EXCLUSIVE: Excerpt of Dyrk Ashton’s War of Gods

Good greetings, Grimdarklings! I’m absolutely thrilled and honored to have been selected for a feature in Grimdark Magazine. Many thanks to Lord Adrian Collins and Sir James Tivendale for allowing this excerpt of War of Gods to happen.

I had never considered that my books would be thought of as “grimdark.” In fact, I have to admit I hadn’t heard of that sub-genre of fantasy when I started writing. I did know, however, that I wasn’t going to shy away from the darker, more violent, and shocking aspects of fantasy storytelling (and life, in general). I only found out about grimdark after several early reviewers classified it that way, at least for certain elements. All I can say is, “I’ll take it!” and happy to do so.

What you’re about to read is a chapter from my upcoming novel, Paternus: War of Gods, the third and final book of The Paternus Trilogy, to be released by the end of this year if all goes as planned. Book one, Paternus: Rise of Gods, was a finalist in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) 2016, and placed third out of three hundred books, barely edging out Brian O’Sullivan, and well behind Phil Tucker and that Grey Bastard, Jonathan French. Book two, Paternus: Wrath of Gods, won Best Self-Published Book in the Booknest Fantasy Awards 2018, in the mighty fine company of Nicholas Eames, who took Best Traditionally Published Book for Kings of the Wyld, one of my favorite reads in many years.

What follows is currently chapter six in War of Gods, and tentatively titled, “Africa 6: Wendigo.” WARNING: This could be considered to contain spoilers. Information is revealed about a certain character that is simply not known until book three, though it may have been suspected. For folks who have read books one and two (my peeps!), it involves Zeke and The Prathamaja Nandana (Pratha), and their mission to Angola to seek out The Twins of legend. There’s a big fight with monsters, Zeke does some shit, and The Twins are like, “wtf?!” And that’s all I’ll say for now. So there, you have been warned. Don’t @ me with angry memes. Or do, that’s part of the fun ;). Should you choose to continue, I hope you enjoy this little selection.

 

Chapter 6

of

Paternus: War of Gods

Book 3 in The Paternus Trilogy

by Dyrk Ashton

 

Unedited. Subject to Change.

Warning: This chapter contains spoilers for those who haven’t read the first two books in The Paternus Trilogy—and possibly for those who have.

AFRICA 6

Wendigo

The moon stutter-steps over the sun until it’s a black hole rimmed in crimson flame, and there it stops. The Firstborn watch without blinking, but Zeke knows better than to look into an eclipse—especially one as unnatural as this. What remains of daylight casts the camp and village in macabre incarnadine.

Kleron says, “That’s my cue.” He scans the group. “Last chance.”

Cain lays his club on his shoulder. Abel leans on his spear, and yawns.

Kleron sighs. With one last look at Zeke, he says, “Sweet dreams,” and slips away.

Cain says, “Still an ugly bastard.”

“Always with the deals,” says Abel.

“Looks like he got too close to the grill, too.”

They look to Zeke and Pratha for an explanation, but get none.

Abel says, “Don’t listen to him, Zeke, and don’t you worry.”

“Whatever the Lord of Lies is selling,” says Cain, “we’re not buying.”

“You’re safe with us, come what may.”

Seeing the absolute sincerity in their eyes, armed with their Astra weapons and unafraid, Zeke almost believes them. Cain and Abel, fraternal twins, misunderstood brothers of myth and legend from around the world. The other Firstborn call them The Twins. The Giant Killers.

But deep down, Zeke knows he’s not safe in the Between of The Wendigo. None of them are.

Wind ruffles his hair. Hot, wet, reeking of rotting flesh, touching his skin like fingers of the invisible dead. A sickly green fog oozes from the inner wall of the cyclonic sandstorm that surrounds them. With it comes a feeling of uncanny dread. It tightens its grip on Zeke’s scalp, curdles cold in his gut.

The Twins keep their eyes on the circling wall of sandstorm, alert to movement in every direction.

Pratha turns in place, calm as ever, but intent on the storm, as if she can see into it.

Zeke’s voice shakes as he says, “What can we do?”

Abel answers, “There’s no stopping The Wendigo.”

Cain adds, “All have tried.”

“Even Father.”

“And Pratha.”

“It gets its fill and goes away.”

“Fill of what?” Zeke asks.

“Fear, and pain,” says Cain.

Zeke gulps.

Seeing the look on Zeke’s face, Abel says, “Don’t give in to it. That’s the worst thing you can do.”

“What if I can’t?”

“You can,” Cain says with conviction, but Zeke isn’t feeling it.

The aid workers, villagers, and Angolan rangers remain frozen in place. The silence and stillness, the waiting, is nearly intolerable. It’s almost a relief when the creatures in the sandstorm stir, moaning and shrieking, malformed figures in the gloom.

Abel says, “Quite the company Wendigo keeps these days.”

“What are they?” Zeke asks, as much to keep the terror at bay as out of curiosity.

Cain narrows his eyes, his Firstborn sight far better than Zeke’s will ever be. “I see Blues, wampyr, and… other things.”

“Mostly, a menagerie collected and kept by Wendigo,” say Abel. “Creatures half-in, half-out of this reality. Most I’d thought eradicated long ago.” He points his spear to where floating points of yellow light blink like fireflies. “Especially those.”

“Adze,” says Cain. “A particularly nasty species of what you might call Fae.”

Ripples of silver followed by trails of red smoke weave through the darkness behind the surface of the storm wall. Abel’s voice is grim. “Nanabolele dragons. Very hard to kill.”

The sound of the beasts and wind become softer, like the volume has been turned down. In the relative silence, Zeke hears a hollow rattling of bone and chattering of teeth, then a single word, an unearthly whisper. “Wendigo.” Goosebumps rise as his skin goes icy cold.

Suddenly the aid workers, villagers and rangers are moving again, running and shouting as they were before Kleron arrived, released from whatever spell The Wendigo cast upon them.

Some fall to their knees at the sight of the bloody eye of the eclipse. Panic seizes the rest. They bolt, wail, tear at their hair. Village dogs yelp, goats bleat in fright. The creatures in the storm screech and roar as more of them crowd behind the invisible barrier that holds them.

Having completely lost their nerve, the rangers pile into a truck, tossing people out as need be. They gun the engine and speed into the storm. Just visible in the whirling sand, a massive thorny form rams the truck from the side, toppling it.

“That was an Obia, if I’m not mistaken,” says Abel.

Other creatures pounce, tearing the truck and the rangers apart. Brief gunfire and screams, then nothing.

People run in mindless dread. Some fall to the ground and vomit, others drop to scoop it into their mouths. They attack each other with fingernails and teeth. A couple, sitting on the ground, hungrily eat each other’s hands. A woman staggers by, gnawing off her own lower lip. A dog attacks a young boy, then falls prey to a man with a machete, who snatches it up and bites into its throat.

Pratha, who has remained watchful and silent, says, “Wendigo has never had power like this. To steer the Between and control its contours with such precision. And never has he carried this variety of demons with it. This is Khagan’s doing.”

She scans the wall of the storm. “Wendigo has grown bold,” she hisses, peering into one area of the murk. “Perhaps, too bold.” She sprints, knocking a man out of the way, revealing her lizard-like Trueface just before she plunges into the storm, and fades from view.

She moved so quickly, Zeke didn’t have a chance to call out after her.

Cain hefts his club. “Looks like it’s just us, boys.”

Abel adjusts his shield and lifts his spear. “We don’t leave Zeke.”

Cain squeezes the back of Zeke’s neck and gives him a friendly shake. “Never.”

Zeke asks, “What are we going to do?”

“The only thing we can,” says Abel.

Cain adds, “Survive.”

The roar of the storm alters and the inner wall of the cyclone collapses, flowing into the clearing as a dusty fog. And with it come the shrieking horrors.

#

The horde charges from every direction. Speeding demons and shambling fiends of all shapes and sizes. Pouncing on aid workers and villagers, shredding them, feeding on flesh, cracking bones with their teeth.

There are Blues, similar to the variety of Jinn faced by Fi and Zeke at Freyja’s, but darker, more twisted and hunched, their heads more elongated, eyes small and black, with mouths and teeth like piranhas.

And before them come patches of blackness on the ground, like creeping puddles of oil.

Cain shouts, “Shadow Blues!”

Abel plunges his spear into a dark spot in the dirt. A Shadow Blue springs into form, wriggling on the ground and shrieking, the spearhead stuck in its gut. Abel withdraws his spear, swipes through its neck, and kicks the head to tumble away.

Cain cracks the skull of a second, sweeps the legs out from under a third, then beats its head into the ground. Its skull begins to reform, so he hits it a few more times. Cain and Abel stalk around Zeke, keeping him between them.

The firefly lights of the Adze surround them. The lights grow, then fade, leaving humanoid beings with glowing yellow eyes and translucent yellow fangs. Their bones and throbbing organs can be seen through skin that is almost clear. They hiss and attack.

All Zeke can do is crouch and cover his head while Abel and Cain skewer, slice, and smash the beasts. He’s splashed with bodily effluent, clear and slimy, and an Adze falls in front of him, split from groin to neck. It squeals, turns back into blinking light on the ground. Zeke grabs a rock and smashes it until the fluorescent smear goes dim.

Strong hands haul him to his feet. “I think you got it,” says Cain.

Nearby, what look like stocky little men, only three feet tall and covered in long filthy hair, have a woman surrounded. “Tikoloshe,” Abel spits through gritted teeth. They dance around the woman, taunting her. Zeke recognizes her as the nurse he and Pratha had seen in the medical tent earlier.

Cain strikes an attacking Blue out of the way, and shouts, “Sandra!”

She spins toward them, feral madness in her eyes and blood on her lips. Her expression sobers. “Doctor—” but a Tikoloshe darts in and scratches her leg with its ragged fingernails. She gags as black veins of pestilence shoot through the skin of her bare arms, neck, and face. Blood pours from her mouth and nose. Her eyes rupture with black and yellow pus.

Zeke’s mouth hangs open in horror, but he clamps it shut in an attempt to quell his rising gorge.

There’s a flash of silver above. A Nanabolele dragon, the air rippling over its shining reptilian head like water as it swoops from the sky, a billowing trail of red smoke trailing where it’s body and tail should be. It snatches off Sandra’s head with its teeth.

The nurse’s headless body wavers, a fountain of blood at her neck, then topples.

Abel slams the snout of another attacking Nanabolele with his shield, sending it roaring away, then runs a gibbering Tikoloshe through with his spear. Blues crumple and burst under Cain’s swinging club.

While Abel and Cain defend around him, panic threatens to devour Zeke’s rational mind. He wants to slip—and he could take The Twins with him. He’s fully aware of the dangers that await on other worlds, but anything would be better than this. He feels out to other worlds, but there’s nothing there. He can’t slip at all. Caught in The Wendigo’s Between, there’s nowhere to go.

Zeke’s stomach lurches with nausea—and hunger. The scent of blood all around him. It smells good. Disgusted with himself, he grunts to drive away the thought, the desire, the need.

The sounds around him dim as if an invisible bell has been lowered over his head, and again he hears rattling, then chattering, and the ghastly voice. “Wendigo.”

A lumbering goliath pounds toward them. Twelve feet tall, it looks like it’s made of twisted tree trunks, covered with wicked thorns, wearing a tattered cape or cloak.

“Obia!” Abel shouts, leaping between Zeke and the charging monster. The Obia swings a spiky club-like fist into Abel’s shield, knocking him aside. Cain cracks it in the knee with his club, but it keeps its feet and spins on Cain with a roar. Abel’s spearhead thunks into its side. The Obia swats it away and continues its assault.

It takes Zeke a moment to comprehend the nature of the Obia’s garment. Skins of young women, including scalps with hair, and faces. Dozens of them, pierced through with the thorns on the Obia’s back and shoulders, limbs flapping.

Zeke back-peddles, and space shifts oddly in front of him. The Twins and the Obia are off at a different angle, as if refracted by an angled plate of glass slid between Zeke and them.

Zeke says, “Cain?” but the world shears again and Zeke is suddenly much farther away. It happens again, like the world is made of mirrors that keep flipping, changing angles, carrying him deeper into the storm.

* * *

The Obia swings, but Abel dodges and drives his spear deep into one of its beady eyes, then yanks it out. The monster trips forward with a groan. Cain brings his club down on the back of its neck, breaking thorns, and again, until the neck cracks, and their enemy drops to the dirt.

Abel and Cain spin, searching for Zeke. They see him, fifty feet away. Cain shouts, but Zeke can’t hear or see them, as if he’s on the other side of a sound-proof, two-way mirror. They fight toward him. Something catches Zeke’s attention. He turns and runs off into the darkness.

Together, The Twins cry out. “Zeke!”

* * *

Zeke skids to a halt as he comes across the elder Mbundu woman Pratha had spoken to when they arrived. A Kimbanda shamaness, Pratha had said, the leader of the village. The woman who had seen Pratha’s Trueface, knew who she was, and was not afraid.

Her children and grandchildren are crouched on the ground around her, clutching the hem of her batik pano, faces buried against her. Arms raised, eyes closed, she chants forcefully in her native language of Kimbundu, calling on the spirits of her ancestors to protect her family. And they have come.

She and the others are encircled by tall phantoms with spears, curved clubs, and long painted shields. The monsters snort and stamp and claw at the dirt, but won’t come near.

A familiar voice calls out to Zeke. He’s nearly paralyzed at the sight of Fi running toward him. “Thank God we found you,” she says. Peter joins her, a smile on his face. “Let’s go, your work here is done.”

Zeke is elated, the terror nearly shed, but a voice cries out in his mind. “No!” It’s his voice, though not his common sense or his conscience. Shrill and unhinged, the voice of his violent and dangerous doppel. The other Zeke, spawned in a splitting of worlds, now trapped in Zeke’s own mind. Other Zeke shouts again, “Run!”

Zeke backs away. The fake Fi and Peter transform back into leering Shadow Blues. No sooner do they bolt toward Zeke than a charging monster crushes them both in its enormous toothy maw. Zeke recognizes the beast from paintings and etchings from ancient Egypt. An Ammit. Hippopotamus-like body and legs, a head like a crocodile, with mane and clawed feet of a lion. It bites and shakes. Blood sprays. A severed arm flies, a foot bounces to the ground. The rest, the Ammit swallows in two gulps. It snuffs in Zeke’s direction, but the speedy movement of other monsters and frantic people catch its attention. It screeches, loud as an elephant, and gives chase.

The clearing where the camp had been is in pandemonium. Death and blood, fire and insanity, all refracted at impossible angles. The monsters attack each other with as much reckless abandon as they do the humans—and as the humans do to themselves—all defenseless against The Wendigo’s mad magic.

Zeke’s perspective shifts again and he’s entirely alone. Nothing but bush and dirt and howling wind. Blowing sand stings his skin, crusts at his eyes. Again he tries to slip—and it works—but he’s only a few feet away from where he was—and himself. He sees himself slip, another him appear, until there are multiples of him everywhere.

They vanish at the sound of Cain and Abel calling for him. He runs toward their voices, but then they’re calling behind him. He changes course, but soon realizes the folly of his pursuit when their voices come from one side, then the other, and behind him once again. He’s caught in a hall of mirrors, in the least fun funhouse he can imagine. He laughs a crazy laugh, then growls to get himself under control. You’re losing it, Zeke. Hang in there. Hang in there.

A horrific apparition appears before him. Emaciated, on twisted, back-bending legs. Its thorny skin the color of sun-bleached bone, stretched tight on it’s skeleton, as if it’s been naturally mummified in the desert sun. Protruding ribcage, and long, scrawny arms. Its cadaverous face, half-man, half… something else entirely. Seven feet tall, not counting its rack of crooked antlers, from which small bones hang on roughly woven strands of human hair. They make hollow rattling sounds as they clack together in the wind. The creature stares down at him with lidless, empty eyes.

The apparition shudders and is suddenly leaning closer. With a wet seething sound, it sucks air between its cervide teeth, because it has no lips. It shakes its head, setting the bone-chimes on its antlers rattling, chatters its teeth together, and whispers, “Wendigo.”

* * *

Running heedless through the wind-blown wastes, the floating specter a menace on all sides. The Wendigo is everywhere, and inescapable.

Rattling its antlers. Chattering its teeth. Whispering, “Wendigo.”

Gripped by terror, Zeke runs and runs, nearing exhaustion, and gets nowhere. About to collapse, he stops and leans with his hands on his knees, gasping for breath, tears caked with sand. His muscles and lungs burn, face and hands blasted raw by the sand, eyes stinging, mouth dry. And he’s thirsty. So thirsty.

Then Pratha is there. He croaks her name, his throat sore, and reaches for her. His hands pass through her. She looks around, as if hearing something, then she’s gone.

A human figure appears in the distance. He shoves to his feet and forces his way toward it in a lurching stagger.

What he approaches is a greasy mirror, smeared in blood. In the reflection is him, but not him. The other Zeke. Shaved head, tattoos on his neck, gaunt and pale, eyes sunken in his skull. They stare at each other.

The other Zeke shouts, “I can help,” but his voice is faint. Over the doppel’s shoulder, Zeke spies Abel and Cain, fighting off monsters, the butchered and broken bodies of nightmarish beasts all around them, the sand black with blood. Zeke turns, but there’s nothing behind him. Turning back, the other Zeke is gone, and so are The Twins.

* * *

Zeke drops to his knees in a delirium of fatigue, anguish, and despair.

The nightmarish master of the Between shudders into being before him. The Wendigo moves in fits and jerks, like a ghastly doll on strings.

Rattle. Chatter. “Wendigo.”

Zeke realizes he’s ravenous beyond anything he’s ever experienced. He hears his own heartbeat. Smells his own blood.

Rattle. Chatter. “Wendigo.”

Zeke bites his tongue. Delicious blood flows in his mouth. He bites again and chews in ecstasy. He rips the sleeve of his shirt, raises his arm to his mouth and bites deep, nipping bone. He chews hungrily, then gnaws out another chunk, this time splintering bone with his teeth. Skin peels back and tears away as he yanks at the flesh.

The pain is exquisite, as glorious as the taste of his own blood, meat, and sweet marrow. He swallows, stares at his hand. Relishing the pleasure to come, he slides the pinky finger of his left hand deep between his teeth, savoring the sweat and dirt, and nips it off with a crunch and snap.

Stop!” the other Zeke screams in his head. “STOP!”

Zeke hunches forward, vomiting hunks and fluids of his own body in the dirt. Shaking, freezing cold. The pain hits. He sobs, clutching his wounded arm to his chest, and wails at the sky.

The sun, eclipsed by the moon. Looking at him, an eye of flame, searing his mind. A female voice he’s never heard says, “Where is Zeke Prisco?”

Zeke gasps, looks around feverishly, his mind grasping at the shredding straws of his sanity. Thinking to himself, Where is Pratha? Where are The Twins? And Peter? Where’s Fi?

He’s all alone. I’m going to die.

The other Zeke shrieks, “No, we are not!” The voice is frantic, but soft and far away.

Zeke’s mind is barely able to follow a thread of thought. He’s been alone before. After his step-mother died. Before he met Fi. Now, all by himself, again. Always alone. But it’s not that bad, really. He learned self-reliance. How to think of it not as loneliness, but solitude. Contenting himself with his studies, his books, and his guitar. There’s comfort in having nothing, and no one, to lose.

But he does have someone to lose, and there’s a greater strength in that. If he can just find it…

Wendigo makes a chortling sound. Zeke works up the courage to look at its horrific face. Its jaw works beneath skin like dirty white leather. “Prisco.”

Something unseen gets Wendigo’s attention. It jerks its head about like a bird, then spies something. Its hand shoots out to disappear into nothingness. The air changes, like the clearing of a smoked mirror, and Wendigo has Pratha by the neck.

It speaks unholy and terrible words, and its fingers lengthen to wrap Pratha’s throat like bony vines. Pratha beats at its unnaturally long, gangling arm, tears at its dried flesh with her claws, but it forces her to her knees. She tugs at its fingers, twists at its wrist, tries to break its arm with blows that could smash stone and dent solid steal.

The beast continues to throttle her, dry chuckles crackling in its throat. “My. Domain.”

To Zeke’s horror and amazement, Pratha ceases struggling. Her eyes roll to him. Not pleading or afraid, but calm, and knowing. It’s up to you.

But Zeke’s so weak and wracked with pain he can barely move. Even if he was perfectly fit, what could he possibly do against this—thing? This eldritch horror, this evil god of death and madness. A creature over whom even The Prathamaja Nandana has no power.

Seeing her helpless, at the whim of this monster, a fury rises from deep within. The pain of his self-inflicted wounds is excruciating, but instead of letting it sap his strength, he focuses on it, uses it to clear his mind—and make room for the rage. All of it. A wrath like he’s never known.

He’s struck by lucid determination. Beyond the instinct to survive. An urge to kill. The other Zeke encourages it, pleads for Zeke to let him help. Zeke shuts out the voice, but at the core of it, in the cell in which the other Zeke is locked away, the wrath still burns. Zeke focuses on it, lets it build, until it nearly consumes him.

The symbol Pratha etched on his forehead appears in his mind’s eye. A galaxy swirls behind it. At the center of it all, a kernel of blistering rage. Brighter it grows, until his vision burns red, and his mind expands to take in all around him.

With a new perception made possible by the symbol, he sees the world as it is, not as humanly perceived. The earth beneath his knees, sand-filled air, water of a nearby well, the flaming contents of a tipped barrel. All connected, all vibrating with consciousness, and whispering his name.

But this place, it’s all wrong. He groans through gritted teeth. The ragged edges of the warped and perverse Between begin to knit back together, reality remade by the force of his will, as he accepts the call of the elements.

The Wendigo cocks its hideous face about, clacking its teeth, sensing a drastic change in its world.

The rage and pain of the other Zeke builds as Zeke channels it into his own. Together, they roar a howling roar. The earth is the first to answer, and together, they rise.

* * *

Abel drives his spear through the gut of a bronze-scaled Mbulu. The demon’s tail, ending in a dog-like mouth of jagged teeth, yowls and thrashes, then whips around to snap at Abel’s face. Before it can bite, Cain’s club bats it away. Abel drags the blade of his spear upward, splitting the beast through its chest, neck, and face, then spins and slashes the single bird-leg of a white-faced Chemosit. Red light beams from its freakish, beakish mouth as it screams, hopping to stay upright while it grasps at Abel. Cain’s club sends it flying, broken and flopping, into the storm.

Covered in blood, their weapons dripping gore, the Twins position back-to-back, circling each other, seeking their next opponent. But there’s nothing left. The few demons that remain are fleeing into the bush.

The area is a gruesome killing field, lit red beneath the bloody eclipse. Vehicles wrecked and burning. Smaller fires of trash. Strewn with bodies, and body parts. Beasts of lore and legend. And what once were living people, now just so much mutilated meat, entrails, and shattered bone.

They wind stops. Dust, sand and smoke hang motionless in the air. Only the crackling, hissing fires make a sound. Then they hear rasping breath, rattling of bones, clacking of teeth, and a single hacking cough.

They cast about, looking for its source. Abel says softly, “Cain.”

Cain looks to where Abel points through the murk. They stalk closer, then halt, gazing in disbelief.

Pratha, on her knees. The Wendigo with one hand wrapped around her throat. And Zeke. At least, they think it’s Zeke.

His legs and the right half of his body, including his right arm, are made of stone. In his hand is Wendigo’s scrawny neck.

Abel says, “You seeing what I’m seeing, Brother?”

“I am, though I can hardly believe it.”

The stone spreads through Zeke’s torso and down his left arm. He grasps the wrist of The Wendigo’s hand that holds Pratha. His voice is his own, but deeper, more primal. “Let. Her. Go.”

Wendigo jabbers in defiance. Zeke crushes its arm in his grip, snapping its hand clean off. Pratha falls back, crab-crawls away, and claws the hand from her neck. Cain and Abel run to her and drag her further away. The three of them watch, incredulous.

Wendigo struggles, clacking its teeth in aggravation. It beats on Zeke with the stump of its arm, claws at him with the other, but Zeke’s head and face have become stone as well. But not just stone. Harder than stone could ever be.

Zeke’s clothes rip from his body as he grows. His backpack tumbles away, the straps broken. Dirt flows from the ground through his feet and up his legs. The sand in the air is drawn to him, like metal shavings to a magnet, all combining with his flesh and hardening. Wendigo thrashes and kicks as its feet leave the ground. With his free hand, Zeke reaches toward a burning truck. The flames streak to his outstretched fingers and flow up his arm. Cracks in his body of rock glow orange. His head blooms with fire, and his eyes flare like the sun. Wendigo bursts into flame. Zeke beckons and the air responds with a whirlwind, feeding the flames.

Engulfed in an inferno of unnatural intensity, antlers ablaze, Wendigo thrashes and wails. Fire shoots out of its eyes and mouth. The Twins are forced further back by the heat of The Wendigo’s immolation.

Pratha watches with fascination, the fire dancing in her golden eyes.

“Abel…” Cain says.

“Yes, Brother?” Abel replies, wide eyes glued to Zeke.

Zeke grimaces, increasing the heat. The creature shrieks as its face melts. With a grunt, Zeke snaps its charred neck. The Wendigo hangs limp, and silent.

“Our boy is a fucking ‘Mental.”

Quick! Catch up on the series!

War of Gods is on the way (Add it to your Goodreads profile here). Now’s the time to catch up on books one and two.

 

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Dyrk Ashton

Dyrk Ashton is a writer, educator, filmmaker and former actor active in story telling and media making. Born and raised in the American Midwest, he currently resides in Ohio, but the fantasy landscape is the place he calls home.