Teaser More

Here we go. A teaser from my new draft, Bloodlust: War due on July 17th, 2019.

The Chosen snarled, sending a wave of flame to engulf her foe. The fire left a blackened trail as it licked the ground between them. Even through the hot flames, Valdarr could see the runes of the Lord Reckoner’s armour glow brightly as he pushed forward through the inferno, assaulting the chosen with strange sigils that made Valdarr’s head spin before throwing off the flames and swinging at the woman with his blade.

It was what the Chosen had been waiting for. The Nimble woman slid out of the way of the Lord Reckoner’s powerful attack and slipped around him, driving her flaming blade down across his back.

She was as surprised as Valdarr when the bright arc of that mighty sword turned into a shower of flaming shards, so surprised that she reacted too late to the Lord Reckoner’s own blade, which neatly cut her in half at the waist.

Possessed of inhuman vitally, the bisected Chosen, screaming defiance. still blasted flame at the Lord Reckoner as he turned around. White hot flames washed over him as he lifted his grim blade, only ending when he drove the point of his sword through the Chosen’s chest.

Advertisements

Captain Marvel Review and a Bloodlust: War Teaser

I’m posting this Friday instead of last night, because I went to watch Captain Marvel and then stayed up to talk about it with Viv.

The movie is already ‘controversial’ because of the usual internet trolls who seem to be mad that Brie Larson kicked over their sandcastle in fifth grade or the equivalent. It has a strong message about female empowerment, but the idea that it is overwhelming feminist or anti-male is about as silly as it sounds.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I liked it more than most Marvel movies but would not put it on the same pedestal as the amazing conflict and world-building of Black Panther or the deep delve into the nature of order and justice from Winter Soldier. I would put it on par with Thor: Ragnarok. Brie Larson is believable as Captain Marvel and carries the movie well in both action and dramatic scenes. The rest of the cast is quite good as well.

The action scenes are where the movie shines, as you would expect from a blockbuster. I was surprised at the variety, however with a nice mix of stunts, small scale martial arts, big CGI super-fights, and a heck of a lot of dog-fighting with jets and spaceships.\

The movie is heavy on 90’s nostalgia which you will either love or groan at if you lived through it (Full disclosure, I hated 90s culture for the most part) but could baffle you if you did not. Larson does a superb job with the annoying grunge attitude and there are some good laughs around 90s tech and references.

The messaging is very positive. As I said the movie is an empowerment flick with a female lead and it has decent positive messages about friendship and self-understanding. The best messaging for me, were the parts about overcoming gaslighting, which is kind of central to western society these days. I was pretty happy with the choice of tone, I’m tired of grim movies and books right now.

Overall, I think it worth seeing if you are even slightly curious about it or just like the Marvel movies. Given the challenges in making a movie about a character who is more powerful than entire teams of superheroes (see Superman), I think it is especially triumphant.

And, as an apology for not posting lat night, here is a teaser from Bloodlust: war, due out July 17th 2019.

The projectiles clattered against the Homeguard. Without shields their defence was imperfect, but with heavy armour and warding weapons held high, only a few of them went down under the lethal volley.

It was inhuman to stand there and do nothing in return, and yet that is what they did, and the bulk of the Deomen forces charged right toward an intact line. Silver Masks overtook the Gold Masks leading them, who were slowed down by their huge weapons. The plan was to kill them as quickly as possible, avoiding giving them time to gain power from their wounds.

And then they were upon them, howling bestial, all rage and wild power. Raw strength surged through Kingblade as he met the first silver masks with a sweep of his great blade, cutting a red arc into their ranks, sending limbs and broken bodies flying to the side. A gold mask surge through the ranks to meet him, already a head taller than the others, heaving a massive club up into an impossible overhand. Kingblade, much swifter, thrust his blade low and twisted into an uppercut slash, splitting the Gold Mask in half from groin to shoulder. The body warped rapidly as he cut through, growing monstrous, but even a Gold Mask could not live through such a stroke and the two growing halves crashed to the ground. The Silver Masks backed away from him.

Rotblossom Rose (Links & Thoughts)

Here is the final collection of links to my rough draft, serial story of grim vengeance. It is brutal and harsh, but, I think, uplifting in the end.

The story follows Rose, nicknamed Rotblossom, because cruelty, as she seeks revenge for the deaths of her Son, Daughter, and Husband, watches over her last remaining kin, and makes her fortune in the harsh, but treasure-filled Depths under the city called The Scab.

Read on, if you wish, just be warned that is based on those crude 80’s revenge films where the family gets killed and raped, and is kinda bloody in places.

For those of you who have read it, you can find my thoughts, in brief far down below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Part 25

Part 26

Part 27

Part 28

Part 29

Part 30

Part 31

Part 32

Part 33

Part 34

Part 35

Part 36

Part 37

Part 38

Part 39

Part 40

Part 41

Part 42

Part 43

Part 44

Part 45

Part 46

Part 47

Part 48

Part 49

Part 50

Part 51

Part 52

Part 53

Part 54

Part 55

Part 56

Part 57

Part 58

Part 59

Part 60

Part 61

Part 62

Part 63

Part 64

Part 65

Part 66

Part 67

Part 68

Part 69

Part 70

Some thoughts

  • I like the world, but I could have used more time for little details like the coilsword. this is evident to readers as I change the name for things partway through.
  • As much as I liked the world, I wonder if this would have made a better pirate story. Maybe I just want to write a pirate story.
  • The big reveal with The Spider and the clones and the Syndicate was somewhat according to plan, but I am not certain that it was clear to the reader.
  • I am happy with the end of the tale.
  • “give the depths their due” is a great line. I am also pleased with “undulating incongruity”
  • I wonder if these stories would do well on Patreon. Certainly, if they did it might be a good place to get some feedback.

All this is copyright CPDHarris, as always.

 

 

Rotblossom Rose (1.70R)

Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.

The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.

Here is the first post of this series.

Here is last week’s post.

<>

Past and present collide as Stethrey, a boy of ten years steps forward to face his father’s killer just as Rose’s own son, Gared, had tried to protect his own family that day on the road to Avalain.

“I will kill you, villain!” snarls little Stethrey, brandishing a small rapier.

Where he found the sword, Rose can not say, but he holds it well and even though there are tears in his eyes as he advances toward her, there is steel in them as well. She can see his father in the set of his jaw and nimble footwork, but the look in his eyes reminds her of his grandfather.

“Heed you mother and walk away, boy,” she says coldly, pointing the tip of her coilsword at him. “My blade still thirsts.”

“Never!” he says, hesitating only briefly.

“Nooo!” screams Amelia, a wrenching sound that seems directed at reality itself as much as her son.

By now their drama has gone on long enough that it has even disturbed even the cynical denizens of the city called The Scab; Rose can here the sound of booted feet running behind her. She does not bother turning, it will be over before they can intervene.

“Come at me then, boy,” she says, taking up a stance that is familiar to them both, circling so she can see both sides of the bridge. “Give the depths their due.”

He obliges. Stethrey’s thrust is surprisingly good, even to Rose. It reminds her of another little boy, so long ago, trying in vain to save his family, somehow striking a true villain. She smiles behind her silver skull mask as the tip pierces her jerkin; her nephew’s eyes are wide as his blade pulls free, stained crimson. Rose plays her role well and she feels no pain as she falls back against the railing where the last name on her list was crossed off moments ago. Her body slumps over the cold stone barrier and then plunges into the waiting abyss. As the shadows take her, Rose closes her eyes, picturing the little boy returning to his crying mother, a hero now, relief washing over them both.

She does not scream on the way down and her body is lost to the depths.

<>

Later, Geb will be standing by the gate with Scarab. He will have heard of of all that has passed, but faith and loyalty will keep him waiting.

He will catch sight of a face in the crowd that is both familiar and yet strange to him, bereft of both the outward ruin and the brooding weight of vengeance. He will call out.

And if I told you then that it was Rotblossom Rose and that she came to him and they laughed and embraced, would you believe me then? Or would you just tell me that I was seeing what I wanted to see?

<>

Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think!

 

Rotblossom Rose (1.59R)

Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.

The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.

Here is the first post of this series.

Here is last week’s post.

<>

“Always have a contingency, Rotblossom!” exclaims the spider as he looks down at her.

Rose struggles to move, but only her toes and fingers respond. Every ounce of will and all her hate amounts to nothing as he looms over her, grinning like fucking Cackles, but twice as ugly.

“You thought you could beat me?  If it weren’t for me you would have died a dozen times by now. I have manipulated you from the start. You have no idea…”

He laughs again, a uncontrolled edge creeping into it, which was somehow more terrifying, like spotting a Rockwyrm looming behind a pack of Deep Wolves. The Spider bends over, grabbing Rose and lifting her with surprisingly little effort.

“I had the strength of will and foresight to defy a sorceress and a bandit king, Rotblossom. What makes you think that you could ever beat me in a game like this?”

He laughs again, jostling her. Desperately Rose wiggles her toes and the fingers of her real hand, trying to regain control. If she can just keep him talking…

“You actually recognized me, I believe, but were too slow to act. And then I ensnared you, and I have been using you ever since. It took five tries for you to kill Lawch…”

The rest of the sentence is lost as the implication hits Rose. What does he mean? Lawch said something similar.

The Spider pauses. Rose hears the sound of a key in a lock, followed by heavy gearborne doors grinding open. She could not see much with her face hanging just above  the Spider’s belt but the room is large and filled with laboratory equipment including dozens of man-sized specimen tanks. It smells like the heart of the Syndicate fiefs; the Sorceress had told her the truth about the Spider’s illicit alchemical experiments as well.

“We’ve been through this dance before, Rose. It is a shame that I will have to make an end of it like this. We could have gone bedrock together, but you never could learn to appreciate me. Not once in any of the lives I have given you.”

Rose’s mouth worked. She wanted to scream at him. To call him a rapist. to call him a murderer. To tell him that she remembered.

Rose is dumped into a chair and feels cold metal bands slam shut around her wrists and ankles. It feels oddly familiar and panic grips her. She can barely breathe and her mind swims. Hope drains from her like blood from a sliced artery.

“Your subconscious remembers this place,’ says The Spider, grinning. “It is a pity that this will be our last waltz, my dear. We have had so much fun here over the years.”

Rose’s eyes dart around the room. It is large, with a vaulted ceiling. Copper pipes, glass tubes and sterile white lights crowd the ceiling. Beside the chair that she is trapped in is a table full of instruments, blades, syringes, and other devices of pain and mutilation. Some of them stir her thoughts as she spies them. What has he done to her?

The Spider picks up a syringe filled with a milky liquid and pushes the needle into her skin. Rose struggles, but cannot move.

“Usually I just hypnotize you and lead you down here,” says the Spider. “I haven’t had to use drugs since the first time…”

He sighs. Then shakes his head. The expressions are recognizable and yet alien in him, like watching a puppet without strings.

Rose gasps as her throat clears and her tongue regains feeling.

“Fff-FUCK YOU, SPIDER!” she howls.

He laughs.

“Good, good. It’s always better when you can scream,” he says. “Shall we begin?”

<>

Rotblossom Rose (1.58R)

Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.

The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.

Here is the first post of this series.

Here is last week’s post.

<>

Rose felt a stab of fear as not one, but two men with crossbows appeared, aiming their weapons at Edward. Her brother remained unaware of the danger, drunk and singing to himself after a good night at the dice table. No doubt the shadows held no danger in his mind in the afterglow of such a victory. Could she blame him, after all that her brother had suffered?

She was ready for the first crossbowman, hidden near the position that he was set in. The second was on a building across the from the gambling den, unreachable by sword.

They moved, and that was it, there was no time to think about tactics. There was only action and momentum.

She slid out of her hiding place and lunged, taking the first crossbowman in the back even before he could loose his bolt. He jerked as her coilsword punched through his clothes and upper vertebrae. He fell like a sack of coal, jerking, paralyzed. The motion of her attack drew the attention of his compatriot man across the street who stared for a moment, perhaps taken aback by the silver skull mask she wore, flickering in the dark. His hesitation lasted only a moment, before fear spurred him to life his weapon and take aim at her.

But Rose was already moving. Momentum was on her side and time was not. She let go of her coilsword and drew a knife with each hand. The first flashed through the air, poorly thrown, and meant to distract her target. He flinched as it sailed past his head, spoiling his aim. Th second knife was thrown with care and he did not see it coming. It caught him squarely and he fell back tumbling down to the alley below. It was not a fatal blow, but he was out of the fight for a moment at least.

Shouts down in the alley alerted her that the rest of the thugs were after Edward. She heard a below of warlike rage from her brother and the ring of steel as he gathered the crossbow for the man at her feet, still in his death throws and fumbled a bolt into place. Then she leaned out and sighted the weapon.

She saw Edward, cape thrown back standing bold as two men with needlespears faced him. They men were confused that he was still standing and he took advantage of this, closing swiftly, sidestepping a jab and thrusting his coilsword into a man’s shoulder. The thug gasped and pulled away.

“You’ll never take me, bastards!” roared Edward. He was right, Rose thought, but he did not realize a third man was coming up behind him. That was the one she shot. The bolt leapt, hitting the man squarely. He grunted and Edward expertly turned, skewering him and activating the coilsword. Even in the half-dark the results were dramatic as blood splashed and he collapsed in a wet heap.

“Fuck!” exclaimed the nearest man, and instead of attacking, he turned and ran, pulling his wounded friend with him.

Edward turned back to them and ran a few steps before stumbling, muttering, and holding his head. Rose found a bolt, hand cranked the crossbow, and then looked around, making certain the fight was over.

“That’s right cowards!” roared Edward, drunkenly. “Tell them Edward Redshire sent ya!”

Rose looked down at her brother and felt a stab of pity. She should never have left him alone with the old man.

Then people began spilling out of the gambling den, armed guards and patrons ready for a fight. After a tense moment Rose realized that they were going to help Edward, and she relaxed. Disaster was averted… but it was only the first of many over the years.

<>

 

Rotblossom Rose (1.57R)

Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.

The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.

Here is the first post of this series.

Here is last week’s post.

<>

The red-tinged glow of wraithstone lamps casts the metal passage to the Spider’s lair in a sinister light. Rose cannot help but see every new node, switch, or join as a potential trap. It takes an effort of will to banish the thoughts of flesh-melting acid and bone-crushing deadfalls dogging her every step. She had to appear confident in this little game she was playing with The Spider, not revealing what she knew of his betrayals. He was watching her every move, fingers poised to activate his defences, waiting for some sign that would reveal her true purpose. If she fails, he would kill her, but Rose carries the one thing that the Spider would risk everything for: proof of the Sorceress’s death. The Spider’s need and arrogance will be his undoing. Hopefully.

The tunnel seems much longer than usual, which she tells herself is to be expected considering how far The Spider has extended his contraption. But what if he is just toying with her, sending her round and round in circles until he tired of the game. Rose pushes the thought away, but it is hard to keep cool. Rose desperately wanted a hit of The Blue to steady her nerves, or even some alcohol, but she knows that the Spider is watching her. She needs him to think that he has the upper hand, that he is still in control.

The tunnel shifted and changed, swallowing Rose like a massive, if sterile, Rockworm. It would be easy for her to disappear down here. A bead of sweat formed on her back, trickling down as she crawled.

Then, abruptly, she sees another door, the familiar round hatch that always leads into the heart of the Spider’s Lair. Without hesitation she turns the valve and slides down into the belly of the beast, eschewing the brass-runged ladder, as is her habit.

“Hello, Rose,” the Spider’s voice is like a knife twisting in her. She is unprepared for the surge of hatred and it takes all of her self-control not to snarl. She wishes that she could have smuggled a knife or some kind of weapon in, but her metal arm will have to do.

“Hello, Spider,” says Rose, meeting his gaze. His eyes are as flat and predatory as those of his namesake.

“You said you have proof of her death?”

Rose could hear the hunger in his voice and she knew then that she had made the right play. He needed this, and his need made him as weak as that girl in the house on the road to Avalain, so long ago.

“I do, but first I want to know why you didn’t hold up your end of the deal Spider. What happened to the plan?”

“You have no right to question me, Rose. Show me the proof or you will suffer.”

Rose felt a thrill of excitement now. The Spider’s need robbed him of his detachment, making him seem almost human. She had power here, now.

“No.”

Their eyes met. His hands twitched and he began to weave his metal threads. She did not look at them, knowing now what that motion portended. Funny, Rose had always thought he was drugging her.

“Come now, Rose,” said the Spider and he said the word.

Rose froze. Even now, the word pulled at her, like a ships anchor dragging her down into the deep. A command implanted in her head through years of hypnosis. The web that the spider always wove with his little metal strands.

“No,” she said again.

The Spider froze, eyes wide.

“You wanted her to kill me,” said Rose. “But you misunderstood the nature of her relationship with Lawch, Spider. For all of your plans and your schemes, you failed to see the obvious. She was bound to Lawch, not controlling him. He used love to lure her into a gilded cage, but you could never understand that, could you? Once I killed him, she was free, she was grateful.”

“But you have her ear?” he gasps.

“It was the price I asked of her to do this. For a man who gave me a new body you must realize that it was not hard paid for her, just a little pain. You saw what you wanted to see though. You dared to dream that your plan succeeded better than you hoped. Just as I let my ambitions blind me to who you really are, Olias Neatze.”

The Spider scrambles out his chair. “You remember.”

“I do,” says Rose, advancing on him, her metal arm balling into a fist. And she does, now. He has always been in her visions, her dreams, screaming through her subconscious. That is why she hates him so. he was the man holding her daughter on that day, the key to their little house. Had he worked his magic on Janiye as he had Rose?

“Stop this, Rose. Don’t take another step toward me,” says the Spider, leaping into another Room.

“I am going to enjoy this,” snarls Rose, lunging at him.

And as she passes through the threshold she feels as sharp and sudden pain and falls to the floor. Is it one of his traps? She hits the ground hard fighting the darkness encroaching on her, unable to move. The Spider turns her over.

“I am impressed that you managed to overcome the conditionning, but you really didn’t think that you could kill me in a body that I made for you, did you love?”

<>