The woman’s mouth opened in a wide yawn as though drawing a great breath, an ovate blackness similar to the one at the end of his weapon—the weapon that had failed him. “I found you, and now I will take you.”
As she said this, the waves frothed and surged, drawing him under as he beat against them. A razor sliced into his chest, driven by his desperate need for oxygen. His fingers crested the surface of that sea, yet the cool air that caressed his fingertips might as well have been a star painted upon the sky, unreachable and mocking in its splendor.Excerpt from Part One of Spectrum: The Dark Clad
For centuries, the ancient society known as the Lanceniet coexisted peacefully, their unfathomable mastery of technology allowing them graces only imaginable to those who came after. To meet the demands of this technology, the Lanceniet irradiated vast stretches of land in order to farm endums—rare, gem-like sources of power produced by a dark, radioactive substance called char. The Lanceniet used these endums to fuel their great machines, ultimately allowing them to travel great distances and produce materials and foods in vast, unfettered quantities. Yet the eventual cost of endums was far too great for even the advanced Lanceniet to predict, and the world swiftly fell into radioactive ruin, leaving behind only a skeleton of the prosperity once shared by all.
Many years after the collapse of the Lanceniet, the once-peaceful world devolved into three key factions: the Dark Clad, who honor the ways of technology and the teachings of the Lanceniet, believing they can bring about a new age of peace by mimicking their ancient counterparts; the Whole, a faction that relies on understrength, a power of unknown origin produced in a small percentage of the world’s population; and the Pale Deity, a pact of soldiers and knights sworn to protect the world against what they believe to be the inherent evils of understrength and technology.
Although harmonious at their inception, spreading throughout the world in small communities, two of these factions—the Dark Clad and the Pale Deity—quickly broke out in war. Despite their larger numbers, the sword-and-shield-wielding Pale Deity were defeated in a matter of eight days by the Dark Clad, finding themselves no match against the advanced weaponry employed by the Clad’s soldiers. This war became known as the Humble War, a moniker fueled by the public opinion that the Pale Deity were “humbled” by the Dark Clad’s display of power.
Before the dust had settled, the leaders of the Pale Deity and the Dark Clad prepared for another confrontation, each of them hoping to put a permanent end to the other. The Dark Clad began to incorporate matrons—women who have understrength capability—into their ranks, relying on them as healers. Although this practice began cordially, the Dark Clad eventually utilized their overwhelming military brawn to force women with understrength to join.
At the precipice of war, as each side ramped up its troop movements and the first skirmishes broke out, the Whole—fed up with the Dark Clad’s abuse of matrons and the Pale Deity’s detestation for anything understrength—launched a surprise attack on both sides. This True War (also referred to as “The War of Bandied Curses”) ravaged the land, destroying the Pale Deity and Dark Clad almost entirely. The Whole did not escape unscathed either, despite their remarkable advantage, and the vacuum left behind by the loss of all three faction leaders has left the world in a state of cautious unrest.
Now, in this broken society where self-proclaimed leaders spring up as readily as blades of grass, the majority of the people seek any refuge from poverty, hunger, and depression. Oglebay, a mysterious artificer blessed with an incredible mastery of understrength, has begun to gather followers from all parts of the world, promising unification and a renewed prosperity for all. In an effort to secure this hold on the world, Oglebay seems willing to take any measure. When the leader of the last bastion of the Dark Clad, a home for children left parentless after the twin wars called Cliffshade Orphanage, decides to resist Oglebay, the artificer floods the entire region.
Twelve years later, Laithic Hughes, one of the handful of people to escape this flood with his life, finds himself on the trail of a man rumored to live in the Kreventia Desert—a man he hopes will help him get to Oglebay. Laithic is a man without a home, a wanderer with only one guiding sense of purpose, a stoic survivor recently mended from his injuries, and a pseudo-soldier prepared to do whatever necessary to secure his prize.
Spectrum: The Dark Clad is the story of Laithic and his journey to settle a score borne into him by the loss of his family, the destruction of his home, and a sinister secret lurking in the shadows of his mind.