The Reformation Trilogy

Devastation has passed, Innovation has started, and

Reformation is coming…

I am currently editing the last book in a trilogy entitled The Reformation Trilogy. The tales of Anastasia Knight are centered in a post-apocalyptic Russia. A group of “Inventors” (innovative men and women who create new technology), have taken over Russia with a giant metallic dragon and renamed it Misha (Bear). In the nineteen Symbolic cities reside the oppressed people. Among them is an inventor in hiding. Her name is Anastasia Knight, daughter of the famous Peter and Crystal Knight. When she was fourteen, her parents mysteriously died, leaving Anastasia alone in a giant, empty factory. Fortunately, they had taught her everything that they had known. Well, almost everything. When Anastasia is seventeen years of age, she is sought out by  a boy of the name of Felix Ivanov. He tells her that she has the key to help save Misha. Then, she discovers that her parents were agents for an underground city, the R.I.P.

Russian. Inventors. Protection.

Now, please take a tour of Misha, and perhaps you will find the key to be published.

Book 1, Devastation, and Book 2, Innovation, are completed. Book 3, Reformation, is currently being edited.

DSC05394

Devastation, Book 1 of The Reformation Trilogy, cover.

Chapter 1:

Voina

       Anastasia’s life was a constant state of panic and survival.

Staring through her spyglass, Anastasia examined Voina’s bustling square. Her heart thudded in anxiety. Mishian people hurried back in forth in hurry and haste. From her left Anastasia spotted two children cowering underneath the shadow of a building. A young woman raced past pedestrians with a tantalizing loaf of bread; a wild look was painted on her grimy face. Dozens of people dashed through the street. Peering to her left, Anastasia caught a glimpse of several meat and grocery shops. In between those were rundown houses and makeshift shelters. A few birds fluttered around in the chilly air while their singing complemented the sound of the busy plaza. Quickly, Anastasia ducked behind another crate. Through the cold, metal telescope, she searched for guards. A small amount of light from the half-obscured noonday sun glinted off the glass. Spotting a wealthier woman dressed in an elegant Mishian dress, Anastasia scowled in jealousy.  In protest her stomach grumbled. Snow began to fall. She knew that she had to get food as hastily as possible or else the guards would spot her. Anastasia hated to steal, but her stomach insisted that it must receive food. A small cart of bread stood just twenty yards away. Again her stomach growled. On tiptoes Anastasia stored her invention in her shirt and dashed to the cart. A disheveled, fat man drummed his fingers on the cart and whistled. Despite his calm appearance, she sensed desperation in the man’s green eyes. Luckily Anastasia was an expert at snatching from people like him. Just for a second he looked away; Anastasia grabbed the bread and dove into the crowd of people. Unsure whether the shopkeeper had spotted her or not, Anastasia returned to the sanctuary of the wooden crates. Once more Anastasia slid the scope to its full one foot length. The rusty metal frame creaked as she adjusted it in her hands. Suddenly, someone called in a harsh, Mishian voice, “Get her!”

Anastasia scolded herself under her breath and she stuffed the object and the bread back into her thin undershirt. As she did, she spotted a brightly colored scarf out of the corner of her eye and a pair of eyes staring at her. She peered back but did not see anything else irregular. Jumping up, the girl sprinted through the accumulating patches of snow, which slowed her pace.

“Must… get… home,” she whispered to herself, her breath appearing in small puffs in the wintery air.

Down narrow alleyways she dashed with the leaning buildings above her. Several people gazed at her with shocked eyes; they thought that she could not escape the Reformers. But she had, in fact, escaped them multiple times. Smiling smugly, Anastasia jumped over a pile of snow and trash. No one knew who she was, for she protected her identity with her life. The ominous clouds transformed Voina into a ghost town. Everyone’s already pale and thin faces casted menacing shadows. Panting, Anastasia spotted a lone factory building up ahead. How should I deter them? she thought. Behind her, two Reformers were yelling furiously at her. Anastasia rolled her eyes in disgust and ducked to the right onto a bustling street. Practically no one but the Reformers drove cars, and most people traveled on foot. Therefore, blending in was easy for Anastasia. Reformer propaganda littered the walls and streets. A few people had been brave enough to paint graffiti onto the posters that screamed pointless sayings into the Misians’ faces. Anastasia’s focus faltered and the Reformers were back in sight. To her right she noticed another broken-down building that might serve as a hiding place. Weaving through the immense crowd, Anastasia reached her destination with ease. As she scrambled up a rickety staircase, her instincts overwhelmed her and she slid into an attic-type room. Multiple exposed beams decked the once smooth ceiling. A ladder was even propped against the wall, although a bit of an unstable one.

“I could just climb up,” the girl whispered. Her knee-high black boots gripped the ladder enough for her short endeavor. Jumping like a cat, Anastasia leapt upward and gripped a beam. Pulling with all of her upper-body strength, she managed to pull herself up and balance her body on the narrow ledge. Footsteps followed as the two Reformers entered the room. Anastasia’s breathing came to a halt as the men shined their flashlights around the bare room. Cautiously, the men walked on the creaky, wooden floor. One wore the standard dark green soldier’s uniform while the other wore a blue one. The soldier in the green attire had black hair that was gelled in a messy fashion, and his brown eyes appeared dead on his dark, half-shaven face. The other one, however, appeared more awake and serious. His gelled Mishian-style brown hair blended with his olive skin that most people had. His hazelnut eyes scanned around the room.

“I don’t see anything,” he hissed. The other groggily nodded.

“Let’s go, what’s the big deal, anyway?” the black-haired one asked in a bored tone.

“She had a… you know,” the man whispered, “An… invention.”

The soldier’s eyes widened. “So that’s what it was!” he exclaimed.

“More and more of them are appearing,” the blue-uniformed man’s broad body trembled.

“Ugh, more watches will be scheduled for us, I’m sure,” the other groaned.

“I think we lost her, anyway.”

“Let’s go, we’ll catch her soon enough.”

At that, the two men stumbled out of the room and the building. Anastasia shakily exhaled and scaled the ladder. After confirming that the coast was clear, she raced back outside. The snow was pouring now, but luckily Anastasia knew her way home. She approached the old factory from earlier and assured herself that she was alone. Sliding aside a sheet of wood, she dropped into a small tunnel that her parents had constructed. She emerged into several offices and even a conveyer belt room. Finally she climbed up a wall ladder, which reached to almost the ceiling, and entered a code, which slid a piece of the stone wall to the side. Sliding down one last ladder, Anastasia saw her home. Mothballs and quietness greeted her. She collapsed on the chair beside the stained coffee table and tossed her belongings aside. As she remembered her hungry stomach, she snatched up the bread-the bounty of her adventure-and began chewing it ravenously. The snow above created a muffled thudding sound, and the stale, cool air dried Anastasia’s throat. Forcing her to save half of the bread for in the morning, she stored the food in one of her numerous drawers. She pushed away multiple tools and crammed the loaf inside. After slamming the drawer shut, Anastasia exhaled in relief. All of her surroundings were in order. No one had come. Covering the walls were hundreds of invaluable sketches that she and her parents had created. Anastasia’s leather black boots stomped against the stone floor; her feet wriggled in the still oversized shoes that once were her mother’s boots. She walked over to a piece of cracked mirror that she had previously scavenged and examined her face. It was cold; solemn; calculating; almost dangerous. Her body trembled at the thought of her being dangerous. Anastasia pulled her loose strands of blackish-brown hair out of her face and stared at herself. Her lips were cracked; her once vibrant blue eyes were dimmed from their full beauty. Four years today, she thought to herself. Four years today I concluded that they would never come back; that they were dead.

Storming away from the mirror, Anastasia strode over to the other side of the cramped room and removed the piece of wall that she had disguised. Revealing her cubby hole, she scrambled into the dark hideout while sliding the square back into its place. Darkness engulfed her now. Carefully she laid her head on her small mattress, and Anastasia’s eyes fluttered in a threat to force her to sleep. The sound of nothingness haunted her as she curled up on the creaky springs. Wrapping herself in a thin blanket, Anastasia stared up at the ceiling that was just five feet above her. Her parents had carved the cubby hole in case the Reformers arrived. Her muscles protested at the lack of space, and it took several moments before Anastasia’s vision adjusted. Finally she could distinguish the lines of her mattress and the cracks in the ceiling. For a time Anastasia just lay there motionless. While she did sometimes change her schedule, Anastasia tended to venture out only twice a day. When she had a temporary job, her ventures were irregular. Of course, she told no one her real name. If she did, she would be doomed. Most of her bosses, such as street vendors or inside shop keepers, found out about her inventions that she would hide in her clothes and would threaten to call the police. These threats were hollow, though. No one wanted to call the Reformers because it just stirred up trouble. So Anastasia would leave while the man or woman believed they knew who she was. Normally she would attempt to decipher another one her parent’s blueprints or design something herself, but that day seemed to transform her into a state of depression. All forms of thinking for oneself were banned since the Reformers invaded Russia. Her parents, Peter and Crystal Knight, died just four years ago on this day. How they died seemed a mystery to Anastasia. She had been fourteen then. Sighing, she took off her jet black gloves that seemed plastered to her sweaty skin despite the weather. Since Anastasia could remember, her parents were always teaching her everything they knew about inventing and the history of the old Misha, which was previously Russia. They did at least, before they died. Slowly Anastasia passed into a semi-sleeping state. As she dozed, a flashback arose.

“In 2050,” her mother had begun, “almost a dozen greedy Russian inventors and scientists rose and created Chempion.”

Anastasia had recalled from her at-home English lessons that Chempion also meant Champion in the English language. Most Mishians primarily spoke English, but a few were able to recite the Russian language.

Her mother resumed, “This beast was a mechanical dragon with unworldly powers.”

“But,” Anastasia squeaked, “couldn’t tanks fight him off?”

“You would think so,” she had continued, “but this beast was maybe forty or fifty feet tall, could breathe fire and missiles, and had bulletproof scales; and worse, it could fly better than a plane. They said that it had powers that were unexplainable.”

“Oh! I’ve heard the Reformers talk about it,” Anastasia said.

“Yes, but they fail to highlight the pain it caused and the millions of people it killed,” her father had grumbled. His green eyes shined a metallic olive color, and his black thin hair was brushed over on his dark head. According to mother, father’s smile was what won her over.

“Your father is right,” Anastasia’s mother’s voice grew cold. Her calculating blue eyes were large in scale compared to her small-framed body. According to father, mother’s smarts had won him over. Brushing her blonde hair back, Anastasia’s mother continued. “That was what started the Reformation War. Russians fought, but ultimately, the Reformers’ lies clouded the populace to the truth. The Reformers won, and Russia became Misha, which is the Russian word for bear. Then, the Reformer was destroyed in public to show the populace that bloodshed was over. Unfortunately, the men fought and fought until blood painted their images. Inventors and scientists were killed and banned. Finally, after only three men were left, the Symbolic Cities were formed, which represent the beginning of the Reformation War, the middle of the Reformation War, and the end of the Reformation War.”

Anastasia abruptly woke up while realizing that she had been asleep. Surprised at the presence of a tear on her right eye, Anastasia wiped it away. If only-If only she knew what they had been up to. She knew that they had taught her everything they knew in terms of inventing, but what about what to do with this illegal gift? Muffled conversations and talks of travel filled Anastasia’s early-life nights. Although her determined mind wanted to discover their true identity, she had not the slightest clue of where to start. Confused and frightened, she fingered the bright orangish-red locket that was attached to a chain.

“This is the key to the mystery,” Anastasia rubbed her fingers on the marble surface of the round object. “My parents had said so themselves.”

Another flashback washed over her mind. After a close call with the authorities, her father had bent down and fastened the treasure to her neck.

“This is the key,” he whispered. “Keep this safe, and you will always remember us. Don’t lose this key.”

Key.

Again Anastasia was forced back to grim reality. Attempting to stretch her cramped limbs, she crawled out of her cubby hole. Her dry throat cried out for cold liquid. Striding to one of her various shelves, she snatched her half-full pitcher of water, drank a swig, and settled herself at her worktable across the room with her spyglass in front of her.  She adjusted her large, aviator goggles that were always ever-present on her head, and Anastasia’s vision transformed into a bright green environment. With enhanced eyes, she fiddled with her stack of blueprints. Soon she encountered plans for her spyglass.

“It was a good test run,” she admitted to herself, “but the glass needs to be larger. It’s hard to see anything through this tiny circle.”

A few hours later, the inventor beheld a revised version of her spyglass. Smiling, she removed her goggles and spied through the larger glass circle. Pleased, she set it down and downed her goggles again. Anastasia then realized that it was probably night time now. Awake and alert, she looked around for anything else that needed to be fixed. Before too long she had procured a pile of damaged inventions. Starting with her small laser shotgun that her parents had created for self-defense, she made a few minor modifications to the nozzle and trigger. She set the weapon aside, satisfied, and continued through her pile of gadgets. She even came across her modified wrench that she had created herself when messing with the modifications one could make to common objects. Although it appeared as a normal wrench, a button enabled two large spears to pop out between its “teeth.” It proved a useful weapon, so Anastasia stored it in her boot after some reinventing. As minutes turned into hours, Anastasia’s eyes began to droop. Before long, her head rested on her table with her bolts and nails surrounding her.

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