Time for a teaser. This week is a throwback to my first book Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale
This fight highlights what happens to those who defy the Laws of the Domains regarding magic, and how uneasy Gavin is with his place in that system. On one hand he knows he is not free, bound to follow the regulations set by the Deliberative, on the other he can see the dangers of uncontrolled magic. He is still too inexperienced to reconcile these views.
I started using ALL CAPS for shouting early on. It is not considered good form, but it is familiar to everyone in the digital age.
The traitor’s body remained still, while his tattoos began to move faster, becoming more distinct against his pale skin. Gavin could feel the man channelling power but could not make out any pattern being woven for a spell. Perhaps the tattoos are the pattern, he thought. The point of the sword they had given the traitor remained stuck in the sand. The man opened his mouth, inky patterns descending from his head, waving back and forth in the air beside his mouth like midnight black snakes. Gavin tensed.
“YOU SEND THIS PUP AGAINST ME?” The traitor’s voice was impossibly loud. Gavin’s ears popped; he felt his bones vibrate. Even the audience winced a little in shock despite the barrier enchantments protecting them from its full force. “YOU SEND A CHILD TO DO YOUR UGLY DEEDS?”
The traitor raised his hands and Gavin could feel the immense power of his magic, the very air seeming pregnant with the power at the gaunt man’s command.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!” This shocking boom of the traitor’s wordless scream was accompanied by flailing black tattoo tentacles erupting from the man’s arms and spiralling through the air toward Gavin. He blocked most of them with his lion-headed shield, hoping the Mithril would foil the unknown magic he faced.
One of these whirling tentacles, a barbed scourge of inky blackness, brushed against the Gladiator’s side. His skin flayed instantly and explosively under its caress, flesh twisting as if trying to escape from the rest of his body. Gavin sank to his knees with a grunt, only his extensive training keeping the pain and nausea from overwhelming him. The crowd gasped. The traitor shook his head disdainfully.
“A DOG LIKE THIS CAN NEVER DEFEAT A FREE MAN!” the Heretic shouted at the crowd voice thundering. They jeered him, in return, calling him traitor and worse.
I like the magic in this scene. the idea of tattoo magic is nothing new, but juxtaposed against the more formal magic system of the Domains it seems fresh and strange.