Teaser from Seeds of Ruin

Tis the Sunday after release and it is time for another teaser from the Bloodlust: The Seeds of Ruin (Domains of the Chosen #6).

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Agga turned his eyes from the bay. “The arena in Frostbay won’t see action for some time, now. We will have to avail ourselves of another place. Now, watch the ice, right about there. If all goes well, you will soon witness something wondrous.”

The Runemaster said nothing else, but stared intently at the bay. Hilena felt a tremor, or rather sensed a shift in the patterns of the bay. As she was puzzling this out, Lignam stiffened and stood still.

The ice heaved, and then some monstrous appendage thrust into the air, mud, water, and ice sloughing from it. Another and another followed. They kept rising and Hilena realized that what she saw were towers and tall buildings. As she watched, a whole city, larger than Frostbay, smashed its way through the ice, like some great beast rising, roaring, from the depths. The patterns and power at work were dazzling, like staring at the sun.

 Ice split and fell away in ship-sized sheets. A great spray of water misted over the whole scene. Tall towers, buildings, streets, and houses soon shed their coat of muck and ice, while other sections rose further out. A coastline appeared. The last of the sections to resolve was familiar to Hilena; it contained the palace that housed both Antidilluvius and the Dark Heart.

The Rune 1.7

After much soul-searching, I have decided to write a few short stories, unrelated to the other works, before continuing on with the next of the Shadow Wolf Sagas, just to keep it fresh. As always, this is raw and uncut; enjoy responsibly.

The Rune 1.1

The Rune 1.2

The Rune 1.3

The Rune 1.4

The Rune 1.5

The Rune 1.6

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For several tense minutes we moved quickly, and everything passed in a blur of old concrete, endless pipes, and shadowed side-passages. Despite being llonger of limb I found it difficult to keep up with the ground-eating strides of my guide. Worse yet, Amy with the gun was suddenly taciturn, moving too quickly and urging silence. I worried over that quiet and what it could mean, thoughts of growlers, or worse, stalking us and impending betrayal chief among my fears.

But, after we put some distance between us an the growlers, Amy with a gun suddenly seemed to relax.

“Thank The Word,” she said, stopping and stretching.

“For?”

“The camp was moved. Something must have gone wrong, most likely one of the local denizens found it and became a pest. It happens. Thankfully, I just found a marker.”

She gestured at the wall with her gun. At first I saw nothing. Then, suddenly, the words “THIS WAY” suddenly appeared. Looking at the words I felt a strong sense of direction, almost as if I was being pulled toward the destination. Runes.

“What is this camp exactly?”

“It is a gathering of people like us. People who can see the Runes,” said Amy with the gun, walking in the indicated direction. We passed another set of “THIS WAY” Runes. “They will decide what to do with you.”

When I realized that I was able to read the Runes, I had slowly distanced myself from everyone I loved. Most of them merely thought it was “the greys”, the deep depression that acts as a kind of passage to adulthood in our dysfunctional society. Still the realization that I might never see my sister or my friends again washed over me and I paused.

“You alright?” asked Amy with a gun.

“I’ll live.”

“It won’t be bad for you. Once you are vetted, we will try to find you some place comfortable. Eventually, you will fit in just fine.”

“Thanks.”

Amy with a gun gave a quick smile, and turned, moving toward the next set of “THIS WAY” Runes, which directed us down a twisting passage.

“Stop!”

“Look, buddy, we had our bonding moment and it was nice and everything, but I want to go home,” said Amy with the gun, rolling her eyes.

“Look at those runes.”

I pointed at the “THIS WAY” runes. Underneath, in a different script, I saw a different set of runes. “MARK THEM”

Amy stared hard at the wall, frowning. She opened her mouth, and closed it again.

“I see it now,” she said quietly. “But it is beyond my ability to read. Tell me what it says.”

“Mark them.”

“Oh no,” said Amy, face falling.

Teaser Tuesday

Tis Tuesday and thus time for a teaser. This week it is from my newest, release Bloodlust: The Seeds of Ruin, which I put out on Sunday.

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“All that remained of Valaran diVolcanus after the Grand Championships was a tiny, ugly tree. Try as we might, not even the Chosen could destroy the tree without causing massive damage to the surrounding structure. The matter was set to study and everyone forgot this ‘Dire Root’ except on days that Sadira was in the Arena, when the ugly little thing popped out of the ground and blossomed, gruesome and blood red. Eventually they just raised the sand a couple of feet so people did not have to look at the thing at least.” After hours’ tour guide at the Grand Arena.

<>

Hilena suppressed a shiver as her former partner let loose a rasp of pain, halfway between a moan and a cough. The sound was horrific, like wet-lung, but she dared not look back to where he lay in the covered steam-waggon. It was best to let nature take its course at this juncture; Jerus was gone.

What was happening to him broke her heart, but each rasp hurt her a little less.

Master Kress had examined him after the plant had taken root. The big man had told Jerus he would be fine and given him a sedative.

“It has taken root in his bones,” Kress had said to her after Jerus had fallen into a deep sleep. “Removing it is out of the question. You must deliver the root to Frostbay at all costs. I will be sending my remaining servants to escort you. They will be with you, even if you do not see them.”

Hilena was astute enough to have spotted two of them. One appeared to be pathetic old cripple who, despite his faltering speed, never seemed to fall behind for very long. The other was a familiar looking brute of an ogre. She was also astute enough to know what would happen to her if she tried to help Jerus, to escape her duty, or to get rid of the terrible burden that he had become.

Moar Teazers

The Rune will be back soon, followed by another round of Shadow Wolf, but…

The release date for Bloodlust: The Seeds of Ruin is rapidly approaching and I am giddy and apprehensive. While it seems unlikely that the series will conquer the mainstream without a much bigger investment in promotion, this book is getting some really nice reactions and I will be pleased to get it into the hands of loyal readers and discuss it with them.

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Soon…

“CITIZENS OF KRASS, YOUR CHOSEN GREET YOU!” Sadira’s voice carried across the arena, even above the intensifying cheers of the spectators. “We have returned to you victorious, but the glory of our mission belongs to the people of Krass! It was you who gave us your sons and daughters to fill our Legions! It was your toil that built the guns, the arms, and the ships that carried us through the day! It was your will and your law that we carried and enforced on distant shores and your open arms that welcomed allies who saw us through the worst of days. It was your choice that saw us and every other Chosen who fought in Ithal’Duin take up the mantle of duty, fulfilling the ancient Covenant.”

Sadira paused, drinking in the noise of the crowd, while a score of pages came forth bearing cloaks and laurels. She leapt down, flashing a smile at Gavin and together they all knelt to receive the golden Laurels and their cloaks to the thunderous cheers of the assembled people. After the shouting, Sadira stood, raising her arms once more.

 “Many of you wonder why I came to the fighting grounds instead of receiving the mantle of Triumph alongside the heroic Legionnaires of our beloved Ninth Legion. Firstly, we do not wish to sully this day for our heroes, as you will see. We have also come here to give back to the people who have given us so much. As you have no doubt heard, there will be games today; in honour of our victory the sands will run red today!”

The people roared. Gavin, for his part, hid his distaste for the idea. He did not like celebrating a battle with a slaughter on the arena, even if it would cement their position with the people. He allowed himself to be swayed by Sadira’s relentless pragmatism and his desire to strike back at his detractors. The people of Krass loved the Great Games.

“But that is only part of why we came here. The fighting grounds are the best place to start a battle. Since the covenant the Chosen have settled their disputes here, in the arena. We come before you, the people of Krass, on our day of Triumph, begging for justice.”

Teaser Tuesday

This weekend I am releasing Bloodlust: The Seeds of Ruin (Domains of the Chosen #6)

For those who have not seen it, here is the cover.

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No link yet…:)

And here is a teaser from the book itself.

“I don’t have time for this,” Gavin muttered. He channelled all of his desperate fear and anger into a powerful spell, hoisting a pair of broken waggons into the air. “I AM THE MINDRIPPER, SHOW YOURSELVES IF YOU WISH TO RECKON WITH ME!”

His voice roared through the storm. They waited, tense and ready. Then the very air seemed to change.

“They’re gone,” said Silver Rose.

“Cowards,” muttered Green Sting.

Gavin turned and kept walking. He cast his mind back through the bond to Sadira, but she resisted him. Whatever she was doing, the level of concentration required prevented him from deeper communion.

“Let’s wait here,” Gavin said, pointing to a sheltered area under a bridge. “Whatever is happening is coming to a head now.”

Just a little taste…

Seeds of Ruin Cover

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This is the final cover for Bloodlust: The Seeds of Ruin (Domains of the Chosen 6), barring a little colour adjustment to the font. The whole thing is the work of Dan Barclay, as always. I am pretty damn happy with it.

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We thought a green font might be better for the title, given the themes of growth and flora, but it just does not ‘pop’ well.

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Here are some of Dan’s early sketches. The process is very iterative with lots of back and forth. We started with a stonehenge shape for the stone but mobed tp something with a little more presence, squat and monolithic.

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One of the more interesting ideas that we tried early on was to have a fetus at the heart of the Oathstone. I love this take, but the skull just attracts more attention.