Teaser Tuesday

This week’s teaser is from Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale (Domains of the Chosen #1), my first book.

Bloodlust-AGT-Front-cover

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale.

Ever wonder what Gladiators do on the first date? I have you covered.

This scene, and the Chapter where Gavin and Sadira meets, is admittedly somewhat cheesy. Yet… it still rings true for me. I could re-write it, but I worry that in smoothing the rough edges something would be lost.

The Gladiatrix leapt, shouting in joy, bringing her black blades down toward her soon to be lover’s head. Gavin braced himself for impact, his grip on his spear tightening. As he thrust his shield upwards to meet her swords, Sadira nimbly contorted to avoid his spear’s jagged tip. Her twin blades slammed into Gavin’s shield with the force of a runaway stallion, sending sparks into the air as metal screeched off metal, driving him to his knees in front of her.

“Just where I want you!” she taunted him, exulting in the fight, while unleashing a flurry of swift attacks that rained on Gavin’s bright, lion-headed shield like pounding sledgehammers. Such was the ferocity of her attack that he was nearly undone before he could regain his feet. His shield met her blades as he gave ground. His barbed spear darted out from underneath the shield in answer to her assault, sudden and deadly, and Sadira was forced to dance backwards out of reach.

“Come on, you can do better than that. What use is a man’s spear if he can’t–” She was forced to roll backwards before she could finish her taunt, as Gavin surged forward unexpectedly, swinging his broad-bladed spear in a wide slashing arc that passed within a finger’s width of hitting her.

Gavin smiled as his swift-footed opponent came nimbly to her feet; she answered his smile with a fiendish grin, crimson lips shining through her black veil, and then charged toward him again, her feet kicking up sand as her magically enhanced body pushed her forward well beyond the speeds attainable by the ungifted.

She attacked at a more measured pace this time, her twin swords testing his defences, seeking to find a way past his shield and armour to taste her love’s flesh. He matched her movements with his own, bright shield and barbed spear dancing with her blood-hungry blades. They whirled and clashed, probing and testing each other, looking for weakness.

 

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Teaser Tuesday

This week’s teaser comes from Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale, first book in my Domains of the Chosen series.

Bloodlust-AGT-Front-cover

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale.

Ravius Vergerus, aka Ravishing Rude Ravius, is a long-time acquaintance of Gavin introduced in a Gladiator’s Tale. His cheerful nature compliments Gavin’s introspective demeanor. He figures into the upcoming book, Bloodlust: Seeds of Ruin as well.

“I’m telling you Ravius: it was luck.”

“No, it was instinct Gavin. We’ve been drilling since we were six years old, little brother. We’ve fought hundreds of training duels with live weapons; moves like that are second nature to us, little brother.” Ravius’s voice dripped cheerful self-assurance; an annoying trait in Gavin’s view. “Your body and subconscious knew how to position the spear even if your conscious mind did not command it.”

“Ravius, I’m pretty certain the Spike Hound impaled itself on my spear accidentally,” responded Gavin, trying to show his exasperation.

Ravius Vergerus was one of Gavin’s classmates from the Campus Gladius, where young gifted were trained in magic and where they both had decided to become Gladiators. He was slightly shorter than Gavin, with a wide tangle of blond hair, dark blue eyes, and always smiling as if the world was one big joke, at least in Gavin’s mind. The two had met Ravius in a pairs training duel when he was fourteen and the other had spent the last three years of training taking Gavin “under his wing”. Ravius was smart, bold, a little egotistical, and always trying to break the quiet Gavin “out of his shell.” Ravius also called anyone he spoke to “little brother” or “little sister”, even if they were larger than he was; this too, irritated Gavin… he had a good two inches over Ravius.

Gavin did not seek his company; Ravius was over-fond of talking and did not seem to understand that some people enjoy quiet solitude, are serious by nature, and that introversion is not an aberration that should be cured. Gavin had hoped that Vergerus would forget about him after graduation, but this was apparently not to be. He’d come to Gavin’s second match and had gone out of his way to help him make a full recovery afterwards. Now Gavin was having trouble reconciling his distaste for Ravius with the fact that the man was showing himself to be a true friend; he was beginning to wonder if his aversion to the blond Gladiator’s friendship was a reflection of his own internal conflicts and not true dislike.

Upon further thought, he resolved to be nicer to Ravius. Perhaps true friendship required that he accept the other person’s foibles. Besides, it would be useful to have a training partner.

Tuesday Teaser

This week’s teaser comes from Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale.

Bloodlust-AGT-Front-cover

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale.

This week we have Meady Mox, a character based around an old housemate of mine. Quite a nasty character. The passage speaks for itself.

Meady Mox started off the day a happy man. Even his timid, ill-used assistant had benefited from his good humour so far, enjoying the respite from her boss’s rough hands and vicious temper. Deathmatches always drew better crowds; for this fight, seats were sold out even at ten times his normal price, including the additional seats on the wooden bleachers he had constructed to handle the extra capacity.  He stood to make an immense profit today. The best part was, since the main fight involved only Gladiators, he would not have to pay for any replacement beasts no matter who was killed. If only the Great Games were more like the old days, when Deathmatches were more common; it would make each fight almost pure profit and rid the world of more troublesome bitches like the soon-to-be-headless Sadira.

The thought of proud, luscious Sadira meeting her end, begging for her life in front of the crowd made Mox ecstatic. And even if she and her boyfriend managed to beat Bella and Cat it was not really that bad for him; He would miss the fleshy romps that he had enjoyed with the two girls, but it was easy enough for him to find others like them. His arrangement with them couldn’t last forever. After all, hadn’t he seen lithe Bella talking to a visiting recruiter for the Red Faction recently? He frowned at the thought. Gladiatrices are all harlots and bitches, he thought, no loyalty to the men who make them what they are.

He was also looking forward to the lusty Karmal, who had consented to watch the match with him. At first the flame-haired Gladiatrix had been cold and formal in her dealings with him; but over the past months he had arranged to have several discussions with her. She now knew what he could do for her career, arranging better matches and introducing her to influential patrons. She had warmed considerably lately, but she was still maddeningly oblivious to his subtle, in his mind at least, hints that sexual favours were what he required from her. It looked like he was going to have to be blunt with her. The thought of getting his hands into that curly red hair while fucking her from behind was almost too much for him. There was something about her that excited him on a primal level.

Mox had built several private boxes for the match and rented most of them for an outrageous price. He had reserved one for his own use during the Deathmatch. He was sure that the power demonstrated by even having such an opulent enclosure, combined with the excitement of the match, would warm Karmal to him. If not, he had some mead and a little magic trinket that would help open the slut’s legs for him.

The thought of watching arrogant Sadira dying with Karmal’s succulent lips wrapped around his cock made Mox so hard he ached. He was so vile that he considered such thoughts normal, something that all men shared. He considered masturbating to relieve himself, but he had an assistant did he not? He called the poor woman into his office. It was a very good start to the day for Meady Mox. Very good indeed.

Teaser Tuesday

This week’s teaser comes from Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale, first book of the Domains of the Chosen series.

Bloodlust-AGT-Front-cover

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale.

The second half of the book takes place in the desert. The parallels to computer games (and certain Fantasy/Sci-Fi films) that have an act in the desert is purposeful. Scorpion’s Oasis is where the Gladiators join the Faction games and begin a kind of popularity grind as they seek to further their careers. Ambitious Sadira purposefully chooses a place where her chosen Faction is on a loosing streak, hoping to win extra glory by turning it around.

For those who are new to my work, Factions are like political parties, but they permeate beyond politics, even owning their own sports teams. Imagine the superbowl if teams or players could represent the Democrats and Republicans.

Of course, in the modern day, we associate the barren desert with the wealth of Arabian Nights and the oil princes.

Under Giselle’s patient supervision Scorpion’s Oasis had been built into a resort town of unsurpassed beauty and impressive luxury. The extravagant splendour of the place was known throughout the Domains, attracting an elite clientele, including many of the Chosen. The tall walls of the town were tiled with pinkish-white marble imported from quarries half an empire away, while the streets were paved with beautiful tesserae of bright coloured glass, formed into cunning geometric patterns. These glass cobbled roads seemed cool to the touch, even in the harshest sun. The Gladiators learned that each street had its own intricate identifying motif; simple signs being considered far too common for such a decadent place. Most animals were not allowed to enter the city, for their waste and clacking hooves might offend, and they had to be stabled some distance away from the main town.

Regal palm trees and shapely flowering bushes, planted in rich soil, lined every street surrounding the sprawling waters of the Oasis. Gardens and parks, so rare in the desert heat, abounded here. A dozen palatial bath-houses, magnificently decorated with gold and marble, and a score of opulent inns gathered around the pure, perfect crystal waters. Peacocks wandered freely in front of glorious fountains adorned with beautiful statues of Ezuis, Giselle, and a few allied Chosen. The town was spacious, clean, and beautiful; full of smiling young men and women who were eager to assist in any fashion. Servants lived in small, cunningly hidden compounds on the grounds of the places where they worked. A handful of independent taverns, brothels, and restaurants competed with those that could be found on the expansive grounds of the baths and inns. A hundred or so residences of modest size but great sumptuousness belonged to those who could afford the absurd expense of buying property within the town. Tall lantern posts lit up the city at night and also sprayed a fine mist into the air that kept pedestrians cool during the hottest hours of the day.

The Faction Games have an additional set of rules, based on making challenges to other teams. Often the Gladiators do not fight directly (which would be costly) and rather fight the same match and are awarded points based on their performance. Part of Sadira’s growth is having to learn these rules and get her team to understand them.

Sadira tried not to sound frustrated as she went over it again. “Marius’s additions double the loss of points for any team member unable to stand at the end of the match. This makes defence even more important. If the Blues let anyone tap out, this rule will make them pay a rather hefty penalty, enough to guarantee a victory for us. We included this addition because you, Ravius, haves told us that they don’t field many defenders and we have Vintia and Gavin.” The two defenders smiled. Sadira continued. “The Southshire rules add points for monster kills with a maximum equal to your survival score. This addition will encourage the Blues to attack hard, which might get some of them in trouble.  Also with Karmal and Vintia casting strong spells and my fighting skills, we should be able to keep close to this points cap even though we aren’t all attackers. Overall, with our Defenders and Ravius backing everyone up we should be able to last a long time without anyone dropping, and rack up enough kills to max out our score. The Blues will have to field a really well-balanced team to even come close.” Sadira exhaled emphatically; she was tired of talking. Faction challenges seemed needlessly complex to her, as if designed to foil the novice on purpose. Gavin had told her the intricacies came from centuries of accumulated rules and rulings.

“What happened to the increased number of monster waves?” asked Vintia, pinching her lower lip while looking at the sheet they were reviewing.

“The Blues rejected it; sorry Vintia,” said Gavin. He too, had been looking forward to a longer match; it would give defenders like them a real advantage. They were trained to outlast their opponents. “They also rejected our terrain additions…”

“Well, at least we won’t have to deal with them cheating again with the single-team trial bit,” smiled Karmal. “Those bastards nearly cost us the last match with their cheap tricks. Although, I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on that little spaz Steel Harmony…”

Teaser Tuesday!

This week’s teaser is from Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale, my very first book.

Bloodlust-AGT-Front-cover

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale.

Ravius is an attempt to inject a little humour into the series and also act as a counterpoint to Gavin. Gavin is often dour and serious, while Ravius turns everything into a joke, at least as they are first presented.

“I’m telling you Ravius: it was luck.”

“No, it was instinct Gavin. We’ve been drilling since we were six years old, little brother. We’ve fought hundreds of training duels with live weapons; moves like that are second nature to us, little brother.” Ravius’s voice dripped cheerful self-assurance; an annoying trait in Gavin’s view. “Your body and subconscious knew how to position the spear even if your conscious mind did not command it.”

“Ravius, I’m pretty certain the Spike Hound impaled itself on my spear accidentally,” responded Gavin, trying to show his exasperation.

Ravius Vergerus was one of Gavin’s classmates from the Campus Gladius, where young gifted were trained in magic and where they both had decided to become Gladiators. He was slightly shorter than Gavin, with a wide tangle of blond hair, dark blue eyes, and always smiling as if the world was one big joke, at least in Gavin’s mind.

<>

This next quote gives a bit more insight into Ravius — his humour could be a kind of coping mechanism, or even a stab at how ridiculous the life a Gladiator can be.

Gavin was starting to regret his decision to learn the spell, not liking the idea of killing the helpless animal tethered before him. A bored young Grey-Robe shared the small private training room with them. She seemed more interested in her book than watching the two Gladiators.

“HAHA! Oh sweet Ezuis, did you see that last one little brother?” Ravius’ face lit up as he doubled over with laughter. “BOOM! Who says Cogimancy is boring? The crowds are going to sing our names when we pull this one off!” Ravius had managed to weave and cast the difficult spell twice already; each time causing a disgusting eruption of bone, blood, and smoking, stinking grey matter. The smiling skirmisher was enjoying himself greatly and failed to notice that Gavin had not even cast the spell a single time.

Ignoring Ravius, Gavin focused intently on the goat in front of him. He could channel the raw power required to fuel the spell with little difficulty. Weaving the spell-pattern, however, to translate all that raw magic power into a proper Brain Buster was where it all fell apart. He tried it again and again, following the instructions carefully, but the weave collapsed each time, just before he could complete it. Truth be told, he was unsure he wanted to complete the weave; he did not like the idea of killing an animal just to learn a spell. Yet, although he was more than ready to give up, he did not wish to explain to his friend that he really just didn’t want to blow up an innocent animal. What would Ravius think of him then?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008MAY80S

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008MAY80S

Teaser Tuesday

This week’s teaser is from Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale

Bloodlust-AGT-Front-cover

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale.

This week’s selection is from the start of the book. The writing is a little raw, being my first book and all.

While this scene seems like simple exposition, just a gladiator choosing his armour while a shop attendant flirts with him, it is meant to plant a few seeds in the reader’s mind. The first is the question of objectification. Gladiators are performers, after all, and crowd appeal is at least part sex appeal. The second is underlining that the rules of the arena are not meant to simulate those of battle. There are no spectators showing thumbs on the field of war, after all. The third is to remind readers that weapons and armour were subject to a fair amount of fetishism in warrior cultures.

“Um… Hello. I need armour for a match… this afternoon,” Gavin said a little nervously as Isabelle met his eye. He silently cursed his voice for not sounding as suave and heroic as he imagined it should.

“Well, unfortunately, that leaves out anything custom fitted; I can only do minor alterations in that span of time.” She allowed the barest hint of reproach to be heard in her voice, so that he would feel that she was doing him a favour. She smiled inwardly at Gavin’s shyness; the game was already won as far as she was concerned. “What armour class are you?”

“Middle,” he responded, unable to take his eyes off her as she closed in on him. “I’m looking for a breastplate, bracers, greaves, and also a shield.”

“Have you given any thought to style and colour, Honoured Gladiator?” she used the proper honorific to tickle his pride while she stopped at his side, just near enough to occupy his personal space.

“Um…” His thoughts were suddenly dashed upon the rocks as he became acutely aware of her scent and the nearness of her body. Her lips were a glossy crimson colour.

“Did they not teach you about the importance of style in your training?” She sighed, turning and moving away, rummaging for the tools she would need. She heard him let out his breath. Long ago she was surprised at how many novice male Gladiators did not pay attention to such an important facet of their career, but she had long since gotten used to it. She walked past him toward the fitting section, making sure to brush up against him, just so, as she did. “Follow me, please.”

She continued her lecture as she led him deeper into her shop, keeping her tone light with a hint of helpful amusement. “A Gladiator’s armour is not merely for protection; it is about how you present yourself to your audience. If you wish to be called to the Grand Championships, you will have to become famous as well as skilled. If you wish to become famous, you will have to win over the support of the people. And I must tell you that people respond very well to style and proper presentation Honoured Gladiator. It is part of building your legend.”

<>

“I think you should go for a more classical, heroic look, bright metal, silver and steel; pure and honest,” Isabelle said as they stopped at a well hidden fitting room. She handed him a mithril breastplate sculpted to look like the face of a ferocious roaring lion that she’d grabbed on the way. “Take off your tunic please. Let’s see how this looks on you.”

She watched as he stripped off his plain white tunic, enjoying the slight reddening of his cheeks. His arousal was obvious to her expert eye even through the conservative undergarment that he wore. For a moment she was tempted to act on her desires right there; she’d chosen the most remote fitting room just in case, but she kept her demeanour professional. With some men this would have been the perfect time to pounce, but she sensed this one was a romantic whose passions were best kindled a little more slowly. For the briefest moment she wished that she had met him when she was young and romantic herself, but she quickly slammed the door on that stray thought.

“Hold this to your chest while I put the straps on. You will be able to devise a glamour to help you put it on yourself fairly easily,” She said moving around behind him. “My name is Isabelle, by the way.”

I’m not certain how effective this is as a seduction scene, but it gets the point across. I’ve always wanted to revisit Isabelle, that carefree sampler of Gladiators, although I realize now that it is kind of a creepy relationship from our viewpoint since Gavin is around 16 at this point in the book… whoops.

Tuesday Teaser

This week, I’m going all the way back to Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale, the first book in the Domains of the Chosen Series

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator's Tale.

Cover for Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale. Click for amazon link…

“Chosen’s balls girl, you look angry,” drawled tall, flame-haired Karmal, trying to divine the source of her friend’s irritation. She was keen for the drama that usually followed when Sadira lost her temper. “Has some little tart dared to piss you off?”

“No Karmal,” answered small, bright eyed Vintia, pointing at Gavin “She’s trying to get the attention of that guy.”

“Who? Him?” said Karmal, trying to divine why Sadira, her friend and rival was interested in the figure below them. “He’s a Gladiator, but he doesn’t look like your type, Sadira; he’s not important enough for us to know and not attractive enough for us to care.”

“I think he’s handsome enough Karmal, but you know Sadira’s just angry that she can’t get his attention,” responded Vintia, snatching a small piece of honey-dipped, pickled ginger from a passing tray “He seems more interested in food than anything else. Maybe you could use that to your–”

“Good idea,” interrupted Sadira, snatching a sticky piece of ginger from the same tray and hurling it at Gavin’s head with a deft flick of her wrist. For a woman of her skills it was an easy shot and she hit her moving target perfectly, the honeyed ginger sticking to his cheek with a wet smack. Vintia’s mouth hung open in shock, while Karmal let out a delighted laugh that could be heard over the background chatter. Sadira waited for the man to turn, a thrill of anticipation quickening her pulse.

Gavin felt something splatter just below his eye, sticking to his face. A strong smell of ginger and a distinctive smacking sound accompanied this odd sensation. He heard Karmal’s laugh then, which sounded very malicious to him. He raised his hand to his cheek, which remained sticky even after he removed the offending hors-d’oeuvre. He looked around, colour rising to his cheeks, deeply humiliated at being the sudden centre of attention. His immediate thought was that someone was trying to humiliate him.

A lithe girl next to him raised her hand to cover her laughter. Gavin snarled, looking around, and his eyes were drawn inexorably to Sadira. When their eyes met, Gavin, full of anger, met her piercing eyes did not look away. Beauty did not matter to him then. He squared his shoulders, cloaking himself with all the dignity he could muster, ignoring everyone but his assailant. A long moment passed as the two stared at each other across the crowded room. A shiver ran down Sadira’s spine. She felt suddenly childish, embarrassed by her rash and mean-spirited behaviour.

This little morsel leapt to mind because it was my stepson’s birthday today (technically it is still Tuesday somewhere) and his grandmother took him to a local restaurant, the Old Mill. Despite never having the pleasure of eating there, the Old Mill was such a fixture of my childhood, riding past it every day on the bus, that it made its way into the Campus Martius.

This scene is where Gavin and Sadira meet for the first time. Gavin is as socially awkward as a young Gladiator can get while Sadira is a bratty teenage queen bee at the time. Queue fireworks!