This is a teaser for one of our yet unpublished novels The War Machines of von Saarik. It is of course co-authored with my brother Tim Gibson. Its a nice chapter and does not spoil the story at all. I thought it would be something nice to share while we continue editing and get our books ready for sharing. Tell me what you think and if you want more!
Since this is Chapter 9, I will give you a few hints. Gunnar von Saarik is the main character. In Chapter 8 he triggered something unusual in some ancient ruins and was swept away from his friend and protector Sheila the Witch.
Gunnar felt an awful rushing sensation like he was moving forward, or more accurately, like he was standing still but the universe was rushing toward him. It was one of those sensations one feels in an aircraft that is dropping precipitously and Gunnar knew it did not bode well. A moment later a new panorama greeted his eyes, a night scene, and he recognized at once that he was no longer anywhere on Imtrund. A large orange moon hung low in the sky, unpleasantly close. There was no moon on Imtrund that he had ever seen, nor had he observed anything like this in his previous life.
The night air was warm, appropriate for the arid and dry landscape he found himself in. The desert sands extended like ocean waves into infinity. A glance all around him showed emptiness extending to the horizon in all directions. There was no sign of the arch, no sign of Imtrund, and no sign of Sheila, just waves of brown sand dunes that seemed to go on to that distant horizontal line where the black night sky met the mahogany ocean of sand grains.
The temptation to stay in place and wait for rescue was strong, but he had no water and did not relish the idea of waiting for death to come before Sheila did. Sitting in one location and slowly dehydrating offered little appeal to him.
The world was bare of any life forms, just a great void all around him and an eternity of sand that crunched faintly under his boots as he moved. Above, the large moon shed a constant glow, so that the desert was bathed in perpetual light. The little craters formed by his foot steps had shadows in their centers, as the moon light was coming in on an angle and didn't illuminate the bottoms of his footprints. The orange moon itself was strange; it had several large black patches on it, rock or water or mineral deposits, perhaps. Its surface was cratered and rugged, and close enough to whatever planet or place he was on that he could see cracks and irregularities in its exterior. He looked around him once more, knowing that the moon did not hold any promise of salvation, and saw only the loneliness of the desert.
One side of the sand dunes were always in shadow, the side opposite the moon. The other side was lit fairly well and it was through this beautiful and desolate expanse that Gunnar traveled for several hours. He was by now searching for water without any real hope of finding any. It was in this state, solitary and thirsty, that he found out that he was not after all the only entity in this new alien world.
Black chariots thundered past him, drawn by dark horses. The chariots were ornate and well carved, and were decorated with elaborate engraving and fluting. The steeds that pulled the vehicles were sinewy and strong, with ebony manes whipping behind them. The riders had their faces obscured by curved helmets, but their heads turned to regard him as they drove past. Half the riders were female, proudly holding a long spear in one hand and the reins in the other. The armor of the females was sumptuously decorated, and if the curves of the voluptuous armor were accurate, the bearers were beautiful women indeed.
Some of the men wore swords belted at their waists and glanced at him for but a moment as the small caravan of chariots thundered past, the chargers galloping along at a fair pace. Gunnar called to them but they paid him no heed. Where they went he couldn't tell as the group of about thirty chariots disappeared over some sand dunes and into the night. He followed them as he supposed they were heading to a destination of some sort, and he needed liquids soon to survive.
In the distance, out of sight, came sounds of crashing steel which suggested that the charioteers were engaged in battle of some sort. It was to this cacophony that he moved, drawn by the knowledge that the winning side might be persuaded to render him aid in the form of even a few droplets. He moved over the dunes, always looking ahead, the silence of the night air slowly returning as the sounds of battle died away. From the returning quiet, it appeared the battle was over. Finally he crested a hill and half stumbled, half slid down the other side to see a scene of carnage that somehow, even with all his war experience, still troubled him.