Tis Tuesday, and time for a little teaser from my upcoming book Bloodlust: Red Glory
“How illuminating,” quipped Sapphire Kiss, darting forward. As she closed, she wove a grasping roots spell that snared White-Sands-Red’s foot. Then she whipped her Flying headcatcher in a downward arc. In spite of the hold on her foot, White-Sands-Red twisted out of the way and then parried the whirling back-swing. Snarling, Sapphire Kiss kept up her forward momentum, bulling into the Light-Elf and slamming her into the ground.
Primal Surge filled Sapphire Kiss with vitality, giving her a strength that White-Sands-Red simply could not match. On the ground they grappled, weapons forgotten, as Sapphire Kiss tried to apply the law of strength and crush her opponent. With a solid grip she could end it quickly. Unable to escape, White-Sands-Red summoned one of her spirit forms, allowing it to take hold of her. Her skin took on an iridescent sheen, fangs, popped from her mouth, and her hair began to writhe.
Holding her opponent by the throat, legs locked around her arms and torso, Sapphire Kiss drew the short sword on her belt, raising it for a downward thrust. As she did so, the transformation took hold of White-Sands-Red whose thick dreadlocks became serpents, which reared up and bit Sapphire Kiss, their fangs pumping venom into her. Despite the sudden assault she rammed the sword down. The sharp point thrust deep into White-Sands-Red’s shoulder. The snake-thing screeched and its mouths let go of Sapphire Kiss, who toppled to the side, vision blurring as the venom burned through her veins.
White-Sands-Red, now a serpent faced monstrosity, her head wreathed by long necked snakes, hissed triumphantly, only to stagger as the wound in her chest took its toll. Blood ran down her chest, dripping into the sand below.
Sapphire Kiss, her nerves aflame from the poison, rolled onto her stomach and pushed herself to her knees. Distantly, she heard the roar of the crowd and saw White-Sands-Red stumbling toward her. She still had her sword in hand. As White-Sands-Red closed on her she gathered her strength, gulping air and willing the poison to run its course.
This illustrates a few of the elements at work in Bloodlust: Red Glory. First off is the kind of silly trashtalking banter that I expect one would hear on the fighting grounds. It might seem cheesy, much like the chants, but it is the bread and butter of performance combat like WWE and seems right to me. It also adds character to some of the fighters.
Next is broadening the types of magic. White-Sands-Red demonstrates a type of magic that I have not covered before called Luminescence, which is basically light magic. The spells include blinding flashes, blasts of light like laser beams, and bending light to become almost invisible. It is somewhat less common that other forms, but I wanted to introduce it.
White-Sands-Red also uses spirit binding, a magic that she appropriated from The Pale. It is a form of magical imperialism (cultural appropriation of a mystical bent?) that the magic of their enemies has made its way into the hands of the Domains and is now practiced by one of its Gladiators whose arena persona is also that of a savage. Culture clash and imperialism are part of the broader themes of the series.
I’m hoping to have the book very soon. The last edits are in and I am in the process of putting it together.