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Fanatic’s Bane


Malbane Chronicles 1

Fanatic’s Bane





A short humanoid shape scuttled from shadow to shadow; his pursuers close behind.

Total darkness never falls on Barbo Transfer Station. Many shadows blanket the alleys of the city when the night cycle is engaged in the torus. Someone can be furtive if they avoid the lights coming from the buildings crammed cheek to jowl.

Dim light reflected from the day side of the torus filtered through the roof panels a thousand feet above. The figure paused and looked around for signs of his pursuers.

The back door of an all night noodle café gaped and a rectangle of light illuminated the figure. His bald head reflected the light. The bulbous head had green skin coated with a sheen of sweat. The green man panicked and ran down the alley to return to the safety of the darkness. His body was a block, almost half as wide as he was tall but he moved with a light agility remarkable for such a bulky form.


Brother Cassius smiled from a darker patch of shadow. He watched the Narath sprint away, escaping the revealing purity of the light. Cassius hugged the concrete wall. He focused his senses until he felt every imperfection in the wall and became one with it. The fleeing alien’s efforts at evasion were wasted. The Narath’s pursuers were too skilled to lose their quarry in the darkness. Even Cassius ebony skin alone would not be enough to hide in the darkness. Skill was required—a skill he possessed. He pulled the cowl of his cassock lower over his features. Detaching himself from the wall he walked after the running man. He had followed the Narath for over an hour trying to learn where he was heading. Cassius heard the sounds of others in the darkness. He was not the sole observer of the running man. His concealing robes and years of training in stillness rendered the priest invisible. Neither the hunters nor the pursued noticed him. He remained unmolested; a witness to the drama playing out in the alleys.

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The sole survivor dragged himself through the woods



Image text:

Sole survivor. His starship was a glowing ember in the bottom of a crater. He didn’t know how he had survived when his mate had not.
The atmosphere of this world was harsh and he gasped as he breathed.
He had crawled for hours, dragging his shattered leg when the two large bipeds appeared from behind one of the large plants.
Blinding light in a spectrum painful to his eyes. The bipeds bark harsh, ululating sounds. He growls for help and one raises a metal tube. Another flash of light, bright with fire, then a sharp pain punches him backward and darkness descends.