Excerpt: Emergence – Part II

*** Author’s Note: The story that this excerpt is from is completed. Now comes the fun of submissions, endless calls and emails to editors, agents, and others in the publishing industry; and the all-too-common rejection that all new writers face! It don’t come easy…

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The bloated behemoth shambles towards her, gnashing rotted, crooked stumps in a lipless, triangular mouth set in a scarred, twisted face. Three cloned miniatures weave dazedly at its feet as they crash to the ground, then stand and lurch forward in unison. Sepultur’a darts to the side of the titan, clutching at the air again and bringing forth the dragon-talons. The smaller golems are immobilized by her grasp and she somersaults through them, knocking them flat. One vanishes in a shriek of blue flame, which blazes off towards a black diamond hovering in the air in the northern quadrant of the dolmen. The blue sphere explodes in the diamond, which shatters into a purple ball of lightning. She feels stored energy and life radiating from the sparking globe – it could be of use to her. Three other diamonds hover at the other compass-points in the other quadrants of the anchor-base, waiting to be filled and unlocked.

The two other flesh golems have regained their footing and are lunging at her again. Their mighty cousin sweeps his spiked arm around and down, attempting to smash her into a broken, bloody mess on the ground. She rolls to the side, just barely avoiding the blow. The spiked arm slams straight down, and the massive body heaves as the arm pulses, driving noxious poison into the earth below. Sepultur’a is able to sense the direction the toxins are being driven and runs around the center anchor towards the gigantic golem from behind, grabbing a discarded staff that had been dropped by one of the doomed cultists. It tingles in her hands with healing properties, a soft golden aura glowing at its tip. She waves it and golden motes shower down like dandelion fluff, healing her small wounds and cauterizing the large ones. Residual toxins in her lungs are removed and she takes a deep breath, siphoning the remaining life-energy of the weakened midgets. Her explosive exhale finishes them off; two of the diamonds shatter into purple spheres of lightning. Three now hover at the northern, western, and southern quadrants. The power and energy they contain is palpable.

The massive, twisted mutant has freed its appendage from the ground and turns, emitting a low groan of rage as it focuses its malevolent gaze on its target. Sepultur’a bares her teeth in response, hurling another obsidian ball at it. The projectile shatters on its patchwork hide; she quickly gathers the fragments, again shrouding herself in stone. Turning, she grasps the sphere of lightning that is now behind her and absorbs the latent power, gasping at the intensity of the energizing, healing shock. She screams an ancient battle-cry and stamps the ground, drawing upon the foundations of the bedrock to become an immobile pillar of iron will. The massive arm swings down at her again – and rebounds, rocking the giant mass of flesh back on its thick, stumpy legs. She points the staff at her foe, drawing upon the life-energy imbued in the wood. A beam shoots forth, hitting the golem and siphoning power from it, restoring her nearly-depleted resources. Rejuvenated, she rolls between its legs and behind it, feeling her new powers surging. She gives in to the battle-roar surging inside and transforms, the now-familiar sensation of twisting bone and knotting muscle wracking her slender frame. What was painful on the first try is now exquisite pleasure and she bays to the sky, howling a command. The titan staggers, turns halfway, and rams its arm into the ground for another subterranean attack.

From the darkness, two wolves rush into the fray, harassing and worrying the golem, tearing at the barrel-like legs as they dart between them, drawing the attention of the enemy. Sepultur’a rushes around the anchor’s base and attacks the golem from behind, leaping to the shoulders and slashing at the neck and throat. The golem waves its arms helplessly, unable to reach the fury on its back and losing focus on the wolves at its feet. With a mournful moan, the titanic golem falls face-first to the ground, vanishing with a horrendous scream of pain and rage. The residual energy pours into the final diamond, shattering it with a deafening crack and roar. Sepultur’a, still in beast-form, lopes to the remaining spheres and absorbs the power within them. New health pours into her and her lupine companions, even as a taunting voice rumbles from the whirling blue-white light above.

“Filth! You dare defy me? Let’s see how you fare against one of my generals. Face the Ever-Open Eye, my greatest spy!” The ground rocks with impact. A shape explodes and slowly coalesces into an ancient, yet familiar, form. Sepultur’a has seen creatures like this in the books in the family library, as well as dusty tomes in the various academies dotting the land. Her people refer to them as ‘Beholders;’ others call them ‘Watchers,’ and archaic etchings named them ‘Gazers.’ Whatever the name, the shape and powers remain the same: a spherical being with a great, glaring eye in the center of its round, tentacle body. The appendages could be short and squirming, or long, thick vines with spatulate, suckered ends for grabbing its victims. The eye would intermittently blast out hypnotizing rays which would stun one into immobility if struck. Another attack favored was the wrapping itself with its own tentacles, then whirling like a cyclone, whipping the appendages out with violent force, blasting a spell of stunning which depleted the stamina of those caught in the radius of the arcane aura. This monster will most likely have abilities greater than its lesser, distant cousins of the desert, and she is on guard. Her wolf allies launch themselves at the hovering entity, howling to their pack to join the fray. The battle is on…

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