An Agent of Fear – excerpt

Following is an excerpt from the novel I am working on, Diablo Ex Machina.

It has a modular style, each part being wholly different from that which went before, allowing me to work on and explore a variety of styles covering hundreds of years.

Yesterday, after speaking with a lady at work, I had confirmation that the title I had chosen does, in fact, mean Devil Machine in Latin. Having this information from someone who actually studied the dead language helps a great deal, given that I was guessing.

I hope that you enjoy.

Any feedback/criticisms etc are welcome.



Diablo Ex Machina

Part 4 – Playtime

Chapter 74 – An Agent of Fear


“By saying yes to the sorcerer Raviziel had not gained any perspective.

Instead he had lost it and his life back on Naples seemed very, very far away. Family, friends, the warriors with whom he’d served under Marco Galiente, were they all lost to him now?

He dared to think that they were, although hope wanted to spring up in his panicked heart. Hope? What hope? Suppressed horror was fighting to rise up and into the cold of space where he floated, cross legged and trying to maintain a composure that he did not feel.

Promises, platitudes, telling his woman that he loved her, the swell of a breeze through the trees of his home, the glitter of swords on the practice field overlooked by his former master… All gone. What did they mean since he’d sworn his allegiance to the robot? Nothing, in fact. Nothing at all. Hell, he’d suspected that Viarana had been seeing someone else anyway. Better that he get away, especially after the bloody death of Marco Galiente. He wondered at the magic which had been used to kill the man he’d served for over 7 years, since a young adult of 24 years. Lordan had not appeared to be casting his spell with any vindictive purpose, indeed had said that he did not have time to tarry further. The result? A swollen and bloody head on the floor of the court hall where Galiente had carried out his council meetings…

The panic was back and it brooked none of his madly scrambling attempts to quieten it. He began to squirm, to thrash, shadows of himself dancing on the hull of the beweaponed frigate some distance behind him from the light source of the orange star. He tried to swim, could not tell if he was making any distance at all. There was only one direction to go in and so he made for the ship, hoping against hope that he could make it before his air ran out…

Fear was the reigning emotion of the hour and it rang up along all the vertebrae of his spine, running sharp nails up his back…

A wet crunching sound drew his attention sharply behind. He tried to turn as if he were in water, failed, started thrashing and screaming.

“What are you doing, man?” Lordan asked, grasping his wrist and pulling him around. Raviziel’s heaving face stared incredulously at him, the robot without his beastly ice mask and munching upon a bright green apple.

“What do you mean??” Raviziel barked. “You ask me if I like your bird’s wings, I say yes, and you leave me! I come to here, no sense of time passing, and is it any wonder that I’m freaking the hell out?!??!?!?”

Lordan stood on nothing, not hovering but just still, ankles crossed as if he were atop some high and tiny pillar, a dangerous balancing act. The bites he was taking from the apple looked huge…”


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