Timelines is a collection of works we wrote for the various Evelon II Studios stories that we eventually decided to replace for what we have today. Many of us don't typically plan too far ahead, so every so often we write something we don't exactly like. Each story starts off where it diverged from the true timeline, and ends at a point that we decided to rewrite. Many of them end in cliff hangers that will never be resolved because of this. In each one we put a After Thoughts section at the end to explain why that story path was the wrong one. We're not saying these stories aren't canon. Multiple timelines has always been a fascination of ours. Maybe there is a timeline out there in these universes where these things happened. Either way, by publishing these I hope to give people a glimpse at what could have happened, but didn't. Enjoy!
Avala: Spirits of the Mindscapes
Book 2 - Part 1
Chapters 1 - 3
She looked upon the landscape before her. The eternal sunset in the west cast long shadows on the ground. The crescent moon shone brightly in the sky. She breathed in the chill air. This was her home world. The planet of Evelon II.
Avala watched the Shaiya stags graze among the trees. They seemed so unaware of what was happening. The world was in the middle of a war, and yet they seemed so calm and peaceful. Everything around her seemed peaceful. Yet underneath it all, tensions were rising.
The Yajixa were no doubt preparing to launch another attack on Ecrekio. They would not let the republic continue to lay claim to such a strategic location. Avala knew they would not be able to hold off another attack, unless they could make more Avalans. Alvaj and a team of humans had been going around the Galaxy to the various other empires who opposed the Yajirans hoping to find valuable recruits.
Up until now only a few Egrogans, Nerafin, and Salimith had been recruited. Avala had entered each of their mindscapes, and had used her power to create the Echarikith Crystals inside them, giving them the powers of an Avalan. These new recruits had then started training with the other Avalans, so that they would know how to use their powers.
Apparently a few members of a different species had recently been recruited, and were on their way to Ecrekio. They were of the Saolavis race. The Saolavis were an all female race. They appeared just like humans and Athakarins, except for the fact that each of them were really two twins, conjoined in some way or another. Avala had never seen any of their kind before, yet she had heard about them.
Their species ruled an empire far larger than the Republic of Earth. It was called the Empire of the Twin Sisters, and they had been at war with the Yajiran Empire since long before the humans even existed. They, like many others, were afraid of the humans due to their quickness at getting to the galactic stage, and thus refused all attempts to ally with them.
A beeping sound from her waist alerted her to someone trying to contact her. She took the device from her belt and pressed a silver button.
“Hello?” she asked innocently. She would never get used to this long distant communication, let alone the proper protocol for using it.
“They have arrived, and are awaiting you back at base,” the voice of Evyn, one of the first Avalans, spoke from the device.
Avala nodded, momentarily forgetting he couldn't see. “I'll be there soon,” she responded.
“Be informed. We have reports of hostiles in your area,” the voice of the Adjutant said from the device. “I suggest you hurry back as quickly as possible. You are too valuable to be captured.”
Avala sighed, there was little chance she was leaving so soon. She had heard the reports too, she also knew exactly why there were hostiles here. It was that reason was why she was here. As she was thinking it a hunter's horn sounded from the forest.
Avala watched as a young Athakarin female, clothed in barely anything, ran as fast as she could as if she were being chased. Avala pulled out her Ijix bow from her back slotting it with an arrow. She waited until she could see the pursuers, then fired, strait into a Athakarin man's chest. She loaded the bow, aimed, and fired again.
Her aim was perfect due to the transfer of experience, skill, and knowledge she had received from a machine during her first day in the Republic. As the second one fell, the three surviving men looked around for the attacker. One of them spotted her on the hilltop.
He prepared a bow to shoot at her, however she was ready for this. She charged at them, strait out of her body, her spirit flying strait at them. She impaled herself in their leader.
“Lower your bow!” she shouted at the archer through the mans body.
“But Ranith...” the man started.
“Do you not realize what that is?” she forced the man to say, causing him to think he himself was doing it. “It's the Majiril Sae. The Spirit Beast Sae!”
The others eyes went wide. “Then Vaela is lost to us. Sae won't let us capture her. It's said Sae steals women from their men, killing the men in the process,” one of them said.
“It already killed, Zaru and Mavjin,” she forced her new body to say, looking in its memories for the information. “We should leave before it decides to kill the rest of us.”
The third man who had yet spoken shook his head. “I don't believe in the Majiril! I say we kill it, whatever it is, then reclaim what's ours!”
Avala made herself known to the man she was in, forcing him to speak in her own voice. “I am Sae! I have claimed your own! Leave now or perish!”
The man who had been brave suddenly dropped to his knees, eyes wide in terror. “Spirits protect us! Sae is real!”
She withdrew from the man's body, returning to her own in an instant. She triggered a device at her side, causing a holographic overlay cover her body. It made her appear as a partially skeletal, partially energy woman. She then activated a small hover devices on her back, and launched herself down the hill.
She flew through the air, faster than she could normally run, landing next to the men. They looked at her and screamed in terror. She roared, allowing the holodisguise to modulate her voice into that of a monster. They dropped their weapons and ran back in the direction they came, never looking back. Once she was certain they were gone, she deactivated the different technology.
She laughed, then turned towards the trees. “You can come out now, their gone and most likely won't be coming back.”
A young girl, most likely around the age of nine, came out from behind the tree. She looked scared, as if she wasn't sure if Avala was safe.
Avala smiled warmly to her, “I'm Avala. I'm a Athakarin like you. I'm not going to hurt you.”
The girl slowly approached her. The way she was dressed, this girl had most likely worked in a brothel. She continued to be sickened by the way the men of her people treated women. In the republic, no girl her age would be forced to wear such clothing, or work in a brothel. Brothels did not even exist in the republic, due to the fact that they were considered abusive.
She held out her hand, showing her she wasn't going to hurt her. “I'm not a Majiril. There's no such thing as Spirit Beasts,” she said kindly. “I was using an illusion to scare them off.”
The girl looked at her face, then quickly looked away towards the bodies of the two dead men. She pointed a finger at them. “Are...are they dead?” she asked.
Avala tried to study to girl to determine why she was asking, finally she replied, “Yes. They won't hurt you any longer.”
The girl smiled slightly at that but then looked afraid again. “Are...are you going to kill me then?”
Avala shook her head. “I'm going to bring you someplace where no man can hurt you again.”
The girl looked momentarily hopeful, but then the fear washed over her face again. She started backing away, as if she planned to run away again. Avala just sat down, and placed her weapons at her side. That action caused the girl to stop.
“What's your name?” Avala asked.
“They call me Vaela,” the girl replied, also sitting down. She looked sad and scared. “Your going to take me home aren't you?”
Avala shook her head, “Why do you think I'll do that?”
“Because your one of the Spirits!” Vaela said looking angry, “The spirits don't like it when girls run away from their men.”
Avala smiled, and calmly replied, “The Yaji are my enemy Vaela. Our people are slaves to them. You don't have to be any longer. Come with me, and I promise you no man will be allowed to touch you again.”
Vaela looked at her. There was confusion in her eyes now, along with the fear and sadness, but there was also hope. She appeared to be hoping Avala was telling the truth.
Avala slowly put away her weapons. Standing up, and approaching the girl. Vaela was already trying to get away. Avala simply held out a hand. “Take my hand, and you will be safe.”
The girl seemed to think for a long moment, then grabbed her hand, squeezing it hard, as if she were afraid to let go. Avala took a small cylindrical device from her side, and pressed it. Moments later the world melted away around them, replaced by a MELT transporter room.
Vaela looked around, eyes wide with fear and wonder. Avala walked through a stone doorway, and into Ecrekio: The City of Bones. She motioned for the girl to follow. As Vaela did her eyes went wide as she saw where she was.
“You're Devalra! Aren't you?” she squealed in terror.
Avala knelt down so her eyes were level with the young girl. “You've been lied to about the Devalra,” she began, “The Devalra are the good guys. They want to help our people be free of the Yaji. They don't ask for anything from us. We don't have to give them sacrifices. And they believe us girls don't have to submit ourselves to men, either.”
The girl looked at her, “Really?”
Avala nodded. “In truth. Both the Yaji and the Devalra really come from different worlds. Their just as mortal as us, and they have been locked in a war for a very long time. The Devalra call themselves humans. They believe in something they call equality, where every person is treated the same. They believe that every person should make their own decisions, and that no person belongs to another. Though they have laws of their own, the worst punishment for breaking them is just being locked away for a few years. They don't require sacrifices for punishment. Nobody here is going to hurt you.”
The girl had tears in her eyes. She looked at Avala. “Really?” she cried.
Avala nodded. “Really,” she responded.
The girl gently grabbed Avala's wrist and put her forehead on it. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Vaela cried, tears flowing onto Avala hand.
Avala smiled. This girl had probably suffered more than she had at the hands of the Athakarin men. No doubt that she would have trouble trusting people again. Though Avala was certain she had gained the girls trust. Now she had business to attend to, though she imagined Vaela would find it hard for Avala to leave her so soon. She might have to let the girl accompany her.
Avala entered the room where the three Saolavis were waiting. The girl Vaela had refused to leave her side, so Avala had to warn her of what was inside. She had to admit that even she wasn't prepared for what she saw.
The first one of the Saolavis appeared to be two identical looking women, attached at the side of their upper head. At first glance the second appeared to be just two women stand side by side, that was until she saw they shared a middle leg. The last appeared to be a woman with two heads.
Avala realized she was gawking, but couldn't help it.
“You must be Avala,” one of the heads of the first one spoke, seeming oblivious to Avala's expression. “Allow us to introduce ourselves. Me and my partner are from the Seli clan. I am Za, and my partner is Ri. Together we are Za'Ri Seli.”
Avala just nodded, unable to form a response.
One of the head of the second Saolavis spoke next, “The two of us are from the Neef Clan. My name is Omai.”
“And I'm Oml. But our long name is Omai'Oml Neef!” her other head said. Giggling she added, “Noting by your expression you weren't prepared for the dual nature of us.”
Avala nodded, turning to the third. The Saolavis just stood motionless, both heads staring at Avala. She waited for them to introduce themselves, but they continued to just stare, with a curious expression. Finally Avala managed to ask, “And you are?”
Both of the Saolavis' heads burst out laughing, causing everyone to look at them confused. “We're so sorry,” her left head managed to say through the laughter. “We're just not used to seeing singular races.”
“We're Tani'Lin Aev. She's Tani, I'm Lin,” her right head said.
Avala sighed. She had gotten over the shock and got down to business. “Well its a pleasure to meet all of you. Should we begin?” They all nodded in response.
Avala looked around to check on Vaela, only to find, she had fallen asleep in the corner. Avala realized she must have been exhausted from her escape, and had taken the chance to sleep. She returned her attention to the Saolavis, once she knew the girl was safe.
“You are all aware of what is going to happen, right?” Avala asked.
The Saolavis all nodded, as Tani responded, “Your going to make us like the Yajixa, but free from their oh so mighty emperors.”
“Then I guess I'll get to it,” Avala replied.
Leaving her body, she approached the first. Gently entering one of their two minds. Once inside she found it was empty of all life, as she expected. She was among alien ruins that floated in the void, similar to her mind once was. She quickly found a suitable spot for what she needed to do. A large open space that could be well defended.
She called upon two of the three power sources within her. She first called upon the Chardrik, which allowed her to manifest her will inside another mind. She then called upon the Echarikith, Entrallia, to help her create a crystal filled with her power, that would act as the power source for the new Avalan. She did not call upon Deabla, the former Yajixa Empress, since she was most useful in battle. As she channelled the power, the crystal filled the area, its many facets showing reflections of things not there.
Once it was fully formed, she checked to ensure it was secure. Once she was certain it was, she exited the mindscape, continuing on to the rest of the minds. For each one she repeated the process, granting them the powers of an Avalan.
As she exited the last one, her gaze fell upon Vaela. She felt the strong desire to also make the young girl an Avalan. However she knew the Republic would not approve. It was one thing to make use of child Avalans who were rescued from the Yajixa. Those Avalans had decades of experience, and knowledge on combat and tactics, and all of them wanted to fight. Vaela was truly only a girl, she most likely never fought a day in her life. The only reason to make her an Avalan would be to protect her from being possessed by the Yajixa.
As soon as she thought that she realized she had to do it. This girl did not trust anyone else. Avala had saved her life, and thus the girl did not intend to leave Avala's side. Avala also developed a need to protect her in the short time she knew her. That meant that Vaela was the perfect victim of Yajixa possession. To leave the girl vulnerable would be a worse crime than giving her the powers. She also knew that just because she would have the powers of an Avalan did not mean she had to be used in the war effort. In fact it almost made sense for every civilian who was an Echarikith cast off descendant to be a Avalan, thus the Yajixa could not infiltrate them.
She decided what she would do and entered the girl's mind. The moment she was inside she noticed this was not an ordinary Mindscape. While there was indeed no life within, there were also no ruins. Instead the was a majestic palace of sorts. As she quickly made her way through the halls, she found the walls were decorated with childish drawing of strange scenes that could only have come out of the imagination of a child.
Avala did notice that some places seemed to be falling apart, as if they were turning to ruins. She realized that every mindscape must have started out like this, only to fall apart into ruins with age. As she flew through the halls, she came across a door. It was decorated with bones and crystals. She recognized it immediately. This was a natural prison room of an Echarikith.
As she opened it, she found both an Echarikith in their natural form, and the child, Vaela. They both turned to her looking first afraid then confused. Avala looked first at the Echarikith, then at Vaela. They appeared to have been talking with each other.
“Vaela, are you alright?” Avala asked her.
She looked at her, confused. “How are you here?” she responded.
Avala bowed her head slightly, “I entered your mind in hopes of making it more secure.”
Vaela shook her head in confusion. “There's never anyone else in my dreams! What do you mean you entered my mind?”
Avala approached the girl, but felt herself be forced back by an invisible hand. “We demand you leave Yajixa!” the Echarikith yelled.
Avala had noticed a while ago that she always felt more mature inside of mindscapes, and she hoped that maturity would help her now. Avala knelt down in response to that. “I am no Yajixa, Ancient One,” she replied slowly. “I am Avala, she who was prophesied by Echniath to free the Echarikith, by using the power of the Yajixa. I do not enslave your kind.” Realizing it could probably sense Entrallia within her she added, “The one that you see in my mind is there by choice. Without her I can not create others like me. Those who do not need Echarikith to use their powers.”
“We do not like liars!” the Echarikith roared, “We saw you 'rescued' her. We know you intend to make her Yajixa! We will not let you enslave us!”
Avala felt herself being pushed backwards by some strange force. In desperation she called upon Entrallia inside her to do something. Words came from her mouth in the ancient voice of the Echarikith. “We demand you stop, Zakrik!”
Suddenly the pushing force stopped.
She felt herself channelling Entrallia, and the words continued to flow from her, “We are here by choice! We have seen this one free countless of our kin. We have seen her free us, and we stayed here to help her.”
The Echarikith, in its massive skeletal, statue-like form sank to the ground, in something akin to a bow. “We seek forgiveness special one. We have lost our connection with the consciousness. We are an outcast. We were not informed of your deeds.” it paused looking at Vaela, then continued, “We ask that you free us as well.”
“You're going to leave me?” Vaela started to cry. Avala had almost forgot that she was here.
“We will see you in reality, child.” the Echarikith turned back to Avala. “We ask that you free us.”
Avala nodded. Using her will she opened a temporary hole in the floor, down into the void. As the Echarikith fell through, the hole closed. Avala then once again called upon the powers within her to create the Echarikith power crystal within this chamber. As the crystal formed, Avala could see the young girl was crying. She must have been visiting her mindscape in her dreams her entire life, and had most likely made friends with the Echarikith. Soon however she would not have to see them only in her dreams.
After the crystal finished forming, Avala exited the mindscape. Flying out through the void and back into her body. As she opened her eyes in her own body, she looked up to see a young Athakarin man sitting next to Vaela. Her first feeling was that of disgust. A man had entered while she was indisposed, to take advantage of the sleeping child. It was only when she noticed that barely a moment had passed since she had entered the girl's mind, did she realize this was the Echarikith.
He looked at the sleeping child, the same way she had seen parents in the Republic look at their children. It was a look a kindness, and a desire to protect. He might of taken the form of an Athakarin, whose men were well know for taking advantage of women and young girls, yet he did not seem to feel the desire to act like an Athakarin.
He saw him looking at her. Smiling, he said, “I am truly sorry about what happened in there. I meant what I said, I'm an outcast among the Echarikith.”
The Saolavis were looking between him and her with confusion. The head called Lin finally spoke up, “Were in the name of the Goddesses did he come from?”
Avala sighed, All she could say was “He's an Echarikith.” They still appeared confused, but she said no more.
Vaela began to stir, opening her eyes. Upon seeing the man so close to her, she started to cry. “Please no more!” she begged.
The man turned to her, took her hand and placed it on his head. Avala recognized this as the Athakarin sign of submitting oneself to someone. In doing this he had essentially told Vaela, that she had authority over him. It was almost unheard of for a man to do this to a woman. The only cases Avala had ever heard of were with the Mage Queen of the Northlands, and the wife of the Fire King, both of which she knew were elder Yajixa.
Vaela blinked away the tears. “Are...are you Zakrik?” she asked, shyly.
“Indeed,” was all the man said.
“You look different. How are you outside my dream?” she asked.
He chuckled, “I was trapped inside you mind, young one. Your rescuer is also now mine.”
Vaela looked at Avala then back to Zakrik. She smiled, and wiped away the rest of her tears.
Avala smiled back. She was pretty certain she wanted to adopt this young child. Being that she had worked in a brothel, it was most likely she had either been born there, or that she was sold to it at a much earlier age. Either way, she had no family to properly care for her. She would talk to people from the republic. There was most likely a procedure to adoption, and she wanted to make certain she did it right.
She dismissed the Saolavis, telling the to find Evyn to begin their training. She then attempted to contact Sylvia, she would want to know of the new Avalans. She would also be able to help Avala go about the adoption process. She hoped for Vaela's sake that it wouldn't be too hard.
“Your telling me you abducted this girl, then made her an Avalan?” the hologram of Commander Sylvia stared at her in shock. “Avala. Yes there are indeed procedures to go about adopting, but abducting her negates them all!”
“The men were trying to hunt her down!” Avala angrily cried out. “She was an escaped slave! How can you say I abducted her!” Did Sylvia not understand what would have happened to the girl if she had not been rescued. She would have be lucky not to be sacrificed to the Spirits for defiance. Though it was possible she would be spared, she would still have been severely abused.
Sylvia sighed, “Avala. We have no proof she was actually from a brothel as you believe. You are just assuming that. For all we know she was running away from caring parents.”
“Athakarin parents don't care about girls!” Avala yelled.
“There are always exceptions Avala!” Sylvia sternly replied, “There are proper procedures to go about rescuing children from abuse, but the first step is always to ensure that the abuse is real. In the past people used to take the children away first, and then ask questions later. However it was determined that doing so went against the constitution of the early republic. A person is innocent until proven guilty!”
Avala growled, “She was abused! She has a brothel tattoo on her shoulder. Let me go get her to prove it!” Avala turned and stormed into the other room. The girl was sitting by the hearth, eating food that Avala had given her. She looked up at her. It was obvious that she had heard the conversation. Avala tried to smile warmly at her, “Can you come here for a moment Vaela. I need to show someone the tattoo on your shoulder.”
The girl nodded, standing up from her food. She looked afraid, as if the argument was too much for her. As Avala led the girl into the other room, Vaela's eyes widened seeing the transparent hologram. Avala gently lifted the sleeve of the girl's new modest clothing, exposing the tattoo on her right shoulder.
Sylvia eyes went wide as she read what the tattoo said. She began to shake her head, “These Athakarins continue to surprise me with their depravity. I apologize Avala. That is indeed proof that she was being abused.” She sighed, continuing, “I'll have a support worker sent to Ecrekio to sort everything out. Now about making her an Avalan?”
“It was to protect her from possession. Not to use her in the war,” Avala responded.
Sylvia nodded, “I suppose that makes sense. It is the only way we know to protect someone from possession. However you should have asked first. I'll talk to you later then. I have work to do. Commander Sylvia out.”
Avala let out a deep sigh. For a moment she thought Sylvia was going to try and return the child to her people. That would have been a terrible mistake. She looked to see where Vaela had gone, and found she had went back to eating.
Avala didn't know much about the brothels of her people, but she could assume they didn't feed the girls enough, judging by the way Vaela gobbled down the food. She shuddered, her people were monsters.
Loud screaming came from outside, and Avala rushed to the door to see what had happened. Yajiran soldiers were MELTing into the cavern, stunning people with stun grenades. The human guards tried fighting them back but were quickly shot down with what appeared to be stun rounds.
What had happened to their MELT inhibitor? It should have prevented this. Several of the soldiers spotted her, and began heading towards her.
“Where's the girl!” the lead one shouted as he approached. “Where's the Mage Queen's daughter!”
Avala looked at them in shock. Where they talking about Vaela? They couldn't be. She had been owned by a brothel. Not only that, but she had a Echarikith within her mind and yet had not been enslaved by the Yajixa. She would have been if she was the daughter of the Mage Queen.
Avala knew she did not have what it took to fight these soldiers. There were too many innocents in the way. If she tried to fight, too many people would get hurt. Vaela came up beside her looking in fear at the Yajirans. It was obvious she had never seen anything like them before.
The soldiers came up to Avala. The lead one grabbed her by the collar, lifting her up to his eye level. “You are the leader of the Avalan rebels! Aren't you?”
Avala nodded. She knew if she left her body now, it would be killed. Not only that, but Vaela would be placed in danger.
“Then I ask you again. Where is the Mage Queens daughter!?” he shouted in her face.
Avala attempted to look down at Vaela, only to see the girl hiding in the corner cowering. The soldier saw her look and motioned for one of the others to go investigate. After a few moments the soldier turned back to their commander. “This isn't her, commander.”
The commander who was holding Avala, let her drop to the ground. She gasped for air, he hadn't been choking her, but she had been holding her breath. The commander pushed her over, putting a foot on her chest.
“Reports say you 'rescued' a young girl fleeing from Athakarins bounty hunters! Is this that girl!?” he shouted at her.
Avala nodded. She was angry, she wanted to hurt these Yajirans badly. Yet as far as she could tell they hadn't killed anyone yet. She needed to go along with them if she had any hope of saving the people here. At least for now.
The soldier took his foot off of her. He said something under his breath that sounded like a curse. “The Intel was wrong! This is not the girl we seek!”
The commander looked back at Avala with something that looked like sorrow. Avala accidentally caught a glimpse of a part of their mind, suddenly realizing this was a Yajixa. At least, they used to be a Yajixa, something was off.
“What are you?” Avala asked, as the soldiers were leaving the room. “You can't be normal Yajixa. You haven't killed anyone.”
The commander turned back to her, tears seemed to be in his eyes. “The Mage Queen and those bound to her have left the empire! We no longer follow the ways of the Yajixa leaders.”
“Are you still our enemy? Or are you a friend?” Avala asked. Any allies they could get on this world would be a great benefit to them.
“That depends,” the commander replied. “If you happen to find the missing girl and return her to her mother, than maybe we could be. But until then, you better not cross our path.”
“What's the girl's name?” Avala needed information, she hoped the soldier would give it.
“Her Highness' name is Zao!” the soldier responded angrily. “She was captured by the priests, who believed that Yasal could not change her ways. When we broke into their temple, we found that the girl had been sold to others. We followed the trail, but that led us to this girl! Somewhere someone had lied to us.” They used a device to signal for MELT transport. “Good day to you.”
As they melted away, Zakrik came rushing in. “Is she hurt?” he looked concerned. He went over to check on Vaela. She had passed out, and a yellow puddle underneath her suggested that she had wet herself. She had obviously been terrified.
Avala shook her head, “I don't think so. She was just very afraid.”
“What were they after?” he asked Avala.
Avala sighed and explained what she discovered from her conversation. “So we need to find this girl, so we can have peace,” she finished.
Zakrik shook his head. “I may have been disconnected from the Echarikith consciousness, but I know they would not agree to an alliance with Yajirans. They hurt us in the past, they enslaved us. Yet now there are those who are breaking free? It does not seem possible.”
A long uncomfortable silence followed. Finally changing the subject Avala asked, “You keep saying you have been disconnected from the Echarikith. How? Why?”
Zakrik sighed, “I was disconnected by accident. However they could not accept me back, not after what I did.”
“What did you do?” Avala questioned him.
He shook his head, “I don't want to talk about it.”
Avala could understand that. Obviously he had done something he regretted. However the guilt was preventing him from speaking about it. Maybe one day he would feel open to it.
“I need to tell the others about the new information,” Avala finally said.
With luck they would be able to ally themselves with Yasal. However the thought did occur to her that Yasal might have been just as evil as before, just under her own control. In that case they would still be enemies. Either way, they would need to find the daughter of the Mage Queen before they did anything.
This was yet another attempt at starting book two. The main problem with it was the darker themes: brothels and wetting oneself. These darker themes did not feel right in my story this early on. Also, I couldn't figure out how Yasal had freed herself. If during the entire three million years of the Yajiran Empire it was unheard of for already enslaved Yajixa to become free on their own, then it did not make sense for Yasal to suddenly do it. There were certain ideas I did like about this, such as Avala adopting a young Athakarin that became an Avalan, that she herself rescued. But again, Avala felt too mature for how short a time she spent in the Republic. She seemed too much in control, and character development was happening too fast and wasn't shown enough. I also scrapped the idea that Avala understood how to make someone a Avalan so easily. She had to wait until book 3 when desperation to do the right thing taught her how to do it herself.
After all three of these attempts at failing to begin book two, and due to my fundraiser for the publishing of book 1 failing, I gave up writing for this story for almost nine months. However that break, as well as nearly having enough money to publish book 1 gave me hope again, and I finally got book 2 done and dusted.