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Demons, Mercenaries, and Other Complications: Chapter One

AaronDoudySep 29, 2018, 2:55:35 AM

Hello! Here is the first chapter to my book Demons, Mercenaries, and Other Complications. Come on back every Friday for more chapters. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Missiles and Mercenaries

A smile sailed across Riath’s face as she stepped onto the trapdoor. The thin piece of metal was the only thing between her and the twenty thousand foot drop below. The thrill of the impending free fall sent a shiver up the mercenary’s spine. This was going to be fun.

“Check weapons and gear boyz we’re dropping in five”, Riath joined in the chorus of “Hie Siashen!” That echoed throughout the vibrating bomb bay. Thirty or so burly mercenaries were stuffed into a metallic can overflowing with missiles, all manner guns, and enough testosterone to make a girl’s nose sting.

The rust colored paint on the curved walls was faded and chipped. The Kiasha’s Wrath wasn’t as young as she used to be, and it was starting to show. Still there wasn’t another vapor airship in service that Riath would trust to make it through the endless blizzard of the Ice King.

Some say the ancient tempest was the embodiment of the old storm emperor’s fury at his betrayal. It was a kind of physical manifestation of his ghost punishing the planet of Myvraid for all eternity. Not that it mattered to Riath.

All she cared about was the cover the torrent gave their mission. The Death mage cultists had no concept of the fury the god hunter Laiyvan was about to drop on their heads. It was enough to make Riath want to give the old Ice King a prayer of thanks for his vengeance.

“Oof,” Riath grunted after the ship hit so much turbulence she could’ve sworn the sky whale had been launched into Sythis’ Void. On second thought, maybe the old tyrant was being too sensitive cursing the world for eternity, and knocking Riath on her ass. The mercenary couldn’t finish swearing before she landed on a mass of muscle and metal lying on the steal grated floor.

The mountain of equipment rolled over to reveal a sixteen year old boy’s face. He opened a single black eye, and gave Riath an annoyed glare that could’ve seared metal. As always Yiolem the “Crusher” was grumpy whenever he woke early from his pre mission beauty nap. Not that her dark haired childhood friend ever had enough sleep.

“Knock it off Crusher I didn’t mean to wake you. Besides shouldn’t a boy your age like having a pretty girl on top of him?” Riath fluttered her eyes innocently. Crusher didn’t seem amused, and shoved Riath off like a sack of meat.

“Saggin if you want to flirt go find a fire mage,” Riath smiled at Yiolem using her nickname. Father had always thought she was like the wild saggin crows that haunt The Oni Mountains. He used to tell her it was her spirit animal with the way they fought for fun rather than for territory, or some other such nonsense Riath had never paid attention to. The name still stuck even in the steam powered airship with its endless pipes and smoky lighting.

“Yiolem don’t be so mean to Ri. The Le Kia mercs are so boring right now. Look at them. Put a little ice in their winds, and they start sniveling in the corner. I was told our sister tribe was tougher than that,” said a dark haired beauty with blue tribal tattoos on her cheeks. Her name was Shial, and she was Yiolem’s sister. At the sight of the girl Crusher rolled his eyes, and turned over ignoring the young black eyed tribeswoman as she sauntered over.

Shial wasn’t put off by her brother’s crass behavior. Instead she took advantage of his weak position by sitting on top of the giant boy with seductive grace. Riath leaned back, and smiled up at her best friend crinkling her own red tribal tattoos dancing across her face. Thank Laiyvan someone understood her on this flying tub.

“Don’t say it Shial! I’m still in denial. I never thought I’d see Mie Mie shivering like a lost cherim,” Riath pretended to faint. Na Mie or Mie Mie if you wanted to piss him off was one of the best fire mages Riath had ever seen. That of course meant that Shial, Yiolem, and Riath, the three rock mages in the unit, had to pester the poor sod till he begged for Sythis to claim him early.

He also despised ghost stories so it was quite the treat seeing the stoic warrior twitching inside his bulky armored jumpsuit. So of course, now was the time to pounce like sharks that smelt blood. Shial was quick to catch on, and jumped to her friend’s side with mock horror all over her face,” Mie Mie what have you done to the Saggin? Where are your balls? Oh the humanity his manhood was our first casualty!”

Riath peaked at the sound of nervous laughter mixing with the constant hum of engines. She could see the Le Kia mercenaries relax amongst the shacking pipes and bombs. It was about time these clouts loosened up. So what if there was a storm? They’d dropped in worse.

The commotion caught the attention of the Siashen officer at the front of the bombbay. As the blurry brown haired soldier stalked his way to the back of the airship Riath had to suppress her smile. It looked like Shadow Shen wanted to play at being a proper officer.

Okay, so he was a proper officer, but that didn’t mean the three rock mages couldn’t have some fun at his expense. One couldn’t let the fire mages get too comfortable especially when they were hosting a cross training program. Riath’s tribe, the Esinalians, had a friendly rivalry with their northern sister tribe the Le Kia, and that meant their pride as mercenaries was on the line. That was no small matter.

“I see that our Ensinali pets are as lively as ever. You going to take that abuse from a teenage girl Na Mie? To think I had so much respect for you,” Shadow Shen said walking up to the cluster of mercenaries with his magic powered magma rifle hanging over his shoulder, and his orange eyes studying the men.

“No offense Shadow Shen, but if you want to spar with the Man-Eater have at it. I need to protect what manhood I have left,” more laughter went through the warriors at Mie Mie’s retort. Tremors shook the metal airship, but the turbulence was ignored like the minor inconvenience that it was. Na Mie gave Shial the “Man-Eater” a wink with his golden eyes.

Mie Mie you were the best kind of wingman. Riath grinned, and shifted next to Yiolem for a better look. If she knew Shial this was going to get interesting.

“Yeah Sinbad Shen, why don’t you come play with me? We got five minutes. I can make you a man in three,” Shial stalked up behind the broad shouldered Siashen her gloved fingers tiptoeing their way up his insulated suite.

Whistles and jeers echoed throughout the ship almost drowning out the raging storm. The endless ice scourge outside, the Death mages waiting in their den, and the smell of sweaty mercenaries was all forgotten. That suited Riath just fine.

She hated when things got too serious, and watching Shial toy with Shadow Shen was just the kind release she needed before a drop. Besides, after two years of mutual pursuit their relationship was the least kept secret in both tribes. It was even encouraged. There was nothing like a good blood marriage to seal an alliance after all.

Shadow Shen for his part plastered a harsh smile on his face that just furrowed his light skinned forehead. He leaned in close to Shial’s ear, or would’ve if the playful rock mage hadn’t moved in such a way that the Siashen had to face her head on.

“Shial not in front of the men, and never before a mission”, Riath bit her lip to hold back the rising tide of laughter in her throat. The man made this too easy. She sure hoped the Death mages put up more of a fight. Things would get boring if they rolled over too.

“So serious. We’re just killing Death groupies, and stealing trinkets love. You getting scared mighty Shadow Shen?” Shial got in closer, and did something unspeakable with her tongue.

“Shial!” There was a slight look of panic filling the Siashen’s rugged face now. He was a soldier under all that armor after all.

“Fine, have it your way, but remember after this jump we all become Sythis Dancers. You won’t be my superior then. Try to prepare yourself little charim,” The dark haired she warrior left a lingering hand on Sinbad Shen’s shoulder before slinking back to her perch on top of Yiolem.

An abrupt siren filled the room joined by a flash of red. The lights dimmed, and the missile racks shifted to life. Riath was torn. On one hand this meant they would drop in two minutes. On the other hand it meant the Man-Eater couldn’t pester Shadow Shen anymore. Life could be so frustrating.

“Yiolem, Yiiiioooolem, come on Crusher it’s time to get up. Follow your sister’s voice to the light,” Riath shook her head at the sound of Shial gently waking her brother before the Saggin stuffed her long auburn hair into her helmet. Yiolem opened his eyes for a second before closing them again.

“Five more minutes Man-Eater.”

“Five more minutes and you’ll be free falling Crusher. Now latch onto your ride before I throw you off this tub without your jump jet!” Shadow Shen yelled over his shoulder. He was already speeding to the front of the ship, and away from his attentive lover.

“Hie Hie Shadow Shen,” Crusher growled pushing off his giggling sister. Spiked hooks sprouted from Yiolem’s suite letting him grab the missile above his head. With a great heave the giant dragged his massive sonic cannon up with his monstrous body.

“You forgot something Crusher,” Shial jammed Yiolem’s helmet on his head with an annoyed tsk that only a disapproving older sister can make. Crusher grunted his thanks, but Shial was already floating off to her missile. She flowed over the contraption with enough refined seduction that even Riath blushed.

As much as to distract herself from the show as it was to check her weapon the Saggin released her crystal clip inside her magma carbine. It was a sexy little weapon. Sure it didn’t have the kind of kick a good old fashion sonic blasting Oin Da had, but she was sleek. She also made up for her lack of stopping power with its munitions: rounds of solid molten led inside its Cubeen Crystals.

The wonder of the modern world was the Cubeen Crystal which allowed mages to store their power. With a little creativity magic had all kinds of uses, but its one drawback was the immense amount of energy required to use it. The Crystals fixed this rub.

Now all kinds of weapons, inventions, airships, missiles, and Laiyvan knew what else, were possible. In this case, a special designed crystal could blast incendiary rounds that could melt through solid steal. Such innovation could bring a tear to a mercenary’s eye. Now if only she could get hold of a storm mage pistol, and launch lightning bolts from the palm of her hands.

The red light shifted to an orange glow. Riath shook herself, and unleashed the hooks in her suit joining the last of the mercs mounting their bombs. She bounced a couple of times just to make sure she was hooked on right. She also had to fight off Shial’s playful attacks from behind her, but Riath was used to it. The commotion ceased when the orange light changed to a green glow.

Riath’s pulse quickened. She smiled a wild grin. Not much longer now. The suspense was driving the rock mage crazy. After what Riath thought was hours Shadow Shen lifted a gloved hand to the sky.


The Le Kia mercs laughter and muttering died.


Yiolem started pounding his arms against his missile in a steady beat.


Riath let out a deep breath. She was so impatient she started rocking her missile.


Shial started laughing. Some of the Le Kia joined Yiolem’s rhythmic pounding.


The bomb bay doors burst opened. Screaming winds laced with ice assaulted the mercenaries. In seconds their dark suits were covered in hail. Riaths squeals drowned out the tempest as her missile fell.

The Kiasha’s Wrath splashed into the warrior’s vision. Its multiple levels and bristling guns were somehow inviting to Riath. Funny the things one gets attached to. Even a zeppelin styled war machine of Death.

The vapor ship ejected just over fifty missiles. Half of the thin nosed warheads had shouting mercenaries clinging to their bellies like unwanted leeches on a pack of explosive sharks. As Riath fell another countdown went through her mind. At three her rocket ignited launching the projectile through the waves of sleet, and into the lightning racked clouds.

Hail beat against the mage’s body making the wind sting. Riath laughed in her helmet at the amazing sensation making her stomach scream.

The missile rodeo was always a wild ride. It was a new technique that only the Le Kia used. Most other countries and organizations thought it a little… crazy. What a bunch of ciaths.

The missiles crashed on through the tempest with ice forming on their tips. After a while Riath started to make out a looming wall of darkness ahead. The wall soon took shape showing a sky bound cliff jutting up from the sea.

Riath could just make out a cluster of flickering lights clinging to the ominous rock face. The mercenary felt her missile turn toward the lights, and knew it was their target. Those Death mages weren’t going to know what hit them.

Riath chewed her lip as she waited, and pushed down her adrenaline induced excitement. It was still too soon.

The mountain of rock filled the horizon. It was a tower amongst a sea of thrashing clouds. The lights grew larger and more distinct their purple and green flames making the Saggin impatient. Not yet. Wait for it.

Suddenly, she saw Shadow Shen fly past her his missile twisting at the abrupt change in weight. Now!

Riath detached her arms from the rocket feeling the wind drag her back against the thrashing warhead. A second later she released the spikes holding her legs in place.

She spun out of control for half an instant before her jump jets kicked on. Her vision cleared in time for her to watch her missile corkscrew before righting itself with the other thrashing rockets.

With a burst of speed the explosives lurched toward the hanging temple under the cliff face with the mercenaries close behind. Shial flew by Riath almost making her stall. The Man-Eater shook her head at her best friend, and sped off with Yiolem hot on her heels.

Shial was letting Shadow Shen get to her head if she thought Riath was going to let her strike first. The Saggin’s jets revved launching her into a full burn turning Riath into a bright streak.

Shadow Shen’s green helmet pulled out in front of the charge. He made a whirling motion with his hand that signaled the mercenaries into formation. The Le Kia surrounded the three Esinalians making a tight V behind the cluster of rockets.

Riath could see the individual rocks on the cliff face now. The lights came from a series of pagoda styled buildings hanging like vines beneath a piece of the rock that jutted out over the abyss below. Alarms sounded within the Death mage den making Riath smirk, “Too late boys.”

The missiles streaked into the solid stone buildings. They disappeared for a second before shaking the mountain in a wave of fire and debris. Riath saw three of the smaller hanging towers crumble and fall to their demise. A second later the Le Kia formation struck the wall of flames.

The fire mages cut a swath through the fierce energy clearing the path to their drop zone: a hanging courtyard in the center of the Death mage compound. The Le Kia mercenaries thrust back letting the Esinali warriors streak forward like three enraged stars bringing judgment to the planet below.

Riath channeled her pent up energy and momentum to her legs turning at the last second to slam into the courtyard. The impact would have shattered the entire yard if the rock mages hadn’t redirected the blasts.

The resulting energy wave vibrated several of the surrounding barracks to pieces. Deep gashes in the stone courtyard thrust forward through the rumble finding the glowing skinned Death mages. The dazed cultists were skewered by solid rock spikes that shot out from the enraged cracks in the stone. Riath loved being a rock mage. There was nothing like fashioning solid stone to your every whim.

The Saggin drew her magma carbine with a smile. Yiolem and Shial flanked her as the Le Kia mercenaries made their fiery landings. She could see the Death cultists streaming into the courtyard with their undead minions in tow. Now this was Riath’s kind of party.


Thanks for reading! The story continues with Chapter Two: The Harbinger of Death. Leave me a comment if you liked what you read, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book.