This week’s teaser is from Bloodlust: Will to Power (Domains of the Chosen #2)
In the next book of the series, the road to ruin/the seeds of ruin I am focusing once again on individual intrigues instead of huge battles. The basic ideas were introduced in the chapters featuring Master Sax and Ravius in Bloodlust: The Blades of Khazak Khrim. For those not familiar with my work, think of those chapters as James Bond meets Spartacus.
Anyways I thought it worthwhile to familiarize people with some of the side characters. Today we will feature Headtaker, one of Gavin’s Hearthbound, who is featured in Will to Power.
Gavin’s second opponent in the tournament was Headtaker, a towering human woman in heavy harness. Her silvered armour was thicker on her left dominant-facing side, complete with an ornate overguarde sheathing her left arm and shoulder. Her main weapon was a long-hafted great-axe with an elegantly curved crescent blade backed by a sledge for extra weight and topped by a long thrusting spike, like that of a halberd. Headtaker outweighed Gavin by at least a hundred pounds, all lean muscle, a physique that only a Gladiatrix could achieve. She was no doubt powerful and aggressive, and Gavin expected to have to weather an early blitz: axe fighters had a strong offence, but the weapon was not great for defence.
Headtaker is by far the most relaxed of the Hearthbound serving Gavin and Sadira. I wonder if it has anything to do with her powers informing her personality.
“Sweet Ezuis,” Headtaker swore, eyes wide. To her credit she did not hesitate, but Gavin’s spell hit her as she swung, like a hammer-blow to the head. It was not truly debilitating to the hardened Gladiatrix, but it momentarily blurred her vision. Gavin parried her faltering axe-blow. Headtaker finally achieved the power need for her spell. Unable to unravel an enhancement Gavin opted to strike with another powerful mental blast, staggering her. Before she could fully recover he thrust his blade at her throat. She did not try to sidestep. He felt an explosion of power as an unfamiliar spell possessed her. His sword met surprising resistance as it slid off her neck. Her skin gleamed in the sun, shimmering with tiny metal scales. A small trickle of blood dripped from her throat where his sword point had stopped.
“Ironskin,” explained Headtaker. “You’re not the only one with fancy spells, Lionfang.”
The Gladiatrix grinned. She hefted her axe, throwing herself forward. She paid little heed to Gavin’s sword and razor-edged shield now; with skin as hard as metal and heavy armour she had little to fear from most of his attacks. She concentrated on attack, battering Gavin with vicious chops and quick slashes. The stalwart defender met every one of her swings, mindful of lessons learned defending against stronger opponents like Omodo. Meanwhile he kept up his mental assault, realizing that it was his only chance of doing real harm to her now. A metal shell did not protect her mind. His original plan, to mind-grip his spear once she forgot about it, would be of little use against her now.
It occurs to me that Headtaker’s signature power is very similar to my favourite x-man, Colossus (easily my biggest complaint about Deadpool). She is a powerful, reliable combatant, trusted enough that she is given command of several sectors of battle in The Shield Maiden and Blades of Khazak Khrim. In the next book we will learn more about her personality and motivations…