WRITTEN WORDS Text Novel #3 - Brothers of the Wood #1 COVER...................David McClain, Keith Royster and Darrell Goza STORY...............................................................Mark Wayne Harris EDITS.............................Fenwick ThaddeusFord and Darrell Goza
Welcome to the 3rd issue of the Text Novels. First there was Rama-Vad by John Brown; a martial arts inspired tale of tragedy. John himself is no stranger to ScriptGraphics digest books, having penciled issue three of the ‘PsiGirl’ series and the spin off webcomic ‘Romulus’, which in online now @: [http://sgocomicstrips.multiply.com] Next up was ‘Darkstone’. A brutal urban story of an Native American in the big city. Penned by Keith Royster, who is also no stranger to the ScriptGraphics line of digest books and was a founding member of the first ScriptGraphics revolution. Keith has been with us from the very beginning doing art and stories. His Quasar story was the original basis for what became the Destiny Squad). This issue features the amazing talents of Mark Wayne Harris, who though not quite with us from the very beginning, was close enough to it to get us to establish a line of books for writers who didn’t have access to an artist. Hence the Text Novels. This is an interesting mix to be part of a digest market that traditionally relies on artists to get viewers. This issue, and the two to follow, will feature a story line developed by Mark just for this format. Mark has also developed a line of books of his own that have digitally illustrated covers and spot art in the interiors. Sneak Peek at TN Issue 4, Brothers of the Wood Issue 2 cover This line of books is an attempt to keep alive the pulp fiction style of publishing. Our hope is that there are still a few out there that have a love of the printed word unencumbered by graphic distractions. This isn’t to say we don’t like the comic book style publications that are out there, since we publish those too. Instead it’s a way to widen the field by leaving the door open to those creators who just like to write. Those whose words alone paint vibrant mind pictures and who otherwise don’t have access to an artist or who feel they don’t necessarily need one to tell the tale. This is more or less an experiment to see if this generation of consumers will take to, and spend time with the written word or will the instant gratification of video lobotomy be indeed, the way it is. Some have already expressed a fondness for the fact that we’re taking this on. Will that translate into a viable pathway for future creators? We don’t know. What we hope is that some video watcher or casual reader will pick this up and give it a read. Hopefully worlds will open for that reader and the spark of interest (which often becomes a lifelong passion) will take root and get the reader to read more of everything that’s out there. Reading is, after all, fundamental. For our part, we’ll try to keep the stories lively. We’ll cross a lot of genres and vary not only content, but concepts too. If what we do isn’t good, it won’t get read. Those are the facts, my friends, now on to the fiction... And as Goza used to say: Zine On! Fenwick ‘The Fenth’ Thaddeusford
Autumn. The season when the ground and the trees are tinted with gamboge and sienna. It has come to Oaria. For the following four months, the planet will be wrapped in clear azure skies, cooling showers, and chilly air. The forests will drop their leaves, and coat the woodâ€™s floor in an auburn carpet. It is a time of leavings and returning. Soldiers, mercenaries, warriors will return from battles in other lands. Men, bored with the life of civilization, will seek to test their man hood by embarking on quests, travelling to forbidden lands and sailing forbidden seas. Others will remain, content with the ad ventures that tomorrow will bring. Arrusus forest. A place of serene beauty. A small paradise of chirping birds, scampering animals, and peace. Hoofbeats of a mighty ivory steed disturbing the resting leaves, bring home a warrior.
His hands reach for his helmet. It is a sterling helmet with the horns of a ram affixed on each side. Dark brown hair is exposed, slightly curly and falling on the nape of his neck. His naturally dark skin features a stern harp nose and the-stubble of a few days travel. He listens. And listens. No, he decides. He heard no suspicious sound. Perhaps battle instincts can be overly honed.
Exercised muscles under white leather and cloth pull on the bridleâ€™s embroidered reins. The stallion slows to a stop, its great lungs heaving and sucking in the crisp morning air. Its rider dismounts. He is a tall man, over six feet in height. His battle gear does little to hide his lean, developed build. A shield forged of selvan metal graces his arm. The hilt of his sword is powerfully gripped in a leather and metal-knuckled gauntlet. He stands next to his steed, statuesque, as if more of rock than flesh and blood. A white statue. He is Stormer.
Stormer turns back to his steed. “Ah, Froster, he says to it softly. “Froster, Iceslayer, Rimeduster... you are truly a horse of many names. You are old, but physically youthful. When I look into your eyes, I see intelligence and I would trust your instincts as readily as I would mine.” Stormer’s wary eyes scan the surroundings. He sees nothing peculiar. His ears again strain, perceiving all sounds in the forest. The flocks of migrating birds overhead, as well as the scurrying of mice, the bounding of squirrels and the jumping of rabbits impress upon his sense of hearing. His hand gently strokes and combs the horse’s mane. “You are aware of it also. It is beyond the range of the senses. It is a feeling... a hearing and sight in the mind and soul.” He pauses, taking a slow breath. “We are pursued. Stormer the White quickly ascends his steed. He takes the reins in his fist and spurs the animal into motion. He replaces his helmet, then focuses his attention ahead. The stallion picks up speed. It needs no more goading. It now races through the timberland at impossible speed, never missing a footing. The rider’s eyes tear, but the powerful rush of the wind dries them . A macabre howl sounds. The speed of the ride slackens and the horse comes to a stop. The rider’s brow creases in worry. He knows nothing human can make a shriek as dire as that. The howl sounds again. Closer. Now, a stirring of bush and foliage. Closer. Wonder holds the man to his position, despite the nervousness of his mount. He peers through the trees, and a glance of his pursuer is all he needs to tell him to fly. Stormer tries to accept the reality of what he saw. The man was atop a black horse, the bluish white of its flesh in bold contrast. Locks of yellow hair fell from the sides of a skeletal face. Its flesh was drawn tight about its bones. Its armor hung loosely on its body. When Stomer sighted it, its back snapped erect, as if it was intelligent and spied its prey. In that moment of eye contact; contact with ebony sockets and glowing red coals, the rider was certain no human being sought to find him. My defense is clear, the rider thinks. I must lead it; his musing ceases. He now hears more than one pursuer. As best he can discern, no less than four follow him. I must lead them into the dark core of the forest. I dread going into such an evil and accursed area, but my victory lies in ambush. The howls sounds from behind. Getting closer and closer.
The light thickens. The brightness of the morning fades as horse and rider charge into the black nucleus of Arrusus forest. Gloomwood. There slimy creatures abide, trees are coated with deadening crust, putrid liquid drips like rain from the branches, the floor is coated with runny ooze, and the air is dense and foul. Into this, without hesitation, the rider plunges at the full speed his horse can muster. The atmosphere chokes him, seeks to bind him. He feels the odor seep into every pore, and he must suppress an urge to vomit. He dismounts,
and sends Foster to await him at the forest’s edge. He draws his sword. And waits. They approach. Stormer freezes. Fluids, the color of pitch, fall on him, dulling the white of his uniform. He blends in with his surroundings. He is another tree. Another bush. Another rock. They howl out, as if calling him. His previous count was approximate. The enemy numbers five and they are headed in his direction. One of them breaks away from the group, as if sensing the rider nearby. Concealed by a tree, Stormer raises his blade, prepared to sever the inhuman thing’s head from its bony shoulders. Something touches Stormer’s foot, beneath the inch-deep layer of dirt. He dare not move, the creature is very nearly in front of him, strange eyes searching... He dares a glance at his leg. He feels a cold streak of dread ride down his spine. It is a balandan. A slug-like animal whose sting brings instant death. It is moving it’s foot-long body up Stormer’s foreleg with painful slowness. Stormer’s muscles ache, and he must roous his will to prevent them from twitching. The slightest movement will inform the balandin it rests on a living thing. The enemy move closer. Beads of sweat form on Stormer’s face. He is sized by another urge to retch. The balandin is on his thigh, having left a glistening lavender trail behind it. The enemy peers through the gloom. Its eyes flare up, sending out searching beams of lights. Stormer shivers. The balandin halts. Stormer glances to the animal. The balandin’s head raises from Stormer’s leg. Fangs slowly protrude from the mouth. Stormer ignores the enemy, concentrating on the immediate threat. The balandin’s head wavers to and fro. It waits. And waits. Fangs retract. The journey resumes. But Stormer can exhale no sigh. The enemy odd eyes fall on him. It calls to its comrades, hoping they can confirm its suspicions. They are intelligent, Stormer digests. The balandin pauses on Stormer’s buttocks. The enemy groups together and approach. The balandin moves to Stormers back. The enemy draw weapons from their scabbards. Unfamiliar weapons. The blades are transparent. They surround Stormer. One draws close, and raises its sword high over its emaciated body. He prepares to strike.
Stormer ducks, feeling the spray of the balandin’s innards, severed by the creature’s blow, shower his helmet and face. Stormer heaves his lowered blade upward into the creature’s groin with a muffled thuk. It screams, and
Stormer gathers himself, prepared to send at least one of his pursuers to the place of dread before the slug’s venom kills him. The balandin advances to Stormer’s shoulder, and in that instant the enemy attacks.
falls. No blood gushes from its death wound. Only writhing, living larvae emerge through fingers that grip the site of fatal damage. A second moves to the offensive. Stormer kicks a small tree, and a flood of liquid drenches them both and blinds the helmet less creature. Stormer swings wide, blade whistling, and its head leaves its shoulders. The third attacks with such speed that it succeeds in slicing the chain mail over Stormer’s chest. He is only scratched, but pain snaps through his breast like molten metal poured into an open gash. He screams. He rails. That blade, he speculates through white agony. It’s razor sharp. The chain barely inhibited it. Stormer’s quick musing ceases as the creature hacks downward at his neck. Stormer manages to raise his selvan shield to block it. It shatters. Stormer moves to his knees. A wild sound, flowing from the belly of the attacker, chills Stormer. It was a laugh. A laugh with the confidence of victory behind it. Stormer balls his fingers to a fist, and with a yell of desperation slams the metal of his gauntlet into the creature’s knee. The enemy drops, joint broken cleanly. Stormer rises, and with a step of momentum, smashes his heel into another’s chest. His foot sinks. The creature does not rise. There are two left, on unable to stand or attack. The final one stands his ground. Stormer readies himself, feeling insufficiently protected. He is about to engage in a death-fight with out a shield, and with an enemy whose weapon is many times more deadly than his. It shattered his shield like it was glass. They circle each other. Moments pass, neither attacking the other. He means to unnerve me, Stormer ponders. Without the others positions inhibiting movement, he can surely defeat me. Stormer attacks first. He swings his sword high in a down ward arc to the beast’s head. The creature swings low. Stormer’s direction of arc shifts. The enemy’s stroke is ceased. Stormer’s sword shivers, coating him with sparkling shards. Stormer spins swiftly and backhands the demon-thing. The ground is slippery, and the creature falls. Stormer moves on top of him, prepared to bury what little of his sword remains into the thing’s skull. Stormer’s thrust is caught by pale, bony fingers. His eyes stretch in disbelief at the awesome strength in the thing’s near muscle-less limbs. Its right arm snatches swiftly upward and its hand closes about Stormer’s throat. Dancing lights of pain float in the warrior’s mind. His vision blanks out.
It takes a few seconds for his head to clear enough for him to realize what is happening. He knows his eyes can function, but they aren’t. His is buried beneath inches of muck on the forest ground. He is smothering. Panic seizes him. No, he decides. To admit the potential of defeat is to invite defeat. A surge of adrenalin pumps through his system. The enemy’s hold is broken. Both rise. Stormer punches, not allowing a heartbeat of rest. He feels the side of the creature’s head give beneath his fist. It falls against the trunk of a tree, scraping its flesh on the crusty knobs and bumps that cover the bark.
Stormer grips his broken sword. Both arms put force behind it, and the creature’s head splits as the blade is passed through it and into the tree behind it. It’s body convulses, then stops. It is over. Stormer has survived. He stumbles from Arrusus forest. Stormer removes his helmet. Coppery eyes search for his horse. There he is, bathing in the Sarlon River, the river of life. Stormer removes his gear and dives into the crystal, cool waters. All grime and dirt washes away. The water invigorates him. It restores his strength. He climbs from the waterway and breathes deeply. He had almost forgotten how clean air felt and tasted. “Come Froster. It is time to return home.” The horse looks at him perspicaciously, and climbs from the water. Death. Decay. Despondency. Loss. All of these terms apply to the great destroyer of people and progress. War. Stormer’s entry into The Wood abruptly ceases. He stands in mute shock, frozen with disbelief. His lips part, and a prayer escapes them. The Wood was a garden. It was surrounded by towering trees, oak~, maples, all with reaching branches and golden bark. It was filled with laughing people, playing children, and the love of simple life. Never was a person hungry, and never was a house unlike the most beautifully painted picture. The air was always saturated with the scent of flowers. But now... The Wood is a hell. Fire has destroyed the surrounding trees, making them black and disfigured. It is filled with dead and dying people, all friends, gored open like pigs and lying bent and broken like useless dolls. People are crying and praying. Houses have been claimed by the fires of torches, and no longer stand. The air is saturated with the stale odor of death. Stormer shakes his head unconsciously. He thinks, this is a dream. This isn’t real. An old woman rises from her husbands’s body, wiping his blood from her face. It is blood mixed with tears, but her face is blank and her eyes betray no emotion. She removes her shawl, filthy with dust and blood, She approaches Stormer saying nothing at first. Then her face wrinkles with anger. “Where were you?” Her voice sobs out. Tears flow anew, carrying with them bits of dirt that leave clean streaks on her weathered face.
“Where were You?” She yells. “We thought you would come. You promised to protect us. You did this!” She claws hysterically at Stormer’s face. Her nails dig into his cheeks. He grips her wrists. “Mrs. Cellar, I had no way of knowing. If I did, you know I would have come. This isn’t my fault. I didn’t cause this.” Stormer does not know if his words are an excuse or an explanation. Whichever, they have no effect on the
Stormer is hesitant to reply. Her implication is clear. She believes this is his fault.
distraught woman. He releases her, leaving the sounds of her voice, cursing him to death and damnation, echoing behind him. His eyes scan the surroundings. Someone is missing in the gloom and chaos. The shock of the return had dulled his mind. Where is he? Is he alive? No answers are visible. He takes to a light jog. Scenes of desolation affect even his legendary will, but he ignores it. He is concerned with one person now. A special person. He stops. There. Black-booted legs protrude from behind a rain barrel. They do not move. Stormer approaches the figure, propped up against a still smoldering house. “Blackmar,” Stormer whispers. Tired eyes slowly open. They bore into Stormer, into a mirror of his own features. They look for the heavy mustache that would complete the picture, but it isn’t there. Blackmar smiles weakly. “Well,” he begins, but is seized by a short spasm of coughing, and brings up a little blood. “It seems my little brother’s arrival home is well timed.” “Younger only by the moments that passed between our births,” Stormer says smiling. “I see your wounds have been cared for. Can you stand?” “Would I be sitting here if I could? Give me a little time to rest. I went through hell a few hours ago.” Blackmar pauses. He raises his left eyebrow, characteristically. “Where have you been? You were due back yesterday.” “Delays. But we can talk about that later. What happened here?” “We were attacked. Demon-things.” “Demon-things?” Stormer interrupts. Blackmar notes the tone of his voice. “Yes. They flew in out of the north sky on some kinds of bat-like animals. Horrible things. But I had the feeling they were just looklng for somethlng, and having a little fun while doing it.” “There’s nothing here to find. It must be something else, Blackmar.” Blackmars’s eyebrows knot in thought. He picks up a canteen on the ground next to him and drinks. Blackmar looks at his brother quizzically. His lips open, and he speaks slowly, as if measuring the length of his words. “The chain mail over your chest has been cut. What happened to you,.and don’t tell me we’ll talk about it later.”
Stormer smiles and sighs. His brother’s concern for his welfare shines through. But he has the feeling Blackmar is looking for information. He takes a breath, a deep one, before speaking. “I was pursued by demons into the core of Arrusus forest this morning.
I defeated them there. One nearly managed to finish the fight his way.” Stormer goes silent as Blackmar nods his head, more to himself than to his sibling. “What did they look like?” Blackmar asks. “They were thin-bodied,” Stormer responds, using his hands to emphasize description. “Skin and bones mostly, They had blue flesh, long locks of yellow hair, glowing red eyes, which are a little hard to describe, and...” “Stop,” Blackmar bids, raising his hand for Stormer to fall silent. He slips deep into thought. Stormer watches the in creasing expression of worry develop on Blackmar’s face. “I know why they came,” Blackmar says solemnly. Stormer’s eyes ask the question “why” for him. He places his hand on Stormer’s shoulder. “There is only one logical thing to conclude,” he says. “They came here searching for you.” The light of realization fills Stormer’s mind and heart. “Of course,” he whispers. Blackmar says nothing. He merely watches his brother, studying him. “I’ve got to find out who was behind this attack,” Stormer breathes. “I’ve got to.” . “Or he’ll find you,” Blackmar says calmly. Stormer fires a burning stare at Blackmar. Any other man would blanche with fear for stirring it, but Blackmar is unaffected. “Save your fury, my brother. The enemy will return,” Blackmar says. He attempts to rise. Stormer extends his hand and pulls him to his feet. Stormer has gone silent. Thinking. All this is my fault. All the deaths... “You’re thinking this is your fault, aren’t you?” Blackmar inquires.
“Of course not.” Stormer lies. Blackmar makes no comment. He places his arm over Stormer’s shoulder and they begin walking. It’s a slow walk, through and past the carnage...
Night. Five days have passed, and the ache of battle has passed from the two warriors. But soothing slumber does not come to both. Stormer lies awake, staring into the inky darkness of his room. He rises and walks to the window. Below, the grounds watchman paces the front walk of the building. Stormer picks up a small stone from the sill and drops it on his head. The watchman takes on an expression of irritation as his eyes rise three stories to Stormer’s window. Seeing Stormer he grins, with dull crooked teeth. He pats the horn on his belt then waves Stormer back into his room. Stormer stands, fists clenched. An ever increasing desire to act is swelling in his breast. He stares at his battle gear. His sword, bow and shafts, spear, dirk, helmet, and body armor seem to call him. He strides over to them and fingers the edge of the blade. It, as is all his metal gear, is forged of selvan metal. Lightweight, yet stronger than iron. Sword of swords, he muses, holding it before him. “A nameless sword you are. Do you wish to seek out our enemy? Or do you agree with Blackmar. that waiting to surprise them with the five hundred Ranesmen coming in to fight with us is best?” Stormer receives no answer. He expected none, of course. But his words push him even more. Deciding, he dons his gear. In his final stages of preparation, Stormer’s ears hear foot steps, padded, enter the room. He whirls, blade in hand. Srormer does not recognize him. He is a tall man, rather frail in appearance. He is dressed in dull greys and greens, leg stockings and ankle shoes. His shirt sleeves balloon out to the cuffs. A staunbark lute is strapped to his back. “What is it?” Stormer demands. “My, my, good sir. There’s really no need to be so edgy.” The man says. “State your business, minstrel.” “Well, firstly, I am Solomon Greyman. To your service, swordsman. Secondly, I was asked by your sibling to watch you. He feared you would act irrationally about the battle.”
“My brother has a talent for predicting my actions,” Stormer remarks. “And, as usual, he is right. But know something minstrel; there are times when I get feelings about war. It seems as if Serron calls to me, to give me time to prepare.” Greyman says nothing. A sound. It was the war horn! Several now sound in unison as Stormer fastens his scabbard and runs to Blackmar’s chamber. He finds Blackmar in hurried preparation.
“They are coming in from the north sky again,” Blackmar says hurriedly. “Make sure Froster and Ivanstaff are armored. This time we won’t be caught off guard. The Ranesmen arrived earlier.” Stormer nods and vanishes through the door. Blackmar makes a gesture for him to wait, but he is to late. He tightens his jaw, and thinks, “He means to fight with us. It’s understandable, but foolish.” Blackmar snatches up his helmet and departs, ignoring the eavesdropping minstrel on the way. Outside, Stormer is untying the horses. Blackmar looks deeply into his brother’s eyes. Stormer says, “Don’t say it Blackmar, I’m not staying behind. You know that.” He then looks to the sky and the gathering clouds before mounting the mailed Froster. Stormer smiles and grips his brothers hand powerfully. Thunder erupts. The winds increase to tempest fury. The north sky trembles as ebony clouds rush from it at impossible speed and cover The Wood in a horrid, black shadow. Rain falls in a deluge. The mountaintops burst with energy, filling the heavens with amber, emerald, and cobalt fire. When the overcast parts, hundreds of bat-like animals with their inhuman riders stream down. A look of hopelessness posesses Stormer’s face. Blackmar mounts Ivanstaff. “Earlier was the battle, Stormer,” he shouts. He draws his sword, and it reflects the colorful lights in the sky. “This is the war!” And with those words he charges Ivanstaff forward. As he Joins the battle, the majority of the warriors take to his leadership. Bowmen fire a rain of arrows. As the beasts fall, the riders take foot. Stormer spurs Froster forward and is instantly attacked. The spear misses. Froster thrusts his head downward at the footman, gouging him on his metallic horn. He is thrown off, body limp and lifeless. Stormer and Froster become a single machine of death. Stormer cannot be touched, his sword a constant blur. Froster is invincible, trampling the enemy beneath his hooves. Covered by the sickening life-essence, Stormer spies Blackmar being snuck upon and charges to his aid. The White Warrior notches an arrow and pulls back. But Blackmar’s instincts are finely honed. He whirls, ending the threat in a flash of selvan fury.
“It seems our bowmen have not been as efficient as we had planned, thinks Stormer. Only half their forces are down.”
Stormer redirects his attention and shoots upward. The unnatural beast, called a jetwing, drops from the sky like a stone, it’s brain split. Stormer buries another in the chest of it’s rider.
Blackmar leads his men ever forward. A small, disc like projectile, sharp and pentagrammed, buries itself in his shoulder. Blackmar winces. It pierced his armor! He has no chance to deal with his attacker, though. It is destroyed by another ranesman. Blackmar pulls the weapon free. This is a selvan piece, he reflects. One coated with mirith metal. Poisonous metal! But his regard is forced from object to attacker. Blackmar leans back, evading the claws of a second jetwing. The warrior steadies himself. He watches the creature attack another, and his hand moves to his wound. He feels the poison beginning to work. Stormer pulls up next to a ranesman. “How fare our forces?” He asks. The ranesman doesn’t reply. Stormer rides from him, his sword whispering death. The ranesman’s silence wretched his heart, but his bravery remains strong. Bored with mounted attacks, he leaps from Froster’s back and into a crowd of demons. Soon he is the only one standing. Stormer takes to his bow. Using the corpse of a fallen Jetwing to cover his back, he shoots again and again. The enemy drops like flies. His war-blood is up. He is a warrior, giving no quarter, asked or otherwise. Stormer’s attention span shortens. He becomes too confident that his back is protected and he cannot be harmed. Wrong. A jetwing’s shadow covers him, and when it leaves, Stormer is gone. Stormer fights panic. The grip of the jetwing is like a vise. His armor begins to give. He has lost his sword. The jetwing has been injured and is fighting to gain altitude. Stormer whips his dirk from his belt. The belly of the creature splits wide, deluging the warrior in it’s entrails. Stormer’s arcing slice had sufficient strength be hind it. The creatures flight falters. It crashes. Stormer rises painfully. He stumbles and falls. His brain is clouded. Again he stands but is too weak. He feels the ground shift beneath him, and then strike him. Blackmar fights onward, ignoring the pain. The poisonous mirith had not buried deep enough. He is sick, but will not die. As the dancing lights slowly fade, he rinds himself before one of the enemy. Its emaciated body quivers in some holy delight at Blackmar’s weakness.
The creature advances. It and Blackmar lock blades. The metal of his sword barely withstands the stress of combat with the creature. It wields the transparent hellblades Stormer mentioned. The razor edge chips Blackmar’s sword but he stands his ground. Stormer forces himself up. His legs barely support him. A creature slashes at him, cleaving his armor from shoulder to pelvis. The impact knocks him back and the creature leaps on him, burying his bony fingers in Stormer’s neck. Too weak to break the hold, Stormer brings his knee up with all the force he can muster. The beasts pelvis cracks. Stormer slams a fist into it’s
neck. It slumps over, unconscious or dead. Blackmar ducks a powerful stroke of the enemy. He rolls on the ground to a mirinth-tipped spear, his own sword broken. The creature fires blindlng rays of light from it’s eyes. Blackmar’s vision fails. The creature believes Blackmar helpless, and in its eagerness to kill him, nearly trips on a broken piece of armor. That sound is all Blackmar needs to impale it at the position the sound gave him. Stormer’s strength is returning. He engages in conflict after conflict. His fury is felt by all. The blood of his friends and fellow warriors fills his nostrils. They flare. His movements all flow into the next. He exhibits a battle prowess that could be labeled inhuman. Blackmar finds and remounts Ivanstaff. He cries out to his men: “Follow me, 0 defenders! The day can still be ours!” And with those stirring words, the remaining ranesmen and woodsmen congeal behind Blackmar, and he leads them again into the heart of the gathered enemy. The bowmen fire shaft after shaft, whittling the jetwing forces even more, but never enough. Blackmar shivers as he sees a jetwing devour an armorless man, but it doesn’t discourage him. If anything it spurs him on, igniting a battle-lust that threatens to consume him. The poison is gone but the soldier of destruction remains. The ground begins to tremble and quake. All are aware of the frustration of these creatures master. He is powerful. He is terrible. But he will be beaten. Blood flows in rivulets on the ground. The air stinks. Eyes burn and tear. Throats ache and reel raw, and swollen. All seem to reel an ending coming. And it is as sudden as it is horrible. Stormer was the target for these beasts all along. He is wanted for an asyet-unknown purpose. His luck has run out. A fresh Jetwing snatches him up with the speed of a striking snake. He cannot break its hold. He is carried off. Blackmar screams, seeing his brother carried off over the horizon followed by all the opposing forces. All save one. It all seems to occur in slow motion. Blackmar’s yell. The throwing of the mirith spear. Blackmar’s turning. The impact. Deep, through to the back. Blackmar knocked from Ivanstarf. Seeing the entire head of the spear in his chest. Blackmar striking the ground. His hand fights to touch his breast. He feels it. He looks. The shaft towers over him, grounded in his chest. Then he feels the blackness of approaching death...
to be continued. . .
In 1976, lightning struck in the form of magazine sized ScriptGraphics #1. It contained a story about a Rhodes Scholar who was given the power of the stars called Quasar. In 1985, lightning struck again as that very first Quasar story was re-released in digest format. This time the release was different. He wasn’t alone. Four other galactic entities joined him in combating the greatest threat know to the universe.The books were an instant hit as the story was completed for the very first time. It’s been nearly twenty years since those books were done and now they’re back. Originally designed for print, they’ll be brought back in the order of their original appearances with re-designed packaging. The lettering has been re-purposed to take advantage of the new digital technologies and the art, where necessary, has been completely re-drawn by some of the greatest talent in the fan/pro arena.
The Destiny Squad Returns
Finding those who donâ€™t want to be found...
...can kill you.
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