“Who is the third that walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together;
But when I look ahead up the white road,
There is always another one walking beside you.”
It begins with you.
Here in what is known as the last safest haven in the world, where the dome of Ashwater protects the border of the city and millions of people within. In all of your twenty-nine years of living, it has been too long since you’ve seen so many unarmed people, casually moving on the iridescent streets. This place is a marvel to all of those who witness it.
You’ve been here before, yet you don’t belong here.
The only reason you exist is because you were summoned back home by your enforcer. You are a soldier, and you do what you are told. It’s what good soldiers do — what they are told. This is why you don’t question your enforcer why he had sent you to this place, where you had been born. Instead, you broaden your shoulders and carry yourself on like this is the last day you will ever die.
Or must you live, instead? You have never been good with idioms, and it’s a flaw in which your enforcer has goaded you quite often.
It is a lively city, if nothing else. Much livelier than you recall, with its spectacular glow of blues and greens and whites. You know you will never see another place like Ashwater. But you are not here to dawdle or take in the sights.
Like any other day you repeat, like a reoccurring dream — you are here because it’s just another mission. If you fail, all these people, the ones carrying about their daily lives in blissful ignorance, will die.
It is downtown, in the heart of the city. You must be there now.
After all, you’ve not much time.
What the Thunder Said, a prequel novel
to the Project Seraphim series,