A while ago, Elise contacted me asking if I wanted to participate in a little “something special”. I’m always down for that (and, as most of you already know, I’m always down with anything that has to do with the world of Air Awakens), so it’s no surprise that I accepted. Now, before we get to the good part, let’s explain what Tales from the Front is and what you, as a reader, can do with it.
Tales from the Front is a series of notes, alternate POV chapters, and other teasers that take place from just before the end of Fire Falling to the beginning of Earth’s End. They are being sent out at random with the idea that bloggers and readers can ban together to put the puzzle pieces together to find out a different side to the story and uncover truths about the characters.
Sounds like fun, right?! So without much further delay, here it is: Tales from the Front, another piece of the puzzle.
Compared to most, Jax liked unpredictability. Change was the natural order of things. Mountains gave way to the sea, kings rose and fell, people who were there one moment were gone the next… Yes, yes, change meant the world continued around him.
He rummaged through the pile of clothes, stripped from the dead, humming over options. The girl was as thin as a stick. Gangly and awkwardly proportioned. Jax had no doubt that when she cleaned up her beauty would be like that of a strong spiced liquor. Kept certain men, perhaps a certain man, drinking despite being what traditional logic would define as being “unpleasant”. An acquired taste, perhaps.
“Eri-berry, how long are you going to stand there?” Jax didn’t even turn, he threw a second pair of trousers over his arm to consider.
“Do you actually have eyes in the back of your head?” Erion asked from where he leaned against the post supporting the lean-to that kept the supplies moderately dry.
“Why do you think I wear my hair in a bun? It helps hide them so people don’t freak out even more when they see me,” Jax quipped.
“You are pretty terrifying,” Erion jestingly agreed.
There was a long pause and Jax finally gave his brother-in-arms his attention. The wind rustled the canvas walls of the structure, sending dust swirling between them.
“Who is she?”
Ah, now there was the question, did Jax answer honestly? Even if he lied, he knew Erion would have his rightful suspicions. Elecia’s voice echoed in Jax’s head, speaking in time to the note she had sent along with her list of supplies. Supplies that were now being sent. Supplies that Jax hoped would make it in time.
“Serien Leral, just a soldier.” The Windwalker was hunted and Jax had to defer to the highest ranking nobility on this. And, as much as Erion’s Le’Dan blood would protest, that was Elecia Ci’Dan.
“Oh? Just a soldier, huh? And I’m the Lord of the West.” Erion rolled his eyes. “You don’t think I can tell when someone is lying?”
Jax knew Eron’s question was asked to both the Windwalker and himself.
“I saw Elecia’s writing on those notes.”
Jax’s hand plastered over his pocket, making sure that he hadn’t accidently left the explanation of who Serien Leral really was in the Camp Palace.
“The girl carries Elecia’s word on Aldrik, but not the Emperor’s. She comes alone. She asks for you directly. Not Zerian.” Erion could be as relentless as a hound on blood. “Brother, you need to tell me what’s going on.”
“You know I can’t.”
Erion threw up his arms in frustration at Jax’s insistence. “Says who? Clearly not the Emperor or Baldair as we’ve not had a letter from either in well over a week.”
They’d arrived at the line Erion would always toe against. The point where he could no longer understand nor tolerate what was the daily truth of Jax’s existence. Baldair did a well enough job of crafting the illusion of freedom. But, that was all it was, an illusion.
“Until I have orders from one of them, I must oblige the closest nobility to the crown.”
“You’re so impossible.” Erion pushed away from the post he’d been leaning against, starting back for camp.
Jax dropped the clothes he’d been holding, grabbing the swordsman’s wrist. Erion stopped.
“You know the truth.” Erion’s expression gave Jax all the affirmation he needed. “You know who she is. You know why she’s here. You know why I can’t tell you. Just from the information you’ve pieced together, from the Emperor’s and Aldrik’s descriptions. You know.”
His fellow Westerner gave a small nod.
“So, help me protect her.”
So what do you think? Any ideas what this might mean? Anyone see how these puzzle pieces fit together? I’m really looking forward to hearing your theories! How does this fit into the theory you already had? Does it change anything for you?
Just in case you missed some of the earlier clues, here are the clues that went before the exclusive POV that I shared in this blog post:
Elise’s post that kick-started all this
Sandra had a POV chapter from the Emperor
Alice had a POV chapter from Daniel
Jamie had a POV chapter that included the love of her life: Baldair
Melissa had a POV chapter from Fritz that broke my heart
A letter from Major Reale
Another letter about the Solaris front line’s efforts in the North
Now, who mentioned a giveaway? As always, Elise has us covered with an awesome swag pack giveaway. This swag pack includes: a canvas Air Awakens bag, a signed bookmark set, a signed copy of Earth’s End, a pair of silver wing earrings, and a letter from Aldrik!