Category and Genre: YA sci-fi/fantasy
Word Count: 96k
All his life, Jason’s been haunted by his obsession. With Colchis, the blood-red planet in the sky, rich with gas, swarmed by harpies, home to a simple yet secretive underground kingdom. With his dad, the archaeologist who left Illyria, who left him, to study the treasures from Colchis’ past. And with the Crossing, the ten-day period when his dad can finally come home.
Until he doesn’t. And all contact with Illyria’s ship is lost. And a rescue expedition is launched, across the stars, to Colchis, and Jason finds his way on board (as their “cultural expert”, no less). And now his obsession has become a dangerous reality: surviving Colchis’ deadly wonders, discovering the truth about his long lost dad, and helping the planet’s beautiful, strong-willed princess prevent the one thing that seems inevitable… war.
First 250 Words:
All my life I’ve waited for this moment.
For Colchis, that blood-red planet in the sky, to get this close, to become this real. All my life I’ve studied it, prepared for it, obsessed over it. All year I’ve watched it grow: from a tiny speck, to a glowing orb, to the always-present Watcher, hangin’ there among the stars. And though it’s haunted me, and it’s taunted me, all I could do was wait for tonight… the night you finally return. My name’s Jason Starboard, and tonight is, almost definitely, the greatest and worst night of my life.
“Jason,” crackles Arial’s voice in my ear, “you seein’ this?”
Squinting my eyes, I bend forward on the grass, my heart pounding and the dew soakin’ my knees. Hell yeah I can see it: as small as a fly, but growing larger by the second, floating towards us from the red-pink swirl of Colchis—the Ambassador I. “Yeah,” I whisper, more to myself than to Arial. An icy wind sweeps across the cliff, giving me chills, makin’ me shiver. But I could care less. I’d rather be up here, alone, watching this, watching him, than anywhere else.
“How’s it goin’ down there?” I ask, though I can already hear the answer: a buzz of voices and cries and the commotion around the landing pad.
“Crazy, of course,” says Arial. “Like everyone in the city’s here. Feel like a sardine, I’m so cramped in. But I’m in the front row, so it’s totally worth it.”
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