The Unintentionally Helpful Villain, Volume 10 — Tamara

Diary Entry #0175

I find my Ex-Wife standing in the ruins of an ancient temple not far from the center of town. Mine Librarians have, by now, subjugated all local authorities, and have made their base unto the small library in town. ‘Tis a pitiful reliquary of knowledge but it shall feed their hunger for the arcane until my business is done.

I have cast self-writing spells on this here feather, and am stepping unto the once-hollow grounds of cursed Linah, goddess of old. I can hear the thunder that the harp stole from me all the way from the entrance, curse her grabby claws.

I step on a tile and — of course — an apparition of the three-headed pet dog I had appears and attempts to bite my head off. Ungrateful sap! I summon a blade of pure darkness, and cut through its soul essence, unable to help myself as gleeful laughter escapes mine lips.

She poisoned my puppy, and stole its remains, for this?!

One simply must respect her attention to detail; few put in such grand effort into their malicious intent towards me. Take the Council of Darkness — for all their armies, that yonder group of mine colleagues hath proven woefully lacking in imagination. Soon will I turn the blade on them, and cut their traitorous tongues, and serve them with spicy goodness and mushrooms.

Mushrooms add a depth to traitorous tongues that few other ingredients manage to!

Ah, this wife of mine — her gauntlet tires on me. But the thunder is ever nearer, and so must I venture further. Tis maze of tunnels, built by ancients–Bah! I will have none of it!

My armored fingers twitch with utter disregard to all things living, and all things rocky that might be encountered against the underground wall in front of me. It melts away, clearing the way towards mine succubus of an ex! I do not see her, not y–what’s this? My spell is boun–!

I awaken to the sensation of molten armor all over my magnificent vessel. ‘Tis not a pleasant one, to my mild surprise; at least I can now scratch an item off of my Agony List.

Metal reforms and strengthens under mine force of indomitable will, and I get up and stomp towards the deafening sounds of mine thunder. There will be hells to pay. Perchance she will be the one to pay them all in the stead of mine suit of armor.

There she is, now. My, is she a fright to beholden!

Her hair is pale white, with a purple strand or two, and her eyes — a bloodshot red that makes artists squeal with joy untold. Her nails could decapitate a man with such ease as to leave any observer awed and drenched in cold sweat. Her legs are travelling towards my–ARGH– “Woman, what did you do that for?!”

“It’s my way of thanking you for the chase you’ve given, husband of mine.” She smiles at me. The nerve! “I have long hungered for a game of cat and mouse, darling man, and you were all too accommodating. Did you enjoy your — welcoming pup?”

As she speaks, I attempt to flicker her off with two fingers. Would silence her well enough. Mine is a lightning fast move; the harpy dodges it, blast her winged hide.

“Mine thunder, woman.”

She lets out a roaring laugh, then turns unto a wolf, three, four times the size of mine dark lupine pets, and lunges at mine throat. Barely do I react in time, slapping her fanged face away.

One thing I have never missed in this woman — her dog breath.

She transforms once again, this time to a younger visage of her true form; her face is bloodied but she pays no heed to it.

“It is not here, husband, surely you have noticed so already?”

I give no answer; curse the gods, she is right! The sounds of mine thunder do no longer provide ambiance in the massive underground arena whence we have our ex-marital bout of violent exchanges…

“Return it, witch!” I spit at her, as the earth trembles in response to mine terrible wrath, dirt and sandstone raining down on us. “Or else I shall bury us both, and watch as you wiggle your way up, under the guise of a worm — it will suit you so, Tamara!”

She pouts at me — she dares! — and puts a chest upon that device that pumps blood unto her ancient body. “I didn’t wish your anger to cause it harm, darling, and so I put it somewhere safe; it just so happened that my body was the safest vessel. Can you blame me?”

“Most cer–”

“Your spell of doom and gloom did try to disintegrate me so…I wanted to avoid any further unpleasantness, and so I did as I thought best.”

“Take it out then, witch, and hand it over. Do so now, and I will allow thine wings to carry you unharmed from here.”

She takes a step forward, and bows, a bit too deeply. Mockery, perhaps?

“Kiss me, and it will be yours to command once more,” she says, her eyes glinting with…whatever it is that witches’ eyes glint with, when they are plotting to steal a kiss from me.

“Must I, really?”

“Is it the breath that worries you?”

“It’s–oh, never you mind, witch. Let us be done and over with this.”

She nods, and I remove my helm.

“I love what you’ve done with your hair, it’s really quite captivating.”

I ignore her, as her face draws nearer. Gods, and I thought the stench was bad before.

“If this is trickery, witch, I will roast you for it. No memory of old will stop my hand this time, and no ma–”

She silences me. The force of my magnificent, wondrous thunder roars unto her body, as I stretch mine consciousness unto her body–and the trap springs.

 

Day #0176

I awoke unto darkness. It shouldn’t have worried me, of course — since I have excellent darkvision — but it did. Mine attempts to summon light were met with great lack of success; mine magics did not respond unto mine desperate calls and pleas.

I finally managed to start a fire with a flint that I discovered after hours upon hours of search in the darkness. A leather bag was not left not far from me but in the darkness…it took a long time to discover.

Light gave way to definitive proof of what I feared most — mine former wife has somehow stolen mine glorious body, and left my mind unto hers. She is doubtless far, by now, already plotting on the best ways to dismantle my growing Empire.

Tamara will fail. I will hunt her down, take back the vessel that is due to me, and banish her unto realms of such endless horror that she could not ever dream of.

And I…I will make sure that none are left to defy me, once she is taken care of.

 

 

The Unintentionally Helpful Villain, Vol. 09 – Volunteers

Diary Entry #0170

Mine power sizzles and crackles with a terrible itch to be used. But I mustn’t allow myself any distraction for the chase grows ever closer and more heated. Strange, this heat; unnatural, even. Almost does it remind me of…but no, it cannot be.

Great challenges did we overcome since the foul princeling’s attack on mine men. The fire within their spirits did suffer greatly from the loss of a quarter of our companions. Blight come upon this kingdom!

…I would be much remiss to deny mine own sorrow at their loss. These Librarians are much like an extended family, if mine memories play no tricks upon me — they grumble and moan as each morn and eve comes to pass, and they eat all of mine carefully prepared food only to demand more, and they can make trolls explode with their mental prowess (a fact of which I am very proud).

What kind of Ruler would enjoy burying his relatives?

Well, the Prince that attacked me, that much has been made manifest.

Diary Entry #0171

A villager of this here kingdom, one that heard mine wonderful monologue from yonder day before today, has been following ever since, slinking around. I shall force him into mine aura of truthfulness so that he admits to me his role — be he a spy, I shall cut him unto ribbons and make of him a stew for mine hounds.

Amongst other important tasks today, I have made hounds from clay. It has proven a most curious enterprise. I do believe one ate a Librarian.

Oh, well.

Diary Entry #0172

The Librarian who was eaten is alive.

What wonderful news.

The hounds of clay have turned to non-hounds of clay, and the man I considered might be a spy has ‘volunteered’. I was not aware of this wonderful notion until he brought it up and explained it to me in great detail; now that he has, I plan on forcing every single one of the residents of the next village, town, city or — to the hells with it — an entire country, to volunteer unto mine armed forces.

I have created new hounds of clay, and have added bread to the recipe. My Prime Librarian, Sven, nearly received a heart attack when he realized what I had done with all our supplies of bread.

He is young, and knows little of evocation spells, and he will learn with experience.

Besides, it works with meatballs.

Diary Entry #0175

We have arrived in the town of Kresh. I can sense Her nearby, perhaps watching me from some hidden spot even now. It is time I face my wife.

Ex. Ex-wife.

 

Next Time: We reach the tenth Volume in our illustrious tale! Crazy stuff goes down! Dialogues! Madness! Insanity! And so much more!

 

 

 

Writing Advice: Research is important

Research has the dubious distinction of being an insanely interesting part of writing…as well as an occasionally tedious task that everyone would much rather shove for another point in time.

Researching is a bit like going down a street whose exit is just ahead, but somehow, you keep getting sidetracked by the litany of architectural marvels on the sides of that street. What I mean to explain with this inept metaphor is that finding information on any given subject is easy, in our Information Age; however,

it’s not difficult at all to go further and further into connected topics, which –while fascinating– will usually end up as little more than backstory. That’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination; what it is, is dangerous. Dangerous in that, having all this knowledge tempts you to put it all inside your book–and when you do that, you detract from your story. Flooding readers with historically accurate information (if you’re writing fantasy, for example) might very well create a feeling of authenticity but it will also make for a dull read; fantasy fans are not into the genre for that.

Putting too much research pulls the reader out because your book ends up reading like a technical manual. Use your research-derived knowledge to create the illusion of reality but don’t bog the action and the characters down in minutiae. Too little research in your work makes you seem like you’ve no clue what you’re writing about; too much slows your writing down to a crawl; it’s all about finding balance! Beta readers are helpful in that aspect; point your questions towards how the world you’re building feels — does it lack realism? Does the momentum suffer because of too much details and the like?

Science fiction is more dependent on research, especially some of its subgenres, for obvious reasons. Follow the link if you’d like to know more about those.

 

This is another shorter piece of Writing Advice, but it’s one I thought I might as well cover; research is important and shouldn’t be ignored just because it’s occasionally annoying!

 

The Unintentionally Helpful Villain, Vol. 08 — No Patricide goes Unpunished

Read the previous Volume here.

Diary Entry #0160

I am told that  I have entered the first of many identical free human kingdoms. This one shares a border with mine lands. That is what makes it special. Bah, humans are strange folk. So glad am I that I no longer fill their ranks that I could incinerate a dragon with but a blink!

The stench of mine wife of before grows ever-stronger. We are a mere few days away from catching up with her. She smelled well, once. Her perfumes were sweet beyond measure, beyond imagining. She enjoyed the flustered looks of men fool-enough to take a breath within her sweetly vapors, mere moments before they expired.

What man could not love such a woman?

Diary Entry #0161

The trolls I adopted unto mine armies in mine infinite army have once again tried to eat a village. Not even the villagers, this time. The damnable brutes started munching on buildings as we passed by. I found myself forced to summarily execute them.

The structures within the village were historic! Fifty years old, I hear. I felt that the villagers deserved some recompense for the grief given to them, and so I turned all their elders into statues of pure gold.

They did not seem too pleased with this development.

I couldn’t imagine why.

Diary Entry #0164

We have come upon a wondrous and most tranquil pond, which feeds into the great river Kraln, that gives easy access to the very shores of the continent, and I find myself considering the very real possibility of plundering this kingdom single-handed and turning this land to near-eternal darkness.

These notions are premature, I reckon — there is yet the thunder to be reclaimed. It must be safely brought back in mine citadel. Only then will I–what’s this? I hear the blunder of idiot horse-creatures coming towards mine camp. They will not enjoy mine great mercy for this interruption!

Diary Entry #0165

A princeling and its servants attempted to run through mine camp with their filthy animals. Whilst I reacted with great alacrity and cut into a squadron of these pampered noble-born, some of mine young lads lacked such experience.

Twoscore of mine loyal subjects have died. A dozen of those were promising Librarians…there can be no forgiveness for such crime.

This land will burn. It will all burn.

I did not kill the wretched princeling. He was damn skilled for a human, I will grant him that; I did leave him a parting gift, however — something to remind the boy what is coming for him.

A cut across that face will certainly serve that function.

Diary Entry #0166

I have learned that the man to have attacked mine loyal band of servants has recently killed his father and has taken to calling himself king.

He will have difficulty doing so with no tongue. Patricide fills me with disgust I can not logically explain. I will punish this fool boy in the stead of this dead father.

But first, my thunder and my wife await!

Ex. Ex-wife.

 

 

 

If I were an occultist in a Lovecraftian world…Volume 02

Catch up here.

Where last I left off, horror had nestled itself deep within my heart. My associates had contacted me, not as individuals were prone to do but as a group, in one collective voice, a cold, inhuman thing. Speech of such otherworldly nature as to leave no doubt within the depths of my mind that some terrifying thing, some consciousness that is wholly alien to man, spoke through these men and women who had forced my hand into sin.

There is no greater test of strength for a man, to come face to face with all that he has dreamed about and feared, and not break. This test, I failed; the cost left my sanity splintered beyond repair.

The voice called inside my head, slick with blasphemous and sweet deceit, and slowly it demanded of me; and then it promised such chaos as no thing, be it human or animal or something wholly alien, could imagine. In so doing, it reduced me to little more than a slab of flesh, precipitously close to a state of uselessness.

Doubtless, this ancient presence that now filled every corner of my mind felt the undescribable damage that it did, for it recoiled as if afraid that too much strain would break its favored tool.

The whispers begun, then.

I have difficulty holding a steady hand as I scribble this in my notebook, for the lone memory of words of depthless madness alone is enough to weaken any resolve a mere man could muster. And so I listened, and obeyed.

I do not recall what followed.

Come morning, I awoke in bed, my mind aflame. Joints ached and cried out as I forced an unwilling body to prepare for the day ahead. Professor Harold Millson, my patron and great friend, had requested I join him in his office on that morning; his invaluable help and credentials as chair in the Philosophy department had long since allowed me study of some of the Miskatonic University Library’s forbidden corners. While he did not seem to share my fascination with all matters esoteric in this world, he nevertheless steered my hand on several occasions. Had I only suspected…

When I made my way to Millson’s office, what I saw tore off the heavy cloth that shrouded my mind. My friend sat on his heavy cushioned chair, his eyes gouged out, his body — exsanguinated. A gruesome ghost of a smile sat on the dead man’s pale lips.

I crumbled to the ground, my cries a low and guttural thing, sounds I never thought my throat capable of producing. I couldn’t leave this man – my benefactor for five long years – to rot away any longer, and so I got to my feet, intent on finding aid, alerting the authorities.

An etching on Harold’s desk caught my attention. A name that whispered madness in my mind, that suddenly made the night before as vivid, as real as nothing else in life.

The name was “Nyarlathotep,” translated years ago by men wiser and more knowledgeable than I, as “The Crawling Chaos.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Advice: The Basics of Sci-Fi

To take some liberty with a quote by the great Philip K. Dick, fantasy is about things that are conceivably impossible, whereas science fictions is all about the conceivably possible. Both genres are about writing, discovering and experiencing new things, but science fiction takes on these three objectives with a different toolset; it is ideas that drive sci-fi.

Science Fiction originated as a didactic genre — meaning that many of the earlier SF books sought to instill certain moral standards in readers and to instruct them; indeed, one such example can be seen in the face of Frank Herbert’s Dune, which has been hailed as the single greatest work of literature to popularize the disastrous effects and fallout of climate change.

Where didacticism is one side of the coin of early SF works, the other is optimism. Take a look at Jules Verne – a true visionary and a champion of technological advancement, whose works have undoubtedly transcended dry page and ink and the world of imagination, and have become reality. Tales of wonders made flesh; such is the power of science fiction.

Sci-fi has come a long way since the publishing of Verne and Huxley, Orwell and even Bradburry… although, I admit, the point I’m about to make easily allows a place for both 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

What point, you ask? Science fiction has moved past it’s didactic origins, Filip answers gladly, and has become a far more reflective genre. A genre steeped in the issues our modern world faces or could face in the near-future. Not only that, but it is a genre that takes on these issues bravely and attempts to tackle them, to offer solutions,

If, at this point, you’re furrowing your brows and trying to figure out where your favorite sci-fi series fits in all of this, you may relax and read further!

While I believe that the explanation above can help towards defining where current SF stands, there are many subgenres that either don’t concern themselves with reflection, or do it in an off-hand, secondary way. Let’s take a cursory look at those, shall we?

  • Space Opera: I view this particular subgenre as a bridge between science fiction and fantasy; like fantasy, it is the journey, the adventure that is most important. Science takes the back-seat and while it still plays part, it’s far from realistic.
    Examples such as Star Wars, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, and the (fairly campy) Warhammer 40k universe well display the tendency of the subgenre to start off with science and introduce a variety of mystical elements later down the line.
  • Hard SF is the antithesis of Space Opera. The science has to be correct, it has to be serious, and it is most often the genre in which actual scientists write. If you want to write in that one – know your science, people! Arthur C. Clarke is probably the most well-known of the Hard SF writers, and I do believe that Stephen Baxter is also in that particular clubhouse. It’s a restrictive subgenre because of the sheer amount of knowledge necessary, and the fact that people who read hard SF will call you out on your bullshit, if you try to write unprepared.
  • Cyberpunk…is awesome. I’ll admit that I have barely read anything in that subgenre, for which I am very sorry; I have, however, played a number of different cyberpunk video games, and the themes are often very similar. Cyberpunk stories take place in the near-future, at a point in time when governments are no longer relevant and corporations hold the true power. The line between man and machine (or technology as a whole), is blurred and the genre has a lot in common with Dystopian Sci-fi.

This is where I’ll wrap up, but before I do…one last piece of advise.

There is greater continuity within sci-fi. To write in the genre, you need a better understanding of those authors that have come before you, than you’d need with fantasy or crime novels, for example. Whether that is owed to the fact that ideas in sci-fi are built and reiterated upon, I can only speculate but it is true, regardless. The message can be distilled to: “Read more Science Fiction!”

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this short look at the basics of science fiction, please click the Follow button and maybe leave a comment. I’d love to discuss this topic further — and indeed, plan on doing so next Tuesday!

The featured image is not mine, it was taken from the site ‘project-nerd.com’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I were an occultist in a Lovecraftian world…(Ten Things, part 1)

Today’s post is written in celebration of the release of the Darkest Dungeon’s DLC – The Crimson Court. Brilliant game, narrated by the wonderful Wayne June (perhaps the most atmospheric narrator of Lovecraft’s works).

In seeking knowledge, I enrolled into that most prestigious of places for higher learning…the Miskatonic University.

Though this repository of knowledge has many a volume of coveted lore, there exists  great difficulty into procuring these wondrous books of arcane and occult writings. Such hardship did I encounter in laying my hands on these idolatry works that I found myself desperate for aid; and, even worse…for understanding.

I discovered that I was far from alone in my unsavory fascinations with otherworldly tales and myths of creatures, ancient and godlike and grotesque. My pursuits did not remain unnoticed for long; a group of men and women, all older than I — and well on their road out of the philosophical school of Miskatonic University — cornered and spoke with me at great length. I had been dodging this group for some time, for they awakened in me a primordial fear.

They had prepared with great care and — with the use of a young and attractive acolyte I knew nothing of — baited me into an abandoned wing of the university, closed down for renovation. Their organization, so foolproof as to give me no way of retreat,  was sure sign of a primal, predatory streak that bespoke of experience in such matters.

So it was that I found myself cornered on all sides by the scions of the most powerful men and women in America; young as they were, I was younger, and they did not take no for an answer. Their demand was that I join them, and do so without question. My destiny forced upon me, I had no choice but to concede.

My word was not, they said, strong enough binding. More was needed — nay, demanded — for the compact to take hold. They spoke to me, then; not individually but as one, their voice serpent-like and seductive as no other, and they closed the fingers of my palm around a blade, and they held her there, as she thrashed and screamed to no avail.

The rest of the night, I can not recall, or do not wish to, except when I close my eyes. Then do I recall the taste of iron upon my lips, and a sweeter taste, by far…

Come the next day, my life continued as it had before — the life of a poor philosophy student, lucky enough to be part of the acclaimed Miskatonic University.

One difference persisted, of course–my continued contact with the coven I had been forced into. While my fear persisted, and indeed, grew to heights I had hoped unattainable, so did a perverse, ghoulish thrill at being involved with such unique individuals.

These events took place five full years ago. Much blurred from my mind once my fellow occultists went their own ways into the world. I continued my studies; both into the realms of philosophy and theology, and those studies that threatened my expulsion from the university and the taking away of the lifeline that was my scholarship.
That I would’ve put these events behind me, of that I have no doubt…if it wasn’t for the call that I received late last night. A call in a serpentine voice, one that suffered no objections…

To Be Continued!

I’ve wanted to write something with a Lovecraftian edge, theme and so on and so forth for the longest time. Seeing as I decided that I would give the recurring wizard/lich/demonic slave, Hyperius, a little break…well, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity! I hope you had fun reading this wee exercise!

Ten Things I would NOT do if I were reborn as a demonic slave

  1. Movement’s difficult with so many arms. You wouldn’t think it was by looking at all those naked statues of four-handed sex goddesses, but it is. It really is. I wouldn’t be doing much of it at all; not properly, anyway.
  2. I WILL NOT give the fat demon lord massages. No, I do not care how many yugoloths will point their tridents at me, I refuse! A man has got to draw a line somewhere! Oh, wot? Demons are gender-neutral? Oh, I see, they can be made gender-neu–you don’t mean…? You do? Oh, dear.
  3. In my anger at cleaning up boots from human blood, I will take it all out on the very reason for those stains — humans. Yes, you heard me right. These stinkin’ no-good person-people are not getting away with staining any more of my master’s spiky boot pairs!
  4. I would not admit that the slaughter of innocent wee man-people by my hand is a big reason as to the perpetual bloodstains on the master’s boots.
  5. I really wouldn’t.
  6. No ignoring my weaknesses this time. No matter how many shiny, strange sources of energy I disc–ooh, why is that undead butterfly engulfed in sorcerous ene–Focus, Hyperius!
  7. No alliances with humans. Plot as I may, but I’m not going back to that stage of development…
  8. I would not go mano-a-mano with the boss-man. Fat and lazy as he might be, he’s still head demon poncho of the whole shebangin’ demon invasion. Head poncho, for those of you who might not be aware, is a specific term in demon culture, meaning…most wonderous demon who wears a particular type of clothing, for none other fits on his voluminous body.
  9. No ice magic. Much as I loved it in my good ol’ lich days, it simply does not help. Leaves one hell of a burn. Who knew that ice could burn a demon so bad?
  10. No more choking on demonic boots! Never, ever again! It took me four days to remove every single piece of metal I crunched down when I was eating the demon lord. Four weeks, in fact!

The events on this list are entirely fictional. Far be it for me to imply that demonic lords and slaves have access to the Internet… 

Thursday Spotlight: Sins of Empire

Sins of Empire is one hell of a ride.

Never had I touched a Brian McCllelan book before this one, although his Powder Mage universe has received critical and fan acclaim alike–enough of both, anyway, even for someone like me, still too bloody busy reading classic works of fantasy (like the wonderful Black Company series.

I’m not certain how I ended up purchasing Sins of Empire for my Kindle; was it an AMA by the author, whose promise of gunpowder, blood magic and political intrigue caught my attention immediately? Or rather, was it simple word of mouth from the Fantasy community on Reddit?

Either way, I chose to take a risk and pick Sins of Empire up, electing to ignore the preceding trilogy; hoping that it wouldn’t cost me much in the way of entertainment and deeper meaning amongst characters and events to come.

I am happy to report that at no point in the book did I lack enough context to the events within Landfall (the city within and around which action takes place for the entirety of the novel), numerous as they were.

We follow four different points of view, excluding the prologue, and I can’t admit to anything but adoration for each of the major characters in the novel; we’ve got Michel, a spy in the employ of the Lady Chancellor’s Blackcoats — secret police of the nasty variety; Styke, a wrongly-imprisoned cavalryman, maimed and crippled by a failed execution; and Vlora Flint, my favorite character and the only returning major POV from the original trilogy. She’s a powder mage, and one hell of a badass — and a general of her own private company, the Riflejacks.

And we all know how I like mercenary companies…especially ones with certain principles guiding them.

The secondary characters are a fairly diverse cast of memorable arseholes, with the Lady Chancellor Lindet’s ruthless pragmatism and Fidelis Jes’…peculiarities. But if anyone takes the cake, that’d have to be Vallencian, the Ice Baron; a man with a silver tongue and a heart of liquid gold. Loved that guy.

But don’t take my word for it, have a quote or two!

On Lindet: “The Lady Chancellor was a thin woman of medium height with blond hair and a pair of spectacles that she removed every so often to rub on her sleeve. The newspapers often described Lindet’s eyes, and Vlora waited for some time for a good view before Lindet turned to face her. Vlora’s light powder trance allowed her to see Lindet as if they were standing nose to nose. Lindet’s eyes did not disappoint. Deep-set, darkened by makeup, Lindet’s gaze moved across the crowd again and again over the shoulders of her Blackhats. They were studious, critical, like a master craftsman checking her tools. Vlora remembered Taniel’s letters mentioning how Lindet might easily be mistaken for a librarian if not for those eyes, and how they had made his throat go dry every time they lit upon him.”

On Fidelis Jes, the commander of the Blackcoats:  “In Michel’s experience, everyone had at least one peculiarity. Powerful people tended to have more extreme peculiarities because of their wealth. Some of them were hidden, some out in the open. Fidelis Jes’s was extremely public; even advertised. He had a standing invitation for anyone to try to kill him in single combat. No sorcery, no guns, no quarter.”

McCllelan’s prose, as you might’ve noticed, is clean and easy to follow; his style is pleasant, and Brandon Sanderson-esque in those most wonderful ways, if you will, without shying away from cussing — as Sanderson is prone to do.

Gunpowder adds a very welcome feeling of swashbuckling and adventure and adds a uniqueness to the Powder mages’ universe, which is rightfully the reason for the cult status the first trilogy received.

It’s a great piece of fantasy literature, and I’ll be looking forward to going more in-depth with a review over the summer; for now, though — this is one 2017-published book that is certainly worth your attention, dear reader.

I just can’t wait for the sequel.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this book morsel, feel free to follow me for more in the realm of fantasy, comedy and all-around ridiculousness.

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Things I would NOT do if I were a lich

  1. Regret my past life as a miserly old wizard. Screw that guy, he dead!
  2. No time will be spent in moral considerations, akin to (but not excluded to): “Is necromancy evil? Is angering the gods of death wise, in any world, including this one? How can my apprentices possibly be this useless, even as reanimated corpses?”
  3. I would not dig deep holes. There’s plenty of things necromantic and ice magic can accomplish. Exhuming bodies is easy. Digging holes to bury bodies – not so!
  4. No cutting of the necropolis costs! Ice sculptors are a pain in the boney arse, but if I have to levitate above their heads to make sure that they’re doing their job all well and proper, I will! No second-hand ice will do.
  5. Responding to old acquaintances, fellow advisors and friends from my old life…while it may sound good on paper, something tells me that those guys will tend to be conservative; all for the traditional monarchy, for leaving things as they are. Well, not me! I am a progressive lich! I vote for change. End to life, and death eternal!
  6. That should probably not be the platform I go with, after conversing with several of the recently deceased.
  7. I would not lose that most annoying of wizardly traits, even in death – inexplicable idiotism!
  8. The eldritch smell of death would not stop me from exploring the fissure in space and time – so what if it looks like a festering wound in the sky above my floating ice fortress? I don’t discriminate!
  9. I would not feel pain. The demonic forces that will shatter my icy carcass would be just that quick to act.
  10. No regrets at making a pact with an Arch-demon. None. What. So. Ever.

 

Thus ends the latest adventure of the wizened old wizard-turned-lich. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Click here and here for wizardly context, and here for the last entry in this particular series.

Thanks for reading!