The Shattered World Saga - Book Two

by Dennis K. Hausker

Aron's peaceful life on his father's farm ended abruptly and he struggled with galling captivity in the palace while he formed a fearsome corps of expert fighters. They managed to escape fleeing into the wilds but their new life is tenuous with daily challenges merely to survive. His problems seem to mount on a daily basis with his personal struggles with the significant women in his life, the barbaric savages living in the wilds, and then the shocking discovery that threatens the world with a nightmare resurrected. Their limited understanding of their whole world has left them vulnerable. Can Aron and the allies rise to meet the challenge? They don't know the answer to that question, and they fear the worst under the circumstances.


Chapter One

~ Hidden Motives ~


Aron moved briskly along the trail from his fortress construction site back toward the Erati camp. Frigid winds blowing down from the north filled the air with flecks of snow as a major winter storm approached. Aron squinted at the strong wind blowing in his face.  He’d broken his own protocol by traveling alone because the messenger had said Tasha needed to meet him urgently.

He was worried. A gang convert courier had come to Aron; a man often in the company of Radigan, and someone he wasn’t sure he could trust, but when it came to Tasha he wasn’t always rational. Distress over Radigan’s ongoing pursuit of Tasha never receded, but at the same time, he had duties and needed to function in his many roles as leader of his people. As he hurried along the path he realized he should have told someone where he was going, and why. He’d made himself vulnerable and suddenly felt uneasy. This whole situation had a strange feel. Tasha almost never called for him and always left it to him to come to her.

With dusk approaching, he increased his pace to a jog as the light receded. Footing was treacherous on the slippery snow covered ground. He hurried around a sharp curve in the path by a heavy stand of trees when suddenly a crunch rattled the bushes beside him. A huge ice cat leaped out of the undergrowth and knocked him down before he could react. He tried to pull his sword, but was knocked onto his side lying on the weapon with the heavy cat pinning him down. The cat snarled and tried to bite Aron’s neck. Aron grabbed the creature’s head to keep those fangs away. The cat clawed at him, but fortunately Aron’s heavy leather coat kept the talons from breaking through to his skin. He wrestled with the powerful cat to get it off him so he could move. He was partially successful, but the cat nicked him with its claws in numerous swipes and managed a thrust with its face which wounded Aron’s cheek and forehead.

The sight of Aron bleeding spurred the cat’s ravenous appetite. Aron tried to knock the cat away with swings of his elbows, but it was too big, too strong, and he was pinned down. The animal smacked him in the head with a power

swipe of its paw, stunning him and then tried again to bite his throat and end his life. Long claws opened serious wounds on his scalp and neck. Aron’s consciousness faded so he wasn’t aware when the cat stiffened and shuddered as an arrow struck it with a killing shot.

Radigan jogged up to the scene along with his thugs.

“Why didn’t you let the cat kill him?” asked one of his men. “We were about to ambush him anyway.”

“This is an unexpected opportunity,” Radigan replied. “If we’d killed him, the blame would have fallen on me as the prime suspect. Here, I’ve saved his life and this will oblige him to me. Now I’ve saved the lives of both Tasha and Aron. He’ll be less able to object to my actions in camp and with her. If I can win Tasha with deeds and still retain my façade in the camp, it gives me many more options.”

“He’s bleeding badly,” said the man. “He may not survive these wounds.”

“If he dies from the attack, it would be fortuitous. Gather him up and we’ll carry him back to the main camp. It will be a great boon with Tasha. She’ll be very grateful I’ve saved him. I had a feeling this would be a good day.”

"Rebel" by Dennis K. Hausker


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Epic Fantasy

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