I’m happy to announce Part 3 of Vengeance: Road to Damnation, the continuation story to the Journal of a Ranger, is now finished (or the draft, that is). I’m well into Part 4 which is the last part of the novel and at this pace will finish the thing in Spring 2017.
In Part 3, treachery unfolds, beliefs and swords clash, the main characters uncover basic truths about themselves and their journeys come tormentingly close to their ends…
If you want to become a beta-reader of sorts and get a chance to read Parts 1 to 3 before I finish the novel, email me (ofromholtz[at]gmail.com) or subscribe as a reader here in this blog. The buttons are there on the right…
And as usual, here’s a bit from Part 3, another flashback (because I don’t want to spoil the main plot 🙂 )
PS. Happy holidays everyone!
Six years ago
Jocelyn Rhediax watched her friend die.
The four-armed demon had him pinned on the dirt and with its spike-fanged jaws it ripped the crusader’s throat open.
She wanted to scream her defiance, her sorrow, but the air had been struck out of his lungs. She was covered in the dirt and soot of the battlefield. Tears ran down her cheeks but they were not borne of emotion but her eyes trying to clear her vision. The smell of smoke, blood and soil overcame her.
She didn’t know where her sword was.
The demon rose to its full height from the corpse of her friend and immediately two smaller gibbering monstrosities, all slime and teeth, howled and tore into it, given the chance by their master-creature.
Jocelyn tried to pull herself up. Shattering pain lanced across her back. She couldn’t feel her legs. Her armour was a useless weight on her.
Cleric. I need a healer.
But there was no reason to call for one. None could help her.
There was a battle around her, the demons and her friend. It was an ambush. It was a slaughter. Her brothers and sisters in arms struggled and died, and she could do nothing to help them.
The demon with four arms, muscular, sickly-grey, with black orbs for eyes, regarded Jocelyn on the ground, then stepped forward, over the smaller beasts fighting for her friend’s remains. Flashes and explosions of magical energies painted its moist hide in red, purple and yellow.
She had known this day had always been behind the corner, waiting. She had seen so many perish before her.
She would go to her goddess in the afterlife. She should not have feared, but be at ease.
But human nature was fickle.
Her friend’s blood dripped from the demon’s fangs as it eagerly stepped towards Jocelyn, savouring her fear. It was a being given birth to destroy. It was a bard and its music was the screams of innocents – women, men and children – as they died flayed, burning, hung, disembowelled, every way of dying a different musical instrument. Their pain was its pleasure, its art.
The demon said none of these things yet Jocelyn saw it all when she watched into its soulless eyes, and it made her quiver. Could she move her legs, she would’ve tried to run. But laying there like a broken twig to be stepped on she awaited her own death verse, breathless, even unable to squirm away.
I tried, my Lady. I wasn’t good enough.
Hand shaking, she reached to her belt, finding a dagger. A pitiful weapon against a monster of the Abyss. Despite her paralyzing fear, something made her raise it.
The demon sneered as she pointed the tip at it, as if finding her plight and final choked resistance amusing.
But it wasn’t sneering at her.
Past her strode the girl with the nervous voice, the thief. Ichor of dozen dead horrors was spread across her plate and her cloak was ripped in half. She had lost her helmet and her hair of sunset was in sweaty lumps.
She stopped between the demon and Jocelyn, shield up, blade at the ready.
She’s just a girl, a fresh recruit to the company. I don’t even know her name.
Holy light flashed from her form, a blink of dawn, driving the demon back a step. But it didn’t harm the monster.
It healed the crippled knight behind her.
“This is not the end! Stand up and fight!” She commanded Jocelyn with her high voice trembling, as if she had read Jocelyn’s mind. As if Lady Iomedae was talking to Jocelyn through her.
Jocelyn scrambled to her feet, taking her sword as she did from the trampled ground, and joined the girl.
She found strength in her defiance, in her thieves honor.
Then they fought, and they won.