Teaser Tuesday: A Wild and Chaotic Ride #fantasy #vampires

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Here we got for some fun from War of Nytefall: Eradication.  I almost forgot about this scene since it was off the cuff.  Enjoy.

Once the last of the refugees disappears over the horizon, Clyde lifts the thorn bushes to reveal a four-foot-wide hole. Mab emerges from his shadow as Titus and Bob join them, the two men surprised by the discovery. The vampires take positions around the entrance and try to see into the darkness, which absorbs any sunlight that it comes in contact with. For a moment, Clyde feels a pang of anxiety that he almost mistakes for hunger. Glancing at the bigger section of ruins, he tries to predict where the newest opening will lead, but his memories remain vague and unfocused. All he can remember is the darkness and solitude that threatened to swallow his sanity. His fangs slip out from between his lips and gain a silver sheen, but the red mist of his Lord’s Rage does not appear. The powerful Dawn Fang refuses to wait any longer and cracks his knuckles to get his companions’ attention. Wanting to set off any traps before they enter the underground, he picks up a tree stump and folds it in half before dropping it into the hole. The debris vanishes into the shadows and they can hear a dull thump a few seconds later. Satisfied with his test, Clyde steps off the edge and plunges through what feels like a sticky membrane of eternal night.

Instead of hitting solid rock, the Dawn Fangs land in a river of sand that carries them down and towards the rest of the ruins. The fine grains sparkle enough to cast light on the walls, which are jagged and home to fist-sized bats. With screeches of fright, the creatures soar a few inches above the earthy rapids and snap at the speckled insects that leap from beneath the surface. A gradual arc to the left takes the Dawn Fangs in the opposite direction and the right-hand wall dissolves to reveal the buried city below. An invisible barrier prevents them from jumping through the opening and makes every detail clear even from far away. Stone buildings have been toppled in a way that they remain intact even when on their side. Mummified bodies are scattered about the dusty cobblestone streets that continue to shimmer with faint traces of holy magic. Sitting on the opposite side of the ruins, the Temple of Durag is the only structure that has been destroyed. The walls have been turned into rubble and the towers lay split in half with corpses piled haphazardly in the eternally steaming wreckage. The last thing they see before the wall returns is that the central keep has been flipped upside down and partially buried as if it was a giant child’s sandbox toy.

Coming to a turn in the river, the vampires try to avoid crashing into the wall by swimming with the strong current. Mab is the first to notice that they are passing Clyde who is struggling to move his limbs and is slammed into the stone. It is an echoing impact that shakes the tunnel and disturbs more of the bats, the swarming creatures making it difficult to see more than a few feet ahead. The gaping wound on the Dawn Fang’s forehead sends blood pouring down his face and the injury refuses to heal. A searing pain and numbing weakness wash over him, each sensation consuming half of his aching body. Eyes rolling back in his head, Clyde is about to go completely under when Titus succeeds in swimming against the current and grabs him by the arm. No sooner does the barely conscious vampire get helped back to the surface than they sail off a cliff and watch the sand river disappear into the darkness.

The few seconds that they are in the air feel like minutes due to the void making it impossible to see anything. A bright light that is the size of a baby’s hand appears ahead of them and steadily grows until it drives away the shadows. As soon as the darkness vanishes, the four vampires hit solid ground and feel their legs snap from the unexpected landing. Sprawled on the floor, they heal their injuries while the light dims and they are able to see their surroundings. The domed chamber is dotted with yellow crystals that churn like oddly shaped suns. A path has been cleared between the circular opening that they came through and an empty pedestal that sits on the far side of the room. They can see part of another walkway that leads to a door, which is embedded in the wall and hangs open to reveal a barrier of orange bricks. Glass swords stick out of the ceiling to send colorful lights onto the floor, many of the dull blades cracked to the point where they will shatter at the slightest touch. Shreds of cloth and chunks of dusty bones poke out of the dirt, which shines like the sand river. Glints of metal are spread out on the walls and it takes the intruders a minute to recognize them as the signet rings of Duragian priests. The jewelry has been pressed into the stone, which shows a clear thumbprint around the golden charms.

A soothing heat repeatedly washes over the Dawn Fangs, but the sound of Clyde vomiting prevents them from relaxing. Reacting to his presence, the sun crystals release tendrils of light that stretch for the suffering vampire. They are about to make contact with him when his Lord’s Rage awakens and the red mist drives the energy away. Gaining enough strength to stand, Clyde stares ahead with eyes that are filled with anger and fear. He unleashes a hideous roaring scream that makes the crystals quiver and become visibly duller. No longer seeing his friends, he sprints forward and nearly knocks them across the chamber with the force of his passing. The crazed Dawn Fang stops at the pedestal, which is really a sloppily carved stalactite. It has been topped with a small bowl that is filled with shards of glass, many of which are curved and unevenly edged. With a bestial snort, Clyde crouches and jams his fingers into a crease in the floor. He flips the marble slab with enough strength to get it stuck in the nearby wall and break the rusty hinges of the heavy trapdoor. All he can do is stare at the empty hole that is now the home of a spider that has long since died of starvation.

“I remember this place,” Clyde whispers before he falls to his knees.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
This entry was posted in Teaser Tuesday, War of Nytefall and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Teaser Tuesday: A Wild and Chaotic Ride #fantasy #vampires

  1. L. Marie says:

    Wow! What a ride! Like an amusement park of death.


  2. Looks like a good place for a snack break before they tackle the next leg.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Super excerpt. The spider who died of starvation was a great touch


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