Caste of Iron – 12,047
snippet: Main character Lewk Khalope is right in the middle of a difficult magical working, when he’s interrupted by a terrifying arrival.
“Kadi Khalope.” The voice sounded distant to Lewk’s ears, as if the person whispered the formal address across the breadth of a canyon. He pushed it away. He’d warned the dock keeper not to interrupt him while he worked.
“Master Lewkam, it is important.” That was Kotya, his ward. Her voice trembled.
Little could faze Kotya. Lewk unwove the strands of his power, and drew them back in. His vision still tuned to magic, he turned.
Sadi Letsh, the dock keeper, was a rather dumpy man, with a thin mustache and an expression of perpetual boredom. Now his dull eyes were bright with terror as he pointed up the shore.
Lewk followed the path of the finger and offered fervant prayers to the High Gods, the Inters and the Lowlies. He wrapped an arm around Kotya and pushed the girl behind him.
A great metal beast lumbered over the beach. Sunlight glinted off its clanking gray and black body. The horrendous creaking of the beast’s joints made Lewk wince. Fishing nets spread across the sand caught its talons, ripping like tissue. People scattered, screaming. Men and women baring rifles fired them. The bullets dinged against the monstrosity’s metal sides, but did no damage.
Witch-hunt – 6,481
snippet – Mara, and her fellow witch-hunters Baldur and Hedmar, have just arrived in a small village where several missing children were reported, only to discover the village itself overrun by a strange pox. Eon is the village mayor.
They settled into chairs. Eon rested his steepled hands against his mouth, seemingly lost in thought for a few seconds. “It was a couple of children, this morning, that came down sick. Around the same time we realized that five were missing. We sent the report in for those five, and received word that Queen’s Mages would be arriving. Not to long after that, the pox began to spread.” He leaned back, touching his face gingerly. “For many, it seems to be having little affect. Aside from the sores, those afflicted still have good appetites, good breathing, no other signs of illness.”
Mara frowned. “But others?”
Eon nodded toward the back of the tavern. “We’ve brought them all here. Most are near death, vomiting, expelling their bowels, can’t keep any food down. Their skin damn near peeling off.” He gingerly touched a sore on his forehead. “There’s no rhyme or reason to who suffers. Some of our strongest men are laid up in that room.”
Baldur grunted, exchanging a glance with Mara. “Would you say most of them are?”
Eon shook his head. “I considered that too, but no. It’s all a mix in there, men, women, all different ages.” He shook his head, expression growing dark. “I’ve no idea what a witch would gain from this, but …” he trailed off, clearly having nothing else to offer.