Welcome back to Teaser Tuesday. Let’s start off the new year with some action from Beginning of a Hero. In fact, I’m going to stick to action scenes and pick one from each of my novels. This will include Legends of Windemere, Quest of the Brokenhearted, War of Nytefall, Bedlam, and Ichabod Brooks. Enjoy!
Putting her hands on the wall, the former Mercenary Queen watches a swarm of dark crimson flow through the forest. The red figures resemble hairless, muscular humans from the waist up, each one wielding rusty weapons. All of the students gasp and shy away from the wall when they see the creatures have the horrid bodies of scorpions. Many warriors whisper prayers to the gods at the sight of the curved barbs along the monsters’ skin and a sea of seven-foot, stinger-tipped tails. Two arms with giant pincers jut out from their enemies’ waists, snapping at anything that comes within reach. Occasionally, one of the smaller creatures gets too close to one of its bigger brethren and is viciously snapped in two by a pincer.
“Those spadix get uglier every time I see them,” Duggan mutters.
Selenia forces a smile, which turns into a frown when she notices larger figures pushing their way through the trees. Standing over twenty-five feet tall, the ten cyclopses make a slow, booming advance. A few of them are carrying a large tree as a makeshift club. She curses when she sees a cyclops standing in the back, looming much bigger than the others.
“Damn Kevin and his vision sword. That’s more than one cyclops and that big guy looks to be almost forty feet tall. I’ve met giants smaller than him,” she says as the monster army swarms into the killing field. “Well, I’m not one to wait for our guests to knock on the door, old dwarf. Let’s be the ones to draw first blood. Everyone prepare for battle! Archers and catapults! Prepare to fire on the eastern side! Wait for my signal!”
The headmistress raises her longsword above her head, the weapon crackling with electricity. Duggan has his crab-shell shield aimed at one the cyclopses and nods to his trusted boss after mumbling a quick prayer. He concentrates on the shield, causing a jet of water to erupt from the front of the magical device. Selenia lowers her sword to release a screeching lightning bolt along the water blast. It strikes the cyclops in the face and the towering giant collapses in a twitching heap on top of several of the spadix.
Once the dead monster hits the ground, the archers and catapults fire into the oncoming swarm. At first, the barrage keeps the shrieking creatures at bay and three more cyclopses are killed. The tide turns when many of the spadix pull out longbows and fire barbed arrows over the wall. A cyclops hurls a tree into the academy, crushing two of the catapults along with five students. Selenia glances at the bodies and steps onto the edge of the wall before dropping into the killing field to meet the approaching enemy. She is a whirlwind of polished steel, sending spadix parts everywhere as she cuts a path through their forces.
“Now this is my kind of strategy!” Duggan shouts.
The dwarf leaps from the wall, his heavily armored body landing with a crash on top of a spadix. He can feel the monster’s body crumple and gush underneath his feet. With an echoing battle cry, Duggan gleefully knocks monsters away with his war hammer. Urging them on, he waves at the squads led by Thomas and Kevin as they rush around the corners, intercepting the monsters within a few feet of the wall. The two forces meet with a terrifying clash of battle and screams.
The enormous cyclops reaches the battlefield and charges Selenia, the monster waving a massive club. She gets her sword up to block the attack, but is still knocked into the academy by the blow. The half-elven warrior grabs the edge of the wall and does a mid-air flip to land on the walkway. From above the action, she sees students getting skewered by tail stingers and shredded by snapping pincers. Another cyclops is killed by a boulder getting embedded in its chest, the dying behemoth pitching forward. A group of archers leap out of the way as the body crashes into the wall, creating a gaping hole for the spadix to swarm through.
“Everybody retreat into the academy! Use your knowledge of the grounds to your advantage!” Selenia shouts, dropping from the walkway.
She darts past a group of axe fighters and dives into the sea of monsters. The creatures try to stab her with their stingers, but they hit each other if they manage to hit anything at all. Selenia gracefully moves among them as she slashes through bodies, enjoying the feel of their crude weapons harmlessly bouncing off her body. Every crude weapon is deflected by an invisible coating of magic, allowing her to build a frightening amount of speed and momentum. Focused on the approaching cyclops, Selenia growls when a stinger pierces her leg.
“Son of a bitch!” she screams, yanking the stinger out and jamming it into the face of another spadix.
Selenia stumbles back, immediately feeling warm and faint. It is not long before she can feel her blood boiling . . .