“If he fails, I lose you forever.”

Here’s an excerpt from my novel HalfWorlder, which sets up the premise:

It was the dead of night and the girl was running. She was older now. Behind her, the young man panted and ran hard, looking back over his shoulder. Their pursuers were lean and muscular men, reaching with their hands and making the earth rise and fall in front of the seemingly doomed couple.

The girl looked back at her suitor and cried out. Her eyes were full.

“It is the only way,” he mouthed to her.

They kept running.

“No!” she pleaded with him, the words only a whisper on the wind.

“I’m sorry, my love, but I must protect you.”

He stopped running then and turned to face the assassins. He called out, “Ra commands the sun!” And light so dazzling it blinded came rushing from the heavens and filled the sky. The men stopped and covered their eyes. The girl fell and covered hers too, but Ra stared into the light, his eyes gleaming with kinetic energy, those eyes of his still seeing but totally white like they were blind.

The men withered on the ground like they were in pain, but the girl stilled herself as Ra approached and knelt beside her. He placed his hands on her eyes, and when he removed them, she stared up at him, both their eyes now white and startling to look at.

Tears filled them as they knelt and held each other. “There’s no time now, Isis. We must do this now. It is the only way. The Oracle has said so. You know we must obey.”

“No, Ra. We must not. You know what this fate may bring. You risk us in doing this. I cannot lose you forever to the Aten. The boy may not be able to finish it. She said so. And if he fails, I lose you forever.”

“I will lose you forever now,” he said and looked back to the men, “if I do not.” And with that, Ra grabbed her hair and the nape of her neck and kissed her. It was a kiss of desperation. A last kiss.

He pulled back and their white eyes cried. He took the locket from where it lay across her neck and opened it. Something like the sun, though certainly smaller, rose from it and swelled and catapulted into the air above Ra until it was wider than his broad shoulders. The orb was as powerful and bright and as alive as the white-eyed people it now hovered over. It waited as if it already knew what they would ask of it.

Ra took one single breath, and did: “Aten, accept this gift of man and tie the knot of Isis.”

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