Sword of the Saints: Sinner Introduction

“Arius the Vagrant, Arius the Despoiler, Arius the Terrible, even Arius the Rake,” a villainous man certain to deserve such a variety of condemnation hurled from high and low, a pirate of no small notoriety with a fleet massive enough to more than worry coastal settlements both great and small.  On the other hand, elsewhere, in other climes chattering from the tongues of distant throngs he’s whispered heroic “Arius the Great, Arius the Magnificent, even Arius the Conqueror,” a long-time veteran, bitter exponent, and even savior of the Perihelion.  A complicated man, no doubt, and a man enveloped in a quagmire of myth and wild mistestimony, absent as he is an honest biographer.  To that end I will stick to the facts and dispel wild rumor, whether through the testimony of my own eyes or from the words of the man himself or his many lieutenants and companions.  What happened and what didn’t, these are objective experiences, facts blindingly clear under the great auspices of everlasting Brassos, high in the sky.  What follows is the accidental saga of Arius, the feller of the seven cities, the pirate lord of the Vorago Intervention, the endless seas that separate the sacred space Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter One

It was the sickly rollicking back and forth amidst a medium sea that sent men, land-lovers all, bound hand and foot hither and thither to expel the contents of their tenuous viscera upon the blood-stained planks laid below quivering feet.  Blood, vomit, and shit—it was everywhere, crossed every boundary, and found port-of-call between unsuspecting knees and unwilling digits.  His head, throbbing, pulsating, was braided with more than the mere consequence of a night’s heavy drinking, gift to those that can’t stand the light of day. “Wha-wha-wha,” he began, a creature damaged, but he couldn’t finish, as the poison’s garden delights had only begun to ebb from their magnificent apex.  “Who who who?” he rejoined, blearily looking out from between the pin-points of his bascinet into a wandering basement realm of meandering skylight. “It smells like shit in here,” he muttered to which a hoarse repeating cough was his only rejoinder.  “Who the hell?  What the hell?” His vision, with the painful lack of urgency given to living flesh, connected upon a singular focus, and he looked this way and that amidst his new close compatriots, slavishly garbed sun-scarred  men altogether unified in chorus of miserable groaning punctuated with the throaty Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Two

The irregular plod of bored seamen, their eyes virtually blind against the unmitigated glare of a lackadaisical sea absent a cloud in the sky, came suddenly and screeching to a halt with the unmistakable clink of the armor in the hold below struggling in vain against the iron yokes of the sturdy bonds.  A windowed door creaked open succeeded by the heavy plodding of an overweight sailor pounding his hard wooden soles in some facsimile of eager glee across the main deck while the clinking of the struggling man cloistered in the hold below grew ever louder in apparent growing panic and developing terror only coming to a faux-friendship cessation when the footfalls began to reverberate down and down the half-rotted staircase whither hailed the stinking and feces polluted hold perverted with the broken dreams of countless stolen men. “Arius!  Arius!  So good to sea you again, my old friend!  How has life treated you these last ten years?” Against the wobbling of his vision and the throbbing of his skull, the cavalier in struggle met the gaze of the mustachioed wassailer, visible only in silhouette in the virtual darkness of the hull punctuated with the day-star’s glory just rounding Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Three

“I knew you were stupid, Macheda,” the tawny-bearded cavalier rejoined, his voice wavering as if the words unusual.  “But there’s nothing I can do for you now.  No more cheap whores and expensive swords.  You’ve already stepped into your grave.  Your crew will arrive insufficiently.  My apologies, in advance.” With the experience of decades, the captain’s hand flashed to the golden-engraved ivory handle of his cavalry saber, bitten and struck with indelible marks of edge upon edge blows, a survivor—if not always a victor—of a lifetime’s worth of battles, what had once been an excellent prize robbed from the stiffening corpse of an overcome privateer. “Comrades,” the captain announced with a concluding whistle, “the cargo’s escaping!” “Fool,” the cavalier mumbled, as he stepped into the elegant crescent of the falling saber, which clattered helplessly against his pauldrons.  Grasping the captain firmly by the offending wrist, he launched his gauntleted fist with the force of an angry god into his low cheek-bones, which yielded into the air the sanguine spray of uprooted teeth which danced upon the shit-soaked deck like dice. Having liberated the long-lived saber from his tumbling opponent, with a single motion handed down in the scope of long Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Four

Like the seven winged bearer of light rising from the deepest throes of endless Erebus, he shined in the undifferentiated dark like sparkling starlight, tawny mane fluttering in an imaginary wind reflected upon only his unblemished features.  Time seemed to slow, time seemed to crawl, and time seemed to cease as slowly he ascended the ashen and grimy staircase at the head of the starving and insatiate damned, doomed to live evermore—according to the firmament’s canon—eking out a miserable existence underneath the unfeeling tread of the living, persecuted for merely being on the wrong side of fate while the common man and the abbot both call it “justice.”  The sailors were dumbstruck, weapons held only limply in their crinkled hands, having already long forgotten the miserable death of their leader and employer, whose head even now tumbled back and forth upon the shit-riddled deck, reverberating through the timbers as its fractured fence of the mouth rolled to and fro.  His smile was remarkable, his teeth shining white, his cheeks a-glow with genuine crimson; they nearly threw down their weapons then and there.  But he wouldn’t stop, climbing at a resting rate ever closer, step-by-step, as all and one were universally Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Five

In the dark tumbling dungeons of Erebus flooded with the endless tears of dead and dying mortals, even there is light, as bubbling forth, yearning to crest into the amicable shine of day and join the everlasting sky came a man’s final panicked and exhausted exhortations and wild exclamations as he vainly grasped and fussed at the fastenings of his divine armor appointed in whirling stars as he sank further and further into the nether vorago voracious to steal his mortal breath forevermore.  On all sides, the broken and blasted bodies of slaves and sailors drifted aimlessly downwards, strange and blinkless as if the very wax figurines of some monstrous diorama.  Just the broken tip of a sailor’s lance had he, dulled with the long years of use and abuse—now little more than a bludgeon, his sole implement against the sinking steel dragging him ever downwards—slow, slow, proving ever more finally his downfall.  Garbling black imprecations at the outrageous cast of fate muddled in the blackening waters threatening the bloodied burst of his eardrums to undoubtedly attract the predatory gaze of murderous things conceived before the first tread of land, exasperated he tried and tried with every last exasperated essay Read More …