Here is another teaser from Bloodlust: The Blades of Khazak Khrim, my upcoming Domains of the Chosen novel.
This one focuses on one of the minor characters, Deathcat, who used to be an enemy of Sadira and Gavin, but is now one of Sadira’s Hearthbound.
Deathcat caught her third Sword-Bearer of the battle as he tried to escape from the Excruciator’s camp. A burly Orcish Hundath carrying what was unmistakably one of the Blades of Khazak Khrim ran swiftly from the camp, headed toward the lines of the Vvath nearby. Deathcat loped toward him, keeping low to avoid being seen as long as possible. She was less than three paces away when the Sword-Bearer whirled.
Deathcat slowed. The Sword-Bearers were phenomenally skilled fighters, and some exhibited additional magic. They seemed able to enhance their hosts to almost the same level of strength and reflexes that a Gladiator-trained Gifted enjoyed.
The pair of them began to circle. Deathcat wondered if the Sword-Bearer had lost the form that it had started the battle in. Most of them seemed to be found in larger, more powerful bodies specially bred for battle.
Deathcat flexed her talons and crept toward the Sword-Bearer. His blade gave him the advantage of reach, and so she wanted to force him into attacking so that she could close. As she inched toward him the Sword-Bearer stood still, his eyes fixed on her, his blade held ready. Even when she was close enough for him to lash at he remained motionless. Was it a test of wills then?
Enjoying the challenge, Deathcat moved a little closer. She focused on her opponent, the shifting of his stance. The sound of his breathing. Every little movement and hint of action was laid out before her. She took one big step. He shifted. She slid forward. He backed away and slashed. Deathcat jumped, leaping onto the Sword-Bearer, locking her legs around his chest and driving her talons into his skull, scrambling his brains. He shook for a moment and then expired.
Deathcat took the blade and added it to the two hanging from the belt around her shoulder. They would have to be destroyed later, and she did not want to leave them where they could be recovered. Then she looked around, searching for her next target.
I try to give every character a moment to shine in the big battle. Deathcat is a loner now, so she prefers to prowl the edges of the field and pick off enemies. I’m hoping that giving everyone a moment in the sun helps readers connect with moments from the older works and also ensures the epic cast of characters remains manageable.