(excerpted from Weird Luck, book one in the City of the Watcher trilogy)
…Grabbing a harpoon line, Blood Eagle swung himself onto the ship and hurled himself upon the first Herax he saw. With one hand on his prey’s neck, Blood Eagle tore off his breastplate and flung it aside. Other Herax closed in, climbing the rigging or the tilted deck, stabbing and slashing any part of Blood Eagle they could reach. Ignoring them, he wrenched open his victim’s ribs and buried his face in the gaping chest cavity.
“Oh my fuckin’…” said Aleck.
Plumes of fire erupted from the wounds in Blood Eagle’s body. He whirled around and a huge cloud of flame burst forth from his mouth, engulfing the Herax around him and spreading across the deck of the ship. Fire caught in the sails and rigging.
The harpoon lines burned through, allowing the raft to fall away. The five Herax on the raft with Aleck seemed to notice him. They raised their weapons with inquisitive looks on their faces. Aleck dove over the side. As he fell, he willed the raft away from him, up towards the light of the burning ship. He plummeted into darkness. I hope the raft doesn’t hit Blood Eagle, he thought. A moment later, he heard the raft smash into the ship. He sped the raft back down, flipping it end over end to dislodge any remaining Herax, hoping it would catch up to him.
He fell in darkness. After a time, he saw a pale light approaching from below. Had he somehow turned around, to fall back towards the ship? No, that doesn’t make sense…. Before long he saw Thresner floating in the middle of the Well, standing in the air, arms crossed angrily. The pale blue glow from his glass head revealed a dozen Herax, armed and ready. The wreck of the longboat hovered behind them. Aleck huddled into his robe, praying they didn’t notice him.
He fell through the group of Herax and kept going. Before long he slowed, stopped, fell back towards the Gravity Switch and through them again. Soon he came to rest in midair directly among the Herax. He peeked out from under his hood and into the eyes of an angry soldier.
“Oh,” said Aleck. “Hello.”
The Herax snarled, raised his knife, and grabbed Aleck’s robe.
The raft flew down, edge-on, and smashed the Herax out of the air.
Someone nodded to Aleck from the shadows. Aleck recognized the Cook, one hand wrapped in a bloody rag, a bloody Herax knife held ready in the other.
A charred Herax body fell past, and another. Aleck looked up and saw the burning Herax ship, far but approaching fast. More burned and mangled Herax bodies fell, some smashing into living Herax or the wreck of the longboat. Aleck swung the raft over his head in time to hear an armored corpse crash onto it.
“To the walls!” shouted a Herax. “To the walls!” echoed the rest in unison. Aleck watched Blue Thresner and the living Herax attempt with little success to swim through the air, away from the middle of the well, as more charred bodies fell among them.
Aleck peeked up around the edge of the raft to see Blood Eagle, his body wreathed in fire, standing on the prow of the burning, falling ship. Aleck flipped the raft vertical and flattened himself against the wall with it. He heard the roaring conflagration fall past, plowing through bodies and debris. Looking down, he watched the ship slow, stop, and fall back up towards him. He huddled behind the raft, listening to the ship fly past again and finally come to rest in the middle of the Well. He could feel its heat even from behind the raft.
Aleck peered out. The burning wreck rotated in midair. Blood Eagle held in each hand a burning Herax heart, dripping boiling blood. “Doom advances upon the Herax!” he roared. “The true Cannibal-King approaches, and his Heralds walk among you!”
The remaining Herax launched themselves off the walls, weapons flashing in the firelight. “We come as one!” they bellowed. Blood Eagle wolfed down one Herax heart, then the other. His body shuddered. Flames spat out of the innumerable wounds covering his body, and an ear-splitting howl erupted from his mouth, echoing up and down the Well.
Aleck heard a metal clang, felt a blast of wind; his ears popped painfully, then he heard nothing. Blood Eagle’s howl disappeared and the roaring flames fell silent. The light grew dimmer, the fires on the burning ship quickly dwindling. Aleck realized he felt desperately short of breath. Gulping for air, he found nothing in his lungs. The Herax fell on Blood Eagle in a tangle of mayhem.
Aleck’s heart raced. He scratched a tickle in his nose and his finger came back bloody. By the orange light of the ship’s smoldering embers he watched the Herax and Blood Eagle stabbing and slashing each other. Thresner hid behind the wreck of the Herax longboat, his glass head glowing in the dimness; he hovered there, rigid, arms outstretched, palms together, a determined look on his withered face.
Aleck shot the raft across the Well at him. A thunderclap erupted in the Well. Aleck reeled, ears ringing, lungs heaving. Flames roared to life upon the Herax ship. The raft hovered across the Well, the headless metal body of the wind-wizard floating beside it.
“Fuck you, cyborg!” hollered Aleck….
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