Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sassy Saturday: Fight in a Mana Storm


Welcome to another week of the Sassy Saturday Blog Hop.  Except, it's technically no longer a blog hop. Jasmine Walts, the founder, decided to discontinue it due to lack of participation and her own lack of time to promote it. However, I like the idea of it so I'm going to continue with my own excerpts.

The purpose of the blog hop used to be showcasing excerpts from our novels about kick-butt heroines. Every Saturday is a new post. If you want read more about it, the link is here.

This one stars the novice mercenaries fighting monsters born of a mana storm. I liked developing this concept because I wanted to create a In-Universe explanation for the constantly re-spawning monsters of video games like Final Fantasy.
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Anuzat's ears twitched and she called a halt. Less than a mile ahead the air was thickening. Fog gathered from the sand to the clouds; a stadium for Chaos! It swirled, churned, and crackled with energy. A spark of light illuminated the cloud as it channeled from one end to the other. All at once, it ejected into the distance and its crash was a fireworks spectacle. In its wake was a new rock formation. More bolts charged and discharged in all directions. They crashed to earth or exploded midair in fantastic displays of light and sound. A mana storm!

Oblivious to the cold night air, Eric watched in awe. So that's what they look like . . . The xethras filled him with disgust and fear, but this, though more terrible, filled him with wonder. Whatever the bolts touched, they mutated into something new: a clump of sand became solid rock or flowers, a patch of sky became colored wind, and rain fell from nowhere; a cherry bomb version of the Big Bang unfolding before his eyes. They shot open as a bolt flew directly at him.

The caravan dove to either side and it exploded between them. In its wake arose a rock of bizarre design. It sat in a hole of sand proportional to its mass and dragged Team Four down with it. Pieces broke off, fell with a thud, and stood up. One rotated in Eric's direction and launched towards him. He dived again and it burrowed into the sand wall. Nolien deflected a second with his barrier. Tiza whacked a third back into the pillar with her sword. That must be some sword . . . Anuzat crushed a fourth under foot. Before they could celebrate, bigger pieces came to life.

“This is what I'm talking about!” Tiza cheered as she engaged a rock golem a head taller than she was. “Alone in the wilderness, ambushed by a freak storm, attacked by brand new monsters!” Her cloak swayed as she dodged its blows and jumped. “A mercenary's life for me!” She sliced it down the middle, her blade glowing with runes designed for stone cutting. She landed lightly and turned her back on the monster as its two halves fell to either side.

“I'm gonna die!” Eric shouted as a golem chased him in circles. It punched from behind and clipped his pack. Eric spun to face it with narrowed eyes. “Aio's in there!” He ran back at the thing and whacked it with the mace end of his staff. The impact rattled his arms, but the golem stumbled and fell on its side. Anuzat smashed it with her big feet.

“Nice hit.”

“Thanks . . . Nolien!”

“Finished.” The healer jerked his thumb at a golem standing still. “Petrification spells work better on things already made of stone.”

“Fascinating,” Anuzat deadpanned. She kicked the sand cliff and a ramp formed. “Now we need to get out of here before something else spawns.”

“Wait for trophies!” Tiza pried off a chunk of her kill. “Stories are better with visual aids.”

Said kill reformed as two kills. The one Anuzat crushed spawned ten smaller versions of itself. Nolien's petrified victim lumbered towards them with a sleek new coat. The three novices grabbed Basilard and dashed up the ramp. Anuzat collapsed it before the golems could follow.

Still the mana storm raged. New forms of life were crawling out of the sand or taking flight and they preyed on those already living. The sapients; jackrabbits, lizards, and others happily ate them.

“Run!”

They sprinted as another bolt flew over their heads and exploded. Drizzles of Fog fell to earth and spawned healthy green moss. Another landed next to them and transformed the sand into a flowerbed. A third formed a sinkhole in their path, forcing a detour. A fourth spawned a new monster; a towering lizard with stone skin and frilled neck. It roared, they screamed, and the chase began. A fifth struck the huge beast and it became a fish-shaped tree. For the next ten minutes, Team Four dodged the storm's bolts and the monsters it spawned. Then, with all its energy discharged, the cloud dissipated. It left behind a changed landscape.

New rocks, new plant growth, new animals breeds, sand of different colors, and even the air itself was charged from the mana pillar. All that remained now was a thin Fog lazily circulating the area where it was born. The most radical mutations lay in the center; the boundary was almost normal.

“How often does this happen?” Eric asked Anuzat.

“Impossible to say. Sometimes once a year. Other times, one every—” She cut off at the sound of heavy footsteps. Through the Fog, she could see silhouettes of bizarre creatures slinking, flying, stomping, and eating. “Let's leave before those things notice us.”
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To learn more about the heroines of A Mage's Power, visit Tvtropes at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/AMagesPower.

A Mage's Power, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, are available for purchase at
http://amzn.to/10NsG2i

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