Fire, Venom & Bone Saga: Chapter 2

The spider lowered itself on a strand of silk, stopping inches from the nose of the Captain of the Guard. At the sight of it, he shrieked and turned to run, but one foot caught on the other causing him to fall forward onto the street in a cloud of dust.

The guard scrambled to his feet, drew his sword and squared himself to the dangling intruder. After a few deep breaths, he laughed nervously and glanced around to see if anyone had witnessed his embarrassing ordeal. Embarrassing or not, this was the most exciting event to occur in weeks at his post.

He looked at his sword, then at the spider, then back to his sword again. He grinned and threw the weapon to the ground. “Challenge accepted. But we’re going to settle this in a more,” he bent down and pulled a knife from his boot, “personal manner.”

He approached the spider, extended his forearm and allowed the creature to land on his plate vambrace. “I’ve got a surprise for you, my little friend,” he said as he plunged the tip of the knife into the bug’s abdomen with a crunch. He held his quarry out in front of him and watched as the creature’s legs ceased wiggling.

“You should have chosen your battles more carefully, beast.” With his revenge exacted, he flicked its lifeless body onto the ground and crushed it under his foot.

“Nasty little bugger.” He bent down to place the knife back into his boot, and a second spider landed on the ground to his right. Then a third to his left. Then he felt something land in his hair. Then on the back of his neck.

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The Fire, Venom & Bone Saga: Chapter 1

His eyes widened and he clutched his throat as a thick green froth seeped from his mouth. His back arched as a violent spasm shot through him, and that’s when he shit himself.

In the morning, his assistant would find him face down on the floor in his robes, soiled from both ends. It would be a fitting end for the increasingly reclusive magi who squirreled himself away in his tower littered with unread books, empty wine bottles and a lifetime of regrets.

Grand Illusionist Thedorious Baltz waved his hand in front of him to dismiss the image, and knocked back the last swallow of wine in his glass.

He poured himself another. “Poison is just not a very dignified way to go, is it old friend?” He asked the bottle. “Of course it isn’t! I thought you might say that.” He sipped the drink. “Maybe we should try something a little less,” he paused, rubbing his chin, “messy?”

He waved his hand again. This time a younger version of himself hung before his eyes. His feet dangled inches above the floor. His body gently swayed. Baltz stood and slowly approached the image. Its hair was well-groomed. There was no thick stubble on its face. No crow’s-feet. No wrinkles. Time had yet to take its toll on his looks and conscience.

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Short Story: Ill Omens

IllOmen_Parchment

He stared at the sky and watched them soar. Watched them circle. Watched them prepare. They moved through the air so gracefully. They were angelic. He could hardly believe they served such a dark purpose.

He lifted the visor on his plate helm. “They’re so beautiful.”

The soldier next to him followed his gaze up to the sky. “They’re just vultures, kid.”

Drums began to beat. It was time to march.

He couldn’t take his eyes off of them. “I wasn’t talking about the birds.”

The man looked down at him, then back up to the sky and shook his head.

His unit began to move, and a shove from behind broke the spell which the scene above held over him. He slammed the visor down on his helmet and began to walk.

It was his first battle. He had lied about his age to be in it. He shrugged and found the plate armor to be far clunkier and heavier than he expected. It restricted his movement and limited his vision. The spear was too long, and unwieldy in his hands. It felt unnatural.

His father had chosen the life of a farmer over the life of a hero, and he was determined to be different. He was going to be a hero. The time had come to prove himself. There was no way his children were going look down on him with disdain.

Across the field he caught his first glimpse of the barbarian horde. His pulse quickened. They whooped and shrieked and smashed their weapons against their shields. His heart hammered in his chest. They sounded inhuman. He thought they might be. His body went cold.

Horns trumpeted, signaling that it was time to charge. Maybe his father was right. Maybe this was a mistake. He looked around for a way out, but found none.

The sea of soldiers surrounding him surged forward. Their momentum carried him across the field against his will. He struggled just to remain on his feet within the mass of bodies.

His unit crashed into the enemy and together they became a tangle of knotted sinew and steel. Each side thrusted and hacked at the other. Shields were pressed together. Faces were contorted into violent grimaces.

The Valkyries swooped down from the sky to begin their work.

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The Biomancer Chronicles: Chapter 2

I awoke and found myself laying upon a table where I knew I hadn’t passed out. Strangely, I didn’t seem to be anywhere near as dead as I should have been. A thick, sterile doctor smell pervaded the room. You know the one – gauze, bandages, antiseptic, ointments.

Across from me, in front of a workbench, a blob slowly came into focus. It’s a man, I think. Yeah, definitely a man, older – much older than me, white smock, white hair, glasses. OK I must be in a hospital, or some kind of

“Lab, Ark. Yes, you’re in a lab.” The blob never looked up from his work as he spoke. Of course, a lab.

All right, never mind. It’s just a dream. Or maybe I’m dead? There’s no way he read my mind. Or knew my name.

The blob came into full focus as it moved towards me. “And no, you are not dead. Nor are you dreaming.”

He needed to really needed to knock that shit off.

He looked me over. “How are you feeling?”

I wiggled my arms and legs and found that I was strapped to the table by my wrists and ankles. How very terrific. “I’m feeling like I’m having a very bad day.” I lifted my head and nodded at the straps cutting into my wrists to illustrate my point. “And that it’s about to get worse.”

He grabbed the end of the leather strap on my left wrist and jerked it tight. I winced. “Well, I’ve got good news for you.” He did the same for the right strap. They cut into my skin and I started to bleed. He saw this and smiled. “How your day ends will be completely up to you.”

I tried to use some power to heal my wrists, but none came. I let my head fall back against the table. “I thought you might say something like that.”

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Short Story: Half Vegan Meal

HalfVeganMeal

 

Broccoli dodged left, then right. Boy, he looked steamed. His hands were balled into fists at the ready, but he was no match for Joe’s speed. With a quick jab, Joe skewered Broccoli’s green buds with his fork, placed him in his mouth and chewed. Cauliflower shrieked. He looked pallid.

Joe cut into Porterhouse who began to bleed all over the plate. Cauliflower panicked and tried to run but the plate was slick with hot pools of Porterhouse’s blood. He slipped, and fell face down. “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” It was everywhere. It was all over him. He never saw Joe’s fork reaching for him.

Asparagus parried the killing blow. “On Guard!” He struck a fencing pose. Joe stood, kicked his chair out from beneath him and did the same. Challenge accepted.

Porterhouse was bleeding heavily. “Guys, I feel so cold” He wasn’t going to make it. He was boned.

Nobody paid attention to Porterhouse though, there was a battle raging. Joe stabbed and slashed. Asparagus parried, then feinted. Joe hesitated and Asparagus disarmed him with a flourish. “Do you yield?”

Joe sighed. “I yield, Asparagus.” He knew he was no match for Asparagus’s superior swordplay. Read more of this post

Short Story: Day Job

DayJob

I had been a pirate. A king. An admiral. A bard. A mercenary. Even a powerful wizard. And that was just so far today. At the moment I was a dashing Knight rescuing a princess from the clutches of a slobbering rock troll which sought to suck the meat from our bones. I ducked under a fallen tree. Leapt over another. Rounded a rock outcrop. She was right behind me.

The creature moved fast for its size. “You’ve gotta keep up!” Then she fell. They always fall.

I looked back to see the bottom of her high heels disappear into the hulking creature’s mouth as it swallowed her in a single hefty gulp. So much for the rescue. So much for sucking the meat from her bones. After releasing a belch, it looked up and we locked eyes. The monster patted its belly, flashed me a pointy, yellow-toothed grin and waved. I shook my head, threw a hand in the air, and sighed as the satisfied troll turned and marched back into the swamp.

Would it have killed him to be even a little more menacing? He displayed no showmanship whatsoever! And considering the frequency which princesses are kidnapped, I’d think that wearing more practical footwear might increase their life expectancy.

I dropped myself onto a nearby mossy stump. The tepid, scuzzy water around me returned to snowy forest floor. The lurking, oozing, man-eating slimes were once again nut-gathering squirrels. My great broadsword became nothing more than a flimsy tree branch. I threw it on the ground.

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