space opera (novella)
On the day after the Passing Festival, three men walked out of the swamps and came into town to kill a woman.
Normally, Karsman would have been one of the first to know about the strangers. But while the strangers were making their way across the salt flats that lay between the city and the distant marshes, Karsman was a good four or five kilometers away, heading out of town along the Road.
He walked hand in hand with a young woman. She had lilac hair, and fine gold wires were woven in the flesh of her right ear. The gray wind jacket that she wore was criss-crossed with colored ribbons. Her name was Mera, and he had known her for just two days and nights.
On the Road ahead of them, the vast wheeled bulk of a Temple advanced at slightly less than walking pace, towed by a dozen tractors, its spires and minarets stark against the hazy orange of the sky. Long strings of prayer flags flapped in the wind. Behind the Temple, a column of trucks and vans crept along in bottom gear, towing flatbed trailers laden with struts and panels: pieces of prefabricated housing that would be reassembled to make a new town somewhere further down the Road. Young children stared sleepily from the cabs of the trucks and last night’s revelers lay sprawled on top of the cargo like wounded soldiers being carried off the battlefield.
“... vivid setting, resilient characters, and comprehensive mythology that deserve many more stories.”
“... an impressive, original twist on the classic superhero story, and a fascinating, hugely complex lead character.”
“... tightly wound, immersive sci-fi thriller pulls it all together in the end.”
“... a marvel of a science-fiction read.”
“Fiercely ambiguous and drenched in atmosphere that manages to be daunting, desolate and inspiring all at the same time, ‘The Warrior Within’ is a complex, rich read that hints at so much more.”
-- Jeremy Szal