Monday, March 12, 2012

Demons by S.F.Spencer

About the author…

I grew up reading fantasy - David Eddings, R.A.Salvatore, Tolkien, Michael Moorcock - and began writing my own stories at an early age. I had a vivid imagination, which was further fuelled by the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons. I'd had an idea for my first novel and over the course of many years, I wrote several variations of Demons, all of them centred around my D&D character, Mecel. Eventually I moulded these drafts into something I would allow other people to read. The positive feedback I received was so encouraging that I took steps toward publishing it, finally producing it as an ebook on Amazon. Writing is something I do in my spare time and for the enjoyment of submersing myself within the realms of fantasy. When I'm not working for the National Trust, I'm out and about with my camera or playing guitar or creating videos, but all I want is to share my words with the world and have the world give me the thumbs up.

Author Name: S.F.Spencer

Book Title: Demons (Part one Corilon of Corsden)

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Amazon Kindle

Format: ebook

Demons is the first in a magical new series of 'sword & sorcery' novels by S.F.Spencer, exploring the thin line between good and evil, hero and villain. Corilon of Corsden is a man with a past he works hard to forget. Once a court mage for the Baron of Corsden, contentment came to an abrupt end when he was attributed blame for a series of sacrificial murders in the town he was charged with protecting. Stripped of his magic by a rival mage, Mecel Corilon was then banished in disgrace, sending him on a journey of madness. Seven years later and he believes he's finally rebuilt some semblance of a life, only his world is about to turn upside down again...

Mecel closed his eyes and tuned out all sound but that of his own heart beating loud in his ears. Lorina was at his back, Thallion to his right, and that was as far as he allowed his senses to extend. Don’t get hit, he told himself.

Before he’d even opened his eyes, Mecel sprang into movement and parried a dagger that had been on its way to gutting him. With a flick of his sword he deflected the weapon before cutting the orc in two, spinning around to slay his second before facing a third. Bodies dropped at his feet with the regularity of raindrops from an oncoming thunder cloud, but still the orcs came. From out of the corner of his eye he kept watch over Lorina, but she showed no signs of needing help, and Thallion was swinging his axe with the practised skill of a master.

Trelain was surrounded by his men, all of them fighting to protect a Prince who looked angry at being kept out of the fight. None of them looked to be injured though, but then, Mecel didn’t think the orcs were paying them much attention. They all seemed to want to fight him, and for a long time, they did just that. Until:

“They’re retreating!” cried Lorina triumphantly, pulling her sword from yet another dead, green body. Mecel cut down one, two, three more, before getting the chance to look around and see that she was right.

“Don’t let them get away!” roared Trelain, and his men charged after the fleeing orcs, disappearing into the trees while Monti, panting from exertion, took up protective residence beside him. Lorina, resting her hands on her knees to catch her breath, exchanged grins with Thallion. When the barbarian’s eyes fell upon Mecel, however, his triumphant grin faded.

“What is it?” he asked. “Are you hurt?”

Mecel was frowning thoughtfully down at the dead that scattered the ground in a sea of green blood. “No, I’m not hurt. It just seems too easy.”

“Easy?” exclaimed Thallion, laughing. “You call that easy? We were outnumbered five to one!

“Exactly. So why did they run?” Mecel looked questioningly at Thallion, unease knotting inside his stomach. He peered out into the darkness beyond the fire light. The night was quiet – too quiet, and Mecel couldn’t even hear the sounds of Trelain’s men chasing after the orcs that had fled. Something wasn’t right.

“Trelain, call your men back.”

The Prince looked at him, uncertainty gnawing at him like he was gnawing at his thumb nail. “You think it’s a trap?”

Before Mecel could respond, something grabbed hold of his leg, just below the knee. Startled, he jumped back – or tried to – but the dead orc’s hand remained firmly clamped around his calf and he fell. The ground was suddenly a writhing mass of limbs, some severed, some not, and now everyone found their legs being grappled as the hands tried to pull them down.
“The fire!” yelled Mecel, struggling to disentangle himself from the grip of hands that were clawing at his body, “Use the fire!”

The corpses were regaining the use of their heads now, and Mecel found himself having to fend off sets of rotten, broken teeth as well. Somewhere behind him he heard Lorina cry out – whether from pain or fear, he couldn’t tell – but try as he might he couldn’t escape the orcs to even turn his head and look at her. He could hear Monti cursing and swearing as he hacked at the bodies, but the dwarf was quickly overcome due to his lack of height.

A pair of jaws clamped around Mecel’s forearm, biting down hard on the soft flesh, and he let out a cry of pain. Somehow he managed to twist his arm out of its mouth and punch the reanimated orc away.

Thallion came into view, shaking oil out of a flask and all over the bodies on the ground. A moment later and there was the putrid stench of burning flesh. The smell crawled into Mecel’s nostrils like slime, making him choke and gag; none of the orcs screamed or shrieked their pain – they were already dead.

Teeth sank into his shoulder while hands took hold of his throat. Lorina appeared above him, kicking and stabbing at the orcs that had smothered him. With her help, Mecel managed to drag himself out from under them just before Thallion set them alight with the burning torch he’d taken from one of the camp fires. Lorina dropped to her knees beside him.

“Are you alright?” Mecel asked her, ignoring the blood that was pumping from his arm to check her over for injuries.

“Oh my God,” she breathed, quickly removing her shirt and wrapping it around his arm. Even as he began to feel faint, he took comfort in seeing that she was wearing something else beneath that shirt, a kind of corset made of hard leather. It was with alarm that he realised the rune on his chest felt hot, and was growing hotter.

It’s awakening! screamed the voice of panic inside his head.

Just stay calm… he told himself, closing his eyes in order to concentrate, …stay calm and regain control.

 “Thallion!” Lorina shouted urgently.

“Hold on!” he called back, still dealing with the last of the animated bodies.
Mecel couldn’t understand his weakness of late. He could see the doors again, doors he’d kept closed for so long, and prayed to the Gods he would be able to keep them closed. He tried to think when he’d first shut them and of the man who’d helped him do it, but he couldn’t focus. Was he really weakening?
Lorina was holding his hand but he was close to being overcome with panic. His rune was burning now, threatening to take him, to take his mind and consciousness, and no-one knew what he would do then. When the rune had him, it was like he was somebody else. When the rune had him, he never knew what he did or where he was – what if he attacked his friends?

What if I attack Lorina?
“Thallion, please!” shouted Lorina, close to tears herself. Monti hunkered down beside her to peer at Mecel, his expression immediately becoming one of concern.
“He doesn’ look so good,” he commented, taking Mecel’s wounded arm and looking beneath the makeshift bandages. “Nasty bite…bleedin’ well. It should be cauterized –”
“No!” exclaimed Mecel. Something like that would definitely send him over the edge. He could feel something inside him, something foreign and sharp crawling beneath his skin which had nothing to do with the rune, he was sure.
Before he knew what was happening, he was convulsing. Lorina threw herself on top of him to keep him from hurting himself as he arched his back, shaking violently, the veins in his neck standing out so much they looked as though they might burst. It was like what had happened in their bedroom, back at Galor, only this time it was worse. Am I awake? he had asked Lorina.
Give yourself to me…echoed the chilling voice of something that wasn’t quite human, a voice that only Mecel could hear. He immediately recognised it as belonging to the thing of his nightmares, and losing control over the rune on his chest suddenly became less important than keeping the demon out.
I can see into your soul, the demon all but cooed, and what a wasted life you have led. Failure and loss has dogged your every footstep. What makes you think you can defeat me, mortal? What makes you think you can be successful where countless others have failed?
It felt like his entire being – his very soul, even – was being invaded and ravaged by spiritual pestilence. Vaasz had forced his will and mind into Mecel and was now dipping his clawed fingers into every part of him. The rune on his chest was burning hotter than ever. His body seized and bucked and convulsed as every muscle tightened and twisted in revulsion, trying to expel the demon.
Turn around now and forget this foolishness. Return to whence you came, and perhaps I will spare your soul the torment that awaits all others. It is what your heart desires anyway. I can taste your fear.
“Fear? Fear fear fear feaaaaargh!” screamed Mecel, in a rage. The rune felt as though it was burning a hole in his chest, but right now it didn’t matter, because the demon had just made its first mistake and had unwittingly strengthened his resolve.
You fear me!” he screamed. You fear me! Get…out…!”  
Vaasz had been trying to convince him to give up, and Mecel believed with great conviction that it was because Vaasz felt threatened by him. The constant nightmares, the frightening illusions – it was all scare tactics. He knew that now.
I will destroy you, mortal! I will feast on your very bones and confine your soul to infinite torture –
With the help of the rune and a huge, concentrated burst of will power, Mecel expelled the roaring demon from him. For a moment he lay there still and panting, allowing the sensation of relief from intense pain to wash over him. The rune cooled too; it must have been reacting to the demon’s magical forced entry of his body. After all, it was a kind of anti-magic field, which was why he was no longer capable of being a wizard.
Mecel locked eyes with Lorina, who was still laying across his chest and staring wide-eyed down at him, breathing hard. Silently she pushed herself off him, and Mecel rolled over to be sick, the nausea not passing until he’d brought up the entire contents of his stomach.

Be sure to check out S.F. Spencer’s writing at her:

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