|A Science Fiction Romance Novel|
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The gateway opened to a wasteland of silt. Keir followed Quin as she stepped out, now appreciating the heavy cloaks and boots she had insisted they wear as the chill winds of this world tugged at his clothing. Gray mud stretched as far as the eye could see, shimmering faintly under a gray sky. Flickers of brightness came from shallow water that covered the silt in wide patches, small ripples stirred in its surface by strong, unchanging winds. Nothing broke the horizon; it was featureless and flat, the faded sun hidden behind clouds that allowed no more than the odd bright ray of light through.
“Is this Loganum?” Keir asked, raising his voice over the eerie howl of the wind.
“No. This is a halfway point,” Quin said, her voice distant as she stared straight ahead. “We always meet at a neutral place.”
“Remember the Emissary and the Siah-dhu?” she said, sending shivers through him.
He nodded, recalling all too well the frightening force that had tried to consume Quin, and the terrifying consequences.
“They used a bounty hunter once who could sense where we’d opened gateways if she was close to them. Using remote, unpopulated worlds like this makes the openings harder to track.”
“Distance makes them seem dimmer. Difficult to spot. Although they would have a hard time tracking Gethyon regardless.” Keir sensed her pride in that fact. “He can open gateways anywhere. He doesn’t need a power source to do it. He’s so much more talented than I am. But that’s why I never see him, and why he never travels. It’s safer not to draw attention.”
“You must miss him, though.”
“All the time, but it’s better this way. Gethyon may have tricked and imprisoned a majority of the Siah-dhu, but, as you’ve seen, there are still remnants hunting us.”
“How will he know you are here?”
True to her prediction, a gateway opened opposite them. A man stepped through, walking steadily toward them in a thick, knee-length coat, his ragged red hair blowing around his face. He was taller than Keir and heavier in build, with broad shoulders and a long, serious face. There seemed very little of Quin in him, aside from the hair color. Wrinkles creased the corners of the somber green eyes that regarded him with an appraising look. Time had stood still for Quin, but her son showed his natural age from a life spent on a single world.
As he came closer, he smiled at Quin and reached out to her. She ran into his arms. The top of her head barely touched his chin, making her appear more childlike than ever. Gethyon’s expression shifted from happiness to puzzlement, his mouth opening to form a word that she stopped with her fingers to his lips, as if willing him to silence.
Confusion wove through Keir’s thoughts. It seemed a peculiar exchange of greetings. Gethyon released her to glance at Keir, and Quin laughed, gesturing him over.“Gethyon, this is Keir,” she said. “My husband.”
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