Time to start off the Teaser Tuesday for War of Nytefall: Anarchy. Figure I should start at the beginning. Here’s part of the opening scene.
Sitting astride an enormous horse, Titus Winthrop charges around the edge of the forest and listens to the battle, which is hidden by the trees. His chainmail shirt is dotted with leaves and twigs he has accidentally collected since leaving the Dawn Fang army with orders to hold their position. Looking ahead, the scarred warrior sees that the mortal village is closer to the battle than he expected. Sitting at the far end of an open plain, the small group of homes and stores are in the perfect position to witness the conflict. Not wanting to spook any sentries, he avoids riding directly towards the road and pretends to be heading towards a distant cluster of hills. Faint glints of metal on the thatched rooftops put him on edge since he cannot tell if they are weathervanes or archers. With the village being so far away from larger cities, the Dawn Fang would not be surprised if they had a small group of defenders. His keen ears pick out the sounds of clanging swords and screams with the occasional explosion sending a plume of smoke above the trees he has left behind. The first curse that comes to mind erupts from his mouth when he realizes the signs of battle cannot go unnoticed. His own words of warning about the risk of starting a fight so close to where mortals live rings in his ears and he comes up with several strategies he should have used instead of his initial charge. A distant bellow from one of the vampiric ogres who surprised his forces feels like a mocking blow to his ego and confidence.
A noise snaps Titus out of his thoughts and he grips the reins before veering away from the village. Turning in the saddle, he spots a squad of enemy soldiers rushing to cut him off from the road. Their arrival stops him from making a wide circle around the houses and returning to the battle unnoticed. Riding slender birds found on the Yagervan Plains, the heavily armored warriors steadily gain and only fall behind whenever the Vengeance Hound leader makes an abrupt turn. Regardless of his steed’s muscular frame, it moves with a fluid grace whenever it changes direction while the birds have to slow down to match its movements. Hearing a caw from above, he shields his blue eyes and squints at the black speck against the sun. The raven makes a tight spiral movement before soaring back into the treetops where he is sure Bob is waiting for the animal. Glancing over his shoulder, the Dawn Fang sees another group of horsemen are coming around to trap him in a predictable pincer maneuver. Two of them are wearing cloaks and he frowns at the possibility of having to fight old-world vampires.
Exposed and unable to lead his pursuers back to the forest, Titus ties the reins around a ring on the saddle. Drawing both of his claymores, he directs his horse by putting pressure on it with his legs. Having only had a few advance riding lessons with Bob, it takes more time than he would like to control his steed. Even when he is charging towards the second group, the warrior has to repeatedly twist his lower half to prevent the artificial beast from running in the wrong direction. The constant adjustments allow the first squad to catch up enough that they can easily overtake the Dawn Fang the instant he slows down for battle. Arrows sail from both directions and Titus calmly blocks the ones coming from the front with his swords. Unable to turn around, he trusts in his chainmail to prevent the projectiles from going too far into his flesh. He winces whenever he is struck and stretches to get the arrowheads to pop out of his skin, but they continue to dangle from his armor. Holding up his claymore, he uses the reflection to see how close his enemies are, but his attention is stolen by another group of dots far behind them. Seeing a faint trail of dust, he realizes guards from the village are heading towards him, which means he has a few minutes to dispatch the soldiers of Nyte.
Leaping onto his horse’s back, Titus balances himself for a moment before launching with enough force to cause the animal to stop. In the back of his mind, he realizes the guards will have questions about how someone of his size can jump so high. The thought brings a smile to his face as he comes down to split the barrel-chested leader of the squad in front of him. The riding birds peck at him with needle-like beaks while he kicks at their thick knees. Those who stumble bring their struggling riders into easy reach of the Dawn Fang’s blades, which cleave through flesh with ease. The two old-world vampires are killed before the others can get free of their saddles and move to surround the lone warrior. Circling the group and firing arrows, the first squad works to block all possible escape routes. Unable to summon his rear-guard double without raising more questions, Titus repeatedly spins to block attacks, which makes it difficult to go on the offensive. He tackles a man with an axe and tendrils coming from his mouth, which sends both of them rolling into the path of the riders. Cutting off the fallen enemy’s head, he punches the approaching bird in the chest and roars as he shoves it back. Surprised by his strength, the other riders collide and fall to the ground with only one of them managing to stay in their saddle. Unable to control the panicking steed, she is left open to a strike, which cleaves her in half. Rushing to kill the enemies before they get back to their feet, the warrior takes a stab to his side, but twists away to prevent the curved blade from striking any of his organs. Frustrated by the halfling who continually darts in to strike, Titus jumps straight up to let the smaller swordsman pass under him. He kicks out with both legs to smash the soldier’s head into the armored chest of a dead vampire. The metal cracks, but it is the skull that splatters like an overripe melon. Trying not to slip on the gore, the Vengeance Hound whirls around to face the remaining warriors and rushes to meet their half-hearted charge. With the fight nearly driven out of the survivors, the Dawn Fang cannot stop himself from feeling sorry for them and slices off their heads in rapid succession.
“What is going on here?” the sheriff asks as the mortals arrive.