Part 7, Enemies and Shadows

The Rifter is a ten-part serialized novel by award-winning author, Ginn Hale. The first episode, The Shattered Gates, was published on March 8, 2011. Further installments will be published on the second Tuesday of each month.

Part 7, Enemies & Shadows, was published on Tuesday, September 13th.

When John opens a letter addressed to his missing roommate, Kyle, he expects to find a house key, but instead he is swept into a strange realm of magic, mysticism, revolutionaries and assassins. Though he struggles to escape, John is drawn steadily closer to a fate he share with Kyle—to wake the destroyer god, the Rifter, and shatter a world.

“The true sorcery here is in Ginn Hale’s writing, which is by turns funny, fierce and lyrical. I can’t say enough good things about her work. Rifter is an astonishing story: terrifying and yet romantic. I was bewitched from the first sentence.”
—Josh Lanyon

Read an Excerpt:

Chapter Sixty-Six

Kahlil scowled at the entourage of attendants and guards as they filed, all dressed in the tawny gold Lisam colors, through the gates of Jath’ibaye’s household. He wanted to be up there watching for treachery. Most of all, he wanted to be there so he could have the pleasure of driving his fist into Ourath Lisam’s far too handsome face.

Instead, he attempted to content himself with glaring out from an observation tower in the kahlirash’im’s barracks. It didn’t offer him the vast, expansive views that Jath’ibaye’s watchtowers had. He could only see the comings and goings on the grounds below and those of the nearest buildings. Not even using the telescopes could he observe what transpired within the walls of Jath’ibaye’s household.

“Those are meant for watching the stars, aren’t they?” Pesha asked shyly. She had taken her assignment as Kahlil’s personal attendant rather seriously. Kahlil hadn’t been alone since early this morning.

“I think so.” Kahlil placed the telescope back in its delicate cradle of tiny gears and clasps. He wasn’t used to being so closely observed. He leaned back against the stone wall. Pesha gazed at him expectantly. Kahlil realized that the day was going to be something of a disappointment for her. She probably expected that the life of the Kahlil would be much more exciting.

She had no idea how much of his life had been spent in silent observation. He’d tried to make the first part of the day interesting, demonstrating the battle forms for the Unseen Edge and the Silence Knife. He’d even acquiesced to attending midafternoon prayers in the Temple of the Rifter with the rest of the kahlilrash’im. But once the gaun’im began to arrive, he could not fight the irresistible urge toward surveillance.

He still hadn’t spotted Ourath, though Kahlil was now very familiar with the faces of the Lisam porters, having spent the better part of an hour observing them toting luggage up and down Vundomu’s many staircases.

Kahlil went back to the window to view the grounds below. The elite kahlirash’im were gathered for battle practice. Unlike the rashan’im of the gaun families, most of the kahlirash’im rode small, fast does instead of massive bucks. Their maneuvers exploited the speed and lightness of both female animals and riders. Targets splintered as the kahlirash’im fired their rifles from the backs of their bounding mounts.

Kahlil had never been much of a rider. He’d never needed to be. It was strange and fascinating to watch the precision of both the riders’ movements and their tahldi’s responses. Pesha moved a little closer to Kahlil, following his gaze out to the kahlirash riders. They both watched as a slender rider swung down to grasp a new rifle from a kahlirash kneeling on the ground. The rider came back up in an instant and fired. Another target cracked apart.

“Incredible,” Pesha whispered. That was probably the kind of activity that Pesha had been hoping to engage in today.

“Very impressive,” Kahlil agreed.

“Wah’roa said that Jath’ibaye had work that he needed you to complete.” Pesha’s dark eyes flicked quickly from the riders to Kahlil.

Kahlil nodded. Translating an archaic botanical tome was probably the last thing that Pesha would want to do all afternoon. And he didn’t find it all that appealing either.

“Could I ask what it is?” Pesha clearly expected something secret and dangerous.

“You don’t want to know,” Kahlil said.

Pesha frowned and returned to watching the kahlirash riders. For a moment Kahlil felt the urge to offer Pesha some exciting lie. Perhaps he could claim that they were supposed to spy on Ourath from the silence of the Gray Space. He smirked at his own absurd desire to impress a teenage girl. Of course, there was also the fact that he wanted any excuse to return to Jath’ibaye’s household and watch Ourath. But if he did that, then Jath’ibaye would feel his presence and know that Kahlil was, once again, disobeying his orders and being where he should not be.

Once again Kahlil found himself staring at the walls surrounding Jath’ibaye’s holdings. The stone faces and black iron gates gave him no consolation. Ourath was probably already inside, posing in Jath’ibaye’s doorway and offering lurid apologies in his low, velvety voice.

Jath’ibaye would turn Ourath away, Kahlil told himself.

Still, the thought of the niru’mohim nagged at him. Ji had assured him that the niru’mohim wouldn’t harm Jath’ibaye but she hadn’t said it wouldn’t affect him. Both Fikiri and Ourath had been willing to stake their futures on the potion’s power. What if they were right? What if Jath’ibaye couldn’t resist it? What if, at this very moment, Ourath was lying back in the bed that Kahlil had left this morning? The idea seared through Kahlil. He would kill Ourath if he found him in Jath’ibaye’s bedroom.


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