- Author: Frank Kennedy
Read book online «In the Shadow of the Rings by Frank Kennedy (grave mercy .txt) 📕». Author - Frank Kennedy
By Frank Kennedy
c. 2021 by Frank Kennedy
All rights reserved
To my amazing readers:
The stories contained within represent a prelude to the series, Beyond the Impossible, which begins with The Simmering Seas.
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Table of Contents
THOSE LEFT BEHIND
The Bul abast Tree
To Be a Kohlna
Fallen of the Gentry
Idiot of The Lagos
The Idiot’s Mother
Death of the Idiot
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THOSE LEFT BEHIND
The Chancel ors ruled humanity for 3000 years. They dominated Earth long before space travel. In time, they led exploration across the solar system and beyond. They discovered thirty-nine habitable worlds that would eventual y become colonies of their empire, the Collectorate. The Chancel or caste, supported by its invincible army, the Unification Guard, claimed Earth for itself. They cleansed Earth of al races and ethnicities but their own, migrating them to the colonies.
They granted these colony worlds sovereignty with conditions. The Chancel ors received a percentage of revenue from each world’s most valuable natural resources. In exchange, the Chancel ory stationed Ark Carriers – massive city-ships – in orbit. The Carriers housed battalions of Guard soldiers, who were charged with silencing al violence conflict on the colonies.
Stability was maintained. Al iances were forged. Interstel ar commerce flourished. But the Collectorate, which was careful y constructed over centuries, fel in a matter of months.
In Standard Year 5358, the colonies became sovereign in every way.
For many, this was long overdue liberation. For others, shock and dismay. They looked inward, stunned at the notion of charting their own destiny. Economies destabilized. Some races sought new al iances to fil the vacuum of power and restore interplanetary trade.
On the ringed planet Hokkaido, population 2.1 bil ion, a tenuous peace is threatened by new ideologies, food shortages, clashes between the rich and poor, and a threat potential y deadlier than any Unification Guard battalion.
The map to a new and dangerous future is about to be drawn. Its origin? The island chain known as The Lagos. The early lives of two notable residents of The Lagos are related herein.
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Songs were written about her deeds, but primarily in association with her role during the War of Nine. For during those years, she received her greatest fame – and infamy, some might say. As one would expect, her own people viewed Kara through a different lens than of -worlders. Regardless of ethnic or political divisions, her life beginning in SY 5365 is wel -documented. Resource bytes are available in the central stream archives of most worlds –
especial y those involved in the war. Therefore, I wil not rehash these tales.
Rather, I set my interest on her formative years. When we study historical figures of note, we often overlook the factors that shaped them long before the world paid them proper due. My investigation into the pre-War life of Kara Syung took me to a place I knew little of: The island system known on Hokkaido as The Lagos. I unearthed stories of a unique culture struggling to maintain its identity after the fal of the Col ectorate. I also found that Kara was more complex than I imagined.
The fol owing stories are loosely based upon my research and extensive interviews of survivors.
- Dr. Orson Baatch, SY 5430
The Bullabast Tree
Standard Year 5357
ARA SYUNG BECAME A GYMNAST when she climbed K bullabast trees. She braved their unpredictable twists and knots. She swung upon and flipped over the foot-wide fingers that bent jagged to simulate an elderly hand unable to close a fist. She leaped between trunks and dangled from the narrowest branches. At the end of her exercises, she reached the clusters, where misshapen and spindly green fruit hung.
She peeled off the slender shell of a bulla and tore into its pink, sugar-sweet flesh. The juice made a mess as it streamed down her chin.
She wasn’t supposed to be here. Much too dangerous, her parents said. The family estate had more than enough drone harvesters to retrieve the elusive fruit. What they failed to understand was that Kara
did not climb the bul abast to capture fruit. She sought out the clusters because the giant leaves above the bul as – each thick as rubber but as soft as leather – formed a treehouse of sorts.
A perfect cubby inside which she could disappear.
The estate’s largest tree – the focal point of the west garden –
towered over the gazebo where the Syung-Low clan hosted frequent revelries. They also used it as a convocation for their business partners, many of them Hokkaido’s greatest seamasters. For those gatherings, young ones such as Kara were forbidden. At least, that appeared to be the rule. Kara noticed a disturbing trend: Her slightly older brothers, Lang and Dae, joined with increasing frequency.
She made a point of