Book birthday: Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire #Pietas #SciFi

Congratulations, it’s finally a book birthday!

Holding Bringer of Chaos in my hand — both book 1 and book 2 — what a feeling! As a rule, I don’t use exclamations on this blog, but for this? A book birthday is a wonderful thing. You can have a book birthday on the anniversary of its release, but for this event, I’m claiming today as the day the book is born. Officially.

I started writing it years ago. I was 17 and sound asleep at home, dreaming. I was walking the length of a vast receiving chamber, headed for the woman who sat on the throne at the end. The empress was the twin sister of a dangerous man who was not present. He was older but he was not the king. I didn’t know why but I knew that made him dangerous.

I had to walk through rows of soldiers who stood at attention, facing forward. I could not see their faces. I was not afraid to approach the throne. The woman looked amused at how long it took me to go such a long distance. I kept walking and walking but never seemed to get closer. I turned around to see how far I had come. That’s when I saw the faces of the soldiers, and my breath caught.

Every one of them had the heads of gray cats.

I woke up and sat straight up in bed. Why that image should have been so frightening, I don’t know. No one was attacking me. No one glared at me. They just looked right at me, and that was enough. All these years later, that dream still haunts me.

From that dream was born most of the Tarthian Empire series. The woman on the throne became Empress Rheyn Destoiya. The cat-headed soldiers became the Praetorian Guard, peopled with the Kin, a feline-humanoid race. (My Kin do not have cat-heads but they are quite catlike and have pointed ears higher up on their heads than a human’s.) Her missing older brother became Pietas, hero of my last two books.

By releasing Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, I’m telling the story of that missing sibling and how he came to be such a dangerous man.

I hope you’ll get to know him as I have. Discovering the Bringer of Chaos has been a lifelong attempt. Below is an excerpt from the book for you to sample, and you can download the entire first three chapters here

Book Birthday – an excerpt

In this scene, Pietas discovers that his friend, Six, has been taken hostage by Mahikos, Pietas’s father.

“Are you looking for this?” His father’s unmistakable voice came to him before the man’s faint outline revealed itself in the dark.

Mahikos had captured Six and pressed a knife blade to the ghost’s throat. At the point where the blade dug into him, blood oozed.

The blank passivity on his friend’s face revealed what Pietas had feared. Six had been compelled into submission. He would stand there and let Mahikos kill him.

Rage propelled Pietas forward.

“That’s far enough, Son.” He dragged Six backward. “Unless you want your own hands covered in this human’s blood.”

Pietas ground his teeth. For this, his father would forfeit his life. “I will end you, old man.”

“Will you?” Mahikos dug the knife edge into Six’s neck. “You dared bring this abomination into our camp after it threatened your mother–the woman I love–and you want to end me? This thing is going to die by my hands!”

Time slowed to a crawl. Someone had told him.

Joss? Too loyal.

The twins? Too detailed.

Dessy? Had she been so quick to betray him?

Pietas drew every vestige of Compulsion he had and threaded Chaos along its invisible bands. Mahikos was immune to both, but aligned, they might soften his will.

Wait. Immune. Immune!

That word rattled around his head, a stone bouncing off the sides of a bottomless metal pit.

Pietas had practiced compulsion, sending command after command to Six.

The man was immune.

Six, blink twice if you hear me.

He gave two quick blinks.

How he treasured this man! Good job, ghost. You stalled him. If you’re hurt, blink once.

Six remained steady.

Excellent. I should never have left you. I’m sorry. On my mark, drop and get out of the way. Joss, go right. Distract him.

I serve. Her mindvoice packed the simple Ultra vow with raw emotion.


Joss screeched a war cry and bolted right.

Pietas shot to the left.

Startled, Mahikos flinched.

Six hit the ground and scrambled aside.

Reversing course mid-step, Pietas used his full bodyweight and slammed Mahikos into the ground. The knife flew from his father’s hand. The two men rolled, each grappling for supremacy.

Mahikos was a full foot shorter and similar to others in the scientist class, slight of build. He’d altered his own genetic makeup and now possessed the greater strength of the warrior class. The man got in one blow to Pietas’s jaw and a second to his head.

The world went white hot–then red.

Nothing existed beyond this enemy.

This retribution.

This hatred.

This rage.

Pietas flipped his father onto his stomach and rolled atop him. One arm beneath the man’s throat, the other bracing the first, he crushed his father’s airway.

Mahikos clawed at the arms pinning him, but without air, soon weakened. His struggle slowed, then ceased. In one swift move, Pietas shoved his father’s face into the dirt.

That would have killed a human, but the Ultra metabolism had kicked into battle mode while they fought. The man healed before Pietas could move back. Gasping, Mahikos clawed for the knife.

With his longer reach, Pietas claimed it first. He rolled his father onto his back and knelt atop the weakened man’s arms, pinning him.

He showed him the knife. “Are you looking for this?” he asked, echoing his father’s earlier words.

Mahikos stared up at it and then at him, wild-eyed, choking for air.

Pietas wrapped both hands around the hilt, drew back the blade, and plunged it down.

“No!” His mother’s voice rang out. “Pietas!”

He stopped the blade but the tip had already punctured his father’s skin. Pietas ached to ram it deep, deep, all the way past skin, muscle, and bone, straight into the man’s heart. Twist it. Break it off.

“No!” His mother pleaded. “He’s your father. Pietas. Please! For me. For me.”

He held his father’s life in limbo, suspended between cold indifference and hot fury, buffeted by his mother’s plea.

When the immortal Pietas is marooned on a barren world with no food and few survival tools, he knows it could be worse. He could be alone. But that’s the problem. He’s not.
Half a million of his people sleep in cryostasis, trapped in their pods and it’s up to Pietas to save them. But before he can, he must take back command from a ruthless enemy he’s fought for centuries. His brutal, merciless father. Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever…

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Unwanted Attention from a Telepath #SciFi #Pietas #MFRWhooks

Unwanted Attention from a Telepath #SciFi #Pietas #MFRWhooksIn this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, Pietas and the search party sent to find him have stopped their upward mountain trek for a short break. Prior to their reunion the previous day, Pietas had spent a year in confinement, hands bound behind him. He’d been starved to the point of death, but because he’s immortal, he could not die. Although he’s healed since, the brutality left a lasting toll on his once robust physical body. As they prepare to get underway, he unwittingly reveals the impairment and becomes the focus of unwanted attention from a telepath.

Unwanted Attention

Wincing, Pietas stretched to ease cramps in his back.

“Tas!” His sister had started using her childhood name for him since they’d reconnected the day before. “Are you hurt?”

Before he could answer Dessy, a quick telepathic scan from Joss swept over him. Pietas had still been a teenager when she’d trained him to shield his mind from those with her gift. Not that he’d ever been able to block her. She was far too powerful, but today, she’d read him with no more difficulty than a hunter spying trail signs. He’d been near no Ultra telepaths for over a year.

His affinity with Six had made him careless and he’d neglected the basic lessons Joss had taught him.

It wasn’t a lack of trust. Trust had never been an issue with Joss.

He treasured her, but he ought not to have been so unguarded and open. Vulnerable.

“Pietas.” Joss stood. The waves of emotion he picked up from her held love and concern in equal measure. And a bit of disappointment. “You’re injured.”

He ducked his head like a schoolboy who’d forgotten his lessons. Admit mortals had damaged him? Never. Neither would he lie about it. He’d take better care to hide the pain.

“Don’t worry about me.” Whistling, he circled a finger in the air. “Let’s go! Long climb ahead. Joss, you lead.” Last thing he wanted was her behind him, using him as an object of focus. He loved her, but this was unwanted attention.

What telepaths focused upon, they controlled.

Will you help me spread the word about my immortal king? Please join my Thunderclap. It goes live 12/29!

Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It’s a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or published books by possibly new-to-you authors.


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The blood of my enemies #SciFi #Pietas #MFRWhooks

In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, Pietas undergoes a ritual used on the planet Kaffir is summon spirits. “The blood of my enemies trickles into the pool of time,” he proclaims.

My Enemies

Early on the first morning of the peace talks, Pietas entered his round bathing room. Starlight filtered through the portal overhead. Sleek silver walls reflected the cool light.

He remained at the door, content to savor its calming glow. Its beauty did not dispel the worry niggling at his mind. Not given to trusting premonitions and omens, he grounded himself with meditation. Once he centered himself and calmed his spirit, Pietas took a deep, purifying breath, and with slow deliberation, exhaled.

The blood of my enemies #SciFi #Pietas #MFRWhooks“Time to begin. Lights.”

The room brightened.

He shed his silk robe and let it fall at his feet. Nude, his platinum hair streaming down his back and chest, he lifted his hands, palms up as if praying. On the planet Kaffir, warriors used this ritual to summon spirits. He used it to affirm his own superior strength and prowess.

Before a copper fire pit, he plucked one blond hair, and fed it to the fire. It singed and melted.

“As fire has victory over life, so I have victory over my enemies.”

He passed a hand through the flame, and hissed at the searing heat, relishing the pain. He cupped his hand over the flame’s source, and held it until the fire went out. The burns on his palm cooled and as he watched, the skin healed. Of all the elements, fire alone had power to linger on an Ultra’s skin. He welcomed it as a symbol of victory.

“I am powerful, as fire is powerful.”

Pietas thrust both hands forward, clutched his fists, and yanked them back. “I own the wind. I prevail over the breath of my enemies.”

In the bathing area, he took six steps down into a waist-deep pool.

“Water submits to my presence the way enemies submit to my will.” He cupped water in his hands, lifted it, and let it pour down his arms. “The blood of my enemies trickles into the pool of time, is absorbed, and forgotten.”

He pushed wet fingers through his hair, and released it. “My mind is clear. I do not waver.”

He submersed and rose, head thrown back, face lifted to the sparkle of stars above. “My body submits to my will. No pain defeats me. No fear touches me.”

He swept his hands down his chest to his loins and the tops of his thighs. “My will is absolute.”

A scratching sound alerted him to the presence of his silver-skinned android servant. The creature entered, and Pietas fixed him with a hard glare. “Why did you interrupt me?”

“Your guest is here, my lord, in the living area.” He offered Pietas a towel.

“Leave it.” He waved the android away.

After exiting the pool, Pietas brushed off the water and wrung out his hair. He pulled out a tray holding half a dozen clasps. He chose a silver dragon studded with six turquoise stones, twisted his wet hair, and fastened it up, out of the way.

He dried his face, gathered a brush, and picked up a pot of black face paint. Leaning in close to a freestanding mirror, he outlined a bandit’s mask from beneath his eyes to over his dark eyebrows, and filled it with black.

He’d worn the mask in battle ever since defeating the First Division, a human special-ops group formed to fight Ultras. It came about because Pietas had slain an enemy, and blood splashed across his eyes. Thinking the blood belonged to Pietas, the Ultra troops had rallied to him and slaughtered the humans. The blood dried almost black.

Stories of how their “bandit king” had conquered the First Division filled the night. The name stuck. To his troops, he was First Conqueror, War Leader of the Ultras.

Pietas turned his head side to side, surveying the effect.

His body would reject foreign matter on his skin. The Ultra metabolism protected from every perceived attack, even harmless face paint. He closed his eyes and sprayed sealant over the mask to delay its disappearance by a few hours.

Satisfied with his looks, Pietas pulled on a pair of loose white lounging pants. With a deep, cleansing breath, he opened the door. Damp, shirtless, barefoot, he padded into the adjacent room.

The blood of my enemies #SciFi #Pietas #MFRWhooksImmortal Council member Pietas ap Lorectic, warrior leader of the Ultra race, wants nothing to do with faithless, lying humans.

The inferior race may have created his people, but they used them as slaves, not powerful beings with rights of their own. Upon discovering humans captured and tortured his people, Pietas declares humans deserve no offering of peace. They deserve conquest and elimination.

When the Ultra High Council agrees to peace talks, Pietas grudgingly complies. Arriving at the space station Enderium Six, he discovers his psychic gifts are diminished and suspects a trap. A deadly fight between Pietas and altered-humans of the Ghost Corps ensues. Cornered, out of options and with his beloved mother’s life at stake, Pietas surrenders.

Now a captive of the people he loathes, Pietas is left for dead on the barren planet, Sempervia. Six, a member of the Ghost Corps abandoned with him, offers food and water. Is this altered human worthy of friendship? Or is the offer of shelter a ploy to gain his own protection?

Either way, Pietas must do the one thing he detests. Trust a human…

Available free on Kindle Unlimited  Amazon

Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It’s a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or published books by possibly new-to-you authors.


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