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The Battle for Ka’an
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-167-8
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 316 Pages
Published: August 2004



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Total Readers: 9

From inside the flap

"Trust no one", the Immortal told Captain Dav Vad. Her ship and crew held hostage, the Dishonorably Discharged Ex United Universe pilot is marooned on the planet Chosen. With the help of her two Arti Intel German Shepherds, she is given a mission to find a King Attuicus that has mysteriously disappeared. On the trail of the King, she rescues a young Roman girl, meets a woman who can heal with a touch and a Prince and General on their way to defend the City of Ka?an from the Barbarians. But, one of them is a spy and soon they will possess the knowledge of how to destroy the city and bring the downfall of the New Roman Empire.

In the end, Dav realizes she trusted the wrong person.



The Battle for Ka’an (Excerpt)


The Law Of The Twelve Tablets

I. If a man summons you to court and you refuse to honor the request, you can be compelled to appear by any means necessary to be made to appear.

II. To summon the witness of the offense, whoever is in need of the evidence to present the case, shall have the right to go every third day and shout before the witness’s entryway.

III. Roman, having been found with acknowledged debt, shall hall thirty days to pay the debt. After that, you may be sold into slavery and your owner will be responsible for one ration per day.

IV. A father has the right to quickly kill a dreadfully deformed child. A son will have no legal rights until the death of the father. The father has the right to retain, sell, enslave or dispose of the child as he so wishes.

V. Females will remain in guardianship even when they have attained their own wealth.

VI. All men may practice the art of acquisition and possession over all other slaves and women.

VII. If a tree on your property falls on your neighbors? house, he may sue you for damages. But if the same tree drops fruit upon your neighbor’s yard, he may keep the fruit as his own.

VIII. It is unlawful to kill a thief by day, unless he defends himself with a weapon. If you give false witness against another, you shall be cast down from the highest point that can be found.

IX. To commit treason against the Republic, will result in capital punishment.

X. A dead man shall not be buried or cremated within the city.

XI. The state of marriage shall not take place between High Born or lowborn.

XII. Whatever the Senate shall decree, what they last ordain, should be held as the Law.


Prologue

The boy sat with his back to the house. The twin suns had heated the brick and helped take the chill out of the cool evening air. He watched, as the wind played through the fields of wheat, and marveled at the amber and brown colors that seemed to shimmer before his eyes. The stalks were laden heavily with grain, and he groaned thinking about the weeks of harvesting ahead. His families homestead overlooked the best plains in the land, and in his lifetime he had never been hungry. In the distance the suns reflected off the Middle Sea, and in a few months it would be too cold to go swimming he thought.

As he sat against the house and listened to the rhythm of a chair rocking back and forth, he started to doze off, but a sound brought him quickly awake. The man in the chair began to cough violently. The boy jumped to his feet and began to pat him on the back. "You okay Granther" he asked?

Clearing his throat the old man whispered for some water. Sipping the water out of an earthen cup, the old man winked his thanks and sat back with a look of contentment. Granther looked out over the plains and enjoyed the feeling of the suns on his face. He knew he did not have much longer on this planet and he wanted to savor every sight, every sound, yes every taste.

He shivered with a chill at the thought and pulled the blanket tighter around him. "Can I get anything else for you, Granther. "

"No, son" he said as he closed his eyes and began to rock again. The boy watched him for a few moments. Granther looked so small and frail, and the boy sat holding his own breath in and watched the old man’s labored breathing, hoping that it would not stop.

This side of the house was their favorite spot when the work was done. They would sit and look out over the fields, the Middle Sea, and Granther would tell him stories. The boy smiled at the thought. "Granther? can you tell me the creation story? It is my favorite!"

With his eyes closed the old man smiled. "It is my favorite too. " He opened his eyes and the boy could see the sparkle in them. "Make me some Ka, Ja root tea, son. I need something to ease the pain in my throat, " he said and coughed so violently that it seemed to shake his whole frame.

The boy hurried to make the tea, and as he heated the water, he thought about what the villagers said about Granther. It was well known that he was one of the original settlers brought from Earth by the Gentle One, so he was at least a hundred and ten years old and the last of the Firsters.

When he died, the last link to Earth would be gone, and the link to the stories would be gone also. He felt a deep sadness at the thought of Granther passing into the Death World. Stirring in the root powder with the wooden spoon, he stopped. The spoon had been his mother’s favorite, having been carved by his father. Unfortunately they had already begun their journey to the Death World.

His parents had been sent to Ka?an, the City of the Gods, as representatives of the Seven Ruling Families of the Plains, to request help from the Senate against the Barbarians that were attacking the villages along the border. The boy’s father had been one of the richest and most influential men on the Plains, and due to his generous nature was well thought of by the High Born and common people alike.

While in Ka? an, a plague struck the city and killed his mother and father and over half of the inhabitants. The bodies of his parents had not even been returned to him, out of fear of spreading the sickness. No one knew why the tragedy had descended on the Republic, but the local seer woman had been seen screaming in the Public Square that the plague was a punishment from the Gods. A retribution for the Romans turning their backs on the Gods, and forsaking the ancient rituals.

The boy was not sure why it had happened, but he was left without his parents and the care of his great, great, great, great, great, Granther?. And many acres of crops. The neighbors would help with the harvest as usual, and in the tradition of his father, he would give away all that he did not need.

The tea began to boil and he carried it slowly to the old man.

"Granther" he whispered to wake him up. The old man reached out his hand to take the cup, but he was shaking so badly that the boy had to press it against his palms and help him guide the cup to his lips. After a few sips, the Ka Ja tea seemed to help calm the tremors in the old man’s frail body. He sat up straighter in the chair and adjusted the leather straps on his breastplate. The boy had never seen Granther without his armor, especially the breastplate. King Attu had given it to him after the First Barbarian War, and it was a badge of Honor. Granther pulled back his shoulders and held his head high.

He cleared his throat and began, " This is the story that has been passed down from my father and from his father’s father. Our family lived in a land called Italae, many years ago. The Roman Empire stretched for as far as the eye could see, and it would take many months to travel from one end to the next. In our family were the common soldiers and farmers, but also many High Born Artisans and Philosophers. When the Roman Empire began to crumble, due to the Law of the Twelve Tablets, our family fled with many other High Born into the wilderness. They traveled deep into the heart of the unexplored country, to start a new life.

Our people lived a peaceful existence for many years, but about the time I was born, we were under constant attack by the Barbarians, and the land was in chaos. The Gods began to battle around us in the skies and the Barbarians were as numerous as the rats in our feed bins. "

"How old were you, Granther?" the boy asked.

"I was just a young boy then, oh not much older than you were when it all happened. "

"What happened?" the boy asked, his eyes going wide with excitement.

"Give me a minute, " Granther said and took a sip of his tea. "As a young boy, it was hard for me to understand why our village was always under attack. My village was not overly rich; true we made the finest tools and weapons in the region, but we were willing to trade.

We had good farmland and plenty to eat in the winter and overall we were a happy people. I would play in the fields with my friends?"

"What did you play, Granther?"

"I knew you would ask that, " The old man said with a laugh and began to cough again. He had to sip on the tea to catch his breath and to wet his throat. " Sticks would become swords, and we would battle the Barbarians and save our village single handily. It was on such a day that we heard a real battle in our village. We could hear the sound of metal hitting metal and the screams of men dying. I ran back to find the Barbarians on the attack, and our people heavily outnumbered. "

"Yet we held our own; you see we had some of the finest soldiers trained by the Royal Roman army. The farmers were also great fighters. When you use a tool all day and fight off wild boor and the like, you can fight a man with a sword or a spear. My friends and I were not sure if we should join the battle. What was I going to do with a stick? I thought about the sword that hung over our Sacred Shrine, but there was no way I could reach my home without going through the thick of the fight. So I stood my ground and watched as we slowly beat the savages back out of our village. "

"One of my friends cried out, and I looked to where he was pointing. On the horizon there was a wall of blue shimmering light, moving swiftly towards us and engulfing everything in its path, like a flash flood. The battle was forgotten, and we ran in terror. As I looked over my shoulder, the wall of blue rolled over us, and I was frozen in place. I could not breathe, yet it was not an uncomfortable feeling. I was moving, yet there was no sensation of moving. The sky turned black, and I caught glimpses of balls of fire and rock passing by at amazing speed. "

"Then it was all gone, our village was still the same village, and the sky was the same color of blue, and the battle was rejoined in earnest. I looked at my friends, but they were still frozen. I even raised my arms to try and wake them up. As I followed their gaze, I was frozen too. In the sky there were now two suns, where there had only been one. "

"Where there had been vast plains, now there were mountains pushing up through the clouds. The battle stopped as the men sensed something was not right, and the savages fell back to regroup. I found my mother and father and we went to the town center to discuss what had happened. We could only stand in awe and look at the land around us. A man walked into the village and said?"

"My name is Attuicus, " the boy said loudly.

"Yes, yes" Granther said with a smile. "My name is Attuicus and he instructed us to follow him. I heard someone say that they thought he was dead. This just brought a smile to Attuicus’s face. He led us outside the village to the Barbarians and he raised his hand in a sign of peace. Climbing on top of a rock he began to address the crowd.

"My name is Attuicus, and I am here to help you" he said. "The fighting is to stop. You are to live in peace!"

One of the Barbarians came forward through the crowd. "I am Chief Messa, " he announced and looked with contempt upon our people. "Until these people leave our land, there will never be peace. "

Attuicus climbed down off the rock and approached the Chief. "This land is for you both. Live in peace my friend. "

The Chief shook his head. "This is our land?. You are to leave, " he stated again.

Attuicus smiled sadly. "Again, I say that both of your people have been Chosen by the Gentle One, for this land. Roman and Savage alike, can and will live in peace. "

Messa screamed in rage and pulled out his sword. How dare this man insult a Warrior Chief by calling him a savage! Attuicus made no attempt to move or dodge the man’s blade, and we gasped as it looked like he would be cut down. The sword bounced harmlessly off of him.

"What sorcery is this??" Messa demanded.

"You may leave now" Attuicus told him and turned his back as an insult and to show that the Chief had been dismissed. "Return when your mind is open to peace. " Making a sign to ward off the evil of that place, Messa gathered up his men and women and departed.

"You have been Chosen to make a new beginning on this planet. Use it wisely, my friends, " Attuicus said to our people and he then walked out of the village and disappeared.

The man or creature named Attuicus would return from time to time, when we needed help. The children began to call him King Attu, and the name stuck. Our people moved out over the plains, and our numbers have grown. The ground here is so fertile you just have to breath on it to make the crops grow, and now over time, all that is left of the village is the house you are living in today.

The Gods built the City of Ka?an and allowed King Attu to rule from on high. Many of our people followed him and began to forsake the land that is our lifeblood. For me?. Well I prefer to work the soil and feel the ground squish up between my toes. Ah, ha, ha, " he laughed as the boy shook his head in disgust. The laugh turned into a deep cough, and the boy patted him on the back to help loosen up the phlegm in his lungs.

He spat out the obstruction and took another sip of tea. Finally he looked at the boy. "So began the start of the New Roman Empire, and this is our creation story, my son. "

The boy laughed and clapped his hands. "Thank you, Granther. "

The old man smiled and then pulled the blanket closer around him as the suns slipped behind the clouds and he felt a sudden chill. They sat silently for a few moments and watched as the suns moved slowly across the sky. Granther began to rock back and forth in his chair and dozed off. He coughed softly in his sleep. The boy tucked the blanket closer around Granther’s frail frame. Tenderly he rubbed the back of his hand across the old man’s cheek, and Granther awoke with a start, his eyes wide in fright.

"I am sorry Granther, I did not mean to startle you. "

"It is okay, son, " he said.

Waiting for the old man to catch his breath, he finally asked, "Can you tell me about the battle of the Gods?"

"Trying to wear me out today, Toka?"

"No, Granther?I just never tire of hearing your stories. " Granther thought for a moment and sipped on his tea. He cleared his throat and gathered his strength.

"The God battle came fast and furious" he said in a loud voice. "I had spent the day in the fields and was resting in my chair when it happened. " The old man had moved to the edge of his seat and was waving his arms as he described the fight. " I guess I was not much older than you were?"

"That is what you said during the creation story, " Toka said with a laugh.

"When you get my age son, you forget some things, so give me a little leeway. " Toka began to laugh. With Granther’s stories you had to give him a great deal of leeway. "All right, " Toka said and tried to sound exasperated.

"Anyway, " Granther said, " I was sitting here chewing on a weed and thinking about, oh I guess girls and such. A ball of flame came out of the sky and hit the ground so hard that it knocked me right out of this chair. When I picked myself up and brushed the dirt from my clothes, the flames had died away.

Then I saw a man and a? a creature locked in battle. The creature was so hideous that even today I have nightmares. Their fighting tore out trees by their roots and scattered boulders as big as this house. " His arm knocked over the tea and a cup shattered on the ground as the old man motioned with his arms.

"Look out in that field" he pointed, "Why there is where one of their heels dug out a hole. "

Toka looked at the dip in the field and snorted. "The last time you told this story you said it was an elbow. "

Granther sighed. "When you tell your children the story you can make it whatever you want?But until then, "

"I know, I know?it is your story. "

"As the battle continued, the man seemed to weaken and shrink in size. More men and women began to appear to do battle with the creature, but they were swept aside like leaves in the wind. Just when I thought the man was done for; another man appeared out of the suns and grabbed that creature by the scruff of his neck. The creature howled in rage and almost broke my eardrums. The new man had a flowing robe that was so bright that it hurt my eyes to look at him. I heard him ask the victim of the attack if he was all right. The man shook his head no. "Come Jupiter" he commanded. "By the Gods" I swore and then covered my mouth. "I had just seen a battle between two Gods. Few mortals ever see such a thing happen in their lives and live to tell anyone, so I fell to the ground in fear and peeked through my fingers to watch my final moments on this planet. "

"Jupiter was standing with his breath coming out in jagged, short gasps, and he looked as if he was in pain. The other Gods began to arrive and helped the King of the Gods to stand. Jupiter pointed at the creature.

"Keep that Abomination away from us!" he said weakly.

"I am the Gentle One. I am here to help you. " The Gentle One looked at the creature and it disappeared from our sight.

"Come my children" the man in the flowing robe said, "You have been severely weakened by this attack. " He touched Jupiter and the God seemed to recover some of his strength and the pain disappeared.

"Thank you" Jupiter said, "we will come with you". Gathering them together the Gentle One folded time and space and they disappeared. Since that day, the Gods have not been seen, or heard from?"

"Not even in Ka?an?" Toka asked.

Granther shook his head sadly. "No not even in Ka?an, the City of the Gods"

"Granther, you really saw the battle of the Gods?"

"Sure did son, sure did. "

"I think that is my favorite story, " The boy said with a look of satisfaction on his face.

Granther gave a soft chuckle and closed his eyes again. He began to rock back and forth in his chair and he began to doze. Toka was going to let him sleep, but a question sprang to his lips.

"Do you think the monster will ever come back Granther?"

But Granther did not seem to hear and continued to rock. Toka looked out over the plains and tried to visualize what the battle had looked like as it raged across their fields. Grabbing a stick, he ran off into the grass, fighting off Barbarians and slaying monster Gods.

Granther opened one eye and smiled as he remembered his own games he had played as a child. Then at the thought of the boy’s question, the smile went away.

"If it ever does return my son, I fear for our world, " he whispered. "If the Gods can not destroy it?I fear for you most of all. "