A Mongrel’s Curse – Prologue

Prologue

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.

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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.

 

A-Viking Snippet, 3/?

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.

 

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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.

A-Viking, Snippet 2/?

The Blue Mountains, March 3rd, 2014

It was a cool, crisp morning in the mountains when Griffin got up before dawn. The air carried the sharp scent of the eucalyptus all around. The birdsong in the pre-dawn gray just added to the atmosphere. The view from his chosen camping spot, off the Six Foot Track, was spectacular. It took in the surrounding cliff, valley, and mountains.

He started on this walk the day before after hitchhiking to the start of the track. While trying to get a ride he stowed the axe and gladius in his large hiking backpack to prevent alarm. Walking the path, he kept in sight of a group of three other hikers just to follow the safety suggestions. His campsite was near theirs, but with enough space between them for privacy.

Nearly any other person would have taken the time to admire the wonders of nature around them. Griffin normally would have, or as he started referring to his past self, the Griffin that was. Now Griffin considered the nightmares that haunted his sleep. Sleep was not his friend now. It no longer refreshed him. Each night since he found out that he had been formed into a weapon to hunt down relatives of one form or another, those nightmares haunted him.

Most of them were of his victims. People he should have been helping, not killing. But one continued to recur. Every night he would wake up to the memory of killing that beautiful Godsborn. Down to the moment when he twisted his blade inside her, and the spark of life fled her eyes.

The terror, pain and hopelessness on her face haunted him now. He hadn’t taken any notice of it at the time, considering her a demonspawn that had to be killed. It filled him with such regret that sometimes that he was tempted to end it all.

He couldn’t.

There was only one place he could really put his regrets, and the blame for his actions. Himself. Oh, his actions had been masterfully puppeteered over the centuries. That was, at best, a weak excuse. He was a poor excuse for a human, Godsborn or not.

He had been raised by the Order as a Paladin. No doubt some good resulted from hunting and slaying the vampires and werewolves. But in the ignorance of his heritage, he also pursued what he knew as Demonspawn.

The revelation of his heritage had been hard on him. The various deceptions that the Order used to convince their members of their version of the ‘truth’ shattered his faith when revealed to him. The only good thing to come out of it all was finding out he had a family. Sort of. According to his brother, Einar, their father was rather a ruthless person. After all, he had ordered the execution of Einar’s mother.

There were other problems with family. They cared. And unlike team members, their expectations were not easy to ignore. His brother was of a similar size and build to him. Similar enough that the low profile anti-ballistic armor he usually wore happened to be a good fit for Griffin. Griffin generally disdained armor of any sort, but Einar insisted. It definitely took getting used to wearing, but Einar had made him swear to wear it.

“Goddamn, bullshit.” He muttered as he shimmied into the form-fitting Kevlar lined with ceramic plates. He didn’t care if it happened to be rated, according to his brother, for anything up to a heavy rifle round. It was still bloody uncomfortable.

A-Viking Snippet 1

Yup – You’l be getting a snippet or two a week now. maybe three.

Here’s the first one

Diary entry of Griffin, February 28th, 2014.

I have been a fool. For the past two hundred years, I have let faith and belief blind me to the harm I might be doing. Now I must pay the price. I believed in God, I thought what I was doing was just. But with all the information I have been given, I find myself thinking that the best that I can claim is that I was willingly fooled.

The Order may have started with the best intentions. It may have held to them longer than many institutions do. In the end, it failed and has been corrupted. That it used me despite my ‘demon blood’ is proof enough for me of that. And I find that evidence more compelling if less provable than anything else.

I find myself lost in this path. Unable to function. I need to find who I am without the confidence and a sense of purpose that my faith once gave me.

So I embark on this a-viking, this walkabout, this journey to find myself. I hope I can accomplish that goal before those who defected with me need me at their side in full command of myself.

I hope I can find in this journey a path to redeem my actions of the past and build a better path for the future. I pray for the souls of those I slew without any right or self-awareness. I pray that they may find some small peace as I try to make amends.

The only good that has found its way to me in all of this has been the loyalty of my comrades-at-arms when I made a decision on the truth and the discovery of my brother.

I hope I find more good along this path, though I deserve it not at all.

Update

So – A-viking is sitting on about 32k. A Mongrel’s Curse is sitting on 40k, finished and with the first round of editing for the Inanna’s circle game. Should be out in an anthology sometime around the 24th of September. I will be releasing it as a standalone sometime around the 10th of October.

I am going to be starting Boris Chronicles: Revelations sometime soon. It’s due out in 6-8 weeks.

I am at 2k on Myrmidon – the Co-sequel to Paladin.

I should be starting to post some snippets – at the rate of 2-3 a week – sometime soon. Like maybe tomorrow, Definitely Wednesday (My time, for my US followers -so it might be Tuesday for you… Damn Timezones.)

 

And… My first promo

Hello

Yes… I broke down and ran a promo – things didn’t mesh as well as I’d like, I’d hoped that A-viking would be coming out by now

So, here is the link

http://selfpublishingroundtable.com/promo/scifi-fantasy-horror.html

Enjoy. Sign up to my mailing list. Get one or many of 40 decent to fantastic books for free (Hey, my tastes aren’t for all of them okay? )  Have a shot at wining a kindle fire or an Amazon gift card.

Sorry, no Snippet

Today is the day…. Well for me it’s about 2am and I’m prepping The Boris Chronicles for Launch.

I’m a bit punchy, so forgive me. Sleep dep and all that.

But yes – The Boris Chronicles should be out … Soon. I just pressed publish. If it’s not up when i wake I promise to post snippet five. Really.

And for those of you who wanted it longer it’s 50% larger (and a bit more) than Evacuation.

UPDATE: I woke up. It was live

So endeth the snippets for Retaliation