Excerpt : The Machine – Kenny Soward (Neverland’s Library Anthology)
Today I want to bring a great Kickstarter campaign to your attention: Neverland’s Library. This fantasy anthology is a joint project between two bloggers (Roger Bellini from A Daily Dose of R&R and Rebecca Lovatt from The Arched Doorway) and, looking at the names of the authors who will contribute, this is going to be a superb anthology. To bring this anthology under the attention of my readers, Roger was so kind to provide a sneak peek at one of the stories in their anthology. So it is with great proud that we can present to you an excerpt of The Machine, a story by Kenny Soward, set in his wonderful Gnomesaga world. Enjoy this sneak peek from one of the upcoming fantasy authors and be sure to read on after the excerpt, because there you’ll find everything you want to find out about the campaign for this great initiative. Enjoy the post.
Nikselpik the gnome rummaged through his knapsack with tiny, shaking hands as the voices of ghosts blew through the ancient cavern, whispering accusations. Another voice, his own, berated him particularly hard, reminding him of how stupid he was to have come here, how small he was in comparison to the power he sought.
It also reminded him of how everyone around him always died.
How long will you continue to repeat the same mistakes? You are nothing but a silly, stubborn little gnome, once again in way over your head.
His inner voice balanced out the others—hurrah for self-loathing—reinforcing personal flaws he had already come to terms with, while the ghostly voices promised something more dark and eternal.
“Poor girl,” they said, sounding like wisps of silk drug across stone. “You got her killed. You can atone by joining us…forever.”
“I’ll pay for her death in my own time,” he mumbled. “She came of her own accord. If I’m to be blamed for her death then I might as well be blamed for every other death in the world.”
“But you let her go first. You practically pushed her to it, and the machine ate her.”
“No!” Nikselpik shouted, slamming his fist into his knapsack. The gnome’s cry was so emphatic that the battle-weary mercenaries looked up from where they tended wounds or simply rested.
“Are you well, my tiny friend?” Priest Louh approached, taking a pull from his wine skin and offering it to the gnome. Considering the priest’s pallid appearance, Nikselpik could ask him the same question.
“No thanks, priest. And yes, I’m fine.” Nikselpik averted his eyes. He pulled a heavy bracer of what appeared to be chitinous material from his knapsack. At his touch, the dark bangle came to life, twisting its body and wiggling hundreds of copper-tipped legs.
Nikselpik glanced at his ragtag group of four hirelings, caught a glimpse of their haunted eyes, and wondered if they heard the ghosts, too.
The living stood in a great cavern vault plucked from the real world and placed into the nether by the ancient Rapur. It was a place filled with tempting secrets, great artifacts of power, and promises of death. The mechanical, rune-covered portal they’d just come through still whirred next to them. The towering farmer’s son, Jorsh, gazed at it, leaning on his sword. “Maybe we should turn back,” he said. “We lost Malten already. We could cut our losses and be back at the Broken Dog within an hour, a pint in each hand.”
Jancy, a quiet, waif of a girl dressed in what amounted to a burlap sack, agreed. “It’s death ahead.”
“No! There is no turning back.” Nikselpik clenched his teeth, focusing on the heavy, iron door embedded in the wall across the chamber. The machine’s gate. “I’m getting the stones, and if you want to earn your silver then you’ll quit your whining and loosen your blades.”
“And who is she?” growled Glanois, the armored dwarf. He glowered at a young woman who had suddenly appeared between them and the machine’s gate, and he gripped his bloodied axe tighter.
The woman watched them, her hands clasped at her waist. Bright orange hair lay soft and vibrant against her shoulders, a vivid contrast to the spotless white tunic she wore. Her brilliant, warm smile was directed toward Nikselpik.
The gnome blinked and then gritted his teeth, “She’s no one. Just another ghost.” He slapped the wiggling bracer onto his wrist, where its needle-like legs entered his flesh, taking blood and returning a potion far richer. His misgivings melted away, replaced by a head-pounding rush of power. He strode through a sea of mist and howled at the machine’s gate until blood seeped from his nose and ears, and the world spun into darkness.
©Kenny Soward / Neverland’s Library
Kenny Soward grew up in Crescent Park, Kentucky, a small suburb just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, listening to AC/DC, Quiet Riot, and Iron Maiden. In those quiet 1970’s streets, he jumped bikes, played Nerf football, and acquired many a childhood scar.
At the age of sixteen, he learned to play drums, and did so with a passion. Kenny bashed skins for many groups over the next twenty years, and his musical tastes grew to include folk, alternative, bluegrass, and new age.
By day, Kenny works as a Unix professional, and at night he writes and sips bourbon. ROUGH MAGIC is Kenny’s first high fantasy novel, Book I of the GnomeSaga. Kenny lives in Independence, Kentucky, with three cats and a gal who thinks she’s a cat.
Niksabella the gnome has tinkered in the shadows for years, developing an invention that might change the world, even if she doesn’t know it yet. She has few friends and even fewer allies in the city of Hightower, where social and academic status is quite important. Her brother, Nikselpik, is a cantankerous wizard who drinks too much, sings dirty songs, and makes rude passes at gnomestresses. A dark addiction consumes him, a habit called bugging, which gives him increased power and feelings of euphoria while pushing him closer to death. Dark creatures from the ultraworlds have come calling. Niksabella must fight to protect her life and her invention, while Nikselpik engages the enemy as an unlikely guest of Hightower’s military elite. Niksabella and Nikselpik must find their true powers together, or perish apart. Will they heal the wounds of their childhood before it’s too late?
Neverland’s Library is definitely an anthology to look forward to. Look at the great names of the contributors and you’ll see what I mean:
Tad Williams – Introduction
Mark Lawrence – Deception
Marie Brennan – Centuries of Kings
Tim Marquitz – Redemption at Knife’s End
Kenny Soward – The Machine
Stephen McQuiggan – Redfern’s Slipper
William Meikle – The Last Magician
Ian Creasey – Restoring the Magic
Peter Rawlik – The Rendition of Ephraim Waite
R.S. Belcher – An Equity in Dust
Joseph Lallo – The Stump and the Spire
Jeffrey J. Mariotte and Marsheila Rockwell – A Soul in the Hand
Jeff Salyards – The Height of our Fathers
Miles Cameron – The Tomb
Keith Gouveia – Fire Walker
Betsy Dornbusch – Season of the Soulless
Brian Staveley – Dead Ox Falls
Teresa Frohock – Love, Crystal and Stone
If you want to support this great anthology, click on this link. Also check out this video where there will be explained what this anthology is all about.
Support this great initiative so we can have a great anthology to look forward to.
Posted on 13/10/2013, in Books, Excerpts, Miscellaneous and tagged anthology, Betsy Dornbush, Brian Staveley, fantasy anthology, gnomes, Ian Creasey, Jeff Salyards, Jeffrey J. Mariotte and Marsheila Rockwell, Joseph Lallo, Keith Gouveia, Kenny Soward, kickstarter, Marie Brennan, Mark Lawrence, Miles cameron, Neverland's Library, Peter Rawlik, Rebecca Lovatt, Roger Bellini, RS Belcher, Stephen McQuiggan, Tad Williams, teresa frohock, The Gnomesaga, Tim Marquitz, William Meikle. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.