The following is an excerpt from the draft of my upcoming work tentatively entitled, Tempest: Everdark Saga Book I. As this post title suggests, this work will blend the traditional western saga into a work of fantasy for what I hope will be an entertaining tale. As always, comments are welcomed and encouraged.
‘The exhaustion pulled Rhone McClean’s features into the dust under his battered body. Blood oozed out of the laceration in his left shoulder soaking his already soiled white shirt. The cowboy raised himself to his knees, stabbed the blade of his weapon into the charred earth and leaned on the hilt of his broadsword. His legs trembled beneath his torn spirit as he lifted himself up off of the desert floor. McClean examined the damage done to his mortal shell. He lifted the black duster and matching vest to get a better look at the cut in his shoulder. The claw of the winged nightmare had managed to cut right through the gold scale-mail. He winced as he pulled the shirt away from the torn flesh. His left thigh had also been torn open by the talons of the monster. Rhone’s black slacks were ripped and the leg armor was pried open where the claw had cut.
Rhone tugged the brim of his hat down as a gust of warm Everdark wind blew up into his face. The foul odor of spent flint and brimstone clouded his nostrils. He halfway expected something to come right out of the breeze and try to strangle him then and there. Just one of those things he had gotten accustomed to in this unpredictable world.
Brilliant bolts of light streaked across the heavens in flashes of purple and red. Their brief lives illuminated the hellish landscape and the mound of scaly gray flesh before him. McClean sheathed his blade on his back and staggered over to the mortal remains of the Beast. None of its seven heads so much as whimpered when he kicked its chest with his good leg.
“Serves you right, you son of a bitch,” Rhone said pulling his revolver out of its holster on his right hip.
The outlaw scanned the battlefield as he chambered six fresh rounds into his trusty sidearm. A massive nine-pointed star within a circle pulsed in crimson light ahead. Rhone’s winged companion Bellerophon lay just beyond that; his snow-white hide covered in deep bleeding wounds. Rhone had to go through the circle and finish this. It was the only thing left standing between him and the love of his life, Clara. Who or whatever it was beyond this gate still had her, and was doing God knew what to her.
“No time like the present,” he said starting toward the pulsing gate.
The outlaw nearly stumbled to his face again when his right boot drug up something shimmering just beneath the desert soil. He turned and knelt down over the golden object.
“There you are,” Rhone said tugging the shield from the clutches of the scorched earth.
Its surface had seen better days. The left half of the angular shield had been charred and tarnished by the flames and acid of the Beasts’ many heads. McClean rubbed the right portion of it with the sleeve of his duster bringing it back to its former luster.
“That’s seen better days, too,” he said staring at his own reflection in the shield’s gold surface.
He smoothed down his thin moustache with the back of his right thumb and got lost in his own blue gaze. Why her? Of all of the mortals in the world, why did it choose Clara? The Oracle had given him the answer, but he still found it a harsh bite to swallow. Rhone had murdered just to collect enough souls to get here. Not to mention the hordes of undead he had been forced to overcome to free the seven towers.
“How in the hell did I wind up here?” he asked his reflection.
It sure was a long way from the dirt road that led to her front porch back in West Virginia.’