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The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival


which. He was half way to the rafter when he saw the last patroller take aim.
Crap, thought Ben. The blue bolt hit him in the chest. He slid down and down and down. He landed on the
ground. He couldn’t move, but he could hear the commotion going on around him. And then he heard Sam
shouting.
“We have to get him,” he yelled.
“More patrollers coming through the gate,” yelled Dahms. “Let’s get out of here.”
“He didn’t leave me when I was fighting the toral, and I can’t leave him now.”
“If you go back down there, Hurd’s men will have you. Let’s go. We’ll do what we can for him later.”
And that was the last Ben heard.
Young Sven enjoyed the cool mountain breeze and the warm sun as he stood on the rise watching Dorce, his
father, below working in the open pit mine. A few moments before he had been playing hide and seek with
some of the other children bounding through the forest, laughing and running, hiding and being very quiet.
It was little Karla, the youngest of the group at eight years of age, who had found him and tagged him out.
Now he was resting as she looked for the other children.
The sound of the picks hitting the ground and churning up the dirt was like a continuous string of fire
crackers, ratta tat tat tat - ratta tat tat tat, with no hesitations. The 53 men of the Bear Clan would work all day
uncovering, cleaning, and packing away the crystals into the leather bags. An hour before the sun went down
they would send the children home and lead the mule train down the trails to the Pike where they would unload
the crystals into transports to be rushed away to the spaceport next to Newusa.
The mining of the crystals was never done with phasors. There was something about the rays which could
damage the crystals making them useless and unsellable.
One of the children, Erik, sprang from the underbrush and ran for home base—a large boulder near the
bottom and to the left of the open pit. He was the last one in and Sven would have gone down to join the other
children in another game, but they had been playing for several hours, and he was getting bored.
He was just thinking about joining the four boys standing on the other side of the pit when he saw a red ray
flash through the air and strike Borg in the back. At that moment everything started moving quickly. Borg,
Erik's father, looked down at his chest where something red was running from the front. With a stunned look
on his face he slowly dropped the pick and fell to the ground and died.
And then red rays seemingly came from everywhere. Twenty-three of the Bear Clan miners were down
before they even knew anything was happening. Sixteen were dead before they hit the ground and seven were
mortally wounded.
The rest of the miners ducked behind boulders or ridges—anywhere they could hide from the phasor bolts.
Most of the children, including Sven, just stood in a state of stupefaction, watching in horror as their fathers
were being killed. But little Toby, a nine year old, started running toward Jask, his father, who was hiding
behind one of the boulders.
Jask stepped out to gather the boy into his arms, but a red ray bore through little Toby's back. Blood spurted
like a fountain from his chest and little Toby pitched to one side. He landed with his back and shoulders flat on
the ground, but his hips were twisted in an unnatural position. His eyes were staring into space.
Jask stood in horror for a moment. Tears came to his eyes, and finally he drew his phasor and started a
suicide run—run, swerve, fall and roll, jump to the feet, swerve, fire the phasor, run swerve, run swerve, run
swerve, fall and roll . . . His phasor cut through a tree taking off the head and shoulders of a hooded enemy.
Run, swerve, run, swerve, fall and roll, jump to the feet, his phasor bore through another tree taking out another
hooded enemy. Red rays were striking all around him. Run, swerve, run, swerve, run, swerve his phasor took
out another, but just as it did a red ray hit him in the shoulder spinning him to the ground. Three more rays hit
him in the torso. It was a relief as he died; the pain of watching his young son being murdered would vanish
with his death.
The only remaining visible targets were the children standing near the forest frozen in fear. Some of the
fathers stood up and yelled to the children to run, but it was too late, phasor fire came out of the woods, killing
in a bloody spectacle and littering the ground with small corpses.
 
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