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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: [Rite Pub] Coliseum Morpheuon: Anthology of Dreams (Fiction)

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    [Rite Pub] Coliseum Morpheuon: Anthology of Dreams (Fiction)



    From the seed of a dream, a host of brilliant worlds grow.

    Clinton J. Boomer and Jonathan McAnulty's acclaimed Coliseum Morpheuon set the stage and the standard for epic adventure past the bleeding edge of reality - and now that legacy of glorious dreams and terrifying nightmares continues. Inspired authors of game and fantasy including Steven E. Schend (Blackstaff, Blackstaff Tower) , L. Jagi Lamplighter (Prospero's Daughter Trilogy), Tim Hitchcock (Pathfinder Adventure Path #31: Stolen Land [Kingmaker 1 of 6]), Neil Spicer (Realm of the Fellnight Queen), and many more, reveal the myriad facets of this creative jewel and herein spin tales of haunting nightmares, dauntless dreamers, and the limitless possibilities of the world that is born and breathes anew each time we close our eyes.

    Open these pages and dare to leave the waking world behind.

    You can find out more, or get the print or kindle editions HERE
    Steve "Qwilion" Russell
    Rite Publishing

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    I am posting the first page of each short story in the anthology first up is Living Legend by Jonathan McAnulty:

    I never back down, I never run, and I never leave them alive,” boasted Tarl Dron, hero of a thousand battles and master of the Stolen Blade. His listeners, a tavern full of soldiers, fishermen, dockhands and assorted riff-raff, roared their approval. The serving girl at his feet giggled demurely and reached forth to refill his cup.

    He grinned at her as he lifted the rice wine to his lips and swallowed it down. “Ah, that hits the spot. Many's the time I faced death and wished for a quick swallow of courage. Now then, where was I...? Ah that’s right. The crazed Administrator's skeletal legion was vanquished, and there I was, facing the ghoulish man himself. I was bleeding from a hundred wounds and he was offering to let me live if I but flee. But as I said, I never back down and though I was weary, I had the gods on my side and a stout blade in my hand. I closed in with him to do battle...,” Tarl paused and took measure of his audience. To a man they were leaning forward in anxious anticipation of the tale's climax, though they had heard the story before. Tarl, relishing the moment, could not help but feel pleased. This was what he lived for: a captive audience and free food and drink.

    Tarl continued, his voice rising dramatically, “The Administrator of the Ebon Halls was old, a husk of a man, but his frame was held together by dark magics. I struck him once and my sword bounced away. I struck again and it bounced away again. I could not injure him. He waved his hand, a flick, and I sailed away into the air, striking hard the wall of his palace. He waved his hand a second time and I ...
    Steve "Qwilion" Russell
    Rite Publishing

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    I am posting the first page of each short story in the anthology up next is Focus by Tim Hitchcock

    The Sparing Room

    For a moment, all went silent. Time slowed into staggering seconds, and the barking mouths of the other gladiators crowded around the sparring ring, hung open like lifeless statues. Ergasin lashed out, his kick striking like the coiled snap of a scorpion’s tail. The crack of his opponent’s neck was deafening. Then like angry waters shattering a damn, the rush of sound flooded the room. Then came the mob. Half a dozen seasoned fighters piled into the ring, striking from all sides, beating him to the ground as they lashed him with thick leather restraints. He offered no resistance, even when his skull cracked into the hard stone floor dusted only with a layer of straw. In the arena, it would have been a softer fall, sand, earth, or perhaps some other stranger substance conjured by the arena-masters to keep the masses entertained. But here in the stalls, the keepers laid only straw to soak up the blood and, theoretically, there wasn’t supposed to be blood.

    Ergasin kept his eyes closed and lay still listening to the chaos around him, waiting to hear the verdict. A hush stole over the crowd and someone new entered the room. He could hear the straw crunch beneath the footsteps and perhaps robes or a gown dragging behind. Then a man's voice unfamiliar to him spoke, his tone dry and hollow, his inflection matter of fact.

    “His neck is broken….”
    Steve "Qwilion" Russell
    Rite Publishing

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    Today we have the first page from:

    The Sleeper Awakened
    by T. H. Gulliver

    By the outer shores of Somniterrum, the imaginations of languorous gods ooze delusions strange and fierce, and night-trippers from the waking world wander and mewl in their soporific stupor. On an island in these shrouded shallows, two royal refugees sought sanctum beyond the ken of the Khan. But, these amorphous harbors hold dangers for all who anchor so close to the waking world. Even mighty dreamweavers such as these would-be monarchs soon confuse the dreamer for the dream and wonder if they themselves are but an intangible fantasy that will vanish upon waking.

    *****

    A girl sang softly,

    "In the ever dwindling light of far-off Slumber's Gate
    a forlorn castle steeps in a roseate hue
    encircled by wooded gardens where long-rooted dreamers wait
    for the hoped-for princeling to slumber true."


    The sleeper awakened to the sound of muffled voices seeping through the wall. How long had they been there?
    "Had only you not ...," warned the woman.
    "... did not ...," replied the man.
    "... I could have ..."
    "... nothing you could do ..."
    Steve "Qwilion" Russell
    Rite Publishing

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    I am posting the first page of each short story in our Coliseum Morpheuon fiction anthology, available in Print, and eBook formats: PDF, Mobi (for Kindle) and ePub (for Nook, iBooks & more); today its

    Full Circle
    by Jess Carson

    Black tendrils wove their way into Ashur’s skin, stinging him to the bone. Inky shadows writhed under his flesh and grabbed hold of his essence, consuming him. He struggled in vain. He felt her laughing, her presence echoed within the devouring darkness. Bitter fluid surged into his open mouth—blood he hoped. Pain he’d never experienced before shattered his body. His will faltered; he longed for death.

    Ashur thrashed awake, blood roaring in his ears. The night breeze chilled his sweating body. His throat felt raw and choked. Outside his tent he could hear Kyran’s voice—forceful even in its whisper—talking to Gwin as they exchanged places for the watch.

    Ashur ran his slender fingers through his damp brown hair then slumped back to the ground. It was the same dream. Every night since Tavon stole from him. That witch Nira cursed me. I won’t last much longer, if I can’t get what I promised her.


    *****

    “You awake?” Kyran shook the edge of Ashur’s bedroll with his foot.
    Ashur rubbed his eyes. “Awake? Yes. Ready to face the day with you? No.”

    “Not even if I have good news?”

    “Not even if you were that barmaid from Souk.” Ashur pulled his blanket over his head.

    Kyran’s mind conjured an image of the dimpled girl, “Sinji. At the Golden Moose. You think she’s still there waiting for you?”

    Poking his head out of the blanket, he winked lewdly at his friend.

    Kyran shook his head, “I didn’t think she was that kind of girl.”

    Kyran stomped the dust from his heavy boots.
    Steve "Qwilion" Russell
    Rite Publishing

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    I am posting the first page of each short story in our Coliseum Morpheuon fiction anthology, available in Print, and eBook formats: PDF, Mobi (for Kindle) and ePub (for Nook, iBooks & more); today its

    With Intent
    by Rob Manning

    The evening bell tolls across the Coliseum; soon the slave that brings my meal will be by. They've put me in this cell to wait out my final days. I know I shouldn't have jeopardized the crew, the mission, or my employer, but she was too beautiful. She told me her name was Yulia.

    Churn the waters of the Brightdocks, do they not shine?

    We had done the research. We knew the layout of the house, had bribed the builder to know where the traps were, and had patiently watched the patrol of the town guards to realize the only pattern was the way they slowly strolled through the red light district. A few (actually quite a few) silver coins gave the girls incentive enough to make that stroll even slower. The break-in itself went off without a hitch. Fury and I through the upper window, Allis and Ellin on each main street to run interference or warn of approaching company, and Fat Sam was in the canal boat, ready to take us down under the Brightdocks to unload the merchandise and wait out any repercussions until we could get to the Tarnished Souk and our fence.

    Both Fury and I even found a little extra for ourselves in the room beyond the nightingale floor. Old Man Hamerion had invested quite a cache for that special floor, trapped so anything larger than a cat traipsing on the bare wood caused the boards to sing out loud and strong. His other serious investment was an unflappable handyman, Mr. Chubb, who was fast with his blade and a strong uppercut. Fury and I used an elixir of levitation to bypass the trapped entry to Hamerion's vault, but were surprised by the clockwork snake...
    Steve "Qwilion" Russell
    Rite Publishing

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