I know you all have been waiting patiently so without further ado, here is a sneak preview for Renegade Reprisal , sequel to Renegade Rising, containing a full synopsis and a sample chapter. Release date to be announced in the coming weeks. Enjoy everyone and rejoice, Gisbo Falcon returns!
- J.C. Fiske
Now officially a Renegara, Gisbo Falcon is back, but for how long? On the desert plains of Flaria, Gisbo continues his training under his Class Master, Falcon, while dodging Spike Slithers, getting reacquainted with a long lost family, and preparing for a tournament to face off against his greatest rival yet, Malik Strife. But that’s the easy part.
A fiendish cult known only as The Holy Chosen has recently risen out of the ruins of Cledwyn City, once home to Vadid the Valiant and the Flarian race. Now, a shadow of its former self, the new city seeks to open the sands of Flaria once again to the horrors of war.
A great battle is coming, but Gisbo hasn’t been himself lately. A dangerous, repressed memory in the form a door, bolted, and chained on all sides has been rattling within Gisbo’s mind, clawing day and night like a caged beast, a beast, if freed, could change our good-hearted hero forever.
Prologue: The White Lion Lives
The wind howled across the white sands of the Flaria desert. To the west, the sun began to set, shining like a brilliant ruby set against a purple sky. Unfortunately, Captain Tuscan was in no mood to admire the captivating beauty. He silently cursed under his breath. If only he hadn’t gambled away his two nights off to Captain Rab for a case of beer. If only his pack mule’s heart hadn’t given out while walking along FelFast Canyon. He could be back in the tavern with his men enjoying a cold one.
“So, Cappy, where we headin’ tonight?” Private Mook asked, letting out a yawn and a stretch.
“Don’t call me Cappy,” Tuscan said.
“Sorry, ol’ Tuscinini! So where we headed?” Mook punched Tuscan playfully in the back. The Captain sighed.
“Fine, just call me Cappy,” Tuscan said.
“Nice! But hey, you didn’t answer me,” Mook replied. Tuscan let out another grievous sigh.
“Just the usual cave patrol,” Tuscan stated. Mook let out a groan.
“Awww, again? How many we checkin’ this time?” Mook grumbled.
“All that we can until the sun rises, General Scarrr’s orders. You got a problem with it? Then go talk to him about it,” Tuscan stated firmly. Mook gulped.
“Not a chance in hell. I miss General Cannon. He at least knew when to take a break,” Mook said.
“Aw, quit your belly achin’. I can’t wait to kill me some more Flarians,” Private Rye said, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
“If we even find any. It’s been weeks since we bagged that broad and her kid. I at least want a struggle this time, makes it more fun!” Private Stilo murmured.
“Still, I wonder why Karm’s so paranoid about ‘em. They aren’t that strong,” Private Rye stated.
“Do you not remember why we don’t have General Cannon out here anymore? Idiot.” Tuscan said, shaking his head.
“Oh yeah . . . hey, Cappy, you were there to see the, uh, the thing we don’t talk about go down, huh?” Rye asked. Tuscan put on a solemn face.
“Yup,” Captain Tuscan said.
“So . . . based on what you saw . . . would you say that that Flarian was one of those guys we, uh, also don’t talk about?” Rye asked. Tuscan’s face tightened, and he paused before he answered.
“A Renegade? Yeah, yeah I do,” Tuscan answered, a hint of spite in his voice. Rye’s eyes went wide as he and his companions placed shaking hands upon their weapon handles.
Captain Tuscan and his men walked along in silence as a crescent moon replaced the setting sun and a blanket of stars hovered above them, illuminating the white sands in an eerie glow. After a few more paces, the men reached their destination, the Darkstar Caverns. Hundreds upon hundreds of blackened caves stretched before them, popping from the white sand’s surface in perfect contrast to the starry sky above.
“I hate night patrol here, so creepy,” Mook stated as he nervously glanced left and right as they made their way to the first cave.
“Pussy,” Stilo muttered.
“Pansey ass,” Mook retorted.
“Hey, what do you call a Flarian who’s pissed off, drunk, and hasn’t showered or shaved?” Rye asked.
“Hahaha! I’ve heard this one,” Stilo said.
“Easy . . . a Flarian,” Rye answered nonchalantly, letting out a chuckle.
“I got one! Ok, a wagon jammed with ten Flarians is flying off a cliff. What’s wrong?” Stilo said with a smirk.
“Absolutely nothing!” Rye said, laughing.
“There could be more of ‘em . . .” Stilo said. Everyone laughed, including the Captain.
“Oh! I got one! What does a tree and a Flarian have in common?” Captain Tuscan asked. Everyone shrugged.
“They both fall down if you whack ‘em with an axe!” the Captain answered.
Everyone cackled over the joke as they neared the mouth of the cave. Tuscan was about to issue instructions to his men when a piercing groan suddenly echoed from the cave. The men all looked at each other.
“The hell was that?” Mook muttered to himself.
The sound of heavy boot falls could now be heard approaching in a slow stride, but not like any boots they ever heard before. They sounded entirely metallic. Out of reflex, the soldiers unsheathed their weapons and stared into the darkness, awaiting the coming threat. All was quiet until a loud belch careened off the cave walls. Suddenly, the figure of a man in his mid twenties came into view. His right arm was bound in a sling across his chest and a flask was clasped in his left hand.
Unfortunately, other than his metal clad boots and gloves, that was all the man was wearing.
“Oy! Eh there, gents! Quite a breezy night!” the nude man said as he brushed back his long, mangled, dark brown hair from his glittering brown eyes and took a long drag from his flask. When finished, he breathed out a heavy sigh of fulfillment.
“Breezy? You ain’t kiddin’,” Stilo said as he raised a hand to shield his eyes from the unpleasant sight before him. The rest of the soldiers followed in suit. The nude man looked down at himself and seemed equally surprised by his own lack of clothes.
“Why would ya look at dat! I knew I’d be forgettin sumtin. Why, I . . . oop, hold dat thought,” the nude man said as he dropped his flask in the sand and stumbled over to the cave wall, braced himself against it with his good arm, and began to urinate. The soldiers turned their heads in disgust as the nude man groaned with relief and let loose a long fart.
“You gotta be kiddin’ me . . .” the Captain sighed in disgust. Out of impatience, Tuscan turned round to see the nude man breath out one last exasperated sigh of relief, do a little jig, and turn to walk towards them, kernels of sand snapping under his metal clad boots.
“Oy! Sorry ‘bout dat! You know, nature calls an’ all, and she was, by gawd, screamin’! Oh, how rude o’ me! The name’s Camlin Ayver McCarley, but you can call me Phil!” Phil said as he outstretched a hand to the Captain. Tuscan eyed it with a hint of disgust and withdrew his own behind his back.
“Phil? Why do they call . . .” The Captain barely got the words out before he was interrupted.
“Well! It’s a hell of a lot easier than sayin’ Camlin Ayver McCarley, now isn’t tit? Aye! You’re a good man, I can tell. All of ya, actually, except for this gent right here. Hell, look at him! Between me en you, friend, I believe he’s not right in the thing three feet above his ass! Shush though, he might hear ya!” Phil exclaimed as he jammed a finger to his temple and pointed at Rye. “But no matter! Greetings to all of yeh!” Phil said as he bowed three times in the direction of no one in particular with a goofy grin. The men were at a loss for words, but at least thankful that Phil was now in close enough range to look him in the eyes rather than . . . other parts of him.
“Oy! Quiet bunch, eh? Well, don’t you worry! Ol’ Philly won’t let things get awkward! Swear on me Grandah’s life I do! I hate awkward silences! Hate it! Hate it! Now what can I do ya fer?” Phil asked as he scratched at his broken arm.
“The hell kind of accent is that? It’s not Flarian, it’s not, well, it’s not anything I’ve ever heard! It’s gibberish! You sure this guy’s a Flarian Cappy?” Mook asked. “Maybe he’s one of those weird hermits we heard about.”
“So . . . Phil . . . may I ask what you are doin’ out here?” Captain Tuscan finally managed to mutter. Phil just stared at him blankly with an empty gaze. A string of drool began to drip from the corner of his mouth.
“Phil? You with me?” Tuscan asked, snapping fingers in front of his face.
“Aye, of course I’m with ya!” Phil exclaimed, slapping Tuscan’s hand away from his face. “Goodness to gracious, man, get to the point! Land the skeeter if you know what I mean!” Phil said as he picked his flask out of the sand and took a short draft. It seemed that Rye had had enough of the spectacle.
“Shut up! Just shut up! I’m done screwin’ around with this fool! I know exactly what you are, you damned Flarian! Now answer the Captain before I spill your guts out right here for all to see,” Rye exclaimed, taking a step closer to Phil, sword extended. Phil looked at the sword, then at Rye, and smiled.
“Want to know how I broke me arm?” Phil asked, in a spooky tone.
“Shut up,” Rye said as he moved a little closer to Phil. The other soldiers moved in beside Rye.
“Well, I’ll tell ya anyhow. It’s because it wouldn’t do as it was told, so I had to punish ‘er. It was weak, so I had ta break ‘er. It should obey next time,” Phil said with a distant look in his eyes as he stroked his broken arm like a cat. Rye looked at Phil, disgusted.
“You’re sick . . . you apes need to be put down. All of ya!” Rye exclaimed. The Captain and his men began to take a step back from Phil, noticing what Rye should have noticed from the start . . . there was a reddish gleam to Phil’s boots and gloves.
“I’ve always wondered a bit about something; grant a lad an answer, would ya?” Phil asked, suddenly speaking clearly. Rye stopped his advance for a moment. Phil continued.
“Why is it you blokes always be comin’ round ‘ere to kill us?” Phil asked plainly. The Captain spoke up.
“Your Warlord demands it; we are bound by duty,” Tuscan said. Phil smiled broadly at that statement.
“Aye, my Warlord, yah say? Well, he may be your Warlord, but his orders are worth the same as piss in the sand to me. I serve the true one and the true one alone,” Phil said with a dreamy look in his eyes.
“Vadid has been dead for years. His son rules now, and you and your fellow Flarians will show him your allegiance!” the Captain said. Phil giggled a bit.
“Ah, that’s where ya couldn’t be more wrong, mate. The white lion lives, I’ve seen her, prowling the desert sands, and I, like a good soldier, will wait patiently till her master returns,” Phil said. Rye began to advance forward.
“Impossible, drunken disillusions, why I . . .” the Captain started until Rye cut him off.
“Oh, come now, don’t let this fool drag on. I don’t know about the rest of these guys, but I have a soft spot for cleaving you Flarians in two. Screw Karm, I do this work for me,” Rye said, smiling like a crocodile. Phil pursed his lips together. Suddenly, Phil’s eyes took on a look several kinds of crazy.
“I was hearin’ ya jokes earlier. I like jokes and I got a doosy. What’s round, empty, and soars through the air on a starry night?” Phil asked. Rye simply scoffed, but didn’t answer. Phil smiled, showing all his teeth.
“Why, it’s yer head, mate,” Phil said calmly.
In a flash of crimson, Phil’s metal boot rose like a viper and popped Rye’s head clean from his shoulders with a sickening crack. Even as the head flew into night sky, Rye’s body continued to stand erect for a few moments, before toppling over. A puddle of blood squirted from the private’s stump of a neck like a running faucet. Phil raised a hand to his brow to watch the head disappear into the distance.
“Oy! That just popped right off der, didn’t it? I was just playin’ with words was all! Truly I was! I didn’t actually tink it would ‘appen! I’ll never know if he liked me joke now,” Phil exclaimed, face covered with innocent surprise. “What about you fellers?”
Captain Tuscan, along with his remaining men, ignited their weapons and rushed at the Flarian. In odd, jerky movements, Phil laughed as he leaned back and twisted his body in stumbling motions, dodging all three weapons with a child-like grace. The soldiers cursed aloud in frustration, unable to hit the jerky Flarian as Phil reached downward and grabbed a fistful of sand. He rose, twirling his body, and let the sand swirl all about him.
Forced to shield their eyes from the sand’s mist, the soldiers halted for a moment, and a moment was all the Flarian required. Phil raised his fist to his face and ignited the ring upon his finger in a red surge. A quick hand maneuver later, a red ball of energy swirled within his open palm. Phil braced himself as he tossed the energy cluster into the air and punted it forward with his foot like a sports ball.
Captain Tuscan only had enough time to stare helplessly as the fiery cluster struck himself and Stilo directly. With screams of dismay, both men flew off their feet and their bodies turned to ash.
Mook, who managed to dive away upon impact, rose to a kneeling position, a little shaken up, but perfectly fine. That is, until he saw Phil standing over him.
“Come now an’ get yer ass up, ya pusso’. I need someone to tell your good buddy Karm what happened ‘ere. Tell ‘em to send me more! Well, Mookie, I’d love to stay an’ shoot the breeze with ya, but I ‘ave to go prepare for company! Me baby cousin’s comin’ to visit me soon! Much to be done! Now off ya go, mate! Come now, off ya go,” Phil said, shuffling along Mook playfully with his hands. Mook rose to his feet and sprinted away, keeping an eye on Phil over his shoulder as he ran. Phil turned in the opposite direction, stumbling and giggling as he walked deep into the desert.
To be continued in Renegade Reprisal, coming soon . . .