When Queen Tassin is forced to flee her kingdom on the backwater planet of Omega V, she has no idea that the strange warrior who helps her is a cyborg; the deadliest hi-tech killing machine ever created. Her world has forgotten the technology that almost destroyed it, but then a freak accident damages the micro-supercomputer that controls Sabre, and he is free to take charge of his destiny...
"More monsters have come from the Death Zone, Sire."
King Litham Alrade looked up at his trusted advisor. Lines of weariness mapped his parchment-pale skin, and steel grey brows drew together above dark blue eyes that had lost their lustre. Shadows of pain lurked in their depths, reflecting that which gnawed at his innards and loosened his hold on life. The doctors had withdrawn from the sickbed and stood in affronted unwillingness to admit their failure.
Heavy, indigo velvet curtains covered the windows and kept the wood-panelled bedchamber gloomy, adding to the sense of doom. Smoking braziers burnt incense, thickening the air with cloying scent. Bottles, vials and pots cluttered the bedside table, testament to the doctors' futile ministrations.
King Alrade's swift illness had taken all by surprise, wasting the flesh from his powerful frame at an alarming speed and robbing him of his strength. The King's eyes wandered over his long-time friend's face, seeking an answer in his elderly features but finding none. Despair flared in his eyes.
"What can I do about it now, Pervor? All that I can, I have done. Did you meet the wizard?"
The gaunt, balding advisor nodded. "He agreed to help. He told me that he would send a tool, some sort of magical device, and it will appear in our dungeons when it is ready. Do you truly trust this man, Sire? You leave the fate of your kingdom and your daughter in his hands."
King Alrade sighed and settled deeper into the soft cushions of his deathbed. "What choice do I have, my friend? The gods have decided to take me from this mortal plane, and none can gainsay them. Certainly not that brood of incompetents that lurk in the shadows. I only wish I could stay to see it through. Tassin does not deserve this burden on her reign, she is too young." Anger brought blood to stain the old King's cheeks for a moment before it drained away again. His wheezing broke the hush.
"Tassin is strong," Pervor soothed. "She comes from a long line of warrior kings and queens. She will win."
The King shook his head, closing his eyes as a stab of pain coursed through him. "She is frailer than you think. Her mother was as fragile as a flower, and as easily crushed. Why do you think she died birthing Tassin, who was such a small baby? Tassin tries to be a warrior princess, but she is too small, like her mother, her blows too puny. Mandon, bless him, makes her feel good when she does her sword training, but he tells me that she can hardly cleave a butterfly in half."
Pervor pursed pale lips and regarded the dying King. "But she has your blood in her too, My King. She will be strong when she has to."