Soulbright, my latest I/Ø (Impworld/Øtherworld) novel centers on Copernicus Gallows, played by Marcus Wayne, a professional player with a potentially damaging secret.
Now, that will come as a surprise to some of my readers, who were doubtlessly expecting Book 2 of this series to be a continuation of Jarrod Seventhborn’s story from Luckbane. Part of the reason for the confusion is that Soulbright isn’t really a sequel. It’s book 2 of a series, which actually follows three main characters: Christine Johannsen aka Ogress Bloodskull of the Dreadknights, Jarrod Adam aka Jarrod Seventhborn called the Luckbane, and Marcus Wayne aka Copper “Gloryhound” Gallows.
Of course, fans of Luckbane and Garden of Stone will certainly recall Copper as the brooding, antagonistic Champion who weilds a magical saw blade weapon called a render. Copper is a monster hunter by trade, but his specialty is vampyres.
It should comes as no surprise then that “Gloryhound Gallows” is the sworn enemy of one of the most powerful biters in the game. Impunus styles himself as the brat prince of vampyres and has sworn to either kill or turn Copper. To defeat Impunus, Copper is assembling the shards of Soulbright, an artifact that can turn Impunus mortal so Copper can kill him once and for all.
The vampyres of the I/Øverse are formidable.
In terms of abilities, vampyres have many and gain yet more with each year of their cursed existence. For example, younger vampyres are preternaturally quick and strong, can blend with shadow and walk on walls and ceilings. More experienced vampyres can control vermin, wolves and lycanthropes, disapparate into a swarm of bats, rats, ravens. cockroaches or fog, temporarily cloud someone’s mind to ignore their presence, or transform into a beast form. The very oldest vampyres can become pillars of fire, enthrall members of Noble and Corrupted Elder races, blight crops, control the weather and take on truly monstrous forms.
Vampyres can infect any member of a Noble or Corrupted Elder race. Most demihuman species are immune to their bite. A newly infected vampyre may be freed from the curse by killing the vampyre who bit them, but only if this is accomplished within a week’s time. The victim themselves will be powerless to harm their new coven master.
Even so, every vampyre has weaknesses. The vampyres of the I/Ø Saga are careful to avoid vorpal weapons, blessed weapons, garlic and holy water. They cannot cross the threshold of a church unless they are very powerful, and even then not for long. Fortumately, they can send in were-creatures, whch have no such restrictions. Elder vampyres can withstand sunlight, but most cannot. A stake through the heart will kill most vampyres, but to be sure, one should also behead elder biters and burn their bodies.
In game lore, vampyres originated in the Greater Elven Civil War, the first great conflict of the First Age. Near war’s end, a company of shadus elves was cursed to be the first vampyres for betraying their balrog master. The newly born vampyres of Solis Company became known as the Cursed Kindred (from which the later player gaming guild borrowed its name). The Kindred largely dispersed as a necessity; hunting together tended to deplete an area to quickly and attracted unwelcome attention.
Nevertheless, a group of biters later known as the Bloody Barons did seize control of the Broken Lands during the Lycanthrope Conflict of the Second Age. The creation of were-creatures and the vampyres’ subsequent realization that they could control these new creatures made them more powerful than ever. The Bloody Barons used their newly consolidated power to form the kingdom of Xenos on the continent of Damocles and to expand elsewhere, such as Wanjur’s Doom Isles.
Soulbright features Viscount Rinaldo Krov, better known as Corpulus, Øtherworld’s last direct link to the Bloody Barons. He is grotesquely obese, having drained almost every animal with a pint of blood, just to say he has. His power is as legendary as his appetites.
Since the Magewar separated the continent of Wanjur from Øbsidius and transported it to the planet Tarak, Corpulus and Impunus have been cut off from the Bloody Barons. This makes the Dooms the last great stronghold of the vampyres, controlled by Corpulus’ coven. Corpulus lauds himself as the last link to the Bloody Barons by line of succession. Nevertheless, Impunus is powerful and his coven is eager to please their reckless leader. Both are making formidable alliances in a bid to become the new world’s undisputed Ambrosio, king of the vampyre lords.
Neither of these biters has any qualms about killing Copper Gallows. In fact, they would welcome the opportunity because by killing the world’s most notorious slayer, they would rally the planet’s remaining vampyres to their respective covens and seal their claim to the Ambrosio title.
Pick up your copy of
Soulbright to join the adventure!