War. The drumbeat of war sounded throughout the Mortal Realms. In Ghur, armies mustered in the wild places, as the great powers sought to claim dominion over uncertain ground. And amongst the most uncertain was the Great Fenland of Chiropteros – better known to its inhabitants as the Ghost Bat Bog.
These fenlands are an ever-shifting sump of thick grasses and bald patches of rough, muddy ground, dotted with the broken remnants of a hundred forgotten marsh-kingdoms. Trees rise wild among the peatlands, growing strong on a charnel feast served over centuries. The dead still walk within sunken mansions in the Ghost Bat Bog, and strange, cyclopean shapes prowl the misty marshes, preying on the degenerate descendants of the old kingdoms.
It is among these savage marsh-folk that the Unseen first came, as the skies grew black with the war storm. He – or she, for none knew who or what they were, beneath their golden helm and dark robes – spoke cryptic truths, and drew the marsh-folk out of hiding, helping them to recall the ancient arts they had long forgotten – or perhaps never known in the first place… (more…)
By the light of the flux-fires, the acolytes waited and murmured uneasily among themselves. In the hellish glow of the great bonfires, daemon-shapes murmured softly, eagerly, in a tongue that none save the adepts, in their feathered war-masks , could understand.
Abruptly, the flux-fires blazed up, clawing at the stars above, as if to wrench them from the firmament. For a moment, the flames wavered and split, as if parted by monstrous hands, and beyond them, a howling void of endless colour and light spun in a lunatic pattern.
A moment later, a tall, masked figure stepped forth from within the shimmering flux-flames, staff in hand. The acolytes stiffened attentively, as the newcomer began to speak. Perhaps it was time, at last, for the Cockatrice Conclave to go to war… (more…)
The Kickstarter campaign for Sharkpunk 2 has gone live, bringing back a whole new shiver of shark stories with bite! (more…)
Barnes & Noble just released a list of ’96 SFF Books to Read in 2017′, and I got a nice mention, alongside Guy Haley and Chris Wraight. I’ve popped up the important bit below, but go check out the full list for yourself.
Plague Garden, by Josh Reynolds (Fall)
Josh is an author of great verve and imaginative flair, able to move between the science fiction, horror and fantasy genres with ease and aplomb. Plague Garden is fast-moving adventure story set in Games Workshop’s gothic Age of Sigmar setting. It is fantasy writ large – with a huge cast of heroes, villains and monsters, all fighting to survive in a dangerous, unpredictable landscape, the eponymous plague garden itself. For this is a realm within a realm, a universe of pure magic, where the normal rules of reality do not apply, and the power of a man’s soul can be stronger than the steel of his sword. – Lindsey D le Doux Priestley, senior editor
Isn’t that nice? I hope they use that ‘power of a man’s soul can be stronger than the steel of his sword’ bit for the blurb on the back cover.
A new year, a new story. In this case, it’s a follow-up of sorts to the last story of last year, “The Art of Provocation”. In “A Trick of the Light”, Lukas is not yet the Trickster, but instead Lukas the aspirant, stumbling through the snows of Fenris, on the hunt for – and being hunted by – the murderous doppelgangrel… (more…)
As 2016 kicks its last, 2017 circles the dimming fire, yellow eyes alight with eagerness. It’s hungry, this new year. Ready to pick the bones of the old, and yours as well, if you let it. I suggest avoiding that, if at all possible.
Anyway, here’s how I handled 2016. And how I’m planning to handle 2017. (more…)