This was a fun introduction. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure where the characters would go too. Not the way I expected in the end, but it all worked out. Check out War of Nytefall: Anarchy as a $2.99 eBook or a $12.00 paperback.
The Vengeance Hounds are knocked to the ground when the entire gorge shakes from a series of explosions. Water falls from the cloudless sky, which they mistake for rain until they reach the edge of the cliff. The river is dotted with craters from explosive runes that have sent the rapids hurtling into the air. Screams echo throughout the area as the hidden guards stumble out of their hiding places. All of them are covering their ears and move as if they are in agony until they slip on the wet stones. The lookouts strike the ground with a meaty thud and are left exposed to the sun, which prevents them from healing their injuries. One by one, they are smashed by boulders that are dislodged from above by a blurry object that zips by the Vengeance Hounds’ hiding place. Getting a closer look, they can see that it is a disembodied hand, which ends at the wrist. The body part makes a wide turn and comes back around to aim itself directly at the glint of metal below. It rockets towards the hidden trap and strikes the rock with enough force to slam it against the wall. Pieces of a shattered ballista are launched into the mangled river while the large arrowhead thrums into the far wall. Sounds of battle erupt from the unseen encampment until the area is plunged into silence by an ear-wrenching crash. A thick wave of dust and debris rolls along the ravine, but the confused warriors are more interested in the snow flowing through the air.
Minutes pass with no activity, so Titus and Bob cautiously climb down to the bottom of the gorge and leap to the opposite side of the river. The Vengeance Hounds stick to the wall and make sure to avoid stepping on any of the debris in their path. Coming to a boulder sitting on top of a dead lookout, they stop to examine the rock. They find a deep impression shaped like an open hand and enough cracks to make them fear that the slightest touch will turn the heavy object into pebbles. The body is decaying slowly thanks to the shade giving it some protection from the sun, but the scene tells them nothing about who attacked the encampment. Hearing a crack of breaking wood from far away, the men go back to sneaking along the ravine. Bob gradually takes the lead and uses his lance to leave faint marks in the dirt that only Titus would think of following. They know there is very little chance of surprising whoever is in the encampment since the larger warrior has no way to hide his presence once they go around the bend. Their weapons drawn, the pair reach the end of the wall and listen to whispering voices for a moment before jumping into the open. Titus’s double appears behind him while Bob remains invisible and braces his lance in preparation of meeting whatever charges at them.
The two men freeze at the sight of the destroyed camp, the bridge nothing more than icy chunks and the ground littered with rotting corpses. Standing in the middle of the destruction are two figures who stare wide-eyed at the Vengeance Hounds. Slowly lifting her arms, the young woman carefully reveals her fangs by pulling her mouth open. Her hair is a beautiful obsidian, but there are flecks of light brown near her roots to reveal that the tresses are dyed. Wearing fingerless gloves and black clothes, there is something oddly familiar about the yellow-eyed Dawn Fang. Fists clenched and an angry glare on his face, her male companion, who is dressed in leather armor, appears to be ready for a fight. Being a chaos elf, his cobalt skin helps him blend into the surrounding shadows, but his shock of white hair gives him away. Similar to Titus, he is heavily scarred and holding two weapons, but they are enormous, metal tonfas instead of swords. As he steps in front of his friend, the young man’s eyes catch their attention with the right one being an unnerving crimson and its mate being an enchanting sapphire. Begrudgingly, he imitates the woman and reveals that he has fangs, which is a clear surprise to the Vengeance Hounds. The widening of Titus’s eyes causes the chaos elf to take a step forward, but he aims himself directly at Bob, who is still invisible. The thick tension is suffocating until the black-haired Dawn Fang clears her throat and does a strange combination of a bow and curtsey.
“My name is Luna and Joran Draknis is my boyfriend,” she pleasantly declares. Slipping around her scowling companion, she tries to walk forward only to be pulled back before she impales herself on Bob’s invisible lance. “Oh, he’s over there. So . . . We thought it would be a nice way to introduce ourselves by wiping out this camp. After all, I’m the one who told Chastity Sullivan about it. We’ve been waiting for you to arrive and . . . Well . . . You see . . . Please let us join Nytefall! It would mean the world to us. Right, Joran?”
“Whatever you want, bunny,” the chaos elf replies in a dull tone.
“So, this was an audition?” Titus asks while Bob materializes. The pair nod with Luna being more animated than her boyfriend. “We’re always looking for new recruits. You definitely know how to fight and I assume you’re powerful. Sorry, but this is very unconventional and I’m still wrapping my head around not being able to fight. What do you think, Bob?”
“I like them,” the elf answers with a smile.
Yes, a fun introduction! 😄Interesting that this went in a direction you didn’t expect.
I shouldn’t really have been surprised. I didn’t have a grand plan with them in the first place.
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Characters can be surprising sometimes. Still any scene with Bob is usually a fun one.😊
An entertaining excerpt, Charles.
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Love the tension in this one.
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