Teaser Tuesday

I always enjoy describing the secondary characters in Domains of the Chosen. One of my goals for the series is to get it popular enough to see some artistic interpretations of my characters. Bloodlust: Red Glory has tons of “gear porn” describing the weapons and armour of the new Gladiators.

Iron Lioness awaited her in the centre of the fighting grounds. An ebon-skinned Shadow-Elf, she was not much taller than Sapphire Kiss, but noticeably broader of shoulder and powerfully muscled. Her most impressive feature was a thick mane, layer after layer of pure white hair, which framed her face like a noble lion.

The Lion motif extended to her armour, a heavy harness that protected her vitals with thick iron-grey plates, etched with runes and scenes of great cats hunting and fighting. Iron Lioness bore a broad bladed falchion in her left hand, made of a black-mithril alloy, with a gold and silver lion’s head for a pommel. Her right hand was a large gauntlet, the fingers of which curved into talons. She wore a rounded buckler over the gauntlet with bladed edges, etched with a sleek lioness in a hunting pose.

The gauntlet in particular caught Sapphire Kiss’s attention. It seemed to flex and move naturally despite being metallic, seeming more liquid that solid at times. She saw no signs of plating or chain links, and wondered at what it was made from. Gladiators often had access to unusual weaponry, always masterful in construction. It was best to treat an unknown weapon with respect.

Sapphire Kiss knew that Iron Lioness was fast and strong, with elemental magic and a strong offensive technique. She was famed for using a variation of the stoneskin spell that activated upon impact, which did not impeded flexibility as much as the regular version of the enchantment. In addition during the tournament Iron Lioness had demonstrated magics that made her buckler stick to an opponent’s weapon, likely some form of magnetic enchantment.

Iron Lioness sneered at Sapphire Kiss as she closed the distance, and returned her salute curtly. Twas better than Lord Peerless’s outright rejection, at least.

Sapphire Kiss is not well liked by her more serious minded peers. I wonder if she changes that.

Hummingblade was still considering her choices when Shagra the Bloodless was called into the arena. A broad-shouldered Orcish woman, dressed in dark green armour stepped into the arena carrying a large hammer. Shagra’s head was bald and smooth and her eyes were fearsome.

Despite her reputation for mayhem, Shagra was trained as a defender. Her main strategy was to outlast her opponents, and she used a combination of heavy armour, druidic magic, and incredible conditioning to survive. Unlike Rabid Edge, whom Hummingblade had faced earlier in the tournament, Shagra did not seek to attack relentlessly and overwhelm. Instead she seemed to endure her opponents until they made an error or she cornered them, then she struck them down with a well-placed hammer blow.

The hammer in question was large, and Hummingblade suspected that even a glancing blow from such a weapon could crush her. Shagra hefted it with the easy familiarity of a Master. She did not perform any tricks as she strode across the sands in front of the cheering crowd, stopping only to give her salute.

Up close Hummingblade could see that Shagra’s armour was made of ribbed plates that slid and moved as she walked.

Hummingblade returned Shagra’s salute. Their eyes met. Hummingblade saw a grim intensity in the other woman, but detected a surprising lack of arrogance or hatred. Without taking her eyes off Hummingblade, Shagra raised her weapon again.

Shagra is perhaps the most important of the Gladiators who is not a perspective character. She is my favourite of the Death Leagues fighters, grim and unrelenting, not really worried about what people think of her.

Sand Shark’s armour was a dull golden colour, highlighted with topaz. In form and function was a standard medium harness with breastplate, greaves, pauldrons, and bracers, but it also covered the outside of his dominant arm with a plated guarde. Toothy shark’s maws decorated the plates, disguising jagged edges on striking surfaces.

Sand Shark’s greataxe came up to the Ogre’s chest, making it level with Blue Hornet’s chin. Unlike most of the weapons made for Gladiators, this axe had a wooden haft. Ironwood, a rare and expensive wood from the forests of the Trapholds and near Dun Mordhawk, could be treated and laminated to have the strength and flexibility of steel. The head of the weapon had two long straight blades, both bearded, and was capped with a spike. The axe was plain save for the runes, but imposing for all its lack of decoration.

Sand Shark, basically a throwaway from an interesting fight. I often end up using characters like this in later works.

The Weird lived up to his name. Even his armour was unusual: he wore a hood, for one. Most Gladiators who covered their face did so with an armoured helm or a decorative mask. Admittedly, Fiona had considered wearing an executioner’s hood as part of her garb early in her career. Her red hair was too much of a crowd pleaser to hide, however.

Aside from the hood it was difficult to tell how much of The Weird’s attire was armour and what was clothing. Gladiator armour was strictly regulated in both coverage and weight, and the Deliberative checked each fighter’s armour and their weight before every match. The Weird’s clothing was made up of stripes of grey, brown, and black, woven with plates of dull grey metal that appeared and disappeared as he shifted.

The Weird’s staff was a hand longer than the quarterstaff Fiona had been practising with, but otherwise unremarkable at first glance. The man himself was like his weapon, tall and lean, though not so thing as a light fighter would be. He sized her up as she approached, dark eyes surprisingly human despite the hood and strange costume.

After she finished saluting the crowd, Fiona raised her weapons to The Weird. He returned her salute, raising his staff with one hand, showing proper sportsmanship.

The Wierd is my best concept fighter in the book, although also I introduce light magic, a shape-changer, and even a Gifted Fologi.


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