Reaper’s Prize (Love Unbound by Time #1) Read Online Athena Storm

Categories Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi, Paranormal, Romance Tags Authors: Series: Love Unbound by Time Series by Athena Storm
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Total pages in book: 77
Estimated words: 71981 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 360(@200wpm)___ 288(@250wpm)___ 240(@300wpm)
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Our love is bound by fate. Stronger than death.
The Reapers are nightmares whispered about in the dark.
But I never thought I’d come face to face with one.
Much less fall in love with him.
As soon as I see Kalchuk, I know that I am meant for him.
He is my other half.
By his side, we can conquer anything.
At least, that’s what I thought.
I was wrong.
Kalchuk died protecting me by taking a shot to the heart.
Without him, my own heart cannot beat. So, I’ve made my choice.
I’ve climbed into his coffin with him, before his crew shoots it out into space.
To me, it isn’t a death sentence.
I trust Kalchuk. I trust fate itself, enough to face whatever comes next.
We will conquer death as long as I am with him.
And if I’m wrong?
Then I will sleep next to my beloved, forever.
Until the stars refuse to shine.

FULL BOOK START HERE:

One

Kalchuk

Bodies litter the banks of the crimson pond. Victims of war. So many it makes my heart weep, whether their bodies have blue fur, or red scales, or the smooth bare skin of humans.

And I fear before this day is done, there will be many more victims.

Rellik’s cry of anguish rises above the dull roar of flames and the distant crackle of artillery fire. He clutches my voluminous sleeve, dragging my robes off my left shoulder and baring me to the waist. His wings hump and fold tight against his body, a protective instinct.

“This used to be…the Well of…Pure Souls!”

As if my heart didn’t ache enough, it virtually bleeds for my friend. The golden skin of his beautiful face glistens with blue tears. They turn into crystals as they dry, falling off his cheeks to land on the golden grass below.

The crystals burrow into the ground, and would take root under any other circumstances, becoming the seed for a Bitterfruit plant. These are far from normal circumstances.

“Look at what they have done.”

He grabs my jaw and turns my face away from him and toward the Well. It used to be a beautiful natural spring, feeding a merrily bubbling stream of pure blue water. Now the waters have turned crimson, the grass blackened and torn by weapons fire and the boots of soldiers.

One of the bodies floating in the water has golden skin and feathered wings. An Ishani. I close my eyes against the horror before us.

“No, don’t close your eyes. See what their war has wrought? This is your doing, Kalchuk. You allowed the outsiders onto our planet and corrupted the Ishani.”

He lets go of my face and collapses to his knees, head drooping toward the ground.

“A score of us are all that remain, though not for much longer. All of the knowledge we have preserved since the time of the Precursors, is now forever lost.”

Something flares in my chest. I won’t call it hope. Defiance is a better word for it. It’s true that I invited the Ataxians and the Trident Alliance to the negotiating table. I thought our world, blessed by never having known the scourge of war, would be the ideal place to forge a lasting peace.

My hubris now lies spread out before me, in the form of the desecrated Well, the twisted dead bodies, and the blackened skies.

“No, it can’t end here. I won’t let it.”

“Does your arrogance know no bounds, Kalchuk?” He rises to his feet once more. The others, eighteen in all, look away from his angry tirade. It is not the Ishani way to be so aggressive. I fear Rellik has been tainted himself.

I hadn’t counted on Ishani factionalizing and taking sides. Our society couldn’t handle the discord. We no longer sang with one voice. We had already lost much long before the first bombs fell…and never stopped falling.

“The Alliance’s experimental bomb has melted its way into our planet core. It’s only a matter of time until our world tears itself asunder. Already our magnetic field has weakened to the point our entire northern hemisphere is hopelessly irradiated. Nothing survived, not even microbes...”

“Enough, Rellik. While at least one Ishani survives, the knowledge of the Precursors and the Path of Peace are not lost.”

I turn to address the lot of them.

“My friends, we must sing the Song of Creation, and forge a ship to take us into the stars.”

Some of their wings perk up, gazes looking less gray and despondent. Others, like Rellik, seem to have given up already.

“And go where? There is no part of this galaxy untouched by the war. It has even begun to bleed into League space.” Rellik shakes his head. “Better we all accept our fate.”

“No, Rellik.” I take his hand and lift him to his feet again. “I will not accept that dying is our fate. I accept that survival is our fate. We can rebuild. Hope remains.”

I look out over the rest of my fellow ishani, all that remain of our once glorious race.


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