I will be updating my backmatter in the back of my books soon – My current, all-series blog is at www.paulcmiddleton.com. That is where movement is happening. I apologise for not having updated the backmatter yet. It is on my ‘To do’ list (And that is a LONG list!)
Boris jumped into the conversation, “Other evidence? What other evidence?”
“The cave mouth. At the top and bottom were alloy scrapings that we can’t identify. Nothing that our researchers could figure out.” Alecta looked up at Boris. He nodded.
“I’d like to have a look at that research if I could. I happen to know something about metallurgy, perhaps new eyes can figure it out.” Zakhar looked at her a little incredulously, but then nodded and gave a ‘what the hell’ shrug.
“And you haven’t tried to send anyone for help?” Boris asked.
“We did send three different groups, beyond the hundred or so who ran when the Beast first escaped. But we heard nothing back. To be honest, we hoped you might be the help. Even if the government executed me,” he pointed out to the others here in the mess, “these people are mostly scientists. Cavers. Support staff. Here because there was something to research, no?” He shook his head, sighing in regret “and now you are as likely trapped by the Devil like the rest of us. Trapped in hell.”
Paul chuckled, and both Boris and Zakhar turned to him. “Sorry. I was just thinking of something that Rommel once said, that if he were to attack hell, he’d use Australians. Just so happens I’m an Australian.” Boris just rolled his eyes, but what Paul said lit a spark of hope behind Zakhar’s eyes.
“So, you think that you can kill this beast?”
Paul just shrugged. Boris thought for a minute and sighed. The legend said, St Michael. But what if it was Michael who had trapped the beast? That felt right. Michael, whatever his reasons, had imprisoned the creature. Not killed it.
He’d better call Bethany Anne before he moved forward with anything. If the NVG had released ‘The Devil’ that Michael had imprisoned, she needed to be brought in on the decision making. If it had been captured by Michael, they might want to capture it again.
Bethany Anne, Boris is requesting communication directly with you. Tom said to her.
What does he want? I thought the situation in Russia was stable. Bethany Anne replied.
He has found the research base but claims he has run into a circumstance he feels he must request input from you on.
Bethany Anne sighed, the frustration of dealing with so many Nations attacking her people was stretching her patience thin. And here I thought I had independent subordinates. It was then she noticed that Tom had slightly locked down on her emotions. Gott Verdammt Tom. why do you feel the need to lock down my emotions?
His request details evidence that relates to something Michael may have done in the past. A wave of grief muted by Tom’s efforts rushed through Bethany Anne. It wasn’t as intense as it would have been months before, but it was still there.
Bethany Anne, they used an unusual method of finding the caves. After all our attempts to use radar, satellite pictures and Etheric detection methods, the latter based on the theory that it was an alien site, and may well have been using Etheric based tech. They definitely have Etheric based technology on the site, but whoever is responsible for the site managed to put up an impressive spoofing measure.
Etheric emissions appear somewhat randomly over the entire region. The housing for the base was well concealed. So Janna came up with the idea of looking into local legends. Looking to see if there was anything that sounded like it could have involved Weres or Vampires specific to the region.
Is that spoofing something we can adopt and appropriate for our own use? That could be really useful in hiding a base on a planet or to disperse enemy fire against our ships.
I have no idea at this time. They have only just located the base. They have not yet sent me any samples or descriptions to analyse.
And you are interrupting what I was doing because?
She found one such legend that helped pinpoint the location of the site. The direction where an event supposedly have changed from ‘west of here’ to ‘east of here’ at a certain point. The story was about St. Michael fighting Satan further away from where the site actually is. Closer it was about St Michael fighting the Beast.
I can now inform you that The Boris Chronicle #3 is words complete. Going through it’s second phase edit right now.
Hopefully it will be released in the next couple of days.
They walked down into the camp, staying in the open. There was a nervous tension in the air. Boris had felt its like before. Whoever was holed up in those buildings was full of fear. It could be smelt as they got closer. “Don’t make any sudden moves. Something has these people downright terrified.”
As they approached the building, they heard the distinctive sound of a machine gun being charged. Boris held up his hand and yelled “Ho. We mean you no harm.” Boris said
There was silence, but no guns fired. “May we seek shelter? We got lost hunting and could use some better shelter than a hole in a hill.”
Still silence. “Ah well, if there is no other option I guess we’ll have to seek shelter in that cave on the hill.”
“No. Come up. Anything but handing the Beast more people.” A gravelly voice, worn with worry yelled back. Boris looked at the others and nodded. They walked up the house the voice came from, and the door opened. As they walked in Boris saw a pistol and several rifles trained on them, in the hands of obviously nervous and twitchy individuals. “Who are you really? It’s coming into full winter. No one hunts this far north in the winter. Just because we won’t feed the Beast, doesn’t mean we won’t kill you.” The gravely voice was clearly male.
Boris took less than a second to make the decision. He moved into his fastest speed, grabbed the pistol from the figure, disarming the person without the pistol firing.
Then, he used the person as a human shield and yelled. “Put down your weapons. You have no cause to aim at us. We, however, have plenty of cause to wipe this entire encampment off the planet.” He tossed the pistol towards his group and pointed at the patch on the captive’s arm patch.
He was surprised to find it was a woman he was holding.
There had been a few women amongst the NVG they’d killed or captured, but not many. And several of those they’d captured had been more like rescues.
Boris voice became more of a growl, “We’ve been looking for the last base of the NVG. They tried to wipe my hometown off the map.”
“What are you talking about?” The voice continued from a figure slowly moving into clear sight out from behind people a little taller than him.
He continued, “The NVG wished to change the policies of the government. End the merry go round of Russia confronting the west and then backing off, then confronting them again. Force the government to accept either War or Peace. No more of this posturing and provocations. The uncertainty is hurting everyone. Them and us. Personally, I was hoping for a permanent peace but was willing to fight if that was the only way to get a permanent solution. War is horrible, yes, but this constant bickering back and forth is as bad or worse. It does nothing to help the people of the country.”
The approaching man was below average height, maybe five nine. He had a black bushy beard, and his face was gaunt. His nerves were also twitchy. He was obviously more nervous now. Boris said “Look, why don’t you lower your weapons, I put this lady down, and we sit and talk like… well, I was going to say civilized people, but we’re all Russians here, so that doesn’t exactly work. Ah. I got it. Sane people.”
The man considered it and, after a couple of moments lowered his rifle. He glared at his followers until they also lowered their weapons.
“I am Zakhar. And you would be?” He asked as Boris lowered the woman, setting her down gently.
“Boris. I wonder, though, what is this beast you mentioned earlier? And what does it have to do with that cave?” he nodded out of the building, “It is not likely anyone will be able to harm you if you tell me, is it?”
“I can’t tell you. Konrad, the leader” the man started, and Boris interrupted.
“Is dead. I cut off his head personally. He was a sociopath trying to take over Russia by causing internal incidents, no matter what he told you.”
There was a murmur through the twenty or so people in the room. Zakhar shouted over it “Gather everyone in the mess. We need to hear this.” Looking Boris straight in the eye he continued “We’ve been trapped here for weeks. All of the soldiers left us when the Beast escaped or died trying to kill or subdue the thing. Left us scientists and techs in the lurch.”
It took ten minutes for the group to grab what they could and finally congregate in the eating area. The fear of the present and now the added uncertainty of their situation causing a few people to take twice as long.
After an hour explaining what had been happening outside the base over the last year or so, Boris noticed that Zakhar and many of the others were fiddling with the patches on their shoulders.
A few weren’t.
Janna, make a note of who is not uncomfortable with those marks. It may be nothing.
Or it may be that they are still loyal to a lost cause. Think saboteurs or suicide bombers. I am on this Boris. It was my job for years. She answered him.
By the time he’d finished Zakhar had gotten a knife out and cut the patch from his shoulder. He watched as it twirled in the air and landed on the floor. He spat on the patch. “Godsbedamned liars. It was to be a slow takeover for Russia’s benefit, not this self-destructive orgy. Russia has gone down that path before. It never ends well.”
Boris gave the man a moment to feel his anger and allow him, all of them, to focus again, “So, tell me about this Beast? How did it get out?”
Zakhar exhaled heavily, “When we started losing men mapping out those damned caves. I was going to take down the ramp we had built. Have an elevator rigged instead so we could continue the work without risking something attacking the camp. I’m still not sure how it got through so many armed men. I wasn’t there. It broke through the soldiers stationed near the cave mouth. But I’ve caught glimpses of it. It’s not a bear. It looks like one superficially, but it is comfortable standing, and has what looks like a thumb -with a really long claw.”
“Not only that, the bite wounds it leaves. No bear could shear a leg off that cleanly.” Zakhar seemed to go inside himself a moment, and ask himself aloud, “Maybe a hyena? But hyenas don’t stand on their rear legs.” He tapped his chin, his focus returned to Boris, “Noise scares them away. Neither is true with the Beast. It is like the legends said, no? That St Michael had trapped the Devil in that cave. I didn’t believe it then, but I sure as hell believe it now. Despite the other evidence.”
This is my Christmas/solstice present to all you fans.
If any of you wish to give me a Christmas present, consider buying one of my other (non-Boris) books. I have several now. You can find them all listed HERE. That way you get another good book and I get the satisfaction of having you read my work!
I hope to have Revelations completely finished in the next day or so. The bulk of it is already with the Editor – Mike should be looking at the finished work and vetting it in the next couple of days.
Wilderness near Archangelsk, Russia.
“Well that took longer than you promised,” Boris said with a smile to Janna.
“It’s not my fault that the damned site had spoofing measures in place to disguise where the Etheric energy was being drawn from.” Janna retorted. “And Konrad had hidden the location too well. Probably only a handful of his top people knew where this place was. All the convoys headed here stayed. At least four hundred people – could be as many as eight hundred.”
“Yeah, I know. And we picked up some interesting local legends for the area. It seemed odd that the belief in the battle between Michael and the Devil happened west of Archangelsk, but narrowing down where they changed from ‘The battle was to the west’ to ‘the battle was to the east’ was a stroke of genius. Not something I would have thought of.” Boris responded.
“I wouldn’t have thought of it either until it became obvious something screwed the ability to triangulate based on whatever it is drawing on the Etheric.”
“Now if we just knew what those whispers we’re both hearing were.”
Paul spoke up, putting down the binoculars he was observing the camp with . “Does that base seem to be, I dunno, a little quiet for four hundred plus people being there? I mean I ain’t seeing ANY movement.”
Boris lifted his binoculars and looked through them. It was daytime, and there was no evidence of anyone moving between the timber buildings. With the snow that wasn’t that strange, he thought. That there were only a handful of them that had snow properly packed against the outside, with smoke emitting from their chimneys. Those would definitely be occupied. There was also a cleared area around that particular cluster. With the heavy layer of snow, it was impossible to tell if that had been part of the original plan or if structures had been knocked down to clear it. As a paramilitary base either was plausible.
“Okay, we go down and investigate,” Boris replied. He looked at Janna and Alecta. “You two hang back. There is definitely something odd about this whole situation. If it weren’t smack bang in the middle of the area Janna had designated from their research of local legends, he’d have been disinclined to investigate. But they had also found a man in one of the local hospitals who had been brought in, with an NVG patch on his gear. The man had been found about a hundred kilometers away, with one of his legs sheared off at mid thigh and delirious from a wound infection.
He’d kept ranting a string of numbers that the doctors had blamed on his delirium. But the interesting thing to Janna was that they were exact GPS locations for this encampment. It was well disguised, each of the houses half dug in, and probably had camouflage netting over it during the warmer months. It wasn’t likely an area where satellites would often look either.
So, they’d come into range in the command container during a snowstorm after every other attempt to find this base had come up empty. It seemed that sometimes, no matter your support, luck was still needed. If the fifteen agents that agreed to help them hadn’t run down those legends for her, she’d have been in trouble with someone. She wasn’t sure who. And that theory had been based on a flimsy note that Konrad had written on a report into possible alien technology referencing Michael and The Devil. They still needed to find this last base. There were too many records for it to be disinformation, and taking out a paramilitary group was like excising a cancer. You didn’t chance leaving some cells around so it could regrow.
She’d decided to research it. The reference had triggered a memory about legends in the Archangelsk region. Her delving deeper had paid off. They could have spent weeks searching the area if Anton hadn’t found that patient and gotten what he’d been saying out of the medical reports. Boris was just glad that the small hospital didn’t use electronic records. Otherwise, the Government might have beaten them here.
He hated to think how long it had taken Konrad to find the location. Actually, that wasn’t true. The thought of how much more frustrating finding the location would have been for Konrad to find was fairly amusing. If he’d been frustrated for over two months finding the place after Konrad, it had to have taken that man longer.
Now this time I’m throwing a book out there by Xandrie Kovak, who has been a good ear to bend when I’ve been down and has even let me kill her in one of my books.
You can get a free copy of Animus, one of her stories, HERE
The Beast was angry. The first two creatures it had encountered in Gods knew how long, it thought had fallen into her realm. Once it had realized, from their taste, rather than their looks or smell, that they were human, she was somewhat confused. It had not encountered a human in these caves since that odd and powerful one had thrown her into the caves and blocked that entrance. It had not found another exit it could reach. There was a need growing in it after encountering the first human thing to look again. They had managed to find their way in somehow!
Then she had encountered a group of three of these strange humans. They were invading her space… her territory… her world! That couldn’t be allowed!
The Beast followed their scents, and found itself in a cave that it knew well. There was an opening that The Beast had tried to use to leave this system long ago. Before it had accepted that the caves were it’s territory. The overhang on the wall at the lip of the exit had defeated all its attempts to escape that way. Now, however, the invaders had built a ramp.
A ramp unlike any The Beast had thought humans capable of making was there. It was made of metal, and lead easily up to the exit of the cave. The Beast realized it could leave. All it had to do was scare these strangers out of its home. Make them fear it.
The Beast didn’t want to kill them unless they attacked it first. For all it knew that strange man was still watching, waiting. Time was a meaningless concept for one who had experiences like itself in some ways.
The Beast approached the ramp, letting out its bellow of anger at their trespass. The ones inside the cave dropped what they were doing and fled in terror up the ramp. It sauntered after them. Having no way to know what they were doing, it cautiously climbed the ramp to the exit.
Reaching the top of the ramp, it found itself breathing forest scented air for the first time in ages. It paused, scenting the long missed smell with a kind of rapture. That pause had left it in the open. The rapture had left it oblivious to others of the strangers’ kind approaching until the cracks and stinging annoyance of their weapons had broken the reverie.
The Beast roared its annoyance at them. The stinging kept happening as the long metal sticks kept barking. Realizing that the stings must be coming from those flares and cracks, it sprang forward, at a speed those with the poles could not and did not anticipate from a creature of its size.
Rage had taken it. Anyone holding one of the stinging poles became a target of that rage. Some were gutted by The Beast’s claws, others had limbs sheared cleanly in a single bite. A few kept firing, trying to hit The Beast as it fell upon their comrades. Unable to anticipate the movements and speed of the creature most of their shots missed, or hit those same comrades. Those few that struck The Beast did no real harm to it.
Many of the remaining threw away their arms and fled. But they were marked by the weapons they carried with a scent that The Beast could track… It would hunt them down until its rage was satisfied. Those who fled to the houses it ignored – It would have time to decide about them later.
The price goes up when the pre-order ends, so get your copy now!
NVG Research Base, Russia
Zakhar was worried. It had been months since there had been any contact with his boss, Konrad. He had been warned that the movement would soon take steps to gain more influence over the government, necessitating this base going dark. By now he had expected personal contact or communications from Konrad or one of his lieutenants. Still, he followed the protocols Konrad had ordered. All communications were to be initiated from outside the base.
He was almost more concerned by what some of the teams had found. They had confirmed the existence of an unknown alloy on the edges of the main cave mouth. They still hadn’t figured out how to replicate it. It seemed to be literally out of this world, and with the news reports they still occasionally received, Konrad and the NVG would need that. They would need every possible edge against the damned Americans and, in particular, the corporation that was releasing all this new technology.
That the government didn’t have a clue that they were here just showed their growing incompetence. They were ripe for eventual takeover. That Konrad had kept the project secret showed he was a worthy leader.
The reports from the cave system also weighed on his mind. He had no idea how Konrad had found the caves. He honestly wasn’t sure he wanted to know. Mapping them with Radar and Sonar had failed and progress doing it manually was slow. The disappearances were scattered and not linked to a single offshoot tunnel that had been mapped. Some of the noises from the cave might be natural rumbles, rocks falling loose from erosion or slight changes and vibrations from the explorations. The men swore they had heard the sounds described them as wheezing, roaring bellows from some sort of creature. They were so low pitched that not all of his men could hear them, but each time someone had, a man had disappeared.
His problem was he had men just disappearing in the tunnels. No blood, no sign of rockfall, no weapons fire heard. Just gone. So far the count was low enough he could blame it on inexperience and lack of attention. They’d gotten lost by going deeper than ordered.
He didn’t believe that. He’d started sending them down in teams of no less than three. Today’s problem was that an entire team of three was now missing. Like radar, radios were unreliable in the caves. They were only six hours overdue, but he had a bad feeling about the situation. He ordered defenses to be constructed facing the main cave entrance. He was tempted to order charges placed to drop the main cave entryway, but that was against specific orders. He did not want to aggravate Konrad either.
He sighed and gave the order for all remaining teams to pull back for the night. The teams searching for the missing had been in there for eighteen hours. They would start making mistakes in what could be a deadly situation even if there wasn’t something down there, in the wider complex.
Zakhar wasn’t one to believe in aliens or the supernatural. He believed Konrad had something about him but had put it down to the man’s driven personality. Now, he wasn’t so sure. The local legend of some sort of devil trapped in the region by Saint Michael were more believable after these incidents.
He wasn’t sure if he should be more worried about something from inside the caves or the attacks that had been taking place on NVG convoys. He almost wished this operation had at least government sanction. Then, if something really went wrong, he could call in the army.
If the army found out about what they were doing here, then he and all his men were probably dead. The Russian government would not like the idea of potential alien tech on their land being recovered and researched without their sanction.
He decided then and there to have the ramp into the cave system dismantled and replaced by a lift. His engineers could rig something. If there was a creature stuck in the caves, he would not be responsible for releasing it into Mother Russia. He may see the government as corrupt and ineffectual, but he loved his countrymen.
Sorry to everyone who has been waiting for the book or even a few snippets. A-Viking was larger (and harder to finish ) than I expected. Then … Well … One word sums it up
Here’s the link to A-Viking.
Griffin has been betrayed and abandoned. Betrayed by the organization that he has been a part of for two centuries. Betrayed by his Faith. Abandoned by his apprentice and those who followed him into opposing the Order.
Finding out that he had the same abilities as the ‘Demonspawn’ he hunted had been a shock. Finding out those same ‘Demonspawn’ were descendants of the Old Gods had shattered his world.
The Betrayal is what hurts him more than anything. It has left him a broken man, unable to contribute to opposing the Order. How can someone who acted blindly in Faith, killing many whom his own core believes he should have been protecting, become a Unifier? How can he face down The Order’s seeming goal of eradicating anything that does not fit with it’s Abrahemic paradigm?
The Order has already started moving. People, even entire families, are turning up dead… or disappearing.
In the shadows, people are hunting him. Not knowing this he goes A-viking, to find a new purpose, to find himself again. In his current state will he be able to face the challenges ahead? Especially since now he has no allies to help him sort friend from foe?
A Mongrel’s Curse is now available for Pre-Order
The free preview is available HERE. http://www.instafreebie.com/free/GHmmk
The Pre-order is available HERE
When you read a book about supernatural creatures and who fights them it frequently starts from a bar. Or a Church. Depending if the hero is a yahoo or a religious fella. I’m neither. I get work from the booth in an Indian restaurant in country New South Wales, Australia. The owners love me. I saved their children from a smart and vicious Rakshasa last year.
I could say it’s the free food they keep offering me that makes me work from here. They paid me for the rescue, I insisted on paying for the food. There might be times I accept a free drink, occasionally. I could say it’s because my mentor is the grandfather of those children. I mean he is, but neither of those is the reason. The motive behind this is, I want people to try other ways first. To be sure they need my help before they find me. The place smells better’n any bar or church, too. Being a popular place, the ‘normals’ rarely notice my business. Heck, sometimes I have to go outside to get the details.
The yahoos and religious types, they can take the jobs for cheap pay, religious duty or good will. If someone is gonna hire me, it’s hard cash, half up front, and lots of it. Besides, I’m so much of a mongrel of supernatural beings that no-one can trace what I really am. I’ve had to fight off a few of the regular hunters just to stay alive when they mistook me for what they were hunting. It has a couple of advantages, but one big disadvantage. No, make that two.
The first is the usual one for half-breeds, only worse. No-one really trusts me. They don’t know how to approach me as a fellow thinking being. At least most half-breeds get trust from others in a similar fix. The second is I hit the physical age and stature of twenty when I was five years old. Haven’t aged a day physically since then. No-one, and I mean no-one, knows how long that’ll last. I could age out of existence tomorrow or live forever as far as anyone knows. Makes relationships hard. I still have the mental flexibility of a child, though. Learning skills and such that take most people months or years, I manage in days.
But it also means I have no apparent weakness. I know I have a weretiger in the family tree. Tazzie Tiger that is. But I have no problems with silver. I probably have some fae blood, but I can touch iron, no worries. Might have vamp or demon heritage, but holy water? Not a problem, apart from getting my clothes wet. I don’t think I have any ghost in me, but that’s about all I’ll say for sure. I can see, hear and touch them. Very few people, supernatural or otherwise, can.
Oh, and you might ask what I look like. Another problem of my heritage. I have a different twenty-year-old male body every time I wake up. Means I have no photo ID of my face. It changes too often. I have an Australian SSC ID with a picture of the tattoo on the back of my hand. That’s Supernatural Special Consultant. That same picture is on all my other ID. I have a Tazzie Tiger head, mouth fully agape. Only constant in my life I feel sometimes. Being alive tomorrow certainly isn’t.
If things get weird, sometimes anywhere in the country, the local Sergeant knows where to find me.
So, someone seems to need me about once a week I for a job. About the only place, I won’t work now is a couple of southern US states. Word got ‘ round the Baptist hunters I took out a few of their preachers and the tattoo. All true. The preachers were possessed at the time, and I don’t mess around with exorcisms. If you have a problem with a supernatural and want me to deal with it, you had better want it dead, not just banished.
The Catholic church hired me for that job after losing their best two exorcists to a mangy pack of possessed. You could be cynical and say it was to remove the competition, but really, those preachers needed to die. They gave me a Vatican passport as a bonus. Not as useful as you’d think, some ways. Gets my gear across most borders, though. Traveling by plane, I now go in three hours before the flight leaves, call one of the Supernatural Hunter liaisons for the destination or, less commonly, the local Bishop or High Priest. Word has gotten around about me, over the years I’ve been operating as a hunter.
About the only thing I’ll help people solve, apart from killing a monster or supe that needs to be put down, is a curse. Now, frequently enough that involves bloodshed, but just as often it’s a puzzle. I hate curses. Most times they are unwarranted, placed only because of spite or jealousy. Other times, a curse was deserved by the family for the first three or four generations, but it kept running. With my heritage, I really understand how crap like that can make you feel.
I don’t play favorites. But I get the job I’m paid to do done, and if you get in my way, you might as well be hit by a tractor trailer. The end result will be less painful. My name is Thalias Jardine. Either call me Thal or Jardine. I don’t know what my parents were thinking either.
Thank you for being so patient with me. I forgot to post earlier this week so I decided to put up the whole prologue for my already finished book, A Mongrel’s curse. It will be coming out in an Inanna’s Circle Game anthology by the end of the month.
Then I’ll be releasing it mid-October. I plan on several sequels to it.
A-Viking has crossed the 55k mark. I’m thinking of putting maybe the first few chapters on instafreebie. We’ll see. And maybe that will keep people off my back no?
I’ve been having some personal difficulties, some work difficulties and trying to help a friend who has been having worse of both. I hope to be finished writing out A-viking by this time next week and have it out in very early October.
Again, thank you all for your support.
Finally, he squeezed into it and got it settled on his shoulders. From there he picked out his hiking clothes for the day. First a pair of sand colored fatigue pants, then a dirt brown long sleeved t-shirt. Finally his wool socks and sturdy hiking boots.
He’d needed to figure out who he was without the anchor of his former faith. To do this, he needed space. He was not going to find it in the middle of the mixed support, confusion, and disgust of his former companions. He felt sure the trip was a good suggestion from his brother. So he went a-viking. Wandering in the hope of finding himself again. Rebuilding his sense of self, a sense of purpose. He supposed that he really should call it going walkabout because of where he traveled. A-viking suited who he was now better, somehow. It seemed to be less aimless and to have more purpose.
After seeing Agatha’s barely concealed disdain at his weakness, and with the need to organize the Conclaves, Einar had suggested to Griffin that this would be the best way. He wanted to come with him, but Agatha would require all the help she could get to organize the defense of the Godsborn and the Magus. A storm was coming.
After sitting there lost in thought until past dawn, he heard the group he was traveling near start packing their camping gear. He quickly grabbed a few things that could be eaten cold out of his pack and started breaking camp. He didn’t want them to feel delayed by him.
It was late afternoon when he heard a crack of stone and a scream. He’d let the other group pass him shortly before stopping for lunch. He rushed towards the sound turning the corner of the path. Coming into view were parts of the lookout going down the cliff. One of the group must have gone down with the chunk of the cliff face. The other two backed away from the edge.
He ran up the path towards the lookout. As he came closer to the brink, he shucked off the hiking pack and disconnected the small under pack. That pack had water, food and a first aid kit he had prepared for short walks around a campsite as well as about 65 feet of toggle rope. He cautiously approached the edge of the cliff, making sure there wasn’t further slippage or weakness where he trod.
He was responding automatically. The person who was on the piece of rock that broke off the cliff might be hurt. Then one of the young people, a man, still on the level spoke up.
“Do you have an emergency beacon? Ours is in her pack.” Griffin shook his head, and the young man started swearing.
Griffin ignored him. He was obviously focused on receiving outside help. That wasn’t coming. The other member of that group was standing there with her mouth open in shock and would be no help. Griffin started looking around the edges of the lookout. There! He spotted a section that, while having a few vertical portions, was mostly a seventy-degree slope, so should be climbable on the way back. He could get down and back up there.
“Where are you going?” asked the young man
“To see what I can do to help her,” Griffin responded as he started the descent.
“You’ll never make…” faded into the distance as Griffin quickly descended to the flatter area and made his way around to the rockfall area. Within ten minutes he had reached her and started removing the small rocks and loose earth from around her body.