Cora Rhodes was riding escort for six bratty sacrifices to a desert world. Her talent is simple, enhanced senses, but she had no idea that it wasn’t her talent but her bloodline that would let her see what no one else could when she first set foot on Lero.
Able to see what none of her companions could confuses her at first, but when she wakes the sleeping Avatar, hallucinating a fruit tree is the least of her problems.
Relak has slept for seven hundred years, waiting for the woman who can see through the illusion that guards his home. Her species is familiar, her spirit is refreshing and her body sends his senses spinning in the direction of his bed, with her in it.
A man, a woman and a planet come together to restart a world and invigorate a population. Will they be able to hold off the stupid and greedy, or will a world asleep for centuries fall to those who would take its core?
Cora Rhodes, hired guard, rocked with her companions in the small landing craft.
“Sox, can’t you stabilise us?” Cora held tightly to the wall and strap of the ship while they tilted again.
“The atmosphere is angry, Cora. The wind alone is enough to threaten hull integrity.” Socorea grunted and held on for dear life.
Cora looked at their cargo, six women who were dressed in formal gowns, sacrifices from their world to the planet below.
It wasn’t as brutal as the phrase sacrifice indicated. The Vahsh nobles were bound to send a group of young women once every ten years in an effort to provide a mate for the sleeping Avatar of Lero.
Cora didn’t know why he was asleep or what this whole thing was about, but it was a payday for her and an assignment. She went where the Alliance sent her and rarely had time to spend the credits that she accumulated.
The ship shuddered again, and Cora fought a curse. No one had ever told her that the worst part of space travel was take off and landing until it was far too late. One moment she was preparing to leave Earth and the next, she was fighting to hold onto everything she had eaten in the last decade. It had come as quite a shock.
“We are almost there, Cora. Hang on to your lunch.” Socorea laughed.
“Very funny. You know I don’t eat before drops.”
“Or take offs for that matter. Take your seat before you fall over. We are about to make landfall.”
Socorea was one of the rare Oefric women out in active service to the Alliance, but she was far too smug with her abilities as a pilot.
Cora strapped in while she contemplated ways to bump off her friend while maintaining a pilot to help her off Lero. It was something she struggled with during every landing.
The shuttle broke through the cloud layer, and Cora gasped in amazement. The ground that looked so bare and inhospitable from space was rich, green and alive with life. From the orbital station, it had looked to be a desert world.
“Oh my. That is lovely.” She smiled and looked around at as much of the living eden that she could.
Her friend gave her an incredulous look. “You are kidding. Does your kind like barren deserts and rock formations?”
Cora looked around her and frowned, rubbing at her eyes. “I must be tired, because that is not what I am seeing.”
“What are you seeing?”
“I don’t think that this is the time or place to discuss my delusions, Sox.” Cora spoke quietly, aware that six curious pairs of ears could hear them now that the roar of wind was over.