Where it all Began
A Hunter's Chance
Check out an excerpt from the critically acclaimed series opener below!
"I am literally frothing with excitement!"
The dance with trees went on for some length until abruptly we were in a clearing. The expanse was not natural. Sensing great immediate alert, the two runners came to an immediate halt and we took in the assart. The clearance must be manmade in such a crowded woodland. If this is the same woodland. Tarnor remarked. “Impossible!”, Gimza audibly louder than he intended. Though, the ambience was irregular, like a dreary projection. The air was cool with a daft frostiness what was a stark contrast to the barren sultry we had grown accustomed to. The draft wafted lazily through the encircling trees and shrubbery. Something wasn’t right.
Without warning, a coterie of men emerged from the outcropping. They suddenly became visible as if only appearing at the edge of the timberline. Shadowy beings, there were a good rodg total, forming a ring right around us as we stood still in the center. Walking upright at the height of an average man, their smokey facial features showed nothing unique. All twins of one another, they closed in together but only one spoke in a guttural tone. “You tread the wrong path.” His dialogue had a raspy sound like the crackling of leaves. The one whom spoke stepped a nitch forward of the rest as they stood in place in a circle around us. Their odor was of that worse than a farmhouse covered with decomposing fish bowels filled with the excreta of a chiliadal decaying lepers. It left rust up our nostrils as then came yet closer. “Turn back.” The lead scoundrel demanded. The sound of his voice was enough to turn your guts to snakes.
“Surely you jape.” Gimza retorted with a mad grin before their defined commander had closed his jaws. “You come unarmed.”
The shadowmen were indeed armed to the britches, wielding swords or hammers or axes in both hands as well as extra armaments attached to their belt and backpiece. The all of them began to look and laugh at one another whilst emphasizing their weaponry. Their eyes, pink with evil turned darker crimson as they became the glowing red color of fresh blood. “We outnumber and out arm you ten to one, Rajah.” The last word was said with such scorn that the air truly chilled with anger.
“Mayhap you pervert my words. You walk alone.” Before the intruders were allowed a rebuttal, Dargor spun sideways and frog-kicked their declared chief neck-high, removing the head clear from his torso. Black blood oozed from his neck agape, smoking as it touched the fresh oxygen. “What in Dio’s name are you…” Gimza trailed off as the others took in what had just happened.
It seemed without their leader they became perplexed and awry. They looked at each other with bewilderment before another stepped forward. There was no introduction from this one as he was all business. “Impetus!” It roared. Its ear shattering tongue literally brought blood to our ears and Gimza and Serge screamed in agony. In seconds, the two kroyo had their companions in a sane mind, deep in the cognizance of the bond; but the momentary delay gave the imposing squadron a generous advantage.
Afore the skirmish could turn into a slaughter, Serge whipped a chakram from the saddle and lashed it through two of the marauders’ cervix, clearing one’s head straight from its body, and leaving the other’s hanging on by a flax. The bodies crumpled idly to the soil, obsidian blood again blistering with smoke as it stirred with the fresh oxygen. An attacker detected at the closing gelgen was effectively broken in half by a direct hit the bulk of Tarnor’s tail. Gimza hucked several kunai at a pair of incoming invaders, most hitting their mark, causing the two to stumble making them easy for Dargor to finish off. “Diablos!” Gimza spat as more midnight blood smouldered the air as the two combined. The rest of us could only agree, more evil fiends singling out us in an ambush. It was extremely disconcerting.
However, as another kefk encompassed us, this time apparently in sync with their new director gave us no time to ponder this reoccurring problem. Without time to count the interlopers, through our combined consciousness, we sensed seven more foes. Their approach suggested that they would come all at once, with their head just behind maybe to pick out a weakness after we were engaged. As they drew yet closer still, we decided that we would not give him the opportunity to exploit any kink in our armor.
As they neared an arm’s length, the two legrunners bounded over the ensuing opponents, and landed safely outside the ring of diablos. The lot was confused by the abrupt preemptive measure and before they could turn about face, three more lie motionless on the dirt. The self-appointed chieftain looked more like a craven than a platoon leader as he once again darted behind the cover of his accomplices. The three took offense to this act of cowardice and quickly slayed the imposter. “Addition by subtraction.” Gimza japed at the remaining renegades. Their response was an ejection of saliva showing their disgust with both the slain and the all of us.
“Stercore…” One of the lasting fiends hissed as the trio assailed us head on at once. Odds more in our favor, Serge and Gimza both debarked and drew their blades and bucklers, advancing on their adversaries. The trio met the pair in the core of the expanse, the fiends’ ebony blades searing as they clashed with the chevaliers’ iron. All focus on the dismounted knights, the hellions were ignorant to the kroyo once again leaping over the melee. The talons of the runners easily again separated head from body, rendering the three carcasses.
Taking in the entire scene once again, we saw that not all of the corpses stayed, and the remaining cadavers broiled with smoke as they disintegrated into the air right before our eyes. Before we had the time to contemplate what we had witnessed, the surrounding region began to do the same, and before the realization dawned on us, we were back in the familiar forest of Arburg, back in the arid heat.