“A GLORIOUS DAY BROTHER! GLORIOUS!” This is what I yell as I wheel my two-handed great sword through the air, slicing through the throats of three Insectoids. Their mandibles chitter in reflexive death throes as their decapitated heads thunk across the ground. Kor’Thank, my long-time friend and second-in-command of the First Legion, Raptor Cavalry, slices through another five with an overhead spin of his enchanted halberd. I side-kick an insectoid in its pectoral chitin as its rushes toward me, emitting grotesque buzzing noises from its multi-fanged mouth. Planting with my kick-leg, I fling both arms wide so I can execute a backhanded swing with my sword while counterbalancing with my free arm. The stroke cleaves my enemy in twain from shoulder to hip. Just like I was trained to in the Forge (the academy where all budding barbarian warriors train), I reassume guard and glance from side to side, assessing the field for new threats. I look over to Kor’Thank, who’s withdrawing the awled end of his halberd from the chest of an Insectoid. His motion is accented by a wet-sounding SPLUTCH as an outflow of gore pours from his downed enemy. He gives me a grin and pounds a burly fist over his heart, giving me a brotherly salute. “All is well, Fight Brother Kent! I think that on this day, I may best your record for most Insectoids slaughtered! Currently I’ve laid low three score and six, and wounded as many as—” At that moment a glimmering portal opens behind Kor’Thank. Its core is a pure swirl of white, while its edges are threaded with long chains of intricately threaded rainbow mandalas. Diminutive silhouettes begin pouring out from it; they look like small women, or actually like—I see them rushing toward Kor’Thank at a dead sprint. I raise my hand and scream, “KOR’THANK LOOK OUT!” Too late. As he turns his head, one of them jumps onto his torso, biting out his eyes while another slides under his kilt, clutching his nuts and—due to the momentum of the slide—rips them clean off. He’s shrieking, swinging wildly, but to no avail: one of the teenagers blurs past my Fight Brother and pauses in a crouch ten feet past him, blood dripping from the wickedly designed sword she’s holding, a blade that bears rough resemblance to the squarish weapons used by the Dagonesti Orcs. Kor’Thank staggers, clutching his gut, a thin line of blood leaking across his torso. Then, his upper body slides away from his hips and legs with a slimy whisper, and I see that the strike has cloven him in two. His eyeless face gapes up at me and he mouths something, but I’m too shocked to register it. My gaze drifts over to my Fight Brother’s murderer; she looks to be a girl in her tweens. Skulls and raven feathers jangle across her willowy form, and black magic sigils line her face. A crackle of midnight-colored lightning surrounds her eyes; from my experience in Chaos Magicks, I’d say that she’s a long-time practitioner of the dark arts. She rises from her crouch, blood dripping from her blade, and smiles at me. She says two nonsensical words that send a chill down my spine: “Hashtag Bieber.” Rage rises within me, and I scream, “COME AT ME, FOUL DENIZEN OF THE ABYSS!” The rest of the Beliebers turn on me, some with weapons in their hands, some on all fours, all of them snarling. Mother of Ballach they’re fast! I barely have time to kick one in the chest before I take off running. During the battle my warrior’s queue was sliced apart, and I now feel my long black hair swishing across my muscled back as I sprint toward my mount and scream, “BITEFIGHTER! TO ME!” I see Bitefighter—my velociraptor mount—raise his scaly head and lock eyes with me some fifteen yards away. He charges toward me while I run towards him and—when he gets close, just like we’ve trained—he ducks his head so I can leap onto him. I ride backwards, slicing into Beliebers that are trying to attack us from the rear, while Bitefighter keeps charging, ravaging legions of tweenagers to our front with his talons and fangs. We might just get out of this alive, praise Crom, we might just—suddenly my heart drops as I see more portals open across the battlefield. Hundreds, no THOUSANDS, of Beliebers are pouring onto the earth, and with a sinking heart, I realize I’m the last one alive in my Legion. Over snarls and curses, I yell to Bitefighter “GET ME SOME RANGE!” He curves to the left toward a stretch of uninhabited battlefield, and long trails of dust kick up from his churning legs. The herd of Beliebers follow; the mass of their tramping feet create a giant haze of dust that now hangs over the horizon. I reach down to my bow, unharness it, and begin nocking and shooting arrows as fast as I can. One Belieber, two Beliebers, three, four…I triple-fist a trio of arrows and let loose. Three more down. Bitefighter screeches, “RAAAWWWK!” and though I don’t answer, I have to agree with him: this is a hopeless situation. I reach into my saddlebag, withdraw a scroll which I’ve been writing a badass story on (it’s called Echo, of course) and throw it into the air. Magic flash. Suddenly, Bitefighter sprouts four X-wing S-foils from his flanks, thrusters fire up, and we take to the skies. A 10x re-amplified turbolaser springs up from his backside and I grab its grips and press down on the butterfly trigger. CHOOMCHOOMCHOOMCHOOMPKEW! Lasery death rains down on the Beliebers. I scream in savage joy as I carve giant pockets of smoking corpses into their horde. We fly past the twin suns that give light to my world, and then come around for another pass. I do not know who this dark fiend Bieber is, and nor do I care. All I know is that his unholy servants will suffer death and dismemberment under the fiery barrels of my turbolaser quad-cannon.
Have you tried to get your barbarian on, only to have your day go to complete shit from a surprise Belieber attack? Never fear; that’s what Echo is for. Right now I’m in the middle of reworking Echo 1, trying to get all my noob mistakes out. If you refrain from buying it due to my amateurish writing style, a product of my first ventures into fiction, then I totally understand, and I’ll announce when I re-upload an updated version. If you buy it anyways, then many thanks! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle