“Father’s going to be mad.”
Vultera swallowed, hard. The two had searched for hours on end, combing all points of Crescent Valley, but to no avail. Their prey had slipped from their grasp.
Of course they could blame Fang Force for their failure – and likely would – but no excuse could temper Lord Nihilex’s legendary rage.
They pressed into the caves, hand in hand, ready to face the inevitable.
They could run, but to do so would only prolong the inevitable. Better to get it over and done with, and to suffer only a little before the end.
After a slow, dreadful march, the two came into the throne room, where Wiseman hunched in wait. He raised his head, but did not reveal the face under his hood.
“Vultera, Feareus,” he croaked. “Lord Nihilex has been expecting you.” Continue reading “Fang Force #42 – “Bad Blood: The New Faces of Evil” (Part 6)”
In all the days of his near-endless existence, it was the closest Fantom had ever been to oblivion. Born from nothingness, he would soon return to it, crushed in the grip of his monstrous step-brother, whose hatred of him transcended realms.
It was pointless to resist. This fight found him knowing that he couldn’t win. At best the abyssal prince could reminisce on what was, what could have been, before the unlife was choked from him.
“Goodnight, Fantom,” Feareus snarled, “for the last time!”
“Not if I can help it!”
Red Fang launched into the monster’s back, planted her feet between his shoulders, and wrenched his chin. Her strength needn’t have to be greater; it was distraction enough for Feareus to loosen his hold.
The other heroes charged, tackling Feareus’ burly arms one at a time. They clung for all their lives as the monster threw them this way and that. Still they held tight, leaving Feareus little room to move.
“Get them off me!” he bellowed. Continue reading “Fang Force #41 – “Bad Blood: The New Faces of Evil” (Part 5)”
It’s worth noting that while exposure to sunlight is not fatal to the living vampire, it remains an irritant; particularly to Drake, who while asleep on a branch fell into the gradual shifting of sunlight through the leaves. He woke with a groan, and swatted at the rays.
“Who put the sun there?”
Deciding that he’d slept long enough, the leather-clad vampire dropped to the ground on all fours. He stretched and he yawned, readying himself for the few hours until his next scheduled nap.
“Suppose I should check on the others,” he muttered to nobody.
Drake shuffled through the backstreets. There wasn’t much to see.
Every so often he’d come across a yard where a child, too young to know better, smiled up to him. His smirks were closer to sneers. It had been hundreds of years since he was a child; too long to remember how they worked.
He discovered his teammates in an empty lot. They weren’t alone, however, as a man clutched what he could only assume was his daughter to his chest. All six were fixated on something by the far wall. Continue reading “Fang Force #40 – “Bad Blood: The New Faces of Evil” (Part 4)”
For Fantom, moving through human civilization proved no mean feat. They were, after all, sensitive creatures, and prone to alarm. Thus he deployed subterfuge, traveling away from crowded population centers. Hiding spots were plentiful if one knew where to look, though served him for very long.
He found refuge in the bushes in an undeveloped lot. Garbage lay strewn in the grass. Who knew how long since this land was touched? It suited his needs, for the moment.
Fantom unclasped his armor, and with a sudden hiss of pain removed the plates. Viscous, incandescent purple flowed freely, stirring an icy fog. He pressed the wound, but it did little to stem the flow running between his fingers.
What a fool he’d been. Lord Nihilex proved more than his equal. Now he was paying the price.
The prince closed his eyes, for how long he couldn’t say. Thoughts melted into one another, never quite reaching culmination. Time lost meaning.
When he next looked he was not alone, and in the most unlikely of company. Continue reading “Fang Force #39 – “Bad Blood: The New Faces of Evil” (Part 3)”
Perhaps it was inevitable, Fantom thought, that in a world without Queen Lacuna to divide them, his blade would inevitably find his step-father’s back. Abandon surged through his body. He raised the scimitar high, pausing to steady his hand – the final moment before changing his fate.
Steel landed with a wet squelch, buried in the flesh of the shadow conqueror. But alas, it was not the intended neck that met his blade.
Lord Nihilex pressed against the weapon wedged in his palm, and with the single eye pulsing turned to his betrayer. The tentacles of his beard flailed. He pried from his knees and seethed, otherwise unfazed by the wound.
“You don’t know how I’ve waited for this day,” Lord Nihilex said. “Always so single minded, so jealous. It was a mistake to think we could share a Queen, no matter how much we love her.”
Fantom pressed for all his fury. The blade ran only a few inches further down the despot’s hand before it stopped. He could drive the sword no further. Continue reading “Fang Force #37 – “Bad Blood: The New Faces of Evil” (Part 1)”
A hundred families had prepared eulogies for the ones they’d lost. Despite the horrors that beset Crescent Valley these past months, none struck so deep as the tragedy of Oldtown Junction. History would tell of the dark day when Fang Force failed in their duty.
However, it was also a time of miracles, and history was not yet written.
A little boy clung to a statue and screamed as the men in uniform took her into the back of a van. ‘For safekeeping,’ they told him; ‘we’ll keep her safe’, as though any assurance could be enough. Nothing could soothe the vision of a mother’s leaving, save perhaps her return. Though even a child, for all the wonder they held, knew how likely that was.
The fighting in the distance stopped, and the tremors stilled. Fang Force stood victorious; they didn’t need a TV or radio to be sure. On any other day it would be a cause for celebration.
Then something peculiar happened. The air became warm, and so did the surface of the statue. Throughout the vehicle, grey faded into pinks, browns, and creams of all shades and tints. The workmen were careful not to leap back as the stone in their fingers turned soft, and once rigid figures began to move. Continue reading “Fang Force #36 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 6)”
For once in his unnatural life, Lord Nihilex was in a bright mood; as bright as a cave-dwelling void being was capable, anyhow. On squat legs he bounded the steps leading to the throne and pumped his fists high.
“Red Fang has fallen!” he decreed. “Without leadership, Fang Force is sure to crumble!”
The freaklings crashed into each other, agitated and excited, and echoed with a high, squeaking groan that in some reality passed for cheering.
Among the throng was Qimos, the bipedal mosquito and hero of the hour. Somewhere under the depressed needle hanging over his face was a smile. Minute as his mouth was it stretched to its limits, and if seen would have shone with sickly blue cheeks.
“You’ve done us proud, Qimos,” Lord Nihilex continued. “Of all the generals under my rule you have been the most effective; more effective, even, than my pitiful excuse for a step-son – Fantom!”
Qimos hesitated, unsure of what to make of the comparison. Best not to question it, he thought; best to fall before his master and give him the reverence he deserved. Continue reading “Fang Force #33 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 3)”
Time has little meaning for immortals such as Fantom. The air was musty and thick with the smell of rot. Where he sat was no doubt the resting place of countless before him, not that it bothered him. He would wait until doomsday for Queen Lacuna’s return.
He stilled upon hearing footsteps. There was no mistaking Lord Nihilex’s gait. The shadow conqueror rattled his talons across the bars of his step-son’s cell.
“Curs’tac has been destroyed,” Lord Nihilex said.
The prince hummed. “He was lucky to survive as long as he did.”
Lord Nihilex threw his weight against the cell where stalactites and stalagmites had were closed like interlocking teeth. “Luck or not, he had an advantage; one which you jeopardised with your… your arrogant posturing!”
“My point still stands,” Fantom said. “Your affection for our Queen, deserved though it is, has made you dull. You have the power to raze worlds, ‘my Lord’, but will not lift a finger to claim them.”
Were anyone else present they might have feared for Fantom. Who among them was so bold to speak to one of the great Abyssal rulers in such a way? Continue reading “Fang Force #30 – “Shell Shock: The Indestructible Foe” (Part 6)”
Wiseman ran his palms over the crystal ball, and through it revealed the goings on in Crescent Valley. What it showed put the court ill at ease; less because a promising general had fallen, and more for the fury it would inspire from their master.
Lord Nihilex did not disappoint, and stormed across the obsidian tiles. They cracked under his feet, and rattled loose the stalactites. His bellows carried through the tunnels, and into the mouth of the Abyssal Realm.
“Of all the clumsy, inept sycophants to march through these halls, this one grates me the most!” he roared. “To think that I had hopes for Curs’tac, picking off the entire Fang Force one by one, only to be betrayed by his own foul smell!”
The absurdity was too much, and prompted the shadow conqueror to kick over a table, then the candle holder, and to brush all the cups from a nearby table. His servants, and his children, cowered in his wake. To even breathe out of turn might set off a chain reaction they may not survive.
“I’ll instruct our next generals to shower, Father,” Vultera said. The harpy shook so much that a rain of feathers fell from her body. Continue reading “Fang Force #29 – “Shell Shock: The Indestructible Foe” (Part 5)”
The caves growled and the wind like teeth pressed into the monsters from behind. Even Curs’tac, indestructible as he was, hesitated when drawing closer to the throne. He took refuge behind Fantom, whose advance continued.
“You must be out of your mind,” the creature said. “Y-you pulled me away without orders. Victory was in our grasp! I’ll make sure he knows it was you! I’ll make sure he has your head!”
Were there eyes behind his mask Fantom might have rolled them. It was not uncommon for would-be generals to prattle with bravado, but this one was particularly grating.
“I have called you here for a purpose,” he said.
Stalactites trembled, and the ground cracked. Greater than the draw of the Abyssal Realm was the presence that loomed at its mouth, hanging in the darkness. The shadow conqueror’s bellow gripped at the tar covered things the monsters called hearts.
“AND WHAT PURPOSE MIGHT THAT BE!”
It was not a question; it was a challenge, and one that only a fool would take upon themselves. Lesser creatures had known oblivion for speaking out of turn. Was now the time for Fantom? Continue reading “Fang Force #27 – “Shell Shock: The Indestructible Foe” (Part 3)”