Fish Out of Water (Sample)
by R. R. Hunsinger & Brannon Hollingsworth
Jaroos glided effortlessly through the midnight waters of the deep harbor. His large dark eyes drank in the ambient light, revealing the vast array of creatures that coiled and spiraled about him. Long, needle-nosed fish darted away in schools of flashing silver, multicolored walls of waving kelp oscillated with the rhythm of the tide. The oceanid concealed himself among the massive, undulating rays that hovered like uninterested clouds above him; fooling the keener senses of predators that served as Tiberious' sentries.
Beneath him, he could spy his destination, squatting like a cancerous lump of twisted coral, with radiating arms like a grasping kraken. Twinkling stars of light, powered by mighty wytchweave added a cold, otherworldly glow to the contorted structure. With an effortless pull of his spread web-fingered palms, contracting his forearm fins, and powerful kicks of his webbed feet, Jaroos catapulted to the silt sea floor. There, the oceanid darted amid coral outcroppings and kelp spires, tightly hugging the ocean bottom as he stealthily approached the entrance to Tiberious' lair.
The thief had paid well in salvaged shipwreck trinkets and hard-earned coin for the tools and dweomered items necessary to pull off his most daring, and hopefully most profitable heists: to rob the home of the once noble and powerful Tiberious. The rumor-mongers both in Rome and Ostia said Tiberious, driven mad in his quest for power, had been ostracized across the Empire after his excommunication by Pope Paul IV for his heretical dabblings and writings. Now, the madman sought isolation beneath the waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
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The Middle Age, the age between ages, a breathless pause, the anticipation of the next. Such is the age of Man in Anno Domini 1551. The age of exploration dawning, the age Da Vinci’s machines taking wing. Gunpowder supplanting armor. The age where the fate of the Wytchborn shall be decided.
The Fairy, the creatures of myth, the Wytchborn, the Giants in the Earth--all have lived side by side with Man throughout the ages. Sometimes allies, sometimes foes; always treated with an uneasy trust. Urals, the great trolls and giants of myth and the ethereal Seriphim, claiming to the first of God’s servants walk Paris’ streets. Mercurial elves in their varying splendor; the tall, deadly Northern Alfheim, to the small dark svarts that flit bole to bole deep in the forests of Saxony, and the wizardly wise Fey of Albion. All of these--and far more besides--walk among men, not legends, nor tales about the fire, but feared all the more for their presence.
In this world of the Inquisition of Princes, the intrigues of the Medici’s, and the strength of Spain’s empire; magic and dawning mechanical might, alter the history of a once known age. Plagues have twice decimated Mankind in living memory, destroying whole villages, emptying cities, and wasting the country side. The Wytchborn, the creatures, the monsters, all went on unaffected. Men found a scourge to blame for these plagues, pointing to the things that should not be among as the cause. Others found hope and guidance from the eldars. The Fey, once allies to Arthur, succored those native to the Isles, earning peace and acceptance. In the German Principalities they found fire and hot iron to be their portion.
Within these folios is the history of what could have been and for those within that history, what shall be. Turn the page to adventure and wonder; hate and heroism; exploration and isolationism. Enter a world where the whispered word is more destructive than a cannon blast; where magic and fey-touched allies may turn the balance.