I seem to be set to close the year with a bang. My story Swarm Time on Maruzar has been released on Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #54, sharing the TOC with celebrated sword and sorcery author Howard Andrew Jones. It’s a double honor, since this is also a return for me to the first magazine to ever publish my work way back in 2010. Read the stories for FREE at Heroic Fantasy #54!
Here’s an excerpt from the story:
Lakann looked up and felt his insides turn to ice. Amongst the flock of lesser worms were now increasingly bigger ones, some of them seemingly greater than the air cruiser above them. Lady Arianne cried out, and the archers and arquebusiers posted at the walls and towers finally opened fire. They had been under the strictest orders to waste no shots on the smaller fry, saving them for the greater threat. The greater worms also made easier targets, and scores fell from the sky.
The Kalkarian also went into action now, and its fulgurator sizzled and boomed as it sent crackling green ball lightnings into the monstrous flock. Burning worms fell writhing into the city, to be finished off by squads of townsfolk led by veterans. But there were too many.
Lakann watched in horrified fascination as one stooped upon an archer from behind, his warning cry to the man lost in the noise of the invasion, and then the victim was writhing in the sky-worm’s jaws as it lifted him away. A few seconds later the worm dropped the archer, now a withered and deflated husk that oozed dissolved flesh when it broke on the flagstones. He was avenged moments later, though, when a shot from the air cruiser dropped that sky-worm.
To his surprise Lady Arianne immediately called for her guards to follow her as she leapt down the rampart stairs atter the falling monstrosity.
It knocked splinters from the walls and shattered roof tiles with its writhing, but with instinctive coordination they cut and smashed it to bits. “Get between it and the residence towers!” Arianne cried. “Flamers, stand by! Don’t let any get into hiding!”
Moved by wrath for his fallen new comrade, Lakann closed in and crushed the sky-worm’s head with his iron club. He never noticed he’d been the only one to close on the creature, for the rest of Arianne’s guard had formed a ring safely out of the sky-worm’s reach.
“’Ware her brood!” Thargos Marr warned. “Let none escape!”
Lakann involuntarily cried out in horror and revulsion. The dying sky-worm’s sides now heaved and warped, as things in its belly chewed their way through its hide and came boiling out. Now he was truly fighting for his life, for the creatures were many and their hunger a mindless, unstoppable force that recognized no obstacle in its way. He was quickly covered in crushed chitin and foul ichor, making the iron club slippery in his hands and getting into his eyes, but he could not pause until the entire brood was destroyed.
At the same time, I’m monitoring the printing of my photos in large format – six by six foot panels — for an exhibit on Ata Manobo culture, set to open at the Abreeza Mall here in Davao on Monday. It’s the culmination of my year’s work with the wifey documenting efforts to preserve and restore indigenous culture as well as help them get a livelihood through tourism and giving them a market for their crafts, under a project by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. For a preview of what’s to be shown, head over to my Instagram!