Break Time

I will not be posting a chapter of  Tales tonight because it is a school night. OK, it is seminar night.  But…I am going to let you in on a secret. I am starting another WIP, but it won’t appear on here.

Heroes and Villains actually began back in the early 90’s with my desire to write a few stories for the comic book world. At the time, there were two comic book companies I wanted to write for. One was Marvel, the other was Image/Homage Comics, one of the hottest new indie comic companies to emerge…and the home of Spawn. Marvel didn’t take me seriously and neither did Image. But a dear friend of mine, Howard Westbrook, saw the potential and planned on working as my artist.

At that time, we had begun work on several characters that will appear both in this story as well as their own stories. Still, Rothchild was not complete until I began the very first story that included him. That story was Gauntlet, about a CGI created hard light warrior who can pull his weapons out of his ethereal net based world. As with most of my characters, both Rothchild and Gauntlet were created through experiments, though one was born from CGI hard light and the other was given a new life (sort of like Robocop) through a medical experiment with a new technology known as bio-cybernetics; cybernetics with the ability to bond genetically and chemically with their recipient. Depending on the severity of their injuries, the bio-cybernetics could do anything from give them a missing limb to give them the ability to walk after being paralyzed in an accident. In Rothchild’s instance, it does it all.

Rothchild is first gen, and later joins a group of “second hand” heroes, all of whoim have been given back their lives through successive upgrades in bio-cybernetics. This group was named Surgical Stryke and was headed by Doc. the genius behind the research, development, and perfecting of bio-cybernetics. The Group was connected to a mega company, owned by Doc, that owned the patents and legal rights to bio-cybernetics.

Rothchild’s personality suffered from his becoming the equivalent of a cyborg, having been brought back from the dead by the process after being blown apart…well, at least losing both legs, an arm and quite a bit of his face (though his skull remained intact). while the implant procedure was being done, the computer interface is placed inside his skull, alongside his brain and slowly becomes a part of his brain, melding the cybernetics and his human body into a single organism.

To learn more, you will have to actually buy the book when it comes out. Hell. You will have to wait for every book in this series to come out to know how things go. Each book will be a different hero and will come complete with its own villain.

After I am done with this series, I will begin piecing together each series about the supergroups I created, but right now, I want to introduce the reader to each character. And, as the title of the saga infers, half of the series will be about the villains.

Tales From The Renge: Birth of a Savior, Chapter Fourteen

Headless warriors, so the legend went, was not allowed into the underworld. Calling upon the Beheader was the only way to keep someone from paradise. Of course, that was legend, whether or not it was true was something that Niobe didn’t want to find out.

All she knew was that she was glad he was on her side. She knew that he was said to be ruthless, cruel, and fond of torturing his victims. No warrior, save the other gods devoted to war, could defeat him. that meant that the emperor could never win. Not against Sudia. Not now.

She smiled and watched as he beheaded each prisoner and placed the head upon his bridle as ornaments to be beheld by all who would see him as he made his way to the capitol. Kyrzhad had a big surprise headed his way soon. How she would love to be a fly on the palace wall when the Beheader made his appearance.

One of the prisoners was brought forward. It was someone she knew. Pyrathan! What was he doing among these murderers?

“Wait,” she requested, raising her hand, “I know this one.” The Beheader paused to allow her to do whatever she needed to. “Pyrathan,” she continued, “Why are you among these brigands?”

“They weren’t what they seemed to be, milady,” he replied, head still down, “they were…are imperial guards sent to assassinate you.” He looked up at her, sadness in his eyes. “I-I wanted to come along because I thought I could convince you rationally to stop this madness. I see now that it isn’t madness. You have the gods on your side. It is a fight the emperor cannot win.” The elderly man swallowed. “If I am to die, then make it quick. I have lived a good life.”

The Beheader motioned for the elderly man to be moved out of harm’s way, having peered into his heart. “This one does not deserve death,” he growled, “he is a man of peace, not war. He deserves to go his own way.”

Niobe cut the old man’s bonds and helped him up from his knees. She led him to the side and gave him food. He hugged her.

“Milady,” he muttered, “may the gods bless you, but I have a dilemma now. Where do I go? I can no longer show myself in the capitol. All will think me a phantom.”

“My dear tutor,” she smiled, “I will see that you have safe passage to Yndarr. Once there, be sure to seek out Bezreddyn and offer your services to teach my son. He will need it when he is of age to learn.” She turned to her group. “Kyloris. Take my teacher to Yndarr. Keep him safe and make sure he sees the bard.”

Kyloris stepped forward and nodded in obeisance. The assassin motioned to the old man to join him. Pyrathan looked at Niobe.

“He is quite safe, my dear friend,” she assured the old man, “he is also mute. Something about taking a vow of silence that requires losing one’s tongue.” She looked at Kyloris. “Isn’t that what it was?” the assassin nodded and Niobe returned her gaze to her old friend. “He will see you safely to Yndarr and the abode of the bard. He knows the ways of stealth beyond most in his Guild. No one will see you until you arrive in the city.”

She watched the old man go to the assassin. It was too bad he couldn’t make the march to Tyrannos, but the march to this point had already taken too much out of him. Kyloris would carry him, if need be, as far as he had to just to get him to safety. But they had no carriage or litter to do so as they made their way to their destination. Besides. Pyrathan would do more good in Yndarr.

The beheadings resumed after the assassin and the old man had left. They didn’t last long, since the dead had already been beheaded during battle. After it had all ended, the Beheader took his leave to deliver his message. Niobe allowed her companions to rest for a little while, then gave the command to resume their own march.


Bardys was surrounded. He had left Tyrannos on his way to Yndarr and now he was face-to-face with several unseen foes. Pinned down at the side of the road, with foes on all sides, he was running out of options. And arrows.

A burst of light distracted him momentarily. He smiled. If it had distracted him, it had also drawn the attention of his attackers. He took the lack of motion as proof of the fact and slowly emerged from his place of concealment. Before him stood the nine bearers of the orbs accompanied by Corum Churucht, the high priest of Dirnack.

“I owe you my life, wise priest,” he said, bowing, “and have no way to repay.” He looked about at the ground him, viewing his former attackers. “What were they?”

“Minor demons,” the priest replied, “sent to keep you from your mission. Going to Yndarr?”

“Yes,” Bardys averred, “how did you know?”

“Not important how I know,” Corum  replied, “just know that I was on my way there as well with my companions.” The priest paused for effect. “You do know my companions, do you not?”

“Of course,” the bow master replied, “who doesn’t know the orb bearers?”


A chill preceded Nalembahr as he entered the capitol city. Fear and apprehension met him as people rushed to get out of his way. Most were afraid he would take their heads if they remained in his path and their thoughts made him smile. They were correct.

He had no mercy for fools. If they refused to move, they deserved to die. By the seven hells he ruled, he had no patience with corrupt rulers either. Mortals had proven no better than the gods at ruling the Renge. In fact, he believed they had proven to be worse.

With clear path, he proceeded to the palace. Not one person attempted to stop him. the hoof falls thundered throughout the streets, spreading terror in the hearts of all. Shutters suddenly began closing.

“Kyrzhad, emperor of the Renge, come forth,” The Beheader bellowed once he had reached the steps of the palace, “the gods and their chosen demand an audience!”

He watched as the guards rushed inside. Fools. Moments later, the emperor emerged in all pomposity.

“Who dares demand anything of me?” Kyrzhad demanded.

“Careful, mortal,” the Beheader thundered, “I speak for the gods, gods you have offended and mocked with all your depravity.” He tossed the string of imperial guard heads to the ground before the emperor. “These belong to you, I suppose. I come to tell you that your days are numbered and that Sudia and other lands will fall away from your influence. Yes, the gods have decided. You will lose power as will your ally Golmagug.

“Any attempt to regain control will result in failure. You have been given warning after warning, but refused to heed them all. Now, you will see all that you inherited removed from your power.”

Kyrzhad watched in shock as the mighty god vanished before his eyes. So the gods had now allied themselves against him. no matter. He would defeat all. They would rue the day they had rebelled.

Tales from the Renge: Birth of a Savior, Chapter Thirteen

Bezreddyn had lost contact with Romnan and Qualzath, the only remaining friends from his youth. Both had grown up with him and knew him. Now, they had vanished and his son was to blame. Hadrax had besieged Korlabdis, forcing his friends to flee. He could only hope that they were safe and alive.

At the moment, though, he had deeper concerns. Con, his grandson, was hungry. Magick could only do so much, everything else depended on nature. And babies depended more on nature. Not that he minded, but milk flasks with false nipples were hard to come by as was a ready supply of fresh milk, especially within the city.  Magick could keep the milk cool enough to keep a while, or warm it to the right temperature before feeding, but it could not produce it quite as well or as nourishing as goats, sheep, or cattle.

Through a merchant, milk was expensive. More expensive than if bought from the farmers. What made it difficult was the fact that the governess, the boy’s natural mother and acting nursemaid, had been called away on business leaving him to search out alternatives. Still, he couldn’t fault her. she was only doing what her office demanded of her and he admired her for it.

Even more astounding was the fact that she had designs on unifying Sudia, which wasn’t  a bad idea. In his youth, he could remember the four lands being autonomous kingdoms that formed a loose confederation. Each land had its own ruling elite, complete with king, duke, baron and earl—all the way down to constable and sheriff.  When the invasions took place, Austryn fell. Then Sudia. Then Estryn. And finally Nordia.

The barbarians who conquered Austryn were pushed out by a new invasion, forcing them to conquer a new kingdom. After twenty four invasions, their successors were spread fairly evenly among the four lands. Six Orders, each having risen from a tribe, inhabited each of the four lands. When the Wars of the Gods were over, a new nobilis rose from the ashes to take the reins and unite the four lands. At first, the nobilis were beneficial. They helped rebuild what had been a shattered and divided Renge. He had watched them as they drew away from the proud heritage the lands had in the magicks and leaned toward a less earth-based governance grounded in chaos and darkness. Over five hundred years, they slowly became  a part of the cancer that ate away at the lands.

Perhaps it was good that Kyrzhad was impotent. It meant that the royal line was at its end. Well, almost. If the emperor ever found out about Con, he would have the boy seized and taken to the capitol city of Tyrannikos in Austryn. Con, by law, was the last heir to the empire. But the boy could never be told. Nor could the emperor find out.

He found a milk flask and poured milk into it. The soft leather flask expanded as it filled. Once it was full enough, he tied the fill-end shut and used magick to cause a nipple to appear at the end. At his touch, magick warmed the milk to just the right temperature and he began feeding the boy. He smiled as the babe suckled.

He sang a soft lullaby, keeping the child calm. At the memorized intervals, he burped the child and then returned to the feeding. After the boy was done, it was time to change him and lay him down to sleep. Bez rocked the cradle and sang a soft lullaby until the child was asleep.

In recent days, he’d had little time to go about his duties as bard but he didn’t care. The child was more important. When he did go to perform his duties, he did not remain on the streets long. Still, he loved his grandson and wanted the best for the boy. He hoped that the boy would grow to follow him as bard. If he had a successor, the curse of the gods would be lifted. Once it was lifted, he would be allowed to die.

After the boy went to sleep, Bez’s mind wandered back to the thoughts of the twin mages. Had they gotten away safely?  Had they found safe haven? Or had Hadrax executed them?


Niobe found herself in the thick of battle and found it thrilling. The highwaymen had set upon them seemingly from nowhere, but she had surprisingly expected it. Why, she had no idea. It just seemed that she had.

She handed herself with such grace and ease that she was beginning to wonder if she had been meant to lead the life of a warrior. She was in awe of the fluidity of the assassins as they fought, marveling how quickly the battle was moving. Her blade seemed to melt the flesh it touched, cleaving flesh and bone as if it were empty air. Even more amazing was the fact that her training was paying off more than she’d ever imagined.

She quickly took charge, betraying her identity to all, but led valiantly and victoriously against the foe. She was swiftly gaining mastery of her skills, even with the enchanted blade. With each opponent, she was beginning to take notice of their weaknesses. Their blind spots.

Side by side with Frigaana, she wove a deadly arc of destruction that no foe could escape. But as soon as it had begun, it was over. Sobahn brought forward the leader of the band, now a captive.

“Milady,” he stated, pushing the man to his knees before her, “We captured their leader. He says he has a message to deliver to you and you alone.”

She pulled her helmet off. “Out with it, man,” she replied, “From whom and what is your message?”

“The emperor has sent his greetings with a warning, governess,” the highwayman hissed, “Cease your attempts to solidify the southlands and he will belay the order to attack Yndarr and all cities of Sudia. He expects me to deliver him your reply.”

“What do you think, Frigaana?” she inquired, looking over at the goddess.

“He shall deliver our message,” the goddess answered coldly, “but not the way he believes.” The goddess paused. “It is time to involve Nalembahr the Beheader.”

Niobe watched the highwayman grow pale. Apparently he knew of the Beheader.

“No,” he begged, “by the gods, no!” He was now shaking in sheer terror.

“My brother gods,” Frigaana began, “I call upon you now. Send the Beheader to fulfill a task for us and to bear a message to the ruling emperor.”

The sound of great hooves thundered in the distance, growing louder as a giant horse approached. Upon the horse sat a dark hulk with glowing eyes. One of the numerous gods of death, Nalembahr was supposed to be the most vicious and bloodthirsty of all because he was also a god of war. Frigaana was rumored to be his paramour, and his role as a god of war was the reason he was called “the Beheader.”

“You always did love to make a good entrance,” the goddess smiled, “didn’t you, my love?”

“Aye, my love,” the dark figure replied, a dark thunderous chuckle following behind the words, “especially when you call.”

Tales from the Renge: Birth of a Savior, Chapter Twelve

Niobe spent three days training before leaving for Tyrannos. It would be enough to give the illusion that she was one of the soldiers, not the governess of Yndarr. When she returned, she would continue to train and become the warrior queen expected of any who held a governorship. But three days was all she had to prepare for the journey to Tyrannos.

On the dawn of the fourth day, she and her party departed. A skeleton crew was left behind for each of the Guilds, allowing for a rather large and very protective retinue. The only Guild not sending a majority of their members was the Thieves’ guild, which had no actual warriors. The Merchant Guild, being what they were, saw the journey as a means to further business and make stronger contacts among the other Merchant Guilds from the other cities.

But the Assassins’ Guild were in force. Being versed in anything with blade or point, they made formidable warriors. Their reputation for stealth and spying made them excellent scouts to ensure safe passage. In fact, their very presence made the spell of stealth almost an unneeded one.

Before long, they had made it to the midway point, where Frigaana and Sobahn waited to join them. The goddess smiled at her in recognition.

“Milady, the governess of Yndarr,” the goddess began, addressing Niobe personally, kneeling in respect, “I am emissary of the gods, sent to you to aid you in uniting Sudia. When the gods walked the lands, this was my home. My people, my worshipers, lived throughout this land and I served them faithfully. Please accept me as one of your protectors.”

“How did you know I was the governess?” Niobe inquired.

“Because I know well the work of Alendghar, your smith,” came the reply, “and the scent the magic of my loyal servant and priestess, Thyrakos. Alendghar was once the apprentice to the smith-god, Auhrjhund. He excelled at armory and metallurgy and earned the respect of his master and of the gods themselves. Many of our weapons were forged by your smithy. As for Thyrakos, she is far older than she appears.”

The goddess waved her hand, acknowledging Niobe’s thoughts. “Do not worry, governess,” she smiled, “I will do and say nothing to betray you should battle occur. Our missions are the same.”

“And your companion?” Niobe required.

“He can speak for himself,” the goddess replied.

“I am Sobahn, once a lieutenant of Hadrax, Kyrzhad’s favored general,” Sobahn replied, “I can give detailed information on every weakness of Hadrax’s army.”

“Why should I trust you?” Niobe pressed.

“I understand your reluctance, milady,” he returned, “but perhaps my story will convince you better than anything else. I was the lieutenant entrusted with a small contingent of men under Hadrax. When he took Korlabdis, the city of the twin mages, he commanded me to enter the mine-maze where the soul eaters reside. My men were turned to stone but, for some unexplainable reason, I was spared. When the twin mages found me and took me in, I was unconscious and near death. Over the span of a month, they cared for me and nursed me back to health.

“When I was well enough, they taught me their magicks and released me from their care to find you. I was sent to help you defeat Hadrax and to keep him from taking Sudia. We may not be able to stop him altogether, but we can stop him from taking Sudia, Estryn, and Nordia. We can contain him and Kyrzhad’s minions to Austryn. This includes the Inquisition and any other ally he may consider.”

“Then, welcome, Sobahn,” Niobe replied, smiling in acceptance, “you are welcomed among my retinue and shall be of much service in planning strategy against Hadrax and Kyrzhad.”


“My lord,” Golmagug began, bowing in respect to Kyrzhad, “may I be granted a request. A sign that our alliance is mutual?”

“Tell me, first, what you wish,” the emperor replied, neither accepting nor denying the request, “then I shall give my answer.”

“My liege,” the demi-mage began, “I wish to leave a representative, someone to act as liaison between us, in your court. And in return, I will be willing to take one of your trusted advisors as a liaison within my own confidence.”

“Yes,” came the answer, thoughtful. Mindful of the implications, “yes. That would be a good idea. I shall have a contract drawn to seal our alliance with any and all requested mandates and inclusions. It shall be agreed upon by both of us before witnesses and signed in blood. It shall bear my seal and all conditions will be sent out as decrees. Any land that rejects the decrees shall be besieged immediately and its leaders overthrown.”

Golmagug grinned evilly. His deepest desire had just been granted. He would have access to the emperor through a liaison. He could influence imperial decrees and open the lands to his maniacal wish to cleanse them of heresy. The emperor had just given his blessing to begin the Inquisition.


To the east, the lords of Estryn were watching the developments in Sudia with interest. The lords of Nordia, likewise, were watching. Both lands had suffered greatly at the hands of the emperor unlike Sudia, which had gone largely unnoticed and ungoverned. Sudia had been largely forgotten except as the entry point for lotus. Now, the lotus supply had been stemmed and the lords of Austryn had suddenly begun to notice that the southern land was still there.

Lotus smugglers had fled north, reporting oppression in Yndarr and other Sudian cities. This had angered the emperor  and forced him to take notice of a land he had ignored for so long. It was almost as if something had caused change. Something had changed.

The lords of both lands had heard of the disappearance of the royal princess. They had heard the rumors of her death. Most had believed it to be for the best. Yet, the rumors were too unclear. Something was a little off.

A small poll

I need some input here. I am thinking about creating some promo items and want to know what you, the reader,  would be most interested in.

The first idea is action figures depicting some of my characters from most of my books. Although I feel this could possibly draw a small crowd, I need to know whether or not there is interest.

The second idea is possibly having shirts and hoodies created with the book covers and/or characters on them or maybe other possible promo logos.

The third is posters.

The fourth is costumes.

I have other ideas, but these are the first four just to get things started.

The books/series’s I want to start with:

Angel of Death

The Faust Syndrome

A Month of Thanksgiving

Tales From the Renge

Later, I will explore the other stories and books. These are the ones I want to start with. Good idea? Bad Idea? Please give me a little verbal input. I would appreciate it.