miércoles, 7 de noviembre de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 21 Part 2

Burns had retreated to higher ground, dragging a protesting Kam with them. Sir Frederic trailed along behind, his sword dragging uselessly in the dirt. His world, and his own perceptions of it, had been crudely shattered. Magic was merely a word, what he had witnessed today was more than that.
“What is he doing?” asked Kam as he watched Cornelius and Ngulu settle quietly amidst the falling debris.

“How would we know?” Burns replied with his own question, “Is he even human anymore?”
“He wasn’t exactly human before,” joked Kam, “just a little more recognisable as an associated species.”

“True,” agreed Burns, “anger and madness follow him around. This however…”
“Not human?” interrupted Sir Frederic, his grip tightening on his sword with purpose.

“Slow down there,” said Burns, “it’s a figure of speech, or rather it was. I am not exactly sure what he is right now. Whatever it is appears to be on our side. Let’s just hope it stays that way.”
“What the…?

Burns had been watching the drop pods and he gasped in horror as they split apart, revealing their horrid cargo.
“Not again,” snarled Burns, raising his rifle.

“Come on Cornelius,” whispered Kam, “do something!”

Butt laughed as he saw the creatures appear. He would wait a short while, in order to give them a fair chance. Their life energies would feed him and his steed, and it would be better to let them recover before slaughtering them all.

Ngulu recognised the Ambryn. They were a plague which multiplied unchecked wherever they were found. Previously, one of his masters had seeded a world with Ambryn, just to see what they would do. Once the animals had eaten all of the resident wildlife, including humans, they had turned on each other. It was then that Ngulu’s master had sent in his own troops. Blooding new warriors was an important part of training, and Ngulu had welcomed the opportunity. During the exercise though, he had learnt a healthy respect for the Ambryn. They died, as did all things, but leave just one or two, and you soon had a reinfestation. Like any plague, it must be eradicated totally.

As if in silent agreement, flames curled once more around his new Master’s figure, the overflow causing Ngulu to yelp in surprise. He flexed his claws and bunched his thigh muscles, as Cornelius incinerated the first of his foes.

miércoles, 17 de octubre de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 21 Part1

Chapter Twenty One

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Shan was scared, and for a monstrosity like him, that was worrying indeed. He could not shake Cornelius no matter how hard he tried, and desperation began to seep into his bones. Thumbing his communicator, he called the control centre.
“Are you there?”
“Of course,” came the reply, a sneer apparent in the Ori’s voice.
“I need a distraction,” snarled Shan.
“Don’t we all?” asked the Ori, his voice slurred by his lack of teeth.
“Enough!” snapped Shan, “this errant player has just skirted past the bottom rung on the demi-god ladder. Send me reinforcements.”
“All we have are the Ambryn,” replied the Ori, “and they are busy eating what’s left of your last game piece. We do have a few more in stasis…”
“I don´t care,” gasped Shan, jinking his fighter to one side as a ball of flames whistled past, “throw them into the fray, and I mean literally.”
“Your wish is my command…drop-pods deployed…right on your position!”
The Ori was not joking! He had fired the drop pods from the ship straight down Shan’s throat. He was not even sure the Ambryn would survive, but that was none of his concern. A quick look at his scanners saw Ngulu breaking away, desperately trying to avoid the rain of fiery missiles.
Shan gunned his engines, putting his own safety first. These Ambryn would eat their way through this zone and the next. If he managed to survive this encounter, he could torch and rebuild. Right now though, escape from the rampaging dwarf was his only thought.
Voices continued to intrude on Cornelius’ thoughts, this time though, they did not have the sweet insistence of Clari. Instead they hissed, snarled and hungered. Whatever was in those drop pods yearned to be free, to eat, fight, kill and consume. In his altered state, Cornelius felt no fear. Rather, he saw the problem as an inconvenience to be dealt with quickly, before he continued with his pursuit of the now rapidly receding fighter.
“Down!” he commanded Ngulu, and the demon obeyed, folding its wings and plummeted towards the ground.
Drop pods slammed to earth all around, yet none struck Cornelius and his ride. Of his companions there was no sign and Cornelius dismissed them from his mind. He felt Ngulu’s rage and battle madness and revelled in its dark majesty. Killing was an outlet for his own anger, and this promised rich fare.

jueves, 27 de septiembre de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 20 Part 2

Lucretia smirked at her sister, who even now was feeding, the slurping and sucking was such sweet music to her ears. Two thin trails of blood ran from her mouth, spots patterning her blouse where they had fallen.

It had been an unexpectedly profitable day; their flight from the last town had been precipitous to say the least. Locals could be so pedantic in their beliefs, imagine, they had thought that she would wait for their justice.

She laughed wryly, and shouldered her sister aside, who snarled at her, but gave way. Whoever these new humans were, they tasted good, not like the insipid villagers from their last stop. Her mentor had told her that this world held a bounty of delicacies to tickle the palate and she had been surprisingly pleased to find out that he had been right. His recent arrival had interrupted their excesses, and his chastisement had been less than welcome.

He looked good. His recent sojourn on the flagship seemed to signal a kind of rebirth and Lucretia had been tempted to keep him, if only for a moment. Mammon was such a dear, and so easy to take advantage of. He actually believed her excuses and tried to talk to the villagers for her. Idiot.

Such a shame that he had been caught, helping their escape. Of course, the fact that she had shot him the back, physically rather than metaphorically, as he faced their pursuers had of course little to do with it. The quarrelled bolt had actually punched through his hand, pinning him to a tree and he roared his anger and desperation to the skies in such a delightful way. That too had been entertaining though.

She decided to have a little nap and lay down next to the rapidly cooling body of Sargeant Harms. There was so much to look forward to, a bounteous feast would be held once the sun fell and then there were other pleasures to be had with her minions.


Mammon was angry; in a towering rage, not only because of Lucretia’s betrayal, but also because he had needed to kill a useful food source. She would pay, of that he was sure, he thought, feeling the bulk of the transmitter in his pocket. Only he knew how the portals could be opened; a thing he had done regularly on his previous visit here. That a beautiful girl and her sister should have captivated him so, after all of these centuries, was laughable. That was, if he could only admit it, a pattern of his, which all of his brethren took advantage of.

It was on a previous jaunt to the planet that he had found this place, and he constantly came back, replenishing himself. After his close call with Alana, he made straight for the comforting arms of his girls. Time seemed to have brought out their true characters. Demons were just so fickle.

That was of course the reason he told himself, but deep down, the savage beast within him wanted to rend and tear, so repaying the disloyalty and removing the evidence of his mistake. He shook his head, driving the reverie away and stopped, breathing in deeply, tasting the night air.

Silently, he advanced; he was close now, the smell of freshly spilt blood, mixed with something fouler drew him on. Vengeance was a dish best served cold, but he had always thought it tasted better hot and steaming. Blood was blood, after all.

Renard never heard a thing, death came upon him unexpectedly, yet he did not miss experiencing it. A pair of strong hands closed about his neck, lifting him easily off the floor. He managed a choked gasp, as he was swung around, his foot lashing out reflexively. It felt as though he had slammed his boot into a solid post, and he silently screamed. His training kicked in and he drew his combat knife, his vision even now blurring as his oxygen-starved brain began shutting down. With an ultimate expenditure of energy, he stabbed into the body before him, wondering why there was no sound.

With a crack, Mammon snapped Renard’s neck and tossed his limp body to the floor. He glanced disdainfully at the knife, sliding it free from his chest and stood for a moment listening carefully. All was well, he thought, as he wiped the blade on Renard’s tunic. Then knife in hand, he stalked his next prey, the rush of anticipation filling him.

Lucretia woke, her hunger fierce and called out for her minions. Her only reply was silence, so she tried again. Cursing them and spitting forth a venous tirade of what pain she would inflict on them for their lethargy of reply, she pulled by the rear covering. A fist exploded into her face, the strength of the blow throwing half way across the wagon bed.

“Mammon!” she cried in fear.
“Yes, my love,” he replied, climbing slowly inside, “we have some unfinished business I believe?”

He pulled the flap closed behind him, as he climbed into the wagon, and shortly afterwards the screaming began.

Llorente was the only one of his companions left alive, for some reason the ravening beast, the abomination who had attacked the camp had spared him. A face from hell itself had stared icily into his eyes, fangs glistening with recently spilt blood and then had moved away.

There could only be one fate left for him, and so he began to pray. He called to the Prelate, to the Taurans’ Demons, to anyone who would listen. Nothing.

The animalistic cries from the wagon, the heaving of its sides, all had ceased. He saw something appear from behind the rear wheels and he began to plead, in a childish and plaintively whimpering voice. Still on it came, teeth bared, eyes bloodshot, and it was smiling.

miércoles, 12 de septiembre de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 20 Part 1

Chapter Twenty

Emerald Forest
Zone I

Harms and his men were spaced out evenly to the rear of the Taurans, they had managed to take out the various sentries positioned around their position and now they waited. Their level of weaponry was greatly improved by their impromptu shopping spree, although the Tauran troopers seemed to take little pride in their equipment. Irrespective of this fact, Harms felt better than he had done in a while and they were as ready as they were ever going to be.

Movement stirred the soldiers below and from further along the trail they heard voices raised in song. Slowly the caravan came into view; two Knights at the front, pennants flying gaily in the light breeze. There were another two at the rear of the column and a group of mail-shirted soldiers to either side of the two wagons, in the centre.

Whatever was within the wagons must be important, to merit such an honour guard. Harms’ eyes narrowed, as the order was given and the Taurans charged. His urgent hand signals were obeyed instantly and he and his men moved forward, flitting from cover to cover, always keeping the enemy soldiers in sight.

As they reached the edge of the woodland, they saw two of the Knights down and those at the rear charging. The soldiers had formed a protective cordon around the wagons but they died uselessly, unable to do little more than receive the incoming fire.

With a curt chopping motion of his hand he opened fire, the disciplined volley from his men punching into the rear of the Taurans, taking them completely by surprise. Quickly they regrouped, half of their forces splitting off from their unprovoked attack and concentrating their fire on Harms and his men.

Dividing their forces proved their undoing as the two Knights crashed into their rear, bowling a number of them over. Seeing the change in fortune, the mail-shirted troops charged, their swords ripping into the disoriented troopers.

Harms and his men moved down to the road, their rate of fire never slacking and it began to take its toll. With a shout of “Close quarters”, Harms dragged his knife free and leapt into the fray. He blocked his first opponent’s attack with his forearm, slicing his blade across the Tauran’s stomach. He heard the crunch of a descending rifle butt and continued on his way. There were a small knot of Taurans who had closed upon the wagons and he powered forward, his shoulder slamming into the rearmost of them.

He cried out as he felt the cut of a blade across his back and span, his booted foot connecting solidly. Grabbing the back of the Tauran’s neck, he rammed his knee upwards and was rewarded with a satisfying spurt of blood. His forgotten rifle slapped against his thigh and he swung it forward, burying its muzzle into the soldier's body and pulling the trigger.

In a brief moment of respite, he looked around and it was then he felt the crushing blow to his ribs and darkness closed in.


Harms was dead, of that he was sure; a coolness caressed his forehead and opening his eyes he stared directly into the face of an angel. She smiled; perfect teeth in a cherry-lipped mouth. Her lips parted, she bent down and he thrilled with the expectation of the kiss, his body unconsciously stirring in response to the beauty before him.

I must be in one of the wagons, he thought, looking past her. The thick canvas let diffuse light through, framing her head in a nimbus of understated light. Relaxing, he felt the touch of her lips against his forehead, the tip of his nose and then his throat. Blood surged through his veins, his pulse pounding in his head and he waited.

The brush of her lips was unusually cold, numbing at the point of contact. Then came the pain as she bit savagely into his flesh. He struggled, writhing and thrashing in desperation, determined to break free. It was no use, his arms and legs were firmly bound and he watched helplessly as the bloodstained mouth rose once more into his line of sight. A short pink tongue swiped across the now savage fangs and she hissed in pleasure. Slowly she bent once more, and fed.

Llorente shuddered as he heard the Sargeant scream again, a long drawn-out cry of pain. There was nothing that they could do, they had been roughly tied together, a sharpened pole hammered into the ground between them. Arms were stretched backwards to breaking point, their weapons had been seized after the surprise attack. At least Renard had gotten away, killing one of the soldiers in the struggle and disappearing into the forest.

It was a forlorn hope, that of escape, night was closing in and he knew he was next. The soldiers had graphically described their fate, grinning in anticipation of the pain and suffering to follow.

Renard watched from the shadows, wincing with each scream, thankfully the volume was weakening and he knew what that meant. There was little or no chance of saving the Sargeant, but maybe, just maybe he could do something about the others.

Crawling forward slowly, he approached the edge of the forest. Llorente was the closest, his back towards the wagons. One thing Renard knew for sure was that he did not want to be alone here, come nightfall.

domingo, 9 de septiembre de 2012

Sudden Dearth Now on Twitter

Yeah, I know, it's taken me long enough, but you can now follow my progress towards publishing the next two books on Twitter.

You can find me at  @suddendearth and I will be updating the progress towards the publication of A Cold Dish and Eldrid, Officer Of The Guard.

Sudden Dearth IV will continue to be published here FREE on my blog.



martes, 21 de agosto de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 19

Chapter Nineteen
Kermadec Island


Disputed Zone

Viker looked at his creatures in disgust. He had started this shining with light, pure and with good intention. Even his action to save Marius was done out of pity, yet it became his weakness and downfall. The insidious nature of that which Marius had become twisted and turned inside Viker’s mind. Whispers showed him new games, tortures and debaucheries and Viker was unable to refuse these persistent urges.

Indulging himself served to occupy him for a while, but it was not enough. He needed more. Viker was torn between following his rebellious troops or continuing on his way. The truth be told, neither really appealed to him, although vengeance was always a palatable dish. In the end, it was his mutations who decided him. They now mirrored his own image, dark wings sprouting to complement their hideous deformations. He himself retained his ethereal good looks, although the darkness left reminders of its touch.

If I am a God, thought Viker, then these must be my Angels. Yes, he laughed, I like that...

Viker’s Angels did no good deed, they excelled in the opposite. Forges were lit and weapons beaten into new shapes. Rifles and ammunition were collected and ferried to those craft chosen to carry them on their crusade. There were sacrifices, too many to count. Vats full of blood were carried to christen ships, arms and men. Body parts were used in other vile ceremonies, all in Viker’s name. His reputation had attracted the dregs of society, fringe religions and the insane. Now his Angels took their worship of their God to new heights, and Viker sucked in the proffered power greedily.

Finally they were ready, and ships lifted from Macauley. They were sluggish, reflecting the inexperience of their crews and the nature of their new Master. Emblazoned in red on the side of each craft were a pair of bloody wings. It was both a tribute and a message.

One by one, the ships jumped into Fold Space. Only Viker knew their real destination, and he grinned at the surprise he knew he would bring with his unannounced visit. A feeble part of his old self rebelled for one brief moment, before he cruelly snuffed it out. Dark piteous eyes gazed into the variegated hell that was Fold Space. He loved visiting old friends, and it had been so long since he had last seen them. Well, he would fix that right now.

First Contact
Unknown Location

Johns was torn between prayer and laughter. Their journey to earth had been nothing more than a partially-controlled dive, and he was surprised to be alive. His reinforced armour was a deciding factor, that and the braking jets. Location beacons had been deployed as a procedural event, but Johns held out little hope for aid. Alana was here, yet her predicament seemed no better than his own.
“Form on me!” he shouted, watching the remnants of his people struggle to their feet. It was pitiful.

“We need to move,” he said calmly, “Alana needs our help…”

Laughter greeted his weak joke, and he sent two of his armoured companions ahead as scouts, watching as the rest formed a rough perimeter around the survivors. They were all armed, yet he was anxious at their vulnerability. Long ago he learnt to trust those instincts imparted by his contact with Colonel Walters. Something just did not feel right.
Movement in the distance drew his attention, his HUD zooming in on reflex. The bright spark of plasma fire in the sky gave him his new bearing. If she was anywhere, he thought, Alana would be amongst the thick of battle. She loved to fly. Add to that the possibility of killing something, and she would always be the first to the party.

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

“New contacts!”
Alana heard Shin and rolled to avoid the swipe of a clawed hand. She unleashed a burst of fire and grunted in satisfaction as the demon’s wings disintegrated. The flashing icon on her HUD indicated direction and then the blue of friendly forces. She redirected her signal and boosted the power to her communications set.

“Johns, you old fart,” she screamed, “is that you?”
“Present and correct,” laughed Johns, “we’re on our way to pull you out of yet another shit-fight…”

“Of course,” she agreed sarcastically, “just tell your boys and girls that the ones to shoot at have red skins, tails and wings. We´re the good guys.”

“I see others,” said Johns, his voice becoming clearer as he approached.
“Enemy of my enemy, Johns,” she replied, “know what I mean?”

“Loud and clear, Alana,” said Johns, “we´ll be with you in five.”
“All of you,” she asked, puzzled as the group of contacts began to spread out.

“Naw,” he said and she could hear his head shake in her mind, “just Recon….”
Alana laughed as a compact group streaked towards her, reinforcements always helped.

lunes, 13 de agosto de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 18 Part 3

Harms quickly found the rest of his men. However they had not had enough time to find their own weapons. Instead they were armed with knives and swords and found themselves hunted, the cries of their pursuers ringing through the wooded area.

The only way he could see that they could upgrade their armoury now was to find the Tauran troops, taking what they needed by force. However, the first thing that they had to do was lose their pursuers.

He signalled a halt, indicating that his men took refuge in some dense undergrowth. They had not long to wait, their new enemies had to at least follow them on foot, the Knights finding it impossible to follow on their horses. This to some extent had reduced the armoured men’s advantage, but not by much.

A group of four or five soldiers passed by, beating the surrounding bushes with the flat of their swords and making a lot of noise. It seemed as though they were more used to hunting game than men and Harms smiled. For once, they would find that their prey had teeth.

As the last of them passed by, he slipped from cover, silently stalking his man. He covered the distance separating them in a silent run, his knee slamming into the man’s back as his hand covered his mouth. Almost simultaneously he slipped his blade between the man’s ribs and then gently lowered the corpse to the floor. Nodding to Renard, he moved forwards; they now had become the hunters.


Harms led his men forwards, dispatching silently any opposition as they closed on the main body of Taurans. They had almost stumbled into the larger and superior force as Harms had pressed them too much. His eagerness to get away from the armoured Knights was nearly their downfall.

“They’re not moving,” whispered Llorente, without taking his eyes of the soldiers who were semi-hidden by the trees, “they seem to be waiting for something.”

“Where’s Renard?” asked Harms, unable to see the stocky trooper amongst the shaded vegetation.

“He went to see what he could find,” grinned Llorente, “he said he was getting a little bit bored just waiting around.”

“I’ll skin him …” cursed Harms, but Llorente’s frantic signalling, caused him to bite off the rest of his comment in mid-flow.

“There he is,” whispered Llorente, “it looks as though he's found something.”

Renard slipped back into cover, a rifle hung over his shoulder and another clasped in his hands.

Harms thought about reprimanding him, but he felt a surge of elation at the sight of the rifles, “Any chance of some more?” he asked eagerly.

Renard nodded, “I had to leave a couple, this was all that I could carry.”

“Well done,” congratulated Harms, taking one of the weapons from him, “this is more like it!”

lunes, 16 de julio de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 18 Part 2

The Shaman sat astride one of the Demons; not the leader, but somewhat more submissive. He bobbed gently up and down, as the beast maintained its own height. Below, he could see the mass of tangled bodies, snapping and snarling at each other. Their flight had been uneventful until the chance sighting, and the shaman had chosen to let the Demons satiate their appetites, before he forced them on. Curiously enough, the violence had not ended as he had expected, rather the creatures had fought back, and from within their ranks had emerged armoured humans. Not the Neo-Barbs from the Emerald Forest, something entirely different.

A rending tear of auto-rifle fire shocked him into the present. Demon blood sprayed on high and he knew that it was time for intervention. With raised staff he began to invoke his Power.


What looked like an amalgam of man and beast drew Alana’s attention. She noticed the crackle of energy around the staff in one of the creature’s hands and cursed.

“Incoming...magic.” she transmitted and was pleased to see her men react correctly. Exposure to Viker’s power had changed their view on life. Alana hated to admit it, but they could do with a little of their ex-Master’s mojo right now.

A flash of light signalled the discharge of the creature’s power. She zoomed in, using the resolution of her suit to clearly identify her enemy.

“We’ve got some sort of magician, demon-lover or it’s an unknown technology. I don’t care. What I want is concentrated fire and a dead Tauran.”

There was no acknowledgement of her request in the usual sense, rather an outpouring of plasma and auto-rifle fire. Their new “friends” merely followed suit, yet the effect was stunning.


“No!” screamed the Shaman as fire and bullets tore through his mount. His own defences saved him, yet his ride disintegrated beneath him. He demanded aid but felt the Demon Leader’s refusal. There would be a reckoning, just not now.

He raised his hands above his head, drawing upon his remaining power as his enchantment took form. With a rush of air and a crashing report he disappeared leaving his erstwhile minions to their own devices. If anything the fight became more savage as the Demons tried to disengage.

Alana knew when to press her advantage, and now was not the time for mercy. Leading by example she took to the air, her jets forcing her rapidly towards the fight, her Wingmen and allies following.

Emerald Forest
Zone I

“Got it!” whispered Renard, showing his unbound hands and quickly moving to untie the others. They had been herded into a nearby tent. It appeared that it took a while to build the correct size bonfire for all of them. Two guards stood watchfully out the front and Harms knew that this was going to be tricky, especially without their weapons.

“Llorente!” he hissed, the soldier whose face still showed the scratch marks from his time being dragged along behind a horse, came forward.

“You and Renard will need to crawl out under the back and have a quick look around. We need some weapons, especially ours if you can find them.”

On receiving their quiet nods, the others helped lift the back of the covering and after a quick glance to either side scurried out. As Harms was helping camouflage their improvised exit, he heard the approaching tread of footsteps and hastily folded his hands behind his back. Seeing the others catching on quickly, he turned to face the entrance.

“My Lord wishes…” began the first of the mail-shirted guards, and then shouted in surprise, “Where are they!”

His companion rushed in with sword drawn and the first guard grabbed Harms by the front of his tunic, “I said, where are they, dog?” he snarled.

“Surprise!” spat Harms, his front hand latching onto that of the guard and holding it tightly, the heel of his other hand striking in a short vicious motion against the bottom of his chin.

As the head snapped backwards, Harms again struck, this time with his now free hand, punching the man in his throat. The guard gagged and fought for breath, Harms taking his time in withdrawing the knife from the sheath on the unfortunate guard’s belt.

Looking over, he saw the crumpled figure of the other soldier and the grinning faces of his men.

martes, 3 de julio de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 18 Part1

Chapter Eighteen

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

The creatures twisted and turned with a supernatural grace, which clashed badly with their ugly countenances. Horned and scaled heads, with bird-like snouts, sat across a slim body with leathern wings. Feet ended in talons, although clawed hands had enough dexterity to grip and fire their weapons. There was a certain lack of familiarity with the guns, evidenced by the time between bolts and the lack of accuracy. Alana was determined to take advantage of that.
She smashed into one of the creatures hearing the satisfying crunch of bone as her armour released its momentum.  Her armoured hand closed on the weapon in the creature’s hand, twisting it free, before she slammed the butt end of the gun into a tooth-filled beak. Green blood sprayed out as she broke free, scissoring her wings through those of her opponent.

“They die just like anything else,” she said, as the creature fluttered earthwards.

One of her Wingmen shouted, but she had already seen the icons on her HUD; large signatures, surrounded by a multitude of smaller ones.
“To ground!” she shouted, “Now!”

From the ground, she watched the new arrivals rip and tear into the smaller creatures which tried desperately to escape. Alana did not know who the good guys were, but she hated to stand by idly whilst others were slaughtered. The recent arrivals stank of Tauran magic, their demonic natures clear for all to see. Mutated and twisted forms mixed easily with powerful red-skinned demons. She quickly made her mind up.
A twist of her hands brought up the strange rifle and she aimed carefully before sending a bolt of plasma scorching into the milling crowd. Cries of pain and burnt flesh signalled her success.

“Boss?” asked Shin.
“I like birdies,” she said firing again “and the others look too much like Taurans for me.”

“Aye,” replied Shin, pulling clear his own pistol, “always best to let people know where you stand.”

One of their original attackers crashed nearby, clawing and scratching at one of the demons. Shin stepped up and put three shots into the demon’s head, before pulling a plasma rifle clear.
“That’s better,” he muttered, sighting on a much larger opponent, “brings back happy memories.”

Alana laughed, watching the strange creature as it struggled out from under the demon’s body. It nodded to her and raised its head high, screaming skyward. Instantly, its fellows disengaged and dived, hurrying to its side. Alana ignored them. A much bigger problem was right behind them.

jueves, 28 de junio de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 17 Pt 3

Ngulu the Broken raised his head and saw the small human aflame, hands stretched out towards his attackers. Anger built inside; he had at last found a worthy master and others were intent on taking him away. With a roar he leapt to his feet, bounding over Cornelius and placing himself as a shield, mighty taloned arms flexing in anticipation of battle.

Plasma bolts rained down, their efficiency interrupted by Cornelius’ anger. His own fire smashed into the first of the fighters, knocking it off its attack run and away from the unprotected Ngulu. Cornelius strode forward, the monster bowing forward in submission. On Cornelius walked, up the awaiting half-prostrated creature until he sat astride its bull neck. His power rolled off him in waves, caressing the monster’s flesh, healing Ngulu the Broken; wings stretched free of scar tissue, swelling as blood pumped into membranes once more. Split bone thickened and the demon took life again.

Cornelius felt content, the response of the beast was comforting; it was not Clari, but she was with him still. He pushed down with his heels, flesh parting and allowing him to push on. The space between Ngulu’s shoulders deepened and Cornelius made himself comfortable. Fire from above reminded him of the Fighter’s presence and he willed the demon aloft, wings cracking open and powering them into the air.


Shan was frightened; the apparition beneath him was unexpected and had unbalanced him. His arrogance had brought him here and his men were nowhere close. Help was not going to be forthcoming. He ordered the second fighter on a direct run against Cornelius and turned his own machine away. This smacked of ascension and his own experience with the results of this process, were not pleasant.

Wind buffeted his fighter and glancing into his display, Shan saw the expanding ball of fire behind. That he was next, was obvious.


Ngulu screamed his rage to the skies. It had been so long. Once he ruled this very earth; minions bowed before him, gave their lives for his sustenance and fed his excesses. Such power was welcome, and in this master he had found another like himself. The pain and anger which bubbled through his veins was mirrored in those of Ngulu. No longer would he run to chase after food. Now they would feed him, would care for him, and if they were lucky, he would fulfil their every nightmare.

Cornelius gave in to the hedonistic pleasure of the energy coursing through him The voices still crooned their soothing tune, but he did not listen. The first machine had been a start, the second a welcome appetiser. He though, wanted the being in the third fighter. There was power there, and Cornelius needed a target; someone to blame. He clenched his thighs and urged Ngulu on, his laughter floating down to the men below.

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

Arms raised welcomingly, the shaman watched them spiral down, their deadliness exactly what he had looked for. His self-congratulation ended abruptly, as the ground shook with arrival of a creature twice as large as the others.

“Human,” it hissed, “why have you called us?”

It sniffed warily around the still incandescent cone of light, its taloned limbs reaching tentatively out to touch the shaman.

“Enough!” he commanded, “You will do as I bid!”

“For now,” replied the demon, “but all it takes is one little mistake, and then you will be mine.”

Staff gripped firmly in his hand the shaman approached, by force of will and magic, he made the demon bend one knee to him.

“Master!” cried the beast, agony rippling through its muscular frame.

“True!” spat the shaman, “and don’t ever forget it!”

domingo, 17 de junio de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 17 Part 2

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

The shaman stood amidst the carnage, he was the last of his kind. No warning of his had ever been listened to, the runes never lied. All they had wanted to do was fight, rut, eat and fight some more.

He had been away on his regular pilgrimage, to consult the runes and to meditate, but look now. A hissing Ambryn appeared and he raised his staff, a bolt of blue energy flashing out and crisping the aimless beast.

The Tauran had done this, he could tell. Well, he and his Masters would pay, he would see to that personally. His invocation was cast in a harsh, guttural language and he called upon his Gods for their aid.

A cone of blue light arced upwards, expanding until it reached some hidden barrier, where it flattened, rolling in waves across the night sky. Cackling evilly, the shaman swung the staff around his head, finally speaking a single word.

They would come, he knew, it was impossible for them to evade the summoning, and when they did, he could begin.

Multi-faceted eyes reflected the light shining eerily from above. Their owner stopped tearing the flesh from his vanquished enemy’s body and stared. His brash caw, split the tomb-like silence and with a flap of his leathern wings he sprang aloft.

All around him, others took to the sky, slow wing beats increasing rapidly as they felt the mystic pull of the shaman’s words. They heard death on the wind and gladly answered its call.

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Burns dragged Kam to the floor, his soldier’s instincts kicking in. Subconsciously the roar of fighter engines triggered an immediate response, long before the distinctive snarl reached his ears.


“Just get the fuck down,” snapped Burns, rolling behind cover and looking for a target.

Cornelius heard them too and his rage transferred from the beast below him to the unwelcome disturbance. Plasma bolts impacted the earth in a stitching pattern as the two craft dived into the attack. Flames which had been prepared for the cremation of the broken monster, once more roared into violent life, reaching greedily upwards from Cornelius’ palms. Disdainfully he flung out one arm, a heated ball of fire arcing up to meet the first of Shan’s messengers of death.

The Knight had thrown away all decorum and scrambled for cover. Hot plasma melted the earth beneath his flying feet and an ungentlemanly cry of terror floated through the air.

jueves, 31 de mayo de 2012

SDIV El Juego Chapter 17 Part 1

Chapter Seventeen

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

Grishak still retained consciousness, the pain had all but gone now and he hung onto life by a thread. Great swathes of flesh had been peeled away, the hungry tribesmen rushing and cutting free tasty morsels, impatient enough to risk burned limbs in their eagerness to feed.

His sight gone, Grishak retained only partially his hearing, the once great Tauran Elite reduced to being nothing more than food. He heard the first cries, the roaring, the sounds of weapons striking flesh and was glad. At least he would not die alone.

As his life left him, he witnessed the sounds of carnage, of the destruction of the last flicker of human life in the area as the Ambryn feasted, and internally at least, he smiled.

Emerald Forest
Zone I

A sword rested lightly against Harms’ chest, he dared not move as he and the rest of his men were disarmed. The first of the Knights raised his visor, the obviously human face stared down sternly upon Harms from the back of the warhorse.

“Bind them!” ordered the Knight and as Harms tried to speak, “And gag them as well! There will be enough time for explanations at their trial!”

Helplessly, and none too gently, they were led away, their weapons hastily bundled into a sack on the back of one of the horses. They were tied together via a long piece of rope and with a jerk they moved off. Llorente fell and was dragged along the ground for a time, until Harms managed to help him to his feet, their captors looking on disdainfully.

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

There was nothing left of the tribesmen, or Grishak. The only sign of life was the heaving mass of Ambryn, as they pranced around the fire in an inexplicable alien ritual of celebration.

Then they were still, heads cocked to one side as they listened intently. This lasted but a moment and the dancing began again, its wildness increasing with each pass around the flames.
Emerald Forest
Zone I

“Monsters!” screamed Harms, the rope noose beginning to tighten around his neck, “I said, monsters...they’re coming!”

“Hold!” cried an older voice, “What do you know about monsters? We recently lost two of our brethren in the pursuit of such. Their loss has the distinct taste of magic...!”

“Yes, yes, that’s us,” gabbled Harms, in excitement, “We’re the magicians!”

“Thank you for that admission,” said the Knight moving into Harms vision, then turning to the gathered crowd, “You heard what he said … burn them!”

viernes, 11 de mayo de 2012

SDIV Chapter 16 Part 2

Child-like, Ngulu the Broken centered all of his concentration on the transformation before him. The flesh on Cornelius’ face melted, becoming one with the body of the winged creature, whose hold did not lessen as it consumed itself. Red skin arched upwards, struggling to meld the two forms together, ridging where there was union. Flames licked along Cornelius’ shoulder, neck and cheek, where a small head nestled in an ultimate caress. Ngulu saw the moment when Clari died, when her form became no more than an intricate tattoo which added to those already on Cornelius’ body. This was brighter though, a brilliant red tracing a line from Corneliu’s neck, wrapping round his throat and terminating at his eye.

As the human fell to the ground, Ngulu reached forward reverently. It was then that he heard the stamp of feet and the swish of a weapon. Rolling quickly, he tried to avoid the blade, which even now smashed downwards.

Unknown Location

“Now, tell me,” said Shan, stirring the pieces on the board in front of him,” is this usual?”

There was no answer; putrid henchman did not make for good conversational companions. He had hoped to make up for that with the Ori in front of him, revived from a fist-induced slumber. Shan had found him bleeding in the main hanger on his return and reacted true to his nature. He had only recently regained consciousness.

Shan nodded and one of his henchman grabbed the Ori’s hair, and slammed him face first into the board.

“I am querying,” explained Shan slowly, “this chaotic amalgamation of characters. There is a randomness here, which just does not seem right.”

“I’ve noticed that too,” answered the Ori, spitting blood and tooth fragments from his mouth, “there should be more death and less resistance. Who is this one?”

His finger traced the screen, highlighting the small figure there. Unlike the others shown, it carried no data stream and flickered angrily.

“Don’t you know?” asked Shan, puzzled, “Your family has controlled this enterprise for generations.”

“True,” continued the Ori, “and this is the first time I have seen an unaligned piece enter the Game.”

“Explain!” snapped Shan.

“We didn’t put him there…”

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Burns raised his rifle and fired, the slug smashing into the Knight’s weapon, spinning it from his hand.

“Missed!” said Kam, who had joined him.

“No I didn’t,” replied the sniper, “look!”

Cornelius now stood, dazed yet alive. In front of him, the monster waited, head bowed, ignoring the stupified Knight. Slowly Ngulu the Broken stretched himself full-length on the ground, his muzzle just touching Cornelius’ feet. He was ignored.

…the pain had gone, instead his mind was filled with a chorus of voices. Song vibrated within, opening itself to him. No-one had ever love him, shown him such trust and given him so much. He was ashamed, and yet exultant. She had died for him. Anger now built within. This thing before him had killed her, and must pay…

The reddened skin became more pronounced as Cornelius’ rage grew; what had remained seemed to take a life of its own, writhing and twisting with each contortion. Power surged through him, flames wreathing the ridges of his spiked mohican, curling around his forehead and running along his face and neck. He raised his hand high, the flames coalescing into a bright ball of energy which pranced greedily on his open palm. Cornelius wanted to kill, and his enemy lay open beneath him.

Unknown Location

Shan cackled with glee. He loved this. Under his controls, the remote fighters shadowing him, jinked and weaved, hugging the terrain. The carefully segregated Zones meant nothing to them, and less to him. Here, he was the Lord and Master, and no shrunken dwarf was going to spoil it for him.

Power surges were common here, the instruments adjusting them in line with the Game’s parameters. The strange light show surrounding Cornelius did not register, and Shan dismissed it as nothing more than a distortion of the video feed.

His charges were close now, and he leaned in, concentrating on the controls beneath his fingers. One stroke and he knew it would be over. Eagerly he depressed the firing sequence, then sat back to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

miércoles, 2 de mayo de 2012

SDIV Chapter 16 Part 1

Chapter Sixteen

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Ngulu the Broken was upset. No-one understood him. Granted, his urges made it hard for him to be loved, but he found that people judged him only by his appearance. He could not remember how he had arrived on this strange planet, nor did he know how the magic worked, which moved him between places. It always seemed to happen when he was hungry, and that was the problem.

Food meant battle; he needed fresh meat and it just seemed to be there, waiting for him. More recently, he felt persecuted, especially by the strange detachable creatures with shiny skins. They were fragile, yet persistent. Now he was in pain, his mouth held rigidly open and feeding was not an option.

His hand burned, breaking into his simple reverie and he dropped the small warrior to the ground, shuffling round on his injured legs to stare curiously at the strange little man. The tiny winged animal clung ever tighter, seemingly intent on doing Ngulu’s work for him.

He started back as flames burst from the head of the red-haired human, grunting in surprise. Totally engrossed in the scene being played out before him, he forgot about Sir Frederic, who was pulling himself to his feet with the aid of his now recovered sword.


Cornelius was in a world of pain, his neck and face on fire. No longer did he rationalise, instead he existed. Where Clari touched him, nerve endings protested vehemently. His mouth opened, a scream trying to break free, but nothing came out. Head flung back, arms raised in supplication, Cornelius suffered.


Clari knew that her time had come. She felt bones become fluid, skin translucent and she surrendered to her purpose, pouring her essence into the process, sacrificing her existence for the one she loved.


Sir Frederic saw the monster leaning over his erstwhile saviour. The wounds on the creature’s legs had ceased to weep and he watched in horror as flesh began to reknit. There was little time; he needed to act now. Cursing, he clanked his way forward, certain that the thing would notice him at any moment. Sword raised he threw all of his training and muscles into one all-powerful blow.


Child-like, Ngulu the Broken centred all of his concentration on the transformation before him. The flesh on Cornelius’ face melted, becoming one with the body of the winged creature, whose hold did not lessen as it consumed itself. Red skin arched upwards, struggling to meld the two forms together, ridging where there was union. Flames licked along Cornelius’ shoulder, neck and cheek, where a small head nestled in an ultimate caress. Ngulu saw the moment when Clari died, when her form became no more than an intricate tattoo which added to those already on Cornelius’ body. This was brighter though, a brilliant red tracing a line from Cornelius’ neck, wrapping round his throat and terminating at his eye.

As the human fell to the ground, Ngulu reached forward reverently. It was then that he heard the stamp of feet and the swish of a weapon. Rolling quickly, he tried to avoid the blade, which even now smashed downwards.

domingo, 22 de abril de 2012

SDIV Chapter 15 Part 3

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

Blood dripped slowly onto the fire, hissing and sputtering. The flames hurt Grishak’s eyes, not just with their light, but the accompanying waves of heat which had instantly dried out any liquid and now burned slowly and painfully. Quickly he closed his eyelids, only serving to momentarily block the intense pain, not extinguish it.

They had suspended him upside down over the fire and one after the other they came, tossing more fuel onto the conflagration. His hands were tied behind his back, his arms forced together and looped over an iron rod. His legs had been treated similarly and he was slowly being roasted alive.

His vaunted, god-given powers of recovery were useless here. The arrow wounds had started to heal but the flesh on his bare chest had begun to crack and peel. Tribesman danced and cavorted around him, and as he was rotated slowly he heard the accompanying ribald laughter.

Now, the flames were touching his back and he started to scream, long and endlessly.

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Cornelius was losing consciousness, the agony being replaced by a sweet blackness. Pain flared again, this time near his neck, and he realised that Clari had bitten him. He forgave her. What could she do against this thing? Hands relaxed and his knives clunked to the floor, the pressure on his head overwhelming.

Clari was not angry, nor was she frustrated. She knew what she had to do. Another slash of her jaw opened the wound on Cornelius’ neck wider, red blood pumping clear. With a twist, her tail was in her mouth and she ripped into her own flesh, her green life’s blood mingling with that of her Master. Her tail tightened against Cornelius’ neck, forcing an invasive contact.

It burned. Oh, how it burned. No longer was he in a safe place, a coruscating fire had torn him free. It raged through his system. He was dying, badly.

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

The barrier flickered, its energy loss visible as the Ambryn flung themselves against it. They had seen the Tauran pass through and hunger drove them on. He had stayed a moment to taunt them, although this did little to excite them. Their urge to feed was strong, as was the other driving force of their existence, procreation. One followed the other, causing individual Ambryn to turn on one another. Without warning, the barrier collapsed and they could smell not only the Tauran, but a multitude of other meat.

Hissing, snapping and snarling they slithered over the rocks, vying with each other in their haste. Self-preservation to them only came with the satisfaction of their primeval urges.

viernes, 20 de abril de 2012

SD IV Chapter 15 Part 2

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

Grishak was puzzled; he had seen no signs of life. Granted the ground was rocky, with little in the way of plant or animals, but he had expected to have crossed at least some type of trail by now.

He found himself in an area of numerous caves, their design evidencing that they were not purely a natural phenomenon. Still, he thought, as he bent down to drink from a swiftly rushing stream, laying his axe to one side but within easy reach, it was unusual.

An angry buzzing sound, made him reach for his weapon, as an arrow bounced off the rock in front of him. He whirled ready to face his attackers and was struck three times in quick succession. Once through his bicep, another through the meaty part of his shoulder and the third time into his left thigh.

Wounds which would not incapacitate him but irritate him for sure. There was a mixture of chanting, battle cries and plain screaming as a rag tag bunch of tribesmen charged his position. He grinned to himself and readied his axe, much opposition they would not be, but at least they would lift his spirits.


With a casual swing, Grishak decapitated the first of his attackers, ducking below an incoming stave, he drove his weapon upwards. Its sharpened blade tearing between the tribesman’s legs and only stopping when it ran out of momentum. He kicked the man off the axe, a mixture of blood and entrails stringing out from the falling body.

A sword slammed into his shoulder and he cursed, this was not as easy as he thought. It seemed as though these fools were intent on dying, their insane charge having been followed up by simultaneous attacks. He knew he was winning, but in his partially recovered state, he was weakening quickly.

Arms clasped him from behind and a huge tribesman rushed forward, his spear pulled backwards ready to strike. Leaning forward Grishak felt the man on his back unbalance and quickly he smashed his head back, being rewarded with a cry of pain. Breaking the hold on his arms, he grabbed his assailant and threw him directly onto the oncoming blade point. With a shout, he followed through with the axe, splitting the second man’s skull in two.

They were all around him, he was corralled like a wild animal with bared steel ringing him in. There was a whirring and the first arrow struck causing him to bellow in pain.

Rushing forward he lashed his axe from side to side, but his attackers melted away before him. Arrows flashed from behind, cutting into his limbs and he whirled once more, to be presented with the same scenario. Little by little his strength drained away, his wounds debilitating yet never fatal.

At last he fell to his knees, head swaying from side to side and with a concerted rush they came. Half standing he struck into them, two or three more fell before they pulled back. Then came more arrows and slowly he slumped to the floor, his vision blurring and finally he was overcome, a vast blackness overpowering him.

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

With a roar the creature stood to its full height, towering over the onrushing Knights. This did not stop them. One long arm reached out and plucked a Knight from his saddle, jaws closed and razor-sharp teeth sheared through armour. Cornelius saw the head spat aside, before the body was unceremoniously dumped on the floor, blood fountaining clear.

A lance shattered against iron-hard skin, splinters whistling past the monster’s head. One hoofed foot struck, cracking the horse’s ribs and caving in its chest. Its rider hit the ground hard, and did not move again. Butt was close now.

Sir Frederic screamed his war-cry once more, adjusting the angle of his lance at the last moment. The steel-tipped head cleaved through flesh and stuck hard, passing through one side of the thing’s jaw and out the other. It shook its head at the irritation, holding and snapping the weapon easily. The Knight drew his sword and whirled back to the attack.

Cornelius did not know what the thing was, but it still only had two arms and two legs. Granted they were huge, as were the muscles which rippled across its immense frame. The red-skinned monster had been bad, this was a nightmare. Someone had been drinking when they had created this; wolven-jawed, earless, with a lizard-like tail and hooven feet. Long strings of slaver fell from its partially opened maw, the remains of the lance blade fixing its features sadistically. He saw the Knight raise himself high in his stirrups and strike down, watched him fly backwards; his blow blocked and followed with a ringing slap. It was his turn now.

As the thing turned to kick out, Cornelius slid underneath it. Blades free, he scurried past, slicing at its taut hamstrings. With an audible twang they parted, causing it to drop to its knees. His plan was not as successful as he had expected though, as its tail helped it keep balance. A clawed hand closed about his head and began to squeeze.