A little teaser for a lazy Sunday night.

I’m beat and still digesting some the discussions from AFKCON this afternoon, so I figured I would share something from Bloodlust: The Blades of Khazak Khrim. This passage is from early in the book, and should be relatively spoiler free.

The two excruciators came at him slowly, locking shields in the slender tunnel, chanting under their breath.

Not wanting to lose track of the chest, Blue Hornet charged them. As he neared, channelling power and weaving a spell, the Excruciators tensed and attacked. He leapt, unleashing a wave of bitter frost that sapped the heat from them. He slammed a fist spike down through a helm and vaulted up and over the shields of his adversaries. The dwarves at the chest managed to swing their swords at him once before he kicked one into a stack of barrels, splintering wood and bone and then cut the throat of the other with a swift, arcing slash of his fist spike.

Impressively the Excruciator did not fall.

“Khazakrim!” he gurgled, barreling into the Chosen.

Once, such an attack might have knocked Blue Hornet from his feet. Instead, he shifted his weight to his rear leg and brought his armour elbow down on the Dwarf, sending him crashing to the ground.

Steps alerted him to the final excruciator coming up behind him. Even with three of his comrades so easily dispatched the man’s thoughts were on duty and not self-preservation. A foolish gesture in this case, serving as a reminder than the greatest strength of the fanatic was also his greatest weakness.

Blue Hornet caught the Excruciator’s blade with his left hand-buckler, swiped his shield aside with a chop, and then thrust his fist spike into the man’s belly. His hand blurred as the blade darted, puncturing the dwarf a half dozen times in the blink of an eye. The Excruciator’s eyes blinked and his mouth worked, as blood dribbled from him.

“Your prayers won’t save you now,” mocked Blue Hornet, tossing the twitching dwarf aside and turning back to the chest.

Supernatural reflexes and the enhanced mobility of airdance were all the saved him from being skewered. He skipped aside as a blade flashed through the air, followed closely by another. A Sword-Bearer, wielding two blades with liquid precision, was upon him. The man’s attacks were not as swift as Blue Hornet’s own, but his attacks seemed to anticipate the former Gladiator’s counters and Blue Hornet found himself giving ground, trying to avoid tripping over corpses and debris.

Here we see two characters from previous works encounter each other. Neither one of them are particularly heroic, although I expect most people would cheer for Blue Hornet over Twin-Swords. Part of the fun of getting more than half a million words into a series is having enough interesting characters that they are bound to encounter each other. leading to wonderful little “what if?” moments for me as I write 😀

Bloodlust: The Blades of Khazak Khrim should be out July 17th (not counting approval time from Amazon, which is usually same day, but who knows?”

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