Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sample from the next installment of Silent Wars

          Celine could feel a shift in the power as she searched the carnage.  A wave of dread passed over her as she approached a spot near the center of what was the courtyard.  It was hallowed ground.  Something big happened here to cause this.  She started a process to remove the blessing bestowed by Aaryon.  After half an hour the blessing gave no indication that she had attempted to remove it.  This was not good, she was going to have to call and get assistance.

          She feared this call, as a high priestess and her long history of hostility; Celine had hedged her bet that Mathew was going to hold the seat of power, the seat Cecile now holds.  Cecile was not forgiving and Celine had made her life hell.  Ultimately, she needed help and had to make the call whether she wanted to or not.

          “Cecile, this is Celine, we have a situation.  Mathew has grown stronger; he did something here that...”
Cutting Celine off before mid-sentence, “Let me get this straight, you can’t fix this and your old boyfriend is now causing us to expend assets to repair the damages he’s caused?  Uh yes what came of that information from the vampires?  Was that information worth the three acolytes we gave as payment?  That’s right you still don’t have him and now he is more dangerous than ever.  Have I forgotten anything?”

          Celine couldn't say anything to counter her argument, she had over simplified her points but she was correct in her summary.  The vampires didn't give her anything of worth; Mathew was now a real problem, he had only been a minor annoyance at best before.  “No ma’am, you haven’t missed anything.  I need assistance to remove a blessing caused by his castings.”

         “Fine I’ll send someone to take over the investigation.  I EXPECT that you WILL fully cooperate.”  Cecile paused for effect, “Your replacement will be there in the morning.  You will give her a full brief on way to the site.”

        With an audible click Cecile disconnected the line.  Celine had only a few hours to hunt down Mathew and capture him.  He only had a five hour head start on her.  There was something about this ground that “felt” different.  Deciding to investigate the site further before some nobody showed up to take credit sounded good to her.  Looking around she invoked an ancient curse  “What else can go wrong?”

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Next Book

After initially starting the new book I had a run in with life and writing took a back seat for a while.  I have recently started again on the next installment of the series.  Samuel and his friends will have a few more adventures before they finish what they have set out to do.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Heroes of Legend: The Heroes Strike Back

Alexander, Juniper, and Milo sat down to plan the assault on the Trest Temple.  They knew that before they could attack they had to know something about the temple.  Arwata volunteered to scout the temple.  Alexander insisted that another pilgrim go with her to better insure success.

The two scouts decided to enter the temple separately.  What they saw was closer to a small fortress than a temple.  There was a wall surrounding the temple with six armed people patrolling the compound.  The temples head priest had approximately six acolytes working in the temple.  Arwata saw only one perform any type of magic.  The rest of the acolytes were heavily supervised, as if their skills and knowledge were lacking proficiency. 

Milo was pleased that only one of the acolytes performed magic.  Alexander on the other hand was skeptical that only one of them would be able to perform magic.  He also figured that the armed people patrolling the courtyard might be a fraction the number of people they had.  The number could actually be higher if they rotated their people out.  Even with the experience the pilgrims have gotten recently they haven’t been taught to fight as a single unit.  That would be the next step in their training.  For now they needed to focus the mission, raising that temple to the ground.

The insignia the temple guards wore was the local warrior union.  They were good for a local militia but not much better than caravan guards.  Alexander hoped with the number of pilgrims he had could overcome the lack of proper training for the pilgrims.  Alexander greatest fear was the cost of the battle would be to great and thus paint a target on his little group.  He just hoped there was a good in the heavens that would hear and listen to his prayers.

Alexander’s plan relied heavily on getting into the courtyard without notice and making it into the temple itself.  A female half-elf offered to unlock a gate to grant them access.  She was young and didn’t look very experienced so he asked her to prove her abilities.  To answer his question she tossed him his sword in answer.  The look of embarrassment was short lived as he relieved that she may have been the answer he sought.

The group approached the temple under cover of night.  When the half-elf saw the gate they were going to enter she had Alexander hold there so she could open the lock.  As she advanced towards the gate she melded into the shadows cast from the building by the few star that appeared through the cloud filled sky.  Alexander only saw a blur of movement over the wall then the heavy metal door opened without a noise. 

The overcast sky provided little light so the light from the torches created the illusion of islands of light in a sea of darkness that was the courtyard.  The group moved along the wall in the shadows staying as quite as possible.  Alexander’s raiders were most of the way across the yard when a pair of guards appeared in an island of light.  The stealth expert was attempting to subdue the pair when the yard was bathed in light and the gate they came through slammed shut and locked.

After the alarm sounded, all dreams of a quick victory were dashed as guards pooled from temple and acolytes could be seen in the windows.  Juniper was casting a spell in in preparation for the coming fight when she stopped speaking.  The look on her face was not a good one.  I could see her moving her mouth but no sound was emitted.  Only half the pilgrims made it into the courtyard before the gates were slammed shut.

As soldiers spilled into the courtyard he could see their numbers were easily twice his.  The acolytes were the biggest shock when they appeared to be more trained than it originally appeared.  If not for their previous combat experience this would have been a blood bath.  In the face of everything Alexander’s pilgrims were holding their own refusing to let an inch by taken without a great cost.  It wasn’t until the acolytes started aiding the soldier that his forces were forced to give ground.  Without Juniper’s magic there was nothing that could be done to equalize the priest’s magic.

Arrwata’s small stature and training allowed her to swiftly move through the ranks of soldiers.  Once the soldiers were behind her she started engaging the Priest in charge of the temple.  The priest realized to late that Arrwata was a threat.  Even with her small frame her blows hit like hammers knocking him senseless.  By the time he was able to get his mind clear, he was impaled by the stealth master’s dagger.  The pilgrims were fighting valiantly, but were unable to keep pace with the soldiers.

As hard as they fought the soldier were better trained and equipped.  Alexander had underestimated the soldier numbers and his people were paying the price.  Even with the loss of the head priest the acolytes were still the tripping point in the power struggle raging in the courtyard.  As he was trying to find a way to neutralize the acolytes a third faction joined the fight.

They were four individuals with light armor and heavy crossbows.  Alexander started to issue orders to engage the new threat when they raised their crossbows and killed two of the acolytes.  The surviving acolytes quickly retreated back into the temple.  Without the acolytes to support them the soldier quickly lost their will to fight.

Alexander gathered Juniper, Milo and Arrwata to advance on the temple.  The surviving acolytes attempted to flee the temple in the face of Alexander.  One was caught leaving the temples main entrance.  The other one however still had a trick or two left.  He had an invisibility ring and used it to try to leave the temple without being seen.  In the commotion he bumped into a pilgrim and while attempting to attack Arrwata.  He did manage to kill the pilgrim and stable Arrwata.  However his aim was not as good as Arrwata’s and only managed to sink his sword into her arm.  Her response to this attack was a dazing flurry of blows to his abdomen forcing the air from his lungs.  If not for Alexander stating he wanted one of them alive she would have killed him without a moment’s hesitation.

With the acolytes gone the soldiers surrendered.  The acolytes were their employers and they would not fight if there was no longer money in it for them.  Their surrender was a welcome relief to Alexander who had seen enough blood shed for one night.

Alexander arranged the surviving pilgrims into groups to search the temple grounds.  He wanted answers for the turn in events in the heavens.  It wasn’t until the fighting stopped that Alexander learned the name of his stealth master, Maura.  It was an easy enough decision to place her in change of one of the search groups.  She was to explore the lower levels of the temple.  Alexander wanted to know if anyone approached but more importantly he wanted a way out.  Keeping the temple was never the goal of this excursive it was good old fashioned revenge.  When they left the temple would be purged by fire.

Time moved quickly as dawn neared.  The list of things he wanted to accomplish seemed impossible long to get through by dawn.  He was distracted from his worries by a runner.  The runners requested his immediate presence, something to do with the lower level require his attention.  What awaited him was sight from his nightmares.  There was a small make shift torture chamber set up there.  The smell assaulted him before he saw the horrors he would spend the rest of his life trying to forget.

Two bodies were on a table with chains hanging from it.  The bodies appeared to have been tortured as neither body had skin.  Maura was giving a potion of healing to the person with most of his left leg missing as in the flesh was removed from it.  His knowledge of healing potions told him it would heal the wounds not regrow the missing flesh from his body.  The other body was much worse, what they had done to its face was inhumane.  The fact that it was alive was both a miracle and a testament to their cruelty. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Adorabru Stuff

My wife and I are looking to open a booth for Youmacon 2014.  She will be making character hats and scarves, fur hats, and other items.  I'm hoping to have an automated tail for the booth also.  The link to the office blog site is below

Monday, January 28, 2013

Heroes of Legend: Trest Strikes

As the heroes continued on their journey to the holy site of Aaryon they decided to stop in cities along the path to visit temples. In each of the cities the end result was the same thing.  The temple is raised to the ground and all the priests murdered.  The assaults all happened on the same day regardless of location, the first moon after the gods fell silent.  With the suddenness and violence of the attacks none of the people were willing to admit to following Aaryon.  The mention of her name was enough to cause most to withdrawal.  Other played at ignorance claiming to know no person of that name.  When they left a city hostility followed them until they had left the city.  This caused them to be concerned for the safety of the now 30 pilgrims that followed them.

A few hours outside the city of Temri the heroes saw an unusual site, a boy running in their direction.  It wasn’t until he was close that they could see blood stains on his cloths and slash on his left arm.  Alexander had to physically restrain the boy to get him to stop so he could help him.  He told the tale of a wagon train with settlers trying to make a new life in Almora.  The wagons were attacked in the forest over a day’s run further up the road.  He alone escaped the raiders that had preyed on his family.  His eyes showed fear when he talked of the raiders moving through the woods with unnatural ease and the beast they had that moved with lightning speed and claws as long a daggers.  As the tale progressed tears came flooding forth and the boy was unable to continue.

Alexander assigned one pilgrim to take the boy back to the Temri for medical care and to get investigators while the rest of them went see what happened to the settler in the woods.  Where it took the boy a day to run the distance they were able to travel it in a fraction of the time. 

The wagons were easy to spot because two of the wagons still smoldered off the path.  There were to many tracks to make sense of what happened except that a groups of wagons were attacked.  The strange thing was the number of bodies left.  Even though the attack happened about two days prior there should be more evidence of an attack.  The wagons were also smaller then a settler would use.  The whole thing felt wrong.

As Alexander was pondering this two of the pilgrims fell with arrows sticking from them.  Suddenly we were surrounded by soldiers with at least one caster.  Juniper found the caster and engaged her; she was a priestess of Trest.  The flight was not going good for Juniper, as she was busy with the priestess a pair of soldiers flanked her.  As she called for help Milo was a scholar first and a fighter third, so his help was limited to just distracting one of the soldiers.  Unfortunately for Juniper the soldiers distracted her enough for the priestess to strike a massive blow.  Juniper staggered a few steps.  She recovered quickly enough to default a blow from the soldier.

Her left arm went numb as her side became slick from blood flowing from her shoulder.  The soldier was able to knock her sword from her hand.  Her vision blurred as she heard halfling fighting close by.  The last thing she saw was the halfling fighting the other soldier.

The assault was well timed and executed.  The only flaw was they underestimation of the pilgrims skills.  Once the initial shock of the surprise wore off the pilgrim’s rallied strong.  If there were more priestesses or another spell caster the battle could have easily tipped in their favor.  Arwata the halfling also proved invaluable in the fight.  She was able to get the archers out of the trees with little effort.

When the fighting stopped there were ten less pilgrims.  Milo was able to save Juniper with a salve that stopped the bleeding and promote rapid healing.

“This assault shall not go unchallenged.  We will avenge our fallen; we shall march on the next temple of Trest and raze it to the ground!”  Alexander said to the group.  Cheers erupted all around.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Heroes of Legend: A Monster Raises

As they left the city Alexander insisted on arming the pilgrims so they can defend themselves during their journey.  The roads were becoming dangerous with the chaos going on in the heavens.  The bandit attack was just the precursor of what was to come.

With their numbers now at fifteen it would discourage most of the bandit from attacking them.  The Halfling woman from the temple refused to wear more than the barest clothing or touch a weapon.  She insisted that these items hindered her natural movements.  Alexander was unsure that someone as small as her could defend herself even if she had armor and weapon.  As Alexander was about to send her away she begged to prove she was capable of defending herself during the track to the holy site of Aaryon.  Not wanting to harm the woman he agreed to test her but only with a paddled practice sword.  She agreed that she had to win 3 of 5 bouts.  Alexander wanting to end this test he feinted a sword slash.  She anticipated this move and countered this with a sweep of his legs.  When his vision cleared from bouncing his head off the ground he saw her over him with a neutral expression on her face.  Her speed was incredible.  Learning from his mistake Alexander took the second and third bout scoring hits to her arm and shoulder.  What he failed to realize was that she was studying his movements so she could adjust her style to maximize her advantage.  The fourth bout was over as soon as it started.  He raised his weapon slightly to gain momentum when she was striking the palm of her hand under his jaw.  The strike was so quick that he was unprepared and staggered backwards several steps.

Pride was on the line for the fifth bout.  Alexander was not slacker when it came to unarmed combat but not where near her skill.  She had his timing which meant he had to change up his style and go for less power and shift to a using a single hand to keep a hand open to guard against her ability to get inside his sword swing.  Whether she won or lost this bout she was going to be allowed to stay with them.  The two combatants took their marks and the match was started.  Alexander feigned a sword swing.  She rushed to get inside the swing that wasn’t coming.  He spun out of the way and hit her square in the back with his elbow sending her towards the ground.  Unlike him she rolled into the fall and came up into a fighting stance.  There was a momentary loss of control as her expression neutral to anger back to neutral.  She bowed low accepting defeat.

“I shall level your camp and follow my own course of enlightenment.  You are a worthy opponent.” She said

“Please stay and forgive my ignorance in your ability to protect yourself.  I have a feeling your talents will be needed.”  Alexander said after he returned her bow.  “You are by far the tallest of your race that I have ever seen.”

“My entire line is nearly a head taller than most of my race.  The saying in my village is we are part human.”  Even though she had just told a joke a she still had the same neutral expression.

At this time a crowd had gathered to watch the fight.  Juniper didn’t like this woman from the start.  She was going to get in her way of having Alexander.  She just hoped that she would not have to do something drastic to get the woman to leave.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Heroes of Lore: Sanam Holy Temple

The heroes had explored the area surrounding where the temple of had been.  When they left they were confronted with a problem, there were pilgrims that had gathered.  Most asked to accompany them on their journey to the Temple of Sanam, the Goddess of love and fertility.  Her temple was the relatively close compared to the rest of the holy sites, at only a month’s travel.   They allowed only the able bodied to travel with them.  Alexander knew that those who accompanied them could face danger.  It weighed heavy on him that they could be injured helping him on his quest for knowledge.  He had to find a way to protect those under his care.
At the end of the days march Juniper and he trained the six pilgrims in self-defense.  Without proper weapons they first practiced with stick as swords.  This training was tested when on the seventh night a group of roaming thieves attacked what they thought would be an easy target.  The fighting was fierce, only the heroes had proper weapons.  The thieves matched their nine plus two.  Alexander was protecting a badly hurt pilgrim from two thieves while Milo was fighting one to a standstill.  Juniper had enchanted her sword to have the keenest of edges allowing her to slice through their armor with ease.  The image of her was terrifying as she cut off a thieves arm and trailing blood in her blades wake.  The thief fell to the ground screaming in agony holding the stump that was his arm.  A quick jab through his heart ended his life.  The cry of a pilgrim caught her attention.  She saw a thief dragging away a female pilgrim trying to escape.  His back was to her, as he was repositioned himself to hold her more securely.  She took three steps to close the distance left a deep gash across his back.  He let go of the woman and turned to her.  His last sight was a glint of light from the fire off her blade as it separated his head from his shoulders.  The thieves fled when their numbers were reduced by half.  Her lust for blood was not quenched and she fell another thief that begged mercy.  She had the misfortune of falling while she fled the camp with food.  Juniper had severed and arm and leg before Alexander was able to stop her continuing to dismember the thief.  The two heroes fought over her conduct as Milo attempted to save the girl.  Ultimately the only merciful thing to do was to end her life.  Alexander insisted on doing this feeling that this was his fault.  That death weighted on his soul as much as the two pilgrims that perished during the night.  All of the dead were giving a proper burial, somehow when the bodies were blessed the words seemed hollow and without meaning.
Now with the equipment from the thieves attack, Alexander was able to properly train the four remaining pilgrims.  As heroes approached the holy site of Sanam they noticed that morality was weakening.  Brothers were operating in the open and flaunting their talents in windows.  The disturbing part was they all adorned the symbol of Sanam.  Even though Sanam represented love she was never one for the strengthening of the emotional connection between lovers not open debauchery.  People were paying homage to this false aspect the goddess.  When the heroes reached the temple what they found was beyond anything.  There were people in varying stages of undress and engaging in every sort of sexual act possible.  Alexander was disgusted when he found the temple high priestess tangled in a pile of bodies.  The only reason he knew it was her was because the only thing she wore was the torque of the high priestess.
“What has happened here” Alexander asked once she was untangles from the pile.
“This is the goddess will.  We are to spread the joys that come from love.”  She stepped close to Alexander placed one arm around his waist and the other was stroking his chest.
“Open lust has never been the goddess wishes.  Why have her views changed so?” Alexander continued.
“Lust is a part of love.  When you love someone you also lust for them.  Her new message is nothing but a reflection of that.” 
She was actively trying to free Alexander of his clothing.  When he refused her she stepped back and held her arms out wide and twirled slowly in front of him.  “Am I not desirable enough for you?  I freely give myself to you, or do you desire something else?  We can find you someone to love be they male or female.  All are welcome to experience lust here.  Everyone here is safe to explore what, and whoever they want.”
Juniper interposed herself between the priestess, and Alexander, “What if those explorations cause problems for people that are in love with each other”
The priestess moved to Juniper and placed her arms around Junipers neck and leaned to her ear and whispered into her ear.  “My dear jealousy is not permitted here.  It interferes with the free flow of passion.   Please don’t make us have to discipline you for breaking our one rule.”  As she moved away from Juniper she kissed her full on the mouth.  The kiss caught her be surprise and overwhelmed her emotionally.  Juniper was left transfixed by the freedom she felt. 
Juniper snapped free from the spell the cast on her and stepped back weakly into Alexander, nearly falling.  Alexander caught her before she was in fear of hitting the ground.  The feeling of having his arms around her caused her to swoon.  She turned to look into his eyes hoping to find the love she felt for him returned in his eyes.  Instead want she felt was cold indifference.
“Why have you done this to me?  What have we done to you and your flock?”  Juniper said through clinched teeth.
“My child you’ve done nothing wrong all I’ve offered is to expand your mind.  Please enjoy whoever you want.  I need to return to my flock.”  She gave each of the heroes a passionate kiss.
The heroes were left to wonder again what is going on in the heavens when the father and the protector of the gods is missing and the goddess of love is now the goddess of lust.  They made their way out of the temple avoiding the piles of people blocking their way.
“We need to find the holy site of Aaryon.  Maybe we can find some answers there.  Everything is getting worse, when the gods change aspects things are in peril.  I fear for what we’ll find there.”  Alexander said once free of the temple.  As they left the city Alexander took stock in the people with them.  There were another nine pilgrims with them, one of them a halfling woman from the temple staff.