I have been lost in the Realm, editing my butt off. I’m trying to polish it before I send it to my editor. I am shooting for a November 1st release, but I’m not sure I’ll make it if my generator keeps acting up. Also, I don’t think I will if Skyrim, Kirkwall, the Citadel and Fortune City don’t cease with their Siren’s calls. But, maybe this will give you hope: It’s an new excerpt from Into the Realm!
I awoke after my latest battle in a small and dim lit cell. The air was a miasma of humidity and the purification of stagnant water. Sweat rolled down the sides of my face as I sat up, wincing as my movements pulled at clotted blood on my stomach. Fortune favored me: The long, maybe fifteen centimeter, wound was shallow, maybe three millimeters deep. Still, as I had found out, the blasted thing hurt like hell when I moved too fast. The last demon had been the worst one yet, ugly as sin and great with a spear.
The many battles had caused something within me to open. I found memories flooding back to me, everything which had happened to me since my arrival in the Realm. Shame filled me as I remembered how I had treated the half-dragon Warmaster. Angriz had been a friend who had helped me at almost every turn, and I had turned my back on him after a stupid argument. I hoped he had re-united with Keeper Dearbhaile.
I took stock of my shadowy prison. The light came in from the hallway on the other side of the bars just beyond the soles of my boots. Looking behind me, I discovered my head had rested maybe an inch from the back wall. The other wall was within my reach as I lay on the bed against the third wall.
I placed my tongue against the roof of my mouth, created suction and made a thock sound. The resulting racket echoed through the place, then faded away. The only other noise, the slow drip of water. I rose from the bed and stepped to the wall of bars which rose to the ceiling. I examined the wall nearest the bars and discovered solid stone and mortar, like the walls of medieval castles in my world, covered in patches of a pale pink moss-like growth. ‘Not going to get through here.’
I banged the side of my fist against one of the bars in frustration and cussed at the resulting pain. My reaction was instinctive: I stuck the sore part of my hand in my mouth to comfort it. I tore my hand back out of my mouth and tried to spit out the horrible, yet familiar taste of rust. Why familiar, you ask? You know how as a kid, you played with random things, bang your finger, then sucked the injured digit? That’s why.
My heart leaped within my chest as excitement rolled through my body. I flipped the bed up against the back wall of my cell and examined the bars. My heart raced. As I had expected, they were iron and the humidity in the air had caused them to rust. The rust was bad at the base of the bars where they went into the floor. I straightened and, without thinking, kicked one of the bars with the toe of my boot. My leather boot. Agony exploded up my leg and explored my hip. Have you ever stubbed your toe and, in a fit of pique, kicked the offending object, causing yourself even more harm? I did, and was damned lucky I didn’t hurt myself further. Instead, the heel of my foot collided with the decayed metal bar, causing a hollow crunching sound from the bar breaking.
Though my wounded foot demanded my attention with its insistent throbbing, I ignored the pain in favor of surveying my handy- or rather- footwork. Two of the rusty bars had broken just above the floor. I lay down on my stomach, on the floor, with my arms outstretched, knees bent, feet flat against the back wall and my butt stuck up in the air. I gripped the bars, locked my elbows, and straightened my legs. With loud creaking groans, the bars bent out from the cell.
When I first arrived in the Realm, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. Thanks to almost two months as a gladiator, I had the ability to push the bars out far enough to escape my cell. I received long, furrowed scrapes along my back from wriggling through the two foot gap left by the broken bars. I rose, wincing, to my feet. A trickle of blood ran down my belly. I glanced down and learned my exertions had reopened my wound. I examined my surroundings, but didn’t spot anything I would be able to use as a bandage. I remembered reading Army Rangers would utilize moss as a bandage of last resort, so I scrapped the pink lichen off the wall with my fingers and packed it into my wound.
The next item on my agenda? Getting a weapon. As my captors hadn’t seen fit to leave any lying around, I would have to improvise. I stared at the bent bars of my cell and had a flash of inspiration: I would break one free and use it. Bracing myself against the corridor wall, I pushed one of the bars as close to true as possible. I then grabbed the other one in a deadlift position. Using the strength of my legs, I pulled the bar up to level with my hips. The strain caused my joints to pop and crackle. I then pushed the bar with all my strength ahead of me. With another creaking groan, the rod went parallel to the stony floor and almost flush with the wall. I then pulled the bar back the other way. My foot slid on a patch of slime and I landed on my ass. I growled, picked myself up, and returned to my task. Twenty minutes later, the stress on the bar became too great, and it snapped. I had built up a decent amount of speed swinging the bar back and forth, so when the rod broke, I slammed face first into the wall. Pain shot through my nose and tickled the inside back of my skull as blood began to flow from my nose. I dropped the bar to the floor and sank to my knees, clutching my face.
After several minutes of pinching my tender nose, the flow of blood slowed to a trickle, then stopped. My head however, continued to throb in time with my pulse. I shook my head clear, and almost fell over. I think I had a concussion, but didn’t know for certain. I rose to my feet once more, picking up my iron bar as I went. I gave the 152.4 cm length a few practice swings, getting the heft. I didn’t like the bar’s balance for a blunt sword-like instrument, so I began to twirl the metal rod like a quarter staff. ‘This is better.’ A smile grew on my face. ‘I’m glad to have a weapon again.’
- Dragon Age: Inquisition Brings Back Tactical View – PAX 2013 (escapistmagazine.com)
- Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Preview (epicagames.com)