Now that the release is near, I figure it's a good time to share a preview of what to expect in the finished product. I hope that by sharing the more polished prologue and first chapter, you may be drawn in to purchase the full book. If you are still uncertain, you can read through the earlier draft I posted earlier to get a feel for the plot.
J. D. Nyle
Long ago, there was an island somewhere in the Atlantic. On the island were two kingdoms: a good one and a bad one. These two kingdoms were at war a good deal of time and because of this, technology advanced leagues faster than in Europe.
In the good kingdom, there was a young boy of around fifteen with a mortal illness. He decided to give himself up to science to test a new theory that had arisen. The scientists had created a new technology that would make a mortal man into a great warrior. The youth had his arms and legs amputated, and they were fitted with mechanical replacements. The torso was equipped with a metallic armor that was made to fuse with the body to give life support, provide protection, and generate energy.
The operation was a success, and the concept actually made the youth potentially immortal as the armor was stronger than anything in the known world and capable of generating a barrier. The legs also provided boosters that permitted the youth to fly as well as run at great speeds. The arm could shift into a handless cannon that could fire destructive energy blasts. The youth was able to adapt to many environments and even use attacks based on the different elements. Flexibility was added, providing the skill to be able to do flips and other movements flawlessly. A sword of a great power and energy was granted to the test subject, and he could generate other weapons such as spears and explosives.
The young boy was given a helmet that attached to his head, allowing him to control these abilities with his thoughts. The researchers saw that the potential of this warrior and his abilities that were beyond man’s limits and gave him the name “Xagem.” The scientists rejoiced at the success their project produced. However, they decided it would be better if they could make the armor without needing to amputate and forever mutate a body, and so they began research on a wearable version.
Unfortunately, a fire emerged and destroyed most of the research and plans, and killed the main geniuses working on the project, leaving the remaining researchers close to square one. To make matters worse, there was a researcher with malicious intent. He somehow was able to produce most of the data and attach a black copy of the armor to himself, making himself almost equal of Xagem. The bad scientist then mass-produced his findings with the addition of hollow forms. These forms came in many shapes but there was nothing except the dark substance inside. The wicked scientist provided all of this to the evil kingdom, and the war ensued.
Xagem was a hero for the good kingdom; he was even more powerful than the treacherous researcher. Unfortunately, because of the mass-produced forms, the enemy had a greater number of troops and more power to spread. The youth saw that he could not protect everyone everywhere, and the good king was considering surrender.
However, Xagem realized that his harnessed energy could provide the scientists what they needed to produce more forms. He split his power and contained it in objects such as stones and cards. His elemental powers were segregated into eight clear hexagonal rocks that were distinguished by things such as a flame inside. These rocks were known as “elite stones.” His weapon abilities were harnessed into cards called “neocards.” The rest of his energy and powers was then used to provide the stimulus to make new forms based on his design. These forms were not as powerful as Xagem, but they were stronger than those in the opposing army, only fewer in number. Xagem also gave a vast amount of his power to the king, who already had great power. When the king’s power was mixed with Xagem’s, a strong energy was made that was able to eliminate the dark substance.
The evil scientist, seeing that his defeat was at hand, also decided to split his power into five orbs, and with them sources of the dark substance. He had them spread out to far distances so that his evil might spread and corrupt the rest of the world and thus defeat the good kingdom. The good king took his strongest warriors, and they fought a brave and long battle against the opposing kingdom. At one point, the evil scientist sneakily reached the king and was about to slay him, but the youth intervened. With the last of his energy, Xagem fought to the death and greatly weakened the evil warrior. The king, with the chance he had, used his powers to seal the evil warrior away, and the virtuous army won the battle. The king did what he could and sealed what was left of Xagem’s power so that it might be used again if ever needed to fight the evil scientist.
At least this is what was in the mind of young David.
In a time so close yet so distant, there was a junior in high school named David. He loved to play sports, especially soccer and tennis. It was winter and soccer season was in. The team so far had lost every game, and the student saw that the team just did not care. In school, the students broke the rules and took advantage of their privileges and thus lost them for everyone in the end. Now, some of us would look at it all and say that this was just small stuff. But the part that made it all hell for David was the death of his beloved grandfather. Since then, David’s world had been upside down, and any problem became a big deal.
As the sun rose one day, David was in his room playing around before school, living out a dream in his head. In this action, cannons were being fired amid a close combat duel.
“I shall destroy you, guardian.”
“No you won’t. As long as I have my friends, I will never give up! I won’t lose. Falcon’s blast!”
After such movements, David finally landed on his bed, gazing up as if he could see through the ceiling to envision the sky. He fell into reverie. “Man, how I wish Neostriker really existed. Then I could use that power for good and make a difference in this place. Or at least get away far from here. That would just be awesome. Then again, I hope it wouldn’t be as cliché as I just made it out to be.”
Such were the thoughts of the young David Reese Gallaback, a high school junior, a dreamer. With the sound of the bell, this dreamer went to classes for another miserable day. On the way, David encountered a big upperclassman abusing some freshmen and decided to intervene. Now this upperclassman was big in every aspect, especially around the waist. He and David always were at each other’s necks. Personally, David never hated the guy. He just couldn’t stand all the things he would do such as cheat or hide his books or make things difficult at soccer practice.
“Dude, l-leave them alone.”
“Why should I?” replied the bully. “In fact, why should I listen to a guy who cries in class when given a paper?”
“You know very well I wasn’t crying, just upset.”
“You cried, stutterer.”
“Whatever, Nero. By the way, why don’t you lose some weight, slowpoke?”
This comment struck a nerve in the round bully, who instantly threw a punch, but David easily evaded it. This benefit he was grateful for. He was much faster than his adversary, and so he ran off to class as he heard Nero yell the all-too-common threatening words, “You better watch your back, crybaby! I know where you sleep!”
Throughout the day, David encountered more and more troubles, and while a normal teen would just dismiss them eventually, they never seemed to disappear from David’s mind. And so how it remained for the rest of the year. One night, however, young Gallaback had a dream. In this particular dream, the junior envisioned an angel calling his name.
“What is it?”
“The Divine Maker has heard your wish. He is willing to grant it to you for Neostriker to exist. Do you want that to happen?”
“Hah! This must be a dream or something. There is no such thing as a Divine Maker.”
“David, whether you believe in him is your choice. But either way, he has chosen to bless you with Neostriker. Do you wish this?”
“Of course,” the youth heartily responded. “It would definitely be better than this life.”
The angel smiled as if he knew the results of such a choice. “You shall see if you truly do think so. It shall be confined to the limits of California, and your wish shall be granted, but when the time comes, you will be given a choice concerning its fate, whether you are dead or alive.”
“What do you mean?” David asked, confused.
“You will know.” Those were the last words of the angel before he departed, and David awoke, shaking his head. Noting the time to be three in the morning, he simply concluded it was just a dream, as much as he hoped that it was true.
A few months later, summer vacation started, and David returned to his home in Kelinor. He could not really recall the past few months. It could have been that there was nothing worth remembering. Either way, as he entered his home, his sister was watching the news about a discovery in the Sahara that sparked his interest.
“This is an amazing find,” began the reporter on the TV. “An excavation here has struck archeological gold, artifacts from an ancient civilization. However, the one that has received the most attention is a scroll. On the scroll are paintings along with the text. And here to talk with us more on the subject is the professor leading the excavation, Professor Lokaf. Professor, tell us about the scroll.”
The camera moved to show a scraggy middle-aged man in an archeology outfit discussing something with a member of his party. After the reporter obtained his attention, he simply responded with a polite yes, but it was obvious from his face that he knew what the reporter was to ask him, as if they had practiced this many a time.
“What do you think about this find? Have you been able to translate the text on the scroll?”
“The scroll? Ah yes, the scroll. The scroll was most likely written in the Middle Ages, maybe the Dark Ages at that. The text itself I will want to look at more carefully to be sure. A great deal of the writing is missing because of age. What we have noticed, though, is that the text appears to be in some form of Latin. What we have been able to translate on the spot mentions an island presumably in the Atlantic.”
The reporter’s eyes glistened with excitement. “So this could very well be the mythical Atlantis?” she asked, seeking the professor’s confirmation.
“That is the popular theory at the moment. Anyway, there are a couple of interesting words here: ‘Nellenion’ and ‘Daelian.’ It appeared this island was subject to wars that lasted generations and these were the primary combatants. With what we have been able to gather, we can assume this scroll was written by a Nellenion, who perhaps fled to escape the war. Unfortunately, with most of the text eroded, we won’t be able to study it much more than we already have.”
“Professor, it is my understanding that these artifacts will be going on display in the near future.”
“Ah yes. The main sponsor of this excavation was Mr. Cower of the Cower’s Museum in Kelinor. As part of the deal, these artifacts will be on display there. After that, I believe it’ll be…”
David did not stay to hear what the professor had to say next. He went up to his room with his mind swirling. After closing his door and lying on his bed, the student began to ask himself about what was happening. “Nellenion? Daelian? Is this really happening? Those are the two kingdoms of Neostriker. Nellenion is the good kingdom, and Daelian is the enemy. Man, I need to get to that scroll and see if it’s true.”
Shortly after, his sister knocked and came in. “Was there something weird about that?”
“You have no idea, sis.”
“Well, it is interesting to think that this may be proof that something like Atlantis existed.”
“How about we go check it out?”
“I’m for it, but I don’t think it’ll be at the museum for at least a week.”
“All right, then I’m going to take a nap. It’s been a rough day.”
“Uh… sure. Talk to you later, then.”
With that, David’s sister left, and David’s mind continued to go wild over the whole affair. When the day finally approached, David had no hesitation in getting his family to the museum so that he might see if it was really what he thought it was. However, when they finally got to the exhibit, fighting their way to see the scroll, David’s eyes caught a glimpse of something else that interested him: a pretty teenage girl around his age with beautiful, long hair and a small fringe on the right side of her face. The teenage boy could not help but think about all of the possible scenarios to talk to her.
“Whoa! She’s pretty cute. Hmm. I wonder if I can take a picture with my phone? Then again, I’m probably never going to see her again, so why bother? Wait! If I go up to her and ask, then maybe I can get her number and then…But then what would I say when I got up to her? She probably would consider me a dope and leave. She probably already has a boyfriend—if not many—lined up.” With that thought racing through his head, the young boy let out a sigh.
However, the boy decided to at least try to snap a picture while pretending to really take it of the scroll. Nevertheless, just as he focused the camera, moving while doing so, he tripped over a cable. The phone flew into the scroll and dropped to the floor. If he hadn’t known before, David sure learned how fast security could move.
Embarrassed, David quickly retrieved his phone and raced to the bathroom to be alone. Inside, the splash of water was still not enough to relieve his embarrassment, and he proceeded to yell at his foolishness. “Great job, David! Now there is no chance at all to get to know her. She must definitely think me a dope. Argh! I didn’t even get a picture.” With that, he flipped open his phone and noticed something strange streaming down the screen—binary code. “Great” the clumsy teenager sarcastically thought. “Just another problem to add to my list—a broken phone. I wonder if Dad can fix this.” He then slapped himself saying, “I must be having some kind of nightmare.”
“I don’t think so,” said a voice from nowhere.
“Who’s there?” The startled junior looked around.
“Here, in your phone,” was the reply David got. When he checked, he saw the figure of a man. It was not an ordinary man, but a knight. He had on a green tunic, but chain mail could be seen beneath it. He had on a brown belt with matching boots and gloves. His hair was golden blond, and he possessed aquamarine eyes.
“The name is Zel. I am an asen, a Neostriker warrior.”
“Did you say a ‘Neostriker’?” inquired the seventeen-year-old.
“Yes, I did. Do you have a problem with that?”
“Uh, no…” replied David, but in his mind he added, “Maybe it’s a dream instead of a nightmare. Wait. I’d probably better not indicate that I know what a Neostriker is.” And so, he commented, “How should I know? I don’t know what a Neostriker is, even though it sounds kinda cool if not cliché.”
“A Neostriker,” said the mysterious figure, “is a warrior with great power, able to generate certain weapons at will and use them to fight. In the Neostriker realm there are two forces. There are those who use the power for good, the Nellenions, and those who use it for evil intent, the Daelians.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“I am in search of someone who can fight for the Nellenions.”
“Why, might I ask?”
“I am what you might call a highly advanced program, but my nature is spirit. I am not able to fight Daelians who materialize. However, I can serve as an operator and aid someone deemed worthy,” explained the asen.
“So me…” the boy realized. “Why me?”
“Because there is potential in you.”
“This is sounding suspicious.”
“It is certainly your call whether or not you accept this offer. The powers that come from this are great, from the ability to fly to withstanding projectiles.”
“Flying, eh? So all I need is to be willing to fight for the Nellenion kingdom? And they are the good guys, so why not?” decided the dreamer.
A smirk came across Zel’s face as he proceeded with this warning. “Heh. Take note that the tide of war is approaching. If you want though, the powers can be taken away from you anytime. So if you want to give up, just say so, or if you do evil with them then they will be taken away with no problem.”
“That’s fine. I’ll just have to be responsible.”
“Very well then. Your phone has been given a new program and thus made into a neot. This will permit you to transform into a great warrior. All you need to do is bring up the program, press the send button, and say ‘Neoformation.’” Just as he finished, though, Zel’s composure changed, as if he had sensed something. “You may be put to your first test right now. I think the Daelians are here. So transform and I’ll inform you with more details.”
David performed the required steps. He said, “Neoformation,” and the phone emitted a bright light that enveloped David. A dark-blue breastplate was put on and then heavily shaded gray arms, legs, and a helmet with a black visor. On the back, a blue jetpack attached. Then a dark-brown cloak wrapped around the neck. All of this in the frame of two seconds.
“Wow. Is this really happening?” said the excited teenager. Just then, though, a thought came up and he asked Zel, “Wait! What about the cameras?” to which the asen replied simply, “Who puts cameras in the restroom? Perverts? That’s just plain wrong.”
“That’s true…. Then I guess I don’t have to worry,” the boy replied, though growing curious about the way Zel spoke.
“I can also disable cameras for a temporary time. Anyway, this form has been made custom for you.”
“Neostriker armor made for humans. Its name is—”
“Neocyx,” blurted the excited boy, forgetting about his situation and only to remember it when Zel asked, “How did you know?” Thinking fast, David said, “Since it was made for me, I should be able to give it a name.”
Zel shrugged off this answer and merely continued saying that in forms, David was to be known as Neocyx the shadow fox, which David liked. After this, Zel ordered, “Now, go! The Daelians are here. I’ll instruct you on how to use this form.”
“But it wouldn’t it seem strange for people to hear your voice from me?” asked the new warrior.
“Only you can hear me in forms. Also, if you think to me instead of talking, you can keep it so other people won’t hear you. That way, the conversation is private. Got it?”
“Yeah,.” the teen responded as he sprinted through the museum toward the scroll display. Along the way, Zel informed David that forms allowed him to move in ways he wouldn’t have been able to before. All that was needed was to think of what he wanted. If he had it, it would come or be done, with limits, of course. This included flight for about five seconds, but Zel also told David that as he grew more powerful, he would be able to fly longer. Meanwhile, at the exhibit, three purple-armored “men” had broken in.
“All right. Stay calm and nobody gets hurt. All we want is the scroll,” said a Daelian soldier.
“You’re robbing the museum? Who are you? A new gang?” said David’s father. He was always quick to voice his opinion whenever he felt he was on the right side.
“We are Neostrikers. And this pertains to us. Any more questions?”
Not taking the hint, David’s father continued. “I don’t know who you are, but you are probably just some poor kids. Just stop this nonsense and—”
“You’re trying my patience, old man. Die! Neo-sword!”
At that instant, the Daelian’s hand transformed into an energy blade, and it dashed toward Mr. Gallaback. Just as he was about to swing, however, Neocyx jumped in the way with blades of his own and pushed the robber back.
“Sorry, but you aren’t doing anything here. You’re not taking the scroll, and you are especially not going to kill anyone!”
“Who are you?”
“Neocyx’s the name, and it will be the last thing you remember.”
Neocyx charged the Daelian and slashed him up, causing the robber to vanish in a puff of purple smoke. Zel would later reveal this process to be called “neofication,” in which the forms were said to be neofied. Then the other Daelians attacked Neocyx, but he jumped in the air and escaped the onslaught. After that, with the words “neo-gun,” one of his swords became a hand-cannon and the shadow fox used it to fire at the Daelians.
Zel rebuked David, “Be careful! You might hit someone!”
“You’re right. Let’s limit ourselves to sword combat at the moment,” said the shamed youth. He was risking the people he was trying to defend.
Neocyx switched back to dual blades and took out the Daelians while only taking a few hits himself. Just as he finished, though, the glass roof broke, and the shadow fox just barely escaped. However, the blazing blast that followed found its target. From the roof, an anthropomorphic dragon-like figure with tough red-and-orange armor, wings on his back, and a head with two horns sticking out the back, descended.
“Neocyx, eh?” said the dragon form. “That’s interesting. I am Drafom, a sergeant in the Daelian army. I believe you could rise through the ranks if you joined us.”
“Sorry, but I think I will decline at the moment,” replied the young hero in a rebellious tone.
The Daelian sergeant laughed. “Ha! You certainly have some spunk in you. However, I will now take the scroll.”
“I won’t let you!”
“Do you have a choice?” he asked while preparing a blast. “I only need to target these fools that didn’t escape when they had the chance.”
Realizing the situation and how helpless he was, Neocyx stood down. Drafom grabbed the scroll and laughed, “Now that I have this, I see no reason in keeping you alive.”
Neocyx responded quickly and brought out his neo-gun again, aiming at the Daelian and saying, “You don’t? How about I destroy that scroll with a blast? I’m sure your boss would be fine with that seeing that he sent you to retrieve it.”
The Daelian lowered his hand, thought for a second and replied, “Hmmm. You are a bit clever after all. Very well then. You can live now, but I will certainly crush you next time you oppose me.”
With that, the dragon form escaped. Heeding Zel’s advice, David scrambled out and used de-formation when he finally reached solitude. At that moment, Zel informed him that the forms he fought were “hollow forms” created by the Dark Power and they were not as powerful as those with a human host. As a result, when defeated, they vanished. He also explained how those with a human host acted a little different. In that case, neofication just forced the process of de-formation.
Returning to the exhibit, David’s father explained what just happened and how glad he was that David had just missed it due to his mishap. He even went further, saying, to the dismay of his son, that it must have been a divine intervention. From there they went home, and along the way, David contemplated his impending future as a Neostriker.