by R.T. Driver
Genre: YA SciFi Fantasy
Hello! Today Sweet Southern Savings is hosting the blog tour stop for R.T. Driver’s Isaac Comett Series Book Tour. Read on for more about this YA Fantasy, Robert, and a tour-wide giveaway!
My Life as a Shard Knight
Isaac Comett Act 1
It’s 2003, and the coldest of seasons has arrived, filled with monsters, robots and dead beat dads.
Isaac Comett: My Life as a Shard Knight Excerpt #1
Scene: After visiting the art fair and buying matching crystal necklaces, Isaac and his are at home in their apartment complex, when they are interrupted by a loud sound.
A loud smash like a someone tossing a bowling ball from a fifty story window grabbed our ears. We turned to the apartment to our right to see a cloud of dust escape through the broken windows. After it settled, I could have sworn that I heard something that sounded like a cross between a cat and a snake release a gurgling hiss.
Emma yelped at the interruption and had to hold onto her sister so she didn’t fall off the wooden planks. “What was that?”
“I guess those stories about this place being ghetto are true.” said Austin. “Sounds like someone did a real nice job on these new houses.”
They laughed off the scare, but I turned my head back and peered into the unlit home. Things fell apart all the time there, but nothing as earth shattering as that. “You guys don’t think that was a little too weird?” I asked. “Didn’t you hear that strange sound?”
Austin and Emma looked at each other. “I didn’t hear anything, dude.”
Fiora crawled off her stoop. “Was it like an animal?”
“I don’t know what it was. If it was an animal, it was a dying one.”
She went to mush. “What if it’s a poor stray kitty pinned under a broken board?”
“If it is it’s probably dead now, dude.”
Emma socked him in the arm. “Don’t be so heartless!”
“Austin, what if something really did get hurt in there? I think we should take a look.” I said.
Fiora put her hands on her hips and nodded in approval. “Very good, Fuzzy! You’re staying in character even outside the game to preserve the story’s flow. I’m proud of you.”
Austin and I lead the way through the freshly painted door and onto the unit’s back porch. The wood we stood on still smelled like a home improvement store; stuffy and metallic. There were even price tags still on the boards.
“Watch out for nails.” said Emma.
“Yes Mom.” said Austin.
The girls were behind us as we put our faces against the saw-dust ridden glass door and looked inside. The unfurnished space had nothing but tarps and tools laying around everywhere. A few replacement windows had fallen from against the wall, but most unsettling was the pile of spilled white paint. The small milky river flowed along the smooth hard wood, then disappeared into a massive hole in the dining room floor.
“What the heck made that?” I asked.
Fiora pushed me aside and looked in. “Awesome.”
“Not awesome.” said Emma. “If something was stuck down there, it’s probably too buried for us to grab it.”
Austin looked at the sad sisters, then back to me. “Is it unlocked?” he asked.
I grabbed the handle of the sliding door and pulled it.
“Darn.” he said.
I was met with the acrid smell of paint when I stepped inside. It was so strong that it made me feel a little queasy, and the bits of dust still in the air from the destruction didn’t do my lungs any favors. I toughed it out though as I led the group to the edge of the hole. Below us looked like a black abyss that went on for eternity.
“Anyone got a light?” I asked.
Emma tried the switch on the wall, but noticed the cheap electric chandelier, a staple of every apartment unit, hadn’t been installed yet. Fiora squinted through her glasses as Austin hunched over close to the hole, then backed off at the first creek the boards made. Through it all, I could feel the stone on my neck grow warmer.
“Someone throw something down there.” said Austin.
“What if you hurt the kitty?” said Fiora.
I sighed and picked up a paintbrush. “We don’t even know if there’s really anything down there. Maybe we can get a reaction if it’s still alive.”
“Just don’t hurt the kitty.”
Sure I talked a good game, but I was reluctant to throw the brush down there. The stone pulsed more and more as I wound up, as if it were telling me to stop. If I had brought it up with my friends I figured they would have thought I was crazy. My eyes looked over to Emma though, and noticed her hand over her chest, in the same spot where my shard hung. A little bit of sweat was over her brow, too.
“Just do it.” said Austin. He took the brush from my hand and threw it.
After a silent pause that felt like an eternity, we heard a gentle thud. Austin seemed satisfied, but if I knew anything from chucking things at my younger brother, it wasn’t the sound of an object landing on something, but someone. A slow gurgle sounded that filled the empty apartment and sent tingles down my spine.
“I heard it that time, dude.”
Fiora knelt down closer, but Emma had tugged at my shoulder. Her other hand hadn’t left her chest. “Isaac, I think we need to go. Right away.”
I looked back at the pit. The stone on my chest burned. “Yeah, I think you’re right.”
Another gurgle, this one more human-like in sound echoed from under us. I only had the guts to turn around for a second, but when I did I saw two big white ovals looking back at me. They weren’t a dog’s, cat’s or anything I had ever seen before.
“Go guys, go!” I shouted.
We quickly moved to the back door, but I tripped when a fist shot up through the hardwood. It fished around for my ankle, but the shoveled-sized hand gave up and forced its way through another spot. Everything was a nightmarish blur as Fiora and Austin helped me up and we darted out the door.
An otherworldly cry came from the apartment, like the tortured voices of a man and woman yelling in unison. We looked from outside as the mirrors shook and wooden planks broke through the glass door. The thing that pulled itself out of the floor and jumped into the backyard was freaky beyond all reason.
Its wide white eyes, in contrast against its black and purple rubbery skin, had just as much stopping power in the sun as they did in the dark. It’s elongated, football shaped head zipped its focus from the trees, to the woodpile, then to each of us. Its sharp movements made the long black, tubular tendrils on its back bounce around. It’s search eventually settled on Emma and I. It straightened its back and became taller than anyone I’d ever seen.
“What is that thing?!” yelled Austin.
Emma trembled and hid behind Austin. I could see Fiora shake as she stood by my side, but her jaw was locked tight and her teeth were barred more like a cornered animal than helpless prey. I wanted to grab a stick or call for help, but I couldn’t get my muscles to move.
The mouthless face let out a heavy exhale before it’s invisible mouth spoke. “Memorite. Give to me.”
Isaac Comett: My Life as a Shard Knight Excerpt #2
Scene: Isaac waits at a local Cafe for his friend Austin to show up, but instead comes face to face with the dangerous Cyborg, Captain Straum.
I checked my phone. It was about time for Austin to show up. Boredom from his delay must have been on my face because the guy started talking to me.
“Waiting for someone?” he asked, not taking his eyes off the page he was reading.
“You know, I admire the youth around here. They are so much more unique than where I come from. Most tend to act the same. No real distinctions. It’s boring.”
I nodded, not wanting to invite more talk from the droll voice behind the pages, but he didn’t care about my desire for solitude.
“Take that hair of yours for example; its wild, unkempt and screams personality.” His wrinkled face was on me. “Definitely a first for me.” I really didn’t like it when strangers got overly personal. It felt like they were overstepping some sort of unspoken social boundary.
“Can I help you with something?”
“Can you?” he asked, looking at me over his glasses. I had a bad feeling in my stomach as his toothy grin grew. They looked too white to be real, and his gums too bright and pink for his age.
“I think I should go.” I said. I stood, deciding to text Austin and tell him to meet somewhere with less busybodies.
As I walked away the creepy man suddenly grabbed my arm with his gloved hand. The rest of his body stayed facing forward while he latched on to me with a frighteningly tight grip. Any harder and I would have yelped out loud in pain. My adrenaline rushed and my crystal pulsed.
“Easy, we wouldn’t want to make a scene now would we?” he said smugly.
“Let me go or-!”
“You’ll what? Use that stone on me?”
I felt my heart skip a beat. How in the world he knew I had a Memorite piece under my shirt, I had no idea. He didn’t give off the same vibe as Chenzo or even a Seeker. He was something much worse. I shook him off and slowly sat down at his table. I didn’t dare take my eyes off him.
“I got your attention with that one, didn’t I?” he said, setting aside the periodical. The man leaned forward, folding his hands like he was a boss about to interview a nervous job applicant.
“Who are you?” I could feel the Memorite’s power building up on my chest.
“I could be a friend, or I could be an enemy. All of that really depends on what you do.” he said, smiling the whole time. I wanted to make a run for it again but an invisible force in his voice commanded that I stayed.
“By now you must realize that Memorite is no laughing matter, my friend. You and your companions must be scared from all that’s happened.” If he hadn’t acted so sketchy before, I might have thought he was really concerned by his change of tone.
“Wait a sec, how did you know we have the stones?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything.
“And how do you know what’s been going on?” It all pretty much came together as I spoke that sentence. His bright teeth reappeared. For the briefest of moments, the rounded pearls in his mouth swapped out for blue sharp spikes. My heart jumped into my chest and I started sweating.
“…Straum…?” I whispered.
“So you know of me then? That must mean that the Shard Knight reached you before I did.” he said with disappointment. His movements and expressions seemed real, but there was an unnatural syntheticness about him. Our mentor’s warning echoed in my mind.
“Why do you want the Memorite?” I asked quietly.
There was a silence as the unhappy employee wiped down the tables around us, then moved back to her spot behind the cash register.
“A good question that you deserve to know the answer to. I need it to help liberate the worlds from corruption.” I didn’t expect him to be so forward, or to say that. I thought his answer would have been more along the lines of To Eliminate All For My Liege! or something.
“Well then?” I asked.
“What is your name, boy?” he asked. He already seemed to know so much, I didn’t think it mattered. Besides, something behind those red glasses almost yanked the words from my throat.
“Isaac. Isaac Comett.”
“Isaac,” he brushed aside a loose strand of ghostly white hair that had come loose from his hat, “you must understand that the struggle for the Memorite is not black and white as that man Chenzo would have you think. You see, the Shard Knights have been harboring the Memorite Core for themselves. For some reason, they have given themselves the right to govern how the Core is used and who can use it. In other words, only they are allowed to possess it and anyone else using it is branded a threat.” I probably shouldn’t have been listening to his garbage, but his voice kept me in my seat. “I’ve found a way to stop their tyranny.”
“They do it to keep it away from shady characters like you.” I said. I’m not sure if I would have believed me with how I sounded.
“Please, no!” he said, moving his palms up from the table. He seemed upset that he had gotten me riled up.
I swallowed and tried to focus on Chenzo’s warning. The person before me wasn’t real. “Anyone who has to send monsters out that nearly kill me and my friends qualifies as a scumbag. I don’t know who I believe, but Chenzo is looking a whole lot more trustworthy than you right now.”
Straum didn’t look like an evil robot man then. He tilted his head towards the table, appearing guilty almost. I don’t know if that was really the right word for it, but he did seem a little sad. It almost made me feel bad for what I said, but that quickly went away as he continued.
“You are young. Myself and my superior have no interest in your planet. That is why I have been operating in quiet to obtain the Memorite so as not to disturb the nature of things here. I don’t want to start a conflict, Isaac. This land is strange to me.”
“Good job so far.” I said borrowing Austin’s sarcasm. My eyes didn’t leave his face.
“I am ready to make you an offer, Isaac Comett. I will cease any attempts to take the shards through force if, and only if you are willing to cut off ties with Chenzo and any other Shard Knights. If you do so, I will peacefully wait the one year interval for them to unbind from you, then be on my way.” I tossed out his suggestion before he even opened his mouth.
“We’re done here.” I said. I got up and walked away. The door never looked so beautiful.
“Isaac,” he began. I stopped at his suddenly angrier voice. His chair squeaked as he turned around.
“Comets may shine bright, but they all burn out eventually. How long will you last, I wonder?”
Isaac Comett Act 2
Isaac, June, Austin and the others are halfway through their bonding period with the powerful Memorite Crystals, but their adventure is far from over.
Isaac Comett: Interstellar Warrior Excerpt #1
Scene: During an attempt to rescue their mentor Chenzo’s daughter on Vara 2, Isaac and Emma are ambushed by Fullon Androids.
Since we defeated Captain Straum we had been diligent with our training. We didn’t miss a single day (except for that one week we took a field trip to D.C), always keeping our battle skills nice and sharp. That said, there are some things that you just can’t prepare for using wooden dummies and one on one sparring matches; in that case, it was an army of tricked-out space pirates.
“Bring the meat sacks down!” echoed one.
Our first move was going to make or break our survival, and Emma took a gamble, leaving it to me. She fell to her knees as I yelled, stretching my palm out. A squall of golden flames materialized and rippled towards the firing squad that had boxed us in. The shots they managed to let off faded into nothingness as the wave overcame them. They screeched as they were tossed and burned.
Emma rose to her feet and turned to her right, releasing a series of shots at one particularly menacing Fullon. It looked like it had a cage for a head with red circular eyes sitting in a pool of black gears and circuits. Out of its table-sized belt it drew unsheathed a massive pole. With a flick of a switch the weapon was engulfed in a blanket of electricity.
“Isaac!” shouted Emma.
The oversized microwave took a swing, and if it weren’t for her stone she would have been a smoking red splatter. She let off more shots, but her bolts failed to slow the mass of junk.
“I’m on it!” I yelled as I sent a beeping combatant to the ground.
“Dude!” crackled Austin.
“What is it?!” I yelled. My legs propelled me towards the giant Fullon. I jumped into the air like a basketball player going for a slam dunk.
“If it’s just as bad there as it is over here, you’d better be keeping my girl safe!” he warned.
I stabbed the robot hard. It let something slip out of the speakers by its mouth. I didn’t need a translator to know it was computer-talk for something crude.
“Working on it!”
Emma sidestepped another swing and fired a shot that shattered one of the machine’s eyes. I hung on as it stumbled around knocking out its smaller teammates.
“Emma! Is he doing a good job? Be honest! I can threaten him if it will help!”
I swung Brave with all my might, knocking the robot’s head off, but it still stood on its two, car-sized feet.
“He’s starting to put your skills to shame, baby,” she said. She fired an arrow at a joint in its knee. It toppled to the ground, snapping the chains keeping its leg together.
“What? I can’t let that happen. Over and out. And good work, Comett!” he said angrily.
Igniting Brave with the gold power from my hands, I thrust my sword into the Fullon’s back. The giant let out a cloud of black smoke before going still.
“Thanks Em.” I panted as I leapt off the beast. “I didn’t think our friend would shut up.”
“You just have to know how to work him.” She said.
As the two of us sped under iron archways towards our meeting point, we could hear loud explosions off in the distance. We knew it couldn’t have meant anything good.
The Little Scare flew overhead. Before Emma’s warning that another squad of Fullon had shown up, the turrets mounted down our ship’s long tail unloaded their contents. Beams of light pulverized the androids, sending twitching arms and legs everywhere.
We waved up at the ship as it zipped off for a second pass, but Chenzo’s path wasn’t clear that time. Circular pods with moving bodies inside them rose into the air far away. The strange things turned out to be other ships, but I would never had known if it weren’t for the translucent green frame that formed wings and a nose once they reached their target height. All we could do was watch as half a dozen of them chased our backup away with a hailstorm of glowing bullets.
“He’s tough.” I said to Emma. “It’ll take more than that to bring a mental case like him down.”
“Right.” she said with a small nod.
A bridge of cement and steel provided a path above a moat that surrounded the skyscraper. The bronze structure shined in the sun’s scorching light. A tall set of grated stairs led up to the entrance, which was guarded by a team of ready-to-rumble Fullon. Spilling over the open cliff and down into the smelly muck bellow were long tubes and hoses that released a never ending river of brown sewage.
The moment the two of us set foot on the bridge, dozens of robots came crawling from over the guardrails. Like spiders, they scurried from over the sides on all fours, using their sharp fingers as hooks. They all laughed sinisterly through radio static as they closed off both ends of the path.
“Right where we want you.” beeped one.
Isaac Comett: Interstellar Warrior Excerpt #2
On the planet Rudesia, the team’s plans fail, and they are locked in a stalemate with the wicked narcissist Count Ausger. They plead for Delrune not to surrender the Memorite, but hope fades.
The Gintare flew low to the ground then stopped, hovering by a wide stone bridge. At the end were two large, rusted metal doors; Epicus Point’s entrance.
It was a struggle for the overtaxed craft to stay afloat after the mess we made. The engines groaned and smoke billowed from stray laser blasts. The most obvious stress though was the heavy beast pinning Chenzo.
We stood on the far side of the deck as Ausger, Nerro, and his remaining bodyguards stood by the plank that linked the ship to the wall. Del was in the middle, shaking nervously.
“Isn’t there some other way?” asked Del. “You don’t know what you’re asking for, Ausger.”
“Do not stall, fair lady. I doubt Chenzo’s shield will last much longer.”
Count Dirt Bag was right. Chenzo was on his knees with his head down. Both of his hands were above his head as he panted heavily in an effort to keep the barrier up.
Delrune looked at me once more. Her wet irises were full of sadness and apologies. Chenzo was her father. If it had been my old man I’d…well, I don’t really know. But I could see how one would feel that way.
“What’s gonna happen now, dude?” Austin asked me.
“I don’t know. If Del does this, we’re doomed.”
“With that monster around we’re pretty much screwed anyway.” said June.
I looked down at her. Fiora was still senseless except some slight groans to let us know she was alive. June protectively had her hands on her friend’s head and shoulders.
“Is she okay?” I asked.
“No more bleeding and her burns are gone.” she said. “She better come around soon, we’ll need every bit of power we can get with Chenzo down.”
Looking at the yellow and blue sky, Del took a deep breath and exhaled. She closed her eyes as all of the shards on her body went black. Tiny white lights sparkled in each one, mimicking the stars of space.
“What the heck?!” Trevor held his stone as it reacted the same way as Del’s. “What’s going on?”
“The Recall.” I said.
All around us, the storm surrounding the Gallapool intensified. Wind rushed in, parting the clouds even more as the Memorite’s energy joined forces with the power from space itself. It looked like the upper atmosphere peeled away as the stars came out and the sky went black. We stayed close to each other, not knowing what to expect as Zellion dust blew upward into the air.
“Delrune!” I called to the girl who was just a silhouette of blue and white, but she didn’t respond. Even Nerro looked on in wonder as her feet slowly lifted off the ground while a cyclone of light engulfed her.
“Lotus…Glast…” I heard Delrune say. Her echoing voice sounded spaced out.
“Delrune!” I called.
“My masters. Is this why I was made? My…purpose…?”
“Stop it! Tell her to stop, Chenzo!” shouted June over the noisy gale.
“It is him…he is here…the one…” Del wasn’t making any sense.
“Delrune! Who’s here?” called Austin.
“…The Bane of the Universe…”
We watched as hundreds of flickering shards from every direction; up, down, left, right, diagonal, and any other way you could think of gathered on top of the castle like metal to a magnet.
The sky and the clouds only returned to normal after a massive clear stone hung in the air. The light of the sun laid out a rainbow on the land as it travelled through the crystal and exited below. Inside the perfect diamond were swirling white fragments, just like a replica of the solar system. It served as a sign of the unimaginable power locked inside the completed Memorite Core.
Austin and I caught Del as she fell back to the planet. Her face was flushed and her skin was clammy.
“Del! Can you hear us?!” we both cried out. She only managed a slight moans between shallow breaths.
” Very good, my little Maiden.” The Count whispered. The black marbles that made up Ausger’s eyes locked onto his prize.
He raised his sword and tapped into its power. The Count’s monstrous Mind Gear vanished from sight. Chenzo’s shield faded and he fell to the ground, the only movement from his body was his chest raising and falling.
Trev rushed to Chenzo’s side as Austin and I lifted Delrune up. She was fading in and out of consciousness as she breathlessly repeated “Papa…sorry… ” over and over.
“You might not see it from your stand point,” began Ausger, “but I intend to use this power for the welfare of all in my coming Kingdom.” He confidently brushed back his silky hair. A confident toothy smile crawled on his flawless face.
“Your kingdom?” said Trevor, unimpressed.
June’s face turned red with helpless anger. “You and Straum are nothing but saps that follow Illius’s or whoever’s orders. You think he’ll just let you use the Core?”
Ausger laughed at her. “You do not yet understand, do you young Knight? I no longer have to answer to that mighty half-brother of mine. It will be Illius that bows to me, as will all of your kind.”
“Dude you guys are related, after the same goal, but you plan on taking him down? Are you nuts?” asked Austin.
“Some army.” started June. “First Straum talks about his secret plans for improving the galaxy, and now you with your backstabbing ideas! What’s the matter with you guys?”
“Ha! Girl of Cunning, your comprehend so little that it is maddening!” Ausger was more animated than before. His eyes were wide and veins formed around his temples. “No one wants to see Illius diced into Krednaught fodder more than myself, Straum or anyone else in the Planetary Council more than I do; not even the Shard Knights!”
“But why?” I said. “If he’s so horrible and you want him gone, then why not just help us? You have a whole army. You can help us fight.”
“Is Earth really so sheltered of a planet? How I envy you…” There was a sudden touch of longing in his tone, but only for a moment. “Illius’s power was unchallengeable until today. Although it would appear to the commoner that every detestable organization across the stars willingly aligned with him, in truth his highness forced Nova Nemesis and the Fullon to join his ranks. Captain Straum was indeed powerful as you well know, but not nearly enough to stand against Illius himself and live. The same applies to me.”
“Cry me a river.” shot Trevor. “All you buttholes do is make life miserable for whoever is in your way!”
“Do not misunderstand, boy!” Ausger quickly spun around and pointed an accusing finger. “I do approve of Illius’s methods; what is the point of having power if you cannot wield it? However, I am not one to be used as a pawn by some false alien king from a backwater West Planet.”
My mind did the math. For Ausger, a Solski to call someone an alien, and from the west of the universe, it could only mean one thing.
“Illius is…a human.” I whispered.
“We’re fighting someone from our planet?” asked June.
I looked to Chenzo. He didn’t say anything, but I saw his hands form into fists and tremble.
“Illius cares to none what I say or do as long as my treasury door remains open to him. That has proven to be the fatal flaw in his reasoning, for you see, money to the haughty can be blinding. He looked at my wallet in one hand, while the other reached for a dagger.”
Delrune stirred in our arms. She slowly opened her eyes. “Y-you can’t use the Core. You’ll die.”
“Die?” laughed Ausger. “I now know more about the Memorite more than anyone, possibly more than him.” he said while motioning towards Chenzo. He waved for Nerro to retrieve his fallen glasses.
“Then you should know people can only use one or two Shards. Are you really that big of an idiot to try to use the whole Core all at once?” I said.
“You speak as if we only learned of the Memorite yesterday.” Nerro commented. He had been silent since learning of Ursa’s demise.
“That would apply under normal circumstances, yes…but not to Uforians.” smiled Ausger.
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