I finally got around to finishing that fantasy story I’ve been working on, and those of you who donate $5.00 (or more) during the month of April can read it.
“The Shadows of Stonepoint” is a dark fantasy tale about a bounty hunter who follows the wrong man into the wrong town. If I was to describe it in terms of things you already know, I’d call it a medieval “Hellrasier” with a dash of “The Fog” thrown in for seasoning. How ’bout that?
I put a lot of thought into whether to use “The Shadows of Stonepoint” as a bonus story or just put it in the Library for everyone to read. It sort of bends the rules of what I said when I first started giving away bonus stories. First, it’s 13,300 words… a tad bit longer than my target length. Usually if I put THAT much work into something, I want EVERYBODY to read it, not just a select few. But a few people may have been disappointed with the length of some of the previous bonuses, so I figured what the hell, at least nobody’s gonna complain about the length of this one.
But then there’s the other, more important rule.
“The Shadows of Stonepoint” is the (almost) beginning of something that I may (or may not) develop into a larger project. Yes, originally I said that the bonus stories would be self-sufficient, and they wouldn’t depend on you reading (perhaps buying) other stories just so you can appreciate them. That’s SORT-OF true with Shadows. I’ve been working on the concept of this massive, epic fantasy story for quite a while. Without getting too far into describing it, I’ll just say that, in MOST fantasy epics there are these stereotypical heroes that fight to stop the dark evil from destroying/taking over the kingdom/world. And the heroes always win. Yeah, they may die in the process, but they die winning. But what happens if they DON’T win? That’s the story I’m wanting to tell… eventually. “The Shadows of Stonepoint” is NOT the beginning of that epic… but it is the beginning of the beginning, sort of a sneak peak at what you might be seeing more of later on. The events and characters of this story are self-contained, but the story leads into other events, and those other events are the beginning of… the end of the world.
The previous paragraph probably makes no sense to you. But if you read Shadows then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you finish “Shadows of Stonepoint” and feel like you want to read more… that’s kinda the whole point. But rest assured that the central story of Shadows is contained within what you read… it really is just as simple as it seems. Almost.
Anyway, here’s a snippet from the text:
“RUN!” he shouted. Something dark moved past him. Vonn was still on his knees, but the shape that glided past seemed to have no legs at all. “RUN AWAY! THEY’RE NOT MEN! NOT MENNNN!!”
Someone shouted. There was a moment of eerie calm, and then the screams came. Wails of not just pain, but abject agony as the armed townsfolk met their attackers… and realized that they should have stayed hidden.
With the light of the bonfire so near, Vonn could see more than he wanted. Black shapes drifted rapidly in and out of the smoke like wasps swarming around something unseen. But these wasps bore stingers that scorched flesh to ash… or worse.
Sounds like somebody’s having a bad day.