Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power.
When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.
One of the soldiers used his final crumb of will to pull the pin out of one of the grenades, and his final ounce of strength to cast it towards them.
“Out!” Jacob cried, and they charged out with him before the entire room blew up and coughed out a viscous plume of smoke.
With those grenades gone, perhaps Rommond would be as thankful to them as they were to him. Yet against the armour of the Hopebreaker, Jacob thought that perhaps not even a full box of grenades would do.
As the dust began to clear, Jacob realised that he was alone. He had thrown himself in one direction, while the others had cast themselves to the opposing side. That was his hope, at least, for he did not like the idea that they were thrown by the grenades instead.
He waited longer than he ought to, expecting another explosion, visualising another grenade rolling out the door to greet him. The smoke took ages to diffuse, and even when it did, there was dust in his eyes. He was just glad there was not debris in his skin.
“Taberah,” he whispered. He crawled quickly past the ruined room and peeped around a corner, but found no one there. In this place, if there were to be anyone there, chances are it would be a Regime soldier. He was every bit a gambler, but he did not like these odds.
He decided against calling her name again. I might as well call for the Iron Emperor, he thought, for all the good that making a racket in here would do.
He stopped for a moment and took stock of where he was. It looked like the fourth floor, and he could see down into one of the production chambers, where those chainless slaves continued to be oblivious to him and their surroundings, and their potential freedom. He looked right and left, but he could not see a stairwell down. There were stairs up to a higher level, but he did not think that would help him get out of this place any quicker.
You’re on your own, Taberah, he thought. So am I. It was useful to recognise this. It meant he could readjust his priorities, focus on smuggling himself out. It was easier to look after just one person. At least if he stumbled or failed, he would know who to blame.
About Dean F. Wilson:
His epic fantasy trilogy, The Children of Telm, was released between 2013 and 2014.
Dean also works as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, VR-Zone, ITProPortal, TechRadar Pro, and The Inquirer.