Sunday, August 14, 2011

Covenant of the Faceless Knights by Gary Vanucci (Sample Sunday)

Covenant of the Faceless Knights


Gary Vanucci

The orc bore down on him quickly and was only within a few arms lengths. He could see the beast’s teeth and drool spray from its mouth as it uttered some foul orc-speak. Elec waited calmly with his weapons drawn, but had not revealed them from beneath his cloak. As the orc reached his position, Elec nimbly dove down and to his left to avoid the brunt of the charge, all the while keeping his foot outstretched enough to trip the orc. The momentum of the beast’s charge took it headlong into the mountainside, sliding on the slippery slush a bit and smashing its helmet down around its eyes, looking a bit worse for wear.

Within a second, Elec was back to his feet, spinning hard and plunging his sword into the back of the creature, placing all of his body weight into the strike. He pierced flesh, but the blade stopped on something, most likely a rib, and therefore was not the killing blow he had hoped for. He cursed his luck, thinking the strike to be well placed. His frustration nearly cost him.

The orc howled in rage and pain and swung a back fist that would have taken off Elec’s head, had it not been for the combination of his sixth sense and the temporary, enhanced state of reactionary speed and reflexes that his elixirs granted him. Instead the blow merely grazed his face instead of crushing bone beneath it and he was able to roll with it. He regained his footing and stood again, shaking the sting of the impact from his mind. A sizable gash on his face was already starting to heal, due to an effect of one particular elixir coursing through his veins.

He waited for the creature to stand again and it straightened its helmet, growling and bleeding from the deep wound in its back. The orc regained its halberd and advanced again, more slowly this time, as orc blood stained the ground.

Elec whispered an ancient elven word under his breath and suddenly, he blinked out of sight and reappeared directly behind the orc. Its yellow eyes suddenly grew wide, contrasting with its dark skin as a rather long blade tip protruded through the front of its chest cavity. It went limp and dropped to the floor, revealing the visibly relieved elf holding Daegnar Giruth in both hands, its blade covered in orc gore.

Elec gave himself a silent congratulation as he acknowledged his victory. He mouthed a whispered thanks for the magic of the ring--it was one of many gifts that his uncle had given him over the years.

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