For most of his life, 16-year-old Errol Magnus categorically rejected the idea of being a Warden. Growing up right next to the Badlands, he encountered enough bloodthirsty monsters in the ordinary course of events; he’d never seen much sense in assuming a post that required you to actively seek them out.
Recently, however, while competently and capably serving as Warden on behalf of his missing brother Tom, Errol’s had a change of heart. Now, for reasons of his own, he desperately wants the position. Unfortunately, being officially appointed Warden not only requires that Errol’s skills be tested by his peers, but that he also make a perilous journey to the city of Apolos in order to be examined by the High Warden himself.
Traveling with a group of colleagues, Errol thinks all danger is behind them once they reach the safety of the city. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Something has followed them out of the Badlands, and - one by one - his traveling companions are being viciously slain by something…inhuman. It’s up to Errol to find the creature and bring its killing spree to a halt, before he himself winds up the next victim.
Without warning, Errol’s Wendigo dagger began to glow with an eerie, eldritch light. While not particularly intense, the luminescence spread out to envelope Errol and Bander, who stood back-to-back, and their campsite.
“What are you doing?!” Bander hissed over his shoulder as the light from Errol’s weapon washed over him.
“It’s not me!” he responded. “It’s the dagger.” Errol looked at the weapon with something akin to fury.
Then, as suddenly as it began, the light from the dagger seemed to wink out. Errol was on the verge of breathing a sigh of relief when the forest unexpectedly came alive. Two trees directly in front of him started moving swiftly towards their camp.
Errol went tense; he involuntarily took a step backwards, inadvertently bumping Bander. The older man peeked over his shoulder, then turned so that he and Errol were now standing next to each other.
“Gods!” the veteran exclaimed, tilting his head up.
It took Errol a second to orient himself, for his mind to adjust to the spectacle in front of him. He quickly realized it wasn’t trees that he was seeing move; they were, instead, the legs of a gigantic hominid. Like Bander, he quickly adjusted his frame of reference to incorporate more height in his assessment of the creature.
In general, it was shaped like a man, with two arms, two legs, and a torso. Aside from that (and not taking into account that it was about twenty feet tall), the only difference between it and a normal person was that it appeared to have no head. Instead, its face was on its torso, with eyes on its pectorals, a nose below, and then a mouth on its stomach.
It was a monster that Errol recognized, but had never encountered: a Blemmye.
~ Author Bio ~
The sixth of seven children, Kevin Hardman grew up with a love of all things fantastical: comics, sci-fi, fantasy, etc. If it was unreal or imaginary, he could relate to it. Over the years, he has found employment in a wide variety of professions, including - among other things - a stint in the military, working for UPS, in a research lab, as a waiter, and as a telephone survey taker. Somewhere in between all that, he found time to earn 3 degrees and foster his love of reading and writing.
He has always been a voracious reader, but recently crossed trade lines to become an author. Since then, he has published the Kid Sensation novels and the Warden books. He is currently hard at work on the next book in both series, as well as a few other projects.