My husband and I were talking about my fiction recently, and he pointed out that my stories contain aspects worthy of the horror genre. I had never really considered this label for my fiction, but I will admit that I'm terrible at categorizing my novels. I see them as epic fantasy, but some of the situations I put the characters through are absolutely terrifying. Some events leave scars, physical and psychological.
To illustrate this point, I've selected an excerpt from Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II. It's from Chapter 14. The Shaman's Dance. Writing it was a powerful experience for me, and I hope it moves some readers too.
Until August 26, 2015, Savage Storm is on sale at an 80 percent discount for only $0.99 at all ebook retailers.
ExcerptVrostan was thrown to the ground where three more savages pounced on him. His armor and most of his clothes were stripped away. The man who took his boots beat him over the head with them. Then they rolled him over and a leather strap was wound around his neck and then around a thick wooden pole. They tied his wrists to the pole, and then they stood him up. His bare feet against the cool wet ground enhanced his awareness of total vulnerability. With a savage at each end of his pole, they paraded him around. Men punched him and kicked him. Every time he went down to his knees, they took more delight in his suffering.
His tormentors finally relented and backed away, and Vrostan saw that he was in an open ring surrounded by onlookers holding torches. The relief from beating brought him no comfort because he was sure that something worse was about to happen.
Then Vrostan saw Drumond, tied up just like him, dumped into the ring. Drumond had suffered a bad wound. His leg was gashed and bleeding heavily and a bloody hole had replaced his left eye. Drumond seemed only partially conscious and two savages held up his pole and shook him to bring him out of his fainting.
The shrill yells and hoots of the savages switched to a moaning song that surely summoned a greater wickedness than themselves. Across from Vrostan the crowd parted and a monstrosity emerged into the firelight. He was bald with an overlarge head. Bird track-like tattoos covered his face, and his eyes were so pale that they almost looked white. Bare from the waist up, his grotesque body attested to some horrible birth. One arm was stunted with only two fingers and a thumb while the other arm hung huge and muscular from a humped back. His legs were short but powerful within leather wrappings.
The shaman rolled his eyes back into his head and raised his stunted arm to the crowd. He joined in their moaning song and began to stagger closer to the captives in a parody of dance.
He stopped in front of Drumond and unslung a large bag that hung from his shoulder. Stooping, he untied the long pouch and flipped it open. Upon the darkly stained leather mat, two finely crafted stone knives were tucked into loops. He took out his knives and brandished them to the crowd that howled with ominous approval.
The watery weakness of all consuming fear slackened Vrostan’s body. Lost upon a land empty of pity, he realized he was going to be cut up and so was Drumond.
The shaman began dancing with his knives. He performed an intricate display with delicate jabs of his knives, and his hulking body moved now with unexpected nimbleness. The other savages switched to a chant that increased in speed and the shaman kept pace.
The wild display from the dark hard heart of an intelligent predator mesmerized Vrostan, detaching him briefly from the violent danger that swallowed his fate in a whole chunk. This savage ritual brought his own culture into sharp relief. Vrostan was looking upon a cruel, rising frenzy and he could not imagine how the supposed men around him could approve of it.
The shaman’s dance slowed but the chanting remained feverish and demanding. With an elaborate stagger the shaman approached Drumond with his knives pointed purposefully at Drumond’s exposed abdomen.
On behalf of his half conscious comrade, Vrostan screamed in protest. He shouted for them to leave them alone. He begged mercy but his words were lost in the snarling noise of chanting. The shaman brought his blades together and thrust both points into the top of Drumond’s stomach. The poor militiaman awoke fully and shrieked with terrible pain and horror.
A great unfolding obesity of terror crushed Vrostan, and he screamed curses at the savages until he was hoarse. Tears poured from his face and he thrashed desperately in his bonds.
The shaman cut Drumond’s torso open and began to pull out his entrails and spill them across his leather mat to augur some unknown future. Half dead, Drumond dangled from the pole that savages still held up.
Vrostan sobbed. He turned away, unable to bear looking upon the torture of Drumond. His body shuddered from the absolute horror. Knowing that soon the same would happen to him, Vrostan experienced a totality of empathy for his fading comrade.
As he silently prayed to the Great Divinity to claim Drumond now, Vrostan puked. He felt tormented enough physically and mentally to drop dead, but he lingered on his pole. The savages holding him laughed and one came in front of him and started tickling his belly and pantomiming the knives of the shaman that would soon defile his flesh.
Right now the Super Series Summer Sale is going on through August 26th. As well as getting Rys Rising: Book I for free, you can save 80 percent on Savage Storm, New Religion, and Love Lost, which are $0.99 each instead of $4.99 right now.
This is an across the board sale with discounts available at:
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