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.