Restart Again

by

Adam Ladner

Volume 3, Chapter 4: The Mountain Gate PART 2

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Marin waved me down as she saw me approaching. “How did it look?” she asked, somewhere between excited and terrified.

 

“It’s about what I expected,” I answered with a reassuring smile, matching my pace alongside the wagon. “There’s a long line of carts waiting to go through. Apparently, the guards are checking every wagon from top to bottom to make sure we don’t try to sneak across the border unnoticed. That works out well for us, though; the more people there are, the easier it’ll be for you to blend in.”

 

Her face relaxed with palpable relief. “And I just drive right through when you give the signal, right?” She froze in place as her eyebrows contracted in suspicion. “You never told me what the signal is.”

 

I laughed. “A loud series of explosions, plumes of smoke, and lots of confused screaming.” I pointed down the road towards the gate looming in the distance. “The ground is nice and flat until you get to the checkpoint, so do what you need to do to get around the traffic. Make sure you follow the road after that, though. They dug some trenches that you won’t be able to drive over.”

 

“Got it,” she nodded. A forced smile spread across her face. “I’m ready.”

 

“I know that it’s scary, Marin, especially after what you went through with Savitz and his men,” I said softly. “I hate to have to ask you to do this for us, and you’re being incredibly brave to accept. I promise that, no matter what happens, I’ll make sure you get through this safe and unharmed.” Her eyes widened, and she turned her face away and mumbled something inaudibly under her breath. “Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

 

“I said don’t mention it!” she shouted suddenly. “Marten’s going to pay me back for all of this work, with interest!” From within the wagon, I heard a loud bark of laughter. “Don’t you laugh, Marten! I’m serious!” I chuckled quietly and removed myself from the conversation, slowingly my horse until I came to the back of the wagon. I grabbed the loose length of rope attached to the hitch and looped it through the reins, then gave the horse an appreciative pat on the neck before hopping down and entering the wagon.

 

“I was beginning to think you ran off and left us!” Marten joked, waggling his eyebrows at me.

 

“No, you didn’t,” Lia shot back, rolling her eyes.

 

“Well, no, I didn’t,” he said, chuckling to himself. “You’re still sure about all of this, then? Still confident that you can do...whatever it is you do?” His humorous expression faded to a more serious one. “There’s no shame in turning away from a fight, especially one where you’re clearly outnumbered.”

 

“We can do this, Marten,” I reassured him, nodding to Lia. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we can do this.” I paused for a moment, rubbing my chin. “I’m not sure if it would ease your mind or bother you more, but I can tell you what exactly we’re up against now that I’ve seen it, and what I plan to do.”

 

He looked to Hana, who gave him a small nod. “Alright,” he sighed, “tell us. If we’re really doing this, I’d rather know what we’re headed into.”

 

I recounted what I had seen on my scouting mission in full detail, from the expected amount of guards to the types and positioning of their defences. As I went on, Marten’s face grew continually more pale, until I was worried he might faint. Hana’s expression had grown solemn by the time I finished, and she held her husband’s hand tightly.

 

“Lux, I...I want to believe you,” Marten said eventually, his voice scratchy and low, “but what you’ve described is an army. An army in a castle that knows we’re coming. I’m not sure the Trinity Guard and their company could get through this. With just the two of you...it’s just not possible.”

 

“It is possible,” I insisted. “Lia and I will ride out ahead of the wagon and catch them unaware. She’ll take out the guards there while I destroy the gatehouse. From there, I’ll collapse the extra fortifications, which will remove their artillery support. With that—”

 

“You’ll collapse the fortifications? From the ground? How?” He shook his head in disbelief.

 

“With magic,” I answered. Scanning around the wagon, my eyes settled on a plank of wood about the size of a loaf of bread lying in the corner; it had snapped out of the cover of one of Marten’s crates when he had hopped up to use it as a chair on our third day of travel. “Watch,” I said, holding it out in front of me in both hands. Focusing my mana down the board, I suffused three thin cross-sections of the wood and activated the Shatter rune in my ring. Three small puffs of sawdust burst from the bottom of the plank, and the wood fell to the floor in four even pieces. “Just imagine that, but on a much larger scale.”

 

Hana gasped and hopped backwards in her seat, but Marten watched with a blank expression. After a long moment of silence, he slowly nodded his head. “Continue.”

 

“The collapsed scaffolding will definitely take out some of the ground forces as well, but Lia and I will make sure that your road forward is clear. Once you make it through the Gate, Lia stays with you to make sure nobody tries to ambush you, while I fall behind and take out anyone who might try to follow.” I waited for a moment to make eye contact with everyone. “After that, we just...go. Far enough into Lybesa that we never have to think about Kaldan again.”

 

Marten’s eyes hardened as he looked me over. “I trust you, Lux. I don’t understand you, but I trust you.” He placed his hand on Hana’s knee and held it tightly. “We’re in your hands now.”

 

“Thank you. I won’t let you down,” I said, bowing my head deeply. “If the plan goes as expected, you should never be in any danger, but there’s no reason we can’t take extra precautions. We’ll line the outside of the wagon with crates to give you protection from any stray arrows.” As I explained my plans, I pulled a handful of orbs from my bandolier and began to fill them with glowing orange liquid as I continued.

 

“If things go wrong and somebody gets hurt, use one of these. They’ll close up any wounds until I can get back for further healing.” I saw the question coming in Marten’s face, so I sliced a small cut in my thumb with the mana needle to give a demonstration. Hana reached out momentarily, shocked at the sudden appearance of blood, but she quickly sat back in awe as the healing salve closed the wound. “Understand?” I asked as I offered out a trio of the silver orbs.

 

They both nodded quietly as Hana took the globes and set them carefully in her lap. I handed the remaining two orbs to Lia, which she stowed in a bag on her hip. Leaning back on my hands, I sighed. “Now comes the hard part.”

 

Lia cocked her head to the side. “We’re still a few hours from the wall, Lux.”

 

“I know. Now, we wait.” Silence fell over our group as my statement sank in, and our waiting began. We rearranged the crates into a two high wall, leaving a small space in the middle where the four of us could comfortably sit on the floor. There were no pleasant stories of Lia’s childhood from Hana, and Marten was uncharacteristically stoic and quiet as our ride continued.

 

Lia and I sat together in deep meditation, keeping a close eye on any movement within a few miles of our position. A few wagons had fallen in behind us as our journey continued, but a quick scan revealed they were simply trading caravans on their way back to Lybesa. While my unprecedented level of confidence had yet to falter, I could feel Lia’s anxiety through her extended mana. I pressed my consciousness against hers, and her barriers fell away a moment later, flooding me with her feelings of pre-battle fear and uncertainty.

 

Calm. Strength. Confidence. I pushed back with my own feelings as the lines defining our separate minds began to blur. After all of the times her warm, loving aura had steadied my panicked mind on our trip to Attetsia, I knew the thoughts would help in some small way.

 

I felt her fingers rest gently on top of mine, and her voice suddenly echoed in my head, more clearly than if she had spoken the words directly into my ear. I love you. A warmth spread out from my stomach to the tips of my extremities, tingling all along the way.

 

I love you. While I couldn’t put the process to words, it felt natural and effortless to impart the message back to her. I would have normally been intrigued by the new discovery, but I simply logged the thoughts away for later investigation as I basked in our shared love. Whatever worries she had felt before burned away, and we sat with our minds blissfully connected as the wall came ever closer.

 

When the time came, I begrudgingly separated myself from her, feeling a deep sense of loneliness as I became the sole resident within my head. “It’s time,” I intoned, climbing to my feet. “Marten, Hana, stay safe. This will all be behind us soon enough.” I opened the crate I had been leaning against and retrieved the gauntlets of the King’s Strength, sliding them down over my arms with an almost religious reverence.

 

They stood in unison with me and gave Lia a tight, lingering hug. Hana stepped forward and embraced me as well when they had finished, holding me firmly around the waist. “Primes watch over you,” she whispered in my ear in an unsteady voice. When she moved away, Marten offered out his hand.

 

“Keep our family safe,” he said, giving my hand a firm shake even through the plated gauntlets, “and make sure you both come back alive.”

 

“We will,” I promised. Lia moved to my side, and we both turned and stepped down from the wagon. The world around us glowed a fiery orange as the sun began to set behind the distant walls of Atsal, setting the Mountain Gate aglow ahead of us. Our wagon was stopped behind two dozen others, all patiently waiting for their turn to pass through the multiple inspection points. I unhitched our horse’s reins from the wagon and handed them to Lia. “Are you ready?”

 

She jumped lithely up into the saddle, then turned to me with a smile. “Ready.” I climbed up behind her and wrapped an arm around her waist, then drew my hood as far over my head as I could. When I was settled, she put her heels into the horse’s sides, and we moved forward to the head of the wagon.

 

“Be safe, Marin,” I called out to her with a nod. “Drive straight and fast no matter what happens, and we’ll see you on the other side.”

 

“I will!” she shouted, giving me a confident pump of her fist as we passed by.

 

An icy flood of adrenaline surged through me as our horse began to pick up speed, and my enhancements all flared to life with a powerful rush of mana. As my senses sharpened and my mind quickened, I scanned ahead and confirmed that the scene was still what I expected. A wagon had just passed inspection, and was moving through the wooden gatehouse while the guards waved the next cart ahead.

 

Long-dormant memories from my time in Alderea flared to life and guided my body into a low, steady crouch on the back of our galloping horse. Every inch of my body burned with pent up energy as the moment of reckoning came closer, hoofbeat by hoofbeat. The inspection guards finally took notice of our approach and began to shout, pointing swords in our direction and calling for us to halt.

 

“I love you,” I spoke into Lia’s ear as I tensed my legs. “Let’s show them what we can do.” Just before the horse crashed into the leading guard, I leapt forward with all my strength. I sailed through the air well above the heads of the guards, soaring in a calculated arc to land firmly on my feet just feet away from the gatehouse. As the pained cries of the first group of guards rang out behind me, I flexed my empty fist and drew it back over my shoulder. Energy rushed down my arm and suffused the gauntlet as the punch flew forward and connected with the gate.

 

A loud crack echoed across the barren fields as the gate snapped off its hinges and exploded forward, tumbling violently along the road as the momentum tore it to splinters. The men who manned the gatehouse all abandoned their posts immediately, running back towards the wall in a panic. “He’s here!” they screamed frantically, covering their heads as they ran. “He’s here! He’s fucking here!”

 

I took a deep breath as I processed every detail of the readying force before me. Men poured out of the encampment like ants, drawing swords and donning armor in a frenzy as their commanding officers barked orders to create some semblance of order. Archers took up their places along the crenellated defenses and nocked their arrows, while the ground forces formed ranks at the base of the wall. Through the chaos, my enhanced senses finally picked up the sound I was waiting for: the telltale clacking of the ballista taking deadly aim at my position.

 

“FIRE!” The order echoed out from the top of the wall. There was a loud whir as the war machine activated and launched its deadly wrought-iron payload. The world seemed to hold its breath as the bolt screamed across the sky with deadly speed, bearing down on the singular reason for their encampment with an inescapable certainty of death. Within my mind, however, it hardly seemed to move at all, and my body was already moving to deal with the attack I knew would come. I turned side face to the attack and readied another punch, throwing it forward with perfect timing to intercept the ballista’s bolt as it passed by my face.

 

The metal rod rippled and cracked from head to tail, and it exploded away from me in a deadly hail of metal shrapnel. The pieces smashed through what little remained of the gatehouse around me and kicked up a storm of sawdust, snow, and dirt. When the cloud cleared, the only thing that remained standing at the impact sitesight was me, pointing back at the wall with an outstretched hand and a vicious smile.

 

Virram, when they write the history of your reign, I thought, channeling the memories of every slight the King had made against me into a singular focus, the story of today will be your greatest failure. Energy exploded out from my body in all directions, crackling along the lines I had practiced hours beforehand and suffusing the defensive structures built along the wall. I snapped my fingers above my head, and my ring flashed as the magic activated.

 

A series of thunderous explosions reverberated in my chest as the scaffolding burst into pieces before my eyes. Tree-sized logs flung out of the structure in wild directions, crushing countless men in the neat, orderly formations below, and the bottom half of the wall disappeared from view in a cloud of debris. The wreckage still glowed intensely within my mind, and I watched as horrified soldiers fled the destruction in all directions. Before the dust settled, my mana had already suffused the surface of the broken scaffolding, and another rune within my ring glowed to life.

 

There was a disorienting sucking sound as the air surrounding us was sucked away, and a moment later the world was engulfed in flames. Crimson fire danced along the face of the wall, licking thirty feet in the air as it ravenously spread along the newly created fuel. Screams of agony and terror filled the air alongside the crackling of wood, and the world blazed with a merciless red light. My sword flashed into existence in my hand, and I stepped forward into the world of chaos I had created with a smile.

 

If I had harbored any doubts about whether I truly had the strength to defeat the army Virram had amassed to stop me, they were quickly and completely dismissed. It didn’t matter if I encountered an organized group of footsoldiers or the generals that lead them; the men were too slow and too weak to fight me for more than a few seconds. I cut through the mass of guards with ease, dancing through their ranks with a brutal elegance I had never felt before.

Despite the mayhem around me, I kept a close eye on three locations separate from my own. Firstly, I watched a wide swath of land around the Corell’s wagon as I drove towards the chaotic gate; most of the traffic had cleared the instant the gatehouse was destroyed, leaving Marin a relatively unobstructed path forward. Lia also stayed highlighted within my mind, though it appeared as if the effort was for naught; she drove the horse back and forth across the main road, dismounting to engage any soldiers with such incredible speed that her opponents never seemed to attempt to stop her.

 

My third point of focus was within the Mountain Gate itself, in the cluster of chambers that held the gate mechanisms. While I had expected the developments outside would draw away the majority of soldiers inside, a select few managed to hold on to their wits and attempted to close the gate. Whenever I felt a presence appear within the mechanism rooms, energy flared out from the floor and suffused the legs of the intruder, shattering them to a bloody pulp. After each room had its own ruined soldier, their horrific injuries sent any nearby guards sprinting in the other direction.

 

My path of destruction eventually led me to the collapsed scaffolding that blocked the road directly in front of the gate to Lybesa. Sending my sword away with a flash, I banged my knuckles together and began to clear any rubble that would block Marin’s path. Most logs and stones were easy enough to toss aside with the general combat enhancement to my strength, though a few larger sections of scaffold required a combination of further Shatter spells and a few well placed punches.

 

In the back of my mind, I saw a unit of twelve guards sprinting towards me, led by a man in ornamented armor atop a large warhorse. I let out a heavy sigh and continued my work, keeping track of the soldiers as they approached and eventually stopped a few yards away. “Monster!” the man on the horse exclaimed, pointing a gilded longsword in my direction. “Turn around and face your execution!”

 

“I’m a bit busy at the moment,” I called out, waving over my shoulder as I walked ahead to move a log out of the way. “My execution will have to wait.”

 

“Your arrogance will be your downfall!” he shouted. “Know that your death comes at the hands of First Company Commander Ro—”

 

“I really don’t care who you are,” I cut him off, louder than before. “Go back and tell that coward Virram you failed. It might be embarrassing for you, but you’ll be alive to feel it.”

 

His face twisted into a furious sneer, and he spurred his horse towards me with an echoing warcry. As he leaned down to swing his sword at my neck, I spun and lunged at him, catching him by the wrist and shoulder. The force of the grab lifted him from the saddle and sent him into the dirt, where he landed with a loud crunch. He managed to let out a single pained cry before his head turned to pulp beneath a single punch of my gauntleted fist. Looking up at his assembled men, I pointed at them with a bloodsoaked hand. “Throw your weapons on the side of the road and run away. Run away as fast as you can, all the way back to Yoria, where you can tell Virram that I—”

 

My wrathful edict was interrupted by a series of loud snaps, followed by an earthshaking rumble. I felt my stomach turn as fear gripped me for the first time over the course of the battle. The gate is closed. My scan of the gatehouses came up empty, so I suffused the massive structure in search of answers. Between the raging fire and the collapsing battlements, the intricate gear structure that opened and closed the gate had apparently become damaged enough to give out and drop the massive iron structure to the ground.

 

I immediately felt Lia’s consciousness against mine. The feeling of panic was clear through her energy, but I heard her voice speak the message plainly in my head: What do we do?

 

The Combat Acceleration enhancement flared into overdrive, and I analyzed the world around me as it sat at a near standstill. At the rate the wagon was moving, Marin would reach the closed gate in fifty eight seconds. Based on the dimensions of the gate and an estimate based on my years spent working with similar metal in Ashedown’s forge, the structure easily weighed tens, if not hundreds of tons. It reached much further into the stone walls around it than was visually apparent, and the wall was twenty two feet thick on either side of the gate. The mechanisms that lifted and held the gate in place when it was open had broken, but the tracks on which it ran still looked as if they would function.

 

A plan formed in my head, and the flow of time slowly returned to normal as I sprinted ahead, leaving the terrified guards to abandon their posts at their own leisure. Don’t stop. I imparted the message to her, along with the mental image of my hands finding purchase on a crossbar at the corner of the gate as I started to pull. Don’t stop. Mana burned throughout my body as I pushed my enhancements well beyond their normal limits. The gate refused to budge as I heaved, which only served to focus me more intently on the effort.

 

Lux, you can’t, Lia’s voice pleaded in my head. We can still

 

Don’t. Stop. My Detection magic covering the surrounding areas quickly disappeared as I redoubled my efforts, channeling more mana into increasing my Strength enhancement every second. Pain blossomed in my back and discs burst and muscles snapped, and my healing magic stitched the wounds back together just in time for them to reappear worse than before. The packed earth beneath my feet began to compress under the impossible weight I held, but the gate had begun to groan and shudder as it slowly raised up from the ground, so I continued my efforts.

 

Through the pain and effort occupying the entirety of my focus, I became aware of three sets of heavy footsteps approaching from behind me. A small trickle of mana worked its way down my legs to snake towards the intruders and intercept them before they could interrupt my work, but the footfalls were suddenly replaced with three simultaneous thuds before I could reach them. Comforting warmth surrounded me on all sides, and I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. “Lux.”

 

“Lia,” I grunted, “keep...the wagon...moving. The gate...will open.”

 

A rush of amber energy suffused through my shoulder and down into my core. “We’re almost there,” she whispered. “We can do it.” Lia disappeared as quickly as she had arrived, but I was filled with renewed vigor.

 

The spiked teeth of the gate had cleared their resting places and hovered a few inches above the ground. The only thing standing between me and a life of peace is this gate. My enhancements had finally passed the tipping point, and the gate was steadily moving upwards, but I knew it wasn’t fast enough; the sound of pounding hooves began to echo in my ears, and I knew there were only a few seconds left before Marin would charge out of the smoke at full speed. I just need one final push. One push with everything I have.

 

I gave the gate a furious tug and sent it rattling up out of my hands, clacking away until it reached the apex of its movement with its bottom rungs at my eye level. My head swam as time seemed to stop once again, and I took a centering breath. Everything I have. No holding back...no running away. I reached down to the center of the mana reserves in my core and felt the vast sea of energy that still remained there, swirling with pulsing blue light. Any unconscious barriers I had created to limit my mana flow shattered as I called the energy into the gauntlet on my right hand all at once.

 

Arcs of electric blue energy crackled along the surface of the metal as pure, raw mana suffused and overflowed from the gauntlet. The enchantment within the gauntlet consumed the energy with a voracious appetite, no doubt never having absorbed even a fraction of the power I was feeding to it. My arm burned as it channeled the massive amounts of mana, and I clenched my jaw against the pain as I allowed it to continue. When the neon blue light had grown to a near blinding strength, I lowered my arm, clenched my fist, and wrenched it up in a devastating uppercut.

 

My ears were immediately filled with an overwhelmingly powerful screech of metal on metal, and the gate shot up into the smoke overhead, out of sight. When the screeching stopped, it was replaced by the sound of cracking stone and snapping metal that shook me so violently that I fell to one knee. As I turned my face up to see the damage I had done, I found myself looking into Marin’s awestruck eyes as the wagon thundered by with perfect timing. Her face quickly disappeared as the wagon sped on through the opened gate and onward into Lybesa.

 

As I staggered back to my feet, a smile spread across my face. I did it. I managed to take two shaking steps forward until I had to reach out to the wall for support; I could already feel the mana withdrawals coming on, and based on the amount of energy I had expended within a single second, I knew they would be severe. As I closed my eyes and rubbed my temple to relieve the pressure I felt in my head, the wall beneath my hand began to rumble again. I turned and stared at it without recognition, puzzling over what would be strong enough to shake the massive wall.

 

A rough impact between my shoulder blades derailed my train of thought and lifted me from the ground. Wind blew against my face as I accelerated forward, suspended in midair by something holding my cloak. “Need a ride?” Lia asked as she swung me onto the back of her horse.

 

I laughed loudly as I realized how sluggish my brain was. “Did you see—” Another thunderous crash echoed out from behind us, and turned back to see the gate, now crumpled and distorted, had fallen back to the earth after impacting the top of the wall. A massive crack shot out in multiple directions from the top of the archway, spanning the full height of the wall in three separate spots. I gasped loudly at the sight of the devastation. “Did I do that?” I asked, rubbing my head. I tried to circulate my mana through my body to push away the fogginess I felt, but the response was delayed and less effective than I had expected.

 

“Yes, you did,” she giggled in response to my faintly slurred speech. “We actually made it through. All of us.” I rested my chin on her shoulder and wrapped my arms around her waist to keep from falling off, and I closed my eyes against the wind rushing by my face. “We just have to cross the Maw, and we’ll never have to look at Kaldan again.”

 

“The Maw,” I said, squinting. “Everyone keeps talking about the Maw. What’s the Maw?”

 

She pointed off to her right. “That’s the Maw.” I followed the line of her finger to the edge of the road, which I finally realized was actually an elevated bridge made of the same stone as the wall. Beyond the edge of the bridge was a set of parallel mountain ranges that stretched out further than my eyes could see, creating a yawning chasm between them over which we were currently suspended. The floor and mountain walls were made of angry, jagged stone that left the chasm without any signs of life. A quick turn of my head found the same sight fading into the distance to the south.

 

“I see why they call it the Maw,” I commented, resting my forehead on the back of her shoulder as my headache grew worse. “I’m not sure how your father thought we could cross that on foot, but I’m glad we didn’t try.” Every muscle in my body ached, and my stomach began to churn as the withdrawals continued to grow worse despite my best efforts to fight off the effects.

 

“I’m sure we could’ve managed it, but it wouldn’t have been fun,” she chuckled. “The last time we went hiking he—” Her body suddenly tensed as her voice cut out. “Lux, there are guards on the bridge.” I spun to look back at the ruined gate, but I couldn’t find any guards through the black smoke that continued to pour through the opening. “No,” Lia insisted, tugging at my arm, “ahead of us. Four of them.”

 

I tried to scan ahead with my Detection, but the effort immediately made my head spin violently. “I...can’t see them,” I muttered, squinting past her head down the bridge. I could see Marin driving the wagon ahead of us, but my vision had grown fuzzy and lost focus at any further distances. “We can take care of them on foot before they—”

 

“No, they have bows,” she gasped. “Marin’s going to reach them before we do.” I felt her mana flare up beneath my arms, and a primal fear sprouted in my gut.

 

“Lia, don’t kill them. Not like that,” I pleaded. “It’s dangerous.”

 

“We have to keep Marin safe!” she yelled as the energy around her continued to focus.

 

I shook my head. “You don’t understand! Just...let me do it…” I reached out my mana again, more insistently than before, and was immediately sick to my stomach. Retching over the side of the horse, I struggled to hang on to her waist. “Please...don’t…”

 

Her amber aura flared up, and I knew the spell had activated. I pressed myself close against her back and carefully suffused my mana from my body to hers, waiting for the onslaught of malicious void energy in an attempt to redirect it away from her. “It’s done,” Lia said quietly after a few seconds had passed. “They’re dead.” The proof came a moment later as we passed by a line of four guardsmen, all collapsed and unmoving against the stone.

 

“Are you...okay?” I asked haltingly, feeling overly confused and sick. “You don’t...feel...different.”

 

She turned her head slightly to look back at me over her shoulder. “Different? What do you mean?” She waited a few moments for me to explain, then continued as I remained silent with my eyes scrunched shut. “It’s not the most, erm, comfortable thought, killing someone like that, but it uses basically no energy. In the end, I think it’s probably more peaceful for them; there’s no fear or pain before they die.”

 

“But the darkness,” I panted, “the void...the pain. Doesn’t it...hurt, Lia?”

 

Did you honestly think that’s how it works? Amaya’s voice cut through the fog in my head, overwhelming my lowered defenses. Did you think everybody fell into the void like you when they died, too? The voice laughed, shifting in tone from Amaya’s vibrant timbre to the sly, quick voice of Kel. Still so much to learn.

I was vaguely aware of Lia’s voice ringing in my ears, but I had lost the ability to focus on anything apart from the voice inside my head. My vision faded to pinpoints, and I collapsed forward against Lia. In a hundred trillion lifetimes, there’s never been anybody else like you, Elden. Kel’s voice continued to speak as I lost consciousness, reverberating through the darkness. Someday, you’ll realize what you’re truly capable of.

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About the author

Adam Ladner

Bio: Hi there. I'm Adam, the author of the "Restart Again" series. I started this writing project in the spring of 2019 as a fun creative outlet, and much to my surprise, I actually stuck with it! Fast forward to a year later, and here I am with the first book completely finished, and the second well under way. It's been a great experience, and I'm glad I have a chance to share it now!

I'd never heard of this site until recently, when one of the Amazon reviews for this book suggested I share it here as well. I'm not entirely familiar with how the site works, and whether or not it's frowned upon to just come here to share fully finished products that exist on other sites. With that in mind, I plan to drop a chapter on here every Sunday and Wednesday until the entire book is posted. If you enjoy it, hop over to my website to find the latest news on the project, and a link to the Amazon page where you can buy the eBook/paperback. I hope you enjoy it!

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