First real battle of Book #2

It wasn’t until the great axe became unsheathed and was being passed from left to right hand that the maniacal laughter replaced the talking to himself. Still the dwarf’s gaze remained fixed on the journey already behind them and an element of concern crept into Coefly’s mind as he tried to see what it was the dwarf had become obsessed with, but could see nothing.

“Hey Rohlen,” he shouted trying to get the mage’s attention. “Any idea what’s sparked the dwarf into life?”
He gave the pair a half hearted glance not expecting to see anything other than Tumbor being Tumbor, however he soon gave the situation his full attention having recognised one of the dwarf’s pre rituals before battle. Even Jax, over hearing Corfly’s original comments, shifted into a concerned state and began scanning the horizon behind them.

“What tracks us Tumbor?”

“Half breeds,” The dwarf spits heavily in disgust upon the floor beside him. “Not human, and not hound. Abominations of dark evil magic and they run hard to catch us.”

“Since Breakwater?”

“Hard to say, but if so, they left not long after us which would suggest someone’s sold their soul in providing such information!”

Jax placed a hand on Tumbor’s shoulder forcing him to momentarily stop passing his axe from hand to hand which resulted in a fixed glare from the dwarf,

“You as well as anyone my friend, should recall all too well the manipulative and persuasive nature of dark magic!”

“It is a memory that will follow me to my tomb friend and one in which I vowed would never be repeated to anyone associated with me for fear of death. Death that will surly come to those that unknowingly now race towards it!”

“Tumbor I understand the thirst in you, the bloodlust that builds in wanting to see these creatures whimpering at the mercy of your blade, but please remember we are on a mission for information. If you could curb your temper enough to allow us one to talk to.”

“You claim to understand, yet you ask me under the intensity and revelry of battle to hold my blade against a foe that would show no such constraint. May I suggest you choose your informant quickly Jax DuPont, and you pull them from the mayhem before my blade silences them, you or both.”

It was with that statement, as cold and as yet clear as it could have been, Tumbor with axe in hand leapt from the back of the wagon, landing in a squatted crouch ready to explode off to meet those advancing upon him. That which followed never failed in raising the hairs upon the back of the neck of those that heard it, and never failed in whipping the dwarf into a maniacal frenzy, Tumbor’s battle cry!

Those that the dwarf has been following from afar, had now become close enough to be seen by the others in the group. Sleek black muscular bodies, running upon all four much like a hound, and yet appearing to be more human in form, save for the elongated muzzle that dripped heavily with saliva, and occasionally flashed a sight of the razor sharp teeth that dominated the mouth. Their naked upper torsos were adorned with patches of course black hair, very reminiscent of fur found on hunting hounds.

Coefly reaching for his short bow, took aim with an arrow notched shaking in his hand. Nerves were getting the better of him. Easily understandable given the man-hound was over twice his size, with a jaw that looked like it could snap him in half with one bite. The arrow struck the front shoulder, biting deep and causing the creature stumble in its stride, though it regained quickly eyeing the halfling with evil intent.
Rolen predictably called upon the power of his dragons, causing them to pulsate and convulse around his out stretched arms. Slowly they shifted in intensity from a sunflower yellow through to a deep crimson as they awaited the mage’s command to let fly. Jax prepared the others by warning them to hold tight!

As expected, the ethereal creatures sprung up high into the air from the mage’s arms, seemingly dancing and entwining with each other, almost impatiently awaiting their creator’s command, who in turn had been awaiting the dwarf to announce his arrival upon the conflict. It came with an earth shaking and blood curdling impact, the sound of bone shattering heard above all else. Leading with his shoulder, Tumbor hit the creature head on with the force of a dwarven siege engine, sending jaw bone, blood and saliva spraying outward from the impact. The creature itself found itself in a whelping heap several feet away from the impact, a merciless dwarf stood over its prone broken body with a large blade ready to deal a swift demise. A demise that did not come.

Behind the dwarf, two ethereal entities came spiralling earthward, slamming into the beast that Coefly had first wounded, sending a spray of molten lava and fire all over the beast. Its agonised cries of pain were almost too much to bear, as it tried to stand, charred chucks of flesh falling effortlessly from its frame. Too weak to continue, it slumped in a heap panting heavily trying to get air into its parched lungs. If time was merciful, it would bring an end to this poor creature’s suffering.

Tumbor always had a sixth sense it battle, knowing where he was, his companions and every impending blade or talon. He immediately left his quarry, instead turning his attentions to another than had been prowling since the initial impact, stopping its charge on the wagon, instead turning its attention to the dwarf. The two were now almost face to face, only a small rocky preface between them, the hound looking down on the dwarf with spit and bile falling upon his face and beard. Reaching up, he grabbed the beast by the throat and manoeuvred its head away from his own, he also found leverage to bring himself more eye to eye.

“So many questions I have, yet so many answers you’ll never give me.” said the dwarf in as menacing a tone he could muster. The creature squirmed, possible fear flashing across his eyes as Tumbor gripped a little tighter around it’s windpipe. Linn had been watching as everything unfolded. Jax had taken down of the creatures alone and was now busy cleaning the blood and bile from his blade. So quietly efficient as he, his contributions had gone unnoticed by all. Coefly and Rohlen were sat discussing the theatrical nature of magic and how spectacular the two dragons were in both effect and visually. Whilst Coefly was indeed a full grown halfling of several decades, his enthusiasm resembled that of a small child.

Tumbor on the other hand was the epitome of war and death. With one quarry grounded and well within striking distance, he held another by the throat seemingly being toyed with, and it was this one Linn wanted to get answers from. Carefully she descended the wagon from the spot she had remained the entire encounter, though by her own admission she had no fighting experience or skills to offer the others and so she had remained hidden as best she could.

“Come to take a look at what we’re fighting against have you?” said Tumbor presenting the beast to the cautious yet still advancing Linn, though as she appeared to get a little too close the creature attempted a lunge, only failing due to the dwarf’s tight grip.

“I cannot read his mind!” declared Linn staring intently at the beast.

“He’s not one for talking either,” grimaced Tumbor, “So he’ll no longer be needing this.” He ragged the creature violently in the air, still holding on tightly to its windpipe, before slamming it into the ground. Placing a boot upon its chest, he continued to pull until the windpipe tore through its neck and chest, blood and bile showering Linn and Tumbor in the process.

“Try the other one,” suggested Tumbor wiping his beard. “Maybe recent events may have loosened his tongue a little.”

Still in a state of abhorrent shock at the gruesome violence shown by the dwarf, seemingly with little or no remorse, she shuffled her feet over to the Tumbor’s first quarry. It lay breathing heavily, its face a bloodied pulp of mashed cartilage and broken bone. It tried to move as she drew near, but whelped in pain suggesting broken ribs or internal injuries and so remained instead, prone on the floor.

“Well, is it telling you anything?” shouted Tumbor continuing to clean himself as Jax joined them.

“I too would be intrigued as to whether their minds are susceptible to your reading them,” added Jax.

“Sadly all this one is parting with, is how he hopes to live long enough to see his kin folk rip the dwarven maniac apart and feast upon this organs!”

Tumbor laughed lightly and nodded a couple of times. Yet with one fluid movement his axe blade fell across the neck of the beast, separating what was left of his head from his torso. “No!” he added. “Though it is good to know that you can hear their thoughts, even disillusioned ones!”

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Writing Challenge

Story Challenge: Word and Genre suggested by Laura ~ neon hotpants / crime thriller.

“Talk to me Sargent. What have we got?”

The middle aged policeman cleared his throat before addressing the suit clad inspector. Whereas the Sargent was time served and had progressed through the force via hard work and pounding the streets, the inspector was fresh faced and straight from behind some desk at the academy. There was still a mutual respect for their respective rank.

“Another from the homeless community. Male, around thirty year old.”

“That’s the fifth in as many days! Cause of death?”

“Strangulation, the same as the others.”

The inspector nodded as though he’d been expecting the answer and began pacing around as if searching for answers to the questions in his head. “I assume there were no witnesses as before also.”

“Actually,” began the Sargent. “We have a description.”

It was the first time the attack had been seen, or at least the first time anyone had come forward with information. Whilst previous murders had similar characteristics, there had been no viable leads with which to investigate.

“Average build and height, wearing a black hooded and neon hotpants.”

The description had the inspector kicking the ground in frustration.

“Look around you. What do you see? We’re smack bang in the middle of festival season and nearly everyone is wearing neon clothing of some fashion.”

The Sargent remained silent.

“Let us hope the body parts with more helpful clues than your witness.”

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Saying Goodbye – contains Spoiler

It’s been a while, but back at it:

Jax tethered his horse outside the rather plain, yet exceptionally clean, Temple of Lyra. Where as all the other buildings within Blucester portrayed their age, with crumbling stonework, or patched up woodwork, the temple looked better now than the day it was built. Whilst it would never win any awards for its aesthetic design, it was certainly loved and cared for devotedly by those that found salvation there.

A muted yellow glow eminated from behind the two solid oak doors that were set open. A hint of juniper hung in the air, most likely from the incense burning within. Jax slowly walked to the back of his horse so as to lift the rolled up blanket into his arms. His heart was heavy, and though he’d been fearing this moment, he knew he owed it to his fleeting love, Yulien, a disciples burial.

“What burdens you traveller?” enquired a middle age man, seemingly standing sentry between the two doors.

As Jax approached the man’s gaze became fixed upon the rolled blanket, his furrowed brow deepening with curiosity the longer his question went unanswered.

“I ask you again traveller, what carry you to the doors of our temple?” Shifting his left leg, his stance became more defensive whist his hand hovered over the hilt of previously unseen mace. Still Jax advanced, until he met with the outstretched hand holding the cold steel of the guards weapon but inches from his face. “Stop and declare your purpose!”

Lifting his head, sorrow and heartache portrayed unashamedly within his eyes, Jax stared intently at the guard. “She warrants a disciples burial.”

“That is a matter for the clerics to decide,” stated the guard lowering his mace. “I will see if any are available to offer you audience. Please, wait here.”

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Deception

A tiny bit more towards completion:

The trio made their way back into the mouth of the mine, scanning as they went, the numerous dead bodies looking for that of the thief. He wasn’t at the entrance, and so they pushed on further in.

“I’m not seeing him,” said Jax

“Nor I,” replied Rohlen. “Do you not have a spell that would aid us?” Yulien looked at him shaking her head. “Then we push on a little further.”

“We have no idea as to when that ‘thing’ killed him and took his place. How far back do you suggest we go?”

“Alas you are right. We should be venturing forward, not retracing our steps.”

“Melvin!” proclaimed Yulien pointing a little further ahead.

The figure of the thief emerged from the shadows. He was clinging to his mid-drift, a near fatal wound oozing blood freely, almost robbing him of his consciousness. Yulien ran to his aid.

“Wait!” shouted Jax abruptly. “How do we know it’s him?”

“Jax, he’s severely wounded and without my help he will die.”

“He’s right,” said Rohlen. “We have seen first hand the changeling’s ability to mimic the thief, and let us not forget the wound Jax inflicted upon it.”

Yulien began to slowly step away, however an outstretched arm grabbed her wrist and pulled her close.

“Heal me!” Melvin spluttered through pain soaked lips. “Heal, me!”

“Unhand her,” urged Jax, his sword ready in his hand.

“Heal me!” he repeated.

Rohlen’s arms began to pulse with fiery orange and red arcane energy, something that didn’t go unnoticed by the thief.

“So be it,” he hissed as talons quickly replaced fingernails. With a quick thrust they punctured Yulien’s lower back, and she screamed as they racked upwards still deep within.

Jax lunged foward his blade connecting with the upper chest area of the once again transforming changeling. Rohlen unleashed magical bolt after magical bolt. Even after the creature had slumped to its demise, the mage consumed by anger, continued with his magical barrage.

“Rohlen stop!” begged Jax wanting to get to Yulien’s side. She was on her knees grasping for air, her lifeforce ebbing away with every attempted breath. “Stop!”

The mage, tears streaming from his eyes, also fell on his knees staring at his sister. She slowly shook her head,

“Not this time brother.”

Jax caught her as she fell forward, her last breath taken. Tears too welled in his eyes as he placed a kiss upon the top of her head. Picking her up in his arms, he began carrying her towards the mine opening. Rohlen, picking up Jax’s fallen sword, slowly followed. No words were spoken.

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Word / Genre Challenge #4

Word: Paper Aeroplane

Genre: Thriller

Autumn had arrived to the streets of London, and with it brought a distinctive nip to the earlier darkening evenings. The lamplighter having already done his early rounds, the flame from the street lamps casting ominous shadows along the many alleyways and recessed shop openings, had retired to warm his belly with a small brandy from within the hospitality of The George.

Inside, whispers were rife of another gentleman of wealth being parted of both his coin and his life down by the docks. He had been the third this month, and the local constabulary were still no further forward in establishing a motive, let alone potential suspects.

The only thing each victim had in common, was their privileged social standing, and a plain paper aeroplane that rest upon each of their chests.

Some speculated that their deaths were attributed to the proposed plans for an airfield where many of the poorest families are currently housed, but there was no proof substantiating these theories.

With the death toll rising, all potential leads were proving as cold as the plummeting temperature.

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Picture Challenge

I walked what seemed like hours in the darkness
Taking re-assurance from the texture of uneven bark between my fingers
The trees, some three times my age, guided me
Like an old man holding gently the hand of his grandchild
I walked towards the light that hung in the air like some ghostly apparition
With a beauty most haunting it gave me chills
Was I heading towards salvation from the colour of the night
Or a prelude to my own eternal darkness

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Web Master

He led her to a picture perfect representation of your stereotypical haunted house. Run down and derelict. Even the weather was causing a kind of ground fog that added to the spooky vibe. So why then did she follow him side?

The air was musty, and everything was covered in a blanket of dust, giving the impression that no one had lived here for years. The ceiling was covered in what at first looked like cob webs, but they were damp and in clumps like seaweed. The place sent a shiver down her spine.

“Are we supposed to be here?” she asked with nervous suspicion.

“Of course,” he replied whilst gesturing with his hands and bending his fingers.

At first she was unsure as to what he was doing, but it wasn’t long before she noticed the ceiling webs moving to his commands. They were dropping in long strands, then making their way back up again.

“Okay you’re freaking me out now,” she said turning for the door. “I’m going to leave.”

With a swift downward swipe a large clump of the wet unknown mass fell upon her knocking her to the floor. He stood over her smiling, moving his hands so as to control in some way the heavy weight that was pinning her down.

“What are you doing? Please! Let me go!”

“I can’t do that,” he replied with a sinister tone. “The family are yet to dine.”

No sooner had the words left his lips, he gestured to the ceiling once more. A large beetle type insect began to lower itself upon a strand of the web moving to the commands being given until it was lingering an inch above her right inner thigh. The short skirt she was wearing offering ample amounts of exposed flesh.

“Why?” she cried out. “Why are you doing this to me?”

With a snap of his fingers, the beetle lowered the final distance, sinking its twitching mandibles into her skin causing her to scream out in searing pain. No sooner had it bitten, he gestured for it to return to the ceiling once more.

Within minutes the wound began swell, blisting with a milky white fluid clearly visible beneath. The same milky white as the wet clumps on the ceiling. Moments later the wound exploded sending a stream of the web like strands up onto the ceiling, also causing her to scream in pain once more.

“Embrace it,” he smiled. “Your sacrifice is giving birth to new life.”

Her screams became much louder, much more full of fear as she could do nothing but watch as another beetle began to descend towards her face.

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Cancer….Fuck You

So some of you may have noticed I’ve been a little sketchy and absent from here for a while. That’s because life has a way of kicking you in the ball sack when you think you may have turned a corner.

Last Saturday, the day before Mother’s day and a handful of days after her 61st birthday, my mother lost her long fight against cancer. She past away in hospital, where the medical staff did everything they could in easing her pain and making her comfortable.

So yes, I’ve been absent, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been with good reason. There is no need for condolences, or prayers, because I know you will feel compelled to write something. All I ask is that you go and get regular checks so that your family aren’t one day left grieving as mine are.

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Word/Genre Challenge #9

Word (s) is: Overly full wine glass. Genre: Murder Mystery.

The Party for Sinners

The body was that of August Pennyfeather, an eccentric recluse who limited his contact with the outside world to an absolute minimum. So why, on the eve of his death, had he requested six complete strangers to his home via personal invitation?

Had one of these invited guests arrived with a motive for murder? With suspicion rife and accusing eyes looking in all directions, just who did provide the fatal blow that robbed their
host of his life?

The first suspect was a rather rotund young gentleman, rosy red cheeks and slick short straight hair. Dressed in a tailored three piece tweed suit, he cut a figure of gentry and wealth to excess. Though he had no recollection of ever meeting his host, August had seen him stuffing an extremely obscene amount of money into his wallet, whilst dismissing a hungry beggar on the roadside.

The second was another more rotund male, except one with less ambition on dressing well, as evident by his ill fitting shirt and trousers. Again he knew nothing of his host, though their paths had crossed one evening in a local restaurant. August witnessed his guest devour several servings of both the main course and desert, before then washing it all down with a overly full wine glass, its contents disappearing in one gulp.

Third was an average looking middle-aged woman, with the kind of face that could easily be forgotten in a crowd of two. August saw her upon the street yelling at a young child, her face flush red and hand smacking violently the back of the young one’s bare legs. Only stares from others brought her to stop.

A very attractive woman was fourth. Dressed to impress, her long blonde hair was plaited perfectly. It framed beautiful blue eyes, accented with makeup, and lips coloured a bright red. She was dressed immaculately, without a thing out of place. August’s encountered with her, was within a department store, surrounded by mirrors and about all the store’s assistants running back and forth, attending to her every whim.

Fifth was another female. She was beautiful in a way that only a select few would find attractive. Her face showed signs of surgical enhancement, with plumped lips and creases removed. It would be a safe bet that other parts of her had been altered also. The host’s encounter with her was standing in a queue at the bank. She had been discussing with another, her jealousy over the other woman’s nose, and that perhaps she should pay her surgeon another visit.

Last was a weasly looking gentleman with greasy brown hair that strangely matched his wispy short facial hair. The shirt he wore untucked from his trousers, sported a rather large stain, and rather than being a crisp white, was looking a dirty off white. He also gave off a musty odour that hadn’t gone unnoticed by the others. The meeting of August and he, was a rather brief affair. A simple sneeze into his hands, followed by them being rubbed upon a seat beside him on a crowded train. August stood for the entire of that journey.

Six guests, each portraying one of the seven cardinal sins, but where was the seventh? Was August Pennyfeather the missing sin? What or who had caused his demise? As accusing eyes continued to circulate the room, none had noticed that only one of the overly full glasses of wine had been drunk from.

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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Word/Genre Challenge #6

The word for this challenge was:
Tongs, and genre: Sci-Fi.

“Romeo Oscar One Five, do you receive, over?”

The intercom returned nothing but silence, just as it had done every time the same question had been asked for what had been a hour.

RO15, less formally known as Research Officer Jacqueline Miles, had transported aboard the strange floating ship escorted by a security team in the hopes of discovering if, or what, occupied the vessel. Attempts at communicating proved unsuccessful.

The information reported back, up until the point of radio silence, had been that the ship had been abandoned, with all escape pods deployed, though there was an uneasy sense of not being alone.

“Romeo Oscar One Five, do you receive, over?”

Several minutes past in silence, until a definite buzz of interference came of the intercom. Again the question was asked,

“Romeo Oscar One Five, do you receive, over?”

Another more sustained buzz replied, this time however, interjected with a croaky gargling female voice.

“Capsule…..fluorescent glow…..closer examination…..tongs smashed it…..unleashed a ghost.”

“Romeo Oscar One Five, can you repeat. Communications breaking up. Did you find something?”

“It’s found…..”

What followed was a horrifying scream, the last communication with RO15, Jacqueline Miles.

Copyright: authorchrisbrown

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