Autumn, in the Netherhill Province. Smallest in all of Sunwell.
Amelia Bluewood laid in the back of a slow-moving truck, comfortable on top of a bushel of hay, hands behind her head. A satchel of silver coins from a long day’s work. The breeze drying the sweat on her body. A frown that refused to leave her mouth.
It should never have been like this, she thought. Spending her life deep in the countryside doing labor just to keep her purse full and mind free from wandering into subject she wanted to avoid. No progress, no pain, no power. Unpleasantly peaceful.
Above her, the trees sent the year their goodbyes, their leaves flaring into reds and yellows and oranges for these final weeks before the snow began to plummet. The world’s slowest-moving fireworks festival, Ed always used to say.
One brown, crinkled leaf fell from the canopy and landed on Amelia’s nose.
She brushed it away. Sighed.
Netherhill was a nice little place. A few scattered towns. Farms. Abandoned shrines. Too many mines. Nothing out of the ordinary. The people here suffered as tenants on their own land. Barely kept their pantries stocked, hardly gave their kids five years of school. All the profits went to the capital.
The old man driving this truck, a sun elf by the name of Gyorien, was nicer than he should have been. Could hardly speak a word of Common, but did his best until he heard her use Imduin. Paid even for Amelia’s lunch hour. Gave her food, too, even though she did not eat it. Now, just to save an extra coin or two, he drove slow as a trotting mule, conserving the truck’s mana battery so it could last one more day without a charge.
No one chose to live in a place like Netherhill; they were born here, raised here, worked here, died here, just like Gyorien likely would. But it was exactly the sort of place, exactly the sort of people Amelia was supposed to be fighting for.
So, even in this most peaceful of days, this beautiful autumn afternoon, Amelia could not bring herself to relax, to let herself be calm. She never did anymore.
It had been over a year since her home was destroyed. A year spent wandering Sunwell, searching for a way forward. Searching for her.
Amelia activated her Heads-Up Display—her HUD. Menus and icons that showed her mana consumption. Her health. Her system status. Even the weather. All in three-dimensional space, exclusive to her.
But this afternoon, she turned to her memory banks, which held that photograph she took long ago. She pulled it up and expanded it into her field of view. It had been so long since she let herself look at it.
The freckled cheek of a light-skinned girl, so close up her dull gray eye was barely in view. A raised ear that paired with an unseen smile. Scarlet hair that flickered at the edge of the snapshot, just hinting at the beauty to come if one were to pull back for a full view.
If Amelia could see Ed one more time, it would be enough, she thought. Wherever she was.
And yet, now she lived a different life. She was a wanderer, a laborer in a land where no one cared if she was human or elf or gnome or even the world’s only half-golem. The only place where she—
Faint whirring. In the distance, but approaching quickly.
The telltale sound.
Amelia hopped to her feet and jumped off the back of the truck—
Just as the projectile collided with the engine—
And the whole thing exploded.
She landed on the dirt and rolled back onto her feet. So close to the flames her overalls were singed.
On either side of her, there were two hulking, stone-covered beasts.
The dazzling, high-tech city of Fleettwixt is the jewel of the North Sunwell Company's colonial empire. Its vast dungeons vanquished by the Great Hero, the city is now home to wealth and peace... at the cost of exploiting the continent's people and resources. Enter Amelia Bluewood: half-human, half-golem—all fury.
She had lost everything. Her hometown was in ruins, her girlfriend missing without a trace, her modular system malfunctioning. Now in Fleettwixt, she has a chance for revenge, answers, and ultimate power. Amelia will never stop until she finds her lover and her vengeance, no matter the cost.
Art by Mikayla Buan. https://twitter.com/mikayla_buan
NOTE: Some chapters will have mature content. I'll do my best to mark it ahead of time. Please let me know if there is a non-mature chapter you would like marked mature.