriptions of the fighting and character descriptions/emotions. the plot is also amazing! This fanfic could be a side anime show or novel ......
FateFellShort: I have read this story and have followed the writers on tumblr from the beginning. Its a wonderful story. Beautifully written with a really nice pace, that makes it enjoyable to read more than once. For me, fairy tail has very good characters but what the writers have done is give them more depth...
Tony Lee: Very interesting with good ideas! Would recommend it as a casual read. Been depressed for quite some time but this novel kept me occupied for about a week. If you enjoy fiction-thriller novels with some magic involved, then this is the novel for you.
Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...
Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."