TITLE: By Virtue Fall
GENRE: YA Apocalyptic Fantasy
Mama always said freedom could be found inside Haven’s walls. When we’d sit together on the porch at night, mending Papa’s casting nets to the glow of fireflies and chirrup of katydids, she’d weave stories she’d picked up in the market: that a temple in Haven’s central city had a steeple so tall it scraped the clouds; that lordlings there lived in palaces and held parties in rooms dipped in gold; that shiny black locomotives raced across metal tracks, moving faster than any horse could run.
But I never believed her.
What kind of freedom could be confined by walls?
I was naive to ever mistake shelter for confinement.
Tribulation rises over the southern landscape like a metal tidal wave, seconds from crashing onto the ghost town below. My squad shouldn’t be this close to the wall. If Haven’s knights catch us they won’t hesitate to shoot. But we haven’t found a usable voltic cell in months, so the abandoned research facility inside their “dreg free” zone may be our last chance to get one before my brother’s heart stops ticking.
I grip my battle axe and lead my squad through the dusty streets. All around, the city’s roofs are caved in, with glass shards clinging to their windows like cracked teeth. My metal arm rattles from the tension coiled in my shoulders as I step into Tribulation’s shadow. No going back to camp empty handed today. Ari won’t have to pull another brave face to shield me from his disappointment.