Gunnerman Clap, the hero of “The Gunnerman,” returns in a tale of a daring night assault on a cliffside fortress:
Up they climbed, gusted by winds determined to knock them from their perch on the rock. Clap kept his mermaid’s tooth talisman close as he kept reminding Shullum that he was a sailor true, that it wasn’t his fault he was on land, that he really wished to return to the sea, to the ship, and that any protection the Great God of the Deep could lend would be much appreciated.
Ahead they could make out the flickering flame of a storm lantern, dimly illuminating a doorway that looked little protected by the overhang of a small roof. The same could be said of the drenched rat of a guard, huddled up in oiled skins with hat brim pulled to cover his face. Illsby gestured to several marines.
“Soon I be sending the souls I promised you, Great Shullum.” Clap tucked his talisman under his shirt and put a calloused hand on the worn hilt of his cutlass.
The guard’s head jerked up as the marines leapt into the small sphere of light and one clobbered the senses from him. One marine quickly searched the downed man as the other waved them forward; Clap and the rest jogged behind Illsby to crowd under the scant cover of the overhang.
The marines unpacked their rifles and affixed bayonets. The long lengths of steel looked thin and fragile to Clap, and he was thankful for the seaman’s sword that he carried. The buckler would have been nice, but he’d lost that when the boat went down. “Not that I’m in any hurry to be reunited,” he whispered.
Jason’s first story for us was “The Duelist,” published as part of our Black Gate Online Fiction line on September 30th, 2012. His work has also appeared in Flashing Swords magazine, Rage of the Behemoth, Magic and Mechanica, and other venues. Some of his sword & sorcery and heroic fantasy is collected in In Savage Lands and The Harsh Suns, and the first two novels chronicling the supernatural adventures of occult detective Lance Chambers, The Spear of Destiny and Cult of Death, are now available.
The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Ryan Harvey, Steven H Silver, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Emily Mah, C.S.E. Cooney, Howard Andrew Jones, Harry Connolly, and many others, is here.
“Assault and Battery” is a complete 5,200-word sword & sorcery tale offered at no cost.