No release date yet but September seems likely. I'm not doing the preorder thing this time but I will post sample chapters before publishing in full. To get the ball rolling, I've posted a teaser blurb and Chapter 1 below. Enjoy the read.
The Human-Vamp conflict of Deliverance is as old as time, the two sides having grown to hate each other more than any two species possibly could. But, in more recent times, rumors have been springing up across the human continent of Chavelia, telling of a new vamp species, one that preyed on humans and mundane vamps alike...
Thorn held the dagger to the vamp’s throat with one hand—the sharp blade pushing hard against pale skin—while his other hand clutched a wad of loose flesh down by the vile creature’s abdomen, preventing it from fleeing, the silver of his gauntlet making the vamp’s fell skin sizzle where the two met.
In Thorn’s grasp the vamp remained stalk still, thin arms spread to either side, palms out in submission, its long narrow face twisted in a rictus of fear and pain.
The wind swirling through the clearing was loud and made the surrounding trees creak and moan as they swayed from their gnarled root hearts.
Mili and Acob were standing ready close behind, Jillian to Thorn’s left, all three with Silver Blasters aimed at the clearing’s edge or up at the sky, and—like Thorn—they were all decked in full Silver Corps guild armor, their faces hidden behind helmets fashioned to resemble the heads of mythical owls, their shocked cesium eye-lenses staring unblinking from above short hooked beaks.
High above, hordes of dusky clouds scudded passed the wide hoary face of Earth-Daughter, obscuring the lights of The Burnwell Complex that blazed eternally across the moon’s surface, the clouds creating a shadowy strobe effect that prompted the shadows to dance and flicker across the small clearing, obscuring reality and camouflaging potential dangers.
Far opposite Earth-Daughter, Shadow Well was but a dark smudge floating across the night sky.
“So tell me,” Thorn said, loud enough to be heard over the gusting wind, his voice coming tinny from beneath his visor. “Who are these newcomers I’ve heard so much about?”
The vamp pulled back its snout-like maw to lick at its black lips with a purple tongue, revealing bloodstained fangs and dual rows of crooked teeth. “They comes from the above,” the vamp hissed breathlessly, its fell accent grating on Thorn’s nerves. But at least this one speaks the human tongue, he thought. The last four vamps Thorn and his company had captured hadn’t, and since it was a lot easier to kill a vamp than it was to catch one, a lot of energy had been wasted in the endeavor.
He listened in as the vamp continued. “Our brethrens tells of a fiery ball that falls from the stars and lands on Day Fall. Since then, the others haves comes here. Is true!”
“Day Fall? You mean the west. Where in the west?” Thorn pressed the dagger’s blade harder against the vamp’s throat.
“Humans haves heard calling it The Ancients Barrows!” the vamp hissed, stiffening with fright in Thorn’s grasp. “Theys are Xyhax but not likes us and our brethrens. They becomes different.” The vamp stopped to gulp in air before continuing. “Please, fair sirs, do nots end me. The differents Xyhax hunts both humans and Xyhax alike. Us must bands together.”
“Are you sure of all you’ve told me?” Thorn asked.
“Yes, fair sirs!”
“Good.” Thorn took some pressure off the dagger, the vamp relaxing somewhat. “But your kind should know that Hunters would never form an alliance with filth like you.”
There was moment of pure shock on the vamp’s long face before Thorn slammed the dagger into its throat, twisting the silver blade before pulling it out and quickly reburying it in the vamp’s chest, twisting again before yanking the blade out a final time to let the vamp fall dead to the loamy ground, its wounds sending shadow-hued blood fountaining over Thorn and the others—black blood contrasting sharply against silver armor.
The flickering shadows skipped over the vamp’s lifeless body while the moonlight glimmered off the oily black hair that covered its back, legs, and feet, the blood spreading away from the corpse as if it too wanted to be free of the vile shell it’d been trapped within for so long. The black liquid pooled before sinking into the thirsty ground to nourish other more deserving lifeforms in the future.
Sheathing his dagger, Thorn turned to the others. “Come dawn we’ll investigate The Ancient Barrows for these newcomers.”
Mili, Acob, and Jillian nodded behind their owl-faced visors, and then—after Acob placed a magnite charge on the vamp, burning the corpse to blowing ash in a fraction of a second, the residual blood boiling away just as quick—Thorn unslung his Silver Blaster and led his Hunters from the clearing in single file, the four moving fast, heading for the Lasertrack that was parked just beyond the clearing’s edge, the gusting wind battering their armored backs the entire way.