Okay, so I missed yesterday’s Sneak Peek. In return, I’m sharing the entire prologue (900 words) from the beginning of my new series, DungeonCrawl, for Changeling Press. 😀
DungeonCrawl 1: Loading, Please Wait
Gamer Elijah Burrows is a self-professed loner. Disowned by his parents for being gay, he takes solace in his video games. Out of all his favorites, his newest one–DungeonCrawl–is swiftly rising to take the number one spot for him. When a lightning strike hits his house, knocking out the power, Elijah is anything but happy.
Lack of electricity is the last thing he’s worried about the second he steps foot out his front door.
What happens when a gamer finds himself stuck in the world of his fantasies? And how the hell does he survive without the aid of a mouse and keyboard?
Elian Surgis crouched behind a boulder, shielded by a decaying tree trunk on one side and a copse of thorny bushes on the other. Bow drawn tight, he watched the guard pace back and forth. The timing had to be perfect. If Elian missed the shot, guards would pour out of the woodwork. He’d come this far without being seen. Times like this, he wished he’d learned magic. At least then he could turn himself invisible, sneak in, and steal the damn jewel without anyone knowing he’d ever been there.
Well, it wouldn’t do him any good now. He was here and he had a job to do. Hell, he loved his work, but he was sorely tempted to put an arrow through the forehead of the next merchant or noble who asked him to retrieve some lost item in a place infested with enemies. Why couldn’t they ever ask him to do something simple, like…wash their dog?
A second guard wandered out onto the narrow walkway, stopped, then turned and headed back into the tower. It was now or never. Elian loosed the arrow. The first guard jerked against the tree he’d been standing in front of, the arrow protruding from his head. No one had seen a thing. Elian readied his next arrow. The patrolling guard came out again. Elian released his second shot. The arrow slammed into the guard’s neck and sent him tumbling over the edge. A third guard ran out, sword drawn, and scanned the surroundings.
“Who’s there?” he shouted.
Elian snorted to himself. Right. Like he’d stand up and announce his presence. He nocked another arrow and shot the third guard. The man dropped to the ground in front of the first one. Three down, probably two or three more to go.
Elian waited a moment to be sure no one else would emerge from the tower. Convinced it was safe, he left his hiding place and snuck around bushes, trees, and rocks, edging toward the tower. The jewel he needed was in a locked box somewhere in that damned tower. He ignored the dead guards, reached the doorway, and flattened himself against the stone wall. When he peered around, he didn’t see anyone inside. Most towers had at least five guards, which meant the others were upstairs.
He slipped into the ground floor room. Barrels and sacks of what he assumed was drink and food sat along the walls. A part of him wanted to check them to see if they held anything remotely of value, but that would have to wait. He started up the wooden stairs, arrow at the ready. Thank the gods he’d been working on his sneaking abilities. As he neared the top, he spotted metal boots. He lifted his bow and aimed for the guard’s neck–the only vital place not covered by metal.
Footsteps sounded. Elian shot fast. The guard landed on the floor and Elian barely had another arrow nocked before a second guard rounded the corner.
Elian fired, but the guard knocked the arrow away with his sword. Elian tossed his bow down and drew both daggers off his hips. The guard slammed into him and they tumbled down the few steps to the ground floor. Elian kneed the guard, whose sword came dangerously close to Elian’s head for comfort. The guard howled in pain, rolling away. Elian leapt up and threw one dagger. It lodged in the guard’s throat. The man’s eyes widened and he made a grotesque gurgling sound. Elian grabbed the guard’s discarded sword and drove it through the man’s chest. Never let it be said he made a guy suffer, even if said guy had tried to behead him.
Elian retrieved his dagger and wiped the blood off on a burlap bag. He sheathed both daggers, picked up his bow, and headed up the steps slowly. He peered around the corner at the top and breathed in relief. No more guards. The chest he needed sat against a far wall. Elian pulled a lockpick from the pouch hanging from his belt and knelt down in front of the chest.
The lock refused to cooperate, of course. The pick broke. Elian grumbled and tossed it aside before pulling out another one. Thank the gods he had an abundance of them. This time the lock clicked and fell open. Elian stuck the pick back into his bag and lifted the box lid.
A bundle of cloth lay inside, tied with twine. Elian undid the knot and spread out the cloth. A red, oval-cut jewel shimmered, reflecting his young face back at him. He retied the twine and stuffed the wrapped jewel into his bag. Then he began rifling through the dead guards’ belongings for anything of use. He found several lockpicks, a small sack of gold coins, and bits of clothing. He left the clothes, but took everything else of value that wasn’t nailed down.
Getting back to town wouldn’t be easy. Darkness had already set in, which meant the roads would be littered with bandits. Of course, technically he was one as well, but he managed–so far, anyway–to keep his rather clandestine activities a secret from the city guards. He left the tower, bow once more at the ready.
Time to get the jewel to its rightful owner. There was a tavern bed with his name on it.