I’m currently writing a series of stories I’m calling ‘Edge of the Universe‘. I’m super excited about this. I’ve been planning and outlining this series for a couple of years now, and finally pulled the trigger. Episode 1 is written at 34,710 (about 110 pages). You can read it here.
“When an international technology company, offers a naive young scientist billions of dollars for his technology to splice DNA, Art thinks he’s made it and is living the life of his dreams. But when jealous colleagues, greedy corporations, and corrupt politicians get whiff of its true potential, Art will have to do whatever it takes to keep his invention from falling into the wrong hands.”
I’m so excited to finally be writing this that I can barely sleep at night. My mind just keeps coming up with new plot twists and cool details.
“I finished both and really liked the details where Art is making the deal. Wouldn’t being an instant billionaire ROCK? Looking forward to more :)” – @FijiMermaid89 on Twitter
I’m shooting to write about 10 episodes for season 1 of Edge of the Universe which would be about 300,000 words (5 novels). I’m hoping to complete this over the summer.
I’ll be uploading the Edge of the Universe stories to Gumroad for now. I have it priced at $2.99 for the entire season, but you have the option to pay whatever you want to. Once it’s written, I plan on uploading it to Kindle Unlimited.
I’m also adding extra stories and behind the scene details up on Patreon as I write. I wrote a couple of thousand words that I just realized last night won’t be published in the book. They are nice extra details about a day in Art’s life when he first meets Tony’s daughter, but don’t necessarily need to be published.
I realized that I need to jump the story forward a bit, and don’t want to bog readers down from the flow and pacing. So, I’ll add it in as a bonus chapter for anyone who’s interested in extra reading and details.
I’ll also be writing a quick, short story for April to explain her backstory with Johnny and why Tony thought she was dead. It should be available this week on Patreon as well.
So, read Edge of the Universe and the extras to follow along with Art on his journey in this modern-day myth.
I’m currently writing a new book series called Edge of the Universe. Episode 1 is ready at 34,730 words (about 100 pages). More episodes are on the way. Read now on Gumroad (PDF, epub, or mobi for Kindle) >>
Here’s a brief description of what it’s about:
“When an international technology company, offers a naive young scientist billions of dollars for his technology to splice DNA, Art thinks he’s made it and is living the life of his dreams. But when jealous colleagues, greedy corporations, and corrupt politicians get whiff of its true potential, Art will have to do whatever it takes to keep his invention from falling into the wrong hands.”
I think this will be about 4 episodes long, but then I always write more than I plan, so I think it may be as many as 10 episodes.
I’m calling this series Season 1: Run! as I originally planned out 3 Seasons for it. But then again, I won’t know until it’s written. I’m hoping to finish this series by the end of the year, but we’ll play it by ear. I don’t want to rush the muse.
If you’re patient, you can wait…or you can go ahead and start reading Season 1 as I write it on Gumroad >>
Did you ever do something, but you just weren’t happy with it? I felt that way recently over the cover I created for The Fall of Myxol. So, I found this really great artist who created a new cover for the book.
It captures the essence from the part of the book where the old man who helps Olijolf has to fight off Chilyrium, the Dragon Master who is called up by the Locrylian rebels.
I don’t want to spoil the story if you haven’t read it yet. But basically, there is this old mage who helps Elijolf escape to the center of the world and begin his journey by teaching him to open a portal of blue light.
But before they can save Kadlin and open the portal, they are attacked by a band of rebels and the Dragon Master himself.
If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to check it out!
Hey! Here’s a list of the 81+ books, short stories, and flash fiction that Dave has written to date. Find a title that looks interesting and enjoy reading them.
26 short stories available for you to read here on the blog or any of our other book hosting sites scattered around the web. These short stories typically range from 4,000 – 15, 000 words and can be read in a single sitting
Rune Cubes – A girl being chased through the woods by two bullies receives a fantastic weapon and an invitation to a curious adventure
Firebirds – When a teenage villager discovers someone is trying to kill her grandfather to take an artifact that he recently discovered, she helps him escape from the hospital only to discover that someone she trusts is part of the plot
Squire of Sarsuit – Jorgen awakens to the sound of something evil destroying his town and in the process of stopping it, discovers the truth about his past from the very person who set up the attack
Knight of Fire – After witnessing the assassination of the king, Emillian is given an invisible sword and sent on a dangerous mission to deliver it to the one who can tell him what his next step is
Clara of Cesfati: The Slayer of Kings – When her entire team is poisoned off, only Clara is left to protect her patron and the kingdom from their enemy’s surprise attack using her wits and swords
Broozer The Barbarian Knight Mage – Alone in the night, Broozer is attacked in the woods, but saved by an old crone who tells him where to find the men the king is looking for. Now, all he has to do is defeat the blind giant of Wandermere to get them back
Skeleton Huntress: Feast of Fire – While searching for her mentor, Norah discovers that everything she believed about their world is a lie, and she is attacked by the truth like a giant, shrieking skeleton
Dragon Rider of Agardi: The King Is Dead – The king is dead and the princess is missing. Leyla wants to help, but doesn’t think she has what it takes…until she gets a little help from a completely unexpected source…with wings.
Uduack The Time Stopper – A dustdevil with tentacles wipes out his entire village in less than 15 minutes. It’s not like Uduak didn’t try to warn them. Now, everyone he loves is dead, but the crone gives him the key to revenge which will allow him to rise from the ashes to rule the world
Cursed Loot In Yokonagawa – Cursed loot kills off his companions one by one until only Ren is left to face their mortal enemy, but you can’t always win. Sometimes, you just have to live to fight another day.
Field of a Thousand Swords – A sword so sharp it can cut through rocks like warm butter in the summer. The only thing Ami from finding this legendary weapon is the giant orc threatening to kill her friends
Gage the Aixtron – When Muhammad finds an AIX-49 in the junkyard, little do he and his friends know that this is the legendary warrior that can save them from their enemies
The Portal to Nemderia – You should never open your door for strangers, especially when the claim to be from the future and their message sounds too good to be true (as Deloris is about to find out)
Warblade of Ballara – After finding the horned monster guarding the weapon he seeks, Strogoben comes prepared to fight it to the death. But things don’t turn out quite like the former dragon hunter expects
In The Land of Giants – The job of his dreams is yanked out of his hands by the person he loves. Carl never would have guessed that his feelings for someone could change so quickly and drastically
Dragon Troll – A dark, ugly duckling tale about a small boy who is mistreated and misunderstood, until they find out what he can really do. Currently enrolled in Kindle Unlimited
Rooftop Rage – Old tensions flare after finding his nemesis dead in a tub and now Igor has to do whatever it takes to stay alive long enough to find out who killed the old man and why
Scorpion Sparks – Family dealings are always shady and Tom is constantly on the move, until he finds a way to finally settle down. All he has to do is one simple job for the family
Train Wreck – Can Alecks escape the prison, stop the train, and save the woman he loves? It seems some things aren’t impossible after surviving whatever slaughtered his troop and allowed him to survive (or at least brought him back to life)
Floor 47 – Sector Seven houses something sinister, and April will pay for the discovery of these secrets with her life. Sometimes its best to let sleeping secrets lie
Cloud Eater – When her cloud city comes under attack, only two will survive and one will live to tell the tale. The tale behind the Bermuda Triangle that you never heard before
End of the Beginning – What happens when people fight until there is no one left to fight?
Here you’ll find a list of 52 really short stories about 1000 words or less that we call flash fiction. You can read through them and enjoy them in a snap
That Must Be Momma – Two men in suits search a junkyard for the creature that attacked them. One of them seems overly talkative and the other remains silent until the very end.
Goldfish – A routine flyover through a new portal and the crew gets shot down. Two dead and the status of the other three are unknown. This is the last known recording of Lieutenant Theudhar Osborne
Portal Hunter – A good deed never goes unpunished. This small group gets punished for something they never did…and simply for keeping a portal open
This Zombie’s On Fire – Blowing up a building full of zombies isn’t the best way to deal with them…especially if they aren’t immune to fire
Dragon Rider: Making of a Warrior – Sent on a mission they never expected him to complete, they now refuse to let the cloud rider return home with his dragon and he has a decision to make
Legend of the Burning Mountain Man – You may have heard the stories about the burning man running around on the mountain at night. Only Avery knows who it really is…
The Thirty-Third Dimension -When you jump through strange portals, make sure you know how to find your way back home
Facing Mael’s Giant -Natalie found Mael’s giant and isn’t about to let him get away
Blaze – Never mess with an angry woman holding a chainsaw, especially when your surrounded by fire and can’t escape
Feeling Cross – Keep your mutants at home kids, and don’t let them escape on their own
Boy with the Tattered Umbrella – Sometimes the protectors need protecting, and its the little ones that save them
Dragon Slayer – Some days you never know if a single deed will brand you as a heroine or a traitor for breaking a taboo
Invisible Ship – Sometimes the thing that you’ve been looking for has been hiding right there in front of you the entire time
Unstoppable Fire – That moment of deja vu when you learn where those flashes of premonition come from
Black Rain & Grey Smog – This wasn’t how they told me that the world would end, but the one thing I know for sure is that nothing will ever be the same again
Sword of Alamorth – Making the right choice can be hard because you never know what could have been if you had made a different decision
Deception – Things aren’t always what they seem and people aren’t always who you think they are
I Love You Baby – You never know which person around you could actually be a superhero and save your life
I’m Not Your Papa – Strange worlds could exist all around us that we aren’t even aware of…yet
SkyEater Down – Just another routine day training new pilots over the quarantined city…until a random shot knocked them out of the sky
In The End, We All Die – But we will never go down without a fight. We will never give up…
Maxamed’s Epiphany – Sometimes your epiphanies come too late to do you any good
The Dragon Mage’s Staff – And in the end, the weapon you thought you used to control others was actually being used to control you?
City Monster – He had done what they sent him to do, but it almost seemed to easy
Apocalypse Warrior – If you react too quickly, you might not discover the secrets that you’ve been searching for all this time
Subject 239 – Seeing someone you love after six months is great, unless they no longer recognize you and are beyond help
Evil Comes From The Darkness – Running around with pitchforks at night and burning down homes is a dangerous game. Sometimes you burn down the wrong house
Take Over the World – That moment when you discover who you are and what you were created for…only to realize its not what you want
How Dong Became King – Given a mission that he had almost completed, until Dong realized he was better off not following through with them
Brothebit Girl – That moment you realize why you are so different from your family and everyone around you
The Gunman – Seven years seeking his revenge, but before he can see it through, something completely unexpected happens
The Day Time Stood Still – What if time stood still, and you were the only one who knew it?
Search for the Moonstone Giant – Sometimes you don’t find what you were looking for, but you find something even better
Kaito’s Quest: All Good Things Come To An End – Hunting dragon’s eggs is a risky business, even if you do have a dragon and the reward is the princess’s hand in marriage
Crow Scare – That moment when you realize your enemy is such a strategic planner that you need to have them on your side
Raining Fire – Giving up your life so that the one next to you can bring about a greater evil than you ever could
Night Fight – Rainer is sent on a suicide mission, only to discover that it was impossible from the start. And now your only hope is to successfully complete it before its too late
What Goes Around Comes Around – When an evil general takes over the president’s body, Jenny has to do whatever it takes to get him out and bring the president back
Borg Wars -What happens when a child’s family is killed and he confronts the borgs responsible?
Street Smart -Learning to be grateful for the little things…even when you don’t have a lot
Rain And Hair Don’t Mix – Hair all done up and headed to a party, when the unthinkable happens
Joe Goes Home – What happens when an alley cat finds a new home, but doesn’t have his freedom?
The Hole – A man wakes up in a lab with no memory of who he is or where he came from
City In The Clouds -What would life be like, living on a cloud?
Survival Skills – When a middle-aged man goes through mid-life crisis, he desperately wants to make some major life changes
Ballad of the Romantic Bank Robber – Crime never pays, but if you do decide to go through with it, beware of the consequences…
Oscar 977 – What happens when science experiments gain consciousness and want to take over for their scientists?
The Boy Who Pulled A Fast One – A young prankster almost goes too far in his little town…
Immersion – Do you ever wonder who might be watching you?
The Girl Who Lived Alone – After growing up a lone in the forest for years, a young girl is returned to the city where she must learn to adapt and survive
Conversation with Death – How would your life change if you could have a quick chat with death?
Time Machine Man – Did you ever wonder what you would do if you could go back in time and change a few things?
Here are a few of the books that I wrote when I first started putting words down on the screen. Some were mentioned previously above. These were all originally published on Amazon. Read and enjoy…
This is the series of stories that I’m currently writing. Episode 1 is complete and several more are in the works. I spend several years planning and outlining this. So, I’m really excited to be able to be finally writing this. Read on Gumroad (PDF, epub, or mobi) >>
I was playing around with possible endings for Art on the Edge of the Universe series that I’m currently working on. It will probably change by the time I finish writing the series, but it will give you an idea of where the story could be going. Read on Amazon Kindle >> or Listen on Audible >>
I started to write this as a short story, but it just kept growing and growing. Thorgaut demanded a complete story, and more are planned, so stay tuned for him to tell you more about his adventures. Read on Amazon Kindle >>
Elijolf Hranfastsson is one of the major characters in Art on the Edge of the Universe series, and this is part of his backstory which will help you understand the feud between the Myxolians and Locrylians. Read on Amazon Kindle >>
If you die near Area 51, you may just live to tell the tale. When a young orphan girl runs away from home and gets into a trucking accident, she assumes this is the end of the line for her. Until she’s resurrected by an alien being who wants to use her body to stay alive. Read My First Death on Amazon >>
Read Dragon Troll, a dark, ugly duckling tale of a boy mistreated and misunderstood until people find out exactly how powerful he is and what he is capable of doing.
When Ray McGown starts spontaneously combusting and bursting into flames in the most inconvenient places. He attracts the attention of some very unpleasant characters and discovers he carries an ancient gene that was thought to have been lost to the age. Now, he must set out on a journey to find Venomshank, the Warblade of Ballara to save himself and the Dragon Queen before it’s too late.
When the city of Myxol is burned to the ground by the rebel slaves who once served his family, Elijolf struggles to avoid getting caught while saving his friends with the help of a strange old man. But when an ex-slave holds Kadlin hostage and the slaves call up Chilyrium the Dragon Master out from the caves, Elijolf must do whatever it takes to fight off the rebels and avoid being burned to a crisp while he opens a portal to save his friends. Read The Fall of Myxol & Rise of Chilyrium now >>
Update: May 24, 2018 – I recently had a new cover created for this book, that looks much nicer.
“Halldora!” Thorgaut shouted with glee.
He jumped up and ran over to her. He grabbed her in his arms and spun her around genuinely glad to see her.
“I thought I’d never find you again,” he said after putting her down. “You cloaked your place good.”
She blushed at his enthusiasm at seeing her and beamed with pride over his compliments.
“Well, it’s a trick I learned from an old friend,” she replied. “It seems you’ve picked up a few skills yourself since I last saw you.”
“Not because I went looking for them,” he said. “That’s for sure. I got waylaid along the way over and over again.”
He noticed a flicker of worry briefly cross her face as she frowned. She caught herself though and smiled him right after.
“What is it?” he asked. “And where is Vriobrum?”
“Vriobrum can’t walk very fast and would have held me back,” she said with a laugh. “I came running as soon as I sensed your presence. Besides, someone has to stay back and keep an eye on the house. There are a lot of creepy guys running around in the woods these days.”
Thorgaut chuckled and then turned serious. “Speaking of creepy guys, have you seen three of my friends who are out there looking for me?” he asked.
Halldora grinned sheepishly. “I have,” she said. “Would you like them back?”
“What did you do to them?” he demanded with a scowl. A sudden realization of what Halldora could have done hit him, and a look of horror crossed his face.
“You didn’t,” he said. “No!”
“What?” she asked mischievously.
“You didn’t turn them into shufflers to join your undead army. Did you?”
She laughed over that one and punched him in the arm.
“Of course not, silly.” she managed to say once she stopped laughing. “You seem to think I’m an evil person. I’m not like those wicked, old witches from the fairy tales your mother used to tell you when you were a child.”
Thorgaut breathed a sigh of relief. “So, what did you do to Liut and his companions?” he asked. “And yes, I want my friends back.”
They started walking back to the rest of the group who were still eating by the fire. Halldora took his arm with one hand and hitched up her blue dress with the other.
“Not the best outfit for a walk in the woods, but I left in a hurry,” she said. “Anyway, your crazy friends tracked you to my home. You were gone of course. They thought I had eaten you or used you to perform some evil ritual. Then they saw Vriobrum and tried to kill him.”
“So, what evil spell did you cast on them?” Thorgaut asked. “Did you turn them into disgusting-looking toads. They’ll live in the lake until a charming princess comes along to kiss them.”
Halldora smiled and wrinkled her nose. “Yuck,” she said. “I hate toads. So, no! That would be too cruel. I put them to sleep until I could find you and prove that I hadn’t done anything to you.”
“Well, then let’s go get them,” he said.
“Relax,” she said. “They’ll wake up and be here shortly.”
Thorgaut shook his head. He was still trying to wrap his mind around all these crazy events and strange people he had met here in these woods. He had only been here a week, but he would miss this place once he headed home with his friends.
He introduced Halldora to Svart, Katla, and Ariana. She seemed extremely excited to meet the spider. She said she had heard a lot about them and always wanted to meet one.
Ariana seemed nervous around her. Thorgaut probed her to find out what it was, but she wouldn’t tell him. He perceived that Katla was jealous. She politely offered Halldora some of their soup and chatted with her about the weather. But after Halldora turned to talk with Svart, Katla scowled at Thorgaut and gave him a dirty look.
Thorgaut shrugged his shoulders and pretended to look confused. But he didn’t need to use his mind-reading skills to figure out what was wrong. He had sensed that Katla had a crush on him for quite some time. She never came right out and mentioned it, but he had a gut feeling about it.
They had a little fling when they were younger. Thorgaut kissed her once and thought she was the love of his life. And then she told him that he wasn’t her type. It had devastated him because soon after that she had started hanging out with his best friend, Liut. Later, Liut had broken things off with her.
After that, things were awkward between the three of them. They each went their separate way for a while. But over the past two summers, they had gone on several raiding parties together. During that time they had all patched up their friendship. They had all gotten along great after that.
Over the past few months though, Thorgaut had a gut feeling that the Katla was hoping to be more than friends. He sensed that she regretted having rejected his advances. But it was too late. Thorgaut had long gotten over his feeling for her.
He didn’t want to put himself back in that situation. And he didn’t want to complicate his friendship with either Katla or Liut. Besides, there were plenty of other women in the world that he could choose. No need to get all bent out of shape over Katla.
So, he found her attitude towards Halldora moderately humorous under the current circumstances. He tried not to smile or show it though when she looked at him. Katla was a charming girl and a good friend. No need to blow things all out of proportion over nothing. Besides, Halldora had blown him off, and there was no reason for Katla to be jealous of her.
Thorgaut asked Katla for another bowl of soup. He ate a little more slowly this time and relished the delicious flavors in each bite. Katla was a great cook. She blushed and smiled when he complimented her. But then she scowled right after when she saw Halldora.
He knew she was dying to ask what had gone on between them, but ignored her unspoken questions. He kept shoveling spoon after spoon of the delicious food in his mouth. He didn’t know if the food was really that delicious or if it seemed that way because of his heightened sense of awareness. Maybe it was due to his extreme hunger after all these adventures. He didn’t pause to overthink things too much though. He just sat back and enjoyed the meal with his friends.
A little while later, he heard more footsteps coming through the woods. He motioned everyone to be quiet. He heard Liut’s voice first. He jumped up and grinned as they came into view.
“Welcome back boys,” he shouted out. “What took you all so long to get back?”
Liut grinned and strode toward him. They greeted each other with a typical Jorundarfell forearm handshake. Then Thorgaut gave him a big hug. He didn’t think he would ever see his friends again.
Thorgaut greeted Bior and Grimar. They all turned towards the rest of the group and noticed Halldora sitting beside Svart. Bior and Liut jumped backward and pulled their swords out.
“It’s that witch woman!” Liut shouted.
Grimar charged forward running headlong straight toward the surprised woman. Before he got to her though, she waved her hand and wiggled her fingers. He fell at her feet as though dead.
“Silly men,” she said. “I told you that I didn’t do anything to Thorgaut.”
Thorgaut put out his hand on his Liut and Bior’s arms.
“It’s okay,” he reassured them. “Halldora is a friend.”
They looked at him like he was off his rocker, but obeyed by putting their swords back in their sheaths.
Katla held out a bowl of soup for each of them which they accepted. The men sat down on the other side of the fire from Halldora so they could keep a wary eye on her as they ate.
Grimar was so concentrated on Halldora that he didn’t even notice Ariana was a spider. Grimar started to sit on her as if she was a log. The spiderling hopped back, and the man fell on the ground. He tried to hold his bowl of soup up during the fall, but it poured out all over him.
Liut saw Ariana the giant spiderling and threw his bowl in her face before grabbing his sword. “Spider!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. “Look out, a spider!”
He looked wildly around at everyone. They continued sitting calmly as if this were a typical everyday occurrence. Liut didn’t understand why no one did anything. They seemed more surprised to hear him scream like a little girl than to see the spider in their midst.
“Don’t you guys see it?” he asked in a shaky voice.
Halldora started laughing first. Everyone else followed along right after. They roared at the hilarious scene that had played out in front of them. Svart rolled on the ground holding his stomach.
Thorgaut found it funny as well but tried not to show it too much. He wiped a tear of laughter from his eye and snorted his laughs as he introduced Ariana.
The spiderling didn’t seem to find the situation funny at all though. Ariana scurried off to the other side of the fire beside Halldora. The spider put as much space between herself and the screaming man as she could.
Halldora woke Bior from his sleeping spell, and Katla gave the men all another bowl of soup. They told him about the spider though before he saw her so there wouldn’t be any more surprises.
It took awhile for Thorgaut to give them a brief rundown what he had been through over the past few days. He glossed over the craziest parts. He focused on meeting Halldora and being attacked by the wolves in the woods. He told them a condensed version of escaping the strangers in Svart’s house and their trip down the cave.
He didn’t mention anything about undead wolves or the NightWalkers though. He also didn’t tell them about his run-in with Abyss Snarer. He portrayed the spiders as friendly like Happy Feet and her children.
Thorgaut didn’t want them knowing about him being bitten by the undead. They’d tie him up and wait for him to turn as Arnulfr had done. And he definitely didn’t want them knowing about his new mental and healing powers.
Liut, Bior, and Grimar all thought they had only been gone a day. They had left the day after Thorgaut when he didn’t return. That would have been the day Thorgaut got caught in the snare. They had tracked him to the campground where the shufflers attacked him. From there, they had trailed him into Halldora’s meadow.
Halldora put them under a sleeping spell when they attacked Vriobrum. Then she left them there while Thorgaut recuperated at Arnulfr’s house. She had located his presence when he had regained consciousness that night. She told him that she had planned to pick him up the next day. But she lost him when he entered the cave to escape the men with the strange device.
She told him that the strange men were undead bounty hunters trying to make a name for themselves. They had been in the area for the past several months. They were the main reason she had cloaked her section of the woods. Halldora had set up the shield to keep their device from locating her shufflers.
Thorgaut was happy to have completed his crazy journey through Knulkforrest. It had been a freaky adventure, but he had come out stronger than ever. His new abilities were an added bonus. And on top of that, he had discovered a new appreciation for life and was ready to embrace his destiny. He knew his purpose was to rule over Jorundarfell and be a good leader for his people.
Thorgaut urged Halldora to return with them to Jorundarfell, but she declined. They both knew that she wouldn’t be welcome there. He knew the people of the town would try to burn her at stake.
He tried to feel Halldora out about creating an undead army for him, but she refused. He made it sound like he was joking about a crazy idea that came to him in a dream. But she immediately shot the idea down saying it was dangerous and risky.
Halldora hinted that there was an extremely terrifying threat behind his idea which left him intrigued. He could sense the fear lacing her words and wanted to ask why that was. But Katla came barging in with some silly excuse to interrupt him. Thorgaut didn’t get a chance to talk with her alone again after that.
“It’s already dark,” Halldora said. “I shouldn’t have left Vriobrum alone. He’ll come out looking for me.”
She gave Thorgaut a long hug and bid everyone farewell. Then she disappeared into the woods. Thorgaut watched the woods swallow her up. He sat on a stump by the fire looking into the darkness long after she was gone. Svart and Katla went off to sleep. Ariana had gone into the woods to find something to eat.
Thorgaut talked with Liut for a while before heading to his spot to get some sleep himself. Liut and Bior offered to keep watch in the night since they had just woken up from a week-long nap.
The next morning the group woke up early and ate a quick breakfast that Katla had prepared for them. It was a strange mix of roots she had discovered while they were gone. She cooked it up with some rabbits Ariana had caught for them in the night.
And then they were off. The small group traveled back down the river the way they had come. They made for an odd group. Five adults, one boy, and two large spiderlings. Ariana had invited her sister who had also joined them as they were leaving.
Thorgaut was finally headed home. It had been a marvelous journey. The adventure of a lifetime that he would never forget. Only he didn’t realize that for him, it was only just beginning.
Thorgaut walked down the tunnels. He followed the maps in his head that Happy Feet had left him. He probed out mentally for Ariana. He didn’t sense her presence. Either she was too far away, or she was cloaking her mind.
He debated whether to head back to his friends or try to locate Halldora. In the end, he decided to find his friends first. It was important to reassure them that he was okay. That way they wouldn’t be searching for him. Also, he knew he might not even find Halldora’s meadow. It was well cloaked, and Thorgaut didn’t know if he could locate it even with his recent, mental powers.
His trip to the cave entrance was uneventful. He saw many new, fascinating species of animals. Strange and exotic creatures that he never knew existed.
He sensed the presence of a few giant spiders probing out at him. He didn’t want to end up as spider bait or have to fight them. So, he mentally slapped them and shredded at their minds painfully to scare them off. He projected an enormous, ferocious version of himself down the rest of the tunnel.
Not one of the spiders attempted to mess with him after that. They didn’t even expose themselves as he walked through their caverns. The spiders pressed back into their webs weaved in dark corners. Others pushed themselves farther down their crevices trying to avoid his mind probes. He chuckled as they strived to make themselves smaller and less detectable
Thorgaut also sensed the presence of weird creatures that he didn’t recognize. He couldn’t tell if they were human or animal. Some seemed to be a cross between the two. Others were wholly different and foreign to his senses.
The Viking didn’t stop to discover who or what they were. He was curious, and someday he knew it would be fun coming back to explore further. But for now, he was anxious to get home.
There was one interesting thing he came across. It was a plant species with a certain amount of intelligence. They actually seemed to be able to communicate with him at an elementary level. He approached them warily as he probed for danger.
The plants didn’t seem to be a threat nor think of him to be one. Thorgaut noticed that it seemed to exude an aura of healing intelligence. They actually seemed to be offering their services to him if needed.
Thorgaut knew his body had fully healed itself of everything he had been through and experienced. So, he politely declined and thanked them for their gracious offer. He quickened his pace after that. He knew he was arriving at the cave entrance.
As he exited the cave, he could see the river a short distance away. It was late afternoon, and the sun was low on the horizon behind him. It took his eyes a minute to adjust to the sunlight.
“Sunlight!” he thought. “It felt so good to be out in the open and breathe fresh air once again. He inhaled deeply, paying attention to each and every scent that assailed his senses.
An awareness of Ariana’s presence pressed into his mind. She greeted him excitedly as she popped out of the forest. She scampered over in his direction.
“Hey there,” he greeted her back. “I see you made it safely. How is Svart?”
“He’s doing well,” she replied. “He snapped out of Abyss Snarer’s control soon after we entered the tunnel. What happened after I left you?”
The spiderling probed his mind for a mental image. He played out a brief vision of the spider jumping at him. Then showed Ariana a scene of him stabbing Abyss Snarer in the forehead with the fang. And finally, a view of himself ripping off the giant spider’s head.
“Wow! Nice job,” she muttered admiringly. He could tell her level of respect increased immediately. He thought he even sensed a bit of fear tinge her emotions as she realized how fast and powerful he had become.
He held back the images of Abyss Snarer biting him and wrapping his body in her thread. He felt it was unnecessary. And frankly, the Viking warrior felt a bit miffed at having been caught off guard like that.
He also didn’t want to reveal the extent of his healing powers. The less Ariana knew about his healing capabilities, the better. She might share it in the collective mental web. They might use that kind of knowledge against him someday. Besides, keeping it a secret could come in quite handy at some point.
“How did my friends react when they saw you?” he asked.
He imagined the look of shock on their faces when they saw the spiderling and chuckled to himself. Even though Ariana was small for her kind, Ariana was still much significantly bigger than any spider the humans had ever seen.
“To say I surprised the girl would be an understatement,” she replied. “She screamed and climbed a tree as soon as she saw me.”
Ariana suppressed a giggle as she pushed a mental image into Thorgaut’s mind. He could see Katla hanging onto the branches and screaming hysterically. They both chuckled at the thought but stopped when they saw her coming through the trees. It was hard to keep a straight face as he reviewed the scene in his head.
“Thorgaut!” Katla screamed in delight. “You’re alive, and you’re back!”
The pretty girl raced in Thorgaut’s direction. Her wild, red hair streamed in the wind. Katla threw her arms around Thorgaut when she reached him. She squeezed him tightly for a long time. She finally let go and wiped a tear from her eye.
“It’s good to see you too, Katla,” he said brushing his hand against her cheek to wipe away another tear.
“We thought you were gone for good and that we never see you again,” she said swallowing a sob. She grabbed Thorgaut again and held on. He hugged her back now that she didn’t have his arms pinned to his sides.
“Where’s everyone else?” he asked.
“They’re out looking for you,” she replied. “Liut, Grimar, and Bior left a week ago to track you down. I haven’t seen them since.”
Thorgaut’s heart froze in his face paled.
“What is it?” Katla asked. “What happened to them? What happened you all this time?”
Thorgaut shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he replied. “There are a lot of dangerous things out here in these woods. Anything could have happened to them. We need to find them though.”
He mentally asked Ariana if she could still tap into the collective mind.
“Of course,” she replied. “You want me have the spider scan the caves.”
“Yes,” he answered. “Have they seen any humans wandering around in there.”
“No,” she said. “But I have asked a few to head back up to the entrance underneath Svart’s house. They were already heading in that direction anyway.”
The three of them walked back towards the camp where they met up with Svart. Thorgaut was happy to see the boy safe and sound. He gave the blond-haired lad a big hug. Svart seemed pleased to see him as well.
“What a crazy adventure. Huh?” Thorgaut said.
Svart laughed and rolled his eyes. “You can say that again!”
Ariana tapped into his awareness. She let him know that the spiders had arrived at the entrance to the boy’s house. They hadn’t seen or sensed the presence of any humans in the cave. The spiders had even entered and scanned the house. But Thorgaut could see that everything was in place just like he had left it.
Thorgaut mentally ran back over the path he had taken to arrive at Halldora’s meadow. He knew that he had circled around and come back in this direction. Knulkforrest couldn’t be that far away. If knew its exact location he could cut straight through the trees and get there quickly. But there was a good chance of him getting lost again. He assumed that was what had happened to his friends.
As he traced his route, there was an area of his memory that seemed to be blanked out. Thorgaut figured that was where Halldora was cloaking her home. He tried probing around that zone mentally, but was fuzzy and out of focus. He could almost sense Halldora’s presence. He quit examining and analyzing those thoughts after a few minutes though. He felt angry at himself for not being able to pin the location down.
He felt frustrated because his senses didn’t function at a great distance. If he could pick out Halldora’s presence, he knew she must be close. Even though it was barely perceptible, he could still sense her. He sat down on the log and considered his options.
Katla had busied herself over the fire. She had been stirring something in a pot, and it smelled terrific. Soon she was serving the humans large bowls of soup. She offered Ariana a bowl who declined with a funny look on her face. But she tried to be gracious and thanked her for the kind offer.
Thorgaut could see the questioning look in Katla’s eyes. He knew she was dying to ask him what had happened and how he had met the spider. But he wasn’t in the mood to tell her the whole story right now. So he smiled and kept shoveling the delicious warm food in his mouth.
He scraped the last of the stew from the bottom of his bowl and smacked his lips. His sensitive hearing detected footsteps coming through the woods. They were soft and barely perceptible. He couldn’t tell who it was, but there was a faint scent drifting in the breeze that seemed familiar.
The Viking put his bowl down. He turned in the direction the steps were coming from. He motioned for everyone to be silent and put out his hand to take Katla’s sword. Everyone froze and watched him in silence.
He gasped has dark figure stepped out of the woods and came into view.
“Going to kill an old friend who comes to visit you, Thorgaut?” a quiet voice said lilting softly over his name.
Thorgaut was already a little distance away. He considered making a run for the tunnel. He might make it if the spider was still weak. The Viking warrior decided against it though.
He had seen how far the spiders could jump in the earlier fight. And he knew Abyss Snarer could close the distance between them in a single bound if she was feeling back to normal. He would rather face her head on and have a fighting chance, then have her tackle him from behind. He didn’t want her sinking her fangs into his back as she had earlier.
Abyss Snarer was anxiously tapping her feet and moving sideways. She lowered her head and raised her abdomen. He circled to put a stalagmite between him and the spider hoping that it would block her jump.
“I’m leaving and going back to my home,” he said. “I don’t plan on coming back and won’t ever bother you again. So don’t attack me and I won’t hurt you.”
“Silly human,” she hissed. “Humans will never accept you for who you’ve become. You are one of us now. You may as well stay here in the cave with me.”
Thorgaut started backing away toward the tunnel. He tried to keep the stalagmite between him and the spider as much as possible.
“Are you scared yet?” she asked.
The man shook his head. He honestly didn’t feel afraid of her because she had already tried to kill him and failed. He also knew what she was capable of doing and knew he could put up the good fight. The only thing he had to do was avoid her fangs. And yet he still wanted to avoid the conflict.
“Not necessarily,” he replied. “But my mama always taught me to be nice and play fair. She told me to live and let live as much as possible because death never did anyone any good.”
“Your mother wouldn’t make a good spider,” she replied. “We have to kill to eat and survive.”
Thorgaut shrugged. He knew the spider was trying to goad him into a fight, but he wasn’t in the mood. He just wanted to get back to his friends. He was so close to reaching them after having come this far.
The giant spider kept edging closer in his direction, and he kept backing up. Abyss Snarer tried to fake him out like she was going to jump, but he didn’t flinch. The warrior was ready for her attack and waiting for her to make a mistake.
He had been actively probing her mind the entire time. So, he knew there was little chance she would actually jump straight at him. He hadn’t been able to activate an open connection yet to perceive exactly what she was thinking. But he had enough of a read on her to sense her feelings and intentions.
Thorgaut did know that she didn’t plan on letting him leave the cavern. She would pick a fight soon. So, he bided his time, analyzed his options, and prepared for an attack of his own.
She was eyeing an area of the cavern roof behind him. He sensed that was where she wanted to jump to begin her attack. He didn’t know yet exactly what she would do after that. So, he stopped moving to stall for time. She paused as well.
“I guess we are in a deadlock,” he said. “We’re both now undead creatures who are gonna fight in this cavern for all eternity.”
Abyss Snarer chuckled. “You should be proud of yourself, Thorgaut,” she said. “You’ll go down in history as a myth and legend. Don’t worry though. I will make sure to tell everyone I kill down here about you before I eat them.”
Thorgaut started backing up again. This time he edged off to the side to avoid the area of the roof that she was watching. She realized that he had caught on to her plan, and took the leap.
It was amazing to watch. With an increased clarity of vision, Thorgaut could make out the twitches in her muscles. He could see all the subtle details in the movement of her body. He didn’t move an inch though. He followed her only with his eyes while admiring what she could do.
He knew Abyss Snarer was trying to fake him out again. As soon as she landed on the stalagmite, she would push off in his direction and attack him from the side. He watched her legs reaching out for the edges and then begin to push off again.
The instant she committed herself to the leap in his direction, Thorgaut jumped back and to the side. The spider realized she wasn’t going to reach him. Abyss Snarer stretched out her legs as far as they would go in his direction, but she couldn’t quite make it. She landed right where the human had been standing an instant before.
One of her front paws was close enough for him to grab with his right hand. He held it firm and smashed down on it with his other forearm. Like Happy Feet, her skin wasn’t as hard as it looked. It snapped under the crushing blow. Green spider goo squirted across his arms and hands. She screamed in pain and fury.
The spider hobbled backward on her other seven legs to get away from him. But she wasn’t fast enough. Thorgaut was already in her face. He stabbed ‘Terror,’ the fang in his right hand, straight down into the middle of her forehead. She screamed in hissed in his face spraying spider spittle and venom at the human.
Abyss Snarer laughed and waited for him to fall over paralyzed once again. But the poison didn’t faze him in the slightest, because his body had already built up an immunity to its effect.
The spider had stepped in close to spit in his face. But Abyss Snarer was still wobbly and backed away too slowly. Her body hadn’t had the time to heal fully like Thorgaut’s.
He reached out to grab her other front leg with his left hand. He grasped it firmly and held on for a moment as he wiped his eyes clean with the other. Then he brought his right forearm down hard and crushed through her other leg.
Thorgaut reached out and grabbed the fang still protruding from her forehead. It slid out exposing her brains. The spider clutched her head with mangled paws. She tried to back away. Thorgaut slashed the fang across her eyes before she could get away. He completely blinded her two large eyes up front and the three smaller ones to the right.
The giant spider stumbled backward and tried to turn so she could see him with the eyes on her left side. But Thorgaut moved along with her staying to the right. She screeched and jumped in his direction, feeling for him with her six good legs. He ducked to avoid them and stepped in to meet her swollen underbelly.
The fierce warrior drove the fang deep into her soft gut. It was still gorged with all that she had sucked out of his body. The Viking pulled the prong up. It tore through the flesh across her abdomen. Before he could pull it back out though, her weight came crashing down on top of him.
Thorgaut fell to the ground with her weight on top of him. He struggled to get out from under her massive body. He managed to roll out and stay away from her flailing legs. He stood up and realized that Terror, the fang, was still stuck underneath her.
He pulled the other fang out of his pocket and considered stabbing her with it for good measure. He didn’t want to use it though because Happy Feet and given it to him for a reason. It wouldn’t be wise to waste it unnecessarily on this enemy. Thorgaut watched Abyss Snarer to see what she would do.
She lay on the ground and moaned pitifully. Her legs pushed uselessly against the ground. Thorgaut knew that her body would heal itself given enough time as he had. Somehow being bitten by the undead gave them almost unlimited healing power. He realized that this ability must be what made the undead unable to die.
Thorgaut walked around to her left side to look into the three good eyes. She hissed when he came into view. She pushed a leg in his direction, but he kicked it out of the way. He stomped on it the second time she tried. The spider screamed and cursed him. But she gave up trying to push him back.
The man knelt down in front of her probing her mind softly. He could see the desire for revenge burning in her eyes. He continued to poke around until he felt a soft spot in her mental barrier. He forced it open and savagely pushed himself deep into her thoughts. He could sense her mental processes tearing like she had done to him earlier when they first met.
“I’ll chase you down to the ends of the earth and rip your head off,” she growled at him.
She projected a mental image of traveling through the caves to Jorundarfell. He could see that she find him and kill everyone he loved. She even threatened to drag the other spiders of her race in an all-out war against humankind.
Thorgaut stood up and took a step closer. He placed both hands on the sides of the spider’s head and pressed his foot against her shoulder. He gave a hard twist to the left and yanked back with all his might. Her neck snapped, and the spider’s head tore off in his powerful hands.
“Heal that,” Thorgaut said as he held the head up before his eyes.
The warrior locked the spider’s cranium in place under his left arm. He ignored the green blood and goo dripping down his side. He grabbed one of her fangs and gave it a hard yank. It popped right out of her jaw. He did the same to the other fang as well.
Thorgaut now had three giant fangs. And the new ones were almost twice as long as Happy Feet’s. He tossed Abyss Snarer’s head back down on the ground in front of her.
“Thank you for your generous contribution to my war!” he said and walked away.
Thorgaut came to and jerked awake with a start. It felt like he had been asleep for days. He lay still trying to remember where he was or what was going on. His head felt heavy and fuzzy. He vaguely remembered meeting and interacting with spiders in a cave.
His eyes felt heavy, as he tried to open them. Everything seemed out of focus and wavering. He noticed several large black spheres floating around in front of him. As they came into focus, he could see that they stayed fixed in relation to each other.
Thorgaut started to make sense of what he was seeing. Then the man realized where he was. He was still in the same cave with the Abyss Snarer. The black spheres were her eyes. They looked like the NightWalker’s eyes. She must have transformed after she bit into him.
Her fangs were still in his abdomen. Had he passed out and come to a few minutes later? Or had he been out for several days, and she was still feeding off him?
Abyss Snarer removed her fangs from his body as she lifted her head. She smacked her lips and shifted position. Her swollen underbelly brushed against his knees.
“What a meal!” She exclaimed. “Normally, it would take a prey twice the size to fill me up like that. The last time I felt this full was when that mammoth got lost in these caves and fell into my trap.”
She poked Thorgaut with her front leg and muttered something about him not having shrunk. The spider raised her legs to step over him but didn’t get them up high enough. Abyss Snarer was still weak and wobbly. She tripped, and half fell to the side.
Her hind legs landed on Thorgaut with a thud. He could feel them moving as she tried to lift them off. His sense of feeling seemed to have returned, so he attempted to wiggle his fingers and toes. They worked.
Thorgaut tried to move his arms and legs, but they were still firmly wrapped in the silvery thread. Abyss Snarer had stood up and noticed his movements. She rubbed her two front feet in glee.
“Well, well, well, my little friend,” she said. “Being undead has made you quite the prize. I’ve eaten all I can from you, and you’re as fat and sassy as ever. I could string you up and the feast on you forever without ever having to hunt again for another meal.”
Thorgaut grimaced as he struggled against the thread she had wrapped them in. But it was no use. They were too dense and wrapped too tight. He wouldn’t be able to wiggle loose very easily. He finally gave up and stopped struggling. He remembered the pain and suffering she had put him through before passing out. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became.
“No use struggling, Sonny,” she said. “You’re in Abyss Snarer’s trap, and there is no getting loose for you.”
She giggled and plucked on a thread as if to show him how tight it was. The spider moved off to the side a little way. She laid down and complained about her stomach being too full to relax.
Thorgaut continued to move his hands and wiggle his fingers through the thread. They were too thick and too tight though. He looked at the spider, but couldn’t tell if she had fallen asleep because her eyes were still wide and black. He didn’t even know if spiders could close their eyes, so he wasn’t sure if that was a way to tell if she had fallen asleep.
The rising and falling of her abdomen had slowed down considerably though. The shifting patterns on her sides had also stopped changing shape. Thorgaut had noticed that the more excited she became, the faster they moved around.
Thorgaut remembered the fangs in his pocket and tried to move his right hand up to reach ‘Terror.’ It was impossible though because his arm was wrapped too tight against his body.
He tried moving his left hand, but he was laying on top of it. So he rocked his body back and forth. He managed to roll over onto his other side.
He didn’t like being in that position because he could no longer keep an eye on the spider. But he was able to move his hand up and reach his pocket. Thorgaut managed to grip the edge of the other fang he had called ‘Chelicerae.’
His hands still felt a little numb from the effects of the poison in his body. But he managed to work it out of his pocket. It took him several minutes, but he was finally successful. He rolled back over far enough to keep the spider in his sights. Abyss Snarer hadn’t moved an inch.
Thorgaut wrapped his hand around the top edge of the fang. He was careful not to poke himself with the point at the other end. He twisted the point up towards the threads and scratched at them to tear them apart. He kept working up and down in a slow and steady motion. He took great care to scratch himself with it.
After a few minutes, he noticed that he could move his hand more freely. He continued plucking at the threads with a sharp point of the fang. A little longer and he felt his hand come entirely out of the thread blanket that surrounded him. It was such a relief to feel a soft, fresh breeze blowing across his sweaty fist.
He twisted the fang around so that the point was up at an angle. The man kept plucking at the threads above his wrist until he was able to move his entire forearm. Once he was able to bend his arm at the elbow, he reached across to start plucking at the threads around his other hand.
Thorgaut had worked part way through the threads. He could feel his other hand moving a little more freely when he lost his grip on the fang. It fell out of his hand and on to the rocky cavern floor. He swore at himself for his clumsiness and mentally kicked his own keister for having dropped it.
The fang made a sharp clinking sound when it hit the ground. Abyss Snarer stirred in her slumber and lifted her head towards his direction. He lay perfectly still without blinking. She put her head back down and twisted into a more comfortable position back in the other direction.
The Viking way or breathed a sigh of relief and rolled back over away from the spider. He reached out his hand, feeling around on the ground for the fang. He couldn’t find it, so he pulled back to spot it with his eyes. He saw where it was and then rolled his body back in the direction to detect it with his fingers. This time he grasped it and hung on to it even more carefully than before.
A little bit longer and his other arm was free too. He was able to reach into his other pocket and pull out the fang with his right hand. He continued working with both fangs until his upper body was completely free of the thread. And after that, it was a simple matter of tearing away the strands around his legs.
Thorgaut had never felt so happy to be able to move in his life. He felt like he had died and resurrected. As if someone had given him a new opportunity at life. He swore that he would make the most of it. He would go back home and be the best king he could ever be for his family and people. No more wasting time in his life.
He wiggled and moved every part of his body and excitement. He didn’t feel any aftereffects from the poison. There was no pain in any part of his body. It had completely healed itself. It was a marvelous realization.
Thorgaut stood up easily. He looked down at his hands and arms. He scanned his body down to his feet. Everything seemed healthy and he felt great. No, he felt better than great. He felt better than he’d ever felt in his entire life.
He took a moment to scan through his other senses. His hearing was impeccable. He could hear the whispers of a rat brushing against the rock on the far side of the cavern. He detected the flutter of a moth’s wings as it flew through the air behind him. His nose picked up this musky scent of the spider. He could tell exactly where she was without even looking at her.
His vision was as sharp as ever. He could see subtle differences in the texture of the cavern walls. His eyesight could even pick up the faint glimmer of what looked like gold specks on the far side of the cave.
Even his taste buds seemed well honed. He could pick out the subtle flavor of the enzymes the spider had released in his body. He could distinguish it from the venom that had paralyzed him before that.
Thorgaut stretched his strained and weary muscles, careful not to make any noise. It felt great to be able to move again. He kept a wary eye on abyss snarer as he tiptoed to the cavern entrance Ariana had taken Svart through earlier.
But as he slipped past the spider, one of the joints in his knees popped making a loud cracking sound. Abyss Snarer stirred and breathed out a loud sigh. She turned her head in his direction and jumped to her feet when she saw him walking.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she demanded in a loud, angry voice.
The first book in the NorthWorld series is complete. Read and follow Thorgaut Kabbisson, the Viking prince on his adventure through the Knulkforrest of Northworld.
If a Viking doesn’t fear death and actually embraces it, what would a Viking fear?
While exploring the vast lands of Northworld, a viking prince is separated from his friends in Knulkforrest.
He is attacked by undead shufflers and meets a witch in the woods who can help him create an undead army for his future conquests.
Thorgaut gets caught in a snare and attacked by a pack of weird wolves.
He is rescued by a hunter with dubious intentions, but comes under attack by a group of NightWalkers before he can figure out what they are.
The survivors flee into caves ruled by giant spiders and must stay alive no matter what the cost.
Along the way back to finding his friends he picks up several new useful but unrequested abilities.
Thorgaut heir to the hall of Jorundarfell, must do whatever it takes to return home alive.
Read Thorgaut Kabbisson of Northworld: Lost In The Spider Caves of Knulkforrest (Northworld Fantasy Saga 1) here on the blog >>