Today, I have YA author Erin Danzer here where she will share an excerpt of her short story “Defending the Spiral.” This short story functions as a prequel to her four novel series that begins with Into the Spiral.
Here’s a quick blurb for “Defending the Spiral” before we jump into the excerpt.
Gavin Clearwater longs for adventure. As a Lieutenant of the Spiral Defenders, he travels to numerous planets, seeing many different creatures and climates. But his heart tells him something has always been missing from his life.
After a successful mission to protect the planet Mystica, Gavin returns home with suspicions about his commanding officer. But those suspicions are turned aside when Gavin is given another mission, one that will change his life forever.
And now the excerpt:
Gavin Clearwater looked at the fifteen individuals in his Advanced Weapons training class. He glanced up at the sun shining brightly in the sky, pushing black hair out of his eyes. It was hard to believe it had rained for three days straight, but now there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Sighing, he returned his attention to the trainees, thinking that’s the way it always was on Cira, the central planet of the Spiral. He preferred planets in the third or fourth circles, where weather was more predictable—even though life was more dangerous.
The steel blades of swords and knives flashed in the late afternoon light, the wooden sounds of staves clashing echoed across the training field. Training the class was still relatively new to Gavin, as was his position as Lieutenant of the Spiral Defenders, a band of warriors who traveled through time and space protecting the planets of the Spiral. His godmother, Queen Alina of his homeland Kalearnia, had promoted him a month ago on his nineteenth birthday, saying he deserved it after several daring rescues around the Spiral. Gavin didn’t mind the risk involved in protecting the inhabitants of the collected planets of the Spiral or his elevated status—though his new position had garnered much teasing from his trainees, most of whom had been his peers before the promotion.
The sound of his communicator going off brought Gavin out of his reverie. He called the trainees to order as he reached for the device, pulling it from the cargo pocket on his black pants and answering the call. Mild dread warred with curiosity as his godmother’s face appeared on the screen.
“Gavin, have you ended class?” she asked. A few snickers sounded from the crowd in front of him. Gavin grimaced but otherwise ignored them. While most of his peers had wholeheartedly agreed that he deserved the promotion, there were some who thought more intimate reasons had been employed. Unfortunately, some of those small-minded people where in his class.
“We’re just finishing up,” he told the queen.
“Good. Meet me in the throne room immediately. A dire situation has come up,” Alina told him. He nodded, noticing the worry in her brown eyes before the screen went black.
“Hear that guys, a dire situation has come up,” Mikhail Silversting jeered to a few of his buddies. Gavin glared at the Scorpios hybrid as he dismissed the rest of the class and collected their weapons, putting them in two large black trunks he would have to retrieve later.
“Knock it off, Silversting,” Gavin told the man, his steely tone unmistakable. Those closest to him heard the warning and looked back at Mikhail with disapproval. Mikhail just laughed, the sunlight reflecting off his hairless body as he shook his head, polearm still in his hands.
“What are you going to do about it, Clearwater? Run and tell your girlfriend? Just remember she said throne room not bedroom,” he sneered, his hands loosely holding his weapon in the ready position. Gavin whirled around, plucking a knife from the hands of a nearby trainee as he closed the distance between him and Silversting. The other’s silver scorpion-like tail rose behind him, poised to attack, as Gavin held the knife to his thick neck.
“Put that thing down,” Gavin spat at the man, disgusted as he glanced at the deadly tail. “I could have you transferred out to Izotz for raising a weapon at me in an offensive manner.” He pressed the tip of the blade into Silversting’s meaty flesh. Thick, black blood oozed from the wound. “Continue to harass me about a nonexistent relationship and I’ll make sure the queen knows it’s more than just idle gossip going around about her. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, sir,” Silversting grumbled grudgingly. Still on his guard, Gavin lowered the knife. He ducked instinctively as Silversting suddenly swung the polearm at his head, reaching out to catch the wooden handle just below the curved metal blade at the end. He said a few short words, opening a portal behind the other man, and pushing him through into the inky grey In Between. Silversting’s curses came through the portal as it closed a moment later. Gavin dusted himself off and retrieved the knife from where it had landed near his feet before turning to the fourteen remaining trainees.
Thanks for sharing this, Erin!
Erin Danzer wrote her first book at 10-years-old for a Young Authors competition, where she was awarded an Honorable Mention and discovered a passion for the written word. She’s written several novels and short stories since that spark ignited. She writes a monthly short story serial, The Cassandra Serafin Chronicles, posting alternately on her blog and in Literary Lunes bi-monthly online magazine. Erin resides in Racine, Wisconsin, with her husband, two children, and their cat.