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Feb 9, 2014

Sneaky Sunday: Hunter's Quest by Kasper Beaumont

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  1:50 PM

Todays sneak peak is Chapter on eof a Facebook friend, Kasper Beaumont's marvelous fantastical book. Kasper is also on the lookout for reviews for this book so if you are interested and intrigued after reading this, contact her for a smashwords download code to yout free copy.
Thsi one really is worth your help a writer out will you?

Contact Kasper via: 

Just drop a line with your email or request her's.

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Chapter 1: Set Sail Me hearties, yo ho.

“With the sea spray in yer face
An’ the glint of gold in yer ear
The mainsail’s set
And it’s a sure bet
We’re a sight that landlubber’s fear

“Through the briny blue waters we sail
With the skull and bones waving up high
From the crow’s nest above
To the rat hole below
Ev’ry inch my pleasure and pride

“From the mists her barbed prow breaks
As we swoop o’er the foam
All the brigands on-board
Sing an awestricken word
For our mistress, the sea, is our home
Our mistress, the sea, is our home”
The crew of the sailing ship ‘Buccaneer’ finished their shanty with a loud ‘Hurrah’ and a jaunty solo on the fiddle as the villainous-looking seamen returned to oiling the decks and tending sails.  They were a well-weathered crew, with long dread-locks covered by faded bandanas, and their salt-encrusted clothes looked to have seen better days. 

The best dressed was Captain Halldor, whose dark, double-breasted jacket had gold buttons and was made of thick wool.  His dark matted hair was covered by a metal helm with a line of horns protruding from the centre of his forehead to the nape of his neck.  He, like his crew, carried a well-worn cutlass in a leather scabbard attached to the belt round his waist, donned shortly after leaving the quiet harbour of Port Lesslar. 

Ploughing north through rough waters off the Relorian coast, the ship rose and fell through choppy waves as they navigated their way through the dangerous rocks and coral islands of the Eastern Reefs to the Warrigal River. 

Below decks, the passengers huddled in the cramped space were relaxing.  The dwarf Baja Stormhammer rolled his eyes at the singing before turning back to his card game with a knight, a halfling named Randir, and two large crew members who by now were down to their last coins.  The auburn-bearded dwarf was a shrewd poker player and had manipulated the game several times, allowing the unsuspecting seamen to have small wins to keep them playing.  One of them smiled a black-toothed smile as he placed three queens on the table and reached across to drag the small pile of silver towards him.

Sir Varnon was a tall blond knight, whose only armour on this voyage was a steel breastplate and of course, his sword and shield, which were never far from him.  Because of his years of card playing back in the Diagro Plains, he could tell that Baja was in control of almost every hand and he just played on for lack of any other distraction during the long sea voyage.  In truth, the knight was missing the youthful enthusiasm of his young squire, Jacab, left behind on the Zanzi Grasslands with rest of his army. 

Only eight hunters and three fairies were on this important mission to the Eastern Outpost of Desolate Castle, where they knew invaders were coming by portal.  The rest of the army was going underland through the Baretop Mountains to Conlaoch Diarmada, the great Elven City.  They would warn the elves and the men of the West Lands that the Vergai warriors were coming to make war with the good people of Reloria.

As Baja shuffled the cards and the winning seaman gave a gleeful chuckle, Sir Varnon’s eyes panned round the room at his companions.  Their leader was Asher Grey, a secretive shape-shifter from Flame Mountain.  He had led them to victory on the grassy plains of Bamber’s Brook and appeared unworried by their seaward journey.  As usual, his spiky black hair stuck out at all angles and he was dressed in metal-studded black leather.  His yellow-green eyes glowed slightly in the dim light below the deck. 
Asher stood and stretched his long arms and legs as much as he could in the cramped space.  “I’ll be going abovedecks to check on this infernal weather,” he said as he followed the sailors up the companionway, a rickety ladder located between decks.
Young Randir threw in his cards, his coins all lost to more experienced players. His tiny bond-fairy had been flitting around the ship’s hold and he sighed wistfully, wishing he’d seen the other players’ cards through her eyes.  At least then he might have a chance of winning.  Randir-La gave him a smile and flew over to share her positive energy with him.
The halfling stretched, glancing at his best friend, Fendi, who was curled up in the corner asleep, his pretty black-haired fairy in his lap. 
The halfling huntress, Sienna, crouched next to him coughing gently into a large bucket.  He could not see Sienna-Li, her little male fairy, but he was obviously close by, because of the halfling-fairy bond.  One was never far from the other for they shared emotions and experiences.  No doubt his poor stomach was heaving too.
The other two hunters were swinging in hammocks slung from wooden beams.  One of them, Baja’s brother Raja, was playing a low, soothing tune on his pan pipes to help ease the sea-sickness of the halflings. 

Swinging next to him was a pale elf, with long white hair, who seemed unaffected by the escalating rocking of the ship which was making the others squeamish.  Daeron was from the elven city of Conlaoch Diarmada and sometimes had visions of the elven Princess, Shari-Rose, who was imprisoned in far-off Vergash.  At the moment he was fast asleep and from the smile that danced across his fine features was clearly having a pleasant dream.

Back at the poker table, the two seamen kicked their chairs backwards and left the table in a huff while Baja smiled triumphantly, raking the pile of silver coins into the engraved wooden chest that he always carried.  The sailors’ eyes widened at a quick glimpse of diamonds and rubies sparkling in the lamplight, before the chest was tightly latched and stowed once more under the dwarf’s stocky arm.  The ominous glares they cast as they climbed the rickety companionway sent a shiver down Randir’s spine.

“Now will you believe me?” whispered Raja urgently into his brother’s hairy ear.  “If the ship’s name didn’t give it away, then the song most surely does.  These callous fiends are undoubtedly pirates, which means we’re in danger of losing the entire Princess’s treasure.”  Raja was a well-educated dwarf from Diamond City and the thought of being aboard a pirate ship almost turned his red beard grey.  Holding his head in his hands, he bemoaned the fates that had led him here.
“Raja, would you please keep your voice down,” replied his brother calmly.  Baja was the elder of the dwarven brothers and did not appear even slightly concerned at their predicament.  “We knew the score when we came aboard.  Asher bought passage for all of us hunters and surely you must have noticed Captain Halldor’s gleeful look when he saw the rates being paid.  He’s a pirate for sure, but we are counting on his satisfaction with his exorbitant fee for our safe passage.  Surely he’d be hard pressed to steal that much in a year!” 

“He’ll have a chance to win it back,” said Baja nonchalantly.  “After all, we’re stuck on this ship for another week together.  I’ll let him win the next couple of games to appease his temper and then collect it just before we make landfall.”  Baja took out his treasure once more and proceeded to count the coins into piles on the table.  His enjoyment was interrupted by the sound of many heavy feet coming down the companionway.

“So, what’s this about you stealing coins from our shipmates?” growled Captain Halldor, a fierce pirate with a nasty scar where his nose used to be.  “I think you should be handing that chest over to us for safe-keeping while aboard the Buccaneer,” he added with a sneer and the hunters suddenly realised they were facing twelve pirates with cutlasses drawn.
The two seasick halflings, Fendi and Sienna quickly roused and stood as best they could on the heavily rolling deck.  Their fairies surreptitiously handed them weapons behind their backs, a small broadsword and bow and arrows.

The other hunters drew their weapons and kicked the chairs aside.
“Posts ev’ryone, a foul storm’s a-brewing!” came a cry from the main deck above them as the ship shuddered violently, pummelled by increasingly heavy seas.
The pirates’ paused, debating whether to heed the summons or fight their passengers for the treasure.
The hunters seized the moment to gather at the far end of the deck. Baja held a razor sharp dragon’s tooth dagger, Daeron, Varnon and Fendi drew their swords, Raja an axe, and the other two halflings stood behind, clutching bows and arrows.
At a silent nod from Captain Halldor, the pirates advanced once more, yellowed teeth barred and cutlasses outstretched, and the hunters braced themselves for battle.
“You’ve something belonging to us,” said the Captain menacingly, “hand it over and we’ll let you live.”  He gestured with his rusty cutlass towards Baja, who was hiding behind Sir Varnon and gripping the wooden chest with one hand, his dragon tooth dagger with the other.
“Over my dead body!” shouted the dwarf while Randir and Sienna loosed their arrows into the attacking pirates.  The others rushed forward, meeting amidships in a clash of metal.  They were outnumbered by the pirates, but were strong fighters from their encounters with the Vergai.
Raja fought fiercely, swinging his battleaxe in a wide arc in front to prevent the pirates breaking through to the halflings behind him.  Randir and Sienna managing to shoot an occasional arrow, but were hampered by the rolling motion of the storm-driven ship.
Fendi fought well against the taller pirates, ducking their unpredictable blows, while Daeron and the knight either side of him were engaging two pirates apiece.

The agile fairies flitted round the lower deck with tiny knives, cutting hammocks out of the path of the hunters, and tangling and tripping the seasoned sailors.
Even so, the skirmish appeared to be going in the pirates’ favour and the Captain called out gleefully, “I’ll enjoy gutting you all like fish and taking that pretty young halfling for my prize.”  He gestured at the huntress busily loading an arrow in her longbow.
“Over my dead body!” yelled Fendi furiously, standing defensively in front of plucky Sienna, while she fired two arrows which narrowly missed the cocky captain.
The grizzled pirate laughed and brandished his cutlass wildly, but failed to notice Asher sneaking down the companionway behind him.
Rapidly assessing the situation, the mountain man responded by throwing three knives into Captain Halldor’s back.  The pirate crashed to the deck and Asher quickly leapt down, raking a knife across his throat before retrieving the other knives from Halldor’s body.

Three pirates furiously charged at Asher, flattening him against the hull of the ship.  He could not manoeuver enough to throw his knives, but kicked fiercely with his steel-tipped boots.
The ship’s rolling increased dangerously as the storm intensified and the fighters slid across the deck when the vessel suddenly listed to one side.  The hunters grabbed for the torn hammocks to catch their balance, while voices were heard above the gale blowing abovedecks:
“Shorten that sail.”
“Launch the sea anchor.”
“Turn her into the wind.”
“Batten down the hatches.”
Now the pirate crew panicked and abandoned their attack, scrambling back up the companionway to the main deck.
Randir and Daeron peered cautiously through the hatch.  Sailors were rushing about trying to secure sails and rigging, but a waterspout was bearing down on the wildly rocking ship and the pirates’ yells were drowned out as a wall of water swamped the deck.  Halfling and elf crashing to the floor while Asher and Sir Varnon rushed to close the hatch. 
Waves crashed against the ship, rolling it flat on its starboard side for a frighteningly long time before righting itself.  The wooden hull creaked and groaned with the weight of the water, and leaks appeared in the hull.

“I doubt this vessel will survive the storm,” declared Sir Varnon earnestly.  “We must prepare to abandon ship.  We shall lash some barrels together to keep us afloat.”  Asher nodded and opened the hatch to the lower hold where barrels were floating in waist-deep water.  Fishing several out, they tied them in pairs to form a raft.
Just as they finished, a shudder shook the stricken vessel, the main mast snapped off below decks, and a surge of water swamped the hunters, desperately trying to hang on to the barrels.  Then the ship split in two with a thunderous crack and they were abruptly adrift in a wild, tumultuous sea.

“Randir, Sienna!” called Fendi in vain.  White-topped waves surged at him and he was dragged under by the swirling, churning sea and unable to find his way to the surface. 
The terrified halfling struggled fruitlessly in the wild sea; not knowing which way was up as he tumbled over and over.  His fairy was dislodged from his pocket and swam frantically to catch up to him.  Fendi tried to swim for the surface, but the dark sky made it difficult to tell up from down and he felt the air draining from his lungs. Frantically trying to find a way up through the roiling sea, he made a last desperate attempt to reach the surface, but the sky did not appear and he slowly sank into the depths of the ocean.  The grey sea became white flashes of light before his eyes, then the light faded as he sank deeper in the salty water.

Don't forget to drop Kasper a line for your free copy in exchange of an honest review.

Contact Kasper via: 

Just drop a line with your email or request her's.

About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


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