Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action, Adventure
The Cataclysm devastated the galaxy. It destroyed worlds and wiped out entire species. That was over four hundred years ago. It ended in the unification of the galaxy under one rule. Thus the Great Eternal Empire of Raifor was formed. At its head sat the Nobles, descendants of the First Emperor imbued with powers that not even the Magus of the seven orders could hope to match. For millennia they have followed a strict system of succession. Now, for the first time since its inception, that system has failed and war has returned to the galaxy. It is up to the Exiles to make it right.
On the backwater planet of Erelia the war has already taken its toll. Aosen Yenra waits in a bunker with the thousands of civilians he’s managed to save from the nuclear bombardment of their world. Radiation threatens to kill the survivors slowly, and time is running out. His search for answers will lead him to an ancient ship, and the secrets held within.
Bach-Ti the Pirate Queen has just organized the grandest heist of her long career. The war, however, will alter her journey in a way she and her crew could never have expected. Someone wants the Pirate Queen dead, and she won’t rest until she finds out whom.
Meanwhile on the planet Navia, the young heiress Lanoel Rai Devroux is also waiting for someone to rescue her from her responsibilities. When the deposed Empress arrives on her world she brings with her something that will change Lanoel’s life forever. But is it a blessing, or a curse?
Iloesten Rai Kenos is a woman renowned for her brilliance in battle, and her cruelty. She leaves no survivors, and takes no prisoners, but she must do more to prove herself as something greater than a kinslayer. When she learns of the fabled relic ships, she believes she has finally found the answer. Will her thirst for power be quenched, or will she again fall short of her goals?
These are the Exiles, and this is their journey. They must trust those around them to achieve their goals, and most of all they need to trust in the aether.
Lose yourself in the universe of Raifor, where magic and science meet. Exiles of Raifor is an action packed blend of science fiction and fantasy that is sure to leave you wanting more. Explore new worlds, meet new characters, take part in an adventure which spans an entire galaxy. Enjoy the debut of a new name in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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This wasn’t the first time the Pirate Queen had an attempt on her life, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but she was usually up for the challenge. Before she could react the Assassin was nearly on top of her, she caught a glimpse of its Cze blade dancing through the smoke, and the distinct click of aethersteel armor boots against the floor. She ducked her head to the side as the Cze blade sliced through the air above her harmlessly. She rolled away from the attacker and pushed herself onto her feet. The sudden movement sent her head swimming, and suddenly there were two assassins where there was only one.
The Assassin saw that she was disoriented and started to laugh, the laugh was distinctly female, with the feral hint of a Saqu. “You know, I thought the famous Pirate Queen would put up more of a fight. You’d think this ship would be much harder to infiltrate, let alone disable. I suppose it is just an old piece of junk though.”
Bach-Ti thought she recognized the voice, and squinted to make out the insignia on the aethersteel Armor. “Leland Xen, what the hell are ya doin’ on my ship?” She took a deep breath, and her training began to come to her. She started seeking the aether in her blood.
“Oh, you know, just your every day run of the mill assassination. You finally pissed off the wrong lot ‘Pirate Queen’. I’m not sure who is willing to put this many credits out on you. Not surprised about it though. In fact the only real shock here is that I was the first one to try to collect on the bounty. By the looks of it, I’ll be the last.”
Bach-Ti felt her blood burning. Her muscles were growing stronger and her vision sharper. She felt the headache soothing and balled her hands into a fist. “Yer certainly not the first person to try to collect on a bounty on my head. Who put this one out then? One of the corporations? Some pleasure line that isn’t too happy about my latest exploits? Maybe a jilted old lover? I’ve heard all of the stories.”
“Anonymous. I guess whoever you did piss off doesn’t want to risk you coming after them. As if there’s a chance of that though.” Leland twirled her Cze blade playfully in one hand, and had her plasma pistol trained on Bach-Ti with the other. “The only stipulation was to bring you in. Dead or alive.” The bounty hunter didn’t give Bach-Ti the chance to respond, she opened fire once the last word left her maw.
Bach-Ti called on the aether around her, and dashed to the side. The tattoos on her neck and back began to glow green and she had her prey in her sights. Her legs were like powerful springs beneath her, and she used them to push herself towards Leland. The aethersteel armor Leland wore was enough to protect her from Cze blades, explosions, plasma bolts and radiation. Bach-Ti knew this, and ignored it all as she channeled her aether into her fist and threw it into the gut of the bounty hunter. The force of the punch caused a dent in the armor, and sent a shock wave through Leland’s body.
The Bounty Hunter dropped to the ground; her playful words and taunting were replaced only by a gurgling sound. Bach-Ti knelt down and removed her helmet. She liked to see the looks in the eyes of the people she killed. She reached over and took the pistol from the hands of the hunter. Leland’s eyes were wide open in shock, a trail of blood tricked from her maw, and her eyes were focused on the ceiling. She whispered only one word. “Mountain.”
Bach-Ti smiled, the aether within her had returned to its normal levels, and the burning tattoos on her back had cooled. The sudden rush caused her to stumble slightly. She steadied herself and put the pistol to Leland’s head. “Yes dear. I’m one of those. It’s not exactly a closely guarded secret. Well, ya know we all make mistakes. That’s the problem with being a freelance merc. Sometimes ya miss details that could have saved yer life. It’s why I chose to be a pirate. Enough about me though, ya know they say every bad deed can be forgiven at least once. Unfortunately for ya.” Bach-Ti pulled the trigger, and there was a small smoldering hole in the head of the Saqu. “I’m not very forgivin’.”
The full pain of her head injury hit her all at once. That was the biggest downfall of a mountain Magus. Unlike the other orders which gathered aether from outside sources, the Order of the Mountain used the aether stored in the blood and amplified it. This gave an increase in speed, strength and perception, but once the aether was used it meant any injury they were suffering or suffered would hit them with an equal increase. Bach-Ti felt dizzy, and then she felt her morning meal rise from her stomach and end up on the floor. She tried to find her feet but the entire ship spun, and she collapsed in a heap on top of Leland’s corpse.
When she opened her eyes, she was being carried by a pair of strong arms. “Amo?”
“Yeah boss, Doc says to take you to your quarters. She says she’s not sure how you managed to kill a bounty hunter in your condition. You just need to get some rest.” Amo opened her door and set her down on her bed. “Don’t worry about the ships that are coming in, Xitti and I can handle it. I also took care of a couple of other mercs that snuck in; I don’t think Leland was workin’ alone. Don’t worry about it though, like I said we can handle it. You just get some rest.”
“Ships? What ships?” She felt a sudden rush of adrenaline, and tried to get out of bed, but the ship spun again and she collapsed. “I’ll…” She felt darkness take her as the klaxons began to sound again.
About Claude Ashton:
Claude Ashton is a new writer on the scene. His first book, Exiles of Raifor is a Science-Fiction/Fantasy Adventure, and was released on May 11th, 2013. Claude started writing short stories in Middle School, and continued this through High School. During this time he honed his craft on message boards and in online roleplaying games, immersing himself in his characters and in the worlds built by others. He graduated from Red Bank Regional High School in 2005 and started college with the intent of becoming a journalist. Along the way he found that he was much more adept at fixing computers than interviewing others, so he changed his focus to Information Technology. After taking some time in this field, he decided that it was time for him to start building the world he had always dreamed of. What started as a world led to two worlds, which led to a solar system, then a galaxy. This galaxy was the universe of Raifor, a mix of science fiction and fantasy elements. In 2013, after building and shaping the universe, he sat down to write and publish his first book.
When he is not writing, he is usually nose deep in a book, or playing all manner of video games with his friends.
He is currently writing the second book in the Raifor Saga, Heroes of Raifor.
Connect With Claude Ashton:
In your own words, describe your book: Gee, this is always very hard for me. If I were to describe it in my own words I would say that it’s a science fiction fantasy adventure novel. It’s about four characters and how they will deal with a galactic civil war which has essentially turned all of their lives upside down. IT features a diverse and interesting cast of characters, and is very action driven. The characters come from all corners of the galaxy and each one of them has a part to play in ending the war, but things aren’t as they seem. Unseen forces appear to be pulling the strings, and what original seemed like fate, now seems as if these characters are being moved around a board by someone. The series is about solving that mystery, and trying to save the galaxy from total destruction.
What is the genre? Science Fiction/Fantasy It’s a smooth blend of both. I’d actually prefer to call it Space Fantasy.
What inspired you to write this book? I wanted to write something that I didn’t feel many people were writing. When I was looking for science fiction novels I really didn’t think there was enough of a blend of fantasy in there. I wanted to see something with dragons, and gryphons, elves and magic, but in space! I didn’t feel it existed in an acceptable form, so I did it myself.
Will this book be a standalone or part of the series? It will be part of a series. The series will be the Raifor Saga, and will involve not only this period of time, but other eras in the Empire of Raifor. The stories will be told in three book arcs, and while there will be some crossover of characters, the arcs themselves will be standalone. The only exception to this will be the first two arcs. The first arc will involve a period known as the Schism War, which is the civil war that is currently affecting everything in the galaxy, but it is revealed during this war that other forces are manipulating the citizens of Raifor. The second arc will involve the struggle against those forces, and will take place almost immediately after the conclusion of the Schism War. Future arcs will take place either prior to the Schism War, or later in the timeline.
What message would you like to convey with this book? Each book has a different theme, and they are all meant to convey a different message. Since we’re mostly referring to Exiles of Raifor, the theme there is dependence. Everyone needs someone, but it’s a good idea to ration that out. You don’t want to rely too heavily on others around you, or you’ll end up weak and ineffective without them. On the other hand, no one is an island, and you do occasionally need help, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. All of my characters in some way play into that particular theme.
What books are similar to this one? I honestly can’t think of any book that is exactly like Exiles of Raifor. If you enjoy the setting of my novels, then Frank Herbert’s Dune series is certainly worth checking out. If you like the fast pace, then the Icewind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore is a must read. If you enjoy the cast of characters then I would recommend the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan or the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. If you enjoyed any of those then I think you would enjoy Exiles of Raifor.
Can you tell us some about the writer behind the book? There’s not much to know about me. I’m actually a very simple and boring man. I’m a twenty-six years old black man, and I enjoy playing Video Games in my spare time. I love my family, and I’ve lived in the same town my entire life. I went to Red Bank Regional High School and graduated in 2005. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of space, spaceships and faster than light travel. I’ve enjoyed fantasy since I was old enough to read. It’s always been my dream to write, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing it.
Tell us one thing about you we wouldn’t know? I still haven’t finished college. It’s something I plan to do someday, but as of now I still haven’t completed my degree.
What are you working on now? I am currently in the process of editing my second novel Heroes of Raifor, as well as building the framework for my third title which is an as of yet untitled work in a new series.