Teaser Tuesday

A teaser from my newest Domains novel, Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate.

“We know you did the right thing, Centurion Hephus,” said Legionnaire Bron. “Without you, the whole Legion would be buried in the mud at Fort Nerus now. That bastard Skavetz put words in our mouths to make you look bad. We stand with you, brother. I will set the record straight in my written statements.”

“Thank you, Legionnaire,” said Hephus, looking tired. “I am glad to hear that.”

“Avey, Ninth!” said Vintia loudly as their little cadre approached. Hephus and the others snapped to attention.

Hephus smiled as he saw them. “Vintia, Aelius, Teven, what about your other duties?”

Vintia laughed. “The Twins are well taken care of Hephus. They are currently being spoiled by my sister and some of our neighbours. You on the other hand look like you taken an extra tour of duty in the swamps of east Niyiki.”

“She’s right,” said Teven. “Now that this travesty is over, let us leave this place and seek out friendlier surroundings. I know a lovely little place just down the hill from the parade square that serves the best Sea of Sands spiced snake.”

Hephus actually smiled. “You know, that actually sounds like a truly exceptional idea, Legate. I love Sea of Sands cuisine.”

“I know,” said Teven. “And don’t worry about the grandstanding of Assemblyman Skavetz, Hephus. Legion Command has your back. They may even know of an amendment that will allow you to keep your rank, since it was acclaimed by the men in time of battle.”

“Teven, I don’t think–”

Hephus’s words were drowned out as they opened a door and a tide of noise washed over them. Vintia, who had expected this isolated exit to be clear of obstruction, was so shocked that she reached for her sword, even though it was not there. Outside the door, dozens of Iron Faction artificers waited, surrounded by a large, rowdy crowd of Nullifiers who were trying to push past them. Publius, the leader of the Iron Faction stood facing the door, dressed as if he had come straight from his workbench. The Nullifiers surged and roared as they caught sight of Hephus.

“THERE HE IS!”

“YOU KILLED OUR BOYS!”

“GIFTED SCUM, GIFTED SCUM!”

Drunk on the hateful rhetoric of the day, they shoved and spat and shouted. Then Vintia was glad of the phalanx of sturdy Iron Faction members in front of them, holding the most rabid members of the Nullifiers at bay. Any sign of joy died on Hephus’s face, as the members of the Ninth closed about him.

Publius stepped forward, offering his hand to Hephus.

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A Teaser For Tuesday

It is Tuesday and time for a teaser.

This week a teaser from my new book, Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate.

The crowd had a mixed reaction to Spider Fang: some cheered, while many actively booed him or shouted threats; Spider Fang was infamous in the Faction Games. He had a reputation for questionable victories and he also had the distinction of being the only active Gladiator to have over a dozen wins by forfeit, all due to opponents becoming suddenly ill or simply giving up before they took to the stands. Many whispered that his mother’s manipulations were the cause of such strange behaviour, but none could prove it.

“Ready for round two, ugly?” asked Spider Fang as he came to rest across from her.

“Have you forgotten the taste of my axe, little man?” she retorted.

“It won’t be so easy this time,” he smirked. “Without your team’s help, you will never catch me with that slow, ungainly body.”

“You better hope not, Spider Fang,” said Green Glory, shaking her horn. “All it takes is one hit from me. You know it in your heart; just think back to our last encounter.”

“I’ll rectify that, soon enough.”

A Teaser for Tuesday… er Wednesday.

This week’s teaser is from my newest book, Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate (Domains of the Chosen #7). I had trouble with the title for #7 for various, but I already know that I want to name #8: Bloodlust: Iron Faction. Here is the scene where they are introduced.

Vintia backed away, looking toward Teven. “Is that true?”

“They see it that way. The people leading the inquiry are asking pointed questions of members of the Legion. While some of us are capable of avoiding rhetorical traps, most Legionnaires are fighters, not talkers, and some of them get led into saying things that can be turned against Hephus. It is one of the reasons I am forbidden from talking to my own men while they wait to testify.”

The idea of Hephus being subjected to such treatment spurred Vintia forward once again. Just as she was considering shouldering into the line of artificers, a big, bearded man stepped forth.

“Greetings. I am Publius, leader of the Iron Faction.”

Vintia stood, her mouth working.

“Iron Faction?” asked Teven.

“We believe that it is time for artificers to have proper representation,” said Publius. “So, we formed our own faction.”

“I suppose that makes sense,” said Teven. “Now–”

“Iron Faction, gather and listen!” rumbled Publius, interrupting Teven. Immediately the raucous gathering of artificers shuffled into a semblance of silence and watchfulness as Publius’s fiery voice washed over them. “For too long have the Chosen and the High Assembly conspired to limit our power. You all know it; you have felt that oppressive hand, and you have seen that we are denied our own Chosen. Now these people persecute one of ours who has become a hero to the people, Centurion Hephus Krassius, just to make sure that we remain under heel. His Ungifted brethren have abandoned him to the tender mercies of Assemblyman Skavetz and the Arena Post. Well, I say enough is enough.”

Publius paused and was met with shouts of support.

“This inquiry is a grave injustice, but it is only the tip of the Kraken. For centuries, our talents have served the Chosen and the free citizens of Krass, and yet we are denied entry into either group. Our magic has built the steam waggons that carry goods across The Domains. Our hands have fashioned the pipes and conduits that provide newer, better power and water to The Empire. Our minds have created countless inventions from link crystals, to clockwork soldiers, to the great steam-powered Ironclads that keep this city safe!”

A Teaser For Tuesday

This week’s teaser is from my new book, Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate, which is out now on Amazon. This work sees the action return to the Arena as Sadira now faces a duel of honour against a fellow Chosen, prefaced by a full blown tournament where each Chosen fields a team, fighting to earn advantages in the final match.

Not all of the Stitched wore furs and leather, and when Green Glory cut down one of the Zombies that was wearing and iron breastplate, she saw her score jump by several points, briefly overtaking Kingblade’s. As soon as this registered she started looking for the metal-clad Stitched and pushed her way toward the closest one. A mace handed Zombie smashed her side as she pushed, but she sent it sprawling with a flick of her horn and then brought her axe down onto the armoured figure, cleaving through the helm and spilling its pickled brain.

Kingblade saw Green Glory’s score jump ahead of his, and he began to surge into the horde as well, cutting down Zombies with powerful strokes. As they closed around him, one of them gouged his leg with a jagged hook, slowing him down for a moment. He growled and crushed its head with a powerful backhand.

Both Gladiators were fighting hard now, drenched with sweat and breathing hard. Many of the spectators were on their feet, shouting praises for their favourite. In the Platinum Circle Lounge, a round of late betting was taking place, with princely sums wagered on the exact spread of points.

The undead, relentless and vicious, pulled at the Gladiators. Each of their steps became a burden. An especially energetic Zombie leapt onto Green Glory’s back, clawing at her head with the hooked blades that were attached to its wrists instead of hands. Reaching back, she tossed it into the fray and then pushed forward again, crushing more foes underfoot while she looked for more of the armoured Stitched.

Kingblade’s sword became a blur of steel and blood, chopping through every Stitched around him. Though he now realized that the metal armoured zombies were worth more points, he did not push toward them, opting instead to kill those within easy reach as quickly as possible. Every stroke brought two or more down, soaking the sands around him red with blood and littering it with severed limbs and broken bodies.

Green Glory saw Kingblade’s score surge upward; she was losing ground. She shouldered toward the closest metal clad Stitched, but the ranks of her foes did not buckle. Bellowing she pushed into them again, toppling and crushing some, but she was not able to get to her target. Then she pushed a third time, half pushing, half leaping over the wall of the undead.

A Teaser for Tuesday

Welcome friends. This week’s teaser is from Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate, book seven of The Domains of The Chosen series.

Stormscream shouted and fell to the sand. Bloodfrost, sensing a chance to close in for the kill, descended upon him. Stormscream was not as wounded as he appeared though, and he stabbed her as she attacked. His right-hand blade pierced her side, and hot blood ran down the handle. It did not stop her though, and Bloodfrost leaned into her own attack, forcing Stormscream to parry with his other weapon. Heedless of the wound in her side, she pushed on her blade with both hands, trusting to superior position, driven by the strength of her rage. The tip of her weapon pushed into the flesh of Stromscream’s shoulder. Her opponent, knowing his fate if he did not escape, channelled a lightning spell that covered his hand in crackling electricity and he let go of the sword embedded in Bloodfrost’s side. Then, as her blade inched deeper into his flesh, grating past his remaining weapon, he grabbed hold of his opponent’s leg.

Electricity burned through Bloodfrost, filling her with searing pain much worse than that from the blade impaling her. Bloodfrost staggered and let loose a piercing war-shriek before gritting her teeth and bearing down on the greatsword.

“It will take more than that!” she growled, her voice like that of a beast.

Blood welled around the tip as she drove it deeper and Stormscream grunted in pain.

“How about this, bitch!” he snarled, reaching up between her legs and grabbing her groin. Electricity pulsed through his hand and into Bloodfrost’s groin, burning the flesh. The crowd gasped as the Gladiatrix howled and fell back, pulling her blade out of Stormscream and sinking to her knees in the sand, panting at the vicious pain.

Even on the fighting grounds there are lines you are not supposed to cross. Here we see a definite heel character engage in the lowest of low blows. I take great joy in writing such moments of over-the-top villainy at times 🙂

 

A Teaser for Tuesday

Barring unforeseen events my next Domains of the Chosen book, Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate will release next week. Here is a taste:

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The body was pinned to a tree with javelins through each shoulder and one in the belly. It was easy to read pain in the features of the dead man, although softened by death and decay.

“This is bad,” said Elder Hissu.

“This is my father’s work,” said Riritaka. “He wants to cause panic.”

“Who is this man?” asked Gavin.

“He is known to me,” said Elder Hissu, sadly. “He is a trader among your people, beloved by both the Legionnaires and those who seek peace among the tribes.”

“The scouts tell me he was put here four days ago,” said Strategos Mora. “This was done while we were attending the sodding peace talks.”

“Yes, that sounds like Gotka,” said Riritaka. “He will come for us soon.”

“How far away from the fort are we?” asked Gavin.

“If we marched clear through the night we could get there in less than twenty hours,” said Strategos Mora. “We cannot outpace The Pale in the jungle though, Chosen. Only the best of the scouts could manage that feat, and even then, it would be risky.”

“Can we evade them?” asked Gavin.

“No,” said Strategos Mora. “We believe they watch us, even now.”

“It is possible,” said Chosen Brighthoof. “But surely not in numbers large enough to be a threat.”

“The watchers will be directing two groups,” said Riritaka. “One will be between us and the fort, the other will be trailing us.”

“Should we move to the coast then?” asked Gavin, trying to formulate a plan.

“They would expect that, would they not?” responded elder Hissu, turning to Riritaka.

“Yes,” said Riritaka. “The paths to the coast will be heavily trapped.”

“Strategos Mora, how far away are your men?” asked Gavin.

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The Duellum Dominantium was one of the few times that both groups enter the fighting grounds at the same time.

Silvius, followed by the mountainous form of the Gorehound entered from the south, while Sadira and Sapphire Kiss entered from the north. A half-million fans, all on their feet, screaming and cheering, greeted the four Gladiators as their feet touched the white sands.

Sadira, known for her flashy entrances, merely gave a salute to the crowd and then plodded to the centre of the Arena. The audience was taken aback; those who hated Sadira filled the air with jeers and boos, while those who loved her felt a touch of fear at the sight of their vivacious hero looking wan and full of sorrow. Sapphire Kiss walked beside her like an energetic filly following in the wake of an old mare, eager and ready to fight.

Silvius strode across the sand, his hair spilling over his shoulders in magnificent curls, jaw set in a confident smile. Everything about him shone, from his armour and the edge of his Draklaive to his oiled skin. He stood a head taller than Sadira and Sapphire Kiss, and looked leaner and more powerful than he had in many years.

Behind him lumbered the Gorehound, huge and foreboding.

For The Duellum Dominantium, Quintus diKrass, the most famed arena announcer of the day had been brought out of retirement. He named each of the fighters in turn and they all gave a salute. Sadira’s was curt, in marked contrast the impressive flourish given by Silvius.

“It looks as if the flower of Daer has wilted,” intoned Silvius. “Have you come to regret challenging me, kitten?”

Teaser Tuesday

This week’s teaser is from my upcoming work, Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate (Domains of the Chosen #7).

The book centers around a duel between Chosen Sadira, one of the series most popular characters, and Chosen Silvius, an enjoyably scummy villain who takes on a new light in the Trump era.

This teaser focuses on an event that stretches all the way back to book #3, Bloodlust: The Shield Maiden, involving accusations against former Senior Centurion Hephus, who took field command of the Eighth Cohort of the Ninth Legion at the battle of Fort Nerus. Hephus is a Gifted (a magic-user) and the Gifted are not allowed to command in the Legions, by ancient tradition. The good guys argue that an exception had to be made for conditions in the field, while others argue that the Law is the Law.

Hephus’s focus snapped back to the inquiry as Assemblyman Skavetz called a witness.
“Legionnaire Septimus Bron, please take to the podium of truth.”

Maximus Skavetz cut an impressive figure in his formal toga. He was tall, square-jawed and straight-backed, with dark curly hair and piercing eyes. His voice, however, was what set him apart; a rich, a commanding bass that could thunder in judgement or offer deepest sympathy.

Hephus recognized Septimus Bron. The Legionnaire looked nervous and uncomfortable before the assembly as he moved forward and took his seat behind a heavy marble table facing the assembly. He had a noticeable limp and one side of his face was viciously scarred.

“Legionnaire Bron, do you know this man?” Skavetz pointed toward Hephus without looking at him.

“I do, sir, that is Senior Centurion Hephus of the Eighth Cohort,” said Bron, looking at Hephus. “He’s a good–”

“Please refrain from offering your opinion unasked, Legionnaire,” interrupted Skavetz.

There was some muttering among the assembly at his title. In the Legion, the Gifted were not supposed to command the Legionnaires. It was a fear founded in The Reckoning, the disaster cause by those who commanded the forces of magic, nearly destroying the world. The Legions were now see as a counter-balance to the power of The Chosen and The Gifted, answering to their own command structure and the people of Krass.

“Legionnaire Bron, firstly I would like to acknowledge your bravery and your service to The Empire. You have suffered greatly to bring us victory. We have brought you here to clarify some questions about the battle of Fort Nerus and the role played by one Hephus Krassius. I will be asking you questions which you should answer to the best of your ability. Please refrain from conjecture or colour commentary; this inquiry is purely factual. Do you understand, Legionnaire?”

“Yes sir,” said Septimus Bron.

“Very well, my first question concerns the promotion of Hephus Krassius to Senior Centurion. Septimus Bron, were you aware of any other surviving Centurions in the Eighth Cohort?”

“Yes, but…”

“Please keep to the questions Legionnaire Bron,” said Maximus Skavetz in a patronizing tone. “Were any of these other Centurions Gifted?”

“No, sir.”

“Interesting. What position did Hephus occupy before his ascension?”

“He was in charge of munitions and forging, sir.”

“Is that a command position, Legionnaire?”

“No sir.”

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