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Northern Flock 

Ryne's Story 

August 13, 2082


Forty damn years I'd served the New Nation and Vendona—the 167th city-state, the city-state I placed myself in—and I had nothing to show for it. Nothing but my boots. Which was more than most in my position. But I wanted more. I needed more. I waited for orders. I desired—

The usual daily rant that pushed me to Gregory's bar down the street was halted by the squeal of tires and the thunk of an accident. I stopped as the car sped away. Only the rich and ruthless had cars. That and cops. Though, they weren't much different. They'd both drive away after hitting a dog. And I loved dogs. Had one when I was growing up. Had one when I was grown, too, but it'd died after nineteen years of loyalty and friendship. Now, I'd have to bury another one.

I leaned outside the alleyway fast enough to see the color of the vehicle. Gray. A richey from the Highlands. Why they ever visited the outskirts was beyond me, but hitting a dog and driving away? That was expected.

I looked down and was corrected.

Not a dog. A boy.

I saw him before I saw the blood. I tended to block the details out, but this time, the sight of his injury made my heart pound.

These were my orders.


I scrambled to my feet, rubbed the only side of my face that worked after the stroke, and hobbled over to the kid on the ground. Blood pooled around his head, so it was difficult to tell his age, but that didn't matter. I set his head and tended to his wounds. When he opened his eyes, I thought he'd died, but they closed again, and a groan escaped him.

For being hit by a car, the kid was in good shape. His face was crushed, his collarbone was broken, and he was losing too much blood, but his legs would work. If I could get him to live. If I could get—


Idiot. That idiot child.

She always interrupted me. And she just had to look like my daughter, too.

August 14, 2082


I'd only been in the Northern Flock for three weeks when I found him. He was dead. The world was sure of it. But I knew someone who could reverse the world's plan.


The one and only time I'd seen him heal Michele was enough. I knew he could heal this boy, too.

"Please," I begged the veteran, the one with half of a frozen face. His name was Henrey, and I'd spoken to him once before—Okay, a few times before—despite the fact that it went against Cal's rules, but Adam was the leader in my eyes. Adam—and Daniel, sometimes. Adam insisted it was the other way around.

"I can help him," I insisted.

The veteran clung onto the body, though his reasons went unexplained. The black-haired boy wouldn't live through the night. Not if I couldn't get him back to the only healer the planet had seen. It seemed Vendona wanted him dead, too.

"A car hit 'em," Henrey said, ignoring me to tend to the boy's face. Or what was left of it. The only signs that he was still alive was the slow rise and fall of his chest. But I had to bet a few of his ribs were broken, too. The way he looked, broken and bruised and bloody reminded me of Jeb. If I'd only known Daniel back then.

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