I’m nearly done with writing my first novel, the first of a three book series. If all goes right, I’ll have the first draft of it completed by next week. With that coming up, I think it’s the perfect time to put another excerpt from the story on here. In this piece, you’ll get a look at one of the races I created for the world that the story is set in (no Elves, Dwarves, Orcs or Hobbits here), along with a look at the story’s big, bad villain.
Read on –
The Baroso were among the most fascinating creatures in Tordale. “Bear-men”, they were known as by some, for they looked exactly like the powerful creatures born out of nature, but they could stand, walk and speak just as humans could. This blend of advanced intelligence and primeval strength made them unlike any other race in the kingdom, and perhaps the mightiest of all inhabitants within Tordale.
Yet even the Rockclaw Tribe—one of the most-feared hordes of Baroso in the realm—found themselves struggling to stand against the mysterious force that swept through the Tower Mountains.
Tauroc’s iron war hammer smashed into his armored foe with frightening force. The hammer’s flat head nearly tore the helmet in half, and the warrior collapsed to the rocky floor in a heap. Yet when Tauroc looked down at his enemy, he once again saw that there was no body occupying the armor—just like the rest.
The Baroso chieftain kicked at the limp suit of armor. It was completely hollow.
Tauroc looked up from his lifeless foe. The ridges where he and the rest of the Rockclaw Tribe had lived for generations in the Tower Mountains had become the scene of a horrible battle. Waves of men entirely covered by black armor continued to pour into the Baroso camp. They came in all sizes, wielding an array of cruelly-shaped weapons. To one’s eyes they appeared to be human, but every time a Baroso fighter struck one down, they were revealed as nothing more than an empty suit of armor—as if the armor itself had somehow come to life.
A coating of dust and ash darkened the Baroso chieftain’s tawny fur. Blood ran out from multiple wounds across his massive body. He had not fallen beneath the attack of the armored beings yet, but several warriors of the Rockclaw Tribe already had.
Tauroc’s fierce eyes betrayed the confusion and fear that rose inside of him. If the armored beings continued to swarm the ridges in such numbers, many more would, as well. Although just a single Baroso warrior proved capable of fending off several, the strange attackers seemed infinite, and they did not tire or show pain like the living.
Tauroc tightened his grip about the shaft on his mighty war hammer. He set himself forward, ready to charge into battle once more, until a tremendous explosion tore through the Rockclaw camp. Tauroc toppled to the ground, and he saw the lifeless bodies of three Baroso fighters be flung from the blast.
When the Baroso chieftain regained his senses, he saw someone emerge from the cloud of smoke and dust. It was a giant of a man, nearly as large as one of the great Baroso warriors. He was coated almost entirely in black armor, except for the large, silver shoulder plates from which a number of spikes jutted. A dark cape bordered by blood-red insignias ran down to his ankles. His skin was shockingly white; a stark contrast from his dark beard and the jet-black hair that fell far past his shoulders.
The huge man stopped. He stared blankly across the carnage, his yellowish eyes cutting straight through the smoke and flames.
Tauroc felt the man’s gaze nearly pin him to the mountain floor.
Without even thinking, the Baroso chieftain charged at the man and loosed a bellowing roar. He swung his war hammer with crippling strength, aiming the iron head at the man’s immobile expression.
Tauroc’s body went cold when the man effortlessly caught the hammer in the palm of his hand.
“Hmph, foolish beast,” the man said with a devilish smirk.
His free hand balled up into a massive fist, which suddenly became engulfed in reddish flame. Still stunned by how easily the man foiled his attack, Tauroc didn’t even see the man’s fist smash into his sternum.
Tauroc felt his feet leave the mountain floor as he was hurled backwards. He crashed against a large boulder, the charred fur on his chest still smoking as he landed. His vision blurred and every part of his body grew numb. But he could still feel it when the huge man pressed an armored foot against his throat.
“Enough,” the man called out. He did not yell, yet his deep voice seemed to echo all throughout the Rockclaw’s ridges. Every armored warrior ceased fighting at his command, and the Baroso warriors soon did the same when they caught sight of their mighty chieftain laying at the huge man’s mercy. “Surrender; or I will wipe your chieftain’s carcass from this very earth.”
The Baroso warriors looked about at one another, terror previously never seen in their kind masking their expressions. The huge man smiled fiendishly as they lowered their weapons one-by-one. He looked down at Tauroc once more. “Your warriors finally seem to have come to their senses; can you say the same of yourself?” he asked.
Tauroc struggled to form a sneer. “Wha…what is it that you want of us?” the chieftain managed to respond, his voice choking with rage and pain.
The man lifted his foot from Tauroc’s throat, the dark smile still stretching over his eerily-white face. “Your kind will prove far more beneficial serving under me than being slaughtered; you know much of these mountains, and your strength is perhaps the greatest of the creatures in Tordale. I offer you and your tribe an opportunity to thrive instead of perish. I will spare you Baroso as I sweep across this land, but only if you submit yourselves to my command.” The man slowly, almost carefully, glanced about at the rest of the Baroso warriors on the ridges. “What do you choose for your tribe, Tauroc?” he asked, before his petrifying eyes fell back to the Baroso chieftain. “Life…or annihilation?”