Saturday, 29 August 2015

Shadow Stalker: Escape Part 2 (Episode 12) by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, Savior of the Serpent Isles. The first book, The Galvadi Invasion, is due to be released mid 2016. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Find out more about her, and sign up for her newsletter for a free copy of ShadowStalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).



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About Episode 12


Makari meets up with Auren and Shai to give them information the Coalition can use to strengthen their position in the war. In order to protect Auren, Makari decides to stay with the Galvadi, despite Auren's arguments to the contrary.

While Auren and Shai manage to avoid the Galvadi during their trek to the southern shore on Nadiria, where they are to meet up with Kado, other hurdles stand in their way. Food is scarce, and Auren is seriously wounded and falls ill. When they don't reach the shore when expected, they begin wondering if they've gone the wrong way.

Will they make it before Auren succumbs to her injuries?

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An Excerpt


The shadow moved towards me, but I wasn't about to let him have the upper hand. I sprang into action, side-stepping him and throwing my elbow into his midsection. He was expecting it, though, as if he were reading my mind. He grabbed my arm, twisting it behind my back. At the same time, I heard his voice it my head.

It's me, Makari said.

I relaxed immediately as he released me, twisting in his arms and embracing him. "Sorry, but you shouldn't sneak up on people like that. You're just as bad as Kado."

"You should have felt it was me," he said in a scolding tone.

I leaned back, rolling my eyes. "I've been a bit distracted."

"My father is aware of the escape now."

"Will you be blamed?"

Makari shook his head. "No, he doesn't suspect anything, but I can't stay long. I just had to let you know I won’t be joining you."

My heart sank. "Why?"

"It's the only way to keep my father in the dark about you and to keep him from sending someone else after you. I need to keep up the pretense of looking for you."

I reached out and took his hand in mine as if that would keep him from leaving me. "It doesn't matter, Makari. With you and Kado protecting me, there's no way anyone else can get to me."

"I wish it were that simple. This is the only way."

"He's right, Auren," Shai said, shifting slowly from one foot to the other. "We need to keep moving."

"I'm not leaving you, Makari." It was bad enough I had to leave my father behind.

Makari pulled me into his arms and quickly released me. "I promise I’ll come to you whenever it's safe to do so."

At least that would be something. I didn't like the thought of him staying with the Galvadi, but as long as they believed he was one of them, he was in no danger. Maybe this was the better option. "Okay. Oh, but wait. Shai cut up her feet pretty badly. Can you look after her for a moment while I get the bag I left in the vent in the reconciliation center? I've got some ointment in there, and I got us each a change of clothes. It's a bit chilly."

"No, Auren. You can't go back there. The whole place is rigged so if a shadow stalker is nearby, they will lose their abilities. Not even I can get there and back right now. If you go, you'll be trapped."

"Her feet are going to get infected if we don't do something."

"I'll be fine," Shai argued.

"Let me have a look," Makari said, then winced as he examined her feet. "I’ll see what I can do, but Shai is right. You need to keep moving."

"I'm seriously fine," Shai repeated.

Makari stood and handed Auren a canvas bag he had hooked over his shoulder. "This holds a file with everything the Coalition needs to know about the Beryllonium."

"What's Beryllonium?" Shai asked.

"It's what this is made of," he said, tapping the metal band around her neck. "It also contains information on how to remove the recinder, but it will take acquiring the ore to make the alloy. It's a tricky process, but all the instructions are here. I really need to go."

I stood on my toes, pressing my lips to his. "Please be careful."

"You be careful," he said, then looked over my shoulder towards Shai. "I’ll try to get something for your feet soon, but I can't make any promises. I don't know when, or if, I’ll be able to get away again."

Shai nodded. "Don't take any risks on my account."

*****

I watched the mist surround Makari as he disappeared into the shadow world, my heart feeling empty all of a sudden. Why did we have to struggle and fight so hard just to be together? It wasn't fair. Shai had already begun limping away.

"Let's turn south now and look for a place to camp for the night," I said, jogging to catch up with her.

It was well over an hour before we came to a stream. Shai was biting her lip and hissing with each step. I hoped we'd find a place nearby to sleep for the night. Having the fresh water close by would help. Shai didn't waste any time. I heard her sigh of relief as she stepped into the cold water.

"I'm going to look around and see what I can find. I won't go far," I told her.

Shai nodded, seeming unconcerned. I imagined she was grateful to have some relief, and we were both exhausted. Without my backpack, we were also without food now. I regretted my decision more than ever to leave it behind. Better yet, I should have left it in the cave. Of course, I could have gone back now to get food rations and medical supplies, but I was reluctant to leave Shai alone. If I ended up being in the shadow world longer than expected, she would be on her own, and there would be no one to help her if she got into trouble. There was no way she'd be able to run from the soldiers again if they found her, and I refused to allow her to be captured.

Thankfully, berries were plentiful near the stream. I tasted one to make sure it was edible. They tasted familiar, so I assumed they'd be safe. I picked as many as I could fit into the bag Makari gave me, hoping they wouldn't stain the file. At least the papers would be protected inside the thick folder. I wasn't paying attention as I picked my way along the bush and nearly tripped over a large rock. Oddly it was spongier than I'd expect a rock to be, but I couldn't see it too well in the dark. At first I thought maybe it was an animal, but an animal would have run off. I hoped it wasn't a dead animal.

I reached down to stroke it and knew immediately it wasn't fur I was touching. It was some kind of moss. I tore a bit off and smelled it. It had a strong scent, like anise. I couldn't recall the name, but if I was right this moss had healing properties. If I could find a way to bind it to Shai's feet for the night. It would quite possibly help prevent infection. I gathered as much of the moss as I could carry and returned to where I left her by the stream.

"That was fast," she said, her feet still soaking in the stream. "My feet are pretty much numb now."

I washed the moss downstream so the dirty water wouldn't wash over her feet. "Good. This will help as well."

As I took a seat next to Shai, I winced and stood quickly again. I felt around and picked up the sharp rock before sitting again as a plan formed. Using the rock as a knife, I cut a three inch strip from the tunic I wore.

"Give me one of your feet," I told her. I pressed a wad of the moss to the bottom of her foot and wrapped the strip of cloth around it to hold it in place.

"Here," Shai said, holding out her tunic so I could remove a strip for her other foot.

I repeated the process on her other foot, then helped her stand. "How does it feel?"

She took a few steps to test it out. "It's still sore, but much better."

"The moss might sting a bit, but it will help your feet heal faster."

"That would be nice."

I sat again, and Shai joined me as I opened the bag where I had stashed the berries.

"Let's eat and then we can look for a safe place to get a few hours' sleep."

We ate in silence and, thankfully, found a thicket we could crawl into not far from the stream. We'd be able to get a drink in the morning before we left. It wasn't hot, but it would be hard to stay hydrated without a way to take water with us. I could only hope we'd find streams like this often. The thicket wouldn't be the most comfortable place to spend the night, but at least we should be safe enough with our tracks well covered.

"Try to get some sleep," I told Shai. "I'm not really tired, so I'll keep my ears open in case someone comes."

"I'm not tired either," she said.

Moments later I noticed her breathing changed. I grinned. She must have been more tired than she thought. I closed my eyes, taking in all the sounds of the surrounding forest. A rodent or some other small animal rustled in the brush nearby, scrounging for food most likely. A soft wind blew through the trees above. Crickets chirped all around us. The entire effect was almost hypnotic, and I felt myself being carried away from the horrific events of the past weeks into a peaceful sort of bliss as I melded with the natural world around me. I never realized how centered I could feel being in nature. No wonder the shadow stalkers preferred the outdoors and living as closely with nature as possible.

I didn't realize I had drifted off until I woke to an ear-piercing scream.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Cover Reveal for A Father's Protection by KJ Hawkins


KJ Hawkins is a young fantasy author making her way into print. She has had a strong love for fantasy since she was nine years old.

As an adult the magic stayed with her inspiring her to write stories of adventure and magic. Hawkins, at her best, brings personality to every word she writes, exciting her readers with every page.

Fun Fact


KJ Hawkins is actually a pen name taken from the initials of her real first and last name. Hawkins came from her favorite childhood film, Treasure Planet, the lead character is James Hawkins!

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KJ Hawkins would like to acknowledge and thank K Tolentino. She created a beautiful cover for "A Father's Protection." Her design was spot on and shows how talented as a designer and illustrator she is.

A Father's Protection


The land beyond The Forest of Ferrês belongs to the kyres mortal enemies the twin-tailed foxes. Standing on the borders DarkDeath will have to plunge into the unknown to save his adventurous pup.

Will he be able to find Digger and make it out alive? The battle to protect his own will be tested when DarkDeath faces off against an old rival. Death lingering over his pup’s head will test his strengths as DarkDeath braces himself for battle.

Coming September 28th!
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Monday, 24 August 2015

The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness by Tabitha Barret



Tabitha Barret graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in English. She married the guy from her Creative Writing class and together had two amazing children. They live in a quiet town in New Jersey with their three rambunctious dogs. She is currently working on her series, The Third Throne.

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About the Book


Michelle Black lives an average life, but she is not an average woman. Plagued by nightmares of Hell and the unusual ability to see the sins of men, she stands apart from those around her. Deceived by a voice controlling her mind, she finds herself trapped in the place of her nightmares, Hell.

The Angel of Darkness tells her that she must now serve him, and she is forced to face the Realms of Torture. Strange things begin to happen when she senses that she is meant to be more than just a servant. Will she learn the truth about who she is and what she is destined to become before it’s too late?

The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness is the first book in the steamy Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series that introduces us to Michelle Black and her dark destiny. She must fight to survive in Hell as she searches for the terrifying truth about the darkness that resides deep inside of her.

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Character Interview with Anjali


Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was created in Heaven, though I am not an angel but an immortal. I am the Bringer of the Apocalypse. Unfortunately, I don't remember what it was like in Heaven since my memories have been bound. I am told that I didn't fit in very well. The other angels feared me or hated me because I am destined to end the world.

Who is your enemy? What makes you enemies?

Lord Hades, Lord Lucifer's second-in-command in Hell, was not a fan of me when I first arrived in Hell. He thought that I was cause all sorts of problems and ultimately destroy Hell. He attacked me, but I assure you, he will think twice about doing that again.

Unfortunately, I have many enemies, most of whom I have never met. There are many creatures who would use my power to destroy the Mortal Realm, or Heaven. There are times when I fear that Lord Lucifer will try to use me to destroy Hell so that there won't be any more evil mortals left to punish and he can return home to Heaven.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

The person that I am closest to is my father the Archangel Gabriel. God created me from a piece of him. He is my guardian and has done his best to protect me from those wishing to use my power for evil purposed. He has also kept me safe from the Council in Heaven who sometimes fear my power. I have made mistakes in the past and have released my power before it was time. Gabriel has never been angry with me or judged me for my mistakes. I love him dearly.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?

Waking up at Lord Lucifer's feet in Hell and being told that I was now his servant was the worst moment of my life. He handed me a black dress and expected me to change in front of him. I was mortified and angry. I call it the slave girl outfit. Anyone who saw the revealing dress would know that I belonged to Lord Lucifer. It was horrible.

What are your goals? What would you like to achieve?

It is my destiny to end the world, but to do that I need to find my ten Harbingers, or Predznak. They are the angels who will tempt the mortals and offer them a choice between being good or bad, so that they may end up in Heaven or Hell. There is no Purgatory during an Apocalypse, so they have to choose their fate. Unfortunately, I was separated from my angels and they have waited for me for too long. They are angry with me and hiding in the Mortal Realm. Most of them are tempting the mortals to commit acts of evil instead of offering them a choice. I must find them and convince them to join with me, with their Master. 

I must find the Angels of the Apocalypse: Death, Vengeance, Fear, Distrust, Illness, Desire, Anger, Agony, Deception, and Hunger. Once I accomplish that impossible task, I will have to determine when it is time to end the world. I really hope it never comes to that, but I have a feeling that I won't have a choice.

What is the strangest situation you've ever found yourself in?

When I entered Hell, Lord Lucifer had lied to me about who I was and what I was meant to do. An angel called Mark tried to tell me the truth, but I didn't believe him. You have to understand, the life that I knew was a lie. I thought I was a normal woman, not some immortal being. I thought that I had two parents and a supportive uncle. Mark told me that if I wanted to learn the truth about myself, I had to go to the Caves of Darkness on the edge of Hell. I thought he was crazy, but I finally decided to slip away from Lord Lucifer and find out the truth. I was met by horrifying creatures called Shades who are the soulless animated corpses of the escaped prisoners of Hell. They feed on other souls and wanted to make a meal out of me. I had no way of defending myself from their attack. Before I knew what was happening my Uncle Bob pulled me away from horde and proceeded to explain the truth to me. Let me tell you, I thought the Shades were scary, but hearing the truth about myself and my destiny was far scarier.

Where is the best place to visit in your world? What places should visitors avoid?

Since I reside in Hell, the best to visit would be the Hall of Mirrors in the Castle of Tears. It's my person sanctuary away from all the craziness. It's probably the safest place to be since I'm the only kind and sane person in Hell. Other than that, the Hall of Winds would be the a great place to visit since it leads to Heaven, Purgatory, or the Mortal Realm.

I would suggest avoiding the following places in Hell: 
  • The Realms of Torture surrounding the castle which are reserved for the evil souls being punished in Hell. Hopefully, you will end up in Heaven and avoid the realms.
  • The Caves of Darkness at the edge of Hell are miserable, unless you want to meet the soul eating Shades, or the Bhakşaka, who oversee them.
  • The Hall of Shadows where the immortal enemies of God are held prisoner. There are false gods, werewolves, sires, you name it. I was once chased down by Fenris, the father of the werewolves who wanted revenge against Lucifer. Now that was a terrifying experience. A wolf the size of a sofa trying to kill you is definitely something you don't want to experience.
  • The Realm of Nightmares is the last place you want to visit. It is where the truly heinous souls reside. They are the worst of the worst and they will never see the light of day again. You do not want to reside there for all of eternity.
What do you own that would be hardest to part with? Why?

The item that I can't part with is my ring. It's a red gem with a slash of black in the middle attached to a silver band. I'm told that it is called the Eye of Sirrush. I've had it since I was a child and I adore it. It was given to me by my father. What I didn't know is that it binds my power. I hold the power of natural disasters inside of me and it keeps my power in check. Without it, my power is very difficult to control. It sometimes gets away from me and small towns or entire civilizations will be eliminated in a matter of minutes. I don't know what I would do if I lost it.

Name some of your bad habits.

My worse habit is my tendency to lose my temper which causes my power to escape. Bad things happen when I lose my temper. I create devastating storms, freeze things, set things on fire, and drown things in floods. I try to keep calm, but I don't react well to people trying to hurt me or kill me.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? Why?

If I could change something, I would probably change my destiny. I don't want to end the world. It's not something I volunteered to do. I was created to do it. I know that one day I will have the blood of the mortals on my hands and there is nothing I can do about. I would probably choose to be another other than the Bringer of the Apocalypse.

Would you ever or have you ever lied? How do you feel about lying?

Lying is a sin and I typically don't react well to people who commit sins. Sinners will ultimately cause me to end the world and because of that, I can usually tell when someone is lying to me.
The first time I interacted with Lord Hades, he told me all sorts of lies. Something deep down told me that couldn't trust him. The ring on my hand started digging into me and I knew Hades was lying to me, but I didn't know why.

As the Bringer of the Apocalypse, I am the Angel of Deception's Master. It is a temptation to lie to people, so I understand how to deceive someone. Thought I don't like to lie and deceive others, there are times when it is a necessary evil when dealing with my enemies. I'm told that I am very convincing when I intentionally lie, though it's not something I like doing often.

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Third Throne: Angel of Death by Tabitha Barret



Tabitha Barret graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in English. She married the guy from her Creative Writing class and together had two amazing children. They live in a quiet town in New Jersey with their three rambunctious dogs. She is currently working on her series, The Third Throne.

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About the Book


Anjali has embraced her destiny to end the world, but now she must find her ten Harbingers, known as the Predznak. She is determined to find Alazar, the Angel of Death, the former leader of the Predznak, before the other angels. She fears that he has lost hope and is close to become a Rogue Angel.

Alazar has spent too many centuries waiting for his Master Anjali to come and claim him. Deception and lies have kept them apart, but now it’s too late. He has vowed to the other Predznak that he will kill their Master so that they can be free.

During her search for Alazar, Anjali meets the Spirit Experts, paranormal investigators who are on a collision course with the Angel of Death. Anjali finds herself strangely attracted to one of the Spirit Experts and decides to become a part of their group in an effort to keep them safe from her dangerous angel.

Can Anjali stop Alazar from killing the Spirit Experts and destroying the surrounding town? Can she keep Lucifer in the dark about her affections for the mortal man? Will unseen enemies destroy all that Anjali holds dear?

The Third Throne: Angel of Death is the second book in the steamy Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series. Anjali must secure the loyalty of the Predznak before she can accomplish her mission of bringing about the end of the world.

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Excerpt


Anjali felt the temperature of the room drop until ice particles formed from her breath. The world around her fell away and went silent. The only sound she could hear was her heartbeat. At first, it was strong and steady, but the tempo slowly changed until it sounded like waves crashing on a beach. A brilliant blue filled her vision and she saw the ocean waves rippling and dancing in front of her. She could practically feel the sand between her toes. It was a peaceful sight. All of her worries were gone and she breathed a sigh of relief. She no longer had to worry about destroying the world and killing everyone. Staying here in this serene place would be wonderful. There would no longer be blood on her hands and the fate of the world would be someone else’s problem. She could just drift away with the tide and be free.

She knew this feeling. It was simple and easy to understand. If you let go of your worries, you will find happiness. She sighed, wanting to be happy.

Happy? The thought floated to the surface of her bewildered mind. There was no such thing in her life. She was a servant of Lucifer, of Hell. Angels were meant to bow to her command and do the will of God through her. Something was wrong. She wasn’t destined to be happy, nor was she at the beach. She was in a cold, dark place without oceans and sand. Romania. She was in Romania with Alazar, her Angel of Death, and he was tempting her with his power.

The storm that dwelled inside of her, just below the surface, welled up as it recognized the feeling of death. It yearned to reach out and touch Alazar’s power. It felt familiar, but not because she had experienced death before. It was familiar because it was a part of her, a missing piece. Her power reared up and clawed at her insides. It fought to reach Death and welcome him home. The only thing holding it back was her ring. She used her thumb and carefully wiggled the ring off her finger until she heard the small sound of metal hitting stone. Plink.

“Enough!” she screamed, letting her power rush to the surface.

Alazar was perplexed by her scream. He thought he was winning. She had seen the ocean and had become complacent in her thoughts. What was happening? No one ever broke free of his control, unless they resisted the temptation, which was rare. He never let them escape. He never backed down from his temptation of a person, until they were dead. Something felt dishonest about that as he watched Anjali break free of the vision.

It’s wrong to push people beyond their breaking point, he thought, just before he felt the air stir.

He tried to release her face, but couldn’t move. He knew he was in trouble when her blue eyes turned black and glowed with power.

Friday, 14 August 2015

The Never-Dying Man by V.M.Sang

vivpicV.M. Sang was born in the north west of England, in the county of Cheshire, but now lives in the south east. Her journey from one to the other has taken her through Lancashire, East Anglia and Central Southern England.
She likes animals, although she has no pets at the moment. Animals have always been one of her great loves. She also likes to walk and cycle.
She enjoys painting and a variety of crafts as well as gardening.
She retired early from teaching and now spends time writing novels and poetry.

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About the Book

After finding Sauvern's Sword the previous year, the members of Wolf set off to find the kidnapped child of a friend who saved their lives the previous year.
They are separated and five of them are taken prisoner to the capital of Erian where they discover the reason that the Sword is needed. They eventually fall foul of the Master, the ruler of Erian, and have to make a desperate escape.

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Never Dying ManHere's an excerpt:

Captain Shampso of the 2nd division of the Erian Army heard the shout from the troll chief. He was working on the papers relating to the handing over of the goods the trolls had brought and privately bemoaning his fate in having drawn this duty. He did not like trolls, but as they seemed to be a new ally for his country, he had to tolerate them. But oh! didn’t they smell? He wished someone would teach them the rudiments of hygiene. Still, he had heard hobgoblins smelt worse, if that were possible. When the shout went up, he quickly pulled on a leather jerkin, grabbed a sword and longbow, and ran out of his tent. He rapidly assessed the situation. There seemed to be an attack on the trolls’ camp rather than his. He noted flaming arrows from three places, and magical fire from two of those places.
‘Two mages, then,’ he thought to himself. He could not judge quickly how many attackers there were, but cast his eyes all around the troll camp. It was then he noticed the absence of the yeti cub. So, it was a rescue attempt, was it? He would soon see about that. Calling orders to his men, he left one on guard and took the remaining eight to the troll camp. Once there, he split them up into three groups and ordered each group to attack one of the places where the firing was coming from. Shouting battle cries, his men ran into the trees. He and the two men making up his group ran towards the east where he thought one of the mages was stationed with at least one other person firing bolts from a crossbow. He was not disappointed. Pretty soon, he saw the blue robes of a mage disappearing through the trees. He fired an arrow, which missed its mark. He heard sounds from one side and sent his men after it. Whoever it was, they were not very good at moving quietly through the woodland. Every now and again there was a curse. He had determined that the mage was to be his target, and set off in pursuit. He kept getting tantalising glimpses of blue through the trees, but then he lost sight before he could level his bow and fix his target. Then he heard a word of magic and five bolts of silvery energy struck him. He managed to almost dodge aside, but the bolts did enough damage to slow him considerably. He was wounded, but not badly enough to prevent him from continuing his pursuit. He looked for the mage. He must be within sight to be able to send those missiles. He could see nothing. Then he heard another mumbling of magic, and looking in that direction saw a movement to his left. He fired an arrow, more in hope than expectation, but was rewarded by an exclamation. Good. He had got the bastard this time. Unfortunately, not fatally, as he heard him moving off again. He had determined the mage was male by the voice.
Captain Shampso followed the sounds made by the mage. Curse these trees. They hindered him and helped the mage by hiding him from sight. Then he caught another glimpse and as he entered a clearing, he saw the man at the other side. He had stopped and was weaving the mana for another spell. He was tall and had auburn hair, which he wore shoulder length, and the deepest blue eyes the Erian captain had ever seen. Shampso stopped and raised his bow. As he let fly, so did the mage. A ball of coloured energy sped towards him from the mage’s hand. He dodged the ball and so his arrow missed the target, but so did the ball of energy, flying off sizzling into the trees. However, he was luckier than the mage as his arrow found the mage’s right leg and he now stood propped up by his staff unable to run any more.
Shampso drew his sword and walked carefully over to the mage. Mages were not to be trusted and nearly always had something up their sleeves; sometimes literally, so he was careful. The mage was saying something else. Another five bolts of energy flew from his staff to embed themselves in Shampso’s shoulder. Gods, but it hurt. He had better finish this quickly. He drew back his sword for a killing blow, when there was a thud. He glanced down to see what it was and was surprised to see a crossbow bolt protruding from his chest. Still with a look of surprise on his face, he slowly toppled forwards, then found himself looking down on the scene below. There was a body lying on the ground and a dwarf coming out of the trees followed by a female elf, who ran over to a blue-clad mage sitting on the floor. The dwarf was saying something, but he could not determine what it was. He wanted to know how he was flying, and whose was the body lying on the ground. None of his men had been with him, but it was obviously an enemy of these intruders. He felt himself being pulled away until all memory of the incident was gone and he was travelling towards the land of the gods.
‘Come on, Mouse.’ Sergeant Pendrimo heard the male barbarian say to the small girl at his side. ‘This way, quickly.’
He looked, but could see no one else, although he thought he had seen three of them in the beginning. Still, he could not worry about that. He must finish the two he could see, and as quickly as he could. He detailed one of the men with him to search in the forest in case there was in fact a third, and set off with the remaining man after the barbarians. What were they doing so far to the east? He wondered, but dismissed the concern to follow his orders which were to find and kill the attackers and abductors of the yeti cub, not to wonder as to who they were or why they wanted the creature for themselves. It was easier just to follow orders, he thought. Then suddenly, the pair went in opposite directions. He signalled to his companion to follow the girl, while he turned in the direction the man had taken. The man dodged and wove through the trees, doubling back towards the camp. There was a movement behind him. He turned quickly to see what it was, and was struck in the throat by a thrown knife. His last thought was, ‘I knew there was a third one.’
Thadora was pleased with her throw. It was strong and accurate. She retrieved her knife and slunk back into the trees. Davrael paused and turned. She waved to him to signal that his pursuer was no more, and then melted back into the undergrowth. The horselord retraced his steps and followed the track Kimi had left. He had hated splitting up from her, but knew it was the best thing they could do, to split the three chasing them. He crept forward, and saw the third man, the one who had disappeared into the trees just before they split. He had gone after Thadora, he supposed. Obviously she had given him the slip. He was crouching down behind a bush, and was drawing out his crossbow and loading it with a bolt. Davrael did not think. The man must have seen Kimi and was trying to shoot her from cover. He leaped onto the man’s back, throwing him down into the leaves. The soldier’s crossbow flew from his hands as he tried to get from beneath the creature on his back. He bucked but Davrael, being an expert horseman, was not thrown off. The soldier felt hands around his neck, squeezing and pulling his head backwards. He tried once again to unseat Davrael to no avail. He was beginning to struggle for breath, but Davrael hung on.
‘Try to kill my wife from hiding, would you, like a coward?’ the horselord growled, squeezing harder.
The soldier gave up trying to remove Davrael from his back, and with a superhuman effort, he managed to roll over so that he was on top of Davrael, albeit on his back. He grabbed the horselord’s wrists and pushed hard. He was a strong man, and managed to break Davrael’s grip. He leaped to his feet, dragging in gulps of sweet air, but his throat was sore. Davrael also leaped up and drew his sword quickly before the soldier had time to prepare himself, but the man was quick. Before Davrael was on him, he had his own sword drawn and was almost ready for the onslaught. Then a female voice came from the other side of the bush behind which the soldier had been hiding.
‘Put up your sword, soldier, I’ve an arrow trained on you. Harm one hair of my husband’s head, and you’ll feel the arrow through your heart.’
Davrael smiled to himself to hear Kimi’s voice, but to the soldier it looked like the smile of a wolf ready for the kill. He dropped his sword and fled from the place as quickly as his legs could carry him. Davrael also dropped his sword and ran to embrace his wife.
‘What about the other one? The one that went after you?’ he asked.
Kimi smiled. ‘Do you mean him?’ she said, pointing to a body lying on the floor. ‘He caught up with me, but unfortunately for him, he underestimated my sword skills. He spent too long taunting me with what he was going to do when he had finally got my sword off me.’ She grinned up at her husband. ‘He didn’t get a chance to try, I’m sorry to say.’
Davrael looked at her with a speculative look on his face. This was a new Kimi. One he was not sure he knew. The girl he had married could not have killed a man and smiled about it. Still, she was still his Kimi, and he loved her. He embraced her again, and only then did he notice her trembling. They set off again, this time towards their camp.
‘Can you deal with the troll?’ Fero asked Grimmaldo. ‘The Cat has no fire and he’ll not be able to beat it without.’
‘I think I can manage to cast some sort of fire spell. It may be difficult in the confined space of the woods to cast a fireball without setting the whole forest on fire, but I can try something else,’ replied the young mage setting off in the direction they had seen The Cat taking, hotly pursued by the troll. They had been positioned not far from where the abduction of Tadra had taken place and had seen all that happened. The Cat had tried to lead both the man and the troll away from the direction that Grnff had taken with his cub, but the man had seen a glimpse of white and had taken off after him. The troll had pursued The Cat relentlessly.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Portal of Vaal by Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is a 16-year-old author of middle grade/young adult fantasy stories. Portal of Vaal is based loosely around his adventures within a Minecraft community server, and more specifically, the people inhabiting it. Andrew currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his parents and dog Swiffer. He enjoys writing, reading, playing video games, Netflix binge-watching, and zip lining. He started writing Portal of Vaal at age 12 as a short story that culminated into a novel.

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POV Cover jpegPortal of Vaal

In the far off land of Vaalbara, a young hero awakens with no memory. He soon discovers his identity as Motorthud and learns that he must save Vaalbara from the Dark Ones. Along the way, he meets many allies: insanely smart Shiro, headstrong Furry, mysterious Neon, goofy yet tough Omalic and Yosh, the brains of the group. The young hero will need all of their help, as well as the blessings of Archlinder, an almighty and powerful deity, to destroy the Dark Ones and bring peace to the land. Follow along as Motor evolves from an awkward boy to the hero he was destined to be. Can motor save Vaalbara? Will he find out about his past? Find out the answers in Portal of Vaal. Portal of Vaal is based loosely upon the author's adventures within a Minecraft community server, and more specifically, the people inhabiting it.

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Excerpt from Portal of Vaal

Neon told me to pack light but with enough food to last us for a day or two. He said I could also bring a memento along with my weapon. I decided to bring a flower from Shiro's forest and a wristband from Furry in case I got "homesick". Before, they were just kind strangers. But now, to me, they were family.
I sighed, not knowing when, or even if, I would see them again. Since Ida said I was a hero sent to kill darkness, that meant I would have to make some sacrifices. Would one of them be my life? I instantly shook away the thought. I had to keep focusing on the positive.

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