Teaser Tuesday

It is still Tuesday somewhere, I am certain…

Anyways here is a Teaser from my next book, Red Fangs (The Shadow Wolf Sagas #2)

After searching a few of these we found ourselves in an area called The Husk, where an entire street had been consumed by green flame over a decade ago and not yet rebuilt. It was a dismal sight, the bones of once vital buildings looming through the mist like the carcasses of long forgotten beasts.

“The basements on most of these places are still be intact,” said Murith. “We often get called into clear this area of vagrants. It has been quiet for weeks though.”

“Tis a great place for an ambush.”

“Cinder is a coward and a trickster,” said Berkhilda. “He would favour traps over direct confrontation.”

“Do either of you know what he looks like?” asked Murith.

“No.”

“He wears a red mask,” said Berkhilda. “And I am told that he is not large of stature.”

“That’s not much to go on.”

I raised my hand for silence and walked forward, concentrating, letting my senses go. The smell of smoke and ash and ash was overpowering, but underneath it all I could detect the scent of blood and the chemical smell from the bloodsuckers who attacked Murith and her squad. This was the place, then. Cautiously, I sifted through the other scents. Human waste. A venomous creeper vine. Cheap liquor and old sweat. Still, despite the confirmation, something bothered me.

“This is the place,” I said. “Cinder had the basement cleared out and proofed against scent and sound. But I can clearly smell blood and that drug. I think we are meant to find this place. I can hear something else too.”

“So it’s a trap.”

“I think so,” I could definitely hear a sound now, a faint but steady sobbing muffled by layers of earth and broken buildings.

Teaser Tuesday

This week’s teaser comes from by upcoming novel, Red Fangs, the second book in the Shadow Wolf Sagas.

Besides editing, I had to rewrite some of the text and even add in a few characters that become important later.

And I laughed as they came, because what man can be tired with the rush of escaping the snapping jaws of something monstrous and the red joy of killing it still upon him?

My first attacker gave me plenty of warning, howling ferociously as she leapt off her high perch, teeth flashing in dim light. I swung my blade to meet her and her eyes went wide as it cut deep and sent her flying away in two pieces.

Then they were all around me, driven mad by the curse of the Bloodhydra. They clawed at my face and I pushed them away. They clawed at my sides but my Kingsmail proved too much for them. They clawed at my legs and bit at my back and that proved to be a larger problem.

While most of Cinders minions were poor combatants, used to back alley street fights at best, they were still vampires and much stronger than most men. I chopped the hands off the first couple, but as soon as one got a lasting grip on me my position became untenable.

A body slammed into my side and I staggered. Another jumped on my back, biting at my neck and bearing me down. My sword was torn from my handsI knew that if I fell they would tear me apart. Roaring, I reached back and felt my hand close on the back of the neck of the one on. I pulled him over my shoulder as I wheeled about drunkenly, trying to stay up, the slammed him into the planks. Something snagged my foot, nearly tripping me, and I drove my knife down violently.

Grinning, a vampire with the facial tattoos of a wildsider gang, came at me as I freed my foot. I fed him a mouthful of gauntleted fist, shattering the teeth that he had so proudly displayed. Another fell to a strike to the heart from my knife, shocked eyes wide in the dark.

“Who’s next?”

The vampire that leapt out at was bearing my own blade, shimmering silver in torchlight.

Teaser Tuesday

It is Tuesday once more, and thus time for a teaser. This week it is a little tidbit from my work-in-progress, Red Fangs, the second book in the Shadow Wolf Sagas.

The Shadow Wolf Sagas does not have as many monsters in it as my other series, The Domains of the Chosen, but I do sneak in a grotesque beast here and there:

“Too wate wittiw man,” came a voice from the passage behind me.

I turned. An enormous humanoid filled the passage, waddling toward me. It was fat and pale with tiny, porcine eyes and a mouthful of finger-sized fangs. One of its arms had a hook instead of a hand, while other held a cleaver. It was a troll of some sort. I drew my axe and hammer.

 “Gonna eat ma fiw!” chortled the thing emerging from the darkness, gnashing its teeth. It was heavyset for a troll and yet moved with surprising agility. I felt the hairs on my neck stand on end and wished that I had some of Git’s firebombs.

“Oh, thank Furis!” said Berkhilda, relief evident in her voice. “I was getting sick of all this prattle!”

Berkhilda pushed past me to meet the creature. The tunnels here were wide enough that she had space to swing her axe. Of course, had we been in a smaller passage, such a beast would not have been able to follow us.

“Gonna cut you up!” chortled the thing.

Zavra whimpered, cowering behind me. Berkhilda snorted and charged. Her saw-toothed axe blurred as it sliced through the air. The beast made no attempt to dodge, nor did it flinch as the blade clove into its chest. Blood, thick and black, ooozed out of the cut. I recognized the sights of such corrupted vitae from my days as an adventurer.

“Wight… it is some sort of wight!” I shouted.

The massive wight slammed its bulk into Berkhilda as the vampire warrior struggled to pull her weapon from the wound. As strong as she was, the creature’s mass seemed to defy her, and she was pinned to the side of the passage by a veritable wall of pale flesh.

“Hurhurhur,” said the Beast, raising its cleaver. “Gun cut you up good redhairs.”

I leapt at the wight, aiming a blow at its head but something snared my foot, and I stumbled, catching myself before I fell. The Troll-wight chortled and swung its hook hand at me. I was barely able to get my weapons up to shield myself from the blow and the impact knocked the breath from my lungs and lifted me off my feet. I flew back, hitting the brick wall, bracing for impact as best I could, then sliding down.

“Wait yurr turn,” gurgled the corpulent wight. Berkhilda was pounding on it with her fists now, each punch driving deep into the folds of its flesh, but her powerful blows seemed to have little effect. Wights and trolls are notoriously resistant to pain, although I have never heard of any that were so rotund and gleefully hungry.

As I pushed myself up the wight chortled and raised its cleaver again. Berkhilda caught its arm and held the weapon in place with furious strength. The beast raised the hook-hand, scrapping it along her armour. Berkhilda gnashed her teeth angrily.

I pushed up off the wall, charging, and leaping up onto the mass. The troll-wight turned its head toward me, beady eyes widening. I landed on its mountainous back, digging the crowsbeak spikes on the back of my hammer and axe into its flesh, like pitons into a cliffside. Then I begant to hack at the beast, forgoing precision in favour of brutal strokes of my axe into its head and shoulder. Blood and gore splattered the tunnel as I went to work.

“Geddorffff, stoppit!” rumbled the creature, shaking like a dog emerging from the water and trying to reach me with its hook. I pulled myself up, and dug in again.

Teaser Tuesday

Meet the redoubtable Berkhilda, a Questioner who partners with Ragnar in my upcoming Shadow Wolf Sagas book: RED FANGS.

the-completed-daedric-axe

A model of a Daedric Axe from Elders Scrolls

“Are you sure you want to carry that thing?” I said, eyeing Berkhilda’s weapon. It looked like it weighed more than a heavy maul, and had a definite aura of magic about it.

“I have a permit for it, Ragnar Skyggeson,” replied Berkhilda.

“That may be so, but wouldn’t you rather have a weapon that is better for close quarters?” I said, trying to reason with her. “I mean, most of the places that I have faced Cinder’s people don’t have room to swing.”

Berkhilda stopped and looked me in the eye. She held up a gauntlet and made a fist. “This is for close quarters… as are these.” she showed her fangs. “I assure you I need no other weapons, exile.”

I dropped the subject. “What are your ideas on finding Cinder?” I asked as we walked down the carefully manicured streets of the Old Town Isle, our path lit by a constellation of wrought lanterns. If the guards payed any care for Berkhilda’s armaments, I did not see it. It is nice to fit in, I suppose.

“I have arranged a meeting with some of my father’s kin,” said Berkhilda, snarling a little. “They may have information that is useful to us. We will meet them near Highward Grove. I do not wish to be late, so walk briskly, if you please.”

I shook my head and followed after, hoping the potential for disaster heralded by a vampire from a clan of temperamental berserkers was somewhat offset by access to her father’s contacts… and his brandy…

Teaser Tuesday

Tis Tuesday and time for another teaser. This week it is an excerpt from my new Shadow Wolf book, Red Fangs, which first appeared on my Thursday night serial.

This bit is something I added during re-writes; the appearance of a foil for Ragnar who plays a bigger role in the 3rd book.

At night Guthus’s Ladder was poorly lit and the ruins provided many dark alcoves that could shelter those who might wish to rob or harm passersby. That several notorious muders had occurred here in centuries past, as well as rumours of a haunting, did nothing to dispel its nightime reputation. In my experience, it acted as a shelter for those who could not find some better place to rest their heads than an ambush point. I had no fear of the place in the dark.

And yet as I approached the looming stone bulk of the place, my nose caught a scent among the nightime cornucopia. It was out of place, and yet familiar, speaking of fur and blood, and madness. I knew that scent well enough, and it filled me with cold dread. I knew the bearer of that scent and what he portended.

Stopping in the narrow street that led to Guthus’s Ladder, I scanned the shadows. There was nothing I could see in the wooden shacks nearby or in the shadows between. The deeper darkness in the ruined tower was impenetrable even to my eyes. I sniffed the air and listened, extending my senses.

The scent was faint but I want not imagining. I could hear music from far behind me and a cart in the distance but nothing nearby. Nothing. Not a breath. Not the sounds of sleepers. Not the faint creep of a rat skulking in the alleys. Nothing of the sounds that one would expect in such a place at such a time. I drew my weapons and faced the ruined tower squarely, ready to fight and to die.

“Ulfgorr, come out where I can see you.”

My voice shattered the stillness. I heard a scrape from within the tower and tensed. I saw a shadow move in the torchlight. I shifted my grip on axe and hammer.

I waited. Nothing else happened. I heard a sound from a nearby alley, a cobblefox or a rat. The scent was gone.

I waited to be certain and then ascended the ancient staircase, weapons still in hand, ill at ease.

Teaser Tuesday

It’s Tuesday and time for yet another teaser. This week it is from my upcoming book, Red Fangs (The Shadow Wolf Sagas #2). It is still a WIP, very raw and rough.

“Is this how the people of Cliffshadow operate now, turning on their own families for coin?”

“What do you know of this place, Nordan?”

“Enough to know that you have overstepped, Curran. I have lived in Myrrhn for longer than you’ve drawn breath; I know the streets.”

“I’ve heard of you, Ragnar the Exile,” said Curran. “Is it true that you are ascended?”

“It is.”

“Here that boys? Ascended blood is real rare, I wager; this one will be worth a lot to our friends. The one who takes him earns a set of fangs like mine.”

The thing about the Shadow Wolf clan is that we hear better and see better at night than most men. That goes double for me after crawling out of my own pyre. Thus, while the cut-throat gliding through the shadows behind me had every reason to think he would live up to his name he met with my fist instead. Or rather he met with the plate of metal over my fist, and crumpled in a heap. My eyes never left Curran’s.

“I am Ragnar Grimfang of the Shadow Wolves, I am twiceborn, called Bloodaxe and Nighteyes, I slew Torvul and Magni Red-sails,” I intoned, my voice carrying in the night. Sometimes a little theatre can strike fear into ones opponents. I honestly hoped the other boys would run, my only care was for Curran. “I am here for my friend Delilah, who clawed her way out of this place with will and hard work, only to be betrayed, slaughtered, and sold by someone she trusted. Your guilt is written on your fangs Curran. I have come for you, and any who are foolish enough to get in my way.”

To punctuate my speech a low growl sounded from the dark behind me.