Sunborn Rising: Beneath The Fall
(Sunborn Rising #1) by Aaron Safronoff Genre:Fantasy Age category:all-ages, Middle Grade and up Release Date:May 2016
Cerulean. A distant world of Great Trees floating on an ocean surrounding a star. The flotilla forests cycle light and water through their boughs into their lush canopies. But the once vibrant treescape has grown dark, slowly, subtly over many generations. The civilization of creatures living among the boughs believe the darkness is normal. That is, until one willful young girl named Barra discovers the hidden journal of her late father.
Pouring over her father’s writing, Barra learns of a mysterious plague, a creeping vine choking the flow of light and water into the canopy. Her father warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words.
Together with her two best friends, a Rugosic named Tory and a Kolalabat named Plicks, Barra will explore every bark, wood, and leaf of the Great Forest to relight her world and complete her father’s story, even if it leads her beneath the Fall.
Tory added, trying to be funny, “Maybe the Kudmoths will clean you off if we ask them nicely.”
As though gravity tripled in an instant, Barra felt her limbs become heavy and slow. Breathing was hard. Her stomach felt like it was in her feet. She wasn’t strong enough to move.
Worried and confused by Barra’s grave expression, Tory apologized, “I was only kidding.”
Barra had forgotten his comment if she’d even heard it in the first place. Her tongue was thick and stuck to the roof of her mouth. “You saw me?” She rippled her stealth muscles. Looking down at herself, large patches of trapwillow entangled fur were not only visible, but emphasized by the rest of her body fading into the background.
The boys looked at each other, not grasping the situation. But they didn’t need to understand to know they were in trouble, because every entrance to the room was outlined in black. They stared in disbelief.
“Run!” Barra commanded.
Plicks was slow to react, but Tory was already in motion. He scooped up the Kolalabat and tossed him through the porthole in the ceiling. Kudmoths swarmed away from the opening, and then billowed out after him. Tory’s momentum carried him toward a window, and he jumped through it. A swarm of Kudmoths followed him as well, but there were many more. Insects flew into the room and blocked the exits.
Barra barged through the wall of Kudmoths and out the door. The swarm followed close, and Barra worked hard to stay out of reach. The miasmatic cloud drove her down, forcing her ever deeper into the Middens.
Barra panicked. She made bad choices. She missed her jumps. Instead of redirecting the acceleration like before, she fell haphazardly. Her ankle complained, but the pain was barely noticeable as the alarm in her head screamed for her to ascend. Out of control, Barra ran inexorably toward the big emptiness between the Middens and the Root, toward the Fall.
She saw a blur of purplish gray rolling through the thinning branches of her descent. It was Plicks. Looking up past him, she saw that Tory wasn’t far behind. The bups were funneled down together. Barra was desperate to conceive of an escape, as their options disappeared with the branches into the ether.
She made her way closer to her friends. They saw her and tried to close the gap between them. They flowed around each other in a braid as they maneuvered away from the Kudmoths. Barra bellowed, missing a branch. She was freefalling. Tory lunged at her and the collision sent her flailing toward a hold. She was safe for the moment, but Tory didn’t make it to the branches. Quick to react, Barra lassoed the heavy Rugosic with her tail and pulled him over. Her claws dragged from his weight.
Plicks was tumbling by and Tory reached out to him. He caught the flailing Kolalabat. Her tail strained from the extra force, and her claws cut deeper into the slender branch. Sharp pain, and her eyes were tear-blind. She squeezed them shut, hard. They clung to each other frantically, trying not to think of what was beneath.
The branch did not.
Barra heard the snap-crack of the wood—not with her ears, but with her heart. Her eyes burst open and she watched the bottom of the Middens fly away.
Aaron Safronoff was born and raised in Michigan where he wrote his first novella, Evening Breezes. In his early twenties, he moved to California to attend culinary school. He fell in love with the Bay Area and has never considered leaving, although he did eventually leave the school.
During his ten years in the games industry, he worked at various levels and for several disciplines including quality assurance, production, and design. All the while he was writing a novel, short stories, plays, and poetry. His career in design introduced him to amazingly intelligent, fun, and creative people, many of whom he considers family today.
Safronoff self-published, Spire, in 2011, and won the Science Fiction Discovery Award for the same in the summer of 2012. By the end of that year he decided to drop everything and free fall into fiction. In the following three months he completed work on the sequel to Spire, Fallen Spire, edited Evening Breezes, and published both.
Today, Safronoff is co-founder and Chief Storyteller of Neoglyphic Entertainment and working on his fifth novel, the second book of the Sunborn Rising series. In his spare time, Safronoff enjoys reading a variety of authors, Philip K. Dick, Cormac McCarthy, and Joe Abercrombie among them. He enjoys living near the ocean, playing and watching hockey, and video games. He has a deep love of music and comedy.