"Oh, that's... well, it was a commission, you see, for Lord Ferasi. Who is not exactly going to be paying for it now, eh? So one of the boys thought I should bring it around, see if you wanted it. Consider it our little gift..."
The armorer opened it carefully. Inside, mounted not on a bed of straw but on a specially-carved wooden stand, was a sword. No, more than that. Fifty-four inches from point to pommel, with a broad blade and a two-handed hilt, it was a shal hecta, the largest sword ever made by the Karosian Empire and among the deadliest. This particular example was one of the finest, its edge honed to razor keenness, constructed of shapesteel and cold silver, and it was elaborated decorated along its entire length. Erid ran his hand down the blade, feeling the shallow inscription written there. In the ancient runes of Old High Karosian, it read, "Nationforger".
...Erid, acting on a sudden compulsion, picked up the blade in both hands, testing its weight. "I accept your gift, guild master. This is a tool of war, an artwork of destruction. I will be sure to use it as it was intended."
Nationforger tells the tale of growing empires and conflicting interests across the medieval world of Helade. Hundreds of years after the collapse of the Empire of Karos, former imperial provinces and independent city-states dot the landscape. From the southern forests comes the growing power of the Eridian Empire, founded on a single concept: to sweep away the city-states, which it sees as stagnant and corrupt. From the eastern frontiers comes a rival, Nova the Black Blade, who sees the new order as a threat to her own power and prestige. Caught in the middle of these warring factions are the people of the Successor States, who will defend their birthright of power - no matter the cost.
Nyreen's first blow was a forward snap-kick that smashed against his helmet, throwing it from his loose grip and sending it skittering along the ravine. She stepped in close, swinging both fists at his head, and he slipped away from the punches, ducking both. He threw a left-hand punch, which she caught in both hands, slamming her palms together with a crack of splitting armor. He rammed his other fist into her stomach, driving her back. The two fighters separated a pace, circling each other, Nyreen catching her interrupted breath, Orvash peeling off his damaged gauntlet and shaking out his hand.
He gave her an ugly smirk, flexing his bare, taloned fingers. "What, no magic powers? So determined to stand on your own two feet? You know you want to, biot-"
She rushed him, driving him back towards the ravine wall before he could respond. "I am not a biotic!"
He swung a wild punch at her midsection, but it was poorly angled and skittered off her armor. A second, downward blow bounced off her thigh, slowing her mad charge but not stopped her. His back slammed against the dirt wall, shaking loose a rain of pebbles, and she pinning him in place with one arm, her whole weight pressing him to the dirt. Her free hand swung up, gauntlet knuckles scraping his chestplate, and connected with his jaw while he flailed, clawing at her face with his bare hand.
For a second time the fighters drew away from each other, this time for good. Orvash had gone pale, his breathing labored. One of his mandibles' lower half hung at a slightly different angle, evidence of a minor but highly painful fracture. There was a smear of blood decorating his bare hand; it wasn't his own.
Gingerly, Nyreen touched the skin over her left eye and found the gash, short but deep, seeping blue blood slowly but steadily. "Run along, kid. We're done here."
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A fan work set in the Mass Effect universe, Talon Scars explores the background of Talon mercenary leader and freedom fighter Nyreen Kandros. Long before the Cerberus invasion of Omega, Nyreen is a soldier for the Turian Hierarchy, serving with the loyalty and distinction expected of a turian officer. But her life and career are interrupted when her long-dormant biotic powers awaken. Facing hostility from her peers and forced by turian tradition into a menial job for the secretive "cabal" operatives, she is forced to cut ties and explore what it means to stand on her own.
There was a sudden tap on my back, right between my shoulderblades. I jumped about six inches and spun in place to see who was there, about half a second before I recalled there was only one person it could be.
Brilliant green eyes stared at me, just inches away from mine. I quelled the impulse to jerk back or look away, and stared back. As kids, the adults had always grown unsettled when we tried this trick, breaking away in discomfort or even anger. I dimly recalled that we'd used to have that effect on each other, too, but right now I couldn't imagine why.
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Michael is a young man growing up in a starfaring carnival wandering Black Nova, eager to earn his "mark", a symbol of his personal philosophy and sign that he has reached adulthood. Over the course of this short encounter, he discovers more about himself and his companions, and takes his first and most important steps into the wider world.
Miscellaneous poetry and other short works. Includes the following:
"On Creation" - written for a college creative writing course, "On Creation" describes the process of constructing 3-d models from a poetic perspective.
"13 Ways..." - a piece about viewpoints. Thirteen strangers describe their thoughts about a blank scrap of paper.
"Harmony" and "Aphasia" - inspired by Stefan Gagne's "excrucio eternum", "Harmony" and "Aphasia" are concrete poems describing the thoughts of two characters in a twisted, horrific mental asylum.
"All That We Won't Be" [.rtf], "Summer Dreams" [.rtf], "Fallen and Forgotten" [.rtf], "Winter Together" [.rtf] - these works were written as "songs" to be performed at an in-character gathering in World of Warcraft. Taken together, they tell the story of the performing character and her life's difficulties.
A large-scale mod design for Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, The Brotherhood Insurrection introduces new forces and players to the Tiberium conflict. When the Vetanir Project, a trans-dimensional alliance of explorers and peacekeeprs, stumble onto Earth, the nascent Third Tiberium War is quashed before it can truly begin. But Nod is merely biding its time, and when it emerges many years later, both their forces and their rivals' have been inescapably reshaped by new technologies and an ever-changing political position.
This design contains two sections. One contains details on the armies and forces used by each of the six factions in the conflict, including both native units modified by new technologies and entirely new weapons of war brought by Vetanir and the mysterious alien Scrin. The other element is an outline of the plot as it develops through intrigue and warfare between these struggling nations.
A series of "codices", documents that describe forces for use in the Warhammer 40:000 wargame. These codices describe armies and factions from other science fiction franchises: the Mass Effect series, Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars, and the Starcraft games. Each faction has different strengths, weaknesses, and tactics on the tabletop.
In creating these works, I was forced to both conduct deep research on the original settings and Warhammer itself, and to improvise in order to improve the playability of each unit and force. In addition to balancing each army at the macro scale, I had to interpret everything from flying battleships and invisibility cloaking to quadruped alien warriors and virulent plagues in terms of Warhammer's static rules and systems. It was also difficult to implement forces with the proper breadth (some, such as the Terrans, are too mechanized for a "proper" codex; others like the Citadel much too reliant on infantry). Finally, I struggled to communicate the feeling of each faction, their unique approaches to war and how their history and tactics color their playstyle.
A mod design for Civilization V that expands the game through two additional eras of future history: the Intelligence Era and the Future Era. With technologies, units, structures, and other objects based in popular sci-fi representations of coming tech and society, the Future mod allows players to experience the near future as described in fiction.
A Magic: the Gathering block (three sets of 100+ cards each) based in the Nationforger setting. Unusually for a game called Magic, the set (like the setting) features no spellcraft; instead, warriors fight alongside scouts and strategists whose cunning and tactical acumen allow them to perform near miracles on the battlefield, and fantastical beasts and war machines that can overwhelm armies of mere humans. As the earliest piece in the setting, the "Old Eridia" block was responsible for defining the major powers and players in the war that would define Nationforger, including Erid and his empire, the merchant houses of Averai, and the highly militant Desen.