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Grimdark Magazine Battle-Off: Genesis by Wade Garret

Genesis by Wade Garret

This is an excerpt provided by the author for the Grimdark Magazine Battle-Off Competition

“This way!” The first floor was completely there’s now. Leaving only two-thirds of the dungeon under bloody contention, thanks to the unexpected arrival of Areht Veda, Master Thorik’s one-time Apprentice.

Dispatched by the Regent with orders modified according to Evangeline’s firsthand knowledge, Areht Veda commanded twenty-five Shantry Guards armed with Quicksilver Spears and a dozen of A’Heet’s Hirasir.

If won, the complex taken, causalities considered on a sliding scale, the blood would still average Edgar’s original estimates. Even with the Areht, the element of surprise only went so far verses a foe twice your size. Many armed with Peacemakers waiting to ambush in blacked-out hallways roughly eight feet wide.

A’Uhrann shouted, “Hafr-fiy mithil hedrak.”

The other patriots agreed: Fighting such ticklike opponents wasn’t easy.

“Do not worry,” said Areht Veda. “He escaped on hisown.”

Ruddiger looked briefly into Edgar’s cell. He marveled at how painful it must’ve been. How long did he hang from his thumbs before escaping? He stepped over the dead Shakura with the crushed nose, busted eye.

Asad pointed. “Il-hanjar hy-erad yidiỳ akadha-r il-Shakura’s mafaatiyh wa-sayf.”

Ruddiger nodded: Edgar’s dagger and the Shakura’s keys and sword were missing.

Leading the younger blacksmith from the decrepit cell, back to the fighting where his hammer and Windrifle were needed, Heinz relayed what Areht Veda concluded: After kneeing the poor bastard where no man should ever be kneed, Edgar had reversed himself, then using his feet to get leverage from the wall, forced his thumbs free.

Ruddiger visualized the Elder Shinn’so Master beating the gasping Shakura unconscious. “One last test.” A moment later, he swung his hammer down on the thigh of a misguided thug given plenty of pre-warning to drop his sword; even a chance to join them. Too late now, hopefully his ruined leg would compel others to stand down.

Retreating to ensure the defense of the jail’s only entrance, Asad waved them onwards.

“They’re reloading!” Heinz rushed forward.

Conscious of his ammo, Ruddiger couldn’t ignore the chance to end this and turn the tide. With one blast from his blunderbuss three men never saw daylight again.

Besides Ruddiger and a few others, many were pressed to keep-up with the room-by-room, hall-by-hall charge led by Halil, Captain of the Shantry Guard.

Where was Areht Veda? Holding the line completely on herown on the opposite side of the complex, yet still in real-time communication with her Captain Halil, thanks to a tasmatic device secured to the inside of his helmet.

An explosion rocketed the building! Heavy dust pelted the hall! Walls cracked!

Another whistling explosion! The ceiling at the end caved in!

Another! Men on both sides were felled by jagged debris.

Helmet damaged by the last big boom, Halil, now assuming full command, said to Ruddiger—tasked then with officially leading non-Shantry personnel: “It’s the Aepreon!”

“What?” Ruddiger defended the man to his left, hammer clipping a fool’s jaw.

“The Vhendo must be inside Jharru now!” Halil wondered how long till morning.

“Why’re they firing on us!” This wasn’t right. They weren’t supposed to fire until signaled from the roof. That’s what Edgar said they’d talked about.

Halil answered, “The Enemy can’t be allowed to enter the Shantry!”

Eve. Another whistling explosion!

Learning from one of his men the bombardment was out of sequence, Halil updated Ruddiger. “They’re firing on another target.”

Really the Aepreon was firing on three targets, yet that wouldn’t come out until later.

You know the first. The second target, Étolie de Matin: Koreen de’Boreanay’s Pelican-class Warship, disguised until now as a peaceful, Condor-class, Collezian frigate drifting off the coast.

The firing only started after Jones, the Aepreon’s navigator, was informed the impostor Magdalinn had somehow made it safely aboard the enemy ship undetected. Minus Light Bringer Pierre, who the Shantry was still looking for.

With the assault of Jharru as cover, Lady de’Boreanay gave immediate orders to put wind for the United Kingdom of Perryn. She was carrying extremely valuable Shantry secrets.

The third target: The Vhendo/Bwhorg horde now entering the streets; Mal’thorne dropping buildings and swaths of allied Shakura/Hirasir and armed civilians as he saw fit.

Such realities implored the Aepreon’s Captain, in-order to insure the safety of his men and ship, as well as the integrity of the Regent’s original orders, to castoff. This initially made it more difficult to fire accurately on his three targets.

However, as the ship moved out to sea, away from Vhendo and fire-wielding enemy fighters, the cannoners, nolonger distracted by thoughts of burning alive, then seriously wounded the fleeing Warship. They next knocked-out a channel wall. Forcing Vhendo, scores unable to jump the flooded gap, to backtrack through congested areas. Alleviated front-line fighters then had more time to muster a better defense while civilians escaped.

Key targets hit reasonably well, the Aepreon then doubled-down on their priority. The rapid fire cannoners nolonger targeted the jail, but all around it. This reduced collateral damage and made it very costly for the scattered horde to directly exploit their Master’s nolonger secret choice for entering the Shantry’s underbelly.

Pounded for just over twenty minutes, the anarchists, lawless Knife Men and Sabbat pawns, realizing how outgunned they were, then disarmed themselves at Halil and Heinz’s feet. Cheers and shouts of victory followed as the remaining dishonored were immediately jailed.

When the surviving band was rearmed, ready for more death and killing, Ruddiger, Heinz and the Captain began their march to regroup with Asad a’Uhrann and others stationed at the jail’s entrance.

Reading the runner’s message, Halil said, “We’ve word from the Aepreon. Something came out of the water—ran aground through the harbor?”

Out of the water? Heinz wondered if the harbor was destroyed.

Knowing the real battle was just outside, death likely at Edgar’s side once regrouped and on the move as planned, Ruddiger’s fierce lips turned to humble laughter.

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